WANT EMAIL NOTIFICATION WHEN A NEW COLUMN IS POSTED? CLICK HERE.
Shadoe Stevens uholding KMET
(That's Mary Turner to the left, B.Mitchell Reed to the right)
by Rollye James
Claude Hall: “I trained as a journalist. And, while I later obtained a master’s in education, it’s
the Bachelor’s in Journalism from The University of Texas by which I abide the most. As
such, I always sought the full picture. This especially is in regards to radio. Thus, when a
would-be claimed Top 40 radio started in Kansas City, I sought to defend the interview with
program director Bill Stewart and interviews with KLIF owner Gordon McLendon (two
hours on cassette) and others of that time period. The 1977 book “This Business of Radio
Programming” was a result of my efforts. It was David Moorhead, who had total recall, who
told me that without a Bill Stewart there probably wouldn’t have been a Todd Storz and a
Gordon McLendon. As you’re aware, these two men were honored as the fathers of Top 40
by the National Association of Broadcasters. In my efforts to depict the full picture, I admit
that I didn’t know everything. But I tried. Especially, when I wrote “Rocks Don’t Matter,” a
rather long short story regarding David Moorhead that is included in the eBook “Radio Wars”
generated when he asked for information regarding David Moorhead. I sent him a copy of
“Rocks Don’t Matter,” in which I had virtually emptied my memory vault about the man and
KMET-FM. My thanks for Shadoe for further illuminating the scene.”
Shadoe Stevens: “Claude, I really enjoyed your short story reaching back into the abyss and
reflecting on great people and radio memories. It seems David was all that I remembered him
to be, but I hadn’t known about the length and breadth of his women problems. It was much
more dramatic and neurotic than I knew or imagined. Thanks for all that. I enjoyed your
writing and personal asides, and hearing about people I once knew and really liked…like
Motorcycle Michael and Lee Baby.
“The issue I’ve had with David was revisited right there in your narrative. The saga as you
remember it was colorized by your relationship with David and the way he positioned my
accomplishments in his desire to be thought of as the sole source of KMET’s success. Let me
share with you the truth as I see it. The truth is that, just as in your story, I was reduced to a
footnote. “Shadoe Stevens programmed the station for a short time.” Not that it really matters
anymore…a thousand years later, two guys reflecting on magic days we gave our lives to in an
industry that no longer exists…but because I have great respect for you and have admired your
work for most of my adult life, I at least, wanted you to know…the rest…of the story.
“The truth is that I had known incredible success making KRLA number one in L.A., then
started KROQ FM’s programming, which exploded on the scene and in six months had some
of the top ratings in L.A. I actually kept the ratings in my files for both of these, so I know
what really happened. After I quit KROQ and the entire staff quit the same day, and the station
went off the air, I started my production company, vowing never to do radio again. That’s when
David called me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
“He had a second rate station programmed in the manner of Donahue’s KSAN and it just
wasn’t working in L.A. It wasn’t getting ratings and he wanted me to ‘come in and do the kind
of thing I did with KROQ and KRLA’…fill it with personality and a brand that featured rock,
humor, and theater of the mind. KMET was a station whose format I then went about
transforming from being the self-indulgent hippie station that it had been, into a vibrant and
dominant Southern California institution.
The iconic design for which Shadoe Stevens fought.
He commissioned it after the QUAD 2525 billboard.
“The cherished classic upside down billboard was my idea and I wrote the beloved jingle ‘A
little bit of heaven’ and recorded it with the Pointer Sisters when they were guests on my show.
Pointer Sisters - KMET jingles. If you can't see the YouTube video, click here.
“The program director, Sam Bellamy, was the woman hired from you at Billboard magazine.
She had no radio experience. She worked for me as my assistant for about a year and inherited
the job when I quit in a rage. We had attained number one ratings - of all stations in Los
Angeles. David positioned the story in all media, Billboard and the L.A. Times as “Dave
Moorhead’s KMET is number one.” There was no mention of me having transformed the
station in about six months.
Joe Collins, the Pointer Sisters, Howard Bloom, and Shadoe Stevens
“David then took charge, and ordered me to take off all the weekend programming that had
helped give us number one weekend ratings - shows like Jimmy Witherspoon, Harry
Shearer, and my album countdown show. He didn’t fire them, I did. Then, in order to keep
from paying severance, he had me talk Jimmy Rabbitt into resigning to go play country music
on a country station. He didn’t fire him. I talked him in to resigning.
