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by Rollye James
Claude Hall: “Best I take occasion now to wish you all a very wonderful holiday season.
Barbara just got out of a two-day hospital stay with angina, but she’s better and about as sassy
as ever. I’m not much good without her around, so things are better and I'm feeling better
now. My son Darryl in Seattle has decided not to come home this Christmas. Going to miss
him. My brother-in-law is taking everyone, including sons John and Andy, myself and
Barbara, out to a fancy dinner. I will more than likely partake of steak and spinach. So, while
we won’t necessarily have a splendid Christmas as we often enjyed in the past, we will have a
pleasant occasion and I’m grateful. I’m especially grateful for having the pleasure of your
friendship. I hope all of you have a fantastic holiday. Else, what’s God for?”
M.R. “Shane” Gibson (to Claude): “Just dropped in to send a smile cross time and miles to
wish you a joyful Holiday Season filled with life, love, laughter, family, friends, fun and great
music. Hope you fill it all up, Claude. Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind.
Times with you, indelible. Have a healthful and rewarding '17!”
Chuck Buell: “While at the Big 89, WLS in Chicago in the late 60s, I was the Early Evening
On Air Personality from 6 to 10 followed by Kris Erik Stevens from 10 - 2. We heavily
targeted our Shows to the Radio-Listening Youth of Chicago every week night for eight big
“As a special year-end Promotional thrust in 1969, I conceived, designed and staged this
Classic WLS Holiday Photo featuring both me (left) and Kris (right) in a simple Christmas
setting. We then sent an autographed version of this photo, accompanied by a personal "Happy
Holidays!" message from the both of us, directly to numerous Chicagoland and surrounding
area High School Student Newspapers in the months leading up to the Holiday Season with an
offer that they could insert it in any such a manner as they saw fit. It ended up appearing in
countless high school publications during the last couple of months of the year and was a
timely and resounding promotional success for The Big 89's two fun-lovin' On-Air ‘Nighttime
Kids!’ It was just one of many signature elements he and I did that made Radio so much Fun
in those Golden Days of Contemporary Hit Radio!
Chuck Buell and Kris Erik Stevens Wishing You Happy Holidays!
Chuck and Kris are heard every night from 6 PM to 2 AM on WLS, The Big 89 in Chicago!
Rollye: “Chuck Buell also sent along a link to a YouTube video just in time for Christmas.
[Undoubtedly you’re aware of the Martina McBride / Elvis Presley Blue Christmas duo done
through the miracle of the digital age since, as Chuck pointed out, McBride was about 2 when
the clip they used in her duo-video was recorded. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s here
Now that I’ve set it up, I think you’ll agree with Chuck that the original is a lot fun to watch.
From Elvis’ Comeback Special in 1968, here’s Chuck “Christmas boy” Buell’s favorite
If you can’t see it, click here
Rollye: “Thinking about Elvis caused me to reflect on Tom Moffatt’s passing last week. Don
Graham, Ed Gursky and several friends sent links. (At 85 and in ill health, Tom’s passing
was a relief to him, and testament of a life well lived.) In several of the obits, you’ll see a
picture of Tom and Elvis. Tom, the first disc jockey in Hawaii to play an Elvis record, was
enlisted by the promoters to be part of the effort to bring Elvis over for a concert in 1957.
