When the appeal went out for Cecil County's lost sounds, the Cecil Whig's Jane Bellmyer
answered the call. She scoured drawers and cabinets, finding four old audio tapes from
WSER, Elkton's AM radio station, as well as some broadcast memorabilia. The news director
at the station from 1980 to 1988 created her share of lost sounds that once filled the
airwaves. Weekday mornings, she put together daily local newscasts and public affairs
programs. These broadcasts chronicled important county news and happenings. Local public
officials, as well as state and national leaders who passed this way, were captured by her
microphone, tape recorder and notepad. These audio artifacts, aired once years ago, have
been donated to the Society. As the Cecil County Sheriff's Office prepared to move
prisoners from a 19th century jail in 1984, there is a feature length interview with Sheriff
John F. DeWitt and Chief Deputy Smokey Elliott. They proudly escort the radio-news
reporter through the modern county detention center as sounds of a lock-up, such as
clanging jail-house doors and radio transmissions, are heard on the tape.
Bellmyer, joined by other local on-air personalities, such as Dave Winchester and John
Brennen, are heard on other tapes producing imaginative, local advertising spots for
businesses that faded away years ago. There is also a DJ doing a top 40 AM radio show
from the station when that was the hottest format in the industry.
Added to the collection is another donation of a WSER tape. This one, done by DJ, Chuck
DeSocio, in 1993 on the 30th anniversary of the Pan American Airlines crash in Elkton
contains a feature length interview with Rosemary Culley and other local folks involved in
that disaster. Culley, the only dispatcher on duty at the county's emergency
communications center, describes how events unfold that troubling December night in 1963.
WSER, 1550 AM, Elkton, MD
Jane Bellmyer and Dave Winchester
produce local Cecil County
commercials for WSER, AM 1550 in
the early 1980s
Jane in the WSER
newsroom in 1979
Snow is in the forecast as John Brennan and Jane work the
morning drive shift at WSER on January 14, 1983.
On January 27, 1984, Jane tours the new
Cecil County Detention Center with Sheriff
DeWitt and Deputy Smokey Elliott
Sheriff DeWitt Describes the old jail for Jane.