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Will it be this? or Will it be THIS?
by Rollye James
who made a couple of astute observations regarding ‘… those of us who programmed in the
60s and into the 70s...’, and about how ‘hits were made at the show, rather than the station,
“While he focused on the jock level, the combination of a ‘jock’ who also held the position of
‘Music Director’ during that era was also a formidable combination that cannot be over looked
“I was one such ‘On-Air Personality-Music Director’ at no less than three market-leading,
hit-breaking radio stations throughout the time Gleason highlights. I loved ‘listening’ for new
artists and new hits. The most fun I had in that regard was in the mid- 60s through the early 70s
when I was in a position to be able to ‘hear’ a new, just released song to add to our on-air
playlists. I am proud of my numerous Gold Record Awards for artists I either ‘broke’ or of
whose hits I was an early programmer-supporter.
“My favorite occurred in the Summer of 1971. A local Chicago record promoter came into my
WLS Chicago office one day with a single from an artist who had been recording some songs
as a solo artist while he was also still a member of a group. I listened to the song and thought it
was pretty good, and told the record company representative I would definitely consider
adding it to our on-air playlist.
“By then, I had long developed the habit of also listening to the flip side, the ‘B’ side, of any
record I was considering for air play, so I auditioned that side as well.
“To my ears, the other side was one of those rare songs that instantly and undoubtedly shouted
‘HIT!’ And because I had the empowerment to add select songs based on my professional
opinion of their hit potential, I added this one to our on-air music rotation immediately.
“When the record rep heard the ‘wrong side’ being played on our air, he called me right away.
He told me I ‘can't do that’ because he and his company had just begun the important initial
stage of promoting the other side throughout the country. I told him while I understood that, I
thought the flip side was the far better song. Understandably, he implored me to play the side
which they were promoting.
“Ted Atkins was the Program Director of KHJ in Los Angeles at the time, and because we had
known each other for some time, I called him to ask him if he was aware of this particular
record and if he was playing it. He said he was. I told him I had chosen to air the ‘B’ side
instead. I asked him to listen to the flip side and let me know what he thought of it.
“Within about an hour or so later, he called me back and said, ‘It's a Smash!’ I asked him if he
too was going to play it. He told me, ‘I’ve already flipped it over and it's hit the air once
already! We're playing that side now exclusively!’
“Well, when a record had both WLS in Chicago and KHJ in Los Angeles, two of the most
influential stations of the time, featuring this same ‘Hit Bound’ song, it sent ripples throughout
the radio community across the country and within days the record was flipped to the other
side by stations everywhere.
“The originally promoted 'A' side of that record? ‘Reason to Believe.’
“The 'B' side? ‘Maggie May.’
“45 years ago next month, on September 25th, 1971, it was sitting atop Billboard's Top 100 at
Number One. It stayed there for five weeks. Since then, it's become a multi-million seller and
basically Rod Stewart's signature song.
“As David Gleason said, that was a way the ‘hits were made.’ And I'm certainly not the only
one who has a personal and memorable hit-breaking story like this. Those 60s and 70s days
certainly were fun days when we ‘jocks’ were in positions of being able to share an exciting
new song with so many others through our daily radio shows. I loved ‘Maggie May’ then and
it's still one of my all-time favorite songs today!
Rollye: “Great challenge from Chuck. During your career, what records did you flip? Weigh
in at email@example.com
. It happened more often than listeners might suspect. Dootsie Williams
was sure ‘Hey Señorita’ was the song that would finally hit for The Penguins, even though its
first airing on Huggy Boy’s show from the window of ‘Dolphin’s of Hollywood’, proved the
other side would be the hot ticket. Williams ignored that indicator and printed up a number of
copies to mail to radio stations with ‘Earth Angel’ relegated to B-side status.
“It didn’t matter. Disc jockeys across the country knew a hit when they heard it. The result
should have been a welcome windfall, but it was a disaster for Williams who couldn’t meet
demand. (This explains the different color Dootone labels on that record— no hidden meaning
for collectors, Williams used whatever paper he could find.)
“As for Rod Stewart— I’ll admit, I’m more in the Jesse Belvin fan category (the uncredited
co-writer of ‘Earth Angel’, who was responsible for so many R&B firsts), but proving I need
to cull my record collection more often, I easily turned up a copy (evidenced by the above
label scans) of ‘Maggie May
’. I turned it over and played it. If you’ve never heard it, here
the first couple minutes. (Yes, in addition to it being, to my ears anyway, inexplicably awful,
it’s also very long— over 4 minutes.) I’m not sure how my copy came to have as many pops
and clicks as it does, given that I’m sure it’s never graced a turntable of mine until today.
