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L-R Russ Regan, Morris I. Diamond and Jerry Sharrell at the Danny Davis memorial lunch
by Rollye James
Rollye: “Saturday, the memorial for Danny Davis was held at Villa Portofino in Palm Desert,
CA. Morris I. Diamond kindly sent the above picture. Over 66 people came, many from Los
Angeles like Jerry Sharrell, and Rabbi Jerry Cutler who officiated. (Morris and Russ
Regan are now local to the Palm Springs area.) It was a particularly fitting setting as this was
the place where Danny and Morris lunched every Thursday.”
September 27, 1938 - July 10, 2016
Rollye: “Cameron Ward, the late Bill Ward's son sent Claude some info on Larry Scott,
including a link to the pages at Max Slayton Funerals. There’s a thorough bio here
. You’ll also
see links for the Tribute Wall. Claude Hall has contributed. If you knew Larry, please share
Rollye: “Claude reminded me what an avid photographer Bill Ward was. He took pictures of
everything from country stars to Gene Autry and probably combined a marvelous collection of
radio history along the way. Cameron— if the pictures went to you, and you ever feel like
sharing some of the memories, we’d love to print whatever you send. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Dowe: “Bill Armstrong. A great man. The perfect prototype for all… You probably
remember that Dottie. and I spent an uncommon amount of time with Bill and Ellen during the
'80s and '90s when he was a U.S Senator. (CO) Bill was our frequent guest in Dallas, and we
were often his in DC. I always enjoyed my drives with Bill to his office at the Capitol.
Spending times with him there were incredibly enlightening.
“At Bill's request I once spoke for him to his regular prayer group of politicians and staff
while visiting. We attended the National Prayer Day festivities with Bill and Ellen.
Washington is where Dottie was introduced to Billy Graham and said to him : "Dr. Graham, I
have met so many celebrities and have rarely been too impressed. But, I did always want to
meet you. Then you at Texas Stadium introduced me to Jesus...and you're just not that
important anymore!" Billy laughed uproariously, grabbed her hands, and said: "Dottie, I just
loved hearing that!!!"
“I’ve often thought that all men should model themselves after Bill Armstrong, or Tom
Landry. No two humans I have ever known well were more Christlike. Where are these men
now? MIA. What a shame…”
Mrs. Ken Dowe (Dottie)
Ken Dowe: “Dottie Dowe - recent photo. She promised me...an autograph, too! The Southern
Belle who charms all with her warm sincerity and Scarlett O'Hara accent. And, so fortunate for
me, next month my wife for 55 incredibly delightful years.”
Claude Hall: “It's amazing, isn't it, that we chose goodlookers. Dottie, like my wife Barbara,
can smile and knock your socks off. I don't know how they do it ... that great, calm beauty that
seems to be God-given. When I first took Barbara to meet my folks, as soon as we came down
off that old DC-3 that flew into Hobbs, NM, where they met us from Carlsbad, my Dad said,
"Boy, you sure know how to pick 'em." Yep!”
Claude Hall to Don Graham: “Thanks for the photo and thank you very much for the printed
and bound copy of "George and Me." Very, very kind of you!
“I might have a western or a science fiction short novel left in me. Don't know. Wish I had the
steam for a book about you, Don. You and Bill Randle warrant books. Sans doute!
“I know how I met Barbara. I was on one of those westside streets just below Harlem in
Manhattan and paused and prayed for a girl to relieve my loneliness. So help me! Never told
anyone this before ... not even Barbara. And, behold, I met this beautiful slender girl in black
velvet at a party tossed by Claudia Mulholy-Nagy of Manhattan art gallery fame. I'd taken a
date, but she wanted to go home with someone else and I said, "Sure," and there I was, more
lonely than ever. The next week, I spent tracking Barbara down. All I knew was that she
worked for Dr. Joyce Brothers at NBC-TV. Her name turned out to be Barbara Schwartz.
