Monday, April 14, 2014

Claude’s Commentary.6

Claude’s Commentary.6
April 14, 2014
By Claude Hall
Frank Jolley:  “Thank you for including me in your original mailings and in your thoughts all these years. It's been both a privilege and a pleasure to have been known for my part in Top 40 Radio in the day of Top 40 Radio and to have been a 'has been'  (as Sam Holman’s son called Sam, Jimmy Oneill and me when we worked for Tom Devany) who was noticed by you in both Vox Jox and your other commentaries. My radio career crossed paths with many of the greats in the business namely Bill Drake, Gene Chenault, Gordon McLendon, John Box, Jimmy Noe, Doug China, Kent Burkhart, George Wilson and John R.  Even if I was fired by all but Drake.  Drake was one of those who told me you meet people twice in this business: once on the way up and the other on the way down.  When you named me Billboard’s Music Director of the Year in 1966 at KBOX, I, of course, never thought it would end and as all good things come to an end … I never want to give in to thinking it will end thus I'm opening another new radio venture it's (online radio station) on July 4 with the ‘History of Rock and Roll’.  It's designed to titillate the sensibilities of those of us that loved Top 40 radio.  I'm off the Producers Guild Board of Directors now and am both putting my movie making ventures and other projects on hold for a year while we give birth to ROCKHOUSE.  Hope you like it and hope to hear from many of my old friends and acquaintances who are still in or out of the business. Looking forward to your weekly Commentary.”
Frank, I hope you’ll notice the list at the end of this issue of Commentary.
Morris Diamond:  “Many thanks for Commentary.5 – it's nice that you carry on Jack's tradition.  Hollywood Hills contributed largely to enable all of us to keep in touch, which, I'm sure, was Jack Robert's goal.  He sure worked on it and certainly succeeded.  R I P.   One of the latest benefits I got from HH was getting an email from Charlie Barrett.  I live in Palm Desert and he lives in nearby Rancho Mirage – which we never knew until now.  I invited Charlie to come to our Thursday Lunch Bunch, which is a menagerie of about 45 guys from all points of the entertainment industry.  He showed up and by the time the lunch was over three hours later, Charlie became a huge favorite and was welcomed personally by all.  I introduced him to the guys and he got up and spoke for a few minutes telling all what he is all about and was well received.  Even Shecky Greene, who phones me every Thursday morning to make sure I reserve a seat for him, had a lovely conversation with Charlie.
“A few weeks ago I went to LA for a memorial for John Cacavas, who did the music for Kojak, Columbo and a number of other TV shows & Films.  Later that evening, Alice and I went to Catalina's to catch Steve Tyrell.  I co-managed Steve with Ken Fritz 15 years ago … and we're still friends!!!   Steve's new love of his life is a beautiful lady, Janine Sharrell … yes, Jerry's daughter.  We spent much time that evening and Jerry seems to be in good physical shape … he's coming along fine after his tedious event that almost cost him his life.   He's still on the air Sunday mornings with his jazz show on KJZZ 88.1 FM.  I spent more time last week with Steve and Janine when he played the McCallum Theatre here in Palm Desert.  For those who are interested, he has a new DVD which you can check out on his website.  It's one of the best-produced musical DVDs that I've seen and heard in a long long time.  Claude, again thanks for keeping us all in touch … my love to you and Barbara.”
Heard from a great many music and radio people, including Chuck Blore and Russ Regan.  I remember one day in the early 70s walking across some street in Los Angeles and Regan and I were talking about the Beatles.  I said something about “Yesterday” earning probably two million bucks in airplay and Regan said, “Probably twice that, Claude, and easily half as much in overseas airplay.”  Paul Ackerman, once music editor of Billboard, used to tell me: “Publishing’s where it’s at.”  I was once sounded out about a job with Hill & Range and I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I’d gone with the music publishing firm.
New to my list – Bill Desing: “From Buffalo.  Grew up listening to Frank Ward, the Hound (who I later worked for), and started at WNIA, with Big Jim Davis then on to the Army Signal Corps as an instructor working part time at WRLB Long Branch, NJ, then WYNS Lehighton, PA, WKBR Manchester, NH, and finally WBLK in Buffalo.  Grew up with Joey Reynolds and all or most of the time reading your column in Billboard. It's great to be able to read your stuff again.”  And it’s great to have you aboard, once again, Bill!
Woody Roberts:  “I know nothing about Fatherley and don't understand the outburst.  His over reaction to Claude's comment would be like the Lee Baby getting upset with me for revealing his deep hillbilly roots and exposing his clandestinely fronted country trucker-music band that regularly gigs honky tonks, roadhouses, rodeos, Boerne ranch parties, and kicker dance halls of Helotes.  Mr. Simms likes to pretend his roots are soulful and bluezie ... but no, Lee Baby is a Californiaized hillbilly.  He even lives on a hill.  Having said that, even though I don't know Fatherley I did have very limited but personal experiences with both Grahame Richards and Bill Stewart.  Grahame was the consultant that Blair Radio had suggested Joe Amaturo hire for the WPOP transition from Sam Holman to his next PD.  So he was directly involved in my hiring (along with Dave Klemm).  I felt honored to just talk with Grahame because I knew this man was part of the format from its git-go and had been DJ, PD and then National PD for Storz.  After I was hired he stayed on as a management buffer for the programming changes I wanted to make and I pumped him for insights and opinions.  He was not a research-oriented programmer.  He did like personalities and believed in the ‘hit is a hit 24 hours a day’ format rather than restricting ‘hards’ in mornings and daytime, etc.  I like to daypart.  We got along very well and I always knew my conversations with Grahame were precious; how many radio people got to do that?  A few hundred?  
“When I left WPOP and returned to San Antonio as GM at KTSA the departing manager was Bill and I again felt humbled.  I knew and respected both these men's perspectives on the growth of modern radio.  One day in tossing out a comment on the birth of hit music radio and the jukebox epiphany story he did not contradict me but added they had also gotten good results from a top hits program in New Orleans.  At the time I didn't think to probe further, wish I had asked if the jukebox was in a coffee shop or bar.  I had always heard coffee shop but now I see references to a bar, either way it's a great and believable story.”
Ernie Hopseker, veteran radio man, dropped by the Hall House during the recent NAB.  Nice to see him; it was Hopseker who introduced me to the music of Tom Russell.  He has his Internet radio station in stereo now (see Blogs list).  Hopseker is still engineering.  Hasn’t seen an antenna tower yet that he didn’t love.  Personal note:  It appears that a great many people didn’t come in for the NAB this year.
Ron Jacobs asks me to mention his new email address:  Previous one isn’t forwarding.
Scott St. James:  “WOW!!!   When we get ready to read a new Claude Hall column, we are expecting the BEST!!!   Claude?   I think you might have outdone yourself with THIS column.  Your first two paragraphs knocked our socks off.   The essay written by Bobby Ocean?   Perfect.   When one reads all the contributions in this column, one has to recognize the fact that there isn't one lemon in the bunch.  Just sayin'.”
Bobby Ocean:  “Gratitude, Claude!  Well, I love being part of this recent back and forth, as we bring to light our realizations about what has been happening, what IS taking place. We CAN just say right out loud: it is evident we all seem to like each others' company. And THAT's what will make the continuation of Whatever Happens Hill an assured success.  We must have missed each other, too, Claude. Text after text -- evidence of the heart-felt admiration some of our other older-school members have for one another. When waxing nostalgic about the biz and those who helped along the way -- especially in the East -- something magic happens. Wrinkles disappear these old dawgs LOSE DECADES. You can feel it as the texts   bounce back and forth.   So -- yes, exercising truth in actualizing, one must not overlook the Key Component that held it all together in a powerfully irresistible way, kept it all compelling -- admiration.  It's one of the essential ingredients in this recipe. We still have enough to cover everyone's back.  Just throwin' in a pinch of magic....  My sympathies on your computer interruptus, Claude. We're now living in an age that is so busily re-writing itself, it often inadvertently neglects to attend the Present. To creative consequences.  More and more -- and much more than just walking into a room and asking ourselves, "Why did I come here? For what did I come here? (a daily happenstance here at Camp Ocean) -- we've all had our share of digital mishaps. We anticipate further.”
Chuck Buell:  “Yeah, Claude, you gotta keep an eye on those laptops!  We left ours on the floor the other day when a friend came over.  She thought it was a scale!  We found out she weighs 495 dollars!”
Joey Reynolds:  “You have the coodies.  All the kudos are for you.  Jack Roberts is up there with the Higher Power directing your moves.  Please look at Facebook/joey reynolds now or you tube.  I did a Reynolds Rap with the iPad which is mightier than the phone.  Do you remember meeting Mickey Rooney's wife Jan Chamberlain, country singer?  We stopped over at your house on the way to Nudie’s one day.  I did a TV cooking show from Mickey's house in Westlake at the time … we remained friends and he was often on my show on WOR and earlier years at KOA in Denver.”
