Monday, June 29, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 70r2

Today at 8:28 AM
June 29, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 70
By Claude Hall
info@voxjox.org

I still love music.  The last verse of “The Prisoner’s Song” is engrained in my soul.  And, like most of you, when I find a great song I’ve got the urge to make sure someone else listens to it.  I heard the first time Elvis Presley was on the air – “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on the Louisiana Hayride over KWKH, Shreveport -- and had to hear it again.  Same with Johnny Cash (“Hey, Porter” and “Cry, Cry, Cry”).  I wore out the 45 rpm single of “Folsom Prison Blues” without ever taking it off the little RCA plug-in turntable.

I shall always love the music of Linda Ronstadt and Emmyou Harris.  The past couple of years, the music of the Mavericks has impressed me immensely.  Raul Malo is something else.  Yes, Los Lobos, too.  And who doesn’t enjoy Willie Nelson?  I picked his first RCA LP and the second and, of course, the LP that made him and Waylon Jennings famous.  For Billboard.

I sent Ken Dowe and Chuck Dunaway a copy of Tom Russell singing “All the Fine Young Ladies.”  I’d been in the study most of the morning listening mostly to Tom Russell.  It was Ernie Hopseker who introduced me to Tom’s music and the late George Wilson dug up this song in an Albuquerque music store for me and put it on the air on his then worldwide Internet program … then emailed me this particular tune.  Tom Russell grows on you.  In a few minutes, I’ve got to go hear his song “Nina Simone” from the CD “Aztec Jazz.”  The tune – I guess 90 percent of his songs – is/are on this MacBook Pro.

Ken Dowe:  “Thank you, Claude!  If we were not so old, I would buy us an Austin station where we would create a COWBOY POETRY & AND SONGS format.  You'd choose the music and I'd find the ranch hands to sit around the fire playing western tunes ... and telling of the storied past of dusty cattle drives, Indian wars, whiskey, wild mustangs ... and wilder women.  Y'all leave your guns at the door.  Grab hold of a shot of Tequila, set a spell ... and listen to Tom Russell tell the story GALLO DEL CIELO, the rooster from heaven ... and the most hellacious cock fight ever in the West!  We could go out guns a blazin'!”

Woody Roberts to Bob Weisbuch:  Dr. Bob, old flashback.  I've told you about the 1976 NYE ride to Cleveland and staying in Lee Baby's hotel suit when I got a call from a man, Bill Seale, from Corpus who had met me backstage at a Jerry Garcia concert.  He wanted me to come show him and a station owner how to run a successful facility ... but it had to be a unique progressive.  They had a class C at 101.3 FM to play with.  I didn't want to do radio but Lee pushed me into it ... he knew I had financial problems after my Armadillo media projects failed.  ‘Woody, get your ass down there and help those guys’.  Turned out to be a highlight among memories and the guys were Grateful Dead backstage family and friends with the San Francisco/Richmond chapters of the Hell's Angels.  The station owner was forced to leave his loose life in SF and return to his hometown to handle the affairs of his oil properties.  He wanted to be able to hear the Dead and others that were not played on the Corpus Top 40 outlets.  So he bought a radio station.  Neither guy had been in radio and Bill was made GM so my consultancy was managerial as well as programming.  I lived in SA and commuted to Corpus where they gave me a car, apartment, and a pretty girl to help keep it tidy.  What good times.  Within a year we ruled men 18-38 and women 18-24.  I never kept any photos, articles, posters or other past memory jogs but many times wished I had a photo of Bill and Bruce.  Yesterday the fellow who back then did 9-noon at C-101 sent me photos he took of the three of us in December, 1977.  A year after Lee had pushed me their way.  The photo:  Bill Seale, grey hair, became GM; owner Bruce B. Baxter III, beard; Woody glasses. PS -- No one anywhere knew I was in Cleveland and in that hotel and under Lee's name -- for years I tried to get Bill to reveal how he located me.  He would just laugh and took the secret to his grave.”

Joel O’Brien:  “I just by error sent you your blog.  I was meaning to send it to another friend.  Please don't think I was returning it to you.  Cheers!”

Good on you, Joel.  The more readers, the merrier!

Doc Wendell:  “Here is my first installment of my record recommendations segment.  I picked an obscure one for my fellow jazz geeks.”
https://irom.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/docs-prescription-for-bop-sonny-stittbudpowellj-j-johnson-prestige/

From Morris Diamond to Joey Reynolds:  “Good morning, Joey -- I just spent the morning scanning Claude Hall's weekly letter and was pleased to read your 3-4 page contribution.  I knew you were smart and clever – but now I have to add the word 'brilliant' to my personal evaluation of Joey Reynolds.  I'm so happy to have the memories of our visit a couple of years ago when plugging my book in New York City and we gathered at Joe Franklin's office, had lunch and then you drove Alice and I to our dock where our cruise ship was docked ready for an Atlantic crossing to France.  Great memories of that along with many other meetings … such as when we were both asked to speak at Morton Downey, Jr's funeral.  Your take-off of Radio and TV and the personalities of the past in your wonderful dissertation should be an education unto itself to almost everyone else that spends their Monday mornings deeply involved in Claude's very informative Newsletter that we read and learn more and more from each and every  week.  Thanks for the memories.”

Hey, Joey!  Professor Andy Hall, also gave your diatribe of a week ago a thumb’s up.

Don Goldberg:  “Joey Reynolds was my radio hero. Through the static on KB listening so far away when 50KW blasted from Buffalo to my clock radio in Philly. When college friend Al Resnick was his board op at WXYZ in Detroit I hitch-hiked out there to see Al and got introduced.  Joey worked hard and played harder.  After a trip to the Roostertail we got back to town in his signature gold '65 Mustang and in a hotel room, Joey have me my first joint.  These are things you remember.  I visited him in Hartford later.  He inspired me to break radio traditions and play with all there was in a creative medium.  A few years later I was the first production director at WMMR under Jerry Stevens.  When Joey moved to Philly we reconnected.  He was living the high life.  I introduced him to Ron Cutler (then Diamond doing oldies on WIFI).  More creative radio.  I've moved around the country surfing the airwaves from market to market doing creative production with some great FM Rockers in the majors, then creating pilots for national syndication with Ron in LA for Dees, Cousin Brucie, Dick Summer, Joyner and doing a reboot of Drake's ‘History of Rock and Roll’ for Jim Kefford in the 80s.  All the inspiration for breaking bounds comes from knowing that it's OK to be creative and fail every thrice in awhile.  Thanks for the inspiration, Joey.  And ... the joint. Whatever it takes.”

Thanks for the note, Don.  I was sincerely pleased to hear from you.

Joey Reynolds does his “Wrap” from an Internet publication called Citywatch.
http://www.citywatchla.com/

Paul Cassidy:  “John DiScuillo is the best promotion director, I ever worked with. John led WKBW-TV 7 to the top 5 of all ABC affiliates in the mid-90s.  A killer idea person!!  Reverend Don Moomaw was an All-American football player at UCLA.  Hopalong.”

I’ve been in the church that Joey mentioned and where Don Moomaw preached.  A beautiful church that overlooked both San Monica as well as the San Fernando Valley.  It was a nice place to pray.

Rich Robbin:  “The ‘bluebird’ thing is just another way of saying ‘may all be well with you’ ... thanks again for your
great weekly email.”

I was just kidding, Richbro.  Or trying to.  I’m glad to have you dropping by.  You and Timmy Manocheo, the second biggest Deadhead after my son John A. Hall, Esq.  I’d mentioned the heat here at present, running around 110 degrees or a dab more.

Timmy Manocheo:  “10-4, Claudius.  Cool it down with watermelon, ice & fans.  OR, consider moving out here to Ventura.  I'll drive the moving truck.”

Wish I could, Timmy.  That area from Ventura to Monterey Bay is absolutely one of the most beautiful in the world.  Barbara and I used to hop into the little MG, top down, that I owned and breeze up to Pismo for clam chowder.  Best in the world at the Splash.  Guarantee you!  We’d park and wade in the Pacific lapwaters.  You sup on Pismo’s chowder and wade in the Pacific somewhere near and it’ll knock 10 or 12 years off your noggin.  Guarantee that, too!  Of course, there was a thermal pool down below Palm Springs that I always thought had a curative effect.

Don Elliot:  “You might remember this on KIIS FM when I was program director:  Open the PDF and scroll to the bottom of page 15 to play the two different links to my original of years ago and then the new version -- (it's in this month's radio in production magazine).”

Don referred to a “duet” – really great -- he produced back when and to a copy of Radio and Production edited by Jerry Vigil in Irvine, TX.  You might reach Jerry at jv@rapmag.com.  And maybe reach the magazine at
www.facebook.com/radioprod
www.twitter.com/radioprod

Rick Frio sent an email alerting me to the Glen Campbell show on CNN this Sunday.  Heartwarming!  Scott Brochetta was one of the commenters … Mike’s son.  My mother died from Alzheimer’s.  Horrible stuff.  The last time I saw her – in a Houston care center – I bawled like a baby.

Bob Sherwood:  “So … Kindly Ol’ Uncle Claudius, in reviewing this week’s Commentary you opened with the always interesting Woody Roberts giving us more on the ‘you can never get too much’ on the late, lamented and enormously talented Lee “Baby” Simms.  You then segue-wayed to the eloquent Ken Dowe who stopped us from whateverinhell we were doing and brought us pause and then Meditations of Marcus Aurelius!  I don’t recall ever seeing that in the Kal Rudman Report.  Then the occasionally prickly Ron Jacobs does a wonderfully informative and touching tribute to -- with all due respect to Rosalie Trombley, Dave Sholin and Elma Greer -- Betty Brenneman, one of the All-time Great Music Directors who was certainly one of the cornerstones of the fabulous Drake and RKO stations in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  Finally, a very personal and touching autobiographical essay by Joey Reynolds … who puts paid to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s assertion that there are ‘no second acts in America’.  I think I speak for a number of people who were always impressed by the brilliant and creative on-air work of Joey and are even more impressed by what he’s done with the second half of his life.  God Bless, Joey.  And finally, his State of the Industry piece was more thoughtful, cogent, precise and focused than all of the last 50 speeches delivered at the NAB.  It should be required reading for management of all radio chains and stations.  Though, sadly, most wouldn’t understand it.  For those still in broadcasting and those of us who aren’t but still love it … Go, Joey!  So … that’s a somewhat unbiased observers review of this week’s Commentary.  It only contained far more than has been written in the last 20 years of Billboard! ... 30 years?”

Great on you, Bob!

Joe Nick Patoski:  “As you might have heard, we’re launching a Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday, June 30, for my documentary fin, ‘Sir Doug & The Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove’, to pay for music rights so we can complete the film and get it out into the world. The bigger goal is to get Doug Sahm into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and we believe through this Kickstarter, its a goal we can reach.  This is where we need your help and support. We need to hit the ground running, so we're privately launching the Kickstarter on Monday and we'd love to have backers already locked in before we publicly launch Tuesday. Stats show that this sort of psychology really works for big campaigns like this. If you are planning to contribute, I ask that you back the project on Monday, so you can help roll out this campaign with a bang.  Shhh. Silencio, por favor. Please keep this under the radar until we actually launch on Tuesday. The page isn't live yet.  I'll send out another email on Monday with further instructions and a link to the live Kickstarter page.  If this is inconvenient timing for you, I completely understand and appreciate any help you can lend in spreading the word once we publicly launch.”

I apologize, Joe Nick, if I fouled you up.  But on a weekly schedule like this, it’s sort of now or never.  A week from now is sometimes forever.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 69r2

Today at 7:45 AM
June 22, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 69
By Claude Hall

info@voxjox.org

Woody Roberts: “Claude and Dr. Bob, it was fifty years ago a polite young man walked into my office at KONO.  He was a tall fellow who could have been a running back yet bore the airs of a Southern gentleman.  This was the new kid in town assuring me in a very matter-of-fact manner that he would blow away the nighttime jock on KTSA.  I hadn’t before met anyone exuding that much self-confidence; it recalled Babe Ruth pointing to center field.  I wanted those nighttime ratings at any cost and so did this guy standing in front of my desk.   George Wilson and others warned, Lee Simms was very good DJ but ‘hard to handle....’  So I asked George is this guy a complainer or gossip?  ‘No, great guy -- but he might break your format’.  It was then I decided to let Lee slip in and out of my format at will just to see might happen.  Dr. Bob’s manuscript for ‘Hitbound’ took me aback when he said Lee considered San Antonio to be the starting point for his career.  At first the remark didn’t make sense, but now I realize it was indeed the Alamo City where the unfettered Lee Simms first went on the air.  Age 22, he had just quit KRIZ Phoenix and left behind a wife nagging him to quit radio and get a study job.  He proudly showed me a photo of his 2-year-old daughter, Kim.  The man really was starting over.  Complete with a new name, Lee Baby.