Maybe I used it as a frisbee. Maybe it was pressed on polystyrene.
“Never mind that mystery, the real question is what possessed Ted Atkins to add the ‘A’ side
on KHJ? Since he’s no longer here to defend himself, we’ll turn our attention to Chuck Buell:
Chuck, Thank you for playing ‘Maggie May’. I never thought that sentence would leave my
lips, but now that I’ve heard what could have been played on a radio near me, I’m profoundly
grateful. However, I’d be remiss not to mention, I am in a small minority. ‘Maggie May’, a
huge hit by any standard, led to a remarkable solo career and success that Stewart is still
enjoying today with an estimated fortune of over 150 million pounds. ...But back to
Cary Pall: “There are still a couple of good turntables available out there, although the best
cartridge I've ever come across, the Stanton 881S, appears to be out of production. The trusty
Panasonic/Technics SL-1200 is still available for around $500. If that's a bit pricey, try the
U-Turn Audio product, a belt drive for around $150.
“I use the Technics with an 881S fort dubbing vinyl to WAV files. They sound so much better
than CDs especially if the CD player does not have dual DA-AD converters. We are in the
process of converting the library at WHLM to all vinyl sourced WAV files.”
Rollye: “I’ve become a Gemini fan. The direct drive models only. I particularly like the
PT-2100. Jerry Blavat recommended it as a reasonably priced alternative to the SL-1200
years ago, and I was surprised how much I liked it. But I think I upgraded from a Garrard
AT60, so my tastes are simple.
Ken Dowe: “So this street bum followed me all over Santa Fe awhile back. Gee. You'd think
people would give you some privacy!”
Ken Dowe: “A friend took that photo 4 or 5 years ago and just mailed it to me. I started not to
send it out, because I weighed about 40 pounds more than I do now. Brutal diet, but ‘a man’s
gotta do what a man’s gotta do!’
“Gene Hackman lives part-time in Santa Fe. We are not ‘friends,’ but I do know him and on
that day we spent all day with our wives at the S.F. art galleries. He’s quite a painter as is his
wife, Betsy. Dottie (my wife) paints, too. She and Betsy had tried to get some lessons
together, but their available time wasn’t in sync.
“Gene is nothing like his screen persona. He’s very quiet. Bit of an introvert, as am I. He's
reflective and artsy. We’re both pilots and we share a few things in common. He’s also a bit of
an intellectual, which makes him an interesting conversationalist if he enjoys talking with you.
An awfully nice man.”
Rollye: “I think they both look great. Ken looks good in every shot I’ve seen. I even like his
Rollye: “Ken’s wife, Dottie, has learned to make avatars and Ken was her first subject.
They’re great for using with board postings, if you do that kind of stuff. (David Gleason visits
many of the radio boards and all are better off for his comments. He needs an avatar. Or not.)
These days there are numerous free sites that will transform virtually any picture into an avatar
of your choosing (or the site's, which can really be hilarious). Here
’s an article including over
a dozen of them. ”
Peter McLane: Here is radio's greatest trivia question.......... What was the name of the bar in
which Todd Storz pondered the Top 40 format????? It was.......(wait for it........)
“It was located across the street from the Storz Stations in the Kilpatrick Department store
building at 15th & Farnam Streets, Omaha, Nebraska. Alas, both buildings are gone and the
Omaha Public Library is in their place. This leads again to a plug for the book.............. "The
Birth of Top 40 Radio" The Storz Stations Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s. Richard W.
Fatherley and David T. MacFarland. I plug this only to honor the late Richard Fatherly,
WHB, who left us as he was finishing his book. This is the one you want. Published by
MacFarland press. “
: And it’s finally at a reasonable price at Amazon here
. The Kindle version is a bargain.
Dick was a friend and I miss him. Great voice, and always willing to do promos! (Here in
Globe, he voice the “Family Business” contest we had awhile back— the prize went to the
person who could name the most employees at the courthouse related to one another. I believe
the winner, who got a buck per name, was able to verify sixty courthouse workers in the same
family. Fatherly somberly voiced it as only he could (to paraphrase): ‘The backbone of
America is the family business. We’ve got one in Globe. It’s called… the courthouse.’)
“A few years before Dick died, he recorded much of the material that would go into the book.
