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H.O.A.  -  R.I.P


by Rollye James
Claude Hall

Rollye:  “There are some phrases that don’t pay.  No one likes to hear that ‘death comes in
threes’, especially when it’s punctuated with examples.  Unfortunately, we’ve got them this
week:   Herb Oscar AndersonBruce Hathaway and Bonnie Tiegel.  And all are a great loss
to a great many people.  

“It’s safe to say that no one who has worked in radio in the last sixty five years is ignorant
about the success of H.O.A.— but how many knew until recently that he, at 88 years old, was
still doing a regular podcast?  I should have told you.   Other than wanting to preserve Claude’s
radio musings and keep his band of merry-men together, there’s another thing that compels me
to write this column, often in the wee hours of the morning, when I allow everything else
demanding of my attention to wait.  Simply put, it’s a mission of sorts to make sure that
personalities once familiar to many don’t ever reach the point where they think they’re
forgotten by all.   It’s great to get emails about people I once knew well, whether personally,
professionally or just reaching out of a speaker to capture my imagination.  But it’s magical to
hear from those luminaries themselves.  And when they’re still active, it’s an honor to be able
to promote their passions— which is exactly why I’m beating myself up right now.

“When I heard the news about HOA, I remembered fondly that he wrote several months ago
asking to be on the Vox Jox mailing list.  With delight, I answered.  As I looked for that email, I
came across another one that I somehow missed. Here it is:

Herb Oscar Anderson - April 2016:  “WOW….been away and today I get this wonderful Vox
Jox….All names I worked with…wonderful.  I recall the last time I talked to Jack Thayer (after
the stroke)….he had some plan for a new campaign that he wondered if I could be part of….he
passed before we could discuss it…oh…I’d be able to sing…!!!  Strange no jocks today are
singing…especially in the morning shows…now there is so much material available…I still
have old listeners coming to my show here in Fla. and they all remember the songs we
sang…you’ll note I said “we”.   Still singing my weekly podcast …I’d love it if you’d join
me…I sing because I must….at 88 sometimes it comes together so well and still a thrill to hear
from our family of listeners who are singing along with me…
Come on…sing…join me…it’s good for the soul.” 

Rollye:  “Herb gave me a link to his shows, which I checked yesterday and it’s still active. 
His email contained exactly the kind of material I yearn to find when putting this column
together and I missed it.  I hope Herb didn’t think I wasn’t interested.  He was too much of a
gentleman to write again, and I was too much of a clod to remember he did.  I suffer from a
text book case of ADD (or in my old age, CRS— though it’s a life long issue).  I try to find
methods and procedures to make sure I don’t lose gems like his.  And as is often the case (and
clearly is in this case), the very thing I put in place to remember, winds up providing the fertile
ground that allows me to forget.   Enough self-piteous flagellation.  I’m sure H.O.A. knew that
many people not only remembered but loved him— and rightfully so.  One of the first pieces
to come out on his passing was a great one, from of all places, the Huffington Post here

“Writer David Hinckley nailed it in the headline that refers to Herb as ‘An Ella guy, who fit
into an Elvis world.’   One of the toughest changes for a personality to navigate was the
cataclysmic shift from pop standards to rock and roll.  Few did it gracefully.  Most didn’t do it
at all.  And often those who were successful were unlikely candidates.  Bob Horn (the original
host of Bandstand) comes to mind.  Herb isn’t far behind.  On the surface, Herb Oscar
Anderson's brand of entertainment was a discordant clash with top 40.  A testament to his
persona is that it worked.  He debuted with the Swinging Seven (and Joe Rosenfeld’s
Happiness Exchange, but that was a brokered show which went as soon as management could
relieve themselves of it) in1960. Herb remained at WABC through the Beatles and beyond-- an
unlikely force firmly entrenched at the station until his 1968 exit.” 

1960.  The WABC Swinging Seven.  Herb Oscar Anderson standing above the crowd.  (below him:
Jack Carney, Chuck Dunaway, Bill Owen, Scott Muni, Charlie Greer, and Farrell Smith)

Woody Roberts:  “Another old friend gone.  Never worked with a nicer person than Bruce. 

