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If you received an email with Claude Hall's obit, I'm happy to let you know that
reports of his passing are thankfully premature. Claude was refining his obit
and inadvertently hit send.  I suspected as much when I noticed the date was
still blank. Hopefully it'll be a long long time before it's filled inRollye


Private party during the International Radio Programming Forum in San Francisco. 
From left:  Chuck Blore, legendary program director of KFWB in Los Angeles; David Moorhead,
general manager of KMET-FM, Los Angeles, Bob Badger, manager of Bob Hope's radio station in
Puerto Rico; Claude Hall, Billboard; comedian Flip Wilson.

By Claude Hall
Rollye James
Claude Hall:  “L. David Moorhead had total recall of everything he heard.  If you told him
something, he remembered it.  His father, a doctor, had total recall of everything he read or
heard.  But L. David left only a memory.  Tales of a few friends.  And the icon station
KMET-FM in Los Angeles, now just a memory.  However, there was this notebook of radio
station promotions.  One hundred of them.  I scan the book onto a floppy and sent it to his son
Rob.  He also had an idea of satellite radio stations at freeway exits.  I thought it was a pretty
good idea.  He intended to buy a radio station in Las Vegas and set up these satellites from
here to Los Angeles so that if you turned off the freeway, and your car radio was on, you’d get
his station in Los Angeles.  Right up until the end, Moorhead thought he had a deal for that
Las Vegas radio station.  Great dream, perhaps.
“The late Larry Shannon of RadioDailyNews.com had an idea for a real radio conference of
those young and old.  His idea was to keep the costs low and feature panels with such as
Chuck Blore, Bob Sherwood, Ron Jacobs, George Wilson, Chuck Buell, Burt Sherwood,
Joey Reynolds, Gary Owens … the best of the best from all realms of radio and the music
world.  It would provide an opportunity to get together with old friends and perhaps make new
friends.  He sounded out his idea with me.  I thought it was a great idea.  Could still be done,
though Larry is gone now.  Probably is:  The conference needs a very strong person with
contacts to pull it off.  Not sure that person exists anymore.  Larry, just FYI, launched the
Texas Radio Hall of Fame and advised on a couple more.
“A great many people believe that radio, as we knew it, has passed on.  But, now and then I
hear that ‘it would still work.  Just not being done right’.  The Top 40 radio that we knew –
and loved – featured, heavy portions of news and promotions … and, yes, music and strong
personalities.  Furthermore, lest you forget, killer advertising.  Oh, we had the Coke ads and
produced spots for the local milk firm.  But we also carried a live spot by an Eddie Hill or a
Jimmy Rabbitt that carried heavy entertainment factors.  Commercials that built audience.  I
remember one program director telling me that his major personality on the radio station
couldn’t read the copy for a commercial.  Any commercial.  But that same personality could
turn an ordinary spot into live fun when he winged it.  Now, true … commercials were not
usually entertainment factors.  But now and then they were given the opportunity to be exactly
that.  The honest to goodness truth was that all facets of a Top 40 radio station were often
given the chance to entertain.  The music had to be the best and the news had to be the best. 
And a radio personality, whether on Top 40 or MOR or country or r&b had better pull off his
or her socks and entertain!  When radio cut back or eliminated any of these facets, radio lost
some of its glamor.  In effect, it chopped off its own toenails, so to speak.  It may have won a
certain portion of the audience for a while, but it no longer had the staying power for the long

