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Ken Levine's new play!


by Rollye James
Claude Hall

Ken Levine:  “I’m happy to announce that my new play, GOING GOING GONE opens next
weekend at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood. It’ll run for six weekends, ending November
6th.  There will also be two previews, September 29th & 30th.   For information and discount
tickets please visit this site.   If the discount tix are sold out you can also go here

GOING GOING GONE is a comedy set in the press box of a big league ballpark and follows
four journalists whose lives change through the course of one eventful game.   Who are these
people?  Imagine a cross between a Rand Institute Think Tank and a group of idiots you meet
at a bar.   It’s very funny and will help relieve the pain of Vin Scully retiring.  Thanks much.
 Hope you can come and “pull up a chair.”

Claude Hall:  “Concerts at Sea is still cruising.  This year, they're promoting Paul Revere's
Raiders, Jay and The Americans, The Cowsills, Mitch Ryder, The Buckinghams, Peter
Rivera of Rare Earth, and Terry Sylvester of The Hollies.  For info:  1-866-3OLDIES or
www.concertsatsea.com.  A week, starting Jan. 28.  Barbara and I took the cruise a few years
ago when Bobby Vee was one of the performers.  Didn't like the cruise line.  This time,
however, they're on Princess.  Should be fun.  We had a great time when Bobby cruised,
performed, and talked with guests."

Rollye:  “Given the demographics of the fans, oldies on the water is a natural. And there’s no
shortage of offerings. Malt Shop Memories, hosted by Jerry Blavat, is sold out this fall, and
no wonder with a lineup that offers something for everyone from Dee Dee Sharp and The
Orlons to Dionne Warwick and The Lettermen. The Tymes, Tokens, Skylines, Crests (or
are they permanently The Brooklyn Bridge now?), Capris, Happenings, Crystals, Chiffons,
one of The Shirelles (and the most important one, Shirley Alston) and one of The Ronettes
(Ronnie Spector, of course) will be among several others.  It’s on a very nice Holland America
ship, but for anyone who has spent a lot of time in the Yukon or Alaska can tell you, you really
need to watch out for those Holland America land and sea packages. I laugh every time I think
of the look on unsuspecting tourists’ faces when the bus rolls into Tok for the night (a truly
desolate spot that happens to be at the confluence of the Alaska, Glenn and Top Of The World
Highways).  Top of the World takes the bemused travelers to Chicken (yes, Chicken), Alaska. 
It’s about then, that many start to rethink the wisdom of their travel plans, though the next stop
is Dawson, Yukon, which has it’s own charm.

“Cruising and radio personalities is a natural, and for many offerings, it’s not unusual to see
several personalities branding the same cruise as their own.  For instance, you can book the
70s Rock and Romance Cruise” directly, or through various personalities including Delilah
The late Lee Sherwood ran a tour business specializing in disc jockey hosted cruises, which
was bought by The Trucking’ Bozo on Lee’s passing.  I have no idea who has it now.  What’s
usually in it for the jock (or radio station, if it’s station branded) is free travel, and a percentage
of rooms booked.  The upside is having a great venue for all your hard core fans.  The
downside is you’re going to have to spend a no-escape week with them.  Art Bell did several
of them many years back. Some might say, one too many.  Tom Joyner is again doing the
Fantastic Voyage Cruise this coming winter.  Billed as ‘The Ultimate Party With A Purpose’,
the proceeds go to historically black colleges.  It’s one of the many offerings during Black
Cruise Week.

“No matter what music you like, there’s a cruise featuring it.  Def Leppard anyone?  Probably
anyone reading these words cringes at the thought, but the reality this year was worse than you
might imagine.  “Def Leppard Hysteria on the High Seas” included the lead singer coming
down with laryngitis, the bassist of the replacement act being found dead in his cabin and a
monsoon that turned the ship’s trajectory into seemingly aimless floating.  There’s a humorous
review of the low lights here. Well, humorous to the rest of us on land, that is.”