“Then he ordered to “terminate Ace Young, Brother John, and Joe Collins.” When I asked
why, he said, ‘They're just not working out.’ I told him, ‘No. you're not working out. You are
not going to turn me in to you. If you want to do that, you’re going to have to get someone else
to do your dirty work.’ He took me up on that and said condescendingly, ‘Someday you’re
going to thank me for this.’ I moved out of my office that afternoon. I was fortunate during
this time to have founded my production company which was actively producing national
programming and commercials. I turned my attention to the company full time after leaving
KMET, and this led to Fred Rated, which became a west coast commercial success. All good
things followed. Nevertheless, KMET was a heart-breaking experience that took years to get
over. It was a place where I was able to take an abstract idea and make it a concrete dream. I
had made it wildly successful, and Sam kept the ball rolling for the next ten years as it became
the top billing station in the country. Sam became an outstanding program director. But these
contributions of mine were made under great duress working in a corporate environment for a
madman known as ‘The Hound.’
“Tom Donahue is revered as a giant in the industry for having created a station in San
Francisco in which personalities played anything they wanted. There was no format, no
unusual radio skills, really no break-through innovation, theater or promotion - but its magic
was: it broke all the existing radio rules and played some cool music. KMET was originally
created to emulate the Donahue free-form style. That didn't work in Los Angeles. It never had
ratings. I came in after having started the KROQ FM format and changed everything. It was
much like KROQ in character and humor, without the high energy, cutting- edge rock. The
entire landscape of KMET's structure, energy, format, promotion, branding, marketing, and
character changed to Album Rock with a distinct personality and attitude. It was never the
same again. During that time, the station was nominated for Station of the Year, and I was also
lucky enough to be awarded the Billboard Magazine Personality of the Year for my on-air
work at the station. And meanwhile, KMET had discovered a vibrant identity and personality
that only continued to evolve under Sam and the great personalities that were to come. I salute
them all. It was a great radio station.”
KMET postcard: On the back it said:
Hollywood Boulevard as seen from Mulholland Drive in the year 2525
“The above art was the original billboard I designed and had created by an amazing artist
named Robert A. Nelson, who had been my advisor when I was an art major at the University
of North Dakota. It was "Hollywood as seen from Mulholland Drive in the Year 2525." The
follow up billboard was the design everyone remembers because it was used for nearly ten
years. Dave Moorhead had wanted something simple to follow this amusing piece, so I
suggested doing a simple, giant, brightly colored block letter design and putting it upside
down. He fought me on that, saying “people won’t be able to read it.” I was relentless. He
finally decided we’d try it, people loved it, and David immediately took credit for it.
L-R: David Moorhead, Kiki Dee, Elton John, Shadoe Stevens
“My tragic need to be acknowledged for my contributions to KMET don't really diminish
anyone else's efforts, talent, or success. After I left, I continued to be a listener and admired the
efforts to focus and expand the original vision I put in place. I do not feel that I was
individually responsible for KMET. That would be ignorant and self aggrandizing. But
branding, promotion, slogans, publicity, billboards, and advertising - every detail is a vital
consideration, and you cannot minimize the importance of any aspect. They may not make a
bad station successful, but they make a great station bigger than life. Ask Coca Cola if
billboards, jingles, or promotion are important. Ask Nike if branding has worked for them.
My specialty was attention to detail, a neurotic need to try to make every aspect and every
detail reflect the brand being created. It's more than a format, it's a complete visualization of an
identity and attitude.
“And finally, Bob Coburn
said to LAradio.com
something still more unsettling a couple of
years ago that saddened me one more time. He suffered from selective or mismanaged
memory. To remember something that enhances your story as fact and say it with authority
gives the impression that it's true. You don't have to prove it, you just say it. Here's what Bob
said: ‘…when I arrived [at the exact same time as Jim Ladd] the station was hardly over the
top ‘successful.’ In fact, from my perspective, it wasn’t until we quit playing an inordinate
amount of performers such as the Pointer Sisters, the O’Jays, the Ohio Players and so much
jazz and r&b on a rock station that we began to take off like a rocket blast from Vandenberg.