And she was willing to go to a Kentucky Derby Party with me! From then on, I believed in
the validity of positive prayer. Big time!
“Just FYI, I also prayed that Rollye would get her radio station in Arizona amidst the pines!
“Once again, thank you, Robin and Don. GREAT on you!”
Rollye: “I checked, and George & Me is not yet available on Kindle. But it will be soon, and
we’ll let you know when it is. What a thoughtful gesture, Don! And thank you Claude, for
your prayers. We did wind up in Arizona and though there are countless pine trees here in
Gila County (which is 97% government land), none are near us. We have the pleasure of
mining tailings, and I’m grateful for every barren spot as mining has been, by far, the biggest
employer in the area. Combining the two (pine trees an tailings), Jon, my husband, has taken it
upon himself to attempt a project to seed the worthless land. We won’t live to see the results,
but if it goes as planned, the resulting pine trees should beautify the area tremendously. (And
if nothing will grow on the tailings no matter what, he’s got another idea for murals, similar to
those he saw in the UK.)
“If this week’s column seems somewhat sparse, it’s because you didn’t write. The weekly
effort is honestly not much more than compiling and sharing your thoughts. And when you
don’t think, I’m in trouble. Worse yet, I have to think (when I have time to think, which isn’t
often anymore). And when I think, the printable results often include radio, for better or
worse… speaking of worse…
“The first time it happened, I was on I-90 heading west to Spearfish, South Dakota. It was still
early evening, but already almost dark due to the summer rain. It had been alternating between
drizzle and downpour when suddenly a gust of seeming hurricane force had me involuntarily
changing lanes. My first reaction was to reach for the radio. Up to that point, I’d been
listening to cassettes of music no programmer in their right mind would put on any radio
station. But with wind like that, I wanted to know what was coming. And I knew just what to
“Good old slide rule dials. I was close enough to Rapid City that several signals could be
heard. I went up and down the FM and AM bands certain I’d be hearing a weather update at
the next break. It was bad enough no one was interrupting these seemingly
longer-by-the-minute music clusters, but worse than that, when they did— well, never mind
weather, nothing remotely live ensued— until I stumbled upon KOMA. The lone live station.
Score one for nostalgia, none for local content. No one in Oklahoma had any idea what was
happening in South Dakota. The problem was, I didn’t either.
“That was 1991, a full five years before the Telecommunications Act which led to the craziness
of frantic consolidation. And it was the first time I came face to face with what radio had
become. I’d read about it and understood it theoretically. But it wasn’t until my knee jerk
reaction to reach for the radio yielded nothing, that I knew it to my core.
“We’re licensed to serve the public interest and we stopped doing it. No medium is in a better
position to keep listeners informed of contemporaneous events than radio with its complete
mobility. Not only is it our mandate, it’s also our ticket to success in attracting listeners.
Radio’s performance in that arena today is exponentially worse than it was 25 years ago when I
was trying to navigate the AM dial and I-90 at the same time. Technological capability and
economic reality have made it impractical for most operations to be live around the clock now.
What I experienced in South Dakota became the norm everywhere— first in fringe day parts,
later, in many markets particularly smaller ones, on all the stations-all the time. And
eventually it got to the point that without realizing, I broke the habit.
“In 2006, four years after Clear Channel’s legendary Minot mess-up, I was heading south on
US 95 into Coeur d’Alene with Jon on an otherwise a sunny Saturday afternoon when we
encountered an unexpected hail storm. I didn’t have to reach for the radio— we were already
listening to it. As I turned to him and said “Too bad it’s the weekend, and we won’t find out
what’s going on,” I was horrified by the recognition that it didn’t even cross my mind that
radio might yield fruitful information when I really needed it.
