Vox Jox homepage banner


Archives Index Page

Vox Jox homepage banner
Vox Jox homepage banner

Family Fun.  The Bee Gees meet The Longs.


by Rollye James
Claude Hall

Rollye:  “Just after putting the previous column to bed last Sunday night, I got the above
picture from John Long.”

John Long:  “Watching the CBS special tribute to the Bee Gees tonight and dug out this picture
of me, my sister Eleanor and daughter Meridith backstage in Birmingham in 1979. I was with
them in Fort Worth for the start of the "Spirits Having Flown Tour" interviewing them for a
special for the RKO stations. They were perfect gentlemen and very cooperative during the
interviews and at dress rehearsals.    Hope all is well with you. Look forward to Vox Jox every
Monday morning!”

Mel Phillips:  “Great stuff this week (thanks for the WRKO anniversary coverage - you've been
wonderful with that). Don Sundeen relating that story about Bob McClay at KSAN brings
back memories of the late McClay when we worked together at WMID Atlantic City. Before I
started at WMID, Bob had befriended Tom Donahue and Bobby Mitchell (Michael Guerra)
aka Bobby Tripp at KHJ.  Both Donahue and Guerra worked briefly at WMID but mostly
became known for being on WIBG in Philadelphia. Shortly after Donahue went to KSAN,
McClay went out to San Francisco to join him and Guerra. McClay also got involved with
Autumn Records (Beau Brummels, etc.) and was writing a tip sheet for Donahue. McClay and
I stayed in touch for quite awhile but as friends often do, we went our separate radio ways.
Another WMID memory came flashing back when I read the piece written by Humble
Harv(e). Harv was my PD at WMID prior to his departing for Los Angeles, KHJ, etc.  I just
wanted you to know what a wonderful job both you and Claude continue to do in bringing
back some great memories that otherwise would not be re-kindled if it weren't for you two and
the great service you provide for us…”

Rollye:  “Thanks for the kind words, but it’s not modesty when I stress that it’s because of all
of your submissions.  You really are the stars of this column, and rightfully so, so (as they said
back in the day) keep those cards and letters coming.  And with the ease of email there’s no
excuse not to write.  If it runs across your mind, please share it:  info@voxjox.org.

“I say ‘ease of email’ but I find myself the worst violator of the ‘you really should stay in
touch’ rule.  It’s been pointed out to me more than a few times that the only reason my
call-back list shrinks, is people die before they hear from me.  It happened again, and I’m
crushed.  On the eve of packing for the NAB yesterday, I reached out to Ray Kassis.  He was
the first guy willing to put me on the air. (Granted it was on FM in the ‘60s, before the
bandwidth’s underground coolness,  at a time when people listening to FM were doing it with
their McIntosh receivers tuned to Mantovani, not a hodge podge of paid religion interspersed
with music du depart— but it was commercial radio, and I was on it.)  Most jocks don’t
remember the first thing they said on the radio.  I do.  It was, “Sue I don’t know what to do,
Timmy’s wet the bed again.”   The product was the Sta-Dry Enuertic service, for kids with a
bed wetting problem.  I don’t know if they supplied a cork, or came and changed the sheets,
but I do remember the part of Sue was played by Christine Weber who went on to marry the
station’s morning man, Glynn Walden, a fine engineer with major credits to his name, and
IBOC.  I’ll get back to IBOC.

Ray Kassis was WEDR Miami’s GM at the age of 19.  He later handled a few of the amazing
FM transitions for which Woody Sudbrink was responsible.  (Sudbrink had a formula in the
60s—  find a combo— put religion on the AM to pay the bills, re-engineer the FM to full
market coverage, put Schulke easy listening on it and sell it for a fortune.)  Ray presided over
KYED in Pasadena (Houston, which became KYND and then KKBQ) and WTOW in Towson
(Baltimore, which became WLIF).  Along the way he bought what the preachers were selling,
and found a home in religious broadcasting.  You would have known his name, if Satcom III
wasn’t lost in space in late 1979.  It was anything but a Christmas present for minor players
with transponders on it, because the replacement bird, IIIr, had fewer slots.  The big guns were
assured what they needed, but the for the little guys, it was a lottery.  Ray lost.  (Among the
winners in that genre was Jim Bakker of PTL Club infamy, proving the Lord does work in
mysterious ways.)  Ray had a state of the art TV facility in Florida and no way to get live
programming out of it.  That didn’t stop him from building a chain of non-commercial radio
stations focused on preaching and teaching.  In the process, he built a great life for himself. 
That life ended suddenly in November, and I had no idea until my email bounced back and I
started to look around online.  I was pleased that many folks mentioned him, but heartbroken
that I didn’t reach out earlier.  The NAB won’t be the same without the dinners we shared.  RIP
Ray Kassis