Elvis, of course, was a hit. But the real winner was Tom who went on to become Hawaii’s
premiere concert promoter without abandoning his role as a radio personality. You can read
about some of that in the Star Advertiser obit here
, and the piece on Hawaii News Now here
(note that KGMB-TV will be doing at Tom Moffatt special on January 17th. It’s a long shot,
but if they stream it, it will be here
’s Tom’s LinkedIn page, and here’s a brief,
interesting article from earlier this year in Hawaii Business here
“But if you’ve never seen or heard Tom, you might enjoy this 1973 youtube clip of Tom
welcoming Elvis back to Honolulu 16 years after the first concert:
If you can’t see it, click here
Rollye: “If deaths come in threes, rounding out the radio passings last week was Bob Coburn
and John Patton. Album rock fans will instantly recognize Bob Coburn’s name. He took
over for B. Mitchell Reed as the host of Rockline in 1981, and did the show until its end in
2014 (with a three year rest in the 90s). Angelenos will instantly associate him with KLOS,
which he called home since 1980, but his resume also included the Southland’s KPPC, KMET,
KZLA and KLSX. Bob was diagnosed with lung cancer last year. He was 68. Here
“The shock for me though was the passing of John Patton. I knew he’d faced heart trouble for
several years, but hearing of his sudden passing at home last week started me on a long trek
down memory lane, and a lot of chastising myself for not staying in better touch. It was
probably close to a decade since we last talked, though it seemed like yesterday. John was
back in his home state of Indiana, and after retiring from the newspaper business was in
politics. He won a close battle for a seat on the Greenfield, IN City Council four years ago,
and this year no one filed to run against him. It was good to see how many of his constituents
loved him. They probably knew little of his radio days, but anyone who crossed paths with
him can’t forget the mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
“John was a prankster at heart, who effortlessly created compelling radio, from his days in
programming (WBEN, WKRC, WASH-FM and more) to his management posts (KCMO,
WMAK, RAM Research, Bonneville Broadcast Systems— the latter of which was a seemingly
odd pairing, but under his watch, BBS, where John rose to President/CEO, surpassed Schulke).
“In addition to his great sense of humor and adventure, and being no less than a really good
guy, John was also wickedly smart. It’s my loss for not being in better touch. Time goes by so
quickly, especially when there’s a seemingly endless list of minutiae to tackle. But looking
back on it, nothing terrible would have happened, if I took time out to call a friend. On the list
of what couldn’t wait is… nothing at all. I’m going to make an effort to change my ways,
sooner rather than later. In the meantime, if I owe you a call, please do your best to stay alive,
at least until you hear from me. I promise it won’t be too long.”
Warren Cosford: “If you knew him, I'm sure you'd agree that the late Steve Popovich was one
of the best pure "record man" the Music Business ever had. The other day, his son Steve Jr.
sent me this..... Just watched this documentary on Meat Loaf. Amazing that there was not one
mention of my late father, Steve Popovich. Let's get that facts straight. Had it not been for
Steve Popovich there would have been no Bat Out Of Hell! Plain and simple.
’s a link to
the documentary. ]
“I too have been upset by the revisionism of The Meatloaf Story. In "Meat's" autobiography
"To Hell and Back" he claims that Bat Out of Hell "broke" first in Europe. The Truth is that
CHUM-FM and CBS Canada first "broke" the record. Here are excerpts from an article that
appear in RPM Music Weekly in 1979:
“Graham Powers, Director of Marketing for CBS Canada: ‘Tackling the Meatloaf campaign
was different from handling most other CBS international acts in that there was no prior
stateside success to refer to…. Of course when something takes off the way Meatloaf did, a lot
of people take the credit for breaking the act on their station” says Powers, “but I’d have to
give that credit to Warren Cosford (CHUM-FM) due to his believe in the artist Meatloaf started
getting extremely heavy airplay.’
“Liz Braun, National Manager of Publicity for CBS Canada: ‘After Meatloaf had played at the
El Mocambo where he cause a riot, all the press in town wanted to talk to him and did.
Suddenly he had a hardcore following in Toronto and he was asked to perform at the CBS
Convention in New Orleans.’”
Rollye: “Steve was a great record man— his love of the product he promoted was self-evident.
Everything I heard confirms what Warren said. I’d wager that his frustration is familiar all too
familiar to all of us. It’s pervasive enough that I occasionally wonder if anything I’m reading
bears a strong resemblance to what actually happened. Recently I needed someone to voice a
commercial for me. I used ‘Sunday! Sunday!!’ as an example of what I wanted. When there
was no comprehension (due to the young age of the talent) I figured, ‘Well, this will be easy to
“I was searching for one of the dragster spots churned out by Wally Blanton and Bill Ennis at
KFJZ in Ft. Worth. I found everything but. In fact, there were only two mentions of Wally &
Bill’s work. One was generated by me (in the Mediatrix Dallas issue), the other was a 2009
post from Wally Blanton’s nephew. But what I did find was a slew of Jan Gabriel obits—
including a report done on NPR. All referred to Gabriel as the originator of ‘Sunday!