I used to play parts of it on my stream while my XM show was in commercial break. It got
quite a bit of response. Dick’s version of history doesn’t align with Bill Stewart’s take, which
has caused Claude Hall some consternation. But as I see it, both accounts are worth knowing.
To that end, we’re lucky that Claude preserved what was on Bill Stewart’s mind in a great
interview featured in “This Business of Radio Programming.” Consider yourself lucky if you
have a copy, they’re bringing 10 times the cover price today when you can find them.”
Claude Hall: “This is cute! Three or four weeks ago, I mentioned that I would be willing to
email a pdf version of "George and Me" to anyone who sent me a dollar bill. Today, I sold my
second copy. To a gentleman named Bill Hatch. The earlier copy went to Warren Cosford.
Great, eh? Kindle only notifies you of sales every six months and only then if you've sold
several copies. So, maybe I've even sold a copy via Kindle!
“In just a few days – Sept. 4., to be precise, I shall be 84 years old. And a couple of days
before that, Sept. 1, Barbara and I will celebrate our 55th anniversary. In honor of the two
at Amazon.com/Kindle Books. “Radio Wars” is a collection of short stories. Chuck Blore
loved these tales … said you could hear him laughing all over the San Fernando Valley. These
eBooks can be read on Kindle as well as laptop and those funny things they call cells, I’ve
been told. “George and Me
” also is priced at 99 cents. As for my great American novel
,” I’ve reduced the price to $9.99, but it has nothing to do with radio … just West
Texas in the 40s.
“Just FYI, Jenny Vee will be reading “Popsie and McCloud,” a short story that I wrote and
emailed to a few friends, this weekend to Bobby Vee when she visits him. The Velline family
appear in both “Popsie and McCloud” and “Popsie’s Great Camping Adventure.” I’m hoping
to collect several of these tales into an eBook before my 85th birthday.”
Rollye: “I’m sure everyone reading this joins me in sending good wishes to Claude Hall this
week. And how nice that he’s celebrating by lowering the prices on so many goodies! You can
read his latest effort, “Popsie and McCloud
” for free, here
. The short story is already a hit,
especially with Bobby Vee.”
Jenny Vee: “I read the letter you sent and dad enjoyed it and said, wow. He doesn't have many
words anymore but lots of expression. After that I read this story. He so enjoyed it and
laughed in many places. I will keep it in my archives and read it over again for time to time.
He sure lit up when I mentioned your name.
“PS: I loved jumping out of that tree into your pool!”
Kipper McGee: “This is not necessarily up the Vox Jox alley , but I thought you might be
interested in how two peeps with roots in the "Top 40" era are offering FREE training to those
who wish to stay relevant in our ever-evolving mediascape. (Please feel free to share the
opt-in with any you think might benefit: Text: REBOOT to 44222.)”
Rollye: “It’s right up our alley when David Martin and Kipper McGee join forces to what I’ll
bet is not only helping radio folks still at it, but preserving some of our history as well. The
first podcast is online here
. You’ll hear some voices you know, and maybe learn something
“In June, we lamented the Riviera Hotel, which vanished in two minutes. What wasn’t as
evident, in the television coverage of the controlled implosion, was the lifetimes of memories
that went with it.”
Morris I. Diamond: “The Riviera in Vegas? That was my 2nd home. From the years of 1980
- 2002, I had my office at Meshulam Riklis' office on Wilshire Blvd in a penthouse in Michael
Milkin's Stock building. Riklis owned the Riviera in Vegas...among many other powerful
companies in the U.S.such as Faberge, Newberry 5 & Dime stores....and so much more.
“Meshulam was married to Pia Zadora, and he hired Tino Barzie, who was Sinatra Jr's
Manager at the time. They had just completed filming a movie that starred Pia & Orson
Welles and a few others called Butterfly. In clearing the music for the film, they had a problem
with one hillbilly tune and Tino Barzie called and asked if I could be of help. I had the song
cleared for the film within 24 hours. They flipped and asked if I'd like to have an office with
them and be their ‘music supervisor/talent/director’. I accepted. I took little play because I
was still messing around with my Beverly Hills Records company along with my 6 Music
“It was heaven for me - I travelled with them, ran their 2 publishing companies - made them
some money & I got paid well in commissions. One in particular was a TV show called
GLOW - Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling. I was the music supervisor and the show and that, in
itself, lasted 5 years. Mr. Riklis also owned a big jet to travel coast to coast to Europe, etc. I
had the pleasure of traveling with them to MIDEM, Israel, NY and many times to Vegas to the
Riviera Hotel for many of Pia's appearances - big name fights, etc. Mr. Riklis sold the Riviera
a few years ago, and still had his suite available to him whenever he chose to visit the Riv.