I remember the lady well, Joey.  Nice person.  Ah, Nudie’s.  Lord, but I miss Nudie and I especially miss the Pal.  Tommy Thomas once told me the story of Lash LaRue riding his horse into the Pal and doing a horse show on the stage.  With whip.  Wasn’t anybody about to try to tell him he couldn’t do his show.
It used to astonish me: The entourage that followed some radio personalities.  Like that of a bullfighter.  Several people.  Joey had – and still does to some extent – an entourage.  You saw Joey, there were these people around him.  Quite obviously, they fed his ego.  Often, I would presume, they performed chores ranging from menial to vast.  Thus, they were usually necessary.  I wonder if Gary Mack had an entourage during his heyday.  Or you, Scotty Brink?  Chuck Buell?  I know that Chuck Blore had a following.  Some record producers had followings like that, too.  That guy who’s still in jail.
Jeff Vee, St. Joseph, MN, reports that the CD featuring his father Bobby Vee is out officially just about the time you’re reading this.  Said he’s sending me a copy.  Which, of course, I’m going to review for the next column.
James Maddox:  As one who ‘hates’ Facebook I must admit that without it connecting with old friends is a lot more difficult.   I've got three kids, too -- and four Grands. I'm semi retired now and looking for a new challenge or two.  After Memphis I went back to LA and managed KJLH for Stevie Wonder and ran Willie Davis' radio group before going into business for myself. The business struggled as a result of the LA Riots so I went back to programming as VP of Programming for a satellite music service company where I oversaw development for over 120 music channels -- in all music genres -- for homes and businesses on four continents. The company is called DMX and it's heard in major stores and shopping malls and restaurants etc. After DMX I consulted it and businesses similar to It using the Internet and push technology rather than satellite when possible. Still doing a little of that today.  I wondered, from time-to-time, how you were and how you were doing. So it's great to have you on my radar.”
Bob Walker, WTIX alum 1967-89: “Hi Claude. I just added you to our WTIX Facebook group. There are many of us on there as members who worked at WTIX through the years and there's a lot of history to be learned right there from the members in that group.  Check out the members list on that group. Welcome.”
I helped Walt Pinto make contact with Dick Summer.  Walt Pinto: “Thanks again.  Got a nice note from Dick.  What a talent.  I got interrupted replying before, and forgot to add one thing to the WMEX story ... Carl DeSuze's daughter, Samantha was doing overnight tracks for the station.  She was on that cruise also, so got a chance to meet her.  Only saw Carl once, when he did one of his travel slide shows in Portsmouth.  I bought a ticket and enjoyed his presentation.”
Jack Gale:  “So great to get your Commentary each week again.  It's the only place to get news about the guys we worked with and knew.  Old friends never seem to forget.  In the last month, I've had nothing but great joy renewing old friendships.  In early March, Long John Silver, Ron Brandon and J.J. Jeffries drove down here to Florida to visit with me.  Ron and Long John live in Carolina, and J.J., drove from Maine to Carolina, met up with Long John and Ron, and they all drove here to visit for one day.  What special memories we all had sharing pictures and stories.  A week later, Terry McSwain, my all night guy at BIG WAYS in Charlotte drove down with his wife for two days.  The following week, Ray Mack drove down from Jacksonville to stay overnight.  With you're Commentary, I get to read about all the other pioneers.  Life is good for this old guy of 88.  Thanks, Claude, for keeping us all together.  Keep the Commentaries coming, and stay well.  Love to Barbara.”
I’ve heard some great Long John stories, but I heard them so long ago, I can’t recall who told them to me or what they were about.  Much.  As I remember, he took an overnight job at one radio station on a tryout and as soon as the program director got to work the next morning, Long John resigned.  Just as the PD was just about to offer him the position full time.
Danny Davis:  “G'd Mornin' Authorman!  You know how proud I am to have run that hot piece 'bout Joesy, right to ya?  Rightly proudful!  Claudie, do you remember Marty Burden, useta' run for Earl Wilson's column?  I did a lotta' running for him, when I was with Eddie Fisher's entourage!! Also 'ran' for John Jay Miller, when he wrote for The Nat'l Enquire ... and when I was friendly with Sandy Lansky (Meyer's daughter!).  Here's one you can use, Claude, unless I use it first!  I set up Marvin Deane to take 'her' to the movies. (My Marie knew about me and my friendship with 'her', but WE were busy and couldn't take Sandy.)  Marvy RIP, comes to call on her, in a limo, places her firmly in the back seat, and says to 'little Marvin', "Danny told you who I am?  If you make a move on me, I'll have ya' killed!" (I can't remember the pix they went to, but I remember the laundry Marvin and the limo stopped at!).  Claude Hall (who's bound to be bound to the 'writers most respected by thems what was in the music industry' Hall Of Fame'!: I'm 'hip' (ol' folks still use that phrase!) answering your inquiry about Morris, didn't get done yesterday's email!  Fact is, Claude, he scared me shitless, but from a distance, thank you Jehovah!! He also was 'one of dem' that I useta' wanted to be like! Consider this, Authorman! I was a 'bookmaker' in High school, (the numbers racket), shot pool at Willie Mosconi's place, under the tutelage of Moxie Fleishman, who fixed the Warriors BB game, years ago, (I shot one-handed and hadda' great rep!), loved Pat Pipolo's Uncle Frank Costello, became a Jackpot Rep for Int'l Game Tech when I was busted out, after the biz blew, was ready to join the gaming industry, courtesy of Carl Thomas, VP of Gaming at Tropicana, who did 18 months in Sofford State and was whacked after he got out. A great friend who was part of a $27 million 'skim', at the Flamingo!  And the coup de gra', my uncle Phil, so said my Mom RIP, was a gun-runner for the Chinese! (Uncle Ernie told any, in the family, I was destined to become a bum! … and so it happened! I found a place equal to crime in the music biz and Morris Levy!  For all intents and purposes, you ol' Author, as long as I saw and talked wit' Moishe infrequently, I never had a problem! For me, and the beginnings of what 'could've been, before I 'sung as part of the choir, Morris was 'my kinda' guy!  (Of course, you ain't gonna' get that evaluation from too many people!)  Oh, before I close.  Mike Roshkind did his week-end 'hoosegow handle' while I was there! (Yeah, Claude, you can ask, anything that doesn't get either one of us killed!!)”
Danny, who’s around young enough to lift a gun?  It’s difficult to believe that I once lugged around an M-1.  I probably couldn't lift the thing these days.
More Danny Davis:  “Thursday, always a day to look forward to, Claude! Thought you'd like the following  … we've got a gent formerly a 'bad man' (dope, liquor, etc.), now clean some 40 years! Sweetest guy you'll EVER meet!  Found 'his way' in the music biz!  Has a publishing firm and has written some mighty good tunes!  Has a couple of hits, he called by name today, but I can 't recall 'em right now!  His name is Arnie Capitanelli.  Spoke at lunch, touched all kinds of personal subjects, marriage, divorce, re-marriage to the same lady, his personal demons, the folks familiar to you and me (Larry Utall, Steve Barri, and people of that era if you will!)  Every lunch he hands out a Tip Of The Week. He's really a 'mench' of True Faith! Today's Tip follows for your vaunted perusal: Having a resentment, is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die! (It's a great lunch-bunch, Authorman!)”
Burt Sherwood:  “Thanks for sending me the fact that you are writing again ... I know you did not quit, but a lot of us were worried that you might stop.  I saw your comment on history... and the opening word Sad.  It is sad ... when I get a but depressed … I go into  my computer and read my bio ... and though it is only me reading, it reminds me how lucky I have been.  Still feel that way ... it is a long way from Peoria, Illinois.  Hope all is good with you and Barbara, and, no, this year I did not go to
NAB ... still here ... and glad to be!  Bests.”
You’re absolutely right, Burt!  Great to still be around.  And just for reminders, there’s a picture that comes up now and then on my desktop of a two-room shack in Brady, TX.  We used to live there when I was about 8 years old.  Me and my two younger brothers and my sister and, of course, Mom and Dad.  It was an old shack even then.  Bathed in a galvanized tub.  All of the kids ran barefooted in the summer.  Someone painted the house blue and still lives in it.  I thank the Good Lord when I see that picture that I’m not still in Brady, TX.
