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Joey Reynolds: This is what I would like to see happen
by Rollye James
Rollye: “Had to laugh at Joey Reynolds’ picture, though I’m wondering who he has in mind
for attendees— broadcasters or those who rule us? Lots to say on the latter, but me thinks that
discussion belongs elsewhere. Hate to ruin the good mood of this forum. When I think of
Joey, often my mind wanders to memories of the late Tom Shovan. The stories are endless,
and no one tells them better than Randy West.”
Randy West: “Through all the years that I'd repeatedly heard the story of Joey Reynolds
nailing his shoes at WKBW, I only recently learned that making amends brought a minor
miracle - the long-unpaid retirement account cash. Amazing. It brings to mind the endless true
tales of radio insanity told by Joey's, my, yours and the industry's mutual friend, Tom Shovan.
Here's one. I'm happy to share it, if you think it's not too long.
“Borrowing from the Todd Storz' 'Parakeet Contest' at WDGY, Tom went down to the
Portland, Maine pet shop that had a long-simmering unpaid bill for advertising at WJAB. He
left, not with a parakeet, but a bird from a breed that he was told would be far more talkative, a
myna bird. Tom said it took weeks of the bird listening continually, through many overnights,
to a cart machine - recue function disabled - repeating "W.J.A.B., Mister JAB. Mister JAB, the
punch in greater Portland.” One morning it all clicked, and the bird was happy to regurgitate
the call letters and slogan, sounding amazingly close to human.
“Tom placed a microphone next to the myna's birdcage that he hung in the studio, to capture
the myna bird repeating the station’s name, “JAB.” The mic keyed on and off with the jock's,
and the bird was all too happy to endlessly repeat his name, “Mr. Jab,” when triggered by the
DJ’s own mention of the station. The audience found it fascinating. The jocks found it
increasingly annoying, and there was also the issue of myna birds’ projectile defecation. Tom
said clean-up duty was left to him, because it was his idea. Tom soon wanted nothing more
than to put an end to the bird business, but the GM wouldn't allow it - it was too much of a hit.
“To put an end to the mess, Tom had an idea only he could conceive: teaching the bird to
curse. It took a few overnights of listening to another endless tape loop repeating the most
egregious epithets before the bird brain was finally re-programmed. One morning the myna
strung together a sentence so colorful that the morning DJ just froze, unable to speak or turn
off any microphones for what seemed like an eternity. The bird just kept on cursing – “F*ck
JAB, Mr. JAB, f*ck you JAB… .”
“During the next record, the GM came into the studio furious, pointed at the bird and, as if on
cue, the myna shot his projectile right onto the GM's white starched shirt. Tom said that with
the twist of the enraged GM's wrist, both Mr. Jab’s broadcasting career and his life were most
unceremoniously ended right then and there.”
Rollye: “Hilarious. Truly. But I’m grieving for the bird— and so should everyone else who
has opened a mic. How many of us have been fired for doing exactly what we’re told to do?
RIP Mr. JAB. We feel your pain.”
Warren Cosford: “LOVED your Stories about Country Music and Country Music Radio.
Here's one for you.
“I was 19 working part time at CJOB AM/FM in Winnipeg and going to College when
CJOB-FM went from the traditional 'FM' format of Light Pop and Classical to Country Music.
In the Canadian Radio of 1965 it was an outrageous thing to do. As I was one of the few
people at the station that admitted to listening to Country Music I was offered a full time job as
a Country Gentleman.....Cowboy Hat, Boots and Suit Jacket. Think of Porter Wagoner
without The Sparklies.
“For months I did afternoon remotes at everywhere that sold FM Radios from Music Stores to
The Tuxedo Esso Service. Really. The Format required that I announced the time following
each set. So I had one of the curious kids that dropped by step on the wire by the gas pumps.
"FM time (ring, ring) 3:15".