Mel Phillips:  “I think it was Joey Reynolds who mentioned "famous coach Doug Parcells"
but unless Bill changed his name to Doug, the Hall Of Fame coach would not be happy reading
that. Sorry but it's the program director in me…”

Rollye:  “I think Joey did mean Doug— that’s Bill’s much less famous, but still very
interesting brother who worked for his hometown Oradell, NJ recreation department for 40
years.  Doug and the other guy in the picture with Joey in a previous column, Joe Bartlett, do
a weekend show on WOR, so I’m guessing… but I wouldn’t know a visual to save my soul, so
I can't eyeball it. If you recognize Doug as Bill, let me know.   Now I’ve got two
people-questions for Mel. Since he worked at CBS records in the mid ‘70s, and has a history in
Nashville, I’m hoping he’ll have answers. If not, maybe you will.   I’ve searched in vain for
years for a couple folks I knew in the early ‘70s, and can’t find a trace of them— and they
were well known at the time.  One is, Joe Casey, who worked in the Atlanta branch with Mert
Paul and Joe Mansfield.  After I left, Joe came to Nashville, which he really wanted to do.
 We kept in touch for a while, but then I never heard another word about him. (It doesn’t help
that there was a Nashville police chief with the same name, who is in evidence everywhere
online.)  The other is Emily Mitchell, she was Billy Sherrill’s secretary for ten years before
advancing up the A&R ladder in the latter '70s. Wonderful gal. Emily would be in her 80s now.
Joe, a few years younger, if they’re both still with us.  Anybody?

Claude Hall gave me the green light, so if you’d like to read another delightful dog tale,
Popsie’s Great Camping Adventure” is right here.

George Jay (Jay Barrington)
WLAC publicity photo, 1977

George Jay:  “When I arrived in Nashville in 1977 I was not ready for the quintessential
experience of everything I had been raised to expect as a radio personality, that is even though
I was from Cheyenne, Wyoming and the great grand-nephew of Buffalo Bill Cody! When
Kent Burkhart put me up for the morning news job at the Billboard Broadcasting-owned
WLAC, I didn’t know much of anything about the station other than it reached into Cuba to the
south, Texas to the West and Canada to the north. With one of the world’s clearest, clear
channel signals, WLAC covered millions and millions of square miles. Had I known that when
I called Kent for a job that beautiful Spring day I might have been nervous. But if I’d known
what a legend John R. was I might’ve been even more nervous! Instead, the day I arrived in
Nashville and went on the air my first day, it was John R.’s last. I was the first to open my mic
when John R. closed his on his final Randy’s Record Mart show.

“I’d worked in Chicago, Cleveland and New Orleans for Lee Abrams a couple years prior as
his National News Director. Lee was 19 and I was 21. I’d been trained in the intricacies of J.
Paul Emerson’s ‘People News’ format at KIMN from the master himself and was now taking
the prize-winning news format to WLAC, treating Pat Reilly and Dick Kent’s show like was
mine. News Director David Tower had renamed me Jay Barrington from George Jay
because another George—former Green Beret, George Baber—relieved me at 10:00. We were
number one almost instantly. I took it all for granted. Nashville was just another radio town. At
least that’s what I thought until realized I was waking up every morning in my motel room
right across the street from the Ryman Auditorium just a couple blocks from our incredible
L&C Tower studios! Sometimes late at night I’d get the security guy to let me in and I’d look
out over the Ryman’s old wooden venue imagining what it must have been like before the
Opry moved across town just a few months before. She was like an instrument waiting to be
played. But Nashville was a changin’ and it looked like I was going to be a part of it!

“The air talent on the FM side was John Conlee who’d been a funeral director prior to his
landing his morning show gig and I did his news as well as the morning show’s. Everyone at
the station hung out together some and when Rose Colored Glasses hit we were all just
jubilant! I learned how much work goes into making not only a great hit record (his on the
ABC label) but John’s remarkable career at as well. George Baber became John’s road
manager and died unbelievably tragically while standing behind their tour bus. Later, I moved
into a very cool little studio apartment over by the Gold Rush tavern in midtown. I played
dobro a little and even got myself into a couple of jams. There were so many beautiful events,
celebrity interviews and such, but one of the best was when WLAC sponsored what turned out
to be the world premiere of ‘Grease’. I booked several vintage cars from Nashville’s Wreck
Renters for a parade to launch the film and it was fabulous! Olivia and John T. weren’t
there—I guess because Nashville was small potatoes then—but I got to co-host that event and
lots of others, too, all as a NEWS GUY!

“I got this unbelievable picture (above)  taken by Dolly’s photographer and with that photo, a
couple suitcases and my dobro was on my way to a wonderful career not only as a newsperson,
but then here in New York as a country DJ at Viacom’s WKHK, only later working as a news
person on every number one station in this little Podunk town! I’ve been in NYC ever since
though, and I’ll never forget what an effective launching pad WLAC was. What a great station
(er, business) —and what an amazing and magical town! God bless J. Paul, Kent and Lee. It’s
been an utterly fantastic ride. God bless you Rollye and dear Claude as well! Funny we never
met, Rollye. I think we were there at the same time?

