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At the 8th Annual Radio Dream Lunch 
(L-R) Joey Reynolds, Ken Levine, John Leader.  
Photo courtesy Randy Thomas/Facebook

by Rollye James
Claude Hall

Rollye:   “From what I heard, a great time was had by all at the Radio Dream Lunch last week. 
I was there in spirit— as was Kevin Gershan, a sponsor of the event.  As I type this column,
on my back in pain having just read an email from Kevin about the medical malady that
prevented his appearance, I’m starting to wonder if getting old does beat the alternative.  Then
I’m thankful that, unlike far too man people last year, I’m around to marvel at how we lived
long enough to see 2017.  Here’s hoping this will be the year that surprises us by how good it

“Here’s a couple more shots from Randy Thomas’ Facebook capturing the dream lunch.

John Leader & Randy Thomas

Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo with John Leader
Rollye:  “2016 started out with the news that Natalie Cole had died, and the deaths didn’t stop
coming. Many were high profile names, but several were not. Leon Haywood, Little Royal
Torrence and Clifford Curry immediately came to mind for me.  And while I’m so sorry to
see them leave us, I’m pleased that they were remembered on this retrospective  sent to me by
Carol Ford, my all time favorite female jock.   The 50 names listed on it all are linked to their
obits.  Some are well known, others should have been. I’ll bet a few of them will recover some
long forgotten memories for you.” 

Jim LaBarbara:  “I just turned 75 but I'm keeping busy.  I voice track a 10-2 mid day show
Monday through Friday on Classic Country 106.7.  The station is in Dry Ridge, Ky but covers
Northern Kentucky and most of Cincinnati.  It really does everything— UK Basketball, etc.   A
former University of Cincinnati student of mine from the 70's when I was an adjunct
professor owns it, Jeff Zeismann.  

“I still teach part time at the Ohio Media School.  I guest one Saturday a month on my old
station, WLW, with Gary Jeff Walker 6-9am.  And I coach my 10 year old grandson's select
baseball team. Age is all in your mind.  Now if we could only convince station owners that age
shouldn't matter.
“When I first started at WLW early in 1969 my PD, Jim Gallant, was good friends with John
Patton, the PD at WKRC, our biggest competitor.  I invited them to join me at my favorite
local club and I had probably a little too much to drink.  The Cincinnati Enquirer had a story
later that week--under the heading GOOD WILL TIME   ‘WLW radio personality Jim
LaBarbara  rammed his 1969 Corvette into the rear of WKRC radio program director John
Patton's car on Vine Street early Thanksgiving morning.  LaBarbara was cited for following
another car too closely.  Besides the $350 damage to his fiberglass body, he was fined $20 and
costs in court.  Patton insisted on paying Jim's fine although he was the innocent victim. 
LaBarbara's car had 8,000 miles on it at the time.’

“I hit his car and ended up on the sidewalk in front of Frankie’s Bar—  my car was surrounded
by working ladies.  It was a sight.  Patton and I were acquaintances but we worked for
competing stations. I was drinking.  What was I doing in this seedy area in the early morning
hours?   No one from WLW ever said a word to me about this embarrassing incident.  WLW
was a really conservative station and I was the bachelor new guy. I thought it was embarrassing
for all of us and didn't think [John Patton] leaked it to the papers. Today--years later, I'm still
not sure he did.   John was a good guy— yes, he probably did leak it— you had to like him.  

Jim Gallant was the guy I replaced at WKYC in Cleveland.   We worked together for a year. 
Three years later he hired me at WLW.  One of the best pd's I ever worked for— he gave me
the "Music Professor" name, and  I owe him.  I've tried to locate him but I've had no luck.  If
you mention his name— maybe someone will know.
“You and Claude mean so much to me---I look forward to reading this every Monday.  Jerry
Sharell —going way back I remember when he had a local record and sang on the local
bandstand shows in Pittsburgh.  The Steve Popovich story brought tears — Meatloaf.   [Steve
Popovich] won the big lawsuit, and then--- to leave him out of the story is just silly.   When I
was at GO Radio in Erie with J. Bentley Starr (the Intrepid Leader predating my friend Jack
Armstrong), Steve gave me the tip to talk with WKYC GM Bob Martin.  Martin hired me
and had me use my real name. Bob Martin is another person I tried to track with no luck—  
he may have passed.
“I’m sorry this is so long— you & Claude have a wonderful New Year.”

