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At the  Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters luncheon honoring Regis Philbin recently. 
L-R  Steve Tyrell, Jainine Sharell, Robin Graham, Jennifer & Mike Horn (CRN)
and Dandy Don Whittemore.


by Rollye James
Claude Hall

Rollye:  “Don Graham mailed the above picture, taken on November 18th. He was also very
thoughtful in sending Claude Hall and me a terrific piece on Aretha Franklin printed in The
New Yorker earlier this year.  I stopped what I was doing to read it.  It impacted Claude as well 
(If you’d like to read it yourself, click here.)” 

Claude Hall:  “That was a sensational article about Aretha Franklin by David Remnick in
The New Yorker.  I wrote perhaps the first story about Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records
recording her in Rick Hall’s recording studio in Alabama.  She’d just left Columbia Records
after several years.  I suspect she’d been dropped by the label.  Legendary record producer
John Hammond had produced her – and Remnick mentioned some of these sides in very
respectful tones -- but without the sales that CBS expected.  Jerry Wexler was ecstatic about
signing her.  He took Billboard music editor Paul Ackerman and myself to lunch.  As you’re
probably aware, Jerry loved Paul and even named his son after him.  I, too, considered
Ackerman my mentor and I think this is why Jerry probably liked me.  And, as sometimes the
case, Paul would ask most of the questions during these several luncheons (these were my
early days on the magazine and Paul was “introducing” me to some of the heavy legends of the
music industry, especially the old Tin Pan Alley crowd such as Johnny Marks) and I would
write the article.  No one had heard of Rick Hall and Muscle Shoals until then.  Paul was a
lovable interviewer and I recall one of his pet lines.  He’d say, ‘Now isn’t it true, Jerry….’ And
you could often tell when Paul actually wrote a story, because he would constantly use the line,
‘It is no secret that ….’
“Anyway, Jerry Wexler had taken Aretha Franklin down to Muscle Shoals and recorded the
tune that became a bestseller for Atlantic.  A couple of years ago, someone sent me the story. 
Lord, but it was fun to see it.  Memories.  And it was nice of you to send me this article about
Aretha, Don.  More memories.”

Ken Dowe:  “It's a great day to thank you two for keeping the light on for those of us who so
enjoyed our radio-daze, from warming up the old Bakelite Philco with Dorsey and Do-Wop, to
taking the ride all the way to Rock and Rap.  May all your "days be merry and bright". I hope
this  Christmas sparkles plenty and the New Year brings gifts of health and happiness. You stay
well too, Barbara. Gotta keep the old gentleman on his spinach so he stays strong as Popeye.
And thanks again Claude, for introducing me to Tom Russell.”

Elliot Field:  “Best good new year & holiday wishes. The crowd is thinning, but you do cover
the market. Best wishes to keep up the pace!!”

Mel Phillips:  “I'll be sending my new book to both of you after the holiday craziness. Happy
Holidays with many thanks for being who you are (both of you).”

Rollye:  “Thanks from me, and Claude Hall, for all of the wonderful wishes we both received.
My wish for every one of you is that 2017 turns out to be the year that your fondest dreams
became reality.  I’m looking forward to Mel’s new book, and I’m continuously appreciative of
his WRKO reunion updates (at the end of this column).  I continue to hold out hope that some
of you will follow his example and plan a reunion in the coming year.  Better sooner than later. 
As Elliot Field just noted, our crowd is thinning.   If you have any doubts about that, check out
the video Don Whittemore forwarded:”

(If it doesn’t appear, click here.)  

“In four minutes, TCM brngs back an avalanche of memories from the too many personalities
who left us in 2016. But one of the benefits of the digital age is that their work will be with us
indefinitely.  Just as I typed that sentence, I got word that George Michael died.   The news
caught me of guard as he was only 53 years old, but apparently had been suffering from heart
failure.  Here’s the obit from The Guardian.”  

Frank Boyle:  “John Patton--- Sad to hear that John's gone to The Big Station in The Sky.  I
was privileged at Eastman Radio Reps to rep John in Syracuse, KC, Wash, DC, Indy--to name
a few.  John went into each Market with a sound machete.  Never got complicated.  His motto
was, "You either win or you get fired".  John was uniquely superb at lavishing credit to his
staff.  John had only one major flaw--he did a lousy job at kissing his bosses asses.  Had a
devilish sense of humor.  And was a true friend.”
Rollye:  “I’m still having trouble processing not having John Patton with us.  But I take
comfort in knowing Claude Hall is feeling better.”

Claude Hall: “I’m feeling a little better.  After more than a half dozen weeks, I've started
writing again.  This time on a short story involving radio.  Boy, but I'm a cranky old bird when
I'm not writing!

“Looks as if we're going to the Fuego de Chao on Christmas Day.  I hope your holidays are
pleasant.  Barbara has lured her brother into attending Christmas services at her church.  She
has been a Methodist for more than two dozen years now.  Her brother, like me, follows no
religion.  I do follow a spiritual program, though.”