Why is there a golden period? Because that's when we finally beat KABC and KHJ and
became number one, 12+ in L.A. To me, that is when KMET fulfilled its potential.'
“For what it matters - and it really doesn't - here are the facts: Moorhead approached me
because of the astonishing success of KROQ FM and KRLA. As everyone knows, KROQ was
a ratings phenomenon even though there was no money to promote, for billboards, or
advertising, or to pay anyone. This was the reason I left the station. Everyone, myself included,
was going bankrupt and when I quit, the station went off the air for about a year and a half.
Dave Moorhead and Howard Bloom are no longer here to consult on this, but trust me, I was
adamant about not returning to radio after the KROQ fiasco. I was building my production
company and beginning to make a good living when Dave Moorhead came to me saying,
‘Metromedia is a great company and if you can do for us, half of what you did with KROQ,
with more promotion, billboards, and support, we will all make a lot of money.’ And he
offered me more money than I'd ever made to come do it again.
“Six months later KMET was number one. I don't know what happened with the ratings after I
resigned due to my lofty ethics and principles, and I don't know what ratings Bob was shown
by management, but the fact is: The October-November 1974 ARB showed KMET had taken
over First Place in Adults 18-24, 18-34, and 18-49 - with audience increases of 107%, 135%,
and 117% from the previous rating period. The night time ratings improved as much as 264%.
On Sunday afternoons alone, my speciality show "The Great American Rock Album
Countdown" had twice as many listeners 12+ as KLOS. The successes of KLRA, KROQ FM,
and KMET were so exceptional that, even at the time, I knew no one would believe them in
years to come. So, I stored away the ratings books, memos, and every conceivable file - I'm
attaching a six page memo about the ratings from Susan Bonell to all Salespersons dated
January 7, 1975. The first page alone speaks volumes:
“And now I've got to stop. This rant is too tragic and I'm laughing at myself all the while I feel
the need to speak up. Thanks Claude, for everything you did to trail-blaze the radio industry,
to celebrate the legends, and build statues to the innovators. I loved your story and appreciate
you sending it to me. I hope you’re health is back to being vibrant and that you’re having a
Rollye: “So glad to get that info. I admit my knowledge of, or even fondness for, album rock is
lacking. But the standout stations programming that genre to wild success beyond anyone’s
expectations are worthy of remembrance. Much can be said about the fertile ground the
emerging FM band provided, but regardless of where these stations were on any dial, the best
of them super-served a core audience not only demographically but psychographically.
KMET is without a doubt among that rarified group. So, I’m grateful to Shadoe for stepping
up and setting the record straight. —And speaking of the emerging FM band, I’m not certain
that it would have blossomed at all without the engineering help of Jim Gabbert…”
Jim Gabbert: “I am not sure I ever sent you the availability of this U Tube when we were
named Legendary Radio Station of the year....kind of long but since you were around then I
think you will enjoy it.”
KPEN: Legendary Station of the Year. If you can't see it, click here.
Rollye: “Enjoy it? That’s the understatement of the year. It was slow going for the first few
minutes, but then the jewel of a Ben Fong-Torres interview with Jim Gabbert and Gary
Gielow that followed rewarded my patience, big time. I was captivated to the point that I
stopped writing this column to hear every word.”
David Gleason: “Your addition of the now politically toxic and incorrect help wanted
advertisement was marvelous. Ties in with your earlier comments about changing WAME to
WWOK... "OK" was totally associated with what, in another regrettable term, was called "race
music" stations. I think I mentioned that my first job in radio was at WCUY and WJMO in
Cleveland. WJMO was the fulltime r&b station, and I got to know most of the staff, first as
co-workers and then as friends. They would smuggle me into jazz clubs and I eventually went
with a group to do voter registration in newton, Mississippi, in perhaps 1961. Newton is, of
course, just a short piece down the road from the more infamous Meridian (pronounced
"Mridjin" by the good ole boys) which seems to have been filled to overflowing with
Klukkers. So, I was exposed to the plantation mentality that the ad represents. There were so
many great talents on Black radio in that era, and so few of them are recognized today.”