“Twenty-four years later I became The General Manager of BX-93 in London Ontario. When I
walked in they were a "disguised AC"......a little country, a little pop with Lionel Ritchie in
Hot Rotation. So...I found a great PD in Ian McCallum and we changed that in a hurry, as
we became Canada's first Country Station to put Garth Brooks in Heavy Rotation. We also
had a Morning Man, Michael Dee, who was a genuine Country Music singer and songwriter
who recorded in Nashville and drew thousands to his concerts. He even wrote and performed
The BX-93 Song with BX-93 Personalities Play-Syncing.
Can't see it? Click here.
“The Ratings went up.....but the money didn't.
“One Problem was National Money. The Sales People in Toronto told me that most of it went
west of Winnipeg. Always had. Likely always will. "Have you noticed Warren that Toronto's
Country Stations, if you can hear them, are an AM in Richmond Hill and an FM in Hamilton"?
“Then one day I noticed that Wendy's Restaurants did something I had never seen them do
before. The bought Radio. ALL Radio in London. Except BX-93. Yes, Wendy's Dad was
still doing commercials on TV. But Radio got in the mix this time because Wendy's was
celebrating their 20th anniversary in Canada. "C'mon down to Wendy's all next week, buy a
Wendy's 20th Anniversary Burger and the fries are free".
“So....I wrote a Promo for Michael Dee to record which congratulated Wendy's on their 20th
Anniversary and invited BX-93 listeners to join the celebration by coming to the Wendy's
location in downtown London Friday between noon and one o'clock. Everyone who comes up
to The BX-93 Motorhome Studio and says I love Wendy's and I love Country Music will get a
free Wendy's 20th Anniversary Hamburger and Fries.
“Then I called the Wendy's head office in Toronto and suggested they be prepared for what
would likely be the largest one hour sales event in Wendy's history.
“Then I called London Police to advise them that there would be a huge traffic jam at Wendy's
downtown and that any extra overtime for traffic direction by their officers would be paid by
“Then I called our National Sales Manager in Toronto to be prepared to receive a call from
Wendy's Ad Agency.
“Radio Vets reading Vox Jox know what fun it is to read exciting things about your Radio
Station on the front page of the local Newspaper.....with pictures.
“When the smoke cleared Wendy's Agency came to London and I bought them lunch at
Wendy's. ‘What the hell did I think I was doing”’you ask? I was doing your job for you. I
was bringing people into Wendy's. We're not mad at you for not including us in your ‘Buy’. If
we were mad, I'd suggest our listeners should firebomb Wendy's. And someone would.
“You see....Country Music Fans are potentially your best customers. They are intensely loyal.
And from a Radio standpoint we love them because they love us so much they rarely listen to
anyone else.....which means.....if you advertise and don't include Country Radio in your ‘Buy’,
you are missing out on a ton of potential customers.
“As you might imagine word of what we did got around to other Agencies in Toronto. A
Country Show headlined by Reba McEntire was coming through Toronto. ‘Hey Ad
Community.....c'mon down to The Show. You may or may not like Country Music but what we
know you'll see is an audience full of people who look exactly like your client's customers. In
fact....bring a client with you. We have a ticket for them too'.
“And The Hits……..”
Rollye: “BX93 is still playing country music, and they’re currently number one in London,
Ontario. You can bet Warren’s foundation had a lot to do with that. Speaking of country
music, foundations and good bets, it’s a sure thing that Nashville wouldn’t be nearly as
resplendent as the country music capital of the world it is today without the help of Chuck
Chellman. Claude forwarded his email to me:
Chuck Chellman: “Thanks for the story on Country Music. It was great reading.
“After working for Decca in Pittsburgh and Cleveland doing pop promotion, I had a job offer
to come to Nashville. While in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, I would notice boxes of records
stacked high as the ceiling. I would ask which releases they were. It could have been Webb
Pierce, Kitty Wells, Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline, Bill Anderson, etc. Two days later, they would
all be gone. Sold. Money in the bank. One stops and juke boxes were huge users of country
“I accepted a job at Mercury working with Shelby Singleton. I saw Shelby cut 3 number one
records in the same day: "Walk On By" (Leroy VanDyke) "Wooden Heart" (Joe Dowell) and I
can't recall the third. Shortly thereafter, we released Roger Miller's "King of the Road". Yes,
Nashville was hot and I bought into it immediately. Along the way I was lucky enough to come
up with the "Country Disc Jockey Hall of Fame", which is still the biggest radio event in the
country music industry. The only two people who knew I was working on the project was
Billboard's Bill Williams and Starday/King's Don Pierce. They were great to help.