Rollye:  “With a payoff like Fuego de Chao, I’d go to most any church.  I used to be a
confirmed C&E Christian— but lately Easter services are too early in the morning. This year, I
guess Christmas services were too late.  Or something. Unfortunately my absence will extend
to a great party this year…”

Randy West:  “You are now officially invited to the 7th or 8th or whatever Dream Lunch. It
started with 6 of us near Don Barrett's house, and now it's a freakn' Morning Zoo in the
afternoon at Resnik's museum home.  Let me be the 1,000,000th person to apologize for Art
Vuolo who annually gets s--t for not inviting obvious "must haves" to the event.

“So, Come on Down! - - if you can possibly be coerced. I mean, it's the best of the best of the
remaining souls. If you can decode the e-mail addresses from Art you'll see what I mean. Wink
and I always speak, and he says he's bringing Johnny Tillotson this year. An example of the
scope of the silliness. Watch the video(s) from the past and you'll make I reservation.... I hope.
“Would be GREAT to have you!!!  And you've been had by far better people!!!!”

Part 1 of the 2015 Dream Lunch
If you can’t see it, click here.

Part 2 of the 2015 Dream Lunch 
If you can’t see it, click here.

Rollye:  “Johnny Tillotson!  Well Type Back Trembling Fingers!  And now I understand Joey
Reynolds’ comment about the upcoming LA soiree.  It’s already enough years to be a tradition,
and I haven’t been there?  I feel a bit better knowing that Kevin Gershan, who in part
sponsors these get-togethers, couldn’t make it last year, but even so, I’m very sad at not being
able to take Randy up on his offer to be had, so to speak.  Not feeling well enough to go
anywhere.  Heck, I’m barely feeling well enough to make it to my own kitchen. But now that I
know of this event, I’ve got a year to feel better, and until then, I’m with you in spirit. 
Speaking of Joey Reynolds, I’ve given you the link to archives of The Late Joey Reynolds’
Show, but nothing beats seeing it too:”

Can’t see it?  Click here.

Joey Reynolds:  “Merry Christmas.  I am grateful and not dead.  Where do I send the
cheesecake?   One for Barbra and the gang, another for Rollye.  What address so it's not on the
porch in the desert.”

Scott Paton (to Claude): “I hope you are doing well.  I know status quo fluctuates, but
whenever a favorable report or a dispatch from you surfaces, the VoxJox crowd is elated, as am
I.  Thought you might appreciate this photo.  Unless his penmanship was really bad, it looks
like Bobby Vee signed this copy of Music Vendor 20 years after the issue date for the

Rollye:  “Bobby’s daughter, Jenny, confirmed the signature was Bobby’s.   We also heard from
Timmy Manocheo who with Barry Funkhouser has embarked on a new online series,
Something On The Radio.”  There first interview subject is Shadoe Stevens, and they’ve
broken it down into four YouTube Videos.  Part 4 isn’t uploaded yet, but you might want to see
Parts 1 through 3:”

Part 1:   Can’t see it?  Click here.

Part 2:  Can’t see it? Click here.

Part 3:  Can’t see it?  Click here.

Timmy Manocheo:  “Please give feedback to make this better, if necessary. Call, email,
whatever! We're so happy and grateful to produce this. Send me pics that can help tell the
story, if you have them!   I want to release all 4 parts by Christmas. So if you have pics I can
add, please send! Thank you so much!”  [Reach Timmy here.]

Don Imus (to Claude): “Very happy to hear you're doing better.   I am looking to buy a copy of
the Drake-Chenault History of Rock and Roll that was run on KHJ and other Drake stations
around the country. It was voiced by Robert W. Morgan.   There were several versions. 1969,
1978, 1981.    There was also a version voiced by Harvey Miller (Humble Harv).  Merry
Christmas. Happy New Year.”

Rollye:  “Don’s wish should not be too difficult to fulfill.  There are several of us who have it
“somewhere”, meaning we’ll probably never see it again.  I know some (but not all) of it is on
Uncle Ricky’s ReelRadio.com.  I bet Kevin Gershan has a copy handier than mine.  And
maybe you do too. If so, please let me know and I will pass the info on to Don.” 

Mel Phillips:  “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. We continue with photos (part two) of
our on-air staff people (arranged alphabetically by radio last names) throughout the early top
40 era of WRKO (from launch to '72). Following the pictures, all the news you need to know
about our 50th Anniversary celebration scheduled for June, 2017 (Next Week: part three of our

Tom Kennedy                               Mark Rivers

      Jon Powers   Bobby Mitchell   Shadoe Stevens        John Rode                    Johnny Williams
“Anniversary Reunion Dates: 
“Friday, June 2, 2017

Invitations will be emailed in March for the Anniversary dinner at the Crowne Plaza (Charles
Ballroom) in Newton. Cash bar at 6 followed by dinner. Jordan Rich (pictured above) will
emcee. Parking fees will be waived with front desk validation...

    Al Gates

            Joel Cash                     J.J. Jeffrey                      Chuck Knapp                 Arnie Ginsburg 

                                                  George Capalbo Jr.                   Art Vuolo

“Saturday, June 3, 2017
On air live (7pm-11pm) on WRKO & Backbone Network streaming (produced by George
Capalbo Jr.). All music and 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 part at the
hotel. We suggest using a cab or car service getting to the hotel and while staying there...
Dinner invitations will be emailed in less than 3 months, party time in less than 6 months.  See
you in June.”