Rollye: “David is so right, and while it’s heartbreaking personally to me as that’s where my
tastes lie, it’s unfortunate for the industry that so few remnants of ‘soul radio’ remain. For
those of us who recall the pre-1966 meetings arranged by Jack Gibson, and NARA (the
National Association of Radio Announcers, before its highly political period headed by Del
Shields) no other industry events remotely come close to the stylin' and profilin' that ensued.
If you think the Todd Storz 1959 Disc Jockey Convention was legendary, you never witnessed
a NARA gathering. Flamboyant doesn’t begin to cover it, at a time when the jocks rapped and
“I wish that there were more soul air checks on ReelRadio.com
— but while Uncle Ricky can
restore an old tape like no one else, he can’t conjure them out of thin air. And certainly in the
pre-cassette days, tapes of soul jocks were rare. Most of us recorded over the reel to reel tapes
repeatedly, in a cost savings measure. (My godsend were the Sunday morning religious tapes
that were supposed to be bicycled station to station. Everything that came to me, stayed with
me. Apologies to countless evangelists who would probably be more entertaining today than
whatever I recorded over them.) I haven’t delved into it yet, but there are archives at Indiana
University that sound promising. Not sure how many airchecks are included, but I’ll bet there
are more than a couple interviews I’d love to hear. Find out more here
. Speaking of
Jerry Hartley: “Thanks for the mention and ‘headline’. According to Uncle Ricky posting on
the website there was an up tick of 82 subscribers. Wish they would all donate. I don’t know. I
don’t think 10.00 is a lot to ask for donation wise. I’ve have been contributing for 10 years and
listened to it when it was free for a few years before that. I didn’t think 20.00 was a big deal
either for a year. Ricky wrote on the website that he will try and keep things running until he
can not pay the bills.”
Rollye: “Why every hard core radio fan wouldn’t cough up $10 bucks for this repository is
beyond me too. What ReelRadio needs is a grant. I bet there’s one out there too, and grant
writers who will put the application together for a percentage of the award. ReelRadio.com
a compelling story. There might be a dearth of soul jocks, but the names most mainstream
listeners know are lavishly represented. As you read what Rich Brother Robbin has to say,
why not go over to ReelRadio.com
and hear Richbro
— and The Real Don Steele
Baby Simms for yourself.”
Richbro (Rich Brother Robbin): “Lee Babi followed me at KCBQ the first half of 1971 and
much has been said about him and yes, there have been thousands of talented, clever jocks in
our collective experience over the years but as one who worked with him day-after-day I must
say Lee was a true genius; the only other guy in my experience w/that much natural talent was
The Real Don Steele, another pure genius; their great work came so naturally you knew it was
not what they said, but who they were; it was almost automatic. I did pretty well in my day
but couldn’t even begin hold a candle to the brilliance of either of ‘em.”
Brad “Martini” Chambers: “Don Graham was just in our studio and pointed out that you
included the note I sent to him about the Deborah Silver album release party last week in
Hollywood last week. I wanted to say thanks, and thank you too, for including the link to our
website on the Vox Jox site. I thought I used to get the weekly email links to the column, but I
haven’t been getting them, so I signed up anew. (by the way, I haven’t received the
“Thanks for what you’re doing! I have great memories of Claude’s columns in Billboard when
I was in the Air Force, keeping the world safe for the hits at Shemya Air Force Base in Alaska
and Torrejon Air Base near Madrid, Spain. Claude was our only connection to “Real Radio”
back home. I have also followed your career – I think you did some fill ins on Coast to Coast
when I was working for Jacor as it merged with Clear Channel – I was putting it on some of
our smaller market N/T stations and traveled some with Gabe Hobbs who was VP of N/T
programming at the time.
“We’ve been doing this Internet radio thing for 10 years, since I left Clear Channel in 2006
when they had to divest the station I was programming here in L.A. I encourage you to tune us
in some time – there are no links to listen live on our website while we try to get some stuff
worked out with Sound Exchange, but 50,000 people a month find us with the radio.net app on
smartphones and tablets, or you can listen on computers at http://martinimorning.radio.net …
Thanks for all you do Rollye!”