“Passing on opportunities to move to LA or NYC, I decided to raise my family in Nashville.
Sometimes it is great to stay put. Best wishes and thanks again. I love reading your stuff each
Rollye: “It would be impossible to overstate Chuck’s contributions to Nashville. All those
enjoying country music’s vast success today owe him a debt of gratitude. But between now
and then, as is always the case, something special faded into the past— like the first few
Country Radio Seminars, beginning in 1970, which felt more like an intimate gathering of old
friends at local hotels like the Holiday Inn Vandy, King of the Road and Airport Hilton.
Chuck’s wife, Georgia Twitty Chellman was instrumental in setting them up, along with Tom
McEntee. I think the first annual Chuck Chellman/Georgia Twitty Invitational Golf Classic,
which subsequently became an institution, was held in 1972 around the same time the CMA
created Fan Fair to deflect the legions of fans showing up at the Disc Jockey Convention,
glomming on to its opportunities for face time with the stars (designed for the jocks to make
recordings they could later play on the air). I bet Chuck has amassed a ton of stories over the
years, and I hearby plead for him to share them with us.”
Peter McClaine: “We also used Mr. Taylor’s ”radio bingo" game at KFJZ Z93 in 1978, in
Fort Worth Dallas. It was a killer quarter hour maintenance game. We adapted it to Adult
Contemporary artists for the first time. Please say hi to Frank Boyle, Eastman , who repped
our KIOA Des Moines for lots of money. The Eastman guys were great at format radio.
Thanks Frank. Keep those Storz stories coming. Has anybody done a time line on Bill
Stewart? A guy at the right place at the right time. Peter McClaine— retired nicely, thanks
Rollye: “You can thank Claude Hall for the great interview with Bill Stewart that is
chronicled in Claude & Barbara Hall’s book, “This Business of Radio Programming”. Not a
timeline, per se, but several of the highlights are there. I believe it was conducted in 1972. It
ran as a multi-part series in Billboard in late 72 and early 73. I bet Claude could fill in the
years between the interview and Bill's death in 1985. I’m glad you asked because relatively
little is written on Stewart, and for radio-history sake alone, more should be. He not only
worked for McLendon and Storz, (multiple times for both) but briefly Don Burden too.
“Bill loved selling the bingo game to KFJZ. Working on the AM was one of his favorite gigs.
Lots of tales, my favorites being about the Texas State Network set up, and watching Wally
Blanton and Bill Ennis do those drag racing spots. Around 1971, I did the first paste ups for the
country cards. I knew it was a great idea, and was glad it could later be used for oldies and
AC. During the last year of Bill’s life, he often mentioned I should resurrect the game for our
AM. I always meant to ask him about 'the secret' —how he controlled the potential for
winners that imitators missed. I had a year’s worth of opportunity. The day before Bill died, I
was sitting with him and helping him with email. I mentioned that I wanted to find out the
secret to the game. “It’s easy!” he said, but was too tired to elaborate. Before I had a chance to
bring it up again, he was gone.”