Rollye interrupting Claude:  With any luck we’ll be around to find out whether “done right”
radio would make a significant impact today.   The one constant I’ve noticed (which
transcends radio to include all of human nature)  is nobody takes a chance until there’s nothing
left to lose.   Would anyone have gambled on Top 40 in the mid ’50s if the stations involved
were not close to worthless.  Back then industry trades proclaimed the entire medium a
homicide victim.   Television— radio with pictures, was finishing it off.  Claude began the
column with L. David Moorhead’s name, which brings to mind FM a decade later.   When
Tom Donahue walked out of KYA and subsequently transformed KMPX, his Rolling Stone
editorial proclaimed that AM was dead (more evidence that he was a man ahead of his time as
this was 1967), but the real story was that FM time was cheap and easy to obtain.  And
underscoring that timing is everything, not only was there nothing to lose on FM, but there
was everything to gain as the band’s notorious drifting problem was finally solved and its
programming potential was not yet explored.  In the ’80s, would AM stations have taken a
chance on Rush Limbaugh (who, love him or hate him, singlehandedly killed the prevailing
logic that radio had to be local to succeed, a belief that stemmed from top 40’s triumph over
network block programming)  if they did not feel downright endangered (for all the reasons
we know)?

Rollye:  I’m bemused when I overhear discussions of what could easily be done to solve the
woes of todays over-leveraged monster-owners.   What’s missing from all the plans and ploys
is simple arithmetic. The prices that a Clear Channel (iHeart, iHurt, iDon’tCare) paid for their
mountain of properties were so unrealistically high, that even with a utopian possibility of no
operating expenses and top dollar for sold-out inventory— they still can’t retire the debt.  It is
flat out, not possible.  I’ll save my pontification on why they got to where they are for another
column, but what matters here is that eventually there has to be a reset.  And as soon as there’s
nothing left to lose, the stage will be set for creativity to return.   It’s not tomorrow, but it’s
coming. I hope we’re all around to see how it plays out.

Claude continues:  “Some months ago, I wanted to check up on writers such as Edgar Rice
Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard.  Books that aren’t any very many libraries anymore, but
which I enjoyed back in my pre-teens when, during one spell I read as many as two books a
day.  I’d read the Harvard Five Foot Shelf of Classics which contained such books as “Two
Years Before the Mast” and two volumes of poetry.  The Brady library contained a great many
of the Oz series and several books by Burroughs.  Good reading for a kid.  So, a few months
ago, my son Andy bought me a Kindle Fire.  Max Brand, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. Rider
Haggard and a few Leigh Brackett short novels, all at 99 cents.  More Burroughs than the
Brady Public Library could have possibly contained!  So, imagine my surprise this morning
when I note that the Kindle has turned itself on and is downloading an upgrade to its system.  
And a few minutes later, it cuts itself off.  In a sense, I’ve been invaded.  I’m not sure that I
mind, since I suppose it’s to my benefit.  Is this that broad wave of the future?  When cars will
get better at someone else’s wishes.  My TV system will improve during some future Super
Bowl.  Because they’re putting some form of computer in everything these days.  Maybe even
me.  One day.”
Ken Dowe:  “Reminiscing with our friend, Chuck Dunaway, who has sent me a clip of LOST
IN THE 50s.  Hope you’re feeling well!”
Ken Dowe to Chuck Dunaway:  “Thanks, Chuck.  As an aside, Kent Burkhart's WQXI in
Atlanta was hosting a show at the Atlanta Braves ballpark in 1963 that starred Ronnie Milsap,
Lesley Gore, Tommy Roe, and a number of great music artists with huge hit records at that
time.  I was on the stage introducing the acts to the thrilled thousands in the audience when the
stage (probably 20 feet off the ground), began to sway for a few moments … and then
collapsed.  Ronnie Milsap (whom I knew pretty well) was blind as you know, and at his piano
singing when the world collapsed.  We all went straight down onto the playing field.  In the
middle of the rubble, dust and confusion, was Ronnie.  I was lying a few feet away.  Of
course, he was totally in the ‘dark’.  Worse, a huge piano was lying on top of him.  I’m no
superhero, but somehow I managed to lift the piano high enough so that he could crawl out
from under it.  The miracle was that there wasn’t one serious injury.  And, Ronnie lived to
record countless million sellers.  Ronnie was a really interesting and cool guy.  He wasn’t
always blind.  For his first half dozen years or so, he’d been able to see before losing all
vision, when he was sent to a Georgia school for blind children where he began singing and
playing.  In the beginning he was a rock singer who sounded like a white Ray Charles.  The
country came quite a bit later.  Ronnie once told me something unique and unforgettable about
“’You know, Ken.  People believe blindness is when everything is just dark.  Black.  But, it’s
not.  Just think of trying to look at something thought your elbow.  That’s what it’s like to be
blind’.  To be sightless is apparently more like have that sense closed off to nothingness.  It
certainly never stopped him from reaching the greatest heights of superstardom.  Ronnie has
other gifts we mortals do not possess. He’s also a really good guy.  Just a few thoughts from
my Way Back Machine.  Your most-appreciative friend.”
Chuck Dunaway to Ken Dowe: “...Since those days we met 54 years ago (!) when you drafted
me from San Diego and taught me to play in the major leagues….”
Claude Hall:  “Or was that last bit from Ken to Chuck?”
Doc Wendell comes up with another two fascinating items: click here for Mingus-- and here
for Kai NorezoDoc:  “I always wanted to be a flamenco guitarist. This cat [Norezo]  is so
unique. You must check him out!!”