Rollye:  The “Bruce” here is Bruce Hathaway, and as I thought about his career, he was the
quintessential local radio-star.  Outside of San Antonio, the name would mean little to anyone.
But in Bexar County?  A radio god.  You can read about how the Hill Country born and raised
disc jockey was a walking local music historian, but much more than that, he was the catalyst
for bringing a lot of this music to prominence.  His “Swingtime” tv show featured Soul and
Hispanic bands, otherwise invisible to the whitewashed suburbs.  And when it comes to Tejano
top 40, San Antonio is one of the best places in the world to hear it— and not just from Sunny
Ozuna (Sunny & The Sunglows).  Bruce was synonymous with local top 40 radio from the
time Gordon McLendon hired him.”

Woody Roberts:  “We were just kids and didn't know it....  George (Lester) had worked for Bud
Connell at WNOE before coming to do mornings in the Alamo City; I had left my PD gig at
WLOD in Fort Lauderdale to work for McLendon and learn his techniques first hand; Gordon
heard Bruce (Hathaway) on the air in Beeville and stopped his car and hired him via a phone
call from a payphone. 

KTSA December 1960
Bruce Hathaway, Woody Roberts, George Lester deliver S&H Green stamp books to Toys for Tots.
Rollye: “You can’t find a San Antonio media outlet that isn’t eulogizing Bruce (and rightfully
so). Here’s what MySanAntonio.com had to say. 

Woody Roberts:  “ Bruce was loved by all.   Over 50 years on SA airwaves.  I met him
December of 1961.  He started with McLendon on KTSA in 1959, came from Beeville.  Never
was nationally known.”

Rollye:  “I read of the passing of Bonnie Tiegel just after putting last week’s Vox Jox column
to bed. Since then I’ve heard from dozens of people about it.   If the name “Tiegel” sounds
familiar (and I know it will to Claude Hall), Bonnie’s husband for the past 44 years was Eliot
Tiegel, who worked at Billboard throughout Claude Hall’s tenure there.  Bonnie was a behind
the scenes luminary.  The public will not recognize her name, though it’s good bet every one of
them is familiar with her work.   And virtually every name that is well known, loved this

(If you can’t see it, click here)

Kevin Gershan and Bonnie Tiegel

Bonnie, who often joked she’d like to look younger and thinner, was all that and more in her youth.

Rollye: “Kevin visited Bonnie at Cedars-Sinai less than a week before she died.  He’d been
there a lot— for his own family members, but also for several mega stars over the years.  His
lasting impression was that no one, no matter how huge their fame, ever had as many people
showing up to say goodbye. The hospital-for-the-stars workers had never seen anything like it
for anyone.  And the comment from most people walking away was that they came to make her
feel better and left with her having made them feel better.”

Warren Cosford:  “LOVED the piece in Vox Jox about Tommy Allsup.  In 1975, when I was
Production Manager of CHUM/CHUM-FM Toronto a few of us were flying all over North
America doing interviews for what would become a 64 hour documentary entitled The
Evolution of Rock (the music that made the world 'turn round).   CHUM Jock Roger Ashby
and I were in Nashville.   Among the people we interviewed was Tommy.  Here's what Roger

 “‘First of all, I was saddened to hear of Tommy Allsup's recent passing. Having met him, he
seemed like a decent person and a great story teller as so many people from Nashville are. 
When we arrived at Columbia Studio B, producer Billy Sherrill was just finishing a Charlie
Rich recording session. Tommy was playing guitar on the session. He joined you and I in the
car. You were in the driver's seat, Tommy was in the front passenger seat and I was in the back
with the microphone from our cassette machine leaning over to capture Tommy's story. It was
November, 1975. It was 5pm...just getting dark. There was something eerie about the setting as
Tommy began to describe, in great detail, how Ritchie Valens wanted to travel by plane to the
next stop on the tour rather than travel by bus. He asked Tommy if he would give up his seat
on the plane and at first Tommy said no; then he offered to flip a coin with Valens. Ritchie
"won" the coin toss. When it came to identifying the bodies there was some confusion. Tommy
Allsup's wallet was found in the wreckage. He had given it to Buddy Holly so Buddy could
pick up a registered letter for him at the next stop. When Tommy told us this part he said he
had only gotten it back one year earlier, 1974, and inside was a photo of his one year old
daughter.  I could hear him choke up a little.  Since 1959 I can remember hearing and reading
that it was Tommy Allsup who flipped the coin with Ritchie Valens .To meet him and hear him
tell the story is something I will never forget.’