Mel Phillips: Thanks for the large photo. At least I had a tie on. I love the memories. Funny
how we remember the Babe Ruth's of music no matter the genre or era. I love those memories
but if you ask me what my favorite era is, I say right now. Like it or not, it reflects life today. I
did a college seminar a couple of years ago and someone in the audience said her favorite
decade was the 70's. I replied that every decade has good music but it wasn't all good in the
70s, just like today. Once a top 40 guy, always a top 40 guy. Even today…”
Bob Sherwood: “Hi Claude and Rollye—the Hardest Working People in Show Biz---except
for the ageless, everywhere Joey Reynolds and Johnny Holliday who’s doing play-by-play
for Maryland basketball, football, baseball, lacrosse, volleyball, cricket; post game shows for
the Washington Redskins ( or happy Native Americans), Washington Wizards, Baltimore
Bullets, Baltimore Orioles, KYA Wonders (with Rick Barry under an alias) and serves as
(unofficial) SVP responsible for stopping President Trump from tweeting things that’ve caused
Saturday Night Live from becoming more relevant than they were during any period since the
“Where was I ? Oh, yes. The inimitable Don Graham. I’ve done some research and it turns
out that my Grandfather John Battle who came directly from County Sligo to San Francisco in
the early 1900’s, was programming KSFO at the time and was promoted by Don’s Grandfather
Donald “Faith & Begorrah” O’Graham who was working Jerry Moss’s “The Livery Stable
Blues” and he added it in all night rotation. My Grandfather’s records clearly indicate that the
carton of abalone from Scoma’s restaurant, the massage from the lovely Scarlett O’Hara,
some Lucky Charms at the Fairmont Hotel Brunch and those Golden Shamrocks wrapped in a
few US twenties had nothing to do with it.
“By the way, I’ve checked and it’s still Top 20 at Tower Records' Town & Country store.
Sigh. If only life went on as it did in the wonderful 70s and 80s.”
Bob Fead: “Never surrender the 70’s and the 80’s. It was our time. Love all of you who
grew up with this moment.”
Rollye: “I was really starting to feel like a fossil, as to me top 40 ended after 1963 (though I
liked a lot of later country and soul)… but then I got a reply to Bob’s email from Don
Don Graham: “There is absolutely no truth to the numerous rumors that I promoted this
release. None! However, I have heard that Bob Sherwood was the first to play it at KROY,
Rollye: “In case you want to hear it…..”
Can't hear it? Click here.
Frank Jolley: “For some reason I'd stopped getting this newsletter and had to sign up again.
Thanks for keeping KKDJ.net
listed we have over 4 million listeners and we're being heard in
108 countries. Hell, I didn't know there were 108 countries and still don't know where some of
Rollye: “A lot of those countries have only appeared on recent maps. But keep track of the
stats. You might notice that some of these foreign listeners are always listening.. for days,
weeks, etc. I thought about geofencing, but don’t want everyone overseas blocked, so now I’m
eliminating individual addresses (and some of the more ardent constant ‘listeners’ have a
seemingly never-ending supply of them). I can’t figure out what they’re doing (other than
eating bandwidth) but there’s a guy in Germany that listens to a couple of my streams
non-stop. If anyone has a clue as to what’s behind this, I’d love to hear it. It’s not coming
from the aggregators (i.e. TuneIn, Reciva, Heart, etc.— they don’t work that way), but after
that I’m lost.”
Claude Hall: “Rollye, thought you might like to see a photo of Bruce Miller Earle and his
puppies. Bruce is famous in Texas radio ... heck, famous in worldwide radio from KLIF to
Aruba! He used to rewire the station before he went on the air, then unwire it for the next jock.
A warm, lovable character and still one of my good friends.”
Mel Phillips: “In just a few weeks I'll be emailing invitations to the WRKO 50th Anniversary
dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on June 2, 2017. In the meantime, we'll pay tribute to many
of the WRKO on-air staffers who followed the original NOW CROWD (L-R): PD Charlie Van
Dyke, Chip Hobart, Chris Bailey, and Dale Dorman.
“WRKO 50th Anniversary Dates:
Friday, June 2, 2017
We'll soon be just 3 months away. Dinner invitations will be emailed in a few weeks 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
Al Gates, Joel Cash, J.J. Jeffrey, Chuck Knapp, Arnie Ginsburg,
On air live (7pm-11pm) on WRKO/Streaming & Backbone Networks (Streaming) (produced
by George Capalbo Jr.) All music, jingles and 20/20 news headlines from 1967. Art Vuolo
will video tape the festivities, a copy of which will go into the National Radio Hall Of Fame in
“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 a cab from Logan (Gordon Brown is offering special rates, his email
address is available by request). Local transportation while staying at the hotel is advised.
Dinner invitations will be emailed in Mid-March. Party time is less than 4 months away.”