Rollye: “Good to hear from Brad. I’ve got a few callers to my Friday night show that are huge
fans of Martini In The Morning. Yes, guilty as charged on Coast to Coast. I actually did two
stints. The first one in 1999, I was Art Bell’s designated replacement. I had a lot of fun for a
few months into 2000, and wish I could have stayed, but my integrity beat me over the head.
The show was great, callers outstanding, and affiliates numerous. The problem for me was the
requirement that I make product endorsements. I adore them when I believe in the sponsor, but
when I don’t… the final straw was an ingestible. It was shades of Dr. Brinkley (the guy who
lost his Kansas radio station license in 1930 for all manner of quackery and went on to what
became the first ‘border blaster’ (XERF), where he hyped his ‘goat gland’ operation in Del
Rio, Texas) so I declined, after which it became obvious that declining was not an option.
“A few years later, after they hired a host whose main asset was that he’d hype anything (he
proved it with an ad for ‘the psychic pill’), I filled in again, at the urging of a friend. But sadly
by that point, even though the affiliate count remained constant, the audience had deteriorated
in number and quality to the point that it wasn’t fun anymore. Too bad. Crazy as Art was, he
was perfect for that show which is now utterly unlistenable. I was hopeful for Art’s
internet-only venture, but that was all too brief. Speaking of potential C2C advertisers, too
bad this product’s not around….
“At least I don’t think it’s around. I’ve seen numerous shower radios, and it’s documented that
lots of folks read in the bathroom, but even still, this product was a stretch. I can only imagine
how the speaker sounded, but it came in four colors. Thanks to Timmy Manocheo for
forwarding the ad.”
Claire Petrie: “Jack Gale and I just spoke on the phone. He asked me to send this video to
you. We recorded C’est la Vie in Nashville about a year and a half ago . It's a peppy version
with a great feel ! Wanted to share with you as we have almost 32,000 hits to date. The video is
recorded in a small diner in Nashville. Jack and I have recorded more than a few songs but I
dare say we love this one the best! I tour with a band and it's almost always my opener and
closer! I live in Florida and just reaching out to share this in tribute to the late great Chuck
Berry! He was a one of a kind!”
Can't see it? Click here.
Rollye: “It’s still in rotation on our FM, and we get requests for it. You can check out the rest
involved, you know she's gotta be good. If you haven’t read Jack's book yet, you’re missing
out on some great stories. Order here
“We’re usually writing about Joey Reynolds’ Sunday Night Live (and we will be again, below)
but I got an email from Don Whittemore alerting me to Friday Night Live this past week on
KABC with Shotgun Tom Kelly
. In case you missed it, check out the on-air promo here
Hopefully it’ll turn into more than a one-time thing.”
Shotgun Tom Kelly: This last Sunday Night I was a presenter for the San Diego Film awards
and to my surprise they gave me the Lifetime Achievement Award. The show will be televised
on The CW 6 in San Diego on April 9th.
(L to R) Emmy Award Television and Film producer Bob Gardner and Shotgun Tom Kelly.
Bob presented me with the award on the TV award show.
Listen to Joey’s 4-2-17 show here.
Joey Reynolds: “Thank you for the VOX JOX presence. It is more gratifying than a full page
ad in Talkers where I was #51 in Mike Harrison's top 50. It is a privilege to do a variety show
without callers in 2017 cause you can tell more lies than political talk and no one corrects you.
“I am even living with my ex wife Carolyn who has a payback by forcing me to watch the
Miami heat games on a very large smart TV. Claude should have been married to Carolyn,
Barbara and I can go shopping and self help meetings.
“Danea Silkiss producer and Mike Cave entrepreneur ... resuscitating me before showtime. I
am the usually the oldest and oddest thing on the show. Next week is Marilyn Michaels,
Barry Manilow, and Tommy James. If you wanna look young, hang around with older
“Peter Weedfald gave me the wooden star cross for Easter. I was crucified many times in the
Rollye: “Ratings or not, Joey’s such a big act he’s crucified on a star. He sent along a great
piece from the Buffalo News that I think we’ve used before, but if so, you’ll love seeing it
again— some great pictures and wonderful ads. ”
Joey Reynolds: “This was when I was going to the meetings at Asshole Anonymous (AA).