Sunday!!,’ which was the whole point of the NPR piece. Except it isn’t accurate. Gabriel, a
one time disc jockey, had an enviable career, which included countless motor racing spots in
the Blanton/Ennis tradition. Not to take anything away from the man, who, for all I know, may
never have boasted that he originated the concept, but still, to see numerous pieces local and
national, crediting him with that made me cringe. But Gabriel died in 2010 when the internet
was pervasive. Wally and Bill both predated it, and there goes their legacy. I wouldn’t be
surprised if many of you witnessed a frenetic Blanton/Ennis drag race session at KFJZ, which
they did by the hundreds— and if so, you’ll never forget it. Even if NPR did.”
Barry ONeil (from his Hits New Releases email): At the 12/8 Old Timers' Grand Holiday
Lunch, the following people noshed, shared stories and reminisced about a beautiful era before
HITS existed: (front row): Sue Emmer, Daniel Markus, Jerry Sharell, Bonnie Greenberg,
Carole Childs, Susan Markheim, Bob Emmer; (second row): Bev Lund, Allen
Lenard, Lorne Saifer, David Helfant, Ron DeBlasio, Brian Avnet, Jerry Greenberg, Bob
Catania, Ray Harris, Ron Alexenberg, Gary Stromberg, Ron Rainey; (third row): Tom
Ross, Rob Heller; (top row): Harold Bronson, Ron Kramer, Neal Marshall, Artie Ripp,
Burton Taylor, John Hartmann, Macey Lipman, Jay Cooper. Not Pictured: Marty Krofft
Rollye: “Sheepishly I admit it’s only recently I discovered what’s in Barry ONeil’s emails. I
took Hits New Releases literally, and figured there’s nothing I need to see in it— I was wrong.
It’s a great compendium of industry info. Including sadly in the past couple weeks notices of
passings. Sammy Alfano died on the 3rd. I heard from Gerry Cagle and a few other folks
about Sammy’s death and how great a promoter he was. Records was his thing, but I think
Sammy could have promoted anything. He was in LA from 1967 to 1980, Houston after that.
’s his obit: Here
’s a video with lots of stills from Sammy and his family.
also passed last week. The New York Times headline
referred to Bob as ‘the
revitalizer of Elektra Records’, a great accomplishment to be sure, which not surprisingly the
LA times also highlighted in its obit
, but that was but one of many of Bob’s notable successes.
He worked for Sid Nathan’s King Records, as the San Francisco Branch manager from ’58 to
’64, at which point he went to LA to head Warner’s new “Loma Records”. I’ve seen it written
that Loma was his label— and in many ways it was. Some great obscure soul on that label—
Linda Jones, Ben Aiken, J.J. Jackson, Lorraine Ellison for starters. In ’66, Krasnow went
to Kama Sutra and was part of the formation of Buddah before bailing to start Blue Thumb in
’68. (Lots of great acts, but my personal favorite remains Bossa Rio.) In 74, he went back to
Warner Brothers and was elevated to head of Elektra in ’83. So regardless of your musical
taste, it’s a good bet that Krasnow was involved in something you loved.
Joey Reynolds: “There is a west coast party this week in LA. The guys are generous and fun,
Kevin Gershan was PD at KMPC and is a producer for Entertainment Tonight, also Steve
Kamer is a popular voiceover announcer. Rollye must know these guys and is probably
going to the LA food orgy.
Rollye: “Apparently my invite was lost in the mail. Email that is. But I’ve had a fine time
consuming Joey Reynolds’ likeness. When the folks at the Plainview Chocolate Works were
kind enough to send a huge array of chocolate including Joey Pops, I mentioned that I’d be
freezing the bulk of the goodies since I doubted anyone would be baking Christmas cookies for
me. No one did, but I just thawed the package. Thanks to Plainview Chocolate Works, Joey is
entirely edible— and tasting great.
“Meanwhile Joey’s been in good company
Joey: She says she wants to be my producer....I sent this to my daughters.
Joey: Elvis Duran one of my favorite talented people
Joey: Max is missed. [Click here
for his obit, you’ll remember him]
Joey: “Every year the kids who wanna be or the parents who wanna be are showcased for
cancer research at The Bitter End. On this stage is the rock the business was built on, from Neil
Diamond to Doors, Dylan, Joni Mitchell, even Soupy Sales.