“I also stumbled upon the sad news that Dan Sorkin passed away last year.  I have no idea
how I missed that one.  I was a huge Sorkin fan. I still have my “Save Rose Bimler button.” 
I’m guessing you know all about Dan from his WCFL days, but if your memory is cloudy, I’ve
reprinted part of a chapter from my book that talks about him.  I just re-read it myself, and
smiled big time, so I bet you will too.  Click here.   At 89, the only thing unexpected about his
death was that it didn’t come earlier, but it couldn’t have come late enough for me.   The
closing lines of his obit said it all:  “In lieu of a memorial service, Dan requested that his
family and friends honor him by enjoying every day and loving life.  He loved life, and it loved
him back.”

John Barger (McLendon Class of '66 & '70; Clear Channel '75-'88):   “Thanks for the spotlight
on Michael O'Shea.  He was without doubt the most engaging and entertaining DJ when it
came to Listener Call-In Contesting.  It was always my dream that someone would re-create
Pre-1952 All-Quiz-Show Radio with Michael as the Master Host.”

Rollye:  “I agree.  When Michael was at KMPC, even though by then he was senior
management, he did a weekend show, “Michael O’Shea Remembers”.  Because it was taped,
there were no calls, but it was still a joy to hear.  Who knows, maybe when he retires, we can
coax him into that quiz show— though these days, it would probably have to run on public

Ron Brandon:  “Noticed your reference to Kent Burkhart couple weeks ago.. refreshed lottsa
memories.  RMR (Radio Music Report) was located for several years in Atlanta in the same
building as the largest radio consultancy in the business Burkhart/Abrams/Michaels/Douglas.
Kent and the guys were literally consulting hundreds of stations in those years.  And they were
great supporters and contributors to our RMR conventions.  Chuck Dunaway joined us at
RMR for a couple of years in 1978-79 and quickly renewed his acquaintance with Kent from
their old days in Texas.  Chuck helped us expand the album section of the magazine and many
of you will recall that Lee Abrams was responsible for a chain of major market AOR stations
that were achieving great successes.  Chuck somehow got Burkhart/Abrams to let us print their
weekly playlist which up until then had been confidential (attached).  One of our employees,
Ginger Jackson  (in picture)..later married Jon Sinton who had joined B/A/M/D.  If anyone
should write a book, it would be KB.

L-R:  Ginger Jackson, Ron Brandon, Kent Burkhart, and Lee Michaels (cowboy hat)

 Kent Burkhart with RMR convention co-host Cheryl Ladd

L-R  Kent Burkhart, GM of Texas station consulted by B/A/M/D, Ron Brandon, Chuck Dunaway

Dwight Douglas and RMR visitor Alicia Bridges

Warren Cosford: “You can learn much more about this [Canada dropping DAB for IBOC] by
simply searching "DAB in Canada"....than I can tell you.  What I CAN tell you is.....there was
a lot of disappointment in how AM Stereo was launched and, as Canada was looking at DAB, I
heard that Rogers Broadcasting's Ted Rogers said at a Convention that he 'didn't understand
why we are looking at doing something that The Americans are not’.”

Rollye:  “That’s just the kind of behind the scenes anecdote for which I was looking. My
thanks to Warren.   I did spend time online, and it was as I suspected, not enough adoption of
DAB to matter.  Maybe over time and with better programming, but it’s moot now.  I doubt
there’s been any more interest with IBOC.   AM stereo is another sore point. It was a disaster
here too, and while I rarely say that the government should intervene, in this case, they should
have. Had they set a standard, there might have been a chance. But as it was, with four
competing incompatible systems it was hopeless.  (Even though  I didn’t favor NTSC over
PAL or SECAM, we’d probably still be watching black and white TV if they didn’t standardize
a system back then.  As for AM stereo, it was further doomed by stations that didn’t clean up
their audio chains.  Listeners perceive fidelity and what they got was often little more than
static in both ears.) 

“I spoke with Neil Norman on the air recently and it was a joy.  I’m sure you’ll remember his
dad,  Gene Norman.  Gene was not only a disc jockey of note in the pre-rock and roll days
(quitting in disgust in 1957 when KLAC in LA dared to adopted top 40), but he was also the
owner of the Crescendo and Interlude night clubs on the Sunset Strip as well as GNP
Crescendo records (which lives on at www.GNPCrescendo.com).  There’s some irony in that a
guy who quit radio over top 40, would later have the only label willing to sign the garage rock
band, The Seeds,.  Neil has done a documentary on the group that most folks remember as a
one hit wonder act for “Pushin’ Too Hard.”

The trailer for the “Pushin’ Too Hard” documentary by Neil Norman
If you can’t see it, click here.