Red Jones: “Just read your # 5.  Thanks for keeping me on your list.  A must-read each week.  Having retired almost 2 years ago and having lost 2 great ladies to cancer within a 6-year period, I have the time to read more.  Before my first special lady passed away, she had put all clippings and stories re/me from Billboard (Vox Jox), newspapers, etc., from the start, 1948, filling some 13 scrapbooks.  I was looking through some of them lately and thought of you with all that Billboard publicity.  RIP ... Vox Jox.  The highlight of my career was going into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2008. Memorial Day weekend, the GRHOF will be the first state radio hof to have its own stand alone building in the costal resort area of St. Mary’s. The website has it all.  John Long has done a great job.  And I get my radio fix each Saturday in February doing remotes from our Golden K Kiwanis fundraiser where in 20 years we have raised right at a half million $$$$ for youth in our county.  And, the beat goes on.  There's a lil bit of ham left in all of us.”
Robert E. Richer:  “Two things, Claude:Sundeen looks a lot better today than he did in that picture.  In spite of Dick Summer’s statement:  ‘And then FM killed the AM King’, four of the top ten billing radio stations in the US today are on AM.  No more music, sadly, but still major forces in the world of radio.  Keep ‘em coming, Claude.”
Copout:  Yes, I know you’ve sent me your blog address and/or Internet radio address, but I’ve just decided to start these lists and I’m not about to go through more than 10 years of emails to track the information down.  Thus, if you’d like to be added to this list, send me your data at  Everyone is welcome as long as it concerns music and/or radio.  Thanks!
Don Barrett
Lew Irwin
Bob Levinson
Timmy Manocheo
Jeff Velline
George J. Weinbarg
Ernie Hopseker
Frank Jolley
Robert E. Richer

Monday, April 7, 2014

Claude's Commentary.5

April 7, 2014
By Claude Hall
Sad.  We work like hell all of our lives and we get out there on the end of everything and only a few people know who we are.  And maybe even fewer care.  Tom Russell details it extremely well in “The Extra Mile” about meeting Mitch Ryder in a Montana motel.  A Mitch who believes his time will come again.  As if mere history isn’t enough of a battle, what if there are those around who specifically attempt to make sure whatever glory you may have had is taken away.  Not even a crumbling pyramid in a faraway desert.  A person tried to do this to Gordon McLendon, Todd Storz, and Bill Stewart a couple of years ago.  Tried to rewrite Top 40 history.  I fought that off.  But we also have those who seek to rob everyone of their chance to fame.
The other day, I received an email from George J. Wienbarg about J. Paul Emerson.  I knew J. Paul Emerson personally.  A lot of people did.  He had a warm personality that made you like him almost instantly.  He worked in many markets.  Top 40, talk, you name it.  Large, small … even Carlsbad, NM, where his parents ran a small bicycle shop and where he retreated sometimes.  His real name was Jim Coleman.  I wrote about him in “I Love Radio,” an eBook for sale via Books.  I owe him his history.  His myth.  We all owe him his history in radio.
George J. Wienbarg:  ‘I hope this finds you well!  It is so wonderful to be able to write you about the above captioned matter as I have been working to have this page preserved on Wikipedia for the past several years and now apparently the Wikipedia editors are trying to take it down -- again. Would it be possible to get you to look at it and see what you might be able to do in order to preserve it? J. Paul Emerson was important in radio because of his People News Format which he invented at KIMN and for which we won the NAB Station of the Year award in 1973, which techniques, later made use if in general daily newspaper writing (that is replacing the traditional newspaper inverted pyramid with the short story hourglass format allowing one story's clincher like to lead into the next story's grabber line). I in turn employed at WLAC, WGCL, WPIX, WCBS, etc., and which he used during his tenure at Hot 97 (WHTZ) here in New York for those years he did mornings here. The Wikipedia editors are trying to delete this article despite several bibliographical citations -- I believe because he was a conservative, they say because he wasn't notable.
“Because you are a legitimate radio writer, perhaps you could lend the article some muscle by somehow adding to it and citing your addition, even if it's what I wrote above? I had put the article up a couple years ago and the Wikipedia editors pulled it down again, but radio people -- especially those as important as Jimmy Coleman need to have their legacies preserved, don't you think?  Anyway. Here is the link. See if you might be able to help me save it.
“Be well, dear Claude! Thank you for your wonderful contributions to an oft under-appreciated art!”
I wrote him back: “George, don't know how I could help on Jim. I tried to put something on Wiki -- the official bio of George Wilson -- and couldn't. You're right about Jim.  Great, great man.  I wrote about him in ‘I Love Radio’.”
Maybe Wiki repented, because I later received this following note.
George J. Wienbarg:  “Bought the book.  What a charming and fun book, Claude!  Looks like Jimmy's Wiki page will stay. We're going to do you next month ... let me know others to preserve for all posterity besides Mr. Wilson.”
Thank you, George.  I will let Wilson’s daughters Terry and Carol Leigh know.
Any of you ladies and gentlemen not in Wiki?  I could put you in touch with George J. Wienbarg.  He seems to have the golden touch.  George Wilson used to say that, soon, no one would remember us.  I would hate to see that.  Don Barrett has done a phenomenal job to feature the history of many, many broadcasters.  But we need something that blankets everyone.  Even Rod Muir.  And Luis Brunini.  And J. Paul Emerson.
And Bobby Ocean, now in the California Hall of Fame, too!
Bobby Ocean:  “I am most grateful to find that you continue to include me on your Commentary email list, Claude.  As one who pretty much ran from home away to join the carnival and never came back, I see as family those remaining in our ranks as broadcasting rolls onward. And I always see their names in your postings.  Too many have lost their jobs, closely held friends, and their once recognised ‘seat-on-the-bus’ the industry had afforded them once along the ride. Too many have lost most of their sense of identity.  You, and that itch to communicate through the written word, are essential elements to the very glue that holds us together. As we wander from today's most experienced-but-neglected radio community into Whatever's Next, it's critical to recognize the experiences through which we came. We remember them through your posts.
“There is strength and nourishment of the soul in numbers. We've been reading you for a long time, Mr. Hall. We go back.  We no longer wake up to see what the new music is, who had a session overnight, who might be going solo... We don't have that same degree of fever for music we once had because, as we grew, we ceased paying attention with the same youthful perspective. The once obsessive show biz dream withered as we thought something else at the time was more important. The result, as all thought and emotional packages are creative forces and life grows towards the light, is a less intense and interesting records and radio industry, guarded in its behavior, timid and less divergent, immature in character and very much lost in the woods. The spell, under which we all once bonded, has been broken.
“Life is like that. It gives with unimaginable bounty, but it takes away, too. What we call our character is formed by decisions we have already made, and now, under the shadow of previous miscalculations, we continue to make. It is very much like having an out-of-control magic lamp in one's hand, with the force of its energies always pushing against our foothold. Can't seem to get that grip ... So, when we see your commentaries, Claude, it's like a light just ahead. Most of us rush to the fire at the hearth, listen and warm our hearts to the sound of our industries' unique people, their familiar names and their own language. We hear names we knew and make an oath to get back in touch, soon; we copy addresses and contact information. We feel awakened from a bad dream; we feel connected again.
“Whether you recognize it as fact or not, Claude, you already ARE keeping the torch passed you in this chaos, bright and alive. It doesn't matter what you call it, we know it's you and me, us and them -- the Hill Group, the Clause Hall Commentary Consumers, Levine's hilarious lines, Scott James jams or the blog from da islands, bra, emails we send to share a story, a possible last-known address, a plug for something in which we're involved -- and we're all glad to get together again. Thanks for what you continue to do.”

Joe Smith – our Joe – made the front page of the sports section of the Los Angeles Times, reports Danny Davis.  The press discovered, finally, that he’s a huge basketball fan.  This is something of which I’ve been aware for several decades.  He and Tony Richland.  Tickets for those front-row seats are now $2,750 per game.  As they raised the ticket prices, Richland could no longer afford to go to the games.  But Joe, a former disc jockey in Boston and later a successful record executive, became a millionaire along the way – probably even before he took over as head of Elektra Records – and had front-row seats for him, his wife, and his two children.  Joe once made the highlight film and I can see him even today jumping up and down on television as, probably, Magic Johnson did one of his amazing shots.  I constantly look for Joe when the Lakers on are TV.  In more recent years, the TV cameramen have shown Jack Nickelson just as if you watch the Knicks, you’ll see Spike Lee at least once a game.  But I’ll bet a cup of coffee that Joe was a Laker fan back in the days when Nickelson wore a sailor suit in the movies.  In fact, 54 years.  Anyway, the story in the newspaper is that the Lakers want Joe to shell out around $400,000 a year now and $200,00 in advance so they can draw interest on his money.  Whups!

Barbara and I are Clippers fans starting this season big time.  We used to watch Orlando.  Mostly because of J.J. Redick.  We've been Redick fans since his early days with Duke.