Meshulam Riklis now lives in Israel. This has been one of the greatest chapter of my 95 years
on earth. I'm very fortunate that I had Rik & the Riv in my life.”
Rollye: “Morris’ memories led me to wonder, whatever happened to Pia Zadora? In case
you, too, haven’t been following her life story, she and Riklis divorced in the mid 1990s after
two kids and two decades of marriage. (Riklis was more than 30 years her senior.) After a
fairly brief marriage to writer-director Jonathan Kaufer that produced a third child, in 2005
she married a Las Vegas police detective. They live in Summerlin. Riklis’ move to Israel is a
return home for him. Though he was born in Turkey to Russian parents, he grew up in
“But most interesting about Meshulam Riklis is that decades before the term was used, Riklis
made his fortune from LBOs (Leveraged Buyouts). His ability with “the effective nonuse of
cash” as he put it in the mid 1950s, allowed him to borrow money using only the assets of the
undervalued companies he was acquiring as collateral for the loans. Too common now,
Scott Payton: “I hope this finds you hale and hearty, Claude. And Rollye, you've been doing
the heavy lifting at Vox Jox superbly, just as Claude predicted. I couldn't appreciate or admire
you two more-- thanks for keeping this network and fellowship of my former broadcasting
colleagues and heroes active.
“I just wanted to call attention to something you might be interested in. My old friend Dean
Torrence is hitting the bookstores on September 6 with Surf City: The Jan & Dean Story (soon
to be available at Amazon here
.) I’ve read a few chapters and it's quite good, plus he's beating
his friends, Beach Boys Mike Love and Brian Wilson, and their upcoming autobios to the
shelves by a few weeks.
“Having been friends with both J&D going back 40 years, I know their saga inside and out.
They bridged the tail end of the Doo-Wop Era on into the mid-'60s until Jan's auto accident.
And their comeback as a touring act in the late-'70 'til Jan's death a dozen years ago was quite
the triumph. As so many of their personal appearances and concerts were local
station/jock-sponsored, Dean has countless tales of legendary air personalities. Great insights
into Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys in their heyday, too, as well as the Frank Sinatra Jr.
kidnapping and all sorts of good stuff.”
Rollye: “Really looking forward to Dean’s take— particularly of their early days on Dore, and
what I’m sure are numerous tales from the T.A.M.I. Show. Just found out that Scott Payton,
like me, is a former Watermark employee. Hoping for some interesting stories whenever he’s
Mel Phillips: “We are another day closer to the 50th WRKO Reunion Weekend, June 2-4,
2017. Palmer Payne (part of our original morning team of Al Gates, Feathers, Palmer &
Curt Gowdy) sent us an interesting sidebar noting that WRKO's first incarnation (WNAC)
will also be celebrating an anniversary in 2017. WNAC was launched in 1922, making it 95
next year. WNAC became one of the 16 original CBS affiliates in 1927. The station existed
from 1922 to 1967 (45 years). Although no one is still alive from the day WNAC went on the
air, there are several of us who did work under those call letters, so happy 95...
“If you're coming from out of town and haven't booked a room yet, there are still a few rooms
left at the reasonably priced rate of $179 a night. For reservations, call the Crowne Plaza
(Newton) at 617-969-3010. Check-in is Friday, June 2, 2017, check-out is Sunday, June 4,
2017. Ask for the "WRKO Reunion" special rate. A Friday night reunion party and dinner will
be held and then on Saturday Night, June 3, 2017 we'll air 4 hours live (7pm-11pm) on
WRKO-AM and online through Backbone Network streaming (produced by George Capalbo
“Photo theme for today: WRKO promotions that helped send us straight to the top of the
Boston Radio ratings in the summer of 1967. All the promotions were under the superb
direction of Harvey Mednick, none bigger than the premiere of the James Bond movie,
"Casino Royale", which put us on the map because of the riot it created.”
Canobie Lake Park
Casino Royale Riot
Diamond Giveaway Al Gates "Feathers" Contest One-Armed Bandit
Fashion Happening History Of Rock & Roll
New England Dragway
Million $ Weekend
Camaro Giveaway Your Father's Mustache
Miami Pop Festival
Money Machine Candy Apple Red
See you at the reunion!