When I was hosting the opening of the Beatles film at the Paramount theater in Buffalo and
Rollye: “Heard from several of you about the news of Don Rickles’ death. As a teen, Jerry
Blavat started his career as Rickles’ valet. (That explains a lot, doesn't it?) By all accounts,
Rickles was the opposite of his on-stage persona, which today seems almost run of the mill,
but when he started his audience insults in the 1950s, it was anything but old hat (Jack E.
Leonard not withstanding). There is irony in my spell checker insisting on correcting Don's
last name to Reckless.
1972. The Don Rickles Show with Louise Sorel playing his wife.
“Rickles had a few shots at his own show, but where he really shined on television was as a
guest. Lots of Johnny Carson memories, but there was also a classic Dick Cavett
Can't see it? Click here.
Rollye: “Also noting the passing of Rosie Hamlin (Rosie & The Originals) at 71 in Belen,
NM on March 30th. To most ears, “Angel Baby” does not scream smash hit. But it has no peer
in being the quintessential East LA ballad. And John Lennon was often quoted as it being a
favorite. At 15, she not only recorded the song, but wrote it as well, which made it particularly
good news when Lennon covered it. Her daughters continue to handle her official website,
Woody Roberts: “End of an era begins Gold record award plaques becoming g period pieces,
collectors items. [Read about it here
“This [AFP article, click here
] will be of most interest for Pop Hits format jocks, PDs and
MDs. I can still hear those Lee Baby intros over the great dramatic openings to Motown's big
hits by the Four Tops: "Reach Out I'll Be There", "The Same Old Song", "I Can't Hep Myself
(Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)", "Baby I Need Your Loving"; and the beat went on….”
Rollye: “The article to which Woody refers (which I’d reprint if it weren’t for copyright issues,
so use the link, it's worth the read) is based on doctoral research from an Ohio State student.
Since doctoral dissertations must be original in scope, there’s no shortage of amplification on
just about anything. Dissertations have given us studies on Storz and McLendon, for instance.
In this case, what was analyzed was changes in pop songs due to the rise in streaming
listenership. The student shows that as attention spans diminish, so do song intros. In 1986,
the average song intro was 23 seconds. In 2015, it was five-- yes, five seconds, which is a
shock to those of us like Woody, who can recall hearing everything we needed to know over a
“This research confirms much of what Jerry Del Colliano has shared about millennial
listening habits. It’s downright shocking to see how mentally fragmented this audience is. Not
only will they pass over songs quickly when they’re able to choose (such as with Pandora or
Spotify) but often they won’t listen to all of what they consider to be their favorite. Jerry’s
written quite a bit on the topic over the past few years and has focused on it at his conferences.
One of the real bargains I’ve found is the annual subscription to Jerry’s
Claude Hall: “Rollye, I am so pleased with Vox Jox, you can't imagine! You're doing a
wonderful job. Old memories. Keeping the glory days of radio alive. At least they were
glory days for me.”
Tom Campbell: “Claude, I couldn't agree more. Thank you both for Vox Jox! I read it weekly
with great interest.”
Don Imus: “I love Claude. A significant figure in the lives of those who were and are the
giants — in no small part because of Claude Hall.”
Dan o’Day: “Claude had a major impact on my career, has always been gracious, and also
wrote the best dang radio book ever.”
Kent Burkhart: “Claude and Rollye. Thank you for your friendship. You helped me in many
ways. Hooray for Vox Jox forever!!!!!”
Bob Sherwood: “OK, Claude---your gracious words to Rollye and responses from The ‘I’ Man
and Tom Campbell have triggered a rant that I’m unable to contain.
“The legacy of Vox Jox is that it recorded and reflected the amazing creativity of the many
talented people in broadcasting that sucked us into their orbit in the late ‘50s and held us in
thrall until Wall Street found there was money to be made and those knuckle-dragging cretins
in the FCC rolled over and allowed de-regulation. Your and Rollye’s Vox Jox is the lone
beacon that’s still indicating how great contemporary radio once was---and could be now, were
actual trained and committed broadcasters allowed to participate. Note: having sold radio time
or majored in accounting does not make one a ‘broadcaster’.