Hal Baby Moore:  “Claude ... so good to read your commentary.  Wish you could take over Hollywood Hills ... Chuck Buell told me about Hollywood Hills and I have really enjoyed all of the stories about many of the people that I worked with over the years.  I finally retired after 53 years and spend most of my time playing golf ... pickleball and spending time with our grandchildren here in Denver.  Linda and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary on June 6th ... a record of some kind for being in this business ... all my best to you and hope to hear from you in the future.”
Believe me, Hal, if this person that I have in mind decides to do a blog … and I surmise we should know in a few months … it will be absolutely fantastic.
And, courtesy of Chuck Buell, I now have a correct address for Hal Baby Moore.  And I heard from Hal, too.  Great, great, great!  I’ve always had great respect for Hal as a radio man.
Sitting here, cutting and pasting emails into Commentary while listening to Steve Tyrell with “It’s Magic.”  Just beautiful!  Love it, Steve.  And that brings to mind: Anyone know how Jerry Sherrell is doing?  I don’t have his email.
Dick Summer:  “Don't stop writing, Claude. It would be the end of a wonderful era for radio if you did.  Here's something you may not know about: I really loved being on the radio. Those were the days, and nights, when I first ran into Big Louie. His theme song, ‘Louie Louie’ was the star of most of the record hops in those days. Any time the party got dull, it was Louie to the rescue. But there was another kind of music born in the sixties. Its mommy was the blues, and its daddy was rock and roll, and the people in power said it was conceived in sin. It was music on fire. Hendrix, Morrison, Clapton. When I heard it for the first time it took me a week to get my eyes closed.  Today, you’d call it Classic Rock. And there’s something you don’t know about it and you should. You don’t know about the man who got that music on the air. His name was Al Heacock. And he was a man in the best sense of the word. I know the story because I was
privileged to work for Al, and he was my friend.  Once upon a time…all the way back in the sixties … AM radio was still king. Big 50,000 watt flame throwers like WBZ in Boston, WABC in New York, WLS in Chicago, and KFI in Los Angeles ruled.  Almost all of them were built on tight top forty foundations. In fact, the playlist at WABC was frequently more like the top twenty, with the emphasis on the top three. “All Hits All The Time.” Jingle, jangle, jingle. The format was the gospel. Except at Boston’s WBZ. This is something that most radio professionals won’t believe, but it’s true.  WBZ never had a format in those days. The guys on the air played whatever we wanted to play, including records from our own personal collections, and tapes from local artists. And in between every single record/tape, we had fun. Oh we had fun. And people loved it.  Today’s top radio stations pull around a ten rating in a major market. WBZ consistently pulled north of a twenty-five. The mouths at WBZ belonged to Carl deSuze, Dave Maynard, Jay Dunn, Jeff Kaye (and later Ron Landry) Bob Kennedy Bruce Bradley and me.  But the brains, and a lot of the heart of the station belonged to the program director, Al Heacock.  Al was smart. He was a quiet guy who made a lot of money in the stock market. But he really didn’t care about the stock market.  Al cared about his radio station, WBZ. It was a station with ‘tude’.  When we broadcast from our mobile studio, which was most of the time, we proudly wore our station blazers. It wasn’t unusual at all for one of us to drop in on somebody else’s show and kibitz for a while.  When you walked down the beach, you didn’t need to bring your own radio, because everybody around you would have ‘BZ turned on and turned up to stun. If you stopped your car for a red light, you’d almost always hear ‘BZ coming out of the speaker in the car stopped next to you. Those were the days before cars had air conditioning.  The Pimple People wouldn’t remember.  For those of you who never heard the station, and for those of you who work in radio and are curious about the legend that was WBZ, here’s how Al programmed his music: Each month there was a staff meeting. At the meeting he would always remind us to play some of the top tunes he left in the rack in the studio each week. And then he’d say, ‘I don’t want to hear two records back to back.  We pay you guys to entertain. Entertain’.  What a joy it was, what an honor to be one of Al’s guys on WBZ.  Here’s what that means to you. If it weren’t for Al Heacock, a man who knew how to say no…and stick to his guns … Classic Rock might never have been born. At least it would have been a much longer labor and birth.  Boston has always had a strong Folk Music tradition. At WBZ we were consistently playing original tapes of unreleased songs like ‘Sounds of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel, and ‘The Urge for Going’ by Tom Rush, all kinds of stuff by Dylan, and Baez, and Sweet Judy Blue Eyes Collins.  I was doing a weekly MC gig at the Unicorn Coffee House, a major Folkie spot in town. And I noticed that some of the artists were  beginning to go electric.  I invited Al to attend one night, and he got it. Right away. The next day, he instigated ‘BZs only mandatory music rule: ‘One ‘Liquid Rock’ song per hour’.  Al called the music Liquid Rock. Almost immediately the new music picked up a different name, ‘Underground Rock’.  The name was the only thing Al got wrong.  He gave me two hours on Sunday evenings for the first big time ‘Underground Rock’ radio show. He called it ‘Dick Summer’s Subway’.  ‘Subway’ as in ‘Underground’.  Then Dylan went electric, Eric Clapton formed “Cream” and Woodstock forged a new musical and political conscience for America, and it went roaring out on WBZ’s 50,000-watt clear channel signal all the way from Massachusetts to Midway Island in the Pacific. (I have an air check.)  The suits who owned Group W Radio in New York were aghast.  It wasn’t top forty. It wasn’t anything they recognized. They didn’t like it. They wanted it stopped…right now. Al just very quietly said no. For a while, even the suits didn’t want to mess too much with Al’s 25 rating in Boston. Then Arlo Guthrie did a song called ‘Alice’s Restaurant’, featuring a line about the ‘mother rapers and the father rapers on the Group W bench’.  The lawyers at Group W headquarters in New York and D.C. freaked.  The President of the Group took a flight from New York to talk sense into this crazy program director Heacock. ‘Get it off the air now’ was the order. Al very quietly said “no.” It was a classic Big Suit vs. Radio Guy. And Mr. Suit blinked. The order was changed to ‘well at least edit that line out’ Al very quietly just said ‘no’.  If you’re a radio professional, you’ll realize how far out of line that was.  A Program Director is a middle management guy. He was talking to the President of the group.  So Mr. Suit decided to drop in on me personally one Sunday night, ‘for a friendly visit’.  The engineer saw what was going on, and called Al to alert him to the situation. Ten minutes later, Al was at the studio. He asked Mr. Suit to join him for a quick meeting … out of the studio. That’s the last I heard of the problem.  A few months later, the great Tom Donahue climbed on ‘Underground’ music on his FM station out in San Francisco, Classical Music WBCN went FM rock in Boston, ‘The Professor’, Scott Muni, Rosco, Jon Schwartz and crew took WNEW-FM rock in New York, and invited me to join them, which I did. And in a little while, FM killed the AM king. It probably would have happened anyway. But the point is that when you hear “Smoke on the Water”, or “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Light My Fire” you’re listening to some of the many echos of that quiet but firm “no” that Al Heacock said all those years ago. Al died a while ago. I think it would be appropriate if you’d remember him, the next time you find yourself listening to ‘Stairway to Heaven’.”
Ed Salamon: “Thanks for another great column.  Ken Levine's website, which you touted, is a daily must-read for me.  Do you think most of your readers know that he was an air personality on some pretty significant stations before his screen writing career and play by play took off?  I had the pleasure of working with him in the late 70s when I was acting GM at 10-Q (and National PD for Storer). Ken, as Beaver Cleaver, was part of an all star personality team that at some point during Ken's tenure included Jack Armstrong, Charlie Tuna (both hires of 10-Q PD Mike McVay and me), The Real Don Steele, M. G. Kelly, Nancy Plum, Jim Conlee and Joe Nasty.  It was great to be part of the last blast of AM Top 40.”
Tom Rounds: “Claude, this is wonderful news.  I didn't want to add my voice to the many who have already acclaimed you as ‘The Man’, since I have an idea of the immense workload involved.  But it looks like you have a solution.  I completely support whatever direction you choose to take, and you can count on me to contribute whatever time allows. 
Don Whittemore:  “The Commentary is just like getting the news from the sage in my home town ... Thanks.  Every line seemed to have relevance that rippled into the following cluster of words and just flowed on and on until the conclusion was reached.  Next week will come slowly.”