“Rollye, Jack Scott tells me he was looking forward to appearing with Tommy in February at
the annual Winter Dance Party in Clear Lake Iowa.”

Mel Phillips:  “One reason I was not surprised by seeing Willie Nelson in a suit is that he was
a frequent visitor to WKDA Nashville ('61-'62) when I did morning drive for Smokey Walker
(PD) and Jack Stapp (GM &Tree Music co-founder with Buddy Killen). It was one of the
pleasures of working there, even though we were a top 40 with huge numbers. Because of
Jack Stapp's status, we had the cream of the Music City crop in songwriters and Country
artists dropping by. People like Willie, Eddy Arnold, Ray Stevens, Roger Miller, Harlan
Howard, Charlie McCoy, Brenda Lee, Skeeter Davis. I love where Country Music has gone
but they don't make artists like that anymore.”

Rollye:  “Agreed. Everyone wanted country music to emerge as a mainstream force, but I
wondered how many realized what would happen to the Nashville music community if it ever
did. Over the years there were several points when  it appeared country had truly arrived, but
when it finally did, the cost was enormous.  Gone was the intimate feel of what was essentially
an incestuous clique of people.  (Even with the major labels, there wasn’t much worry about
interference from the home office.  It was as if New Yorkers were literally afraid to come to
Tennessee.  I remember seeing Billy Joel almost shaking over appearing at the Exit/In, early in
his career.) The insularity that prohibited the genre’s full-blown growth had a compelling
upside to those of us involved, though I’m not certain if any of us really understood it. 
Simultaneous to country’s explosion, was Nashville’s transformation (for reasons other than
music) from a small southern town into a very large city.  It’s true that all places only exist in
time, but few have changed as much as Nashville.

“I remember so well those November 1975 sessions with Billy and Charlie, that Warren and
Roger mentioned.  They were the last I attended before I decided to leave.  I was ready for my
next adventure, but had I known how fleeting the Nashville I loved would be, I might have
stayed to enjoy it a bit longer.  Tommy’s passing makes him one more in a long line of people I
hope to meet again on the other side.   The Surf Ballroom, by the way, is still advertising
Tommy’s appearance in February here.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Tommy is there in
spirit.   Among those in the flesh will be Johnny Rivers, The Fireballs, Lloyd Price, Jack
Scott and several others.”

Chuck Buell:  “I loved Bobby Ocean's KCBQ counter-programming story in last week's Vox
Jox! He told us how they would play ‘Snoopy and the Red Baron’  whenever competitor KGB
went into their news with the goal of driving the "Q's" listeners to that "News" Station that
wasn't! Then if all went as planned, their listeners would return when they realized KGB was
presenting News and weren't playing the Music they really wanted to hear! And apparently it
worked!   I can truly imagine the dial-twisting that must have gone on once an hour during
those three or so minutes!
“Now then, the "Q" might have also played the Royal Guardsmen's Snoopy-backup version
too!   Listeners may have stayed with KCBQ for a few moments longer before they
temporarily bailed when they heard that weird "Squeaky vs. The Black Knight" song being
briefly motivated by the not-yet acronymed "WTF?!" )   Great Story, Bobby!”

[If you need to hear it, click here.

Rollye: “I had absolutely no idea that another version existed. (The thought there are two is a
horror in its own right, affecting countless polls of The World’s Worst Hit Records, no doubt.) 
And The Royal Guardsmen were from Ocala (while I was in Miami).  How did I miss this? 
(‘Count your blessings’ echoes in my mind as I wonder that.)  But I have no doubt that
Warren Cosford, being Canadian, knows all about this.   There’s a story (isn’t there
always?)— and it involves Canada, at least partially.  Here’s one version of what went wrong
(or right, depending on your aural perspective).” 

Claude Hall:  “Writing coming along on "Woody," a short story set in Memphis based on a real
radio creep.  Yeah, I knew a couple of them.  Unfortunately.”

