My first visit and broadcast from the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show was in August of 1984. The first of many events, broadcasts and visits to what we now call the New Jersey State Fair. Back in 1984 I was the "afternoon guy" on WSUS. I was live at the fair every evening in an air conditioned trailer we called the "show mobile." Back then we went pretty crazy to make sure we were noticed at the fair. Looking back to those days I can honestly say fair week was exhausting for everyone who worked at the radio station. At the same time we knew it was really important to be there to meet and greet all of our listeners. When I did the afternoon show in the 1980's my live broadcasts from the fair would end at 10 PM. After we cleaned up and locked the trailer I could walk around the fairgrounds after the Farm and Horse Show closed. It was quiet and not crowded. I would just walk around for a while and visit the livestock barns. An agricultural fair like this was totally new to me. I grew up in Hudson County right across from New York City. Those moments walking around the fair made me truly appreciate Sussex County. Sometimes my parent's friends or my friends from college would drive to the fair just to see me broadcasting. I felt like quite a radio star!
Some of the best promotions we did were the WSUS Secret Agent and "Golfo." "Secret Agent 102" was a person who worked for a local security company. No one (not even the radio station staff) knew who the "secret agent" was. WSUS listeners would have to walk around the fairgrounds and ask perfect strangers: "Are you WSUS Secret Agent 102." If the "Secret Agent" was found that listener would win $102 dollars. Each night we would add $102 to the jackpot if the secret agent was not found. One year no one found the secret agent until the last night of the fair! That person won over $1000 bucks. It was a brilliant idea because it had just about everyone saying our call letters "WSUS" when they went to the Farm and Horse Show. "Golfo" was our take on miniature golf. It was simple. If you sank two putts you won a prize. We started doing the Kids Games more than 10 years ago. Which is a continuation of the WSUS tradition of having fun at the fair. I absolutely love hosting them.
Christy Whitman stopped by to be interviewed several times. First when she was running for the U.S. Senate and later as a candidate for Governor. WSUS President Jay Edwards interviewed her. I was with them on the air. The future governor was the only politician smart enough to wear comfortable jeans back then. She fit right in. While most politicians of the day showed up sweating and uncomfortable in a suit and tie.
Some of the funniest things that ever happened to me occurred in the 1990's when the fair was still called the Farm and Horse Show. Back then WNNJ was our competition. My son Dave went with me to the fair one night. He was about 13 so he was old enough to walk around on his own. So he went over to WNNJ and proudly told the DJ he was Steve Andrews son. That WNNJ DJ who will go un-named promised Dave a stack of new CD's if he would bring him a WSUS T-shirt. Dave got him the T-shirt. Then for several hours WNNJ promoted the time they would be burning one of our WSUS t-shirts live on the midway. It was a great prank but I didn't appreciate them taking advantage of my naive son. Speaking of those WSUS t-shirts. Our once nighty t-shirt tosses would often turn into wrestling matches and tugs of war on the midway. I remember saying many times "c'mon folks it's just a t-shirt." Then there was the big inflatable WSUS balloon shaped like a C.D. Every year we would climb on top of the show mobile anchor it down and plug it in. Then more than once power at the fairgrounds would go out and it would deflate and limply droop off the top of the show mobile until the power came back on. Then when there was an August thunderstorm at the fairgrounds. The inflatable would literally blow right off the top of the show mobile. Taking the lights and wires with it! What a mess to clean up and put back together!
Afternoon guy Steve Allan is going to be at the New Jersey State Fair Monday through Friday of next week. If you're heading to the fair stop by and say "Hi."
Check out a few of my vintage fair pictures below. I wish I had more of them