“Undoubtedly you know what happened in Minot in 2002. Clear Channel, which owned all six
commercial radio stations in the North Dakota town, failed to alert listeners that a train
derailment caused a deadly, toxic cloud. Much has been written on the whys and wherefores,
and virtually every account focuses on Clear Channel’s failures. There were many. Some
broadcasters wondered how the company could keep their radio licenses in the face of such an
astoundingly clear cut example of failing to serve the public interest, convenience and
“But there exists another huge facet of this saga that is rarely included in the public accounts
rehashing the incident: the utter and complete failure of the local EAS system. Local
authorities turned it off long before that fateful day because it was inconveniently activating
itself during a variety of non-crises, including power failures. That’s right. Turned It Off.
Though it might sound like it, that stunning decision doesn’t let Clear Channel off the hook.
Licensees are required to verify that tests are received. Too often, as happened here, they don’t
do it. With wonderfully automated equipment, it’s easy to set and forget.
“Owning a couple very small radio stations, I can verify what isn’t being verified. When I first
took over, it seemed like the county hadn’t sent a test in a couple years. The NWS tests were
like clockwork but the weekly and monthly county tests were MIA. I figured it had to be at my
end because there were other licensees in town and certainly they would have noticed that
nothing was coming in. After investigating the receivers, the yagi antenna (inconveniently on
the roof of the building, of course), and the Sage Endecs, checking everything thrice as I still
couldn’t believe it wasn’t at my end, I contacted the county.
“Of all the things I expected to hear, I wasn’t prepared to be told that no tests has been sent
because they needed to get around to fixing and replacing “that EBS stuff”. (At least it wasn’t
Conelrad.) Recognizing the severity of the problem, I offered to help (generous soul that I am,
I signed Jon up for the EOC committee which meets during hours I’ve never seen on a clock—
like 8 AM). We’re still not where we should be (and the stories would be hilarious if they
weren’t a potential public hazard) but we’re on our way. Sadly, many civil authorities no
matter where they are, don’t see it as a problem. They’re jazzed about the new alert system
they’re using that notifies people by text or email, homing in block by block on who needs to
“They’ve got a point. Today listeners are more likely to turn to twitter— where they’ll
probably find out more than they will from the radio. But they’re missing a bigger point.
When something really major happens, there will be no text, no internet, or power for any of it.
It’s the radio on which people will rely— and as it stands, no matter how committed we are to
getting the word out, we might have nothing to share. I know it first hand with day-to-day
minor disruptions— road closures, for instance. I’ve spent the past two years trying to
convince the county sheriff’s department to put procedures in place for their folks to call us
when anything out of the ordinary happens. (I’d have an easier time convincing Great Britain
to drop Brexit.) We’ve repeatedly proven we break into programming at any time, day or
night, to get information on the air. Unfortunately almost all the tips we get come from
listeners. We then have to hunt for confirmation, which might take a while, and might not
yield results. No problem if someone is stuck in traffic— but what if it were Minot? When we
point this out to the various deputies on duty, their response is predictable. “We put it on our
Faceook page.” That says it all.
“I know I’m preaching to the choir here, and everyone reading Vox Jox comes from an era
where being part of the fabric of a community meant being first— the first to play a hit, the
first to embrace whatever was hip— and easiest of all, the first to tell their audience what was
happening whenever anything unusual occurred in town. (It might have been macabre, but
back in the day, many of us couldn’t see even a small disaster without relishing how good it
would be for attracting listeners.)
“I understand the days of being everything to everyone are completely past tense. Success
today is sought by trying for a niche. Even so, there’s no downside to assuring listeners among
any targeted group that when anything happens in their town, they’ll hear about it on WXXX.
As long as WXXX delivers on that promise and does it in a way that’s complimentary to the
image they’re trying to create, it’s a plus.