Rollye:   “Undeniably radio is a magnet for the emotionally challenged.  But while they made
our lives miserable at the time, there’s a wealth of wonderful stories they left behind.  OK, not
soon enough, for most of us, but something tells me that as usual, Claude’s story will be fun to

Gentleman Jim Carter:  “I sincerely appreciate your admiration for Jack McCoy as does the
entire industry but I must remind you that he was not the first to defeat KGB. In 1968, KCBQ
had a stellar staff with Dex Allen, Barry Boyd, Gary Allen, Mike Scott, Lee Simms &
Bobby "The Wizard" Wayne/Jimmy Rabbitt. Mike Scott was PD and was the first to bring
down a Drake station and it just happened to be the flagship KGB. Scott won because he was
creative and held some wild contests and did the opposite of everything KGB did. If KGB ran
their news at :25 after, Mike ran KCBQ's at :20 after so that folks who tuned out news would
tune out the Q for 5 minutes until KGB's news at :25. then Scott would have the "button
pushers" for for 25 minutes until the whole news game was repeated at :50 & :55. He did the
exact opposite of everything KGB did. If they were giving out the time as  "3:41 PM" he had
the Q jocks give the time as "19 before 4 o'clock", etc. Not taking a thing away from Jack
McCoy and all of his great accomplishments but I just wanted to set the record straight about
who knocked off KGB first. I thoroughly enjoy your column.”

Rollye:  “Jim sent some interesting links along with his thoughts.  Here’s one on his induction
into the San Antonio Radio Hall of Fame. And here’s one on Mike Scott, who it’s said
influenced Lee Baby Simms.  Decide for yourself with this KCBQ Aircheck from

“We heard from Timmy Manocheo a couple times this week.  Once with a history of car
radios.   Fascinating stuff here, from Bill Lear’s connection to the obvious and now
well-known name (motorola).  Worth the read.  Timmy’s second email informed me that this
February is special. Only once in 823 years does February have four Sundays, four Mondays,
four Tuesdays.. you see where this is going: 4 of every day of the week.  What?!  

“I have no idea if Tommy believes that, but in case it sounds interesting to you, make note: 
Every February has 4 of every day of the week.  I doubt I need to mention this, but February
has 28 days,  7 days are in a week, 28 divided by 7 is exactly… 4.    Now every four years, it
gets more interesting when we have a leap year and Chuck Buell gets to celebrate his birthday
on the 29th, but other than that, there’s no noteworthy phenomenon here.  Similarly alarming
facts are all over the internet.  So much for Common Core, New Math and every other scheme
that’s come down the pike over the decades.

“While I was writing about HOA, I couldn’t help but think of the many 770 personalities no
longer with us.  And to hear the title of his new show,  'The Late Joey Reynolds Show' you
might be inclined to worry that Joey was one of the casualties. Anything but, as his Facebook
page here attests.  This week it’s a triplecast and I’m sure it will be a download soon.  While I
was looking for that link, I came across this one:  Poogie Hart of the Delfonics will be on in
February!   Now I realize that more people will probably care that Ed Asner was on last night,
but to my tastes, Poogie proves Joey’s show has arrived.  As for the downloads,  this week’s
show (1/29) is already up.  Scroll down and click here.”

Mel Phillips:  “WRKO Reunion Update - January 27, 2017.  Harvey Mednick was our
promotion director when WRKO launched in March 1967. This is a tribute to Harvey who
hopes to attend our 50th Anniversary celebration in June. Our most impactful promotion was
the Casino Royale movie premiere at the Sack Savoy Theater in May. On the air for just two
months at the time, this was the promotion that showed what a powerful impact we had made
in the Boston radio market. We didn't expect a full-blown riot but that's what we got when we
invited everyone dressed in a trench coat to free admission to the movie at 4 am. Not only did
we get the front page in Boston but also in the New York Times. Photos of  several other early 
promotions will be followed by our 50th Anniversary celebration information, just a little more
than 4 months away:” 

Harvey Mednick

        Arnie Ginsburg
        surrounded by
     Black Box winners

                                                                              WRKO jocks surrounded by Beach Boys

   Fashion Happening

                                                    Plenty happening-  Al Gates, John Rode, Chuck Knapp, Joel Cash      
                                                                                   verses the Playboy Bunnies.

                Al Gates, Joel Cash, Chuck Knapp with the Dave Clark Five, two of 'em anyway.
                       Hope the fur coat wasn't rabbit if the Bunnies were still hanging around.

“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 & Backbone Network (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 getting to the hotel and while staying there...
Dinner invitations will be emailed in Mid-March. Party time is a little more than 4 months