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Date Posted: 01:12:45 03/04/11 Fri
Author: JM
Subject: O'Brien & Garry

Since it's O'Brien & Garry week, it's probably worth retelling the story of how they got together on the WTAE morning show.

Bernie Armstrong Jr. was revamping WTAE in 1972 and looking all over the country for talent. He found John Garry at WGH/Norfolk and hired him for afternoon drive. WTAE still needed a morning man, and John suggested they hire Larry O'Brien, who was at WCFL/Chicago. As John tells the story, "Larry, modest fellow that he is, told Bernie, 'You can't afford me.'" But a deal was struck and Larry was hired for mornings. O'Brien (mornings) and Garry (afternoons) were on the air by the last quarter of 1972.

O'Brien and Garry knew each other from previous stops in Toledo and Norfolk, but had not worked together. They pitched new GM Ted Atkins with the idea of a two-man morning show, which he rejected. Finally, in the fall of '74, they did a week-long trial run. John would invent some premise for stopping by the station every morning, and he and Larry did the show together.

Finally Ted gave the greenlight and O'Brien and Garry debuted in March of 1975. Even then, they still worked separately on Saturdays (Larry in the morning, John following with a midday shift) for another year. The station didn't even order them a custom jingle at first, instead splicing together their name shouts.

The show showed growth within a year, and they were off and running after that. Their WTAE run ended in August of 1983 when WTAE hired Jack Bogut. O'Brien & Garry were bumped to FM and didn't take it well, believing that a move to FM was a demotion. They signed with B94, but WTAE won the lawsuit that kept them in the building. The ruling was they had a contract to work for Hearst, with no designation for AM or FM.

That led to B94 hiring Jim Quinn away from WTAE and pairing him with Banana Don Jefferson, but that's a whole other story.

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