Personal

Goodbye to 1070 AM in Indianapolis

For many years, one of the most popular radio stations in central Indiana broadcast over 1070 AM. WIBC was what used to be called a “full service” station, playing “middle of the road” music with big personality disk jockeys and news every hour on the hour. In central Indiana, everybody listened to WIBC at least once in a while. It was a hugely popular radio station for decades and decades.

Full service died in about 1993 on WIBC, when the station debuted a news-talk format. AM radio was changing radically in these days, as FM had long since come to dominate in listenership. As 2007 drew to a close, WIBC abandoned its historic 1070 AM frequency and switched to FM at 93.1, where it still broadcasts. On FM, WIBC has continued to do very well and remains a top-rated station, although of a much smaller listenership as radio itself has become less relevant.

WIBC’s parent company aired a sports-talk format on 1070, and later added two low-power FM signals at 93.5 and 107.5 to carry that programming.

A sad commentary on the value of AM radio today, but in recent years the land that 1070’s towers sat on became more valuable than the station itself. The owners sold the land and dismantled the towers, with no set plans to continue operating the station on 1070. Here are the last couple minutes of 1070, once a powerhouse radio station in central Indiana. 1070 in Indiana breathed its last at the end of August 2.

Even though 1070 carried a radio station with call letters WFNI in its final years, someone at 1070 saluted WIBC’s heritage by ending with WIBC’s top-of-the-hour ID used from the 1970s through the 2000s. Most people from central Indiana who are older than about 30 remember the Radio Indiana ID. It always led right to WIBC News.

Here’s a taste of what WIBC once was. This is an aircheck from 1982 of disk jockey Orly Knutson. Listen to the slight reverb behind Orly’s voice; it was part of WIBC’s signature sound. This aircheck includes the Radio Indiana ID and part of a newscast, and at about the 6 minute mark, one of WIBC’s well-known long jingles. But more than anything else, hear how WIBC was your friend and companion as you went about your day. Man, I miss radio like that.

Speaking of long jingles, here are a few more. These two videos are courtesy my friend John, a radio historian and a fellow I shared the airwaves with, as our shifts on WZZQ in Terre Haute were usually next to each other.

Goodbye, 1070!

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History, Road Trips

Whispering Winds on the Brookville Road

Some years ago I photographed this old house on Brookville Road, US 52, in southeast Indianapolis.

House overlooking abandoned Brookville Road

I was with my buddy Sherrel, and we were on our way back from The Kopper Kettle restaurant on our Indiana Fried Chicken Tour. What we didn’t know is that for many years, this house was also a family restaurant that served fried-chicken dinners.

We stopped here because I saw an abandoned segment of the old highway, and because I’m a roadgeek I wanted to photograph it. This photograph is westbound. The photo of the house above is from about the same place, but I was facing the other way.

Abandoned Brookville Road

This house used to be the Whispering Winds restaurant. I didn’t know that until someone found information on my site about Brookville Road, and emailed me to ask if I knew anything about the Whispering Winds restaurant. She ate there many times while it was open, and wondered if the house still stood. I did a little research and found this photograph on a Facebook group. The poster said that the people in the photo were her grandparents and aunt, and they owned and operated the restaurant.

The house was built by Andrew Morehouse, although I’m unable to find exactly when. Morehouse’s family was said to live here for many years, and his wife died in 1864, which leads me to think the house predates that. Indiana University Library posted online a newspaper article telling some of this house’s story here.

Brookville Road is a historic road from Indiana’s early days. It connects Indianapolis to the town of Brookville, which is near Cincinnati. A historic marker is posted at this abandoned alignment that tells the road’s story in thumbnail.

Abandoned Brookville Road
Abandoned Brookville Road

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Subway sign

Drive thru open
Olympus OM-2n
40mm f/2 Zuiko Auto-S
Ilford HP5 Plus
LegacyPro L110, Dilution E (1+47)
2021

South Street is the south border of Indianapolis’s historic Mile Square. You can probably guess the names of the north, east, and west border streets.

You’ll find this Subway and (behind it in the background) an Arby’s on South Street, as if they were out in the suburbs someplace. This land is becoming valuable, and I wonder how long it is before both restaurants are razed in favor of apartments or condos.

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Film Photography

single frame: Drive thru open

Fast food places whose days are probably numbered.