“The Crescendo was a great live music venue, with acts ranging from the jazz greats to Jerry
Lee Lewis...

“The interlude was well known for comedians like Shelley Berman and Lenny Bruce.  The
venue at 8572 Sunset Boulevard became the teen club, The Tiger Tail,  followed by The Trip
A block away, was Ciro’s, turned Crazy Horse, It’s Boss, Kaleidoscope, Art Laboe’s Oldies But
Goodies Club, and finally the Comedy StoreIt’s Boss wasn’t around very long, but as a teen
nightclub it had an impressive roster of acts as demonstrated by this ad unearthed by Timmy

Claude Hall:  Appears as if I should do another Popsie tale.  Well, maybe soon.  Right now I'm
working on a longish short story about a disc jockey.”

Chuck Blore:  “Oh Claude, my God, what a pleasure to read.  Charming, warm and wonderful.
 Popsie is everything good.  You must continue with more Popsie adventures, a series.  I love

Rollye:  “I”m with Chuck Blore, more Popsie please.  Claude also forwarded an item from
Woody Roberts with a link to San Antonio Radio Memories  featuring picture of Woody,
Allen Grim, and the 30,000 people who showed up for a concert Woody put together.   Claude
encouraged him to allow us to share the story.  Woody is modest in assessing his efforts.”

Woody Roberts: “If you think it is worthy of Vox Jox,  it is fine with me.  I would point out that
in 1968 the late Allen Grim was one of the first full time FM rock jocks in Texas and he
became the top progressive deejay in San Antonio. Allen never played 45s but went directly
into album tracks.  

“In February 1974, KEXL FM was battling KTFM superstar albums and KISS heavy metal
format, Doubleday Broadcasting was in trouble with their adult oriented KITE AM and
decided to close money loosing KEXL and simulcast the AM programming.  I created a save
KEXL promotion and five of us formed Friends of KEXL and with help from Stone City and
Wild West concert producers, put together a Save KEXL concert in Olmos Park Basin.  Turnout
was even better than hoped....  That event along with the first Willie Nelson Picnic was one of
the reasons Lone Star Beer asked me to promote their product which lead to the first use of
Longneck in advertising beer.  KEXL lived on another four years.  Today KISS still plays the
heavy rock.”

Claude Hall:  You can imagine my surprise one evening when an old college buddy of mine
showed up at the apartment where Barbara and I lived in Manhattan with a suitcase full of
Long Star.  Fred Bunker figured I'd was thirsty!  And he was right.  There are few beers worse
in the world than Knickerbocker.”

Rollye:  “I hope Bob Sherwood is reading this. I got an email from him last week wondering
where the column was.  I checked— it was up, the email alearts were out, and all seemed well.
So I wrote to Bob and my email bounced back as spam.  11 times.  So I used a different
address, got the same result, and promptly gave up.  But it occurred to me that Bob may not
have been the only one not to receive the last email.   If you missed it too, last week’s column
is up under Archives.  And keep in mind, that new columns are online every Monday morning,
so even without the email prompt, check VoxJox.org and read all about t.

“Quite a bit of talk on the political from about North Korea which is hyper-reactive to the word
‘launch’… That’s all it took for Joey Reynolds to come up with a plug for the launch of the
Late Joey Reynolds Show...

“And what would a week be without Joey Reynolds’ wisdom”…

Mel Phillips:  “The following partial list of WRKO's 50th Anniversary Dinner (June 2,
2017) attendees joins those mentioned in previous weeks. This week's list includes: Perry S.
Ury (plus Linda & Fred), Joel Cash, Tom Murphy, Dave Thomson (& family) . I'm looking
forward to seeing all of you that have sent in your completed RSVP forms & dinner checks. If
you haven't yet confirmed your dinner invitation, you're running out of time. The deadline is
May 18. Sorry, but no walkups will be allowed to the Charles Ballroom (bar or dinner). To add
your name to the above list of names, send your check ($75 per person) and completed RSVP
forms to me today. All the information you need is on the invitation you already have...

“Friday, June 2, 2017: WRKO 50th Anniversary Dinner (cash bar will be open from 6 pm to 10
pm). Dinner will be served promptly at 7 pm in the Charles Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza
(Newton). Dinner, coffee, tea, dessert 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 emcee 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 tribute (7pm-11pm) to WRKO with 5 members of the
original NOW CROWD playing hits from the Top 100 of 1967 using the original WRKO
jingles. Live broadcast aired on WRKO (AM/Streaming) & Backbone Networks (Streaming)
produced by George Capalbo Jr.

L-R Al Gates, Joel Cash, J.J. Jeffrey, Arnie Ginsburg, Chuck Knapp, George Capalbo Jr.
& (your shy but friendly dinner host) Mel Phillips…”