Rollye:  “No long enough as far as I’m concerned, Jim.  What a terrific email!  I’m sorry to
report Jim Gallant is no longer with us.  His was another 2016 death.  His last radio stop was
WMAL.   Here’s his obit.    I’m not sure about Bob Martin, but I do have the definitive Steve
Popovich-Meatloaf story.  Billboard ran an excerpt of Fredric Dannen’s new edition of ‘Hit
Men’ a couple years ago, and it’s a spellbinding read.    

“Jim’s John Patton memories made me smile.  I had a civil war of sorts among friends back
then. Charlie Murdock was livid that I was John’s friend. And John Patton was confused and
bemused that I was Charlie’s friend.  I liked them both a lot and recognized their very different
natures.  John was quite the character—  and Charlie was, like WLW, conservative.  John
enjoyed his nights out in Cincinnati, as Jim LaBarbara’s story documents.  On another such
occasion,  John was leaving an event (in the Netherlands Hilton, if my memory serves),
walking with a couple buddies and telling a decidedly off color story, when he glanced around
and saw there were three nuns behind him.  Not missing a beat, he continued addressing his
friends with, ‘and that’s the truth or my name isn’t Charles K. Murdock.’  Near as I can tell,
Charlie never heard about it.  Sad they’re both gone, but its wonderful to know that Jim
LaBarbara is still going strong!   And so good to hear that Claude Hall is greeting 2017 in
good enough shape to work on another radio story, which I’m looking forward to reading and
sharing with you…”

Claude Hall:  “Jim…  Great note!  Cheered me up immensely.  I will never forget the time you
played chauffeur for me and Bill Randle in Cincy.  “Rollye ... Hope you're fine and dandy.  I'm
status quo.  This is okay as far as I'm concerned.  Was able to go out to Fuego de Chao with the
family the other day.  Pigged out.   And I'm slowly getting back to writing.  For a couple of
months, I found the words just wouldn't come.  Now, I'm back to work on a short story about
radio that, if I'm able to finish, I will send to you to link or whatever.  My wishes for you and
yours to have a Happy New Year.”

 Frank Boyle:   “Warren Bodow— we lost another Classy One. Warren died last week. Warren
and I started in Detroit as Local Sales Guys when it was an AM World.  He was at WKMH to
later become WKNR under Ed Christian.  I was Local Sales Mgr for WJR.  Warren and I
went to New York in 60's.  Warren did a marvelous job as General Manager for WQXR- AM—
classical then owned by New York Times.  I was at Eastman Radio Reps for 27 years.

“Quick trivia about Regis Philbin. I spent 25 years as one of two Ushers/ Collectors at 5M
Mass on Saturdays at St Michael's in Greenwich Conn.  My side was the Broadcaster side—
Phil Flanagan, Charlie Colombo, Mike Ewing, and Regis.  Regis was always sitting on a
bench in back. Loafers, no socks. Our Pastor always told me that Regis would visit the Rectory
between Christmas and New Years and ask our wonderful Irish Pastor -Msgr Tom Guinan
taking out his checkbook— ‘What do you need , Monsignor?’  Regis' Check was always
jumbo.  Msgr Guinan came from Boston--never lost the accent or his sense of humor.  In 1980,
my wife Beverly, who'd been with NBC  Radio-TV as Exec Secretary for 5 different NBC
Presidents,  and I moved from 48th and  2nd in Manhattan to Greenwich. We had 3 different
Parishes in our area that we could join.  Last one we went to was St Mike's.  Guinan did the
sermon.  He said, ‘We don't give enough credit to prayer. God always answers our prayers, not
necessarily what we ask for.  If He did, my Red Sox would win the World Series every year.’ I
said to my wife, ‘This is the joint we're going to stay with.’ So did Regis. Delighted to hear that
Claude is feeling better.”

Claude Hall:  “Just received a very nice little booklet from Mel Phillips, current sage of more
media than I can count.  This is just the latest book from Mel, “Radio Views & Trends,” and it’s
based on material featured in his internet blog.  Like his book “From the Mailroom to the
Majors” and his other books, this is available via Amazon.  Subjects range from Mel’s findings
and his opinions on AM and FM radio to “Who Plays the Best Music.”  All of these things, I
didn’t know, but probably needed to, and anyway they’re enjoyable to have handy and quote
from time to time.  Great on you, Mel.”