“Because Lee’s show followed my afternoon drive we had the chance to become good friends.  Those were the days of the British Invasion and I used 6-7 p.m. to do a battle of the hits with phone voting.  Lee would take the calls back in the music room and via in-station phone report the votes giving us a chance to interact on air.  Lee was constantly tossing me curves … like the first time I excitedly called back for his tally and he said no one had called.  What!  A year later we forever bonded when I decided to jump stations.  Being good friends I decided to tell him my secret.  Long, long silence and Lee said.  ‘Woodyrow, I'm coming with you.  I don’t want to be at KONO without you.  Take me along’.  For the next several days, San Antonio radio audiences -- my 35% share and Lee’s 50% -- heard us plugging our upcoming surfing venture to Padre Island.  All that weekend we phoned the station with zany surf reports and gave away copies of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.  Then on Monday we showed up at 55 KTSA.  Across the street, owner Jack Roth flipped out claiming we had contracts and got a court injunction taking us off the air and the payroll.  Our trial went on all summer long and was heavily covered by local news media.  Meanwhile, I stealthy programmed KTSA from my apartment and in 90 days we had totally smashed KONO.  I even got a call from Don Keyes: ‘How’d you do that?’  But in the end, the judge overruled his jury box full of Woody and Lee Baby listeners and ran us out of town.  Lee announced: ‘Woody, it’s up to you to find us a job’.  Me?  I had no clue.  But thanks to David Klemm at Blair Radio and consultant Grahame Richards we got signed on as mercenary hit men in the battle for Connecticut.  Time flies and here I am celebrating this Golden Anniversary replaying old memories and enjoying a snifter of Cognac and a hand-rolled smoke, a la Lee Baby.  Think I’ll pull ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ off the shelf and read the last act….  Again, thank you, Claude, for reuniting me with Lee.”

Great honor!  Don Barrett of LARP.com and wife Cherie dropped by.  No, they weren’t in town just to see me and Barbara but I’m grateful as heck they came by.  We had a very pleasant half-hour or hour.  It was like meeting home folks.  Cherie, may the Good Lord bless her, sat on the living room floor and chatted with Barbara.  Don and I spun old windies.  Just a fantastic time!  Don and I have more in common than I realized.  Don henceforth:  Mi casa es su casa.

Rich Robbin: “May the good be upon thee, too, and may the Bluebird of happiness build her nest within the lint of your navel!”     xoxo  -Richbro

What?

Robert E. Richer: “In past notes, I mentioned that I started my broadcast career in the ABC Mail Room.  Nice to see that the illustrious Mel Phillips did, too.  It was a great learning experience, and allowed me to meet everyone from Ed Noble (the original money behind ABC) to Bob Kintner (president) to Martin Block, Bill Stern, and of course, Telly Savales.  And a tip of the hat to Nancy Plum.  What a great career; demonstrating that you never really leave the business.  I am sure that Frankfort, KY radio listeners have no trouble recognizing a pro when they hear one.”

Via the great Wally Roker, we learn that Walt Baby Love is the deacon at First AME, Los Angeles.  When Walt was at R&R, I could always phone him for help.  A good man.  And I’ll bet he’s a darned good preacher.

Ken Dowe: “Good writing, Claude.  Really good.  Yours are the thoughts that loom larger inside the heads of all who sense the Reaper reaching. Every day he is nearer.  And, most of us wonder about our legacies.  Why?  In this life I am not certain the values we allot to most tangibles, and the majority of those we cannot physically grasp, are of any remarkable value. Gold after all is merely a ductile and malleable metal.  As for praise, we all enjoy hearing our names called.  And, then what?  As a Christian, I am personally content about eternal issues.  About earthly concerns, for longer than I can remember, I have assigned my own reality jolt to the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius:    

"See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgment in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of the space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last. For the whole earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind of people are they who will praise thee.

“You are a remarkably kind and thoughtful gentleman, Claude.  A rich man, because of Barbara, your entire family, invaluable memories, and more friends than you can count.  I am in that long line.  And, as one Texan to another, I remind you of these words:  ‘All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife’.  Daniel Boone”

Heard from Bob Barry.  Was it raining or was it wasn’t raining?  Or were you visiting Texas?  The dry part.

George B. Segraves:  “Claude, Dave Anthony's story flashed me back to spring 1967, when Bill Drake actually DID come into a station -- KAKC, Tulsa.  He, Bill Watson, Gene Chennault and Bernie Torres were in the GM's office when I got off my ill-advised (and worse enacted) morning show and I was given the hand-written note from our European-vacationing owner, explaining who they were and why they were there.  We got the whole jock staff back to the station and Watson gave us the concept lecture, while the business guys did whatever business guys do.  Next day I noticed that Drake had disappeared.  Watson explained that Bill had run into some of Oklahoma's stone-age liquor laws, so had quickly booked a flight to Dallas -- so he could enjoy some ‘winkipoos’ while airborne.”

Great on you, Scooter!

I printed a diatribe about Ron Jacobs a week ago and immediately had this response from Woody Goulart in San Francisco:  “Oh shit, Claude. I thought when I started reading your Commentary that Ron Jacobs had died.”

Nope.  Ron then wrote commenting to Betty Breneman, I had mentioned her, and I asked if I could print it.

Ron Jacobs:  “Aloha, Claude, be my guest.  The fact that Betty was already established in the LA radio scene as MD of KHJ was key to the success of Boss Radio.  She expedited our drive to the top of the ratings.  Bill Drake and I valued her opinions and were in awe of her stable approach to a chaotic responsibility: picking the music, which comprised the majority of broadcast time.  Everyone LOVES Betty Breneman.  Best to you both.”

From Ron Jacobs to Betty Breneman:  “Dearest Betty, Van Morrison’s ‘Astral Weeks’ was and is playing as I open your email and it ALL comes rushing back, in another time, in another place like the song says.  J. Paul Huddlestoned out of my mind, nahe nahe pakalolo (sweet ganja), God, we had to walk through the halls with 45s in hand to play something for one another.  Now I can zap this from Hawaii to California in a minute or so.  Yes, you must hear this one more time to re-focus BOSSynapses … and before I can read the end of the first sentence I get all sad and happy at the same time flashing back to our touchstone, 5515 Melrose Avenue in Boss Angeles.  The year was 1965.  And damned if Kindness didn’t pay off with Happiness and Joy.  We share a bond with the few who were there at the creation, those of us still alive.  Marveling that we’ve seen so many come and go.  Praise Jesus that we made it this far, Betty.  Survived long enough so there’s more kindred souls on the other side, the flip side, the B-for-Boss side.  Oh the memories, the names.

“In and out the cement doors of the fortress marched the workers with whom we toiled daily.  No concern for hours or pay, we new guys came to play.  And we were blessed with Betty, The Pregnant Music Librarian, who took no shit from Senor Bernie Torres and had the LA music and record scene DOWN.  Betty was an All Star before we all arrived.  We’d made it.  Like in our Fresno dreams.  Time to blow away KRLA.  More juiced energy in the studios than at the transmitter itself … the twin towers at Fairfax and the Santa Monica Freeway … electric, controlled frenzy.  This team, which had never worked together previously and on a sudden six-hour deadline, performed with the precision and professionalism that would become the hallmark of the Original KHJ-AM Boss Radio format, to be copied globally as the ‘Drake format’.

“At 5515 we knew who all was stirring the pot.  Who gives a damn about titles and credits?  ALL music programmed on 93/KHJ was programmed by Betty Breneman, Bill Drake and Ron Jacobs.  Separately then collectively we concurred, ‘All radio stations start with the same deck: all the same songs are there for the choosing.  To succeed one has to pick the winners. And then shuffle the deck so it flows.  Don’t jump titles without a reason’.  Now Morrilson is singing ‘Tupelo Honey’, and I’m tripping on this one-month-old BOSS iMac.  Betty, if we’d been able to use all the new technical advances of the past 50 years, who knows what kind of trouble we coulda caused?  The Big Kahuna on Facebook.  Video streams.  Tina Delgado Burgers.  I love Van Morrison, from way back to ‘Gloria”.  He’s my fave singer/songwriter off-island.  Over here it is a wonderful musician and composer, Jerry Santos.  So Betty, the mighty Pacific Ocean itself cannot sever the bond, the connection we share, one so special that even we, who were there, lived through it.  Thank God for placing us there, at that time, in that building, cementing a Legacy.  Pardon the stream of consciousness, sweetheart, but you’ve heard EVERY OFF THE WALL THING I bounced around in that corporate temple we captured and could play some of the best records made in the history of pop music and like this ain’t the weirdest thing you ever heard outta me anyhow.  Aloha, which even Cameron Crowe couldn’t fuck up.”

Doc Wendell:  “I made it through another Playboy Jazz Festival and I'm about to drop like a one-legged parrot.
Enjoy.”
https://irom.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/live-jazz-highlights-from-the-37th-annual-playboy-jazz-festival-at-the-hollywood-bowl/

I wrote a diatribe a while ago that receive four of five responses (Don Barrett even commented on it) and, sadly, I wrote Dick Summer and asked him to forgive me, but that I couldn’t print his response … that the primary purpose of this weekly Commentary is to honor radio and radio people.

Dick Summer: “Good Lord no, Claude.  I didn't expect you to post that.  I was just very taken by the way you expressed pretty much the same idea at the beginning of your last post.  You and I are at similar points in our lives. Satch Paige famously said, ‘Never look back. They might be gaining on you’.  He was a little off the plate with that.  I think you need to look back sometimes to put where you are and where you're going into perspective.  A guy by the name of Joe Goodavage was a good friend of mine.  He was a New York Daily News reporter, and the author of four or five NY Times Best Seller titles.  There's a chapter in my book about him too, which I'll attach ... (and I don't expect you to post that either ... I just think you might enjoy it).  I fly a little airplane, and I took Joe up one rainy afternoon for a short flight.  Small planes don't climb like jets, and as I was climbing through the clouds, the grey started getting lighter and lighter ... and we eventually came out on top ... and Joe saw a rainbow off the right wing.  He said, ‘Oh my God’.  And I couldn't help but think ... ‘Yeah’.  Joe was dying of cancer and we both knew it.  It had been a number of years since his last book was published, and he very quietly said on the intercom, ‘I know I'm a has been, but thank you for letting me see that’.  A HAS BEEN?  No.  He was an honorably discharged battle hardened US Army Vet, a reporter for one of the biggest newspapers in the country, a best selling author ... a talented painter, a lover of three wives (one at a time) and a Goddamn good friend.  I told him, ‘I'd much rather be a has been than a never was’.  That's one of the reasons for ‘Smudge’ that I sent you.  I just got the idea that you were playing with some similar thoughts.  You're a giant, Claude.  No one will ever occupy the position you so proudly held for so long.  AND DON'T YOU EVER FORGET IT.”

As I was talking with Don Barrett during his visit, I realized that I was probably not that big in the state of affairs, but I’d been awfully lucky to know so many really wonderful people.  This includes Jim Gabbert, who’s KPEN was just honored.  Gabbert, who attended the event, sent me a note: “Claude, FYI … what a day!”

Ken Levine:  “The Whitefire Theatre in fabulous Sherman Oaks is staging a night of three TV pilots that never made it to air.  One is a pilot my partner, David Isaacs and I wrote for Fox (and then NBC) called UNDER ANDREA.  We’ve turned it into a one act play and I’m directing it. It’s very funny as are the two other pilots that will be presented.  The program is called DEAD PILOT’S SOCIETY and will run for four Monday nights beginning June 29th.  (June 29, July 6, July 13, and July 20)  Would love for you to come see it.   Here’s the information:
http://www.whitefiretheatre.com/Whitefire_files/Press%20release%20DEAD%20PILOT%27S%20SOCIETY.pdf
It promises to be a night of fun and bitterness that these pilots didn’t get on the air but SELFIE did.’

Courtesy of a suggestion from Dick Summers, I wrote a couple of people to see if they’d fulfilled their goals.

Joey Reynolds:  “My goal in life was to become a good father, husband, employee … now there is no employer, the kids have left the house and I am divorced.  We all fall short of the glory of GOD.  Seriously, in a short form, the best thing is what Mark Twain said, the 2 best days of your life are the day you were born and the day you realize why you are here.  I know my purpose now and have developed a style and philosophy like Paul the (almost apostle), and john Lennon. (Imagine).  There have been many poets in words and music who teach I can keep it if I give it away.  I am most thankful for Harvey Cooper helping me to sober up and providing a safe place to live and the ensuing fellowship with everybody on the trail of my new life after I screwed up in the first half of the game.  Thank God there is a second half.  I am a grateful recovering alcoholic and drug addict 40 years sober, this is the best that there is.  My health comes from this and a lot of years doing Bikram yoga.  The cosmetic stuff is only a cover-up from what's going on inside.  There has been a lot of people putting me together, too many to mention as they would usher me off the stage for taking too much time on an awards show.