Joey: The Sweet Beginning.
Joey: From hard rock casino/ improv. This morning in Miami/Ft Lauderdale, the last Paul &
Big Ron show......
Rollye: “Joey Reynolds said he was there when Paul first began, so it’s fitting he was there at
the end. Here's his YouTube
on that. Looking at the radio station logo— “Big 105.9” brought
back small memories.
“I’m not sure Joey realizes it, but he was also there when 105.9 began. Originally WFLM
(ostensibly Fort Lauderdale Music, though it always seemed like phlegm to me), 105.9 quietly
signed on in Ft. Lauderdale while Joey Reynolds was making noise in Miami at WAME. It
became WIXX-FM in 1967 when Albert Tedesco (Tedesco, a name everyone in Minnesota
remembers from the days when the Tedesco Brothers were partially responsible for the FCC’s
creation of the 3-year rule) bought it from Findlay Publishing to pair with his Oakland Park
AM, WIXX, which he signed on in 1963. The story I heard when RKO came calling in 1972
with a million bucks was that Tedesco said they’d have to take the worthless FM too. He had
to pick himself up off the floor when they explained that it was the FM they wanted to buy.
“Joey also sent along a picture of the last AM listener. But I disagree. I believe I hold that
title. Especially in Globe Arizona, where I’ve just flipped my AM to “None Of The Hits, All Of
The Time”— with an emphasis on obscure soul & R&B. It’s a personal project (meaning I
won’t try to monetize it) that I’ve been working on for the past couple years. Now that it’s live,
I realize a few things. I’ll put them all under the ‘work in progress’ category and urge you not
to use this link for about six months, but should you want to show caution to the wind,
Mel Phillips: “You are correct with your information on Alan B. Shepard. I know because I did
a report on the launch from the back window of WKKO in Cocoa, (Brevard Co.) Florida. I was
about 5 miles from the launch site. A news firm called News Associates, Washington, D.C.
called the station knowing we were in the shadow of Cape Canaveral and asked for a report. I
could see the rocket with Alan Shepard aboard. Of course I added a picturesque description of
the launch, "I can see the plumes from the rocket as it lifts slowly from the launch pad, blah,
blah, blah..." I always got a kick out of "covering" the first launch of an astronaut. The flight
lasted about 15 minutes and was sub-orbital. John Glenn was the first U.S. astronaut to orbit
the earth a year later.
“WRKO Reunion Update: December 16, 2016. Besides those on-air people from the 60's that
will be returning for the WRKO 50th Anniversary Reunion (on WRKO and Backbone on June
3, 2017), pictured below are the jocks who also joined us in the 60's, in alphabetical order (by
last name used on the air). We'll continue with more photos from the 60's next week.
Chris Bailey Dick Burch Jerry Butler
Dale Dorman Chip Hobart J.J. Jordan Gary Martin
Friday, June 2, 2017: Invitations will be emailed in March for the Reunion Dinner at the
Crowne Plaza (Newton) Charles Ballroom. Cocktails at 6 followed by dinner. Jordan Rich will
emcee. Parking fees will be waived with front desk validation.....
Saturday, June 3, 2017
On air live (7pm-11pm) on WRKO & Backbone Network streaming (produced by George
Capalbo Jr.) featuring a lineup that includes Al Gates, Joel Cash, J.J. Jeffrey, Chuck Knapp,
Arnie Ginsburg and other WRKO voices (TBD). Music & Jingles will come from 1967. Art
Vuolo will video tape the reunion, a copy of which will go into the National Radio Hall Of
Fame in Chicago...
Al Gates & Feathers Joel Cash J.J. Jeffrey
"Chuckles" Arnie Ginsburg Geo. Capalbo Jr. Art Vuolo
Reservations: Rooms are still available at the Crowne Plaza (Newton). Check-in Friday (June
2) Checkout Sunday (June 4). Call 617-969-3010. 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 a cab or car service getting to the hotel and while staying there...
Dinner invitations mailed in 3 months, party time in 6 months... See you in June.”
Rollye: It's approaching 3:31 AM again... so the foregoing was not proofed. I'll check it later
today when I wake up. Apologies.