“As much as I miss San Francisco---and I do !---I’m somewhat mollified by the fact that I
reside within the NYC signal area and (almost) every morning I can hear as blessedly creative
and as irreverent as ever, the “One-of-a-Kind” Don Imus….whose barbs have not lost their
deadly (while most entertaining) sting after about a half-century of penetration; plus Scott
Shannon, who changed Morning Radio as we knew it and continues to evolve, create and win
in the world’s biggest radio market. Hopefully, Entercom won’t screw that up. And….Joey
Reynolds. I’m guessing that when he’s being lowered into his final ‘resting place’ (assuming
there’s no way he’s getting past St. Peter) there’ll be a tapping sound emanating from his coffin
and a series of great one-liners.
“Part of my growing up was the constant enjoyment of listening to KSFO “The World’s
Greatest Radio Station”; Chuck Blore’s KEWB; Johnny Holiday’s KYA; ( then, later KSOL
with pre-Sly & the Family Stone PM Drive DJ Sylvester Stewart opening every show playing
his electric piano and singing over a record as The Party began; plus Tom Donohue’s
KMPX/KSAN)….. and East Bay R & B station KWBR….from whence springs one of my
most enduring memories. Big Don Barksdale ended a record by saying something like “I’ll
be away for a coupla’ minutes but don’t you go ! I’m gonna share something you’ll remember
for a long, long time”. I stayed as ordered and was rewarded with an introduction to Little
Richard singing “Long, Tall Sally” and lost my everlovin’ teen-aged mind. I was on my
bicycle and down to Valley Records with some of my paper route money in a heartbeat. That’s
when I first thought I might want to be one of those disc-jockey guys. And Vox Jox continues
to keep the spirit alive.”
Rollye: “For those reading this column, we didn’t get into radio. Radio got into us. It was so
much more than a job, or even a career. It was our life. And when the radio industry we loved
became past tense— for many of us, it was devastating. What we didn’t realize back in the day
was how fleeting the circumstances were that provided the impetus for the kind of radio that
was so compelling to us. Several key factors came together at a moment in time that can never
return. But instead of mourning the past, it’s better to celebrate the opportunity we had to be
part of it, at least I tell myself that on my good days. I’m flattered by Claude’s words, and
humbled almost to the point of embarrassment. My mantra is that this is your column— when
it’s great, you deserve all the credit, as it’s your contributions that make it so. When it’s not, I
take the blame, as I should be able to come up with something entertaining when you don’t
write. But either way, I’m just downright grateful to be able to continue to share the ride with
all of you.”
Mel Phillips: “This is just a partial list of dinner guests who will be attending the WRKO 50th
Anniversary Dinner on June 2, 2017: J.J. Jeffrey, Chuck Knapp, Chip Hobart, Ed Walsh,
Erica Farber & Charlie Van Dyke. And that's just some of the people already committed. To
add your name to this list, send your check ($75 per person) and completed RSVP forms to me
today. The deadline is May 18. Sorry, but no walkups allowed to either the dinner or bar set up
in the Charles Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza (Newton). This is a once-in-a-lifetime event. This
is it. There won't be another anniversary celebration. At least, not in our lifetime.
“Friday, June 2, 2017: WRKO 50th Anniversary Dinner with cash bar at 6pm and dinner
served promptly at 7 in the Charles Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza (Newton). Dinner goes till
11pm. Since the cash bar stays open until 10pm, don't rush to get there until after 6
and self-park in order to avoid a parking fee. You'll also want to get your parking ticket
validated at the front desk before leaving. Jordan Rich (above left) will be emceeing, and a
video tape of the event will be shot by Art Vuolo (above right) for inclusion into the Radio
Hall Of Fame...
“Saturday, June 3, 2017: A 4-hour (7pm - 11pm) tribute to WRKO with 5 members of the
original NOW CROWD playing hits from the Top 100 of 1967 using the original WRKO
jingles and 20/20 news headlines from 1967. Live broadcast aired on WRKO (AM/Streaming)
& Backbone Networks (Streaming) produced by George Capalbo Jr...
L-R: Mel Phillips, Al Gates, Joel Cash, J.J. Jeffrey, Arnie Ginsburg, Chuck Knapp & George Capalbo, Jr.
“1967 was a magical year for Boston. The Boston Globe recently posted this review
events. Be sure to watch the video at the end. Reliving lifetime memories with all of you.
See you June 2