Available at Amazon.com

Jim Gabbert:  “Rollye,  really enjoyed your last column which brought back a lot of memories.
In mid 2016, I finally hung it up.  I have been on radio and TV in San Francisco 57 years
continuously.  Over that time I owned K101, which started out as KPEN 1500 watts— when
we sold it we had 125,000 watts, KIQI AM (1010 10KW),  KDIA 1310 5 KW,  LMA'd KAZA
(San Jose),  KOFY (AM, bought it as a 1 KW daytimer at 1050, when we sold it was 50KW
full time —great signal), 98.9 KOFY-FM.  In Honolulu we owned KIKI and KPIG-FM. After 3
years with the combo we had 23 percent of the Honolulu market.  After I sold the TV and radio
stations, I went to work at KGO doing talk radio for about 16 years!   It's been an incredible
ride....for fun reading go here.  

Rollye:  “I’ve written before how impressed I am with Jim, and that I consider him an
engineering-god for what he was able to do with K101 alone.  I thought I knew everything
about him.  I adored his oldies format on KOFY-AM, was enchanted with his love of dogs,
resplendently displayed on TV-20 (a beautiful picture of Axl Rose, his malamute, is in the
article linked above), but I had absolutely no idea he did 16 years of talk radio on KGO.  How
did I miss that?  Jim, if you ever put those shows online, give me that link!  I’ll listen to all of

Bob Levinson:  “A quickie to wish you and yours and the entire Vox Jox crowd a Happy (and
Healthy and Prosperous) New Year!”

Rollye:  “I wrote to Timmy Manocheo to see if he had any pictures of the radio reunion at
Fuddruckers in Burbank last month and found out he’s left the Southland…”

Timmy Manocheo: “I wasn't able to attend this event this time around, as my wife and I have
moved way far away to "NORCAL"... I have sent out feelers for photos, but so far, no one's
come through with any. If someone does send any or all photos that they snatched at that fine
affair, I'll share them with you ASAP.  Hope you are having great holidays.”

Rollye:  “From the ‘Only Joey Reynolds’ file, Mr. Reynolds readies the premises for the first
night KABC carries his show…”

There is standing room only at KABC for The Late Joey Reynolds Show.

Joey Reynolds:  “We had booked more guests in one night than Larry King and Charlie Rose
in a year.  The management of Cumulus thought we had invited the entire listening audience to
be in studio.”

Rollye:  “Joey’s talents are vast. I don’t know how many people realize what a good writer he
is.  When I was at Billboard, it was my pleasure to have him do a few articles for me.  The
recent deaths of Carrie Fisher followed almost immediately by the passing of her mother,
Debbie Reynolds, brought back personal memories to Joey who shared them in the South
Florida Reporter last week.  Read them here.

Mel Phillips:  “Thanks for the nice note on the reunion and for running my latest update. As
Buzz Curtis (Post Records) used to say MORE TO COME.  And the link to the Shadoe
Stevens interview was great. I just sent an FB message to Shadoe saying ‘Sorry for the memos
but you did become great.’ ...

“December 30, 2016.  The last reunion update/recap of 2016. My next email will put us two
months away from invitations going out for our Friday, June 2, 2017 dinner/party at the
Crowne Plaza in Newton. The event itself will then be five months away. 

“We wrap up the tribute to some of the WRKO personalities who joined us in the mid 70s. Ed
Walsh joined us in '76 and transitioned into the new format in '81. Photos are in alpha order by
last name. (Next week we'll feature news & sports personalities.) Following that, all the
information you need to know about our 50th anniversary weekend:

Mike Addams

Dennis Jon Bailey  Johnny Dark                              Ed Walsh                                   J J Wright

Friday, June 2, 2017

“Invitations will be emailed in March for the Anniversary dinner at the Crowne Plaza (Charles
Ballroom) in Newton. Cash bar at 6 followed by dinner. Jordan Rich (seen above) will emcee.
Parking fees will be waived with front desk validation...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

                                                        Joel                                                  Chuck
                                                       Cash                                                 Knapp
                     Al Gates                                                 J.J. Jeffrey                                  Arnie Ginsburg   


                                               George Capalbo Jr.                    Art Vuolo

“On air live (7pm-11pm) on WRKO & Backbone Network streaming (produced by George
Capalbo Jr.). All music and 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 part at the
hotel. We suggest using a cab or car service getting to the hotel and while staying there...
Dinner invitations will be emailed in March, party time is a little more than 5 months away…
Happy New Year.”

Rollye:  “Speaking of Al Gates…  before WRKO,  Al was part of what would become a very
exciting component of Cleveland radio.  It might not sound like it based on this article.  Clearly
more than a bit of tweaking would occur (somebody actually referred to their own format as
chicken-rock’?) before radio-history was made, but it’s fun to read about the debut of
WIXY1260 in December ,1965.”