WLCY, Channel 10
Taking over the ABC affiliation from WSUN-TV, WLCY-TV went on the air in 1965, Because of the synergy with their radio station (WLCY AM 1380), the host of Channel 10's first kids show, "Submarine 10," was morning disk jockey Don Jones. Unfortunately, Jones died in a motorcycle accident less than a year after Channel 10 went on the air.
Dick Crippen became "Commander Astro" on Channel 10's SPACE STATION
The station's weatherman, veteran Tampa Bay broadcaster Dick Crippen, was designated to take over the time period. The new show "Space Station," was hosted by 'Commander Astro' (Crippen). In an interview with "Big 13", Dick Crippen says "It was interesting because we were closely tied with WLCY Radio at the time and it was 'king' over all Tampa Bay. A lot of the WLCY air personalities would come on the show and ad-lib. In fact, the whole thing was ad-lib right down to a talking rock. It was wild and I have to admit, a lot of fun!"
This program has the distinction of appearing on all 3 Tampa Bay commercial stations...often flipping back and forth.
The Channel 10 Romper Room started in 1965 with June Young as host. After 10 years, the program moved back to WFLA for another 5 years.
WLCY-TV's original Central Avenue studios were located in this building 1965-68
Before you move on to the next page of our feature on Tampa Bay area kids show hosts, Dick Crippen has written us a short momento of Channel 10's original building at 2426 Central Avenue. Here's what Dick said:
I have a lot of memories of that old place. Accounting and sales were actually in a house-type building behind it on 1st Avenue North. Itís still there even with new construction for townhomes going up next door. The newsroom and general administrative offices were upstairs in the Central Avenue building. Iíll never forget back in Ď65 I was doing weather and we had a hurricane approaching. It ended up bringing a lot of wind and rain but just skimmed the beaches. It still managed to knock out our power. The St. Petersburg Fire Department brought a generator truck and we hooked it up to stay on the air. A small group of us kept WLCY-TV on the air all through the night with that generator truck humming away outside of an open door that led right into the studio. No air conditioning and only one camera, a mike, a scoop light, and one projector chain. That was it until we got power back the next day.
A guy I had grown up with in New Jersey, but hadnít seen since we both went to prep schools after our sophomore year, was heading to take a job as an attorney with the city. Everything was closed so he and his wife grab a motel somewhere on US 19 and settled in. They turned on the tv to see what the storm was doing and there I was. We are best friends and are bringing a new company into existence at this point in our lives.
When the sports director at the time, Vince Malloy, decided to run for City Council in Tampa management asked me to take over the sports department. I guess it stuck because I'm still involved in sports 40 years later.
Also an interesting fact about the old building on Central: itís where I met my
wife who actually worked at Channel 10 in Bookkeepng which was in the building
out back. We hit 41 years in August, 2007!