People have asked me, “When are you going to retire?” And I say to myself, “Retire from what? Or to what?” I never developed a hobby that I could turn to; my hobby is my work.
But in fact, I did think of retirement once. The thought did come to me after a while and I thought, “Maybe it is time…” Then one day a lady came to me at an on-location show and looked at me for a minute. She wanted to be really sure that I was Jim Roselle.
“Yes, I’m Jim Roselle.”
“I want to tell you something,” she said.
“What is it?”
“Every morning I roll over in bed and turn you on.”
I decided to postpone my retirement.
People often ask me where my signature Cup of Happiness came from. Well, it certainly wasn’t planned.
It so happened that I had the morning show at 8:15 every day. I used to take over for Doc Webster, Dennis Webster’s father, after his shift. He opened up at 5 o’clock in the morning and ended at 8:15. That’s when I would take his microphone and work ‘till noon. But then Doc Webster passed away.
After about a year and a half, the station decided that I should replace the man who had been temporarily filling in for Doc and open up the early morning show at 6 o’clock.
Whenever an opportunity came about for a certain spot on the schedule, I always asked myself, “How I can relate with the audience at that time? How can I welcome them to the show?”
I figured just about everybody turns to a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. So I decided to simply welcome them into the day with me. I was going to say, “Enjoy my…” I quickly decided while I was talking not to call it a cup of coffee…I said, “…my Cup of Happiness.”
So there it was, just a spur of the moment inspiration. That’s what it’s been ever since. It is, quite literally, a Cup of Happiness.
There was the gasoline company that dared us to give away free gas to the first driver who stopped in at their gas station and mentioned WJTN. We won that dare.
One day, the company’s regional manager was in town for a remote I was doing at one of their stations.
“How do you know anybody is listening to you?”
“I don’t know, really,” I said, “but I’ve been working at WJTN for a few years now, and I know we’ve got something going here.”
“Can you prove anyone comes here because they heard you on the radio?”
“Okay,” I said. “How about if a guy drives in and says he listens to this program? Will you give him, let’s say, eight gallons of gas? For free?”
“Okay, ladies and gentlemen,” I said into my microphone, “if you are in the vicinity and you’re the first one to drive in, and you mention the show that you are listening to, you’ll get eight gallons of gas for free.”
It took 45 seconds.
“You rigged it!” the company rep said.
“No I didn’t.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“You want to do it again?” I challenged him. “Right now?”
“Okay, go ahead.” He was a little less smug this time, but still game.
Even as I was saying it on the air, I saw a guy coming over the hill and driving right down to the station.
“That’s enough.” The give-away was over.
That’s how you know there’s an audience out there.
Jim Remembers… My 6-Mile Golf Hole
My career began in sportscasting because I was a passionate fan of everything in sports. Few people, however, can claim a feat in any game as remarkable as the 6-Mile Golf Hole, tee-to-green, that I played with Pete Hubble, WJTN’s Sports Director, one warm and sunny day in July way back in the early days of my career. It was probably the longest hole ever played anywhere – certainly in Chautauqua County – with an awful lot of roughs and hazards on the way to the cup. We were only using putters, but we played through all the way. Play on the first (and last) hole – the single hole in play – in that marathon match – we billed as Goofy Golf – lasted seven hours. At that pace, a regulation 18 holes would have taken more than two weeks to fill up a scorecard. The idea for our head-to-head matchup was hatched, like so many other great plans, over a couple of cups of coffee one morning. We were at the radio station. We were just talking about golf. “Why don’t you tee off right here,” somebody said. “We can end up at Maplehurst Country Club.” Wacky memories like that are probably among the many reasons I still call my morning cup of steaming Joe, “A Cup of Happiness.” We teed off at the door of my WJTN broadcast studio in the Hotel Jamestown and putted our way to the elevator, down one floor and out to the hotel lobby, then down the staircase and outside onto West 3rd Street. The “green” was still a mile and a half of sidewalks, streets and storefronts ahead of us, and just then we were also 100 feet above the Erie Lackawanna railroad tracks on the Third Street bridge. Eventually, we reached Fairmount Avenue which stretched far out of town and into the countryside.
Fans, spectators and gawkers clicked off snapshots and rolled home movie film while we putted our way along Fairmount. We were accompanied by a police escort ordered out especially for the day by Police Chief John Palladino. About four miles west on Fairmount, we putted onto Big Tree Road in Lakewood. The last half-mile finally took us from the concrete and asphalt hazards and the front lawn roughs onto a well kept green with a cup and a flag at Maplehurst. By club regulation, we had to borrow caddies there to carry our one-club bags until we finally putted into the hole. After that hard-fought match Pete Hubble admitted, “We had hit a few cars and lost about 24 golf balls in the fields, but we had a lot of fun.” Our game had lasted seven hours, but it could have gone faster if we hadn’t stopped a few times along the “course” for some refreshments and a few words with spectators. We declared that day – as it’s been done on every course since the game was played on Scotland’s old course at St Andrews way back in the 16th Century – the player who holed his ball in the fewest strokes: The Winner. The final score card showed Hubble at 196 and me at 228. Par had never been set for our specific course, naturally, but I had to admit Hubble won. On the other hand, I could always claim he only came in “next to last.” I, meanwhile, had putted my way all the way up to second place!
I was amazed they let us do it, but we had a lot of people along the way who cheered us on. That is what radio was about in those days. “A little creativity made it much better than just taking a microphone someplace to do a show.” That 6-Mile Golf Hole was a milestone in my early career.