“So psyched about Joey’s new gig at WABC—and on line, with whom I worked for a short
time at WNBC. Congrats and blessings! You are a genius.”

Rollye:  “I agree with George about Joey, and as I type this I realize I just missed the second
Late Joey Reynolds show.  After I put the column to bed, I’m going to see if there’s a
download. Joey’s work should be preserved.   

“George, you arrived a couple years after I was gone.  Loved the story, but it was not John R.
who exited when you came on board.  He did that earlier, on July 28, 1973 (when Life and
Casualty Insurance still owned WLAC).  He saw the handwriting on the wall even then.  It was
probably Spider Harrison’s last day when you arrived.  Spider replaced John R., coming
from WTLC-FM in Indianapolis.  (I liked him because he often played Spider Jiving by Andy
Fairweather Low, probably because of the title.  It was the last record I bought in person at
Randy’s Record Shop in Gallatin.)   Memories are funny things.  I, too, always called Randy’s a
‘mart’, but it was ‘shop’—  easy to confuse as  John R. regularly hawked Ernie’s Record Mart
in Nashville (Ernie Young owned it along with Excello Records).

“Glad to hear Kent Burkhart hired you.  That was around the time that Mark Damon and
Dick Kent (RIP— Dick died last January in his home town of Cape Girardeau) were pulling
for me . They had a night jock opening— maybe it would have been replacing Spider?  If so,
I’m glad I didn’t get it.  I was not ready to fill those shoes, but my misgivings wouldn’t have
mattered. Burkhart declared I was too old.  Or that I sounded it, anyway.  (I was at WIBC in
Indianapolis at the time.)    Many years later, WLAC carried my talk show, and to this day, it is
my all time favorite affiliate.  Not the best signal on my resume (that might belong to
non-directional KOA in Denver) , but to be blanketing the terrain that listened to John, Gene
and Hoss every night was an honor.  WLAC was solidly directional but heard exactly where it
mattered— way down south in Dixie.

Barry O’Neil sent links to four YouTube videos that will bring back some warm memories of
CKLW’s infamous music director, Rosalie Trombley.  The first one is a great picture montage
over Bob Seger’s “Rosalie” (which, as I heard it, Rosalie Trombley for whom the ditty was
named, would not play): 

If you can't see it, click here.

The second one accompanied her induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame:

If it doesn't show up in your browser, click here.

“The third is from this year’s Juno Awards in Calgary, where Rosalie Trombley was honored
with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award.   It includes the mini-documentary “The
Girl With The Golden Ear” (the tone of which made me concerned Rosalie was no longer with
us.  Fortunately she is, though she was not well enough to attend the awards ceremony.  Her
oldest son, Tim accepted her award with a compelling speech).  Burton Cummmings, this
year’s Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, introduces the piece with some personal
recollections of how much Rosalie meant to him:

If it won't play, click here.

“The fourth is a shorter clip, containing only “The Girl With The Golden Ear”:

“If you can't see it, click here.

Bob Levinson: “Thought you'd enjoy seeing and sharing this pic, taken a few years ago during
one of the late, great, much-missed George Wilson's visits to Los Angeles. (From left: Me,
George, ice cream kingpin Dandy Don Whittemore)…”

                                          Morris I. Diamond: “Just thought you would like to see (or use)
                                          the attached photo of Shelby Singleton and I at his 75th birthday
                                          party in 2007 in Nashville.”

Mel Phillips:  “This was our Top 100 the year we launched WRKO. The list was based on
listener requests and local sales. Details about our reunion weekend follow the list...

“And this was the air staff in order of appearance (left to right) from 6am through overnight,
that played those great hits in 1967:

         Al Gates                  John Rode                           Joel Cash                                  J.J. Jeffrey

                    Arnie Ginsburg                                Chuck Knapp                              Jon Powers

“The original lineup featured Dick Burch on the all-night show briefly before Jon Powers
replaced him. Arnie Ginsburg was on the air when we launched until an injunction forced him
off the air. Arnie then joined the sales staff...

“Dates to Remember:
June 2, 2017 (Friday):
                 Reunion Party/Dinner for all WRKO employees past & present (venue TBD)
June 3, 2017 (Saturday) 7pm-11pm:
                Live on WRKO and Backbone Streaming (produced by George Capalbo Jr.) 
                featuring a lineup of the original air staff & others (TBD)
For Rooms: (Check-in June 2, Check-out June 4) $179 a night. For reservations at Crowne
Plaza (Newton) call 617-969-3010. Be sure to ask for the "WRKO Reunion"special rate.”