Don Sundeen:  “Got a surprise last night when my long time friend and former client, Scott, (‘Scooter B.’) Seagraves sent me the enclosed picture that had been posted on the website of WNOE in New Orleans.  It’s very special to me because it shows Scoot and I with Lee Arbuckle, my late friend, traveling companion and partner in SUNBUCKLE, a record promotion firm.  It was just last fall that Lee passed away, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and our adventures over the decade of the 70s.  We knew Scoot from the time he was a jock in Tulsa at KAKC in the early 70s, to his years in New Orleans, and especially at the AOR, WNOE-FM, where he did the music and was a legend. I have no recollection of where or when the picture was taken, we look so young and joyful, but it appears it may have been in a publication.  I’ve been very fortunate to have a couple of friends in my life whom I considered ‘brothers’, and Lee was certainly one of them.  After a great stint as a TOP 40 jock at places like Big WAYS in Charlotte, he became one of the finest, most honest and personable record promotion men of his generation.  May God bless his soul.” (picture: Don, Scott, Lee)
Danny Davis: “Hey-Hey! Lookee here! The ol' computer sez Claude #4! I ain't seen 1 to 3!! Matter of fact, I still have your e-mail (along with mine) where we 'whine' about the age now 'befoggin' our bodies! Pleased as I am, able to read the Authorman's observations, I note your commitment to the task and applaud your dismissal of what ails 'us'! (I'm takin' a page outta' your book!) I've thought of Jack, like yourself, most often! I missed any personal exchange with Robertsman, I never had contacted him at a radio outlet, and yet, the gracious manner he extended me (even allowing my own blog, along the right side with you'se and Levine and the ol' Jock and the bright lights of an industry  in 'morgue-mode) turned my own wattage fully on! I'd love to read you all over again! Maybe even contribute to new health! Bless ya', Claude! And lemme have the next 'out poring'!”
Later from Danny:  “Claude-ie! (Learned Elder Go-Between, 'what' is no mo', and the chutzpa to revive it!! Charlie Barret (or Barrat) one of the good guys from long ago and 'better times' made it to the lunch-bunch today! Whatta' day to be dere'! Shecky Green didn't disappoint! He was in rare form and hilarious, with nary any prepared stuff! Off the top of his head, like always! Sheck's the reason I wouldn't trade Thursday for two Tuesdays! It was a pleasure sittin' next to Charlie and catching up from 40 years ago! Gotta' toast that time spell next week! Mail from Tom Shannon today! Always good thoughts prevail when you hear from the 'mighty men of the mike! Tom's coming to SoCal, with his new wife and daughter, but not close enuf to Palm Desert! Maybe another time!! Roy Kohn (if you remember? Song Plugger with a publisher?) is currently recuperating from heart failure and double pneumonia! No, he didn't make it to lunch today! Best to you, Claude! (If you catch hold of a single dollar ... place me on the 17-20 split (roulette) and I'll get the ace to you! You take an extra 5 for sweating the bet!”
Just FYI, I sent No. 1-3 to Danny.  Love you, Danny!
We added a few people to my list and got the addresses of Hal Baby Moore and Michael O’Shea straightened out.  Featuring the Commentary of Facebook paid off because I heard from Jim Maddox.  He’s a damned good radio man from my Los Angeles days that I admired immensely.  We lost touch in the long ago.  He’s a grandpa now!
John Ostlund, owner of KYNO in Fresno, CA: “It struck me recently that many of us would not have a job in the industry we love had it not been for Bill Drake.  In fact, you could argue that if it weren't for Gene Chenault, the industry may not have had Bill Drake -- at least as we knew him.   While digging through the archives, I've come across an amazing collection of KYNO in the earliest days under Bill Drake's leadership, including the attached memo from Gene Chenault announcing Bill's appointment as the new Program Director of KYNO.  I thought you might get a kick out of it.  If you're wondering whatever happened to KYNO, you can find out at and 'like' us at KYNO 1430.”
The above note was sent April 1.  As Scoot St. James says, “Just saying.”
May the Good Lord bless us all.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Claude's Commentary.4

Claude’s Commentary.4
March 31, 2014
By Claude Hall
Already added a few names to my Commentary mailing list.  Some people forwarded the column on to friends.  Good.  I can probably handle two or three dozen more on my personal list.  The copy to Hal Baby Moore bounced.  And I’ve lost the email addresses of Jay West in Austin, TX, and his brother who was living in Mexico.  Thus, I worry about them.  Especially the brother living in Mexico.  We’re also placing Commentary on Facebook and both Timmy Manocheo in California and George Pollard in Canada are placing each Commentary on their blogs.  Great.
And I have some great news!  I’ve asked a younger person who knows radio as well as I do – if not more so – and they have agreed to take over a radio blog.  Maybe not exactly the one Jack Roberts operated … everyone is entitled to change and/or improve the blog, which will be theirs, as they wish.  I’m excited about the project.  Very much so.  The only problem at the moment is that this person is up to their left toenails in work.  Thus, I’m going to hold onto this “list” for a while.  If and when they are prepared to take over the blog or start one or whatever, I will turn over my “list” to them as a place to start.  Maybe they will let me write a column or article now and then for their Internet publication.  That will be entirely up to them.  But I think radio/music – and not just us for old varmints like me and Danny Davis and Morris Diamond and Gary Owens and Chuck Blore – needs its own Internet publication.  A journal of what’s really going on.  For all the years and radio and music men and women to come.  And this person could do it.  Much better than I could, in fact.  So, if you people will put up with me and contribute emails when you have something to say, we’ll try to “make do” until the right time comes along.
I’d like to thank those who sent me a chain letter asking me to take over the Hollywood Hills … some of the greatest people in the music and radio businesses.  I’m deeply honored.  But I feel it would be inappropriate for me to tackle the blog just now as much as I like the idea.  I’m 81 and not growing any younger.
Rob Moorhead, Los Angeles:  “It's been nearly a year since George's (George Wilson) death.  I'm only now starting to recover.  Been hard.  It's difficult whenever a loved one dies, however, it's doubly traumatic when one is also their caregiver in the final months of decline.  I've been in that position a few times now, and while I can do whatever needs to be done at the time, I invariably crash and burn afterwards.  Huge depression results.  It's been a year now, and I'm still grieving, still missing the man every day.  Even Terry handles it better than I.  Go figure.  His ashes remain sitting in an honored place in our living room.  There's a handsome image, a tastefully black framed black-and-white photo, next a glazed ceramic urn.  It's a beautifully intricate piece of Native American pottery, one designed, thrown, and fired by the famous Mata Ortiz pottery collective in Mexico.    He would have liked that, something simple but elegant.  While almost ordinary at first glance, it is actually beguilingly sophisticated, something valuable and rare.  It seems so appropriate for the man.  We are still waiting for an opportunity when all the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids are able to travel here at the same time for a proper memorial and scattering of his ashes.  The logistics of coordinating a suitable date are daunting, as there are so many relatives to consider.  I am now hoping we can arrange it for a small window of time, right after school lets out this summer.   Hollywood Park recently closed so Santa Anita has extended their racing season later into the year.  I believe they will still be open this year when school lets out.  As you know, George wanted his ashes scattered onto the Santa Anita Racetrack, resting forever in the shadow of the towering San Gabriel Mountains, a place where he spent a great deal of his time and money.  Happy memories.  You also know that I always threatened to George that I would merely drop his ashes into the horses' feed bags, then let them do the scattering themselves, digestively speaking.  He never failed to get a kick out of that rejoinder, so I continued using it for thirty-odd years, whenever the subject arose, as a means of changing the maudlin subject.  Still, it was always clear to both me and Terry, that he was serious when entrusting us with this solemn last wish.  He knew it was something we would honor religiously ...  despite the minor illegalities involved.  Rules?  What rules?  That's George.  Much Love.”
Just had an email from Chuck Chellman in Nashville and he was planning to drop by Albuquerque on vacation to see George Wilson and I had to email him that George had changed addresses about a year ago.
Now listening to Bob Dylan with the Grateful Deal.  “Heart of Mine.”  On “The French Girl, No. 2” CD.  Timmy Manocheo will be proud of me.  He and my son John got me into the Grateful Dead.  But John likes all kinds of music.  Takes after his father.  Of course, I wasn’t aware that Ernest Tubb was country until I arrived in New York City, circa early 1959.  In my childhood days, there was only music and opera.  Wish I’d heard Lyn Stanley way back when.  Then I would have known the difference.  You listen to “Change Partners” and you’ll know what I mean.  More than a ton of years ago, I heard a unique trio perform during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  At one of the Krewe balls.  Only members invited.  Jane Russell and two other famous actresses performed.  One time only and never again.  Wouldn’t it be great for Steve Tyrell and Deana Martin and Lyn Stanley to do a CD together?  In effect, the Highwaymen or the Three Tenors.
Woody Roberts, in the bluebonnets outside of Austin, sent me a note about an exhibit at the South Texas Popular Culture Center on San Antonio Radio featuring Bruce Hathaway, billed as KTSA’s King of Rock.