“I have been on the red carpet since childhood and have had just enough fame to not have to hire bodyguards and have some paparazzi stick their nose in my salad.  The money stuff  is best told when I went to Bob Bruno the GM at WOR, who incidentally was a humble mentor who got stuck hiring me reluctantly but gave me the room to play and the direction along with David Bernstein who brought me in.   I asked Bob for a raise and said I don't know where my money went?  Bob said ‘you spent it’, I quietly said ‘0h’?.  Rick Buckley and I were friends since he took over the radio stations for his dad in Hartford and they bought WIBG, he moved me to Philly where I lived like a rock star because I was one, but was like Mick Jagger on steroids.  Rick did everything he could to back me up but I had a self destruct mechanism that was loaded and ready to fire.  So I went to LA with my over-the-intro jingle package and made a million bucks from Bill Drake to prove him wrong.  Rick’s friend Tom Merriman (TM) imitated my jingles and I slapped an injunction against him.  The good news is that I was the first to do TV jingles for Metromedia and John Kluge, opened the Universal Amphitheater with the Who and was arrested for a live Christ hanging on a Billboard on Sunset Blvd for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.  I told the cops Nixon should be hanging there for what we did in Vietnam.  I was booked with a DUI.  Back to leaving Philly, it was quite a ride to defy Rick Buckley, my friend, as we achieved great success together … as we achieved our goal of beating the WFIL Empire.  WYSP was our FM from San Juan broadcasters and selling it was the biggest fight we had.  Many years later I grew up and was rescued from obscurity by Bruce Holberg and Jay Myers, they convinced me to move from LA and go back on the air regularly at WFIL.  Jay loved baseball and should have directed a sports format, it was a home run.

“Interestingly my return to an oldies format on a dead AM station where I didn't play too much music on an AM station during the FM heyday.  I am proud to say we outperformed the power station down the hall by being more connected to the black community than they were, we did a wake-a-thon for Ethiopia live aid and shamed WMMR and all the big guns by going to the people directly  which attracted Bono and the live aide guys in Philadelphia as a hotspot, we did it without taking donations from businesses or sponsors, this might be a key to success in this generation of starting over.  I would keep the special profit interest out of it.  Money is killing the banks, if you can imagine that redundancy, also the airlines. The irony is the fact that the demise of radio as we know it was begun by a Broadcaster, Ronald Regan with di-regulation.  As a result of his voodoo economics, radio and TV shifted from a public trust to real estate.  Only the strong survive, although minorities were thrown a bone with stations after we milked them dry.  No wonder there is a resentment.  Most of the successful black stations were owned by white interests with deep pockets.  The situation of 6 or 7 people controlling hundreds of properties with towers designated to serve a community is as much of a fable as Jurassic World.  All we need is satellite since we have become dinosaurs in a world of drones.  Rupert Murdoch was not an American citizen when he bought properties in NY, the Post was an add on with the promise to the city to keep employees because it was not grandfathered and he had his full compliment. The equal time rules for elections aggregated congress which controls the FCC, so they conveniently offered the privileged a reward for helping their re elections, and we do live off of democrat and republican war chests as well as pharmaceutical monies.  In other words look at the history of the disgrace of Alan Freed and Dick Clark with congressional action on Payola but in the hypocrisy the congress practices Payola which we call lobbying.  P.S. -- I was the first Satellite Broadcaster with Satellite live out of Dick and Bert’s studio in LA from 1977-79.

“My church was the Bel Air Presbyterian on Mulholland along with Nancy and Ronald Regan when he was between jobs of Governor and President.  We were on the building committee for a bigger Church since we did such a good job with taking in people during the fires in Beverly Hills the church and our neighboring synagogue got good guy T shirts.  This made us good neighbors?  Ronald Regan was recording at Harry O'Conner studio with Howard Jarvis on a weekly financial show, he really believed by lifting the restrictions on business that money would trickle down to the middleman.  The only thing that trickled down was the pee on my daughters diaper when I held her up and tickled her.  The Minister Don Moomaw was headed for a big church job with the new President in Washington but he sinned and resigned because of adultery on the hill in Bel Air.  They eventually did build a bigger church to accommodate us sinners.

“As a child of Marconi, I am passionate about radio, and like Pope Francis with global warming, everybody is too busy in the  profits from denial to start from the beginning.  My epistle here is too long in a short form world.  George Carlin got grumpy instead of funny and Jon Stewart got serious (without xm).  I don't want this to happen to me by surrendering my sardonic edge and become a victim who lives in the winter of discontent with the ice frosting of cynicism.  It's no good to complain without a solution, I have been doing my homework and want to share my experience, strength, and hope.  I have evolved by getting involved with newcomers and millennials, Jerry Del Coliano invited me to his recent conference in Philadelphia and suggested I go short form, very unlike this long message.  In that effort I am on CityWatchLA front page with my radio Reynolds raps on video.  I believe talk radio on politics is over and the shift to sports is a good sign of audience loving personalities.  Even Howard Stern has turned Americas Got Talent with its circus format into a personality show.  This is going to give us the breath of life we need to create a friendly environment because radio is like belly buttons, everybody has got one.  We can get people to use the sets by being interesting and lifting the restrictions on formats instead of ownership di-regulation, this moves us from a money medium back to a people mover.  We owe it to ourselves to be truthful on the air with respect, we know how to treat Bruce Jenner with respect for his lifestyle but not much else.  I am suggesting a cut the crap format of no age discrimination, the broadcasters cannot talk about this over the air because they are found guilty and live in a money bubble with investors and stockholders who make money off of somebody else's work.  I am already doing the recovery work, my age has nothing to do with my performance ability, I can relate to my daughters, their children, my friends, and you.  It was a travesty in justice when WOR got rid of me because of age without being truthful, the only ones who missed out was the management, the audience, the newcomers, and the sponsors, they haven't recovered since and Bob Pittman is my age, he needs to fire himself if that's the case.

“Frankly, with my relationship with Les Paul, Soupy Sales, Joe Franklin, Sid Bernstein, Casey Kasem, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, not any one of the radio stations called me for a talk or a comment, I had to go to TV, mostly on NBC.  Herb Cohen said it brilliantly years ago as a best-selling author:  ‘You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate’.  Please check out my website: Joey Reynolds.tv.  And thank you Phil Arno, owner of WBZZ TV in Buffalo, and John Discullo for the excellent job of prime-time ratings on the prescription pot show with a live audience and the only marijuana documentary with real doctors, even CNN and CBS missed the boat, it took a radio guy working with TV to accomplish this.  To be continued.”

Thank you, Joey.  May God bless.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 68r2

Today at 6:48 AM
June 15, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 68
By Claude Hall

info@voxjox.org

The seasons come and the seasons go and we linger on a while, each day precious as we attempt to achieve just a little more.  Seeking every last shade of glory that’s due.  Some seek money as a form of glory.  Some seek naught but fame.  But the mountain is never high enough.  We stare at it with delight.  Ah, another boulder to toss out of the way as we struggle for the rarified air of success.  Thank god, God put the mountain there!  Something to do.  The mere pursuit.

I never got there.  The mountain kept moving on me.  I longed to achieve success as a writer.  Live in a bungalow on an island in the Caribbean.  Write on the verandah, looking out to the sea and distance dreams.

Instead, I write on a laptop facing a television set for white noise.  Not my dream, but okay.  I suppose.  Where has my mountain gone?

Anyway, you can’t get even here from Brady, TX.  Or Winters.  Too far.  Wherever here is.  I’m reminded of “Das Schloss.”  It’s confusing sometimes.

A friend sent me a trial subscription to Billboard.  But it is not the Billboard that I knew.  It is not my Billboard.  I’m grateful to the friend, though, for this look see.  Basically, the Billboard of today is indicative of what’s happening in music, in radio, in all of the fluctuating cultures that exist today.  The world is a flood of questions, with more than likely a different answer for each question.  And no one really knows the answers … or not enough answers.  Or you proffer a suitable answer and meanwhile the question has changed.

I enjoy doing Commentary.  Love the emails.  Some of the history that reaches me is fascinating.  I was very fortunate to get the job with Billboard.  My Billboard that existed in the 60s and 70s.  The time and the place were absolutely perfect for me at the time.  Billboard fit.  I fit.  Now, Commentary seems to fit.  And I’m grateful for that.  At the moment.  My mountain.

However, it’s time for you guys to get your blogs teamed up with the new Vox Jox.  The address is info@voxjox.org.  A couple of people have already got in gear.  I plan to notify everyone when Vox Jox takes over.  You’ll find Claude’s Commentary there.  Should be fun!

OTHER MATTERS
Jay Lawrence:  “I want to join the accolades for Ken Draper.  He was the most creative program director for whom I ever worked.  I was one of the KYW Cleveland crew that he tried to keep under control.  It was a wild time, a Beatle time.  I recall Dick Orkin spending an hour on the phone with me trying to convince me to come to Chicago with Stag, Runion, and my closest friend in life Jerry G.  What would my life be like if I had accepted?  I guess I'll never know.  I just emailed Ken thanking him for the time I didn't have when he tried to get me to come to Davenport and the wonderful years I did have at KYW.”

Dave Anthony, www.DaveAnthony.us:  “Here’s a fast Bill Drake story for you, oh master of the radio pen.  In 1992 as PD, we split the simulcast of KSFO & KYA in San Francisco.  In ’93, I wanted to streamline the feel of KYA so we tracked down Bill Drake.  We found him living in a motel, hired him to work with us.  For those who knew the man, this should be familiar – he wouldn’t attend a staff meeting, wouldn’t talk with the GM or the chief engineer about anything; heck, he wouldn’t step foot into the radio station even after hours.  The closest I could get him was the parking lot.  We had strategy meetings in restaurants and upscale drinking establishments.  But it worked.  Oldies formatted KYA-FM became ‘93 KYA’ in 1993 and ‘94, complete with Johnny Mann jingles, Lee Baby on middays, and other air talent who could deliver the sound.   I don’t know whether this was Bill’s last consulting gig or not but I appreciated my time working with him one on one.”

Neville Johnson is seeking information, pro or con, about Dave Diamond.  He’s a huge Diamond fan.  As am I.  So, if you knew Diamond going back to KHJ or pre-KHJ days, please drop him a note at njohnson@jjllplaw.com.  I would be grateful.

“Hi, Claude!  Nancy Plum here (formerly of KGBS, TEN Q, KMPC, KFI, Star 98, KLAC, WSB Atlanta and now WKYW in Frankfort, KY!).  I thought I was done with radio when I found myself doing a traffic report or newscast in Lexington, KY, for minimum wage two years ago!  That was a sad moment and I decided to just be done with it.  Around September 2013 a girlfriend was sitting on the beach in Cancun with another girlfriend discussing their sons and one of them said ‘my son is running some radio stations over in Frankfort’ and my friend replied ‘Oh, I have a friend who used to be in radio’ and then the other lady said ‘Well she should contact my son because he is looking for announcers!’  I swear that's the way it went down.  I got this email from my friend who said I should call this guy JC Burton at Cap City Radio.  I sent him an email and an hour later he called me.   Seems there's a demand for LA talent in KY!   Ha ha!   I was offered a little three-hour shift for little money playing oldies.  Perfect!  I have another business on the side and wanted more time for that but hey I could still play music!  In the last month I became program director of Passport Radio AM/FM Frankfort, KY, as we acquired a local FM to simulcast our ‘Vintage and Eclectic’ format.  We play over 2000 songs from the 50s, 60s & 70s and we have a phone app and we stream worldwide on www.mypassportradio.com.  Check it out!  The Plum rides again!  Probably into the sunset -- moral is never say never.  I'm having a blast everyday with my little show and making a bit more moola now that I'm PD.  I am working on my short stories about my radio adventures but they are on hold temporarily as I just bought a house here in Frankfort and am busy moving from Lexington to the new place.  Life is wonderful!  And, yes, I'm still single!”

Great on you, Nancy.  Pleased to hear from you and happy about your job.

Frank Boyle:  “RE: Allen Shaw -- I was privileged to do a couple of deals with Allen.  Great guy -- superb Broadcaster -- Southern Gentleman.  Has built Centennial Broadcasting Holdings (Radio Group) over the years in Southeast.”

Steve Tyrell sends a uTube link to a tribute to the late musician Lew Soloff.  Nice to be remembered.  Class, Steve!

I’d mentioned Marshall McLuhan and Kenneth Burke in a note to the Three Mesquiteers Minus One, i.e. Woody Roberts and Dr. Bob.

Bob Weisbuch:  “Hey, Claude, did I ever tell you Kenneth Burke is my hero?  Finally met him -- without reading him might never have gotten so deep into lit.  Speaking of which, Woody, name a few scifi short story collections and I will read the suckers.  Editing, editing cutting last third of book on Lee Baby Simms into 25pp.  Guys.  New book ‘Hey Kemosabe’ by Dan Ingram's son Chris.  Fun read though the statement that it is partly fictional takes away a bit of pleasure.  But Chris is a fine writer.  Your pal in Jersey.”

I’ve just received a cute booklet from Mel Phillips titled “From the Mailroom to the Majors.”  It’s sort of a condensed version of his radio career and interesting to me because of the names mentioned.  Walt “Baby” Love?  He was at WNBC at the time.  Later, Walt joined R&R magazine.  Then, I believe he became a minister.  He’s out there somewhere.  As for Mel, he started in the mailroom at ABC and mentions Herb Oscar Anderson, Sam Holman, Dan Ingram … you name them.  Fascinating book, Mel.  If anyone would like a copy, checkout Amazon.com.  Or I’m willing to connect you with Mel.

Frank Jolley:  “Claude, today is the One Year Anniversary of the www.rockhouse.mobi (mobile website) .MOBI signature online.  Today Marks the birth of www.kkdj.net.  Opening day has over 488K rockhouse listeners in over 70 countries and opening day also has Jimmy Rabbitt, John R, Frank Jolley and Moli.  Right now Jimi Hendrix is playing ‘Rock Me Baby!’  Give us a listen to the Billboard we've compiled from the R & R era.  I think Jerry, Drake, Stewart and Gorden would approve, hope you do too.”

Devon Wendell:  “I'm am really enjoying the blog.  It's that time a year in which I do an interview prior to my coverage of The Playboy Jazz Festival which I dread with every fiber of my being.  If only there were more than 3 or 4 jazz acts and if only the LA Phil respected the press.  Well, at least I got to interview Wayne Shorter which makes it worthwhile.”
https://irom.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/qa-wayne-shorter-at-the-playboy-jazz-festival/
“Here's my remembrance of the late great Ornette Coleman.”
https://irom.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/ornette-coleman-a-remembrance/

Lee Gordon in West Hartford, CT, www.leegordonproductions.com:  On Saturday, June 27, 2015, we will commemorate the 40th anniversary of ‘the day the music died’ at WPOP.  Let's get together at the Mattabessett Canoe Club http://mattabesettcanoeclub.com/ (a/k/a Harbor Park) in Middletown, CT, starting at around 1 PM and continuing until we all run out of gas (history suggests that could be around 6 or 7, possibly later).  As in past get-togethers, there will be no speeches or presentations, no special programming, no admission fee (unless the restaurant decides to charge one) and no food and drink provided.  If you want to eat or drink, just order and pay for it just like any regular restaurant/bar customer, because that's what we are.  However, this is important:  since we are not paying for the use of the facility, we can't prevent them from serving their other restaurant customers.  If any of us are sitting at a table long after we have finished a meal or are nursing a drink and they say they need the table to seat other diners, please relinquish it.  Believe it or not, restaurants mainly make their money from the food, not from the bar, despite what you may pay for your beverage.  If you're on this mailing list, you either worked there or know someone who did, or have been a member of the media in Hartford or elsewhere.  So you're invited.  And feel free to spread the word. 
 https://www.facebook.com/groups/50398478727/

Burt Sherwood sends this “American Pie” link:
Ø  http://youtu.be/VhX3b1h7GQw

Woody Roberts sent this business of music, 2015:
http://news.yahoo.com/global-album-releases-start-july-10-094355282.html


May the Good be upon thee!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 67r2

Today at 8:43 AM
June 8, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 67
By Claude Hall

Ron Jacobs is always there.  Everywhere.  His pictures are on my desktop … there’s one of him and his wife, both young and excited with life, on an airplane going somewhere to do radio … there’s also a much older and hopefully wiser Ron Jacobs hooked up to tubes in a hospital bed.  And there’s the Ron Jacobs, friend and radio guru, that’s always in my mind.  I know him better than he knows and I’m always reminded of him when a Hawaiian tune comes up on my iTunes.  The music is beautiful.  Ron sent it to me some while ago.  Years?

I have known Ron Jacobs for most of my life.  I met him first at a radio conference in New York where he substituted as speaker and I was glad.  Ron gave an amazing talk on a keynote panel that included the producer of the Beatles George Martin and one of the greatest radio men who ever lived Gordon McLendon.  Art Linkletter was there, too.  Jacobs was impressive!  I became a huge fan that very second.  And still am.

Ron was then programming KHJ in Los Angeles and he’d taken the station to No. 1 in the market.  He was a king in radio.  They taken a strange little record by the Monkees, “Last Train to Clarksville,” and turned it into a hit and I was aware that if a radio station could do something like that it had to be a phenomenal radio station and everyone connected with it phenomenal radio people.  With apologies to the songwriters and the producer, that was not exactly my favorite record.  But KHJ had the magic.  Charlie Tuna and Robert W. Morgan … personalities; Betty Brennan … music director.  I always debated in my mind whether most of the credit should be given to the program director Ron Jacobs or the consultant Bill Drake.  And, to be frank, back yonder I could never make up my mind about it.  In the 70s, I did several interviews for Billboard on cassette … first with one, than the other.  Then again.  At that point, they’d more or less come to odds with each other and one would refute this and the other would refute that.  I enjoyed the fray.  It was always iffy.

I remember interviewing Ron at his then home – baby crying upstairs, a young lady who later went to NYU in Manhattan -- in San Diego where he was programming KGB and I interviewed Bill Drake at his then home in the rich area of Beverly Hills.  “People don’t like me,” Bill said just as a pretty blonde walked into the room and smiled and I thought: “Someone’s lying here, Bill!”

Years later when I was a college professor I heard that Bill was more or less homeless and that a lady I knew had just kicked him out.  Ah, the stories that go untold.

And Ron, too, was having his woes.  Sad.  For Ron Jacobs and Bill Drake had been on top of it all.  Wine, women, and song.  I suppose that all of us have had our glories and have subsequently walked through the troubles of diminished fame and fortune.  Life often paints a dim picture.  I had returned to college with the pushing of Bill Randel and become a college professor.  But radio stories yet reached me.  I will never forget the story of Roger Scutt’s body being found in a trash dumpster in a Nashville alley.  No!  Not the Captain Midnight!  And Lee Baby Simms, a radio personality I loved dearly walking out to smell the air on his back porch amidst his tomato plants and putting a gun to his gut and pulling the trigger.  Why, Lee?  Why?  Many of us in radio have had our woes – Ted Atkins, Joe O’Brien, Dick Starr, Jack Thayer, Dusty Rhodes.

When I look back, I’m grateful for my personal journey.  Life and radio!  Grateful to know Ron Jacobs, though he, too, has experienced his downturns … grateful to know Bill Drake, Robert W. Morgan, Don Imus, Bobby Vee, George Wilson, Joey Reynolds, Jack G. Thayer, Lee Baby Simms, Gary Owens … and, to be honest, all of you.  I’ve been fortunate.

A few years ago, I did a list.  The top people in Top 40.  My viewpoint.  Men who’d made the greatest impact.  I think I listed Ron about fifth or sixth.  Behind Chuck Blore, Todd Storz, Gordon McLendon, and Bill Stewart, George Wilson.  I thought that much of Ron Jacobs.  And still do.  Not because he created a major Top 40 radio station in a major market.  But because of the positive influence he had on other radio men and women.  And I believe his influence still lingers out there in the world of radio unto this very day.

When they confer – the academics, the sages, the gurus – in the future about radio, they will more than likely place an asterisk by his name.  Just one station?  Yes, KGB is already forgotten and Fresno a more distant memory.  But KHJ, in my opinion, will never be forgotten as long as radio itself is remembered.  Trash the asterisk!

One thing more about Ron Jacobs:  I, too, have lamented his pitfalls … as much as I’ve lamented my own.  But, lord, we’ve all had something to complain about.  We were never gods.  We were only human at best.  It’s living above the bad and being thankful for the good and the great that defines us.

I, for one, am proud to know Ron Jacobs.  One of the best ever in radio.  And a man I consider a friend.

LIPMAN MATTERS
It’s absolutely beautiful!  Macey Lipman, you’re a great artist.  I pondered through this book of collected paintings – “Recent Paintings,” Macey Lipman – and, quite frankly, was awed by the magnificence of your work.  The Italian paintings, ah!  I used to spend hours in the art museums in Manhattan and elsewhere.  Your work brings back many pleasant times.  One day, I expect to find one or more of your paintings there.

Without question, a prized collector’s item, Macey.  Enormous thanks!

There’s no price on the book, but Macey has an office at 511 N. La Cienega Blvd., Suite 210, Los Angeles, CA 90048, www.maceylipmanart.com.

OTHER MATTERS
Joey Reynolds:  “Ken Draper has shifted to internet programming with CityWatch, along with Jim Hampton. Draper and Hampton are truly progressive in sight and sound platforms.  Who could ever forget Chuck Blore?  Draper/Blore has the inventiveness that gave us KFWB, WCFL, Chickenman, Dick & Bert.  I was the first satellite host in history with ‘Satellite Live’ in 1977 from Dick Orkins studio in LA.  Ken Draper brought life to KFWB all news and many other firsts, meanwhile Jim Hampton is responsible for loyalty purchasing on the retail level when he began tracking consumers at Eckhart drugs long before digital performance.  Draper, Blore, Hampton, were streaming before the internet, they are also steeped in tradition with the late Stan Freeberg school of comedy commercials.”
http://www.citywatchla.com/

Ken Dowe: “I love Allen Shaw.  He’s always been a gentleman and a friend of so many years.  Nice comments.  I don’t have his email, so if you get a chance tell him I think of him often.  Do you know if Sharon read any of the memories of her wonderful father?  I was sitting here in Dallas, still hooked up to Tom Russell tunes when I was happily surprised to read today’s CH news:  ‘Tom Russell has moved to Santa Fe!’  You probably don’t know, but Dottie and I live in Santa Fe when we’re not here in Dallas.  Now, I will figure out a way to meet the man whose music you were kind enough to introduce for my on-going enjoyment.  I am forever grateful.  Thank you.  :)

“Two of my favorite ‘poetic’ lines out of great writing:
1- From A MOVABLE FEAST, Hemingway:  ‘The only thing that could ruin a good day, was people?’
2- From TONIGHT WE RIDE, Tom Russell:  ‘Black Jack Pershing on a dancing horse…’  (beautiful!).  Your golden olde fellow Texan friend.”

I’ve contacted Sharon.  No response yet.

Tom Russell: “Re: Johnny Cash -- he recorded a song of mine: ‘Veteran's Day’.  He called me out of the audience one time in Zug, Switzerland, and got me up on stage for the finale: ‘Peace in the Valley’.  Ten thousand people.
I stood next to him … felt like I was standing below Mount Rushmore.  It came to the last verse of the song, and he turned and said: ‘Take it Tom!’  I didn't KNOW the last verse.  I was terrified.  Something about a lion lying down with a lamb.  He said, ‘I'll sing it in your ear, Tom’.  Came out of my mouth like I was a Johnny Cash ventriloquist
dummy. The crowd went wild.  After the show, in the parking lot, he was being ushered into a limo fifty yards away, and he turned and looked over the top of the car and yelled to me:  ‘Keep writing 'em, Tom’. That was my Grammy. I think of him all the time.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zLha1neU8k
www.tomrussell.com
www.facebook.com/russelltom

Those two emails above set off a bevy of emails and I think Ken Dowe is now going to catch Tom Russell at one of his coming shows. (See his website above for his tour and dates.)  One of Tom’s shows will be at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Los Angeles and Tom mentioned that he hopes Dave Alvin will show up.  I’d just finished listening to Alvin’s “Johnny Ace Is Dead,” which I subsequently emailed to Jimmy Rabbitt.  Man, these are damned good songwriters and singers.  All three!

Ron Jacobs: “Mahalo for listing Kevin’s Morgan video.  Hope you can watch it; many big radio names.  In it, I pledge my allegiance to Chuck Blore.  There’s much LA radio stuff from before you moved there.  I am planning something special for RWM’s daughter for Father’s Day.  Hope and pray your health is holding up, my not-so-old, old friend!  Usual BEST to you and Miz Barbara.”

John Ryman:  “Claude, really enjoyed your Commentary today ... a lot of my Texas Radio friends were mentioned.  Did you see that I've been nominated to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame this year?  Honored.  I live in Gun Barrel City, on Cedar Creek Lake ... moved here from Dallas after retiring.  Water has been bad here, but nothing like other areas.  I have a creek that runs across my property, close to the house ... full and high and raging, but I never felt in danger of overflow ... but certainly kept a close eye.  Had it gone over, I could not have gotten out, woulda' seen the helicopters lifting me from the roof.  Prayers for those that were washed away.”