Robby Vee continues to build.  Just played the State Theatre in Zumbrota, MN.  Robby Vee
“Strings & Things violin section will be joining us on our 'Vee sings Vee' segment of the show
helping us celebrate my father's music and add a romantic touch for Saturday night
Valentines.  We had a chance to chat with Maureen McNeary from KDWA Radio ... it was
really a fun interview and she was great with a huge appreciation and knowledge of Rock n
“I've received many emails and messages asking about our shirts for Alzheimer awareness and
fund raising.  Check it out here...  we thank you.  We will be featuring my father's '64 Ford
Mustang at the Twin Cities Auto Show March 12-20th for ‘Artists raising their voice for care
Alzheimer's Foundation of America, stop down and say hello and learn more about this great
“Visit www.robbyvee.com for info about our ‘Blue Moon Blues’ EP & Vee sing Vee the NEW
Single ‘This Love’.  Penned as the Blue Moon Blue Project to help bring awareness of care
involved with Alzheimer's. In 2015 Vee joined the Alzheimer's Foundation of America Music
Community ‘Artists Raising Their Voice for Care’ to honor his father Bobby Vee who was
diagnosed with the disease resulting in his 2011 retirement from the music industry.  Robby is
donating the proceeds from the single ‘Blue Moon Blues’ to the Alzheimer's Foundation of
America in this effort.  ‘Blue Moon Blues’ was co-written with the late legendary songwriter
Wayne Carson (‘You Were Always on My Mind’, ‘The Letter’) who passed away in 2015.”
 Bob Sherwood:  “Kindly Ol’ Uncle Claude:  I had Linda Ronstadt’s address on Jackson St.,
in San Francisco but it’s been 10 or 15 years and now I can’t find.  Besides Joe Smith the two
people most likely to have it are Peter Asher who brilliantly managed her and produced her
music during the 70s and 80s.  Also George Massenburg who engineered and co-produced
her with Peter and beyond. He did all of her exquisite later work.  George can be reached at
GML Labs in Nashville.”

Elliot Field:  “Just from casual observation, seems to me it's the apple & the tree with Gordon
& dad. Papa was a lawyer who made a bad debt pay off big. Gordon was a genius who took
the apple, seed, rind, pulp & all to new & Un imagined levels. BR was gentle, able & savy.
Gordon stretched every human attribute to not-previously seen levels; in ALL areas. You're
right, a close study would be very interesting.”

Johnny Holliday:  “Have Ken Levine get ahold of me and I can  fill him in on my impressions
of Pete Meyers whom I worked with at WHK in Cleveland and 1010 WINS in New York. Pete
was a super guy and was a big influence on me during my early years in the business.”

Rollye:  Ken, send me your email address and I’ll forward Johnny’s.  But Johnny, I think we’d
all love to hear your thoughts on Mad Daddy.  Considering the state of radio today, reminders
of how vibrant it was and the impact it had is always a pleasure to read.