“Most frustrating about the absence of information is the ease of which it can be transmitted—
even when on-site staff is non-existent. The audio files can be recorded virtually anywhere and
inserted into even the lamest automation system. The prevailing logic, that this is old school,
and listeners don’t turn to radio for that kind of information is not only self-defeating, its
validity is self-induced. We’ve trained listeners to go elsewhere. Fortunately for us, that
training isn’t always successful. I know it whenever something unexpected occurs and I’m
alerted by the number of listeners who called the radio station wanting to know what was
happening. It’s then that I stop what I’m doing to find out and tell them. That’s rare today, but
it used to be commonplace. Chuck Buell certainly did it at KULF”…
Dave Anthony: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, Chuck Buell, I clearly remember listening to you those
days when you were on afternoon drive at KULF. As you may recall from our previous
discussions, I was doing noon-to-3 at ABC's KXYZ, so officially we didn't compete head on,
but I listened almost every day, fully realizing you were the guy to beat. Now look: It's almost
40 years later and you haven't been able to shake me yet.”
Roger Carroll: “I enjoy your email every week. I worked at WFMD Frederick, Maryland
when I was 15 to 18. I left Maryland to go to school USC. I do not know many of the names
mentioned on your posts. I do know, and have know for many years, a great friend, Don
Graham. Your email today brought back memories when I was growing up with WFBR and
“Every Saturday, my dad would drive me to WCBM, where I watched the program Dialing
For Dollars. I cannot remember the MC's name. Everyone at WCBM was wonderful in
treating a kid who loved radio. Also, the mention of WFBR: a friend, Dick Coleman, worked
as a page there. My Dad took me to WFBR after my visit to WCBM. At WFBR, I watched
the Quiz of Two Cities (I now own the rights to the program— never tried to sell the show).
Erwin Elliott changed his name and became a successful radio talent in New York. Anther
good guy at WFBR was Roger Gallagher. He came to LA. I got him a weekend job doing
news on KMPC. His time at KMPC did not last very long. He was offered a job at KNX and
was there for a long time.
“I got on the ABC Network announcing staff when I was 18. I stayed at ABC for 12 years.
They made me a network DJ. I was not very happy at the time, but it was the best thing that
happened in my career. I was offered a job at KMPC working for Gene Autry, which lasted for
22 years. At KMPC, Beverly and I became wealthy. I left to go in business for myself. I
bought a radio station in Salem, OR, KWIP. I remained in LA and hired KMPC assistant PD
Eric Norberg to be GM at the station. He did a great job. Our signal got into Portland. I
syndicated my company: Robert W. Morgan, Billy Pearl, Gene Price, the Lawrence Welk
Radio show, Disney National New Year’s Eve Party, Don Drysdale Bullpen and other shows
including my own record show.
“I was also on the air at AFRTS while I was in the service, and stayed on doing my AFRTS
show for 26 years. Sounds like bragging? No, I have been asked to write an LA radio and TV
book. The last three years have been tough. We have five children. Our oldest son, Steven,
died at 50 years from melanoma cancer. Depression works in many ways. Beverly had
Parkinson’s Disease and then a fatal stroke.”
Rob Frankel: “As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I submitted my Cruisin’ 1963 remix to
. I guess you could call it a re-creation of a re-creation. Over the years a number of
people (myself included) felt that unlike most of the other Ron Jacobs Cruisin’ LPs, the one
for WMCA was not true to the sound of the station at the time. The legendary Johnny Mann
“Good Guys” jingle package was missing, along with other production elements of that era.
While keeping the Ron Jacobs re-creation in its entirety (with the exception of the one
out-of-place Anita Kerr jingle from a previous programming era), I added in the missing
pieces to more accurately simulate the WMCA of 1963 (particularly as the station sounded in
the second half of the year). Before submitting it to Reelradio, I played it for Harry Harrison
and former WMCA engineer Phil Cecchini, both of whom gave it a thumbs-up for accuracy.