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Film Photography

New construction in southern Downtown Indianapolis

Downtown Indianapolis is again becoming a hip and happening place to be, which has led to lots of new construction. There are tons of apartments Downtown now, all in the four-over-one style with a concrete main floor and wood frame upper floors. This growth kicked into gear well before the pandemic; it’ll be interesting to see whether it resumes or not. But the buildings are here regardless. The growth was so strong for a while that it expanded into the previously unfashionable south end of Downtown.

CityWay

I benefit from this, as I work nearby now. Some of the amenities, such as a CVS pharmacy, are useful to me. I popped in not long ago to buy a box of tissues for my desk.

Area sidewalks are brick, in this interesting multi-color pattern.

Brick sidewalk

The Aleander is a four-star hotel. Or so I hear, since I don’t stay in hotels so close to home. I did attend an event here once, and found the space to be very nice.

The Alexander

One old building remains in this area: this onetime livery stable, now home to the Indianapolis branch of Taxman Brewing. The first time I visited here, most of this construction hadn’t been started yet. Taxman was far enough away from the heart of Downtown that I wondered why they located here. They clearly knew what was to come.

Taxman Brewing

Olympus OM-2n, 40mm f/2 Zuiko Auto-S, Ilford HP5 Plus, LegacyPro L110 H (1+47).

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Film Photography

Walking the south side of Downtown Indianapolis

My new job is located Downtown in Indianapolis, but a couple blocks south of what’s considered to be Downtown’s heart. My last job was about two blocks east of Monument Circle, amid Indy’s tallest buildings. My new job is seven blocks south of Monument Circle, amid some very old houses, brand new expensive apartments, and decayed light industrial buildings.

I am in the office every Tuesday now, and sometimes on Friday as well, as I ease back into working in the office. On my first day back, I loaded some Ilford HP5 Plus into my delightful Olympus OM-2n. I hadn’t used my compact 40mm f/2. Zuiko Auto-S lens in a good long time, so I mounted it. I developed the film in LegacyPro L110, Dilution E (1+47) and scanned the negatives on my Minolta ScanDual II. I made these photos over about a three week span, on lunch hours and afternoon breaks.

In this part of Downtown, there are no parking garages. We all park on large surface lots. Fortunately, my employer picks up the tab. My previous employer did not, and it cost me $1,700 a year to park. These stairs lead to the popular LaRosa lot.

Steps to the parking lot

I don’t know what this lot is called but it’s immediately north of LaRosa. That this lot is empty says a lot about the state of returning to work in Downtown Indianapolis. In the background at left is the complex of buildings in which I work.

Kiosk

A lot of railroads used to converge in Downtown Indianapolis. The tracks were all elevated about 100 years ago; the infrastructure remains even though the railroads do not.

Under the bridge

A large building, which I would guess was once a factory, is within line of sight of the building in which I work. Part of it is a brewery today.

Ellison Brewing Co.

Other businesses take up other parts of this building, while other parts appear to be vacant.

Door

This is the entrance to the main building in the office complex where I work. I’m told this used to be a high school — it looks the part. The specific building in which I work is brand new and stands next door.

Union 525

Our building is on Meridian Street, which is Indianapolis’s main north-south street. But because of the campuses of a couple of large employers and the location of a couple Interstate highways, this section of Meridian Street is cut off from the rest of it to the north and to the south. The buildings in the background are hotels and are brand new.

Cars and old houses

The Indianapolis Colts play at Lucas Oil Stadium, which is just a couple blocks away. It provides an interesting backdrop to these old houses.

Cars and old houses

These houses are a block to the west. These houses all seem so very old, from the late 1800s I’d guess. I wonder what kind of neighborhood this was in its time.

Old houses

This grand dame is around the corner from my office. It houses some sort of business today. I’m very curious about what it looks like inside.

Old house

That’s a quick look at most of the area around my new office. I haven’t shown you the new construction yet; that’ll be in a post to come.

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Film Photography, Preservation

A quick visit to Central State

I’ve written about Central State before — it was Indiana’s first residential hospital for the mentally ill, and by all accounts it was just as awful as you’ve ever heard such places were. Today, new housing is being built on its grounds, which should begin the gentrification of Indianapolis’s Near Westside.

A cluster of original Central State buildings remains on the site’s western edge. Some of them have been renovated and put to good use, and some stand still dilapidated. I visited recently with my Pentax IQZoom 170SL and made some photos on Fujicolor 200.

Central State
Carpentry hall
I wonder
Painted brick
Path to the abandoned building
1899
Dilapidated

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