When I was around 4, I played in the lapwaters of a flood in Brady, TX.  Remember seeing a house rolling in the flood.

Bill Vancil: “Jonathan Little has been forwarding me your last couple of commentaries.  I'd love to be on your list.  You may find this of interest.  Several weeks ago I started an alumni website www.KSTTGoodGuys.com and it seems the former listeners are taking to it more even than past employees.  I'm programming the site much like a radio station, with fresh content relative to the former KSTT crowd, now retirement age mostly.  We even run contests on the site.  Anyway, it's catching on as I would never have imagined.  In the first two months the Facebook page we created to compliment and promote the website has received over 900 ‘Likes’.  Tracking the ‘Likes’ I've found they are coming not only from the Quad Cities area (Davenport, Rock Island, Moline, E. Moline) but from other parts of the country where listeners have relocated.  As with any website, as with a great radio station, the secret is CONTENT.  Fresh, new, fun, different every day.  Take a look, I'd love to hear your impression of www.KSTTGoodGuys.com.
And www.Facebook.com/ksttgoodguys

Bill Vancil was program director of KSTT 1969, then GM of WISM until 2001.  Hey, Bill, I remember you!

Woody Roberts:  “Came across this on Wiki:  On October 28, 1940, KTSA played host to the first and only meeting between noted science fiction author H.G. Wells and radio dramatist Orson Welles, which occurred nearly two years after the panic created by Welles' CBS radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds.”

Herb Oscar Anderson:  “Claude, I'm so glad that you remember the contest ... I hardly ever mention it because people seem to feel I'm putting it on a little heavy ... but think about it ... 100,000 in 1953.  What made it so scary was people thought the DJs knew where the check was hidden ... we didn't ... it was a policy purchased from an Insurance company ... they wrote the clues and they were the only one that knew where the check was hidden ... but the listeners didn't believe it ... how frightening were the calls ... everything from we know where you live and we know how many children you have ... to ... Herb, you seem like a nice guy ... maybe we can work out a deal and we can split it ... 50-50.  Some one found it and threw it away ... it was hidden in an old lipstick container ... never were a group of jocks so happy to see a contest end.  By the way, an insurance company man sat in a car that monitored the location 24 hours a day.”

HOA, great stuff!  Radio history!  Thank you.

Woody Roberts sent me a note from Liz Patranella, founder of the San Antonio Radio Broadcasters Association.  She served as continuity director when he was general manager of KTS and KTFM in San Antonio.

Liz Patranella:  “You may have already seen this, but I thought it was worth sharing.  Talk about a trip down memory lane!”  Click on speaker and it plays the entire song.  You hear the music and see the original label and photo of artist, biography and discography.
http://www.45rpmdb.come/Top10.html

Great on all of you!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 66r2

Today at 8:22 AM
June 1, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 66
By Claude Hall

Floods in deep Texas.  More than a dozen dead.  Others missing.  A dam southwest of Dallas about to give way.  That entire part of Texas is a disaster area.  Meanwhile, Lake Mead is drastically low and California suffers intense drought conditions.  True, all infrastructure of America is in horrible shape.  Barrack Obama was never able to fulfill his promise about revitalizing the infrastructure.  But the “communication channels” I discussed in a previous Commentary would, to a great extent, alleviate that situation.  As you’ll recall, my communication channels would include super highways and super railroads as well as aqueducts for the transportation of water.  With considerable ease, a great portion of the flood that hit Houston and San Marcos, TX, could have been transported to Lake Mead.  If we don’t solve this problem now, when?

I have some relatives and close friends in the flood areas.  Woody Roberts and Joe Nick Patowski family are fine, as well as my numerous relatives.  Through a mutual friend, we tracked Bruce Miller Earle down.  He had missed the Wimberley flood.

OTHER MATTERS
Art Holt:  “I am in Albuquerque right now doing family stuff, so am in a pretty safe area. (I hope).  Enjoyed the Don Keyes comments.  He was a good friend as well as a good man to work with.  We also did spare time things … duck hunted and shot at doves out at Gordon’s ranch.  Glad to see him get some recognition.  Keep up the great work.”

Wally Newman:  “I have a radio show with an interesting funding model. Ernie Hopseker suggested I write and tell you about it.  I have enjoyed your columns since I started in radio in the late 1960s at KMPC.  I was a board engineer and had the privilege of working the Gary Owens weekend show.  In the early ‘70s I met Ernie at KGAL in Oregon.  I currently host a live radio show on KLTR-FM in Brenham, TX, playing music from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.  Unfortunately advertisers aren’t much interested in listeners over 50 and at the end of last year I decided to pull the plug.  I told a couple of listeners and they rallied, formed the Society for the Advancement of Doo-Wop, and are paying me to stay on the air.  And they’ve set me up with some advertisers including the local Budweiser distributorship.  It’s the NPR ‘Listener-Sponsored’ funding model and no one is more surprised than me at the support I’ve received.  Could you please include me on your mailing list for Commentary?  Thank you for your years of service to the radio industry.”

Wally, welcome home.

Morris Diamond:  “Hello, Claude, a few issues back you had much conversation about books from various author-correspondents and the books they have written, wanna write or will write – and I got a kick out of it because for a long time I was a candidate for the ‘wanna write’ group – and I did it two years ago.  I am pleased at the reaction I received from those that have read the book which is the true story of my 75 years in the music industry.  The book is called ‘The Name Dropper’ -- subtitle:  People I schlepped with.  Amazon seems to indicate that they are selling the book.  I've been encouraged by readers with their comments – especially those that are not in our business.  For those who get bored with words, will find pleasure with many photos of people I schlepped with lo all these years.  Woody Roberts has written about Willie Nelson being at the age of  82.   I have ties older than that.  But I love to see Willie work … like a teenager … two years ago and I was amazed at his ability to carry a whole show.  I was also happy to see Chuck Dunaway's name showing up on your weekly newsletter.  I recall when my Beverly Hills Records label was doing pretty well.  I had just released a Jaye P. Morgan single of a great song, ‘A Song for You’.  It was getting good airplay all over the U.S. and sales were wonderful.  I got a call from a friend at Columbia Records that they are going all out on a new Andy Williams cover of the same tune.  That concerned me, needless to say.   I got on my bicycle and hit the road.  By the time I got to Cleveland, Andy's record was getting much airplay.  I was able to convince a few stations on my road trip to hang in with my Jaye P. Morgan record.  When I visited with Chuck, he did indicate that Columbia sent a number of radio stations a short letter advising them that they are going to buy time in the fall and to be on the lookout for Andy's record.  That was a very legitimate move and I couldn't blame those stations that had to heed orders from the upper brass.  But I always felt that Chuck Dunaway leveled with me and have always had respect for him.  Love to you and Barbara.”

Frank Boyle: “Claude, speaking of Country, Willie Nelson and Bill Mack -- you will recall that WBAP/Ft. Worth and WMAQ/ Chicago were the first 1A -- 50KW Clear Channel stations (of the 24 clears) to go Country.  WBAP changed, thx to Hal Chestnut/GM and Ted Norman/GSM -- owned by billionaire Carter Family who also owned WBAP-TV and Ft. Worth Star Telegram Daily newspaper.  As a classy opening promotion, WBAP bought 50 pairs of the then $150 Tony Lama custom cowboy boots for Christal, its National Sales Rep. for its Mgt and sales guys in its 10 national offices.  About a month later, Hal Chestnut got a call from Helen Davis, VP-head of media dept. at New York ad agency Doyle, Dane & Bernbach -- for American Airlines.  Helen said she knew that WBAP-AM had changed format to Country.  That Hal should know the Christal sales people were making fun of the change to ‘Shit Kickin' Music’.  And refused to wear the Tony Lama boots.  Biggest single stockholder in American Airlines was the Ft. Worth Carter family, owner of WBAP.  American Airlines was big advertiser on WBAP/ KSCS.  American's home base was Dallas/Ft. Worth.  My boss, Bob Eastman and his wife, Anne were on a cruise around Sweden/Norway.  I was his No 2. I got a call from legendary Sol Taishoff, founder and publisher of Broadcasting Magazine.  Sol said, ‘Frank, I'm calling you for the Carter family, owners of WBAP-AM/KSCS-FM in Ft. Worth.  They wonder if Eastman reps would consider repping their Ft. Worth radio stations. They and I know you already rep KXOL-AM there, and its group owned by long-time friend of the Carter Family -- Wendell Mayes, group owner from Brownwood.  That it would be a difficult decision for Eastman to make that change from one of your charter clients.  Having said all that, would you consider going to Ft. Worth to discuss such a change?  They are impressed with the job Eastman has done repping another 1A - 50KW Clear Channel station -- WMAQ-AM/Chicago owned by NBC that recently changed to Country’.

“I answered that any radio rep worth his salt would have to seriously consider repping one of the 24 most powerful radio stations in the nation. ‘Who should I call to make an appointment to fly down?’  He said, ‘Hal Chestnut.  His private number is –‘.  Then I asked Sol why was Sol calling us, not the Carter Family?  Sol said, ‘If you knew the Carter family -- they would not want to hear you say NO’.  We took the Carter family offer -- to rep WBAP/KSCS.  Their prior rep had done $180,000 in national sales last year.  We, Eastman, did $1,200,000 in our first year -- $7,500,000 in our biggest year.  Eight months earlier, I'd gotten a call from Jack Thayer, president NBC Radio, asking me to be at WMAQ/Chicago at Merchandise Mart Bldg. in two days for an emergency meeting with Charlie Warner and Bob Pittman, his PD.  At that meeting I met Bob Pittman for the first time -- knew Charlie when he was GM in Pittsburgh and hired Pittman there to be his 19-year-old PD.

“Bob Pittman came into meeting with a pony tail – jeans, Grandma Moses glasses, sweat shirt. He said, ‘Next Saturday WMAQ is going Country.  It'll be different from the other local Country station -- WJJD-AM. They play 1,500 tunes a week. WMAQ will be Top 40 Country.  We'll play The Hits -- maybe 100 a week.  With mind boggling promotions -- giving away new cars and new homes.  We're printing half a million badges -- saying ‘Listen to WMAQ is gonna make me rich’!  WMAQ went from 11th to second to WGN in 2 ARB Books.  Never looked back.  All the Nashville smartasses who originally made fun of Bob Pittman's Top 40 Country now came to Chicago to get on his knee asking: ‘How'd you really do this miracle?’  WMAQ and WBAP made it ‘couth’ for Agency Time buyers to buy time on what  they previously put down at ‘Shit Kickin' Music'.  Charlie and Bob got promoted to New York to run WNBC/ WYNY-FM.  WYNY-FM became No. 1 most listened to FM in whole USA.  At that time Eastman was privileged to rep WIRE-AM -- with Don Nelson/ GM – top-rated Country station in US.  Our most fun was repping Jim Phillips at Country KHEY, El Paso and KRIO, McAllen. Time Buyers were willing to pay us to bring Jim back to make calls on them. Stand up comedian -- did small rope tricks like Will Rogers.  Bill Mack/ WBAP/ KSCS (Silver Country Stereo) had Willie Nelson on the air often and together in WBAP's outside Concerts.  Claude, you personally can remember how tough it was for Country format to get accepted even by its local radio peers.  We at Eastman were proud to make Ad Agency and Advertiser calls with Tony Lama boots, big brass belt buckles, Stetson 10-gal hats.  I always wanted to be Tom Mix or Hopalong Cassidy.”

Great stuff, Frank.  Just FYI, there was a day when I wore boots in Los Angeles.  Worked out great in an MG.  Lord, but I loved that MG!

Allen Shaw: “I knew Ken Dowe was great at everything that had to do with radio but I did not know that he is also a great writer.  His recollections of Bill Stewart, Gordon and Mr. Mac were hilarious and insightful.  I still think you are the greatest writer, but Ken Dowe is not very far behind.”

Ken Dowe, like most of us, has been “around the horn.”  He has some great tales stored up.

Chuck Dunaway:  “Bill Stewart called me about 40 years ago and wanted to ask me some questions for a book on programming he was writing.  I’ll bet if you contacted his widow she could get a copy for you.  I’m sure they saved his memories. The last time I saw Don Keyes was at the second or third Texas radio convention ... the one Bill Young and I hosted in Houston.  Don was in the restroom and having a hard time breathing.  Dinner was going on and I offered to help ... he told me to go back to dinner and he’d be OK ... He had an inhaler and was using it to get his breath ... I have one now.  Don was sitting at our table and did return to dinner a few minutes later.  The lesson is do not smoke.  I was on the Kinney Jet coming back from a radio convention in California ... we made a stop in San Antonio to pick up Jerry Wexler ... he had Doug Sahm with him.  Jerry was very excited about Tex-Mex music at the time.  Take care.”

Me?  I’m still interested in Tex-Mex.  Part of my soul, I guess.  Just FYI, Don Whittemore also knew the LP.  I think Don Whittemore knows everything!  Just FYI, I wrote Bill Stewart’s daughter about that book.

Woody Roberts:  “I'm sure you'll get a ton of responses to your question.  You picked a real good one, ‘Wanted: The Outlaws’ was the first country album to go Platinum.  It was a fixup of old Waylon and Willie tracks and had songs by Waylon's lovely wife Jessie Colter and by Tomball Glazer.  The late Chet Flippo wrote the album notes, he also had reported to Rolling Stone Magazine on the initial Willie 4th of July Picnic.  Shortly after that event the writer moved with his wife Martha from Austin to NYC and into the RS offices.  Told me he just wanted to see what it was like in the Big Apple so would be back in a couple of years.  Chet never returned and instead moved to Nashville.  Nashville?  Go figure.  Waylon, Tomball and Chet are no longer with us.”

Just FYI, Woody Roberts bought me a copy of “Lorelie of the Red Mist” by Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury from Amazon.com.  My next read.  Right now, I’m about half way through “Son of Tarzan” by Edgar Rick Burroughs.

Bob Sherwood:  “Dear Kindly Ol’ Uncle Claudius, whilst ruminating on the tragic death of a 4-year-old child who shot herself in the face after finding a stolen gun in her New York City apartment and our government’s inability to enact intelligent, reasonable gun management laws I was suddenly reminded of the most powerful phrase I ever heard from an artist in four decades in radio and the music business.  It came from Johnny Cash’s recording of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ – ‘But I shot a man in Reno.  Just to watch him die’.  I just went downstairs to listen to it and got the same chill I first got when playing it on KROY 47 years ago.”

I bought the Cash single and wore it out without ever removing it from the little RCA 45 rpm player that attached to my radio.  About guns.  I’m in Germany right after WW2.  In uniform.  I pass a gun shop.  Some of the most beautiful guns I ever saw.  Etched.  Single shots.  And, yes, any former Nazi could buy one.  The most beautiful guns were over and unders … shotgun with a rifle under, i.e. two shots.  We caught a German once carrying a rifle while we were on maneuvers in the Black Forest.  Turned out he was a game warden.  Yes, Germans had guns.  Me, I’m still nervous at the time about letting one cut my hair in the PX!  The Constitution that allowed us to carry weapons did not allow us to carry an AK-47.  Sorry.  I suggest a gun you have to load every damned time.  Give clay pigeons a chance.

Dick Carr:  “Claude ... I smiled with the mention of Frank Ward filling in on a weekend on WNEW.  When I was PD, I ran into him quite by accident at a NYC restaurant and we had lunch.  We recounted our days in Buffalo ... talked about 1957 when he was at WWOL and I was at WBNY. Dick Lawrence's ears must have been burning that day because we spoke of him.  Frank was intrigued with what it might be like to be a deejay on WNEW and I gave him the chance to do the Milkman show one holiday weekend. He sent me a bunch of notes about various equipment changes he recommended.  And then just like that, after his Sunday overnight show he was gone!  He left me a brief ‘thank you’ note and that was the last time I ever saw him ... the year was 1968.”

I heard that show.  It was great!  I hoped at the time that he was auditioning for a regular job as, as I recall, his deal with WWOL was over.

Herb Oscar Anderson:  “Storz ... Stewart ... I don't remember which one came up with the one hundred thousand dollar contest ... the contest to end all contests ... really ... it almost did ... hide a check for 100,000 dollars and give the clues on the air ... honest ... this in 1953 when a dollar was a dollar ... got a little hairy on WDGY.”

So, right HOA.  Now and then, we think “The Last Contest” was the biggest and the best.  But then we remember that Storz “Treasure Hunt.”  Whew!  Bill Stewart told me that people came in from Canada.

Al Herskovitz:  “This has nothing to do with your weekly missive (which I thoroughly enjoy).  But I’ve been meaning to relate this to you for some time.  A couple of years ago, while shopping in a neighborhood market here in Bradenton, FL, I was stopped by a total stranger because I was wearing a University of Connecticut teeshirt.  It turned out that he, too, was a UConn graduate.  While I had a couple of years on him in age, in conversation I went on to learn he was from my hometown of Bridgeport, and we even attended the same high school.  Further, he now currently lives just around the corner from my house here in Bradenton.  Werner Vogler is a General Motors executive who, previously, had been assigned by GM to deal with governments in Middle Eastern countries.  While in the Middle East he met and became a close friend of a U.S. official.  That American bureaucrat subsequently wrote a book that Werner thought I would be interested in reading. It was an account of the successful Israeli air attack on Iraq’s nuclear facility in 1981.  That American government official and author was Dan McKinnon.  In light of all of our other connections Werner was shocked that I knew him.  Yes, it was the very same McKinnon whom I had met through you at a Billboard convention in San Francisco when McKinnon owned KSON in San Diego.  We all went sailing together through San Francisco Bay on his yacht ... you, Barbara, Eileen, I and, as I recall, Jack Thayer. Talk about coincidence! A total stranger! Same hometown! Same High School! Same College! Accidental meeting in Florida!  Near neighbor!  Mutual friend!  You can’t make up stories like this!”

I really liked Don McKinnon.  Jack G. Thayer, of course was a member of this family.  Miss those guys!

Larry Irons:  “Hi, Claude: I know this is probably too long to post in its entirety, but because I first heard about this book on your blog, I wanted to let you know what I thought about it. If you do decide to post it, please feel free to edit it as you see fit.  I just finished ‘Psychedelic Bubblegum’ by Bobby Hart with Glenn Ballantyne.  This autobiography is entertaining, amusing, poignant, historical and very well written, and is a wonderful account of the struggles of trying to make it in the world of a songwriter and performer.  He chronicles the extreme ups and downs, both personal and professional, he faced along the way, and how timing, luck and faith in God had so much to do with his success.  Bobby Hart originally started out with the idea of becoming a disc jockey, even enrolled at the Don Martin School of Radio in Hollywood.  But LA radio was nothing at all like the country radio station he grew up listening to in Phoenix.  He thought the LA jocks sounded manic, nothing like the down-home, country-style jocks in Phoenix.  After a very short time in LA, his dreams of becoming a disc jockey quickly morphed into the idea of becoming a singer/songwriter.  From there he would add being a producer and publisher.  Along with other songwriting partners through the years, Bobby Hart has written some of the most iconic songs of the 60s and 70s.  With Tommy Boyce, the theme to the Monkees television show: ‘Hey, Hey We're the Monkees’, as well as ‘Last Train to Clarksville", "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" and ‘Valleri’.  With Wes Farrell and Tommy Boyce, ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’ for Jay & the Americans.  With Bobby Weinstein & Teddy Randazzo, ‘Hurt So Bad’, which was written for Little Anthony & the Imperials and was covered by both the Lettermen and by Linda Ronstadt, and was one of the very few songs to ever reach the top 10 by 3 different artists in 3 different decades.  He writes openly and candidly about his legendary friendships with Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Brian Hyland, Del Shannon, Clive Davis, Leon Russell, Paul Williams, Barbara Eden, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Michael Sembelo and many others.  And, of course, he writes extensively about his lifelong friendship and professional relationship with Tommy Boyce.  He also talks about the women with whom he had romantic and lasting relationships. Becky, his high school sweetheart and first wife.  Becky is the mother of his two sons, Bobby Jr. and Bret.  Claudia Jennings, who at the time was an actress, model and Playboy Playmate of the Year.  Claudia died tragically in an automobile accident October 2, 1979, at the age of 29; and his current wife, MaryAnn, whom he married in 1986.
.
“This book contains ‘life lessons’ which he attributes to his  new-found (at the time) spiritualism through the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, that helped him along the way and ultimately changed his life forever.  One of these lessons, that he had to learn the hard way, dealt with the concept of karma, which I found particularly amusing.  I won't give it away, but it deals with ‘borrowing’ another band's identity and hit song (without their permission or knowledge) and trying to cash-in on it.  Suffice it say it was a bad idea, and the lesson he learned (in his own words) was this: ‘A stubborn, unwanted action can often be avoided by thinking about its likely consequences before you do it, mentally following it through to its logical, misery-making conclusion’.  I'll close this with: I've read a lot of musical autobiographies and hands down this is the best.  Bobby Hart's easy going story-telling style coupled with his humility, sincerity and sense of humor, make this one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read. I know my endorsement doesn't mean squat, but if it were up to  me, I'd give ‘Psychedelic Bubblegum’ 5 stars!”

Lots of people picking up on the book, according to Don Graham, super sage of promotion.  I, too, thought it a great book.  And just think:  I was there!

Don Sundeen:  “When I was in LA for the Record Promotion Men’s Reunion, great fun, I also had dinner with Don Graham and Scott St. James at Musso & Franks, a sparkling evening filled with amazing stories.  Afterwards, Don gave me an advance copy of Bobby Hart’s new book, ‘Psychedelic Bubble Gum’, to read on the plane home.  I’m no book reviewer, but I do study the history of the radio and records businesses, and Bobby’s book fills in a lot holes.  I knew he and Graham had been friends for 40 years, and the true story of the Monkees alone explains a lot of that relationship.  His time with Tommy Hart and their breakup is honestly explained, but common to music groups.  I think readers who were engaged in the rock world around that time will find it interesting and informational.”

Then he explains about something I printed, by mistake sans attribution, in Commentary No. 64, the item mentioning Stan Cornyn:  “Although this was attached to my website, it was written by contributor Bob Shannon who has already done 20 Questions with John Sebastian, Ken Dowe and Chuck Dunaway (fascinating, Chuck tells it like it was warts and all), and is now in the process of preparing a great interview with Bob Sherwood talking about his amazing career.  Bob was reminiscing about an interview he had done with Stan some years ago and I reprinted it.  Thanks for the mentions.”

Whups!

Dick Summer: “Hey, Claude, thanks for the ‘you're a good writer’.  Coming from you that's golden.  It's one of the chapters in my book.  (‘Staying Happy Healthy And Hot’)  Where did you live in Brooklyn?  I was born and grew up in Bay Ridge.  It was neat.  Good, hard working people.  Lots of stickball and street football.  Beautiful babes.  One of the many reasons I was determined to make it to NY radio was Jeannie Campbell.  She turned me down for a date in High School, and I had good enough numbers that I was pretty sure she must have listened at least a few times.  ‘Ha, Jeannie Campbell!  No, I won't play Misty for you’."

Somewhere near Pratt Institute.  It was a goodly walk to the old Fox Theatre where Murray the K tossed all of those shows.  By the time I lived there, however, the Fox Theatre was no longer a music mecca.  Bobby Vee told me once about being in a show there.  Last night, a burly varmint taller than a sage brush comes in and says that the house hadn’t done as well as expected and everyone was kicking back.  Bobby told me that all of the shows had been packed all week.  “So, I told him I was sorry to hear that and slipped him a twenty and got out of there quick.”

Tom Russell:  “Claude: Looks like I should get Woody Roberts ‘The Rose of Roscrae!’  Have moved to Santa Fe this week, and in a few weeks we begin our West Coast portion of the tour.  Denver, Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, LA, Santa Ynez, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Sutter Creek, Reno, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver … hitting some radio along the way, especially KPIG in San Luis and Santa Cruz.  The record continues to make a few friends … here's some of the buzz quotes, below.  I keep enjoying your blog.  Reminds me of when music cut deep through my bones and my ear was tuned to the radio late at night.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zLha1neU8k
www.tomrussell.com
www.facebook.com/russelltom

Larry Cohen:  “Claude: With all of the fanfare & interest emanating from the W. Coast re. the iconic Bobby Hart, the following is a bit of East Coast history regarding Hart as told to me by Frank Lipsius, president/owner of Jamie/Guyden Records in Philadelphia.  In 1962-62, Dandelion Music, was purchased by the late Harold Lipsius, CEO/ owner of Jamie/Guyden Records & it became & grew to be the firm’s most important publishing arm for the next 5 decades.  Fabor Records was part of Dandelion & J/G acquired whatever masters belonged to Fabor, but not the label rights by itself.  According to Frank Lipsius, Fabor then revived the label without J/G & then sold it to Shelby Singleton.  Bobby Hart recorded on Fabor Records under the names(s) of Robert Luke Harshman & Robert Luke Hart.  Interesting to note that Frank e-mailed me that although he is not sure whether he has the original physical tapes or not, that J/G owns the rights to ‘Love Whatcha' Doin' to Me/ Stop Talkin', Start Lovin’ recorded by Robert Luke Harshman on Fabor Records & ‘Girl of My Dreams’/ ‘Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby’ recorded by Robert Luke Harsh on Fabor.  These were part of the masters that came with the Dandelion acquisition some 54 years ago.  If you punch into the SEARCH bar the name, Robert Luke Harshman, you will see these titles listed next to his name.  I don't have his autobiography, but it will be interesting to see if he included Fabor Records as part of his chronology.
F.Y.I., FABOR RECORDS was located in Malibu, CA.

A Dear Friend of Mine Regarding a Future Newsletter:  “Your mention earlier in the month brought two responses (Chuck Buell and John Long) -- which isn't surprising since no one knows to whom they're writing, yet.  My goal is to give all of your readers a link if they have a website or product.  I put up a few that came to mind, but ultimately I hope to have a very long list.  I think once it's in use and folks see it and interact with it, they'll be more likely to participate.  There's nothing we can't do with the site -- audio, video, graphics, pictures, text.  If it's not online but someone wants it to be (like pictures or videos or audio airchecks), I can put it there, if I have it, or if it's sent to me.  For now I'd like the site to revolve around you -- but I want to take the work out of what you're doing to distribute it.  (I haven't yet looked at the mailing lists you gave me, but when we're ready to go, I will.)  As time goes on, you can do as much, or as little as you like.  But honestly, it's really your community, and I'm sure everyone agrees with me that we'd like to keep it that way as long as possible.  Sorry this has taken so long.”

To My Friend:  “Forget me.  I want you to be the focus from day one.  Sure, I’ll continue with a weekly Commentary.  And thank you for suggesting that I do so.  When you get ready, I’ll send out a notice how everyone can find Commentary, i.e., your newsletter site.  And it’s nice that you’re going to have an archive.”

Get in line now, good people.  Send your email address and whatever you wish to link to:  info@voxjox.org.

By the way, I’ve seen an “advance” copy.  You guys are going to like this one!  And, yes, this person has the rights to Vox Jox.

Both Kevin Gershan and Rob Jacobs sent in this Robert W. Morgan link:
https://youtu.be/DIhTIyWSxwI?list=FLKRIe5JN6XcIm_9M2YPDIHQ

Kevin Gershan:  “Robert W. Morgan entertained the Los Angeles radio audience for over three decades. His unique sense of timing, wit and charm earned him a place of honor in the entertainment industry. He won almost every major award the industry has to offer including Charter membership in the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame, along with Larry King, Ted Turner, Art Linkletter and Gary Owens. He received Billboard Magazine’s Air Personality of the Year Award, and a Star on the World Famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.  On Friday January 9, 1998, Robert W. Morgan was honored with a star-studded retirement tribute at the Museum of Television & Radio in Beverly Hills hosted by K-EARTH 101. They aired a three-hour broadcast live from the museum’s theatre, ending with a special retrospective narrated by another broadcasting legend and personal friend … Dick Clark.  On May 22, 1998, Robert W. Morgan lost his battle with lung cancer. The Boss-ography is the story of his life.”

And that’s a wrap for this week.  Love you guys!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Claude's Commentary No. 65r2

Today at 8:20 AM
May 25, 2015

Claude’s Commentary No. 65
By Claude Hall

Foreword by Woody Roberts
I have many excuses for being out of touch, rain took out my DSL for days, and my dog ate the modem.  And even though I'm retarded, I mean ... retired (OK I stole that line from Gary Owens), every once in awhile someone phones so I recently got caught up in helping the Armadillo World Headquarters Artists with their poster auction and a close friend with some outdoor concerts.  I'd like to flashback to Commentary No. 61 and Joey Reynolds' remark: "Hey, Claude, Willie Nelson looks older than us; that's cause he is.  Lots of mileage on the old salty dog...." 

Well, speak for yourself Joey, t’was just the end of April Willie turned 82 and believe it or not I actually know a guy a tad older -- who also has a lot of mileage on him ;)  Speaking of Willie, I was there when he was born.  It happened in 1973.  I had just tossed away my radio career when I got a desperate call from the producers of the first Willie Nelson Picnic.  They were two weeks out and hadn't sold any tickets and a similar event with Willie in the same cattle pasture a year before had bombed big time.  This time Willie was paying for it and calling it his picnic and hired Armadillo World Headquarters aka AWHQ to produce it. 

RCA had dropped him and Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records had discovered Austin music and decided to open a country division.  He signed Willie and Doug Sahm and they got two albums before the country idea was dropped.  Wexler also recorded Freda and the Firedogs but never released their album.  Willie moved to Central Texas where he could work the country dancehalls that made him a lot of money and he then moved to Austin where he discovered the new cosmic cowboy/progressive country scene. He saw college kids and the children of his dancehall patrons filling nightclubs to see Michael Murphy, Guy Clark and Jerry Jeff Walker.  Willie already smoked pot and soon grew his hair and beard and got booked into AWHQ and came up with his picnic idea.

My promotion strategy was obvious by today's standards but a bit revolutionary 42 years ago.  I pulled all the ad money from country radio but for a three stations (one being the Bill Mack all-night show out of Ft Worth).  I wrote the ads, had them produced at San Antonio rocker KEXL-FM and put them on Top 40 and progressive FM formats.  Those DJs did not know Willie Nelson form Hank Snow.  I found out Leon Russell, who was trying to capture the country audience with his “Hank Wilson's Back” album, was going to co-host on the 4th but could not be advertised.  I put together a PR team and we continually worked Leon’s name through DJ word-of-mouth and album givaways and since Doug Sahm's Atlantic album had Bob Dylan on it, we simply told each radio station that as far as we knew there was no truth to the rumor Bob Dylan would be at the Picnic.  Well in week a Woodstock fervor had been stirred up and who knows how many really showed up that 4th of July as the ticket boxes fell early and security parameter was abandoned.  Estimates went as high as 80,000, ticket boxes went down at 17,000.  Willie found himself nationally launched to a new young record buying audience, but financially could only pay his Picnic co-stars like Sammy Smith and Kris Kristofferson $500 each.

Then I was involved in creating the pilots for PBS’ “Austin City Limits” and Willie was booked on both pilots, pre-his “Red Headed Stranger” LP.  In '78 Buzz Bennett contacted me to write a programming piece for the FRED annual so I wrote about this guy Willie Nelson about to burst on the pop music scene and interviewed him ... Willie had played a premix version of his soon-to-be-released Stardust LP for me, it went multi-platinum.  In 1986, Farm Aid II on 4th of July had huge equipment and VH1@ trucks rolling toward Austin and was one week out when Willie lost use of the UT Longhorn Stadium so was homeless, I got him moved to Manor Downs where Stevie Ray Vaughan's management company was housed.  Doz were the daze, my friend.

Attached you'll find a historic 1972 pre-Picnic poster of an AWHQ event with Willie, Steve Frumholz, Kenneth Threadgill, many others, for just $2.

More to come, on your wonderful books, etc.  Very best always to you.

WILLIE MATTERS
Like quite a few others, Woody, I’m proud to have you as a friend.  Great item on Willie.  I received a phone call in the 70s from Jerry Wexler at the Billboard office at 9000 Sunset Blvd.  Like Jerry, my mentor had been Billboard Music Editor Paul Ackerman.  I think this gave me a bond, if feeble, with Jerry.  Certainly, I admired his music abilities.  Jerry said he was in the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills and had some news.  I quickly hopped into the MG that I owned in those days (remember Gary?) and sped out Sunset and valet parked.  Jerry was with his wife Shirley and she was mad.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but she was probably trying to save her marriage.  Later, I saw Jerry with a young girl and figured Shirley had failed.  They were dining in the garden.  Jerry said he’d signed Willie Nelson to the Atlantic label.  “And I almost signed Waylon.  They are old dopers like me.”  It seemed that Atlantic was launching a country music division.  The manager of Waylon Jennings had fouled up Jerry’s plans by signing him again to RCA.  I was aware that Willie’s new LP was promoted mostly on FM.  Atlantic promotion men were constantly at FM stations.  My compliments, Woody Roberts!  As the world knows, the new image of Willie Nelson worked.  Just FYI, I reviewed the first couple of albums by Waylon and Willie.  I picked them.  But RCA wasn’t really aware of what they had, I guess.  I also picked the phenomenal “outlaw” LP.  Does anyone remember the third act on the LP?

OTHER MATTERS
George Jay Weinbarg:  “Hi, Claude!  I had an on-line chat with MG Kelly a couple of years ago.  He is still out in Los Angeles.  I presume you're talking about Gary Stevens/MG Kelly?  He's the same man and one of the original super jock staff from Lee Abrams' original ‘station that never was’, WICV in Chicago, along with Rob Walker, Gary Gears, Beau Weaver, Tommy Kramer and Jim Channel.  Sonny Fox and Don Cox joined us later when we took much of the staff to Cleveland and another John Tenaglia General Cinema Corporation station, WGCL.  I was Lee's national news director, and at 21 the youngest ND in the country at a major market station.  Lee tells the story here:”
http://leeabrams.blogspot.com/2006/10/greatest-station-that-never-was.html?m=1

Randy West:  “Just a quick note to tell you how thoroughly I'm enjoying your weekly radio roundtable and Commentary.  It's reminiscent of your Vox Jox, but with a greater depth and insight into our personal lives.  While I know some of your subjects (blame Joey Reynolds for me being in the biz!) at a mere 61 years old, the information on some of the icons in the firmament (Storz, Randle, McLendon, et al) is the kind of stuff I thirsted for as a young punk DJ, ‘spinning the tables and reading the labels’.  I encourage you to share all that early insight into the birth of Top 40; the minutia matters to us passionate ‘kids’ in our 60s!  Keep up the great work, and add my thanks to the chorus of appreciative voices!
P.S. Great photo of Don Graham (circa 1900!) today at LARadio.com - Don Barrett's great site.”

I saw the photo.  Great!  I started to steal it and then thought not.  But I was envious that Barrett had printed it.  Oh, well … as Gary Owens used to say.

Chuck Dunaway:  “Don Keyes was a great implementer of stolen ideas.  Don always said steal a great idea and ‘make it your own’.  He was quiet and one of the nicest Programmer’s I’ve ever encountered.  I don’t believe I ever got a critique from Don or Bill Stewart for that matter.  I last spoke to Don in Ohio about 35 years ago.  He had interest in a couple of radio stations in Ohio.  He was happy and I was about to leave Ohio to come home to Texas.”

Elliot Field:  “Be not in the dark re: Don Keyes.  Gordon was a great jokester. That takes nothing away from Don. He was loyal, courteous, kind, obedient, climbed more than one tower, played more than one station, ever ready, ever true and almost ever present.  Plus, who do you say drove?  Son & heir Bart?  Don't misunderstand.  I owe a great deal to Gordon.  I feel I brought a great deal to Gordon. ‘Billie, please page me at Love Field’."

John Barger: “Claude, I worked under Don Keyes my first stint with Gordon McLendon (as PD of WYSL in Buffalo).  Keyes was outstanding.  He understood how to transform Gordon's ideas into action, and Gordon never second-guessed him on the implementation.  It made for the perfect two-man team, and Gordon knew it.”

Jay Lawrence:  “I did afternoon drive for Don Keyes at KLIF.  When Buddy McGregor left for Houston, Don hired me from WIRL, Peoria, IL … Bill Morgan was manager at that time and each time Keyes left town to some other McLendon station, Morgan would fire me.  Keyes would return to Dallas and would rehire me.  Don had the trust of Gordon.  We all have Gordon stories from the ‘My Dog Buddy’ film to his film commercials which he wrote and produced and voiced.  I remember his favorite open, Dramatically, ‘her lithe young body’, etc., etc.  I'll also remember McLendon's election coverage.  He had a metal ashtray and a pencil.  He'd bang the pencil on the ashtray and yell ‘Bulletin, bulletin’.  I guess we could all write books about Gordon McLendon and L. David Morehead, two of the most important people in my broadcast career. By the way, I just finished my first session as a state representative here in Arizona and have been invited to do a weekly talk show on a regional network.”

A weekly talk show?  Great on you, Jay!  And great, too, about the political career.  Proud to know you!

Bob Sherwood: “For those who may not have have already heard, the legendary music-lover, record industry exec, exceptional human being and artist once known as ‘Smooth Lundvall’ has died.  As many of you knew Bruce suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had been in a special care facility for some time.  If there was someone more respected and beloved by those who worked for and with him the name doesn’t spring immediately to mind.  Respectfully, God bless you Bruce.”

We come, we do, we go.  A tremendous record man.

Bill Desing:  “Claude, I know you’re a fan of Frank Ward (as am I).  Listened to him along with Tom Clay, Bruce Bradley and Dick Purtin as all were Guy Kings at WWOL in Buffalo.  I think he influenced every young radio wanna be (even Joey Reynolds) He was smooth. Don't know if you have this or not but here is an aircheck. I have a few other samples from about the same time let me know if you want them.  I'm the guy named Bill who sent you the Stan Freberg stuff.  Keep up the good work.
Frank Ward – Guy King, WWOL
.mp3
     Download


My sincere appreciation, Bill.  I am, indeed, a fan of Frank Ward … Barbara and I visited him and his wife at their new home in Connecticut.  Heard him on the weekend he sat in at WNEW.  Blended records so well!  I think the Magnificent Montague also had this talent, but not as good as Frank Ward.  Frank Ward was something else!

Chuck Chellman:  “Always good hearing from you and your friends, Claude.  I loved reading about Billboard’s Bill Williams … Audrey Williams was a complete other story … a real nutcase.  Going on about Bill Williams, I was doing independent promotion out of Nashville.  During a golf tournament, a tournament entitled, Chuck Chellman/Georgia Twitty Radio Invitational.  The tournament ran for 14 years.  All the big stars, too many to mention, played in the tournament.  No freebies.  Everybody paid so we could keep down the price for DJs who were on limited income.  About 10 years into the event, I decided to do a Country Music DJ Hall of Fame. The first person I spoke with was Bill Williams and later Don Pierce, owner of Starday Records.  Both agreed to keep it confidential and we met for an entire year before I kicked off.  It was, and still is, the highlight of the CRS … always sold out!  Radio disc jockeys built our industry.  Keeping with Billboard, the country charts were put together in Cincinnati where the book was printed.  Wonderful Bill Sachs was the Country Editor.  Legendary writer/band leader Pee Wee King (‘Tennessee Waltz’, ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat’, etc.) and I helped Bill put together the country radio stations that would make up the chart. The country music chart also contained key record stores and one-stops … Billboard is still good today but lacks the charm of all you guys … Bill Williams, Paul Ackerman, Bill Sachs and Claude Hall.  I am also proud that I helped Bill & Janet Gavin compile the country stations for the Gavin Report.  The rest is history and I am so blessed to have known you all mentioned.  P.S. Radio today really sucks!!”

I printed a photo of Russ Regan, Rick Frio, and Pat Pipolo last week and heard back from Russ Regan:  “Claude, it was my honor to know you.  You were one of the top writers for Billboard magazine and you still have it,  I enjoy your Commentary every week, keep up your great work.  Much love and respect.”

Bob Piava:  “Loved reading about Mickey Addy.  He took me to dinner one night at Vesuvio with a couple he introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Mills.   The dinner was hilarious.  Mrs. Mills was a funny lady and she and Mickey traded quips all evening.  It was only after the Mills had left that Mickey clued me in ... Mrs. Mills was Edie Adams (ex-Mrs. Ernie Kovacs).  What a great memory.”

Timmy Manocheo:  “I went to that website that El Conejo wrote to you about last week, and immediately ordered his new LP release.  VINYL!  Can you believe it?  I'm ecstatic about this!  Not only is there a new record unearthed from the vaults of some record company, (Rhino or Atlantic, or whoever) but it's pressed on good old fashioned, supreme quality VINYL!  The website kindly sent me a status report for my order; they notified me of the special pressing they are producing exclusively for ME!!!  The album will be shipped shortly after Memorial Day.  ALSO, they sent me a link to DOWNLOAD the entire thing for FREE, just because they are such nice sweet fellows & gals, and they appreciate their customers.  I can hardly wait.  Jimmy Rabbitt & Renegade only released one solitary album, back in the mid-70s, it was on Capitol Records.  I was one of thousands who originally bought that back then.  It was & still is a classic.  Now, after all these decades, a second album.  I have attached a track (MP3) from El Conejo's newest release for you to enjoy, and share w/ whomever you like, so promo the hell out of it, Claude.  Yer pal in Cal.”

I always enjoyed Jimmy.

Ken Dowe:  “Hi, Claude … Thanks for the nice mention. I promised you a word about our mutual friend, Bill Stewart.  Your column came as my reminder.  And, please forgive, but even this treatise is a disservice to the man Bill Stewart was … to me … and to the radio industry.  First, with regard to Don Keyes, Don was close to Gordon McLendon’s age and they were pals.  He was winding down his years with McLendon not so long after I arrived during the early ‘60s and had been with Gordon almost from the beginning.  Don was a marvelous announcer and the two of them authored and recorded many of the great and iconic early KLIF promos.  Gordon was a network-calibre announcer, of course.  He could have done the nightly network news with the best of the most celebrated. I’d have put my money on Gordon in a race for who was best.  Don, was the perfect aide-de-camp in those early years.  He left McLendon on good terms to buy an AM, in Canton, OH.

“Most of those of us who date to the early years of rock ’n’ roll know the story of Todd Storz listening to jukeboxes in Omaha playing the same songs over and over.  Then, putting his radio station on the air after that lesson.  Nobody ever mentions Bill Stewart being there with Todd.  But, he was Todd’s Program Director and was Todd’s equal in the decision to convert KOWH in Omaha to all hits. KOWH was first to air Top 40 as a format.  Todd deservedly gets credit for being the first with the breakaway format on his station.  But, Bill was with him all the way.  Storz stations were highly popular all over the nation.  Bill was there.  The creators of Top 40 and rock ‘n’ roll radio were in fact a triumvirate.  It is reported that Todd invented it, and Gordon perfected it.  That is pretty much on target.  However, it’s not the (always untold) rest of the story.  Top 40 Radio was made whole from the beginning, and the third person of the trinity, was an outlier.  Bill Stewart.

“Bill was there when the new radio world exploded, and with Gordon (who hired Bill away from Todd) to add the contests, the bizarre promotions, as keepers of the flame that created a national world-of-mouth, with Storz stations succeeding wildly, and McLendon’s legendary KLIF quickly becoming the template of Top 40 and other McLendon formats.  It was no coincidence that the flamboyant style and confidence of the Storz and McLendon stations ... were shepherded by Bill Stewart.  I didn’t know Todd Storz, but I certainly knew of his success in market after market.  I know that Bill Stewart had a hand in that, and I know that Bill Stewart was invaluable to Gordon in helping create stations that totally dominated their markets.  Not just Top 40, either.  Number one legends like KABL, an outrageously successful San Francisco easy listening (AM!) had the mark from Bill Stewart’s early days at KLIF.  Just different music.  I could always hear Gordon and Bill even in that format during my business calls to KABL.

“I came to KLIF from Kent Burkhart’s remarkable WQXI in Atlanta in 1963, and stayed until I was hired by the ‘Living Legend’ Pat O’Day to work for him, Lester Smith, and Danny Kaye.   A year or so later, KLIF had lost their incredibly successful ‘Charlie & Harrigan’ morning show when Ron Chapman turned his radio successes into the same stardom on television.  Gordon ... and Bill ... had been attempting to create a new morning show for KLIF to continue Ron’s incredible achievements.  ‘What about Ken”? Bill asked Gordon.  Gordon’s response was, ‘I think we need two people’.  Bill answered:  ‘Ken IS two people’.  Which is how ‘Ken & Granny’ became a terrific experience for me, personally and professionally.

“Bill had guts, too.  I don’t know how many times Gordon fired him, but Bill never held back his opinions.  The best example I always use is the morning Gordon’s always volatile father (Mr. Mac) telephoned me after I had finished doing 3 hours on the air with Dick Van Dyke, then the nation’s #1 television star.  I was euphoric, until Bill, Al Lurie the GM and I were invited to depart the studio for Mr. Mac’s office.  He seated us, and began to glow red.  His almost dwarf-like bull dog appearance looking more and more like intentions to rip the three of us apart with his teeth.  Mr. Mac proceeded to reprimand me severely for ‘daring’ to put Dick on my show when he was principally in town to promote his movie.  I doubled down on my stupid gene and stammered that I had not realized the film was playing at a theater other than one of the Dallas McLendon theaters.  He went nuts.  Bow tie spinning, spit flying, with the filfiest language a drill sergeant ever screamed, after beginning with:  ‘You didn’t realize!!  You didn’t what?’  Then, in-between spittle curses he told me how much he and Gordon had thought of me, how smart I was, and then … ’To pull such a STUPID stunt’.  Then, he went for Al’s throat.  Another 5 minutes of ranting and raving, finishing up by saying he’d told Gordon that just because he was a Harvard graduate didn’t mean he had the brains to run one of his stations!  It was BRUTAL.  As the dust settled, and the steam was drifting out of Mr. Mac’s heated ears … Bill … bless his heart … and guts said:  ‘I still think it was a wonderful idea, Mr. Mac.  And, a tremendous show this morning’.   The old man locked eyes with Bill ... began sputtering nothings … then cursing ... unmercifully ... following his first insulting retorts: ‘YOU!  YOU!  (putting his finger almost up Bill’s nose)  I EXPECTED THAT FROM YOU … YOU STUPID S.O.B’.  Followed by more of the worst language I'd ever heard.  Then, ‘Get out! Now!  Get out of my building!!’  Bill put his hand around my shoulders as we walked up the street back to the KLIF studios, and said:  ‘Well, guess that’s it for you old buddy. That’s usually what happens after one of these tsunamis.  But, I gotta tell you … it was a helluva show this morning!’  Guts!

“And, I didn’t get fired. The old man actually loved me thereafter.  Maybe it was because a week later I ordered a hot dog eating contest at McLendon’s World’s Largest Drive-in Theater to break a Guinness record.  Mr. Mac stood by his car and said:  ‘Now, that’s using your head for something besides a hat rack, my boy. I want you take this ... and invite that pretty little wife of yours out to dinner’.  He slapped a hundred dollar bill in my hand, and I said: ‘Gee, thanks, Mr. Mac.  You don’t have to do that’.  ‘Don’t you tell me what I have to do!’  Still stupid.

“There are too many stories to attempt if I were to explain all Bill’s attributes.  First, he was not everybody’s cuppa tea.  He married Marlene, from New Orleans.  When I last saw her she was still one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever known.  The first morning of the honeymoon, Bill told Marlene that he had one improvement he needed to undertake.  Marlene had a New Orleans accent.  Uh oh.  So, Bill hired a professional voice coach for her, and she still has voice as beautiful as is she. I told you … Bill never held back.  And, I said … he had guts!  He was extraordinarily intelligent and while he instructed much like your toughest college professor, he was certainly the finest teacher in the world.  EVERY morning part of my job was to have breakfast with him after my show’s completion.  At nine o'clock across the street from KLIF, where he gave me pop quizzes:  ‘Why did you not mention___?’  ‘What made you think ___ was funny?’  ‘While did you go on so long about___?’  ‘Didn’t  it occur to you that___?’  It was embarrassing and enlightening.  Also, humbling.

“Most of what I did and said after Bill left and Gordon took me off the air to become the Corporate Executive VP are direct quotes learned from Gordon and Bill, or I am paraphrasing one or the other.  No one did detail like Bill.  The immensely creative Gordon McLendon is the only genius I have ever known, but Bill and Gordon shared a mutual intensity and grasp for ideas, were each possessed of uncommon judgment, and both able to perceive and reason brilliantly.  To me that goes beyond the range and limits of IQ.  Memorize enough poems and the like and you’ll have a fine IQ.  The kind of intelligence Gordon and Bill had was that which I use to measure ‘smart’.  These really were, the smartest guys in the room.  The systematic instruction I received during the years I was fortunate to spend with them, certainly transcended any formal education I might have once thought superior.

“Sorry for the length, but Bill deserves far more.  Even a book.  But, mostly to be remembered in equal parts with Todd and Gordon.  Todd, Gordon, Bill ... the men who saved radio (from new and more exciting TV) and created radio ... as we know it today.  I knew Bill.  I was there.  As were you, Claude.”

Kent Kotal:  “If you haven't heard, Wally Clark ‘officially’ announced his retirement from "the public eye" this week at the ripe young age of 84.  We're running a short piece in Forgotten Hits today and would love to follow it up with a few comments and/or memories.  Feel free to pass this along in your newsletter and have interested parties contact me.”
Click here: Forgotten Hits

Jorj Bauer:  “Searching the internet for traces of my uncle – I am Marty's nephew, and am a photographic artist, based in Philadelphia – I stumbled across your Commentary from 2013:
http://www.hollywoodhillsgroup.com/commentaries/ch-04-01-13/
Damned if that one quote doesn't fit him to a tee. I can hear it in his flat tones and see it with that wide smile of his.  Thanks for name-dropping someone that isn't a celebrity to most, but certainly is to me.  You gave me a great opportunity to reflect upon his character.”

Marty Iger was a good friend and a phenomenal photographer.  I still have a book or two of his photos.  He specialized in aerial work, but I have a book, I believe, of the life of ants.  He and Bob Curran, editor of Cavalier, were also friends.

Heard from Don Imus with a link to an appearance he made on the Letterman show.  Barbara and I taped Letterman’s last show and watched it the next day.  Great!  Next week, Irons and more!