Uncle Ricky has posted it as a current “Hitbound” this week under the title, “Rob Frankel
Presents Cruisin’ ’63
” (his title, not mine). [You can access it directly here
if you’re a
“Rollye, I know you are a huge WMCA fan (and BTW, I loved the interview you did with
Ruth Meyer), so I thought you would want to know and give it a listen. And when you read
Uncle Ricky’s description, you’ll understand why it never saw the light of day during Ron
Rollye: “Uncle Ricky’s description is so very Ron Jacobs, I have to share it in its entirety”…
We are all familiar with the iconic CRUISIN' series, re-creations of early Top 40 broadcasts,
imagineered by the late Ron Jacobs (d. March 8, 2016). I must make it clear: Ron Jacobs did
not authorize this revision, in fact, it would probably have made him furious.
When RJ got angry, he would demand his entire collection be removed. I actually had to do
that once, until he calmed down. One time, he insisted I remove all KHJ airchecks when he was
PD. I refused. He hung up, then kept bringing it up for months after. When he got angry, he
was REALLY angry, he would yell, hang up, call back and scream some more. Everyone who
knew him said this was to be expected. He lost his temper and yelled at everyone. So, I say
again, Ron Jacobs would not approve of Rob Frankel's revisions to his work.
I don't know what insprired Rob to make the changes you will hear on his version, but nothing
has been removed. This version runs a couple minutes longer than the original. He has added
some things, notably the Johnny Mann Good Guy jingles and thematic beds created for
WMCA. Interestingly, these would have been available to Ron Jacobs when he recorded the
CRUISIN' series, since he had worked with Johnny Mann at KHJ. It's likely there were
In any event, Rob, based on listening to many WMCA airchecks, felt his version more
accurately represented the actual sound of WMCA in 1963. It certainly is a more exciting
aircheck this way. Judge for yourself, the original CRUISIN' 63 is here.
[and again, Frankel’s
work is here
] And to Ron Jacobs, wherever you may be, I did this because your great work
deserves to be heard again, the revisions are accurate, and you can't yell at me anymore - yet.
And don't get angry with Rob - he did it because it sounds good.
Rollye: “Why it’s particularly funny to me is just this week I heard from Don Barrett and
during our email thread he shared with me how Ron Jacobs told him to do something that was
anatomically impossible when Don wouldn’t print everything Ron sent (which I can tell you
first hand, was probably submitted daily, at great length and questionable relevance) on
. I’m sure Claude Hall
has a few stories too. Ron was an original. It’s said he
was a genius, but a little Ron went a long way. I preferred to enjoy him at a distance. But I
wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s reading this at an even greater distance and probably
screaming at Rob: ‘It was the rights you idiot.’ Regardless of the behind the scenes reasons,
Rob’s improvement will take you authentically back to 1963. And bless Uncle Ricky for
getting it online. He hasn’t been well lately, and he still makes reelradio.com his central focus.
For $10 you can have unlimited access to about 3500 air checks through the end of the year.
Don’t pass up the opportunity— not only to hear some great stuff, but perhaps more
importantly to support someone who has made it his life’s work to support ours. That's
Mel Phillips: “The Crowne Plaza rooms for the 2017 reunion went so fast, we'll be getting an
additional block. If you haven't booked a room you should still call 617-969-3010. If you
have any trouble getting a reservation for the "WRKO Reunion" ($179 a night with check in
Friday, June 2 and checkout Sunday, June 4, 2017) ask for the Sales Mgr. When you get
through ask for Candy. She's been very helpful. FYI: We are currently looking for a larger
venue for our June 2, 2017 party…
“Here's an assortment of some of WRKO's most famous jocks...
Al Gates & Feathers
Dale Dorman Joel Cash
Dick Burch Gary Martin
Mark (Driscoll) Rivers
WRKO 50th Anniversary Reunion
When: Weekend of June 2, 2017
Where: Boston metro
Friday Night June 2nd - Party for all WRKO employees (past and present).
As soon as we have something locked in, I will pass along the name and location of the venue.
On Air: Saturday Night June 3rd - 7-11 PM WRKO-AM and Backbone Streaming (produced
by George Capalbo, Jr.) .