Monday, September 1, 2014

Claude Commentary No. 27r2


September 1, 2014

Claude’s Commentary No. 27
By Claude Hall

Joe Smith:  “Hey, Scribe For Old People … Delighted to read your pieces.  Remember, I was a DJ for 10 years after graduating from Yale so guys calling to mind how it was is a kick.  I am the longest continuous Laker season ticket holder (others leave the field open by passing on) and obviously have a great relationship with the organization. They backed off on what I considered an overreach with timing on ticket renewals.  Much time recently has been involved with 200 interviews I did for a book 24 years ago.  The Library Of Congress now has the tapes and has put 65 of them on line under Joe Smith Collection.  Some real heavy hitters from Artie Shaw to Jagger, Bono, etc., and the Library tells me they are amazed at the interest.  Now I get more and more requests for interviews with me and camera crews coming to the house for tapings.  Can record hops be on the schedule again?  Mr. Diamond appears so often in your pieces that he must be 120 years old.  Ask him about promoting for Mercury when I ruled Rock and Roll on Boston radio.  Keep dancing, Claude.”

There are a few of us who’re basketball aficionados.  Joe Smith, once head of Elektra Records, is probably tops on the list although Johnny Holliday might protest that claim.  Johnny used to organize a team at the radio stations where he jocked.  KYA, San Francisco, for example, where just sometimes Rick Barry would play on his team as a ringer.  Gary Owens once loved to play basketball on Sundays mornings with a makeshift group in the valley.  For a while, one of the players had played at UCLA and worshipped John Wooten.  After I moved away, I understand that I was replaced by an owner of the Suns.  Ragknot ball.  The phrase “Oh, Gary!” came about when GO would shoot a hookshot from the corner and it would ricochet off the top corner of the backboard and go in the bucket, an absolutely impossible shot.  Tony Richand (any of you guys remember Tony … one of the best indie promotion men in the business?) worshipped the Lakers and had a season ticket until priced out.  But Joe?  Top fan of the Lakers.  Even made a highlight film for a year or two.  Not even Jack Nickelson has achieved that lofty status.  The ticket renewal incident made the local newspaper in LA.  I’m sort of pleased that Joe will still be in the stands.

Danny Davis:  “Hey-y dere', Authorman!  Depression struck 'at the start of the 'Monday Music Meal and Breakfast Menu, about 9:30 a.m. today!  I was deep into Shredded Wheat and blueberries, when the lauded and oft vaunted, Roger Carroll, causes a mis-directed swallow with the admission 'he didn't know any of the commentary folks' you write about', excepting Chuck Blore or Larry Cohen! Two for the length of Mr. Carroll's 'time in grade', got to me!  I ain't truly conversant with Chuck Blore, but I know the esteem in which he's held, and I'm respectful! Don't know if I ever 'pushed' him on The Monkees or The Partridge Family or Phil Spector, but he does hold forth on the roll-a-disk!  (I figure if, at this late date, the 'reach' is for Chuck Blore, I got Don Graham!) The other guy in 'the loop' causes concern. Hot and cold strikes two different mentions and, Claude, you ain't got the time!  My depression WILL be dissuaded after I make the moves to address Roger Carroll as you recall him, usually weekly, and try to update that gentleman, and 'Lee Baby' in a two-for-one exchange! I'm grateful to Mr. Carroll for the impetus that puts me in league with the aforementioned Don 'Saint Gramcracker' Graham! (Now if only I could remember 'the other guy'!) Best to your 'houseHALL'!”

More Danny Davis:  “Apology, before it's needed!  Mr. Carroll: I took the liberty of seeking a comedy 'vent', while alluding to your Claude Hall piece, this weeks' Commentary regarding 'no mas' than two, in your memories of the genteel folks who sought your help, advice, and airplay while you manned that power-laden microphone for, I imagine, a pretty lengthy amount of time!  I certainly am guilty!  During my career, illustrious as my ego allows me to believe it was, I can't remember pressing your stature for the while you were at the 'king-man' stations!  My reaction to what you wrote, was an indictment of a guy who thought he 'knew the turf'! ... and had it covered! The expense reports I've held on to are absent your notable name!  That failing alone prompts two apologies. I'm sorry for missing a chance to cultivate a heavyweight, and to plead forgiveness for this 'try' at a 'stand-up' writ' wit' woids!  Sincerely, honest, as if I was going after a hit record!”

Jack Gale:  “Your column gets better and better.  It's an encyclopedia of where the old-timers are … which ones are still here and which ones like you say  ‘We come, we do, we go’.  You mentioned Roger Carroll, who may not know who we are.  Roger and I grew up together in Baltimore and sold papers at the Pimlico Race Track when we were 15 years old.  He started in radio at WFMD in Frederick, Maryland, and I wound up at WBTM in Danville, VA.  As I remember, that was back in 1944.  We both lost our wives Beverly and Lovey this past year.  Thanks for the great comments on Playback's new album, ‘Shelby County Line’.  Best to Barbara.”

Don Kennedy:  “Gotta' admit to being out of it when I read much of your material, for my radio time-line stops in the mid-50s and doesn't pick up again until my syndicated program from '86 through '13 ... and it was devoted mostly to Big Band and the stories behind the music.  The unfortunate part is our audience died.  Rude of them, of course, but we didn't seem to be able to generate enough interest among younger generations to make such a program continue to be feasible.  My views as expressed here, then, are those of a mind limited by lack of practical radio experience between the mid '50s and the present.  Given those limitations I regret the lack of personality and individuality in music radio today.  Plenty of room for personality to shine through on talk programming and that's the kind of programming often garnering the big numbers, but for the most part music programming is limited to top-tune playlists and oft-repeated liners devoid of human warmth.  That kind of programming doesn't allow an announcer to select his own music which would give his program a distinction over others, nor does it encourage announcers to inject personal comments.  Even when such comments are a part of this robotic programming they're often lost in a flurry of mechanically delivered words.  Satellite radio recently put at liberty some of their 'live' music program hosts, relegating many of their channels to the status of a poorly-programmed juke-box.  A younger friend of mine showed me how easy it is to find a specific track by a particular artist, using some internet service which, in this instance, played on the tin-foil speaker in his tricky little phone.  It's all reflective of the increasing impersonality of America and the world.  How can we expect a personality on the radio when we often cannot expect to find a 'real' personality in life?  They're too busy looking at pictures or jokes on their coveted phones to speak to others.  How's THAT for barely restrained anger over the current condition of radio...maybe the current condition of the world?”

Ken Dowe:  “I was happy to see your edit and to learn that ole George (Wilson) in later years chose to use words more befitting the gentleman I knew.  I confess that in moments of stupid temper losses, I also have erupted with one syllable four-letter words.  Not often, thankfully, and I do not think it was cute or admirable.  In quoting conversations including vulgarities, or representing accuracy in a particular situation, I certainly can appreciate the necessity of authenticity.  However, I never fail to be impressed by an erudite response, or to admire the ability of the well informed to communicate within the rules of known etiquette. That is always a stunning moment.  Why is it necessary to suffer a weatherboarding of F-words in what might otherwise be a good movie?  There are 569 of them in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.  I didn't choose to buy a ticket. Immoderate decadence is neither common, necessary, or entertaining.  I am impressed with your respect for George, and your discernment.”

Ron Brandon:  “Hi Claude … like many of us, I've read quite a number of books by various industry folks over the years.   Recently finished Jerry Wexler's ‘Rhythm and the Blues’ … which was excellent.  Having grown up in the early 50s as a high school kid in Memphis, I can attest to the fact that it is true … we did listen religiously nightly to Dewey Phillip's ‘Red Hot and Blue’ on WHBQ.  He was our introduction to Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and a legion of black artists that we would not have known otherwise.  And, of course, in time he wrote himself into the history books with the introduction of Elvis to the world.  (attachment)  I was so taken with one page in particular that I shared it with Facebook (and a number of old radio names that you know well).  I think and suggested that for the younger folks who came later to the world of rock and roll, this few paragraphs described perfectly the time and the biz, as it was … just as it was beginning to ‘bubble under’ the mass-appeal world that it soon dominated.  And like you, only in these latter days and years am I having the time and opportunity to really learn about the biz that we devoted all those years to.  We thought it would last forever, but in the big book it will soon be just a paragraph.  I enjoy your ramblings, and knowing that there are still quite a few of us around.”

Ron, I sincerely appreciate you sending me that page or so.  Odd, but I’d recently finished reading Jerry’s book myself, courtesy of Sam Hale out of Atlanta.  Just FYI, I had dinner one evening with Sam Phillips in Nashville and he told me and Billboard music editor Paul Ackerman that he’d paid Dewey $5 to play that first record.  The only question I still have is whether the record was “Blue Moon of Kentucky” or “That’s Alright.”

Jim Ramsburg is one of us and he occasionally sends out a tease for either his book or his radio blog and the copy is always well-written.  Here’s the latest:  “Here's a question for you and anyone else who shares our interest in broadcasting history: What was the most memorable gag ever performed on Network Radio?  Altogether now....  Okay, now that we've got that out of the way -- do you know the real story behind the gag and how an Academy Award statuette stretched it into a seven week storyline?  It's all contained in the new text and audio post at www.jimramsburg.com and it's funny stuff.”

Great on you, Jim!

More Jim Ramsburg:  “Claude:  I heard this week from David Gleason who runs www.americanradiohistory.com.  David has put a link to www.jimramsburg.com on his excellent site of archived periodicals but he has problems, too - trying to fill out his 7-year collection of Radio Daily with issues from 1938 through 1944.  I'm confident that I'd find info from the 1930's in the Variety Internet archives.  But they want $600 a year for unlimited access -- marked down from $900 last year.  Maybe I can wait them out for a lower price.  Or maybe I can win Powerball tonight -- the chances are better.”

Jim Gabbert, San Francisco:  “Claude, I have been in contact with the Kalil people looking at buying a San Francisco radio station.  I forwarded your commentary to Frank.”

My thanks, Jim.

Frank Kalil:  “Please tell Jay Lawrence that he is still one of my favorite people in this world but, no, he can’t have my joke file.  I may need to say something funny someday.”

Mel Phillips:  “Looking forward to reading your new Commentary.  I've been getting a lot of feedback on my weekly mentions, so thanks for making me a star.  It helps with my own website as well.  I think so highly of Bruce Lundvall that I wanted to add my thoughts on Bruce without it being a eulogy because this man is alive and more than well living in the moment with his greatest love -- music.  I add Bruce to my own personal list of heroes who have found the secret of extending life and that's enjoying every moment working on what you choose (and love) to do.  For Bruce, it's music.  One of the greatest memories of knowing Dick Clark was his passion for today's music.  Dick would mention the names of the Philadelphia promotion people who hocked (a Danny Davis term) him when he hosted American Bandstand but he also knew where or what they were doing today.  Dick loved today's music and entertainment and had knowledge of the hot contemporary artists.  Bruce is much the same although his love of jazz trumps all other genres of music.  That big smile on his face in the photo spoke volumes.  When I saw that story I sent a Tweet (or Facebook message, don't remember which) to Bruce congratulating him on not living 50 years back but living today.  The past is just that -- a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.  What I forgot to mention to Bruce was this (I'm sure he'll read this): Bruce, I still won't play your version of ‘Winchester Cathedral’. Thanks for the space, Claude.”

Will one of you make sure that Bruce gets this copy of Commentary?  I used to have a great email list … then I got hacked.

Chuck Chellman:  “Loved reading this again this morning, Claude … loved seeing the mentions of legendary radio personality Eddie Hill.  Eddie was great at WSM, but his popularity really blossomed at WLAC-TV where Eddie and his crew were the top-rated TV entertainment show in the region.  Wonderful man, wonderful family.  As the founder of the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame, I was proud and happy to induct Eddie into the first class, 1975.  Also inducted in 1975 were WSM's Grant Turner and Cincinatti's Nelson King. The 1976 class inducted Los Angeles' Joe Allison and Chicago's Randy Blake.  This annual event is the only sold-out gathering at the annual Country Radio Seminar.  Thanks for your friendship over the years, Claude.”

The only time I got to meet Eddie Hill was at a convention in Nashville and by then he’d suffered a stroke and someone wheeled him into the room in a wheelchair.  I ran over and kneeled down and told him that he was more than likely the reason I was working at Billboard … that I’d listened to him back in Texas and he might not be able to understand me, but I just wanted him to know how much I enjoyed listening to him over WSM.  The friend behind the wheelchair said:  “He can not only hear you, Claude, but understand.”

Just FYI, my three nieces and nephew, courtesy of my brother Buddy, still remember Chuck Chellman treating them to ice cream at his suite at the Shamrock in Houston.  When Barbara and I had lunch with Morris Diamond and Alice Harnell the other day, neither of us could remember what the convention was that was going on.  But I do remember that Morris Diamond was there.  The man is a living legend of being there.  To wit: Joe Smith remembering him being in Boston.

Walt Pinto:  “If you have a minute, would you send Bob Paiva my email?  He lives close to me.  We used to work together, and I saw him several years ago at an event, but I think his email is in my old computer.”

Bob Walker:  “Speaking of tales, we had a guy promoting Motown product who came to WTIX in the early 70s.  He shook hands and introduced himself.  Then he opened his briefcase and revealed copies of the record he was pushing, stacks of money, and a big pistol.  Message received.  LOL”

I’ve always loved a statement Jerry Wexler made to Paul Ackerman.  Jerry told Paul, then music editor of Billboard, that Atlantic Records had turned payola into an artform.  So far as I know, I’m the only person Paul told that.

Bill Hennes:  “So sorry to hear the news about Mike Joseph, but thanks for passing on the confirmation to me.  He consulted many stations from Top 40, News, and AC, from small, medium and largest markets.  His ‘Hot Hits’ legacy is a great testament to his inventiveness.”

Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles,
it takes away today’s peace.
– courtesy of Mrs. Russ Bach

Monday, August 25, 2014

Claude's Commentary No. 26r2


August 25, 2014

Claude’s Commentary No. 26
By Claude Hall

Again, I point out that Commentary is more or less of a “watering hole” for just about anyone who wishes to contribute.  Mostly those in music and radio, back when and now.  Including a cute tale or two from Rollye James that I may find (it’s on this laptop somewhere) and print eventually.  I have little left to prove these days in conflict, i.e., with a Dex Allan.  Instead, I prefer to enjoy the friendships and the tales that I have been fortunate enough to gather over the years.  And, with God’s luck, perhaps make a new friend on occasion.  We’ve all been around a while and, cliché, “been there, done that” and, I assume, don’t care for nonsense.  You wish to read about Buzz Bennett, there are places (see below).  You’ve never heard of Eddie Hill, tough luck on you!  I write Commentary out of love for radio and music.  I would hope that it’s read basically for the same reasons.

Lee Baby Simms, from his mountain castle above the bay, referred to a suggestion from Dex Allan that “there are many other great people” I could write about.  Lee Baby responds:  “Good Morning, My Good Friend Claude.  I trust that you and Ms. Barbara are well on this most delightful of mornings. Cool and gray and cloudy.  It looks and feels like Winter.  57 degrees when I arose a few hours ago, still only 60 at 10:30 a.m.  Fog envelops The City and The Bay.  (And Lee Baby included a beautiful photo for the benefit of Dr. Robert Weisbuch and Woody Roberts.)  Just beautiful!  And just read Commentary.  Thank goodness for all our old contemporaries helping to ' Keep The Groove Alive'.  There is one guy I could do without. This Dex Allan creature. That son of a bitch has a lot of nerve deeming to give You ‘constructive suggestion’. That little twerp!  Why don`t you tell him to go xxxx himself?  But no, you won`t do that, you are too nice a fellow.  At least you should tell him to keep his 'thoughts’ to himself in as much as no one is interested in them.  AT All.  So let me tell him to go xxxx himself.  Send me his email address and I`ll tell him ‘Hey, you little creep, xxxx you and the slug you slimed in on’.  Or do you think that too harsh of me?   You know me, buddy, if I think they should go xxxx themselves I have no compunctions about telling them to do so.

“Moving on ... a big day coming up just a few days away.  82 years young.  Hot Damn!  Whodaa thunk it?  Don`t be surprised if you find a little surprise on your doorstep on your big day.  Heh, heh.  Oh, Look!  The Sun is burning through the fog.  I am overjoyed.  withakiss.”

My apology to Lee for editing his f word.  I’m not adverse to the word in the fiction I write, depending on the character.  But for this column, I changed it in tribute to our mutual mentor, George Wilson.  Some of you may remember a George Wilson who was quite pithy in his language.  But after he met Jackie, he never mentioned it, but I believe he was “born again.”  When he died, I think his soul was in good shape.  He certainly objected strongly to the language used by a guy who comments all too frequently on music and the music business.  I don’t use the word much in private language.  I am, however, guilty to the foul usage of other words.  The f word was actually the initials used by medical doctors in jolly old England to describe a condition after a sailor had hit port a little too hard.  The doctor would merely write the initials to represent “From Unknown Carnal Knowledge.”  To an extent, I agree with Lee Baby, but I described all of that in Claude’s Commentary No. 25 and above.  So the editing, Lee, was just in case George is looking over my shoulder on this one.

Don Whittemore, the ice cream king:  “Let him get his own Commentary.  F*** his slings and arrows, however well intended by his perspective.  I do believe you'd be writing about those guys if you chose to extoll their contributions to our medium of radio, which reminds me of the 1940's Fred Allen quote, ‘It's called a medium because it's seldom rare or well done’.  Please continue.  Your fan and friend.”

Would you believe this, Don?  I, too, can remember a couple of those great lines by Fred Allen.  “As one fly sitting on a drum said to the other fly, ‘Let’s beat it’.”

Art Wander:  Hi, Claude.  Continue to read your excellent commentaries.  If you have Jonathan Fricke’s email, please send him mine since I don’t recall having received his earlier epistles.  I do know that when I went to a laptop, the computer guy erased all my email stuff.  Stay well.”

Morris Diamond and the charming Alice Harnell were in town this past week at the invite of Olivia Newton-John, performing at the Flamingo.  If we get lucky, there’ll be a photograph at the end of Commentary featuring Olivia Newton-John, Morris Diamond, and Alice Harnell.  It was really a nice lunch with Morris and Alice because, as Barbara said, “They’re nice people.”  I’ve promised to treat the next time they’re in town.  Eggs benedict at the Silver Spoon.  Morris: “We drove home the next day in a horrendous desert storm … got home OK.  Olivia's show was sensational.”

Danny Davis:  “Claude, join in one for Frankie Randall!  He ain't in good shape!  Well loved for long time, and a favorite stalwart of the desert lunch-bunch!  Arnie Capitainelli, of that favorite Thursday function, forwarded this 'tip of the day': ‘Turning the other cheek, doesn't mean you wanna' be struck again. It means you are willing to see the other person, from a different point of view’.  Arnie is a valued Good Guy recipient, no shit!”

The best wishes of all of us to Frankie Randall.  And great on you, Arnie!

Jay Lawrence:  “Remembering KTKT, Tucson.  L. David Moorhead (Guy Williams hired me. There were many more times he hired me).  Frank Kalil should be mentioned.  He had a card file of one-liners.  He'd take out 10 or so every day.  He'd use them and put them at the back of the file until they came up again.  I don't know if he ever replenished the file.  Frank today is a well-to-do station broker.  I should have had a card file.  By the way, just ONE book can't possibly tell all of the L. David, Guy Williams stories.”

Be great if someone would forward this Commentary on to Frank Kalil.  Ask him if he still has that file.  Just FYI, Lee Baby Simms tells a good/interesting tale about L. David Moorhead in one of the short stories in “Radio Wars” which is available cheaply enough at Amazon.com/Kindle Books.

Clark Weber sent a flyer for a book titled “Clark Weber’s Rock and Roll Radio 1955-75: The Fun Years.”  The book is by Clark and Neal Samors with foreword by Neil Sedaka.  From Chicago’s Books Press (also Amazon.com) at $29.59 soft cover, $37.50 hard cover.  One of the stories concerns Larry Lujack and a crazed pilot (Clark) over Chicago.  Clark, you might consider donating a copy to the Arnold Shaw Collection at UNLV.  Shaw was a major music publisher in Manhattan until he retired to Las Vegas.  Thereupon, he taught music industry courses at the university and founded the collection.

Charlie Barrett sent Don Graham and a few others the link to a story in the New York Times about Bruce Lundvall that most of you will find interesting.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/arts/music/bruce-lundvall-creates-sunrise-senior-living-jazz-festival.html?_r=1

Jim Slone:  “Claude … I forgot to mention that Shadoe Stevens once worked here at KIKX in Tucson (Terry Ingstad) ... became quite famous didn't he?  Don't know if that was mentioned in the Tucson Radio Book or not ... I think L. David Moorhead was instrumental in getting K-CUB named as the Billboard Magazine Grand International Station of the Year back in 1976.  Frank Kalil, who is on the cover of the Tucson Radio Book, is the biggest Radio/TV broker in the land … according to my information, no other broker is even close.  He has been enormously successful and still going strong.”

I suppose it’s amazing just how far a box of file card one-liners can go.

Bill Hennes:  “Does anyone know if Mike Joseph, program consultant, is living or dead and if he is alive where he is?  Mike was a major force in program consulting from 1956-1985!  The last I knew he was in LA, and he used to call me about once every three month.  Last time I heard from him was over nine years ago.  Anyone know if he is still with us and where?”

Bill, I can’t be positive, but I think someone emailed several years ago that he’d passed on.  In Los Angeles.  Hell of a place to pass on.  But, of course, if you find a good place, let me know.

Mel Phillips:  “Claude, thanks for including my piece in tribute to all the air talent that I had the pleasure of working with.  And to Don Imus, thanks for the mention.  I meant what I said about you (regarding Imus).  I keep up with what's happening at your ranch by reading Mike Lupica's column every week.  He's been very loyal to you.  I hope you beat that fake ailment you claimed to have. You'll outlive all of us.”

Don Imus, I’m saddened to hear you may be suffering some kind of ailment.  I had a heart attack more than a dozen years ago.  This is one of the reasons I’m so grateful to have Lee Baby Simms around.  Now there’s a guy who is really alive!  Keeps me percolating!  Kim, you’ve got one heck of a father (I think Kim is on my list).

Herb Oscar Anderson sent me a link and, believe me, you will enjoy this!  Cuter than a puddle of mud.  It’s a video of HOA on the air at 93.7 Ocean FM.  Absolutely great.  Sings with the melody.  Didn’t seem to be reading the lyrics either.  My compliments.  Great on you, Herb!  Eddie Hill, WSM, Nashville, used to occasionally sing along with a record and just about everyone I know will admit that it was not easy to sing along with Webb Pierce or Roy Acuff.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yTxZU_NRd8

Larry Cohen:  Larry Cohen to Rick Frio: “Your short phrase of ‘You may like this’ to your link was understated. I didn't like it.  I LOVED IT!  It brought back great memories to me in 64' when there were record stores & chains & the energy and excitement of breaking new artists at the local distributor level prevailed!  Claude, tout your readers to this outstanding link. It is better then going to a movie.  Thanks Rick for your masterful contribution.”

This is the link, again, from Rick Frio:
http://www.bigjaysorensen.com/portal/bigjaysorensen/WeekInPopMusicHistory.aspx
Danny Davis: “Authorman: (He of 'tales' aplenty, and lingo unvarnished!, and the wit to let the readership 'go their own way'!)  Fer yars, Larry, I've utilized the language culled, in sum small measure from Damon Runyon, (and hoping for the 'treasure', that 'it' availed him!).  Matter of fact, 'aged friend?', the Prof mentoring me on 'the book', was first to draw the similarily 'tween moi', my literary style, and my literary hero!  Incidentally, Friend, Larry?, when time allows for your perusal of wat' u rote, an the manna' of ur 'goferit' mimikcree', calls me to advise you NEVER to try your speech pattern in mime fashion!  And, 'cause, nobody can understand your last missive to my h/p, explain the 'White Fish' Platter joke attempt, or where would any non-member of the 'tribe' ever have heard 'of good ol' Yiddish roast beef'!  (Thanks, Claude, for toiling with the above 'banal and non-sensical!' diatribe!)”

Bob Paiva:  “As a kid growing up I was always fascinated by some of the great ‘voices' on radio and TV.  The passing this week of one of those legendary voices, Don Pardo, made me think of another of my vocal ‘heroes’ and a story he told me.  The voice was that of Art Hannas, who was the original announcer on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’.  I met him at a cookout in Greenwich, CT, and he told me that he practiced for hour on hour saying ‘This is the Columbia Broadcasting System’ ... in order to get the full majesty of the word ‘Columbia’ into his delivery.  But ... by the time he was with the network long enough to get the hourly ID job ... they'd changed it to ‘CBS New York’.  I found that a wonderfully amusing story.  Two of the other ‘voices’ I particularly loved were that of Reed Hadley and the actor John Ireland.  I could listen to whole episodes of radio drama just to hear their announcing.  And, of course, there were the voices of Wolfman Jack, Casey Kasem, Martin Block and a New York announcer named Jerry Marshall that I grew up listening to.  The voices that filled my head and made me want to be on the radio.”

Ken Dowe:  “Thanks, Claude.  I love Larry Cohen.  Sure miss him and numerous of the other truly professional music guys.  They made our jobs simpler.”

Roger Carroll:  “Worked in LA -- my exception being when I was 15-18 yrs old working at WFMD in Fredrick, MD, then 12 years at ABC-TV and radio -- for 22 years at Gene Autry's GWB plus announcing major TV shows … Claude, I have never heard of the people you write about except Chuck Blore and the lovely Larry Cohen.”

What a pity, Roger.  Great people.  Of course, when you know Chuck Blore, you don’t really need to know too many other radio people.  He’s a radio world unto himself.  Plus, he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Real radio.  And, of course, one should also have said “hello,” at least in passing, to Gary Owens.

Wally Roker:  “Love this Commentary.”

The third Music Industry Reunion is set for Wednesday, Oct. 15 at the Hill Country Barbecue Market 6 p.m.-?  No host bar/food. The restaurant is located at 30 West 26th St. and tickets are limited. This is an invitation only party.  For information, Jon Scott, jonpaulscott@gmail.com or Greg Lee, socialmediastrategies@gmail.com.   The New York Music Industry Reunion organizing committee -- Jon Scott, Greg Lee, Judy Libow, Roxy Myzal, Ted Utz, Wayne McManners, Harvey Leeds, Steve Leeds, Pete Gidion, Jim DelBalzo, Jessie Scott.  Two previous “reunions” were held in Los Angeles.

Well, I’ve finished the final edit on my Great American Novel and Bill Pearson has finished the cover and soon – a week or so – I’ll install it with Kindle Books.  Warning:  It might offend you.  Got a lot of those dirty words in it.

COUNTRY MATTERS
I still think radio when it comes to music.  You know: Will it be played?  Will it be a hit?  And I’m a bit prejudiced when it comes to old friends.  Dex Allan and Roger Carroll may not know who Jack Gale is.  But I do.  Great, great radio man!  Mentor to other great radio men.  Outstanding radio personality.  Phenomenal program director.  Dex Allan might not know where WTMA is, but the Great God of Radio does.   And so do I.

Thus, I would praise this CD by the Shelby County Line on Playback Records.  Just because Jack Gale owns Playback Records.  But the group is damned good!  Good group that can obviously play rock, but goes country and I enjoyed “Great Minds Drink a Lot” and “Honey Do.”  Started my foot tapping.  These guys have paid their dues.  Good musicians.  “She’s About Love” is cute.  Need to get these guys on the jukebox.  Good CD.  My compliments, Jack and Good On You Shelby County Line!

PBS MATTERS
“Memphis” on PBS Sunday, Aug. 24, was quite interesting.  Supposedly loosely based on life of Dewey Phillips and I don’t know enough about Dewey to say yea or nope, but it featured Chad Kimball, who is probably bound for better things and Montego Grover, female lead who was excellent.  Worth seeing just for the heck of it.

REPRISE MATTERS
From Sept. 21, 2009
In discussion about “Matilda” by Cookie Cutter and the Cupcakes, George Wilson said one the best he knew at remembering songs was Rollye James.  “She knew all that stuff.  Especially the old blues tunes.”  The record “Matilda” went to No. 1 in Charleston, SC.  But probably George is the only one who’d remember that.  Others who were mental giants at remembering songs and artists?  Bill Drake, Mike Curb, Ted Atkins, Seymour Stein.  “Bill Drake and Ted Atkins used to play a game for hours at Martoni’s,” George said.  I remember one evening when Mike Curb and Ted Atkins sat swapping record names and labels and even the color of the label on the copy that went out to the radio stations.  This was at a party I believe at the home of Atkins in the Hollywood Hills area.  Great view of Los Angeles at night.  Paul Ackerman, late music editor of Billboard magazine, once told me that Seymour Stein astonished Don Pierce by relating his entire Star Records catalog.  This was many years ago…late 50s or early 60s; I seem to recall Paul stating that Stein worked for Billboard at the time..  I never met Seymour, but Paul loved the guy and always spoke highly of him.  Always wanted to meet him.  Find out how his mind worked.  His real name, I understand, is Steinbeagle.  We had many very, very bright people in the radio and music businesses.  In retrospect, probably more than our share of great talents and bright minds.  Jack McCoy, who programmed KCBQ in San Diego to No. 1 was one of these people.  Buzz Bennett had his flaws (don’t we all?), but I believe he was extremely bright.  L. David Moorhead, general manager of KMET in Los Angeles, had total recall of everything he heard and I understand that his son Rob Moorhead can remember everything he reads.

May your day be pleasant and filled with music
and may your tomorrow and tomorrows be even better.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Claude’s Commentary.7r

July 7, 2014
 
Claude’s Commentary
By Claude Hall
 
Larry White, now in Charlotte, NC:  “I remember that Four Seasons show in Buffalo years ago very well.  After the show, you and Barbara, Joey and his guest (his wife at the time, as I recall) and Jay Meyers (WBUF's PD) and his wife joined us at our home for a while before you returned to Brockport.  It was a great visit since I was always a big Joey Reynolds fan from the time I first got into the business. And like everyone else from the era never missed your weekly Vox Jox column in Billboard.  Claude, when I attended a few of the Billboard radio programming conferences in NYC, I never would have guessed that, years later, I would have you and Joey as guests in our home.  It was quite an honor.  Best to you and Barbara.”
 
Don Whittemore defended the quality of the movie.  “Saw ‘Jersey Boys’ Sunday.  Joey Reynolds's four-hour Four Seasons non-stop was a vital bit in the movie, but alas no name credit and the DJ didn't look at all like Joey.  Great Movie, too.  So nice I'll see it twice.”
 
Burt Sherwood: “Claude:  As we age brevity is a word that someone else uses when writing a note.  The death knell (if you will) of WMCA was sounded by Hal Neal the then GM of WABC.  He finally got rid of the ‘Breakfast Club’.  Steve Labunski, our manager at WMCA, was always afraid this would happen … what ensued was Herb Oscar jumping over to WABC to fill the ‘void’ of the Breakfast Club and leaving WMCA with his great ratings, and no HOA.  Why wouldn't WABC sound good?  They had Herb and Scott from WMCA.  HOA and Scott and I were very close ... Herb got us to move up to Connecticut to be with his family and Scott's as well ... we all lived within 15 minutes of each other ... our wives and kids all were very friendly. HOA and I still talk all the time...Scott as you know passed away.  HOA , Scott Muni and I along with our families would get together almost every weekend for a bar b que..cook out etc. ... we were very close ... when we were at WMCA we three were on the air longer (air time wise) than most of the rest of the station ... I would see them both daily as I was on the end and the beginning of their shifts.  I was doing overnights and was sponsored by Texaco ... and that story is another one left alone..suffice to say I was the ‘last’ one to leave WMCA and Texaco went off the overnights.  I was scheduled to join the guys ... but the WABC overnight man Big Joe had a no cut contract ... and I still had a lot of time left my WMCA contract as well.
 
“To shorten this ... I was let go at WMCA, and could not get a job in NYC ... I struggled for a year or so and finally got two NYC  lawyers (Bob Price, he became Deputy Mayor of NYC and Ted Kupferman, he became a congressman)  and then Congressman John Lindsay's money to begin my journey in management.  That is a shortcut to a very trying time and a story that will do no one any good.  I did 11 pm Sunday news on WOR as well as the Million Dollar Movie on WOR-TV (for a while), went to Daytona Beach and Harrisburg then to Albany where I honed my management skills ... suffice to say it was the turning point of my life ... and many people were very kind to me as I began the long journey wearing the ‘suit’.  The first station I ran was in Brattleboro, Vermont.  We paid $80,000 for WTSA.  As I tell my son, you gain no knowledge of management from a good operator...it is too good to be picked apart ... so you learn from the guys you worked for that were not so good ... no names ... management is a trickey business ... John Barger wrote kindly of me and Buddy Carr ... AND we all had to learn!
 
“Once again...Ruth Meyer was a friend and we connected again years later when I was GM at WMAQ radio and she and Chuck Renwick were programming NBC Radio Network ... she was a great gal and a pal ... she loved France and got there as often as she could, and Chuck and I once in a while chat about those days , she ended up with terminal cancer and living in Kansas City (her home), and we talked and talked via the phone she could tell history beautifully and was a fine writer ... so much goes by in time ... I thought about a book ... but so has everyone else.  She had a very good private life and talked to me about it all the time ... she made a lot of friends  (including my wife Anne) and was deeply religious!  Enough Claude ... most of this stuff predated your arrival at Billboard and our getting to know each other, and I think I am boring you.  Give Barbara a hug ... from me still standing.”
 
Ah, yes.  Hal Neal.  When he became head of ABC Radio, I received a news release about their Brother John syndicated program.  I wrote the typical news story and printed it in Billboard.  He sent a PR firm to “demand” a larger story.  A feature.  I listened to the program.  Didn’t think much about it.  I said “nope.”  Neal called me.  Again, “nope.”  The PR firm approached again and the guy said he knew Hal Cook, my publisher.  I said, “Good.  I know him, too.”  Neal got revenge a couple of years later.  I was asked to do some consulting for the NAB and Neal threw the proverbial monkey’s wrench into the deal.
 
John Rosica:  “In fact it was Sam Holman who established WABC’s sound and format.  Rick Sklar was just the keeper of the Holman format.”
I think that would be shortchanging Rick, John.  True, the format was set by Sam Holman and I more than likely failed to give Sam his just due (I believe I apologized at one point; I sure hope I did).  But Rick constantly made improvements.  I believe that the real success of the station was because of Rick.  Regardless, as Burt Sherwood indicates, WABC did not fully overcome WMCA until “Breakfast Club” was removed from the air and credit for that probably goes to Rick.  He lamented the program to me a few times.  Not that it was bad.  Just that it didn’t fit a Top 40 station.
 
Larry Woodside, in a follow-up to the Ken Roberts obit:  “Sadly, yes, last month in NYC. There was an obituary in the LA Times yesterday (guess they were a little late getting the word), and then there's this: Ken Roberts, the Other "Jersey Boy," Remembered at the Friars Club.”
Freddy Snakeskin, JACK-FM/KROQ, Los Angeles:  “The LA Times is doing a story on the late Ken Roberts. They already did a lengthy interview with me, but after reading Joey Reynolds' comments in your blog, I was thinking he might be a good source for them to talk to as well. I don't know how far along the reporter, Elaine Woo, is with her story, but since you are in contact with him, would you mind passing this message along? Elaine can be reached at Elaine.woo@latimes.com.”
 
But Elaine Woo responded: Thanks, Freddy, but I already filed the story.  Sounds like there's a book here!”
 
Jay Lawrence in regards to Chuck Blore’s statement about today’s radio lacking entertainment:  “I read the comments about L David Moorhead.  He talked about the entertainment station a lot. Wanted me to work for him.  David hired me or had me hired on 3 different stations.  We met at KTKT Tucson.  He brought me to KFI, next helped move me to WNEW, then to an Arthur Godfrey type show in WNDE, Indianapolis. He hoped to get it on all stations in Gulf Broadcast Group.  Let's write a book about David, there are million stories in the L. David (Guy Williams) City.”
 
You were always huge with David Moorhead, Jay.  Talked about you often.  And, yes, he intended to hire you for the new station he was planning to put on the air in Las Vegas, the first of a chain.  He also intended to hire Mikel Hunter and a couple of others whom I can’t remember after all this time.
 
Al Herskovitz, Bradenton, FL:  “Wow! Talk about going way back in time.  I worked with Dan Ingram when his name was Ray Taylor and mine was Al Harper.  He and i worked weekend nights at WICC in Bridgeport, CT.  He did the music and I did the news.  He even had to co-host a Sunday night classical music show. We were so broke then that we had to pool our change in order to buy one sub sandwich to split for dinner.”
 
Bob Skurzewski:  “I found Casey Kasem to be a neat guy to talk to. He was secretive about things, thus he did not get many pages in our book. He did explain all the thoughts on what would eventually be ‘American Top 40’.  Eddie Chase was mentioned by him as a person who amazed him with a count down of top records when Casey was a teen. He did not have to credit anybody. But he did!  I also tried to get him to write the preface for our book. He politely said no.  As to the news, our book title was never in the body of the article. I did sign off to the gal in charge of these types of views, that we did author the book and gave her info on it. She inserted in the body. That blew me away because the Bflo. News has done little to help local authors get some press.  I understand that the Kasem battles continue with Jean trying to wrestle away the kids trust funds Casey set up for them.  For now lets call that a nasty rumor.  Stay well.”
 
I liked Casey.  Don’t know anyone that didn’t like him.
Don Berns:  “I was always proud to call Bob Lewis (Bob-A-Lou) a friend, since we had both graduated from WBRU at Brown and hit it off well enough that we remained friends through the rest of his life.  Bob arranged for me to sit in with Dan Ingram for a few breaks one day -- one of the thrills of my young life, since for me Dan was one of the all-time greats as well.  But the WABC story that Bob told me that sticks with me today is about the engineer who was having drinks with a fellow 1st ticket holder from WMCA who tried to pry the settings from him for WABC's reverb, which WMCA had tried to copy for years but had never gotten right.  After a few drinks, this WMCA guy thought his buddy was lubricated enough to spill the beans, and sure enough got what he thought was the settings from him. What he didn't know was how loyal the WABC engineer was to his company, and the next day when the WMCA engineer tweaked his station's sound, the jocks all sounded like they were talking from the back of a cave.”
 
I complained that the temperature in Las Vegas was currently around 110 during the day and Woody Roberts responded:  “Hot?  Get back to where you once belonged; only 95 this week.  To help forget LV temp here's some good 'ol Texas radio coming outta cool Dripping Springs -- home of Hamilton's Pool -- to mix with your daily streams and Youtube tunes.
http://streamdb2web.securenetsystems.net/v5/KDRP
Also:
http://www.kdrplive.org/
“PS --  Watch out for that Diet Pepsi, what you need is a cold bottle of Diet Cana Cola.”
Oh, sure.  Funny thing is that someone sent me some hot cocoa from Starbucks; don’t know who.
 
Roger Carroll, Los Angeles:  “Claude, I enjoy your Commentary ... re: Joey Reynolds he has to be kidding about the movie. Some time I will tell you my experience with him.”
 
Roger, don’t wait.  I would indeed love to print something scandalous about Joey.  The first thing I ever wrote about him was for a special magazine Billboard published called SoundMaker.  Circa 1967.  I thought he would sue.  But the first time I met him, he thanked me.  So, you tell me your scandalous story and I’ll tell you two or three of mine!  Maybe four.  Or, heck, let’s do a book!  Did you read “I Love Radio” at Amazon.com/Kindle Books?  Some Joey stuff in there.
 
Lee Baby Simms, who has never (ask Woody Roberts) done anything scandalous in his life other than raise tomatos, sent me an old newspaper item about Billy Joe Shaver being arrested for aggravated assault regarding an incident outside Papa Joe’s Texas Saloon in Lorena, TX, on March 31, 2007.   I remarked that it sounded like a typical Texas bar tale.  Just FYI, Billy Joe was acquitted in a Waco court on April 9, 2010.  Self-defense.  Dale Watson wrote a song about the incident – “Where Do You Want It?” recorded by Whitey Morgan and the 78s.  It’s on the group’s second album on Bloodshot Records.
 
Ah, them Texas bars!
 
Jim Slone:  “My remarks will be a little too old for your readers but probably not for you ... lol  I went to the museum at San Juan Capistrano last week ... on one of the plaques outside was a picture of the sheet music to ‘When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano’ featuring Tony Martin.  There were a lot of different versions of that song but the most popular was by the ink Spots in 1940 … have always loved that song ... I was able to find Tony Martin's recording and it is good, too ... The swallows weren't there last week, but there were hoards of people ... and the gift shop was filled with regular folks buying mementos.”
 
Beautiful place!  Barbara and I and kids have been there.  More than once or twice, I think.  I even have some photos I took.  This, of course, was more than 30-40 years ago.
 
Bobby Ocean:  “Regarding that statement, ‘all Art is a funny business’, you're right, Claude.  It was Kurt Vonnegut who once said, ‘to work at any art, whether done well or badly, is to grow the soul.  So, do it’."
 
Bobby, in my opinion, you’re a tremendous artist!  Takes a gift.  Back in the day of magazines, you’d probably have been famous.  Well, that is even more famous than you are now.  Because, to me, you’re famous.  And great!  A great radio treasure!
 
I hope everyone’s past week was good and that next week will be sensational for you and yours.  At the moment, I’m reading “Rhythm and the Blues.”  A comment maybe next week.

Claude's Commentary No. 25r2


August 18, 2014
Claude’s Commentary No. 25
By Claude Hall

Bob Sherwood:  “Thanks for another entertaining and enlightening missive.  Some random thoughts regarding the photo from Delmonico’s at the end of your piece….
--tell Jerry Sharell he’s opening for Joey Bishop IV tonight at the Troubador.  It’s sold-out.
--tell Don Graham he looks 20 years younger (like he hadn’t even worked Gene Autry’s records before Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) since he dumped the UCLA sweatshirt.  With his eyes he’d look even better in USC Cardinal & Gold.  Also tell him that I re-added the Claudine Longet record
--Ed Rosenblatt still looks like he could go five sets with Roger Federer.  Pisses you off, doesn’t it?  Not fair!
--if Macey Lipman hasn’t left yet, tell him to stay in Armani’s penthouse suite in The Hassler at the top of The Spanish Steps.  One of the great hotels of the world and the view over Rome is worth a showing by itself.  Also, go to Villa Cimbrone in Ravello.  The views of the gardens and the belvedere (Terrazo dell’infinito) overlooking the Mediterranean are unequaled anywhere in the world.  Gore Vidal in answer to a question about the most beautiful spot in the world once responded that it was Villa Cimbrone when the view from the belvedere showed a sky and water so blue you couldn’t tell the difference.  Macey’ll begin painting and we may never see him again.  Nice day!
“You can reach Don Imus at WABC in NYC.  He hasn’t lost any of what’s made him great since the late ‘60s.  The curiosity, the intelligence, the humor, the quick mind and the famed prickliness.
“Finally, it occurs to me that after you name Vin Scully, there’s a very short list of those who can be spoken about in the same paragraph.  Johnny Holliday is among them.”
And, Bob, I would add another person who, at present, slips my mind.  Getting old.  Actually, I’m getting ancient.  ‘Old’ was yesterday.  But you’re right about Johnny.  Music.  Sports (not just announcing, but he used to play basketball as least as good as Gary Owens).  Commercials.  Acting.  Besides that, somewhere along the way he stumbled over the reputation of being a nice guy.
Don Sundeen: “Lee Baby’s comment about crossing over the bridge to Juarez on his way to San Antonio brought back a lot of memories.  We’ve been watching the TV series, ‘The Bridge’, showing the incredible violence and corruption that the Cartel’s have brought to that little town, and I flashed back to ’67 or ’68 when I was doing six to ten in the evening at KELP.  Many nights after the show I’d go over to Juarez to hear some music and drink quarter beers.  The streets were full of GIs from Fort Bliss who would soon be on their way to Vietnam, and really partying down.  Flash forward to sometime in the mid-70s.  I was sitting at a hotel bar in Little Rock waiting for some jocks, when I guy sat down next to me.  We struck up a conversation and he talked about flying helicopters in ‘Nam, and seeing unspeakable horrors.  I mentioned that I’d been a disc jockey in several markets including El Paso, and when he asked when I told him the years, and he asked what my name was.  I explained I was Don Sundeen, but at KELP I had used the name Donnie Dare.  ‘No shit’, he said. ‘The night we were packing to go to ‘Nam, you could walk up and down the halls in the barracks and hear your voice and music coming from every room; in fact, for a lot of guys you were the last disc jockey on American radio that they ever heard’.  I felt a chill, it hadn’t really registered with me at the time that part of my audience were soldiers passing through Ft. Bliss on their way to a war where many would die.  As he rose to leave, I took the tab and thanked him for telling me his story, and also sharing information that I’ve never forgotten. Claude, I was happy to receive the blog today, looks like the kink is worked out.”
Don, the only Congressional Medal of Honor winner I ever met was at Ft. Bliss.  A Mexican about 5’9”.  Nice guy.  Just back from Korea.  There’s ex-friend of mine and Raul Cardenas—Fernando Corral--who was overrun in Korea.  He stayed firing a Howitzer.  And was left for dead.  Unfortunately, there was no one left alive in his company to write him up.  When he left The University of Texas, he moved back to Mexico.
Rick Frio:  You may like this.
http://www.bigjaysorensen.com/portal/bigjaysorensen/WeekInPopMusicHistory.aspx
Norway?  Norway?  No way!
Bob Barry:  “Now I need help with my long-term memory. When was Herb Oscar Anderson at WOKY?  Was he hired by George Wilson?”
Maybe HOA can tell us.  I’d be interested in his early career.  The only thing I’ve heard about Herb is that he enjoys classical music.  This was during his WABC, New York days.  I think Rick Sklar told me..
Jonathan Fricke, Nashville:  “Hey, Claude -- Hope this finds you and Barbara doing well.  Nancy is going through a rather tough time fighting Lymphoma.  This is her second time with cancer, having won the battle against cervical cancer about 3 years ago.  Nancy went for her first chemo treatment for her lymphoma last Friday and did well.  I've enjoyed reading your commentaries.  Thanks for sending them.  In a couple you have mentioned Art Wander.  Also, in one of your emails to me, you mentioned that he had reached out and would like to hear from me.  I have sent him a few emails, but have never had a response.  Perhaps I have a wrong email address.  Could you let me know if my address is correct?  I worked with Art at WPOP in Hartford CT. He was also programming a station in Memphis when I was hired to take WMC country back in 1973 ... which, oddly enough, was the year I was given the Billboard Major Market PD of the Year award for WMC ... complete with your signature! Fond memories.”
Barbara and I are very sad to hear about Nancy.  Just FYI, Barbara is a double winner from cancer.  And somewhere in this house I have a b&w photo of a very young program director named Jonathan Fricke at a radio station in Lubbock with a very young Willie Nelson.  I ask for prayers for Nancy.  She and Jonathan are special friends.
Jim Slone:  “I was thinking, this is my 51st year in Tucson ... I rode into town in my 1956 Chevy ready to go as the morning man on the brand new K-HOS Radio (I was a little scared and apprehensive). It has been quite a ride … ups and downs ... hills and valleys ... good times and bad times … all in all I couldn’t have asked for better.  Glad I made Tucson my home.  I came here at age 26 and am now 77… healthy and glad to be alive.  K-HOS signed on the air 51 years ago tonight at 7 p.m.  I played the first record which was ‘Company's Comin' by Porter Wagoner.”
Good job, Steve, on “Dream a Little Dream of Me” on the new CD “When You Come Back to Me.”  Nothing as good as a Steve Lawrence song for mellowing out your day.
Jim Slone just mailed me a book called “Tucson Radio” by Russ Jackson and C.J. Brown, $21.99, from www.arcadiapublishing.com.  No index, but I noticed that it mentioned Guy Williams and Pat McMahan.  Chuck Blore, too.  Does it mention Jay Lawrence and George Wilson?  I’ll let you know later.  The information about Guy Williams is a bit wrong.  But the book is mostly pictures, so…
Barbara Hall says that the events in Ferguson, MO, this past week make her Devon teeshirt good to go.  Whups!  Now we hear that Brown might have been just a thug.  Unfortunately, at the time the cop pulled the trigger just a few times too many, he probably didn’t know.  But now the two “witnesses” are going to have to come up with another story.  Sorry about the teeshirt, girl.
Bob Wolfson:  “On some of the older Hollywood treaties there are a number of great programmers, announcers, producers, etc. etc., listed.  Somehow David Moorhead’s name is nowhere to be seen.  I can vividly remember countless dinners around the US&A ... great nights spent in fantastic hotel bedrooms ... and meeting most of the folk who worked for David (and George) over those exciting years I spent in radio ... and that covers the period 1947 to 1991 from acting to announcing to ... well, just having a really great time with good friends (food and drink included).”
Bob, I wrote and published an eBook called “Radio Wars” and in there is a tale about L. David Moorhead.  Jimmy Rabbitt and Lee Baby Simms and others, too, of course.  Chuck Blore loved the tales.  George Wilson called right after he read the story about Moorhead to ask if it was all true.  I hated to tell him “yes.”  But George pointed out that L. David should mostly be remembered for creating one of the greatest icons – KMET-FM – in radio history.  And that, too, is true.  The book is available at Amazon.com/Kindle Books for just a couple of bucks.
Larry Cohen:  “To Danny Davis:  Ur usage of Inglish & spelinng is atrocious. Hope dere's mor claritey in de long awaittedd Fill Spoector book uve been writtinng.  P.S.  And many thanx to Ken Dowe for opening the door for me to real Texas barbeque at Sam's 40 years ago (across the street from KLIF) while all the time (with a name like Sam's) I thought it was good old Yiddish roast beef.”
Larry, no picking on Danny Davis.  He’s a friend of mine.  Too, Marie Davis just might slap you upside the head with a dead taco.
Dex Allan:  “Some items in your blog are refreshing, and interesting.  One constructive suggestion:  include more often dialogue about DIFFERENT people ... there is a consistency of mentioning the same people every week, but there are many OTHER great people you could write about ... example...John Rook, Ted Atkins, Buzz Bennett, Pat O'Day, etc.  Just a thought.”
Dex, I’ve been editing Commentary for more than 10 years.  I don’t actually write much of it.  Though now and then I’ll sound off about something.  We did a big thing about trying to find Buzz years and years ago.  Traced a ‘Buzz Bennett’ to a Florida TV where he did a blog about movies; he denied he was the one.  A tale about him is in “I Love Radio” for a couple of bucks at Amazon.com/Kindle Books.  Just FYI, the last radio buddy to see him put him on a plane to Florida out of Dallas and he was very sick at the time.  Ted and Pat have written in to Commentary.  Ted, of course, is gone now.  I think Pat gets Commentary; he’s on my mailing list.  I know Pat fairly well.  Great PD and great GM.  Wish I could contact another Pat … Pat McMahon, a great PD who probably still lives in Phoenix.  Now there is a story!  If and when Pat O’Day or Pat McMahon wish to say something, I suppose they will write.  I print most of everything I get.  Incidentally, I don’t do phone anymore.
One more thing, Dex:  I couldn’t do Commentary without the folks who write me.  I’m grateful for each and every cottonpicking one of them!  And I’m not the only person who likes people such as Lee Baby Simms and Don Whittemore.
Don Imus:  “Don Whittemore and I are friends … going back to his record promo days ... every once in awhile he emails me and he watches the show.  I always liked him.  Anyway ... he sent me a blog you had written that included some comments by a PD I worked with at NBC.  Mel Phillips, I think ... very nice guy.  I have fond memories of you and always remember how good you were to me.  I am happy you're not dead.  I miss a lot of the old guys Wolf and Robert W and Don Steele ... still a lot of fun to talk on the radio.  I am at our ranch in New Mexico ... just bought a ranch in Brenham, Texas ... back to New York in September.  My very best.”
The first rodeo was in Pecos, but I sort of believe that the cattle industry, per se, originated in or around Brenham.  Don’t know for sure.  Anyway, I thought I’d drop a note to Imus and Whittemore; I was really grateful to hear from Imus.  I told Whittemore that I still had a copy of “12,000 Hamburgers to Go” and remembered, quite fondly, Imus’ promotion of a “Cleaver lookalike contest” when he was at Palmdale.  Anyway, I wrote Don and Don a joint email.
“Thank you, Don Whittemore!  I've felt lost over the years ... not being able to contact Don Imus.  Like having an arm missing.  I still remember, quite fondly, his ‘Cleaver lookalike contest’.
“Don Imus, great to hear from you.  I immediately read your email to Barbara, who's sitting on the couch watching Rachel Maddow.  She said, ‘How great.  Say hi’.  Yeah, still alive.  Sort of amazing.  I'm glad to hear that you're okay and doing well.  I'm still writing.  Commentary once a week.  And a novel now and then.  I've got about 15 eBooks with Kindle Books.  None selling, unfortunately.  Sad about Robin Williams and Lauren Becall.  Part of me seems to be disappearing.  Thanks for your note.  Made my year!”
Don Imus from horseback: “Thanks for your note.  Our website is imus.com ... you can pretty much catch up on all the bullshit.  Give my best to Barbara.  I'll be delighted to promote any book you'd like. Our office in New York is Imus 75 Central Park West 10023. 212 595 IMUS. Meghan Hurlbut runs the New York office.”
George Nicholaw has gone on.  Former renown GM at KNX, Los Angeles.  Don Barrett covered the man with an excellent feature this past week.  We come, we do, we go.
Thank God for Don Barrett and LARP.com.
Mel Phillips:  “I owe a great deal of my programming success to the people I've listed.  Asterisks are used for both on-air and real names.  Chris Bailey, Jerry Butler, Jim Carnegie, Joel Cash, Jeff Christie* (Rush Limbaugh III), Larry Clark, Bob DeCarlo, Michael Meyer Dineen, Johnny Donovan, Dale Dorman, Tommy Edwards, (Big) Bob Evans* (Jim Davis), Charlie Fox, Al Gates, Arnie Ginsburg, Chip Hobart, Don Imus, J.J. Jeffrey, J.J. Jordan, Tom Kennedy, Jimmy King, Chuck Knapp, Marcia Kniceley, Anderson Little, Jim Lloyd, Walt "Baby" Love, Perry Marshall, Gary Martin, Danny Martinez, Joe McCoy, Johnny Michaels, Bobby Mitchell* (Frank Kingston Smith), Jerry Morgan, Bruce Morrow, Jon Powers, Oogie Pringle, Mark Rivers* (Mark Driscoll), Bill Rock, John Rode, Jay Shannon, Rick Shaw* (Hugh Silvas), Shadoe Stevens, Dick Summer, Bob Vernon (with a V) & Johnny Williams" (Bill Todd).  Many thanks.”
Woody Roberts, writing to Bob Weisbuck, who’d spent vacation on a primitive island (note: Woody’s AT&T was down for a week), copies to Lee Baby Simms and D’Artegan:  “Was an interesting ‘vacation’ with no web, phone, TV, radio, stereo, visitors, like being hermit on a mountain top.  Like Dr. Bob's annual retreat to the island.  Much time walking the shrinking forest and fields plus read a lot and watched some low quality but historic Armadillo World Headquarters/TYNA TACI [our consultancy] black and white video circa '72-'76.  Had no idea if the world was surviving or continuing its descent into a SciFi 1984 distopia.  Nice.  Now a hundred emails to check out.”
Claude:  “Woody, Glad to see you're back in the land of the living!”
Lee Baby Simms:  “Ah!  Woodrow ... There you are!  I second Claude`s sentiment.  Glad.  Welcome back from the 'Land Of The Dead.'  Well, that's debatable.  Living in Land of the Dead.  Just because one`s Internet service has gone down?  YES!  I know exactly what you guys are talking about.  Hi, Kim.  Comcast has a problem.  I have a problem.  I`m all like, ‘Hey, where did all of That go?’  A part of me, a small part of me, is so invested with the Internet that when it’s not there it`s as if a part of me has gone on some kind of sabbatical.  A sabbatical that I did not want to go on.  I spend so much time here at my little desk, at this machine, when it, all of a sudden betrays me. And abandons me, if only for a few minutes.  I don`t necessarily freak out.  But I will confess a brief anxiety attack sweeps over my being.  What do I do now?  Then I remember, I look out the big picture window in front of me and I think ... Wow!  Look at aalllllllll of that.  Then I step out into Allllllllll of that.  The Internet cannot compare with allllll of that out there.  One more thing....  I use to have a job!  No Internet needed.  Here`s the deal ... I`ll trade you four Internets for one job, Afternoon Drive in a Resort Area or a Major Market only.  Close to the Ocean is a must.  Please Contact my agent.  Lunch!  Just there.  The possibilities are endless.  Y`all comin` over?  Do.  We will explore them together.”
Bob Sherwood again:  “I follow the talented Mr. Chuck Buell with a couple of books that you’ve probably already read but if not, you should!  ‘Making Records’ by Phil Ramone is a fascinating ride from the ‘60s through ‘90s music culture since he is the producer of Pavarotti and Streisand classical recordings and at the other end, Sinatra’s classic duets.  Along the way were Loggins & Messina, Billy Joel, Dylan’s ‘Blood on the Tracks’, Sting, Madonna, Paul Simon’s ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’, Elton John and a plethora of other marvelous pop and jazz artists.  The tales he tells are worth your time.  And then there’s ‘Making Rumours’.   One would think there’s only so much one could tell about the making of one album and it shouldn’t take an entire book.  But this one does and does it very well.  It’s somewhat amazing that such an amazing recording could survive the emotional volcanos that occurred on a frighteningly regular basis.
Certainly the passion of ‘Go Your Own Way’ and ‘Dreams’ is better understood after the book.
Once again, worth a read.”
Our success usually, if not always, depends on others.  In big things and little things.  I’ve been very blessed.  So many have contributed in one way or another to whatever it is that I am … I could not name them all.  Paul Ackerman, music editor of Billboard comes to mind.  Harvey Glascock when he managed WNEW in New York.  Rick Sklar.  Don Graham.  George Wilson.  David Moorhead.  George Furness.  And the list is years and memories long!  I sit here wrapped in thoughts.  Thank all of you who still exist.  And to those who’ve gone on: Paz.
I’ve just about finished my great American novel.  Bill Pearson has completed a cover.  My son John is going to read the last three chapters for me for typos and common sense.  Backup.  More news in about two or three weeks.
Been a tough week. 
Recover!  March on!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Claude's Commentary.24r2

August 11, 2014
Claude’s Commentary No. 24
By Claude Hall

Woody Roberts reflects upon San Antonio:  “Lee, do you remember when you came to KONO?  I'm thinking it was in the fall of '64?  I recall it was a bright sunny day.  Well, the date slipped away but the event holds in my memory.  The daytime ratings were slightly in our favor but the nights were holding us back.  I had to make a change and Ted Randal of the tipsheet from LA called George Wilson to see if he knew of anyone.   So George phoned you.  Your audition tape was fine and I heard a real good pace, a very friendly voice with a tat of Southern accent, a hip delivery, and you sounded like a youthful and likeable guy for connecting with those critical 7-midnight teens.  Yet, I didn't hear YOU.  You were not on that tape, but it was my top contender.  I phoned George Wilson and he told me, ‘Lee doesn't telescope well ... you have to listen to his show a few times, but Lee will get you the numbers.  I have to let you know he can be hard to manage’.  I had to ask if that meant you were one of those moaning DJs who always found something to criticize and had one or two fellow DJs he couldn't stand.  Talented prima donna?  ‘Oh, no.  But he might try to sneak around your format sometimes’.  ‘But is he a good guy?’  ‘Yes, Lee's a good guy’.

“Flash forward and you walked into the office looking taller, larger than I'd imagined.  I remember telling you I'd heard you were hard to manage and saw your eyes widen like I was going to issue some kind of we-don't-take-no-nonsense type warning.  I told you I wasn't going to try.  I was into doing bits and stunts and the format was there to keep the station moving, but if you had something better to offer to go ahead and break it, then come back on track.  You relaxed and told me that you had a cowboy movie town image of San Antonio and then upon driving in on I-10 East you passed the brand new Wonderland shopping mall where on each side of the grass banked highway water sprinklers were tossing ropes of sparkling diamonds though the bright sunlight while up ahead you could see tall buildings on the horizon.  It was then you knew -- you were going to own this town."
“And you did."

“I heard the real you on your first night's show.  My show ended in front of yours, I ran out the door with Don Couser as Tom Ellis was starting his newscast and we drove out of the parking lot onto St. Mary's Street with the radio turned up loud to hear your first break.  The news ended, we looked at each other and blinked.  You had started your show before you played the first record and were going on about how you had just arrived in town and were about to: ‘...give out the Famous Lee Baby Call to all you San Antonio wheelers, you dealers and hubcap stealers, get ready’, a long pause of breath sucking in before a top of the lungs scream: ‘HAI Baybeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzz........’ until all your breath wheezed out.  I swear Couser almost ran over the curb and onto the sidewalk we laughed so hard.  KTSA would never know what hit 'em.  PS - Don Couser is deceased, Tom Ellis retired last year from a major career anchoring TV news in Boston.”

Lee Baby Simms from his hilltop above the San Francisco Bay:  “History, Claude.  You love Radio History.  Here is a little slice.  It was mid-summer, Woody.  Of 1965.  I had driven in from Phoenix.  I remember as I left The Valley Of The Sun, the man on the Radio told me that the temperature was 120 degrees.  I said, ‘Whew!  I`m so glad that I`m leaving this furnace’.  This ... not me.  I had been there for almost two years.  My high school sweetheart, Martha, my wife, and Kim`s mother had cheated on me with some fancy boy she had found down at the pool.  She told me that he was a better man than I and that I should just go away.  (He was a Greek guy who later turned out to be stark raving crazy!)  I was overjoyed with the news.  Martha was a drag on my aspirations.  She was a simple person, all she wanted was a man to provide her with a little house with a white picket fence around it and roses in the front yard.  I knew that I was not that man.  I wanted to be somebody!  I was suddenly free to be me.  Free to fulfill my destiny.  I called my friend George Wilson, told him I wanted to leave Phoenix.  He said, ‘OK, Lee, send a tape to Woody Roberts at KONO in San Antonio’.  I don`t know how he knew you were looking for someone.  George Wilson was something else again.  You know about George and I, don`t you?  He was one of a kind.  I sent the tape and you heard something in it.  We spoke on the phone.  You said, ‘Come on over, Lee, you got the job’.  Once again I was overjoyed!  I was on a roll.  Fifty years later I still am.  In no small part because of you.  Thank you, Woody.  A Lot.  Because of you, on a certain level and in many ways, I am me.

“PS.  On my way to San Antoine I had stopped to spent the night in El Paso.  I stepped over the border in to Old Mexico, into Ciudad Juarez.  I was a young man, looking for adventure.  I found it and as the Sun came up over the night.  I found that my pockets were empty.  They got every dime.  Really.  Hey, I was a young man and did not know then what I know now.  I didn`t even have the nickel that it cost to get back across the border.  Really.  It cost a nickel to get back into the good ole` USA in those days.  I didn`t have it!  A nickel!  So I pawned a diamond watch that I had just bought.  It cost me one hundred and ten $.  It was a small diamond.  I probably got a penny on the dollar for it.   But it was enough for gas to get me to San Antonio.  I was dead broke when I showed up at KONO`s door.  You and I finalized our deal with a handshake.  I told you of my predicament and asked if you could front me a few dollars on my salary.  You said, ‘How much?’  I said – ‘  You reached into your pocket and handed it to me.  Then and there I knew that we were the beginning  of a beautiful friendship.  I was right ... I still am.  And  I`m still on a roll.  Thanks for the loan, Woody.  

If you’ve been wondering how the book “Hitbound” by Robert Weisbuch has been progressing, here’s an update:  “Guys, these two emails give me the details that make this episode far more compelling.  This revision has taken forever or, to lose the hyperbole, a full year.  But it has been for the good, as I hope you will agree.  I will be sending you and an agent the new version by end of this month.  So there is still time -- keep on remembering and writing and I will continue to plagiarize, um, incorporate the material.  For an interesting trip, google Tom Waits Lee Simms.”

Lee Baby, there’s a fascinating Juarez folk tale about a woman bandit called La Tigre.  Just wonder if you happened to meet her during your jaunt to Juarez.  Whups, she was a little bit before your time, I think.  Used to tack the hides of former boyfriends to a barn door over on that side of the Rio Grande.  So I heard.

Herb Oscar Anderson:  “Claude ... enjoy your comments.  Sam Holman stoked the boiler pretty good before Mike Joseph arrived ... Mike was into best selling albums ... tried to work that into top forty programming ... didn't do too well.  WABC had the most dedicated jocks in the world and whatever they threw at you ... it would succeed ... they knew how to incorporate the listener into their show and they certainly did.”

Bill Hennes:  “Claude, Dick Summer is correct. Hal Neal had been GM at WXYZ/Detroit and he was very familiar with Mike Joseph's successful Top 40 program consulting history in Michigan at WTAC/Flint in 1956 and WMAX/Grand Rapids (a day timer) in 1958.  He made both number one almost overnight, plus his many other success.  As a teenager, I was working at WXYZ when they moved into a Top 40 direction and I found many of Mike's technique sheets and his music playlists at WXYZ.

“When Hal was promoted to NY as GM at WABC and to head up ABC O&O's, he could not get corporate budget approval for a program director.  However, he was able to hire an outside consultant, and that man was Mike Joseph, who did the original WABC full switch to Top 40.  Mike hired Sam Holman as a jox and music director.  Then when Hal got the budget approval Sam was named the first WABC/NY PD.”

Don Sundeen:  “Ken Dowe just forwarded me your latest column, once again I didn’t receive it directly.  Had lunch today with the Oldies King, Bud Buschardt, who has virtually thousands of phonograph records on shelves throughout his home, including the bathroom.  He also has a nicely tricked out recording studio in another room.  Bud’s last gig was PD of the ABC Networks' Oldies format, which he ran for many years, and worked at KVIL with Ron Chapman before that.  He’s currently teaching radio at the University of North Texas.  I told him about your blog, he knows a lot of the players, and forwarded him #23, suggesting he sign up.”

Good on you, Ken Dowe.  Don’t know what the problem is, Don.  I have separated radio into different lists so I can keep track.  Must be something wrong with list No. 4.  I’ll switch you to another list.  See what happens.

Just FYI, I conferred with the person this past week that I hoped would take over my list and do you guys a really nice blog.  The person is not ready yet.  And they want to.  So, I’ve got to do my dogpaddling a while longer, it appears.  Not that I mind. I get an enormous kick out of some of your letters.  It’s just that Sept. 4 I will be 82 years old.  Only the Good Lord knows how much time I’ve got left.  A few days ago, I didn’t even have the energy to talk with an old friend on the phone.  Barbara ended up talking with him to get the news about his career, his kids, his grandkids.  Just FYI, I’m much better at handling emails than I am the telephone.  And you can almost forget Facebook, etc.  I think that on Sept. 4 I will toss my lady love, Barbara, into the old Buick and go out for some eggs benedict.  At the moment, that certainly sounds like a winner!

Then, from Sundeen:  “Claude, although today's blog didn't come up on the computer email, it's here on my iPad ... go figure.  We appreciate what you do, Claude, it’s a connection for many of us that we had achieved with Radio Jack and then lost, and you picked up the cudgel.”

Don Whittemore:  “Another excellent Commentary.  True magazine ... loved reading it before I became a teenager.  Still remember Cavalier, too.  Back to you.  Your people curiosity keeps you invigorated and we, your fans, reap the benefits of your reportage.  You have a great week.  Physician, heal thyself.  Beware too many doctors.”

The Hotel.com commercial on NFLTV before the Cleveland Browns v. Detroit Lions football game Aug. 9, 2014, was disgusting, sickening.  The possibility of me ever using Hotel.com is not only remote, but I’d probably have to get sick first … I doubt that I’ll ever get that sick.

Johnny Holliday:  “It's always great to get your weekly updates and see so many familiar names that I knew from the good ole days I spent at WHK in Cleveland; 1010 WINS, New York’ KYA, San Francisco, and finally here in Washington for the past 45 years with WWDC and WMAL, as well as ABC Sports.  If only the business had the great music and programming minds that we had during that time, Radio would be much different today.  Sadly that is not the case.  I guess I might be one of the fortunate ones who was able to make the transition from music to sports at the right time.  I am about to begin my 36th season as the play-by-play voice of the University of Maryland, and currently in my 8th season with the Washington Nationals, as host of their pre- and post games shows on MASN Television.  Toss in some voice over work for TJ Lubinsky on his Music Specials for PBS, The Chubby Checker special and Hullaballoo special, things are well to say the least.  29 years with ABC sports is a nice run as well. Folks can read all about it in my book ‘From Rock to Jock’.  I will never forget how kind you were to me during your Billboard days and I know there are hundreds of others who read your weekly commentary that feel the same way. Thanks again for the memories.”

Marie Davis:  “Claude-ie (known as 'Authorman' or 'the Gentleman Billboard, who truly is'): That new technology, life made quick, knowing and 'googly' is right in front of me!  Recallin' last Thursday ain't that hard!  The lunch-bunch is history for another fun-frolic weekly repast (I wouldn't trade Thursday lunches for two Tuesdays!), and me and the Mustang is home, facing 'the missus' screaming like a NASCAR crew chief, ‘Joe's in jail!!’  Joe who, I lip synch?  Obviously, Google blew it this once!  One of the multitude that spews, no 'thrives' on matters that don't, called Marie to shout about Isgro's new travail!  I worked for Joe Isgro!  Joe opened his wallet for me, and the missus, when the wonderful wonder of 'notes and chords' had forsaken the musical ears I thought I knew!  Not only did one of the so-called 'network' pay me, but together we opened Blackjack Limousine and 'very nicely'!  I'm no choir boy.  I know and have heard all the tales about Joe.  I tried, very hard, to plead a case for what 'indie promo' was being charged with.  Every CEO 'got written'!  Not one 'heavyweight', that was 'used to' easy pickin's responded.  Yes, I heard all the clamor!  I honestly can't tell any tale about any of it … and looked the 'commissioners in the face, when I when I said so'!  I can tell ya, Claude, about Joe returning the fee to Eddie DeJoy, when Rick Springfield denied all the 'original, early effort!  I was in the room, at the Century Plaza, when General Westmoreland was handed $10.000 by Vietnam Vet Isgro, at a crucial particular time for returning vets!  Joe certainly is the recipient of 'plenty bad mouth!  This is not a plea for Isgro and 'current time'!  My recollections are of a different time and hue!  The mail will probably hoist the 'pirate flag'!  I stand by what I've written!”

Thanks, Danny.  There’s never just one side to any story.  I’ve always tried to tell both sides.  Appreciate your help.

More from Danny Davis:  “Claudiola: Time was when I was plying the road trips, with 'thems' that wuz reel important, I didn't miss a tower, no matter how little they 'mattered'! During the time of paychecks mattering, wife-at-home, puppies expanding to nine (from a dangerous, but good hearted volunteer), my offspring searching for the money pit he knew as The Monkees, and playing hookey to act like one of their 'entourage', and Mom explaining her son's father, and how showbiz had impacted our life, to the school's Principal ... somehow I missed what has now become a 'Lost Horizon' on my vaunted resume!  I NEVER got to 'schmooze' with Lee Baby Simms!  Obviously, with the accord Mr. Simms is credited with, by you and other of the instantaneous Mike Magicians and Messiahs!  Too many for me to recall!  All revered, sincerely! But absence does NOT make this heart grow fonder!  Matter of fact, without some recognition of a Lee Baby, my work history is as bare as if there was a baseball-card collection without a Honus Wagner!  Authourman? Can you do the HON-ers?”

Chuck Buell:  “Hey, Claude!  I just finished a book that I think you might enjoy.  It's called the ‘The Hour of the Innocents’.  With the grittier times and events of the mid-1960s serving as the background, it's about four guys putting together a band and the trials and tribulations they, and those around them – wives, girlfriends, other musicians, each other and the like – live and experience as they strive to develop their band's sound and play in whatever venues they can while hoping and dreaming of a break.  As much as I enjoyed the overall story, I think what you may also find very interesting is the descriptions of how they constructed the individual sound of each instrument -- guitars, drums, and vocals -- and how they built their song sets based on a foundation of cover songs and when to incorporate original songs are woven into the story line. You might also relate to the reactions and those great feelings they get after a highly successful and energized club performance.”

Mel Phillips:  “I love how what comes from within is being transformed into just the most enjoyable read, each and every week. I think I speak for many when I say how much I look forward to your Commentaries.  The most famous person I've worked for is an easy choice -- Dick Clark.  I was hired as the first affiliate relations person when USRN rebooted its syndication in the mid-90s.  While I program directed a virtual Who's Who of radio talent it is a lot harder to pick an all-star list of air personalities.  When it comes to the most famous, I do have a 1(a) and 1(b) that top that list.  One of those people I had been forewarned about, the other wouldn't become famous for several years. When I became program director at WNBC in 1976, I inherited morning man Don Imus, who was in his 5th year on air in NYC.  I became familiar with Don when I was program director of WOR-FM in 1972 and knew how brilliant he could be.  But I was warned that he was a powder keg ready to go off at any time. He worried me more than taking on Rick Sklar (WABC) as a competitor.
“Imus was a pleasant surprise.  Although he would later admit that he had a serious drug problem at the time, I just thought he was a difficult guy because he had to live up to his reputation.  Most days he was willing to let me critique him when he got off the air and he was all for a change toward more of a music oriented format.  He was still allowed to be Imus as long as he was funny, didn't seriously offend anyone enough to create headlines and didn't threaten an FCC fine.  He didn't always follow that course but he was given plenty of leeway.  While Don didn't realize it at the time, Jack Thayer wanted GM Perry Bascom to get rid of him, something that Charlie Warner and Bob Pittman did when they replaced Perry and I.  And we know what a mistake that was.
“My 1(a or b) was a disc jockey who was already on-air when I went to KQV Pittsburgh as program director.  Jeff Christie worked the 6pm-10pm shift and was a tall, nervously-energetic air personality who always came in to talk to me before he went on the air.  Jeff loved to talk about growing up in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and his love of the Republican Party, a legacy that dated back to his grandfather.  Some people like to talk sports, others like various subjects but Jeff loved to talk politics.  He wouldn't decide  to become a talk-radio host for several years.  I once cautioned him about using his real name when he signed the program log. His answer?  ‘But Rush Limbaugh III is my real name’.
“Putting this piece together has given me a new idea which I intend to commit to.  I would like to list every person that worked for me on-air.  It will be my personal thank you to the people who made my success possible.  One other thought. I sent a personal email to Dick Summer about his mention of Mike Joseph being responsible for coming up with the original Top 40 format for WABC.  As I explained to Dick, Mike Hauptman predated the hiring of Joseph as a programming consultant in 1960.  In mentioning Hauptman, I was referring to the post-1957 Top 40 transition, which ended for me after I left the WABC mailroom for my first radio job in the fall of 1958.”

Great stuff, Mel!  Just FYI, I’ve always considered Don Imus a good friend, then and now.  Haven’t heard from him in years … don’t even know how to reach him … but a friend is a friend.  I’ve still got my copy of the album “12,000 Hamburgers to Go.”

ROSE MATTERS
The CD is “Trouble in Paradise” by Isabel Rose and Sony is behind it.  That’s important.  And this is an important CD featuring excellent music.  My favorite, and I’m still listening, over again and perhaps again, to a couple of the tunes, is “Never Satisfied.”  Good beat.  Good lyrics.  And Ms. Rose performs with deft power and emphasis.  “I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl” has a soft, bluesy feeling with a big band touch.  I understand that Paul Richards, program director at WHLI at Farmingdale, NY, has added seven tracks from this CD.
Big surprise – and very cute – is “Peter Gunn.”  Now this is a tune that may throw you.  And, no, I do not remember the TV series well enough to tell you whether or not this is related.  However, Isabel Rose is outstanding on the lyrics and the music is upbeat and a phenomenal and pleasing switch from the typical.  Meaning:  If I were programming a radio station targeted at adults, I’d slate this occasionally just to give the radio station an attention-getter and one of those things the heart remembers even when the mind does not.  A superb tune, regardless.
Essentially, no loser on this CD.  You’ll enjoy “That’s All” — the favorite of a good friend of mine -- as well as the title tune.  “That’s All” is great on a soft summer evening.  A real bourbon tune.  Music sage Don Graham has come up with another winner.  No wonder he’s so famous: He has phenomenal taste in music.  And talent.
“Reflections” and “Reflections Remix” are interesting.  The first is like a Motown cover and the second is from somewhere else in this world.  Loved both!  Way to go, Isabel!
Can’t think of enough good things to say about this CD.  But it’s damned good listening.  You’ll love it.  Don Graham has brought my attention of late to three outstanding women singers – Lyn Stanley, Deana Martin, and Isabel Rose.  I am grateful.

Below: Some music friends at Delmonico’s in Encino, CA, to honor Macey Lipman who is headed to Italy to paint and photograph for his La Cienega galley in Los Angeles.

Back, from left:  Ed DeJoy, Jerry Sharell, Russ Brumbach, Macey Lipman.  In front: Vic Faraci, Don Graham and Ed Rosenblatt.  (Photo courtesy of Don Graham.)

May this be a great week for us all.  Remember, we all have a very important
person who’s on our side.