WWSC countdown to 75 — Earl Sharland

This is the latest in an occasional series of posts leading up to the 75th anniversary of Glens Falls radio station WWSC on Dec. 18, 2021.

No doubt many Glens Falls area Baby Boomers can still recite Earl Sharland’s standard greeting from memory.

“Good afternoon — are you calling ‘Speak-Up?’” Post-Star staff writer Jeff Wilkin reported on Jan. 22, 1979. “Most of those in Glens Falls are familiar with this phrase.”

Sharland had just stopped hosting “Speak-Up,” the daily one-hour WWSC Glens Falls radio news talk show he had hosted for about 15 years.

Nearly 17 years later, Post-Star columnist Irv Dean recalled how Sharland typically would end a call.

“And we’ll always remember the manic caller who told the host, ‘I’d just like to say that I agree with everything that anyone who’s ever called ‘Speak-Up’ has ever said,’ to which Sharland replied, ‘All right. Thank you for calling.’”

It was the vibrant dialogue in between the greeting and thank you that kept listeners tuning in, and calling in, to the program day after day.

“Many people became hooked on the show, even though its content wasn’t always the most edifying,” Dean wrote.

Bruce Matthews launched the program in the early 1960s, airing once a week on Saturday mornings.

Sharland, a veteran broadcaster, took over in 1964 and shifted to a daily Monday-Friday program, aired some years in the morning and some years in the afternoon.

Hosts after Sharland included Richard Shanks, Sandy Adams and Edward Bartholomew.

Sharland’s last regular broadcast was on Jan. 19, 1979, but he stayed with WWSC in off-air roles, including helping to launch WWSC’s FM sister station.

“It gets to be that it’s not as exciting as it used to be. It’s fairly routine,” Sharland said, when he stopped hosting the show.

Sharland was a newspaper reporter before he began his radio career in the 1940s at WNBZ in Saranac Lake, and later as an announcer at WMFF in Plattsburgh.

In September 1947, WGLN of Glens Falls, which merged with WWSC in 1950, hired Sharland as a staff announcer and color commentator for Green Jackets football games.

Early on in Sharland’s time at WGLN he had a unique experience as part of a news team that broadcast from a Cape Aircraft plane flying over a 500-acre forest fire at Welch Hollow, near Fort Ann, in October 1947.

Sources: The Post-Star Sept. 29, Oct. 18, 1947; Dec. 22, 1964; Jan. 22, 1979; June 7, Sept. 5, 1987; Oct. 22, 1996.

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY