January 17, 2011
I wonder how Top 40 would have worked on radio if there was no TV.
I don't know any 20 year olds who listens to talk radio or care about politics. So why would anybody think the 22 year old psycho in Arizona would listen to talk radio. He'd have to be crazy ... Oops!
Charles Adler claims young people today prefer praise over sex or money. Well that claim if true certainly proves I'm not young anymore.
I think air talent should take a lesson from Eastwood, Stallone and Arnold. In the roles where they didn't talk much most of those movies turned out to be blockbusters and what little they did say was so memorable that people still repeat those lines even to this day.
Warren Cosford claims that You Tube gets 2 Billion views a day. Time to dig out those old unreleased Jury tapes and get after it baby!
While reminiscing with my brother Reg the other day I was telling him that I didn't remember ever getting anything I really wanted by chasing it. Usually I had to wait for it to come to me which in most cases it never did. He responded with ... Maybe you just didn't chase it hard enough Bro. Hmmmmmm if there's any truth to that statement you might want to consider standing back. I'm almost certain your not prepared for the kind of tenacity mixed with intensity that is about to occur.
I've always had a long standing policy about never talking over dead air unless I can get a promo out of it. Now I'm thinkin' it's time to reinstate that policy at a couple of talk stations I currently work with.
I was reading somewhere that the main reason a woman would cheat on her husband would be because their man actually did everything she wanted him to do. Real men don't do that and every once in a while a woman just needs a real man.
I think good Radio becomes great when life is reflected on it with a slightly distorted view.
I'm pretty sure if the only thing we could have watched American Idol on was a black and white 12'' we still would have.
Today I drove by what used to be the most beautiful car in the world ... A Jaguar XKE. But now it sorta just looks funny rolling along on those little skinny tires.
The first rule of show "Show Biz" is to get noticed, but unfortunately if you don't have any talent that's not a good thing.
When I was doing the CLASS/CLASSY format with my brother Reg I always had to bring someone else with me on the road so we could get some work done while doing a market visit. The Manager's job was to inspire and motivate his boss above him plus his staff below him. He had nobody to complain to so he chose me. Seeing as GM's now have no one to get rid of a little steam with may be the reason a lot them are turning into mean spirited people with little or no manners.
No matter how much the "Geeks" so want it to be about technology, it's always going to about the Artists.
I just loved and looked forward each week to reading Claude Hall's column in Billboard even though I never got to be in it. I feel very good now though about finally forgiving Claude for his oversight.
Ermanno Barone claims Shakespeare was just the valet parking guy of his day and was given all the plays. Ermanno is going to shoot a movie about it very soon. He told me that The Bard of Avon was also quite the womanizer, so I'm thinkin' ... Hey maybe "The Play Wasn't The Thing"
Mark Twain said Shakespeare, or someone calling themselves Shakespeare wrote all those wonderful plays.
Anytime JEFF & JER of San Diego do a radio session they claim all they really do is what I taught them to do some twenty years ago. I always write down all the specific examples they use then take them back out on the road with me. Good stuff!
Speaking of JEFF & JER what the radio community fears most is what radio station in San Diego is in trouble. When Jeff and Jer go back on the air soon they will attract a lot of business from clients who they have always had a good relationship with. I figure little of that money is going to be new money so it has to come from somewhere and somewhere ain't going to have a good 2011
One of the things Radio has never worked on and should have was how to make the client so big and classy that the product the client was selling became much bigger and more desired by the mere mention of the clients name in the advertising. Mercedes, Rolex and Tiffany's come quickly to mind.
Speaking of sales I was talking to Brent Farris and Tom Skinner about a KZST project when somehow my involvement with Forever Plaid The Movie came up. I explained that an old buddy of mine from Transcona who owns the movie Ermanno Barone had asked for my help with the :60 he has on the front and back of the early spring showing of his movie on PBS. Brent quickly jumped in with ... When George Johns goes over to the dark side and starts peddling spots we're all doomed.
I recently asked the Multi Talented Rich Stevens what he was best in the World at. He immediately claimed he was the World's Best Self Promoter.
Speaking of Rich he said "My Page" GeorgeJohns.com sucked and he was going to fix it. I can hardly wait.
Ron Chapman recently said I was possibly the only person in the world who could persuade him to go back on the air. BUT DON'T !
Accountants can not tell the difference between good talent and not so good talent, so they of course go with the cheapest talent and that's where we are.
Most air talent are more interesting on the air than off.
Back when Madonna was first becoming very hot I got a Memo from Mr. Fairbanks demanding that she be pulled off all his radio stations because it had come to his attention that she was a "Slut" I called all the PD's and told them we couldn't say Madonna's name anymore. We successfully pulled the "Slut" off the air but continued to play her records.
Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletcher after hearing that the group's 25 year old hit Money For Nothing was banned from Canadian Radio because it contained the word "faggot" said well there goes most of the Rap music because it contains the "N" word.
New Media simply means, finally accountable.
I've painfully noticed that Smart Phones aren't smart enough to spell.
The only times field goals make any sense to me is just before the half and at the end of the game for the win.
Most great Radio Stations have a "Cause" but I don't think paying down debt is really a good enough "Cause" to produce anything of any significance.
I've been accused of