ABOVE: I believe this was given to my husband when he graduated with his Masters Degree from Florida Technological University (now University of Central Florida) and took a job at Ted Johnson Productions in Jacksonville, Florida in 1975. It was was created when WMFE TV – Channel 24 was located at Mid Florida Tech on Oakridge Road in South Orlando. The folks depicted are as follows: Back row L-R: Gary Yeoman (Production), Kim Fischer (Traffic Manager and Promotion Assistant), Joe Hearn (Operations Manager), Tom Landini (Program Director), Aldo Vivona (Assistant Chief Engineer). Middle Row L-R: Alice Aitken (Senior volunteer), Sheri Lamb (Art Director), Stephen M. Steck (President), John Newsome (Development Director), Frank Miele (Chief Engineer). Front Row L-R: Kathy Harper Thorsen, Glenda? (Business Office), Linda Mayfield (Promotion Director), Phyllis? (Receptionist), Barbara Behun (Art Department).
I worked as the Promotion Assistant and Traffic Manager for WMFE-TV from 1972-1976, when it was located in Mid Florida Tech at 2908 West Oak Ridge Road, Orlando, 32809.
The station suffered a tragedy on June 8, 1973 when the tower their antenna was being attached to collapsed, killing two tower workers.
The above article is about the rebuilding of the television tower in Bithlo that was shared by several Orlando area television and radio stations that collapsed on June 8, 1973, killing two tower workers. The day the tower fell was terrible for the families of the two men killed and other two who were injured. Staff at Channel 24 studios on Oakridge Road were in a state of shock and fear for several hours as three of our staff members had gone to the site to observe the installation. This was back in the days before cell phones and the tower was out in the middle of no where in Bithlo so there were no phone booths around. We waited anxiously until Steve Steck, Joe Hearn and Lee Watkins (I think) called in from a pay phone to tell us they were okay.
The Orlando Sentinel Flashback in Orange County column revisited the tower collapse in 1990.
RADIO, TV STATIONS OFF AIR. A sudden collapse of a 1,500-foot television tower near Bithlo killed two men and injured two others. Authorities said structural failure was the reason Florida’s tallest structure fell. Three television stations and two radio stations were affected by the loss of the $500,000 tower. WFTV-Channel 9 was off the air for several weeks and WDBO-Channel 6 switched back to its old tower and came back on the air at reduced power. Public station WMFE-Channel 24, in the process of installing antennas on the tower, continued to broadcast with its existing equipment. WBDO-FM (92.3) and WDIZ-FM (100.3) were off for a short time.
The station rebounded quickly and found new viewers and members with their antenna placement on the taller tower. There were Pledge Weeks, Auctions, and community events.