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Jack Vincent on the air from KCBQ’s transmitter on Mission Gorge Road in 1963,
where Shotgun Tom Kelly would watch him do his show.  


by Rollye James
Claude Hall

Rollye:  “Based on Jack Vincent, it seems like the secret to longevity is to smoke cigars and
drink whiskey— but what really kept him alive was attitude.  By all accounts, Jack enjoyed his
life— and everyone he met along the way.  He always had a good time, and that translated to a
very good time for those who listened to him.  Shotgun Tom Kelly alerted me to Jack’s death.

Karen Perlman did a nice obit in the San Diego Union-Tribune (read it here).  In many ways,
Vincent was an unlikely radio star. He was over 30 when he started his broadcasting career,
after military service and manual labor.  And he remained at one station for over 25 years. 
Known as one of the KCBQ Good Guys in San Diego, Jack truly was just that— a good guy,
welcoming fans, like a young Tom Irwin who would visit the transmitter site late at night to
chat with Vincent while he ruled the overnight airwaves.  Irwin, who would later morph into
Shotgun Tom Kelly, remembers Jack’s encouragement.  It was the start of a long time
friendship— not only for Tom, but for many listeners who fondly recalled seeing Jack with
Elvis, meeting him at an appearance, or listening to him having fun on the radio, which he did
on KCBQ at a time when rock jocks reigned supreme: 1955 to 1970.  (Jack remained at
KCBQ, off the air, until 1982 when he retired.)   At 99, he lived a long life— but for friends,
fans and coworkers, it wasn’t long enough.”

On his 90th birthday, Jack Vincent joins Shotgun Tom in Tom’s infamous garage, which housed an
exact replica of Johnny Carson’s Tonight’s Show set.   Click here for more pictures.

Burt Sherwood:  “Herb Oscar Anderson, I knew him well…we spoke almost weekly…we
were both at WMCA.  That is a long story….we moved to Connecticut to be near him and
Scott Muni was there with us for a while as well….he was the best morning man I ever heard,
and he was also a great singer.  We were like brothers…and Anne and I will never forget him,
Terri, Johnny, Carla, and Herbie.  He passed away peacefully surrounded  by his family…..I
am heartbroken.”

Rollye:  “Al Herskovitz alerted Burt Sherwood, who in turn told me, about a video tribute
Art Vuolo did for Herb.  You can see it at Talkers.com, or watch it here:”

If you don’t see it, click here.

Chuck Dunaway:  “Herb and I were in contact at least twice a week....he was one of the really
nice people. All the years I knew Herb I never heard him say a bad word about anybody...a rare
truly nice man…”

Mel Phillips:  “My first fulltime job (at 17) was in the ABC (headquarters) mailroom on West
66th Street. HOA was doing the morning show. He would soon go to WMCA and then back to
WABC. Herb never failed to visit the mailroom after he got off the air just to say hi to those of
us who worked in the bowels of the enormous ABC building, right next to the horse stables
and across the street from the Des Artists restaurant (still there btw). Herb knew I had just
started radio school at night which I attended after my day job. He, newsmen Don Gardiner
and Joel Crager would give me live copy to practice my diction, enunciation, etc. Herb was
encouraging as I started out in radio and I'll never forget something he told me that stuck with
me throughout my career. He said, "Mel, do your job, do it well but always be an
'individualist'." It took a long time before I knew what Herb meant. But I never forget that

“When I was at WCBS-FM in later years, I reconnected with HOA during one of our "New
York Radio Greats" weekend. I told him how I treasured his encouragement and how important
it was to me throughout my career. That famous, welcoming smile came to his face. What a
man!. Herb and I started reminiscing about all the people I worked with in the ABC mailroom.
He not only remembered them but he remembered their names too. I knew Herb was a farm
boy at heart. After he retired to Connecticut I can remember seeing him driving a tractor with
that big grin on his face. I think he was happier doing that and singing than anything else… 
Rollye, you mentioned the Royal Guardsmen and I too was working in Florida (WKKO,
Cocoa) and then later WFLA & Big Walt (Tampa). Do you remember the producer of the
Guardsmen, Phil Gernhardt? He also produced Lobo. What a character!”