“FYI -- Nobody in the biz is nicer than Bruce Hathaway, a gentleman.  I worked with Bruce during three different periods at KTSA.  First in 1961 when I was a fledgling DJ learning the McLendon format at KTSA, four years later when I was programming consultant to KTSA (when Lee Baby Simms and I were forced off the air), and two years later when I was GM at KTSA and putting 102.7 FM on the air.  A total of 5 1/2 years over 11 years under stressful conditions of combat, I never heard any negativism about the job or expression of ill will toward anyone coming from Bruce.  He worked at KTSA from late '50s until they went news-talk.” The exhibit features Bruce's long career beginning as a pioneering rock 'n’ roll DJ in the 50s, his many years at KTSA and continuing to the present day as a best-known name, face and voice to generations of South Texans.  The Tex Pop Center is at 1017 E. Mulberry, just off Broadway by Good Time Charlie's.
Don Sundeen:  “Well, Commentary #3 certainly confirms there’s a real need for some form of the Hollywood Hills to continue on, albeit without the beloved Jack Roberts who left way too soon.  Woody Robert’s message mentioning Dick Starr, another wonderful man who died too young, and Buzz Bennett brought back a lot of memories.  If Buzz is still out there and can understand, it would be wonderful if he came in out of the cold and told his incredible stories before it’s too late.  I think the last time I saw Buzz was in New Orleans when he did his return stint at WNOE, Kevin Metheney still a young man, was there also, with a great compliment of jocks.  My late friend and colleague Lee Arbuckle and I stopped by one day and invited Buzz to dinner, always a touchy situation, and he readily agreed.  That night he showed up at the La Richellieu, New Orleans' notorious Rock and Roll hotel, wearing a cowboy hat, fringed vest and chaps, with a toy six shooter in a holster on his waist.  The great thing about the Big Easy was that we could walk through the French Quarter with Buzzy in that outfit and few people even look twice.  Later in conversation he said to Lee and me,
‘You remember when I invented call-out research?’  We concurred giving him credit for the invention, ‘Well, I made it all up and watched it spread through the business’, he
replied, with that evil twinkle and smile he’d have when revealing his secret … there was never anyone else quite like him.”
Arnold J. Smith of New York has donated his collection of 10,000 jazz records to the Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center on the campus of UNLV, Las Vegas, according to the View of the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.  F. Andrew Taylor, Mar. 19, 2014, reported that Smith, a lecturer at the New School in NYC, has a collection going back to Benny Goodman’s LP “The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert” released in 1950.  For the full story, tap into  Just FYI, many who read Commentary will remember Arnold Shaw, once a well-known NYC music publisher and author.  He moved to Las Vegas and taught at UNLV for a few years.  He has written many books dealing with music.  The Smith collection includes rare taped interviews, posters, books.  Director of the Shaw center is Ken Hanlon.
Ken Levine edits one of the best humor sites around.  He just wrote about a trip to Hawaii.  Great.  Tap into Ken at
Chuck Dunaway after triple bypass is probably at home by the time you read this.  Word is he’s doing great for a guy with emphysema.
Jim Ramsburg:  “One of the directions of is finding little-known stories from Network Radio's Golden Age.  A prime example is the new text and audio post, ‘Fibber McGee Minus Molly’.  It deals with an 18-month period when Marian Jordan was hospitalized and Jim Jordan was forced to do the show without his wife  as ‘Fibber McGee & Company’ .  How he and his writer/partner Don Quinn managed to keep the program going and growing in popularity is a tribute to their comedic talents.   Audio posts of the show before, during and after Marian's absence prove it.”
I’m on a mailing list for Robby Vee, son of, and it’s great.  I’ve known Robby since he was a pumpkin kid and, would you believe, he now has his own band and is big in those mid-west casinos.  Just played a week in the Grand Casino in Hinckley, MN.  Does rockabilly mostly and, yes, his dad has been known to sit-in on special occasions.  Robby’s two brothers – Tommy, bass, and Jeff, drums – not only perform backup nationwide to various major acts but operate a recording studio in St. Cloud, MN.
My especial appreciation to Don Sundeen and Rob Moorhead for the two tales this week.  I figured out one of the claims of Lee Abrams was a bit south.  Buzz?  Who knew other than Don Sundeen and Lee Arbuckle?  But that short story in the eBook “Radio Wars” makes more and more sense, now that I think about it.  Interested in the eBook?  It’s available via Books.  Cheap.  I think the price is only $2.99
Other than “Radio Wars,” I have the eBook “I Love Radio” installed with Books and it’s fairly cheap, too.  I soon hope to install the “Disc Jockey Cookbook” with Books.  A must have.   And, yes, there’s a recipe by the late Jack Roberts in the book.  The recipe by Lee Baby Simms is great.  “Red Beans and Rice.”  I’m about due for another batch.  What I do is cook up a whole bunch and freeze some of it.  Now and then I prepare some rice and thaw some of the delightful mess that Lee Baby Simms invented (he actually spent a few days in New Orleans) and Barbara and I will have a feast!  This recipe – and the article by the phenomenal Rollye James – is worth the price of the book, whatever price I decide to put on it.  Just FYI, George Wienbarg just bought "I Love Radio" and says:  "What a charming and fun book, Claude!"
May the Good Lord bless and keep you.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Claude Hall's Commentary.3

Claude’s Commentary.3
March 25, 2014
By Claude Hall
This column is being emailed to 204 radio people and another 52 music executives and artists.  In addition, it is reprinted in a couple of blogs and I’m also placing it in Facebook.  It is sent out on a sporadic basis as material and inclination warrants.  Feel free to email it on to friends.  Feel free to comment.
Rob Moorhead, Los Angeles:  “I apologize for not keeping in touch.  Daily life so often overwhelms that I concentrate on family and such.  Where is that leisurely retirement existence I am supposed to be enjoying?  It's like I'm in my twenties again, taking care of a child (my grandson) and never enough hours to accomplish all that's on my plate.  I do hope you two are doing well, or as well as the infirmities of Father Time will allow.  They say the mind is the first thing to go; clearly that's fiction.  I stumbled upon news recently that Dick LaPalm died a few months ago.  That really hit me hard.  I had no idea he was ill.  I wish I had taken the opportunity to reconnect.  So sad.  I hadn't spoken with him in thirty years.  Back in the day when I was working in LA, he would occasionally call and pick my brain about some project, song or artist.  We had initially grown to know each other because I was good friends with his kids while in high school.  He was such a nice guy, a really cool cat and the salt-of-the-earth.  He was knowledgeable about the business, about life, I really admired the man.  I can remember him driving a gang of us, his kids and friends, to weekend events, like soccer games.  He had this monstrous Caddy his kids called the ‘Jew Canoe’ into which we would squeeze our whole crew, Mr. LaPalm behind the wheel being heckled by a gang of rowdy teenagers as he drove.  His kids would playfully hectle him at every opportunity, beginning with his name.  Dick.  When the kids wanted to get his goat it was never ‘dad’, it was always, ‘Hey, Dick!’, but with an intonation that was clearly pejorative.  He loved it, he shot back, it was a healthy give-and-take between a father and his boys.  I envied that.  Teenagers being teenagers, we were a wild bunch, Dick being in the music business meant he, too, retained his youthful sensibilities and could relate to us on our level.  He loved a good time, and we felt he wasn't much different than us, more of a friend.  Secretly, the boys would sometimes search through the pockets of his jackets and trousers in hopes of discovering a forgotten joint or baggie of weed.  On rare occasions, there might even be a tiny bit of blow.  Of course, it disappeared.  I don't believe he ever said anything about the thefts as it was always an inconsequential amount they pilfered, plus they were all wonderfully well-adjusted kids just looking for a little fun.  They were a wild and fun bunch, a very fun father with exceptional kids.  I'm sure he was very proud of them.  Anyone would be.  Even as kids, I recognized his influence shining through them, as each had acquired bits and pieces of his personality and were deeply imbued with his values and wisdom.  Last week I learned that the overnight jock from KIQQ, a guy George Wilson had pulled off the street and put behind the mike, Ernie Sanchez, died suddenly, leaving behind a wife and kids.  Again, so sad.  Young guy.”
Morris Diamond, Palm Desert:  “I don't know if Don mentioned to you or not, but I took a fall 2 weeks ago and ended up with a broken left wrist, elbow and shoulder … which has eliminated me from getting behind the wheel to get to Jack's memorial.  I tried in vain looking for someone from Palm Desert who might be driving to LA, where I knew I could get a ride to the memorial.  It saddened me that I couldn't be with my fellow contributors to Hollywood Hills who did attend.  Jack, from day one, kept asking me to submit stories and photos on a weekly basis.  That was encouraging for me … he knew I enjoyed writing, and I tried to keep my subjects related to as close to the replies of something I read the day before.  Claude, I've been a big fan of your writing since the Billboard days of yore, and still am.  I have fond memories of coming to your home in LA so you and Barbara can show my wife and I your new Sound-around system.  I sincerely hope that you – or some other qualified member of our vast Hills can preserve the memory of our beloved Jack Roberts by carrying on these blogs.  I know I will never forget him and his efforts to organize 10,000 readers.  Look forward to another lunch on an upcoming journey to Vegas.  Alice joins me in sending our love to and Barbara.”
