Martins Ferry man among Hall of Famers Karroll to be inducted

“It takes a lot to make me cry, but this – this is so special. You don’t know what this means to me.”

Even two months after learning he would be inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame on Oct. 2, Martins Ferry resident Frank “Karroll” Mazza continues to be deeply moved by this honor.

The award is shared with recipients based on a central point: “to recognize those individuals from the tri-state area, that have excelled in the field of broadcasting.”

“The mission of the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame is to commemorate exceptional broadcasters who through talent and dedication brought greatest honor to the state or contributed the most to its cultural heritage by entertaining, informing or otherwise enhancing the means of broadcasting; and to provide a repository at The Museum of Radio and Technology, Inc. in Huntington, for a collection of broadcasting memorabilia to keep alive the memory of those we celebrate so that their examples of excellence may education and inspire future generations,” according to the organization’s mission statement.

Karroll is one of 13 honorees who make up the 2010 Class of Inductees, and who will be inducted into membership in the Hall of Fame during a closed ceremony Oct. 2, 2010 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the museum, located at 1640 Florence Ave., Huntington, W.Va.

The museum, founded in 1991, features hundreds of radio and TV exhibits and maintains a library of broadcasting history. The museum is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 till 4 p.m.

“Karroll was heard across America in the 1980’s on 50,000 watt clear channel station WWVA, in Wheeling,” said Tom Resler, chairman of the West Virginia Broadcasting hall of Fame. “As host of Jamboree in the Hills he appeared on stage before tens of thousands of country music fans.”

“Karroll’s personality and his good deeds are known over much of America. That’s partly because his 42 years of broadcasting career took him to radio and television stations in four states,” offered Resler. “But the main reason for his widespread reach into so many of the nation’s homes was the 50,000 watts of power of the radio station where he spun records and performed for thirteen years.”

He was speaking of the landmark station known almost worldwide: WWVA in Wheeling – West Virginia’s only clear channel station, which is heard during night time hours from Maine to Florida and from the Atlantic Ocean to beyond the Rocky Mountains.

Saturdays during those years came to be Karroll’s favorite day of the work week, maybe because he was “crazy busy” for at least 16 hours straight on most of the Saturdays during those years thanks to his various on air assignments at WWVA.

“It was great. It was so much fun,” he said of working as a member of the WWVA radio team of that era. “I really loved it – but I would be exhausted at the end of the day.”

From 1979 to 1991 Karroll hosted and shouldered the emcee duties of Jamboree U.S.A., a legendary live country radio and stage show which was held weekly on Saturdays at the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling for decades. Generally, two shows were held every Saturday night.

“It was a show very much like what was done at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville,” he said, recalling the show’s timeless format.

He interviewed the top country music singers of the era, names known far and wide like Tanya Tucker, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash and even Ray Stevens, the man who performed the 70s classic, “The Streak.”