Rollye:  “Phil Gernhardt! I feel like I knew him from all that he’s recorded and the stories
that surrounded his efforts.  One of my favorites: at the start of  his career,  he co-produced
Maurice Williams’ ‘Stay’.  He did it in a defunct TV studio in Columbia, South Carolina.  
Though Maurice had had success on Excello (when The Zodiacs were still The Gladiolas) and
seemingly endless royalties when The Diamonds’ parodied ‘Little Darlin’ which Maurice
wrote,  Gernhardt’s recording of ‘Stay’ (which Maurice also wrote) was not ready for prime
time.  That’s an understatement.  Phil took the master to New York and everyone turned him
down until he came to Al Silver at Herald.  Al must have heard something redeeming, but
heaven only knows what since Silver said the recording was awful and the production, just
bad.   He actually drew pictures of a VU Meter to show Phil how to set levels— and had
advice strong for Maurice’s approach.  Phil and his partner, Al McCullough, went back to
South Carolina and got a real studio.  Maurice didn’t like the suggestions, but he took them
anyway— and the rest is history.  

“Phil, who I think was from Florida originally, moved to Tampa, where he recorded several
local acts (at Charles Fuller Productions on MacDill Ave., which Mel probably remembers
since WALT jock Gil Cabot later recorded Mercy’s ‘Love Can Make You Happy’ there for his
own Sundi label).  After such locals as the Sugar Beats, Phil hit it big with the Royal
Guardsmen. It was Phil’s connections that got the Guardsmen on Laurie (the same connections
that got Lobo, a former member of the Sugar Beats, on Big Tree, probably).  Gernhardt also
produced Dion’s “Abraham Martin & John” (which the Guardsmen wanted to record, but
Dion’s name power beat them out).  I heard that Phil later wound up in Nashville heading
A&R for Curb until he died about a decade ago.”

Buddy Holly’s glasses erected near a spot where the plane went down after the Surf Ballroom
appearance, 58 years ago last week.

Claude Hall:  “Double WOW!  Johnny Rivers at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.  I’ve
been wondering about Johnny Rivers for years!  The last time I saw him perform was in the
60s at the Copa in Manhattan when he replaced the suddenly late Sam Cooke on the venue. 
He was sensational!  He and his band performed a 45-minute version of ‘La Bamba’, which
subsequently became my favorite song.  It’s a Mexican classic and you’ll find an academic
article on the history of the song on the Internet.  At one time in the 70s, I had a reel of about
30 versions of the song and would occasionally pigout on ‘La Bamba’.  Also in the 70s, after
we moved the headquarters of Billboard magazine to Los Angeles, Johnny Rivers was kind
enough to invite Barbara and myself to dinner one evening at his home on Mulholland Drive. 
Over the years, I’ve forgotten everything about the evening except those phenomenal front
doors to his home … they seemed to be hand-carved.  Very beautiful!  Johnny, I hope you’ve
done well over the years.  My best to you.”

Tom Russell:  “ In 2006 we were living in El Paso and I wrote a song, about a white developer
in San Diego who built a border wall on the California/Mexico borderline, using illegal
Mexican labor workers to build the wall...to keep the illegal Mexicans out! So it was a song
with an ironic, humorous twist. Tongue in cheek.  I debuted the song in 2006 at the Cambridge
Folk Festival in the U.K. It went over really well. A video of that performance has surfaced on
You Tube.  One year later I performed the song on USA TV, on the David Letterman show to
millions of viewers, and got tons of response. Positive and negative. The song went on to
create a audience.   Fast forward, now, to the current Presidential situation in the USA and
thousands of folks emailing me that I must have been looking into a crystal ball in 2006,
predicting that a white developer would rise up to be President...with a rap about a border wall.
I don't get into posting about divisive politics - BUT - I wrote the song! And it can go out and
amuse or enlighten people, as it will.”


If you don’t see it, click here.

Claude Hall to Tom Russell:  “Great song!  Loved it when I first heard of it.  And still think
it's not only a great song but quite astute and highly perceptive of you.  I didn't dabble in
politics this past election.  Perhaps I should have.  But I figured I was too old to do more than
vote.  Which I did for Lady Clinton and I still believe that we should have had a woman as
president.  Instead of a clown.  Would have been interesting.  In my opinion.  Hope you're well,
Tom, and performing and writing.  Now and then I have to pull out a Tom Russell tune and
listen to it just to balance my day.  Think I'll send the song out to some radio buddies ... just to
make sure they hear this wonderful tune.”

Rollye: “And I'm glad Claude sent it to me!  As for the election— I was no Hillary fan.  But I
admit my fervent motto ‘ABC: Anybody But Clinton’ was weakened by the thought of her
opponent.  In the end, no matter who won, I believe America lost.  As for the illegal immigrant
issue, I’ll put on my conspiratorial hat and declare that both sides of the aisle have a stake in its
continuance, so who knows if a wall will come to pass (not that I’m suggesting Trump is part
of either side).   Listening to Tom’s lyrics, I was reminded that illegal immigrants are our de
facto slaves.  It’s not as much as finding someone to do a job we don’t want to do, as it is
finding someone who can not complain about their working conditions.  Maybe a wall will
shine light on several issues lurking in the dark, though I won’t hold my breath about its
completion. In the meantime, Tom was prescient, wasn’t he?  Hopping off the soap box now.

“The best news this week is that Claude wrote another short story.  Read Woody here.   

“Timmy Manocheo sent word of Butch Trucks death.  The Allman Brothers founding drummer
shot himself in the head, with his his wife of 25 years standing nearby.  This is sad on every
level.  If you’re not a familiar with the extent of Butch's talent, here’s Rollingstone’s take. 

“And the suffering is now over for Sonny Geraci.  Rock and Roll in Cleveland and Gerasi
were synonymous from the mid 60s through the early 70s. He was the force behind The
Outsiders (“Time Won’t Let Me”) and Climax (“Precious and Few”), after which he left music
behind to work in his family’s business, returning years later on the oldies circuit until
suffering a brain aneurysm in 2012 that permanently sidelined him.

“That news was a sad shock to many in the industry and big blow to his family.  In 2013, a
benefit in Streetsboro was held, and everyone showed up.  Acts included Gary Lewis, Billy
Joe Royal, Ron Dante, Pat Upton, The Shadows of Knight, The 1910 Fruitgum
Company, The Rip Chords and several others.  About $28,000 was raised.    The Geraci
family never saw any of it.  The restauranteur where the event was held made off with it. The
guy denied it, but plead guilty, and was subsequently convicted.  He served very little of his
three year sentence, but upon his release was ordered to pay $500 a month until all the money
was repaid. 

“Now, the suffering is over for Sonny Geraci.   He passed away at 69 years old yesterday. 
Here’s the Cleveland.com piece:  and one from Fox8.  I hope the courts will strictly enforce the
payment schedule for the Gerasi family.  It will go a long way in helping them heal.”

Mel Phillips:  “We are now 4 months away from the 50th Anniversary weekend and
preparations continue for what promises to be the biggest radio event of the year in Boston.
This week we feature some of our music promotions & LPs:

WRKO 50th Anniversary Dates:
Friday, June 2, 2017

Dinner invitations will be emailed in Mid-March for the Anniversary which will be celebrated
at the Crowne Plaza (Charles Ballroom) in Newton. Cash bar at 6 will be followed by dinner.
Jordan Rich (seen above) will emcee. Parking fees for those driving to the event will be
waived with front desk validation...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

(L-R: Al Gates, Joel Cash, J.J. Jeffrey, Chuck Knapp, Arnie Ginsburg, George Capalbo Jr., Art Vuolo)

On air live (7pm-11pm) on WRKO AM/Streaming & Backbone Networks (Streaming)
(produced by George Capalbo, Jr.) All music & jingles from 1967.   Art Vuolo will video tape
the festivities, a copy of which will go into the National Radio Hall Of Fame in Chicago...

Reservations: Rooms are still available at the Crowne Plaza (Newton). Check-in: Friday (June
2). Check-out: Sunday (June 4). Call 617-969-3010 and ask for special "WRKO Reunion" rate
of $159 a night (tax not included). You'll pay about $175 after taxes but more if you park at the
hotel. We suggest using local transportation (cabs are available and Woodland (Green Line of
MBTA) Station is only 8 minutes away from the hotel). You'll have to cab it from Logan (or
contact Gordon Brown for a special rate). His email address is available by request...  Dinner
invitations will be emailed in Mid-March. Party time is just 4 months away.”