Morris, your material is always welcome here.  Just FYI, all readers who have a blog or are broadcasting via the Internet can list details, such as does Ron Jacobs below somewhere.  Morris, we would love to see you and Alice again.  Get well!
Jonathan Little:  “Dave ‘Duke’ Sholin forwarded your March 20 Commentary.  So many nice tributes to Jack Roberts and I enjoy reading your diatribes. Thank you.

As a young jock in the 60s, I considered Vox Jox high priority reading.  I’m currently in the consumer opinion market research business.  Got pushed out of radio programming and management due to consolidation in April 1998.  A few months later Bill Troy and I started doing Internet-based research for the worlds of entertainment and media (CBS, Disney, Sony Motion Pictures, Green Bay Packers, 100s of radio stations).  Bobby Vee is a close friend and, as I recall Bobby saying once, you and he were neighbors in LA before Bob and Karen moved the family back to St. Cloud.  His new Americana album is exceptional.  Duke and I program two Americana streams for AccuRadio ( and spin some of Bobby’s tunes that are a good fit.  If you appreciate Greg Brown, you’ll likely appreciate what we’re doing on The Train and The Fast Train.  Back in the late 60s while MD and PM Driver at WISM, Madison … I managed a garage band called Underground Sunshine, which was my sister and 3 guys she went to high school with.  Charlie Fach of Mercury-Smash-Intrepid bought the master and radio’s reaction to ‘Birthday’ was magical.  I often think of Charlie and wondered what happened to him.  We stayed in touch for a few years and then lost contact. Any memories of Charlie?  Is he still with us?  As I recall, after his success in Chicago with Mercury and Smash, he moved back to NYC to care for his aging-ailing father.  Irwin Steinberg encouraged Charlie to start a new label which he could manage from NYC.  Underground Sunshine and I were the beneficiaries of Charlie’s early work in buying up masters to launch Intrepid.  Great to know that you’re writing and bringing radio people together who remember live and local, the request line, and the pick hits of the week when terrestrial radio was about new music discovery!”
Jonathan Little
VP Sales -Troy Research & PR Brigade
Mobile:  608-219-1077
Phone:  740-549-9700, x61http://www.troyresearch.com
Jonathan, I would dearly love to hear about Charlie Fach if you find out anything.  Always liked the guy!  Maybe Chuck Chellman has some information.
Gary Allyn, San Diego:  “Claude (Hemingway) Hall, ahhh yes!  There is a Radio God! You are continuing to send out your Commentaries.  Thank you, Claude. Having contact with Radio past and present is a must for this aging Radio guy.  Doing without, well, It’s like having a record but no turntable.  Keep up your tireless love for our business.  I agree with those who have already said that YOU would be the logical one to perpetuate The Hills. I can’t tell you how much I miss Jack Roberts and his tireless dedication to keeping the Radio Connection going. SO, now, we’ll depend on E-pistles from you.  How about this? Vegas Vox Jox?  Rollye James ... whatta gal!  She deserves all she gets.  Big hello to Barbara, and all my best to you.  Danny D ... you’re such a mensch, and keep the ‘Spring’ in Palm Springs.”
I’m not the one to continue a radio blog.  But I know the person who is.  I will mention it to them in a personal email in a day or two.
Just FYI, I try to provide contact when possible and feasible, but I don’t do phone.  Just email.  I decided, however, a long time ago not to publish email addresses.  But if you’re searching for a friend, I’ll help when I can
Chuck Blore, Los Angeles:  “Hey, Claude, my dear and old friend, I am sitting here wondering, why you're sitting there wondering, about whether or not your column is jelling.   Now, this is coming from an old, old fan (quite possibly the oldest … or is it eldest, whichever).  I am one who jelled a long time ago, thus, I'm an expert in jelling.  Yes, your column is  informative, interesting, even fascinating and whatever else it takes to become so revered and respected.   Claude Hall is a name known and loved by every radio person who has a genuine interest in the now and then of radio.  I agree with those who say that you should take over and go forward with the Hollywood Hills and I, too, would be happy and eager to help with whatever contributions I could make.  I believe we met over 50 years ago and I  have enjoyed every meeting we have had since, including the one during which I made that drawing of you, which, of course, has become history.  Claude, I am and always have been happy to know you.  You, sir, are a part of radio history.  I love you, Claude, and look forward to your next commentary, or possibly, your version of the Hollywood Hills.”
Ron Jacobs, Hawaii:  “Please pass along the above URL for RON JACOBS BLOG, BRAH.  Dodged another bullet, Praise The Lord.  ME KE ALOHA PUMEHANA.”
Jay Sorensen:  “Hiya hiya, Big Jay Sorensen here ... Joey Reynolds' sidekick on 66 WNNNNBC and on TV, too. I totally love your work … met you at a gathering in Rochester, NY, about a quarter century ago.  I'm on the air still at WCBS FM in NYC these days, still crankin' out the hits and soon to be with Joey again on TV and radio and Internet.”
George J. Wienbarg:  “It is so wonderful to be able to write you about this matter as I have been working to have this a preserved on Wikipedia for the past several years and now apparently the Wikipedia editors are trying to take it down-again.   Would it be possible got you to look at it and see what you might be able to do in order to preserve it?  J. Paul Emerson was important in radio because of his People News Format which he invented at KIMN and for which we won the NAB Station of the Year award in 1973, which techniques, later made use if in  general daily newspaper writing (that is replacing the traditional newspaper inverted pyramid with the short story hourglass format allowing one story's clincher like to lead into the next story's grabber line). Which I in turn employed at WLAC, WGCL, WPIX, WCBS, etc., and which he used during his tenure at Hot 97 (WHTZ) here in New York for those years he did mornings here.  The Wikipedia editors are trying to delete this article despite several bibliographical citations -- I believe -- because he was a conservative, they say because he wasn't notable.   Because you are a legitimate radio writer, perhaps you could lend the article some muscle by somehow adding to it and citing your addition, even if it's what I wrote above?  I had put the article up a couple years ago and the Wikipedia editors pulled it down again, but radio people -- especially those as important as Jimmy Coleman need to have their legacies preserved, don't you think?  Anyway. Here is the link. See if you might be able to help me save it. “
Heck, George, I couldn’t get myself in Wiki and gave up.  Tried to get George Wilson in, too, and failed.  Wish I could help you about Jim.  Knew him well.  Loved the man!  Deserves in without question!
Bob Hamilton:  “Keep the commentary coming.  The list of people you send them to could fix our industry we still love. I visit stations as a consultant and the vibe of fun & winning in programming & sales is truly missing. Passion is still the answer. The first person who gets a chance to do it right, no matter the format will be a millionaire!  Best to you & Barbara!”
Don Whittemore:  “Claude, wonderful reading the notes and news of so many who I know only by their exploits.  So many unheard of anticipate your writings -- those of us that reply to you are merely a fraction of the whole family you've created and continue to sustain.  Please continue.”
Ron Fraiser“Anything from you is always welcome and a treat ... good to see Bob Paiva checking in ... my old WPOP in Hartford co-worker.”
Bill Hennes, Florida:  “Claude, with Jack's tragic passing at such a young stage in life, it seems to me that YOU are the person to carry on the Hollywood Hills.  I would love so see his vision and so many more of us, would love to see Hollywood Hills continue.  Claude, you are a great writer, have a great memory and have the history, and I know all the broadcasters will respect your input.  I know I would.  As always, the best to Barb!”
Jimmy Rabbitt:  “Thanks for the heads up about Jack, sorry to hear about it, he was really so young! Sorry I haven't gotten back about your blog, but I got the ‘Super’ flu after getting my shot, and it put me down for sure.  Thanks for what you do, Claude, and keep me on your list as long as there is one, and take care of yourself.”
I got a shingles shot a couple of years ago and it knocked me down for two or three days.  Lost a lot of weight.  But this shingles stuff ain’t for us old people! 
Clark Weber:  “While I had heard of Jack Roberts, I personally didn't know him.  I'm sorry to hear of his passing.  Many other names such as Danny Davis ring a lotta bells and bring back a mike fulla memories.  As the former morning man and PD at WLS in the 60s your comments about the slavish mentality of programmers who followed the Drake format was right on!  Great WLS programmers like Sam Holman and Gene Taylor recognized the importance of attracting 12-plus demo's but not to the detriment of ignoring 25/54.  Far too many programmers in those days played the top 20 in high rotation, blew out the 25/54 and allowed FM stations to win the war.  And they're doing the same damn dumb thing today. Henry Ford was once asked the secret to his success. He said that at the time the public wanted a faster horse, he gave them the Model T and turned the transpiration world upside down.  Radio, even today is still trying to give their listeners a faster horse.”
Sage comments, Clark.  My appreciation.
I’d sent out a news flash about Ron Jacobs being alive and well in Hawaii and that prompted this note from an old friend.  I hate to see his wife Peggy go.  She was charming and she was bright.
Gary Smithwick, Washington, DC:  “Ron may be alive and well, but my wife, Peggy, with whom you dined in Vegas, is not. Peggy passed away at 12:38 pm Tuesday with me holding her hand and kissing her cheek.  Her brother, Jim, was caressing her back.  She went very calmly and peacefully, just stopped breathing and she was gone forever.  Hospice was called in last Wednesday and they did a terrific job keeping her comfortable.  She only had a few episodes of serious pain and we were able to control that.  She died in our bed in our home without being hooked up to any machines or tubes.  Despite their urgings, she did not have to die in the Hospice house.  I count myself very privileged to have been with her all the way to the end after her 14-year war against breast cancer.  I asked her if she wanted me to hold a funeral and she said, ‘No way, have a cocktail party’.  So there will be a party in Washington in May at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown.  If you are going to be on the east coast on May 17, let me know, and I’ll send you an invitation.  I hope you are well and stay that way for a good long time to come.” 
Ed Salamon: “THANKS, Claude, for including me on your distribution for your column.  I look forward to reading it just as I did your Vox Jox columns. I appreciate you keeping a connection with so many folks that I have crossed paths with in radio.
Dick Summer:  “Hey, Claude, that will be the day ... when I don't want to hear from you.  I'm a pilot, and when we lose one of our own, we say he's ‘Going west’ ... as into the sunset. Looks like lots of folks we all know are doing just that.  Thought you might like some thoughts on that.  I’m back from vacation with a bit of a tan, a substantially thinner wallet, and a head full of vacation snapshots to run past you.  Here’s one: we were walking along the beach, and all of a sudden, a shadow rippled across the sand and then flew out into the bay.  It was a big pelican coming in for a water-ski landing, feet first. He settled into the water, looked around at the people on the beach, and tossed his head as if he expected at least a quick cheer for his performance. I gave him a short burst of applause.  Here’s another: An old-time Chevy station wagon pulled into that same beach’s parking lot, with a license plate that expresses a deeply felt urge for many a ‘Louie Louie’ Generation lad and lass. It said, ‘I-Gotta-P’.  And speaking of pee-ing, (there is a connection) the new Budweiser slogan is ‘Grab some buds’. That’s okay on their TV commercials. But they probably didn’t think about how that slogan would look when it is proudly displayed on the tight T-shirts of the young ladies selling their beer at the ballpark. ‘Grab some buds’.  I don’t know. It sure got my attention—which got a few slightly unladylike comments from my Lady Wonder Wench.  Then there’s a snapshot that I think I’ll frame and keep somewhere very close to where I live. We were taking a little walk in the park across the street from our hotel, and we saw an old guy sitting on a park bench, just sitting — not even reading — just sitting and watching the people walk by.  As we walked past, I noticed a
brass plaque on the bench. It said, ‘In memory of Amelia, my wife and my best friend. She’s saving me a seat now’.  I didn’t let go of my Lady’s hand for quite a while.  Everything looks different when you’re on vacation.  I’ve noticed that even the guy in my shaving mirror sometimes looks a little different when I’m on vacation. The first morning we were there, he was waiting for me — the guy in my mirror. He was happy to see me, because he had been up taking care of me all night while I was sleeping, and it was a long night.  I started thinking about him.  Was he on vacation, too?  Then I started thinking, I’m looking at retirement pretty soon. And he’s got to know that. And I started wondering if that guy in the mirror is as scared as I am that he may be suddenly finished with the daily life-long process of ‘getting ahead’ and trying to make a living.  And how about the other end of his life? The first times. What kind of secret celebration did he enjoy the first time his mom let him comb his own hair before he went to school? How big were the monsters that prowled around in the attic when he was home alone in an empty house for the first time? How did he learn to ride a two-wheel bike? Who taught him to swim? What did his first kiss taste like? Who was his first real date? How did he feel when he passed his  driver’s license test? How did he talk some girl into having sex with
him for the first time? What did his twenty-first birthday feel like?  What was it like for him, holding his firstborn child in his arms?  How did he take it, the first time he lost his job?  My Lady Wonder Wench has told me that her face in the mirror doesn’t look at all like the face I see when she’s lying on her pillow in the first light of dawn, slowly opening those soft blue eyes and turning the whole world the color of a Summer sky. That’s the face
I’ve seen for all these years, smiling and crying, and eating lobster on vacation, and cheering for the New York Mets. I know she has no idea how beautiful she is.  It’s fascinating, looking carefully at your face in the mirror.  It’s like meeting somebody who knows you, but you can’t quite remember him. I was thinking about that when we were walking in the park and we saw that old guy sitting on the bench just looking at the passing people. His eyes were wide open, but it was obvious that he was seeing a face the rest of us didn’t know about. A face he’d seen waking up on the pillow next to him in the morning for a lot of years: smiling and crying, cheering for some baseball team, and now saving him a seat next to her — just like he asked her to do.”
Scott St. James, Los Angeles:  “This ‘assortment of comments’ you refer to is a great read.   I tried reading what you sent during commercials on American Idol last night, but soon realized that what you sent was deserving of reading what you wrote non-stop which I did this morning.  As you would say to others, I will say to you;   ‘Good on you, Claude Hall!’  Dandy Don was indeed correct when he referred to speakers at Jack Roberts' tribute (including me) having passionate difficulty with their lines.  I'm very much looking forward to your next ‘diatribe’.”
Robert E. Richer:  “Just great, Claude!  So many names; so many memories.  If I had my way, I’d ignore Facebook.  Your blog seems to be reaching the absolute inner core of those in this business who still have a heart.  Who needs more.  Avanti!”
Jay Lawrence, Arizona:  “I thought I'd let everyone know and you are the best courier. I have had to leave the air because I've chosen to run for the Arizona House of Representatives. I'm running as a republican (what else) in legislative district 23, Scottsdale/Fountain Hills. It's a grind but I am having fun. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has endorsed me along with a man some of you might know (google him) Dr. C T Wright. One of the kindest, most gentle humans I have ever known. It's getting signatures on petitions, vetting the signatures, going door to door in my district, and raising money. I never realized how expensive a campaign can be. Fortunately I am well known and though not ‘flowing’ in we are doing all right. Anyway just thought I'd let you know because that's like letting the broadcast world know. I am attaching a palm card. I will keep you posted. Primary is August 26, vote by mail ballots go out around July 26th. 70% of my district votes by mail so there's work to be done.”
Don Sundeen;  “Ron Jacobs is one of the great, brilliant eccentrics of the radio business.  Never forget when I first met him at KGB, he swept into the office in board shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and sandals and said, ‘Hi, Ron Jacobs, come on in I want to show you something’.  So we go into his office and there was this long printout from an old-fashioned printer about a mile long.  Ron had hired some college kids to go out and ask people what their favorite song was, hundreds of them, and then compiled this list.   It was what we would one day call ‘record research’.   Ps, #1 that day was ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’,  I’ve never forgotten.”
Woody Roberts, Texas:  “Thank you for Commentary 2.   Hope you'll change your mind on having a web presence.  It requires no extra stamina to blog these days, once set up it is as simple as sending email.  You just post when you have something to say ... daily or weekly or monthly, whenever.  That way folks searching for Claude Hall or other old radio names will find it.  You don't need to have a fancy site like the Hills or Ron Jacobs or Jim Ramsburg, just do a one column ...  OK, 'nuff said.  Buzz Bennett and Dick Starr flashback -- Middle shelf of my bookcase is collapsing under the weight of double stacking hardbacks and loading up empty spots with a dozen stones, fossils and Indian artifacts.  So, I am filling a large box to leave at Half Price Books and come across ‘Johnathon Livingston Seagull’.  Why did I keep that?  Then I remember.  Buzzy gave it to me during a hotel room all nighter at 1971 programming conference.  I opened the slim volume to find the cryptic but inspiring card he put inside.  Next I came across my copy of ‘Man the Manipulator that was sent to me by Dick Starr as he was leaving WFUN Miami to PD for the colorful Howard Kester at KYA.  I returned both to my bookshelf.  Then I sat down and let myself drift back to radio times gone by and the friends I had....”
Bob Barry:  “Thanks for the commentaries, Claude.  The older you get, the more great friends and broadcast folks we lose.  I miss many of the great ones I worked for and with:  George Wilson, Jim Brown, Bob Collins, Gordon Hinkley, Paul Gallis, and recently Tom Shanahan, who had worked at WEMP in Milwaukee for many years.  He was in Wisconsin broadcasting for over 50 years.  It’s important not to forget those who gave some great years to our industry … and thanks to you, we won’t.”