An unfamiliar and uncomfortable quiet fell over the Orangeburg area on March 31. The last words were spoken over the air – the last strains of music played – and then there was nothing. Just the unsettling sound of silence. WORG radio was gone – at least in the way that we have known it for decades.
The silence gave way to a wonderful time of reflection on my part. Memories emerged of riding the strip in Orangeburg on Sunday afternoons, making the loops at Piggy Park on the north end of 301 and A&W on the south end. For the more adventurous, their routes took them for a spin around the parking lot at Biddie Banquet. I thought of my parents’ instructions, “Do not get in the car with boys.” But we did anyway, leading to negotiations with my brother later in the day not to tell.
Those were the days of dialing up the radio station from a pay phone to request a special song. The announcer himself would pick up the phone and the conversation would be personal – like talking with a good friend – and a request would be made for a certain song to be played to the girl in the red convertible or the guy in the blue Chevy. Before long, the requested song would be up and playing with every radio in listening distance tuned in filling the air with “talking ‘bout my girl.”
WORG carried us through Vietnam, school desegregation, the death of President John F. Kennedy and the excitement of the space age. The broadcasts wept with us, cheered us, made us fall in and out of love and soothed our broken hearts. As we all know and have experienced after a loss, life somehow goes on. But this one will take a while. It’s not just the loss of a radio station, it is the loss of an era. And more than that, the silence of WORG is like the loss of an old friend. Rest in peace, my friend. Rest in peace.
Beth Yarborough, Cameron