Special Report: Sparked Memories – WWTV’s Go-To Guy
9&10 News, also known as WWTV, went on the air 67 years ago. It was during an era known as the Golden Age of Television, when the medium you see today was pioneered.
One of the people who helped us through our infancy was Paul Hill.
Paul’s son, Spencer, sent us an email containing a picture of an old lighter that was used as promotional material, telling us about his father, “Because my dad worked at channel 9, way back in the day.”
The station switched to channel 9 from channel 13 in 1962, the same year WWUP went on the air as a full time satellite of WWTV, becoming 9&10.
“And I just happened to find his lighter going through the stuff that I had,” said Spencer.
So, we went to East Lansing where Paul now lives.
He started in broadcasting at a hometown radio station in Akron, Ohio in the late 1940’s. “I became what they called and this will be in the scrapbook, the youngest disc jockey in the country. I was just out of high school, of course, and i was 17, or 18,” he said.
After one year in college, he went out west and joined the Air Force during the Korean War, “I wound up at a jet pilot training base, which was also in the training command in Texas. And there i was able to get into the public information office in headquarters squadron.”
It was back to college in Marietta, Ohio after the Air Force, where he also worked at a TV station across the river.
“How did I get from Parkersburg, West Virginia to Cadillac, Michigan? I happened to pick up a copy of Broadcasting Telecasting Magazine. And in the want ads, there was an ad, asking about would you be interested in a position in Michigan. It was sort of a blind ad. So, on speculation, I went up to Cadillac, Michigan and met with the people there, and they said yes, we’d like to have you.”
Paul worked in our former building near Tustin from 1956 to 1965, a place where only the tower now remains after a fire in 2018.
He was the station’s chief announcer, anchoring the news, weather and special programming, “I guess in the lexicon of today’s sports writers, i was the guy to go to,” he said.
Paul was already somewhat familiar with the Cadillac area because the summer before he graduated from college, he acted at the Ramsdell Theater in Manistee, the same place James Earl Jones was one of the players. “I knew from the time that i met him, that this guy has probably got a lot of potential,” he said.
Paul had a particular fondness of giving the weather report at WWTV — which at the time — was brought to you by Blatz Beer, “That was one of the prime beers from Milwaukee. And because of that, the local distributor decided that it would be a good place to advertise the product.”
But Paul had another passion: politics. He became involved in the Wexford County Republican Party. That’s when he met then-governor George Romney.
“One day, I got a phone call from one of his staff members in Lansing, and said there’s an opening that’s coming up here in state government,” Paul said. That’s where he spent the next 25 years as the public information officer for the Michigan State Police.
He told us he was glad his son sent us the email containing that picture of the lighter, “I think he hinted at it, that he was going to maybe follow it up. And when Spencer says that my ears always go up like what are you into now?”
Paul tells us he always loves a good chance share his memories of a truly magical time in broadcasting, which are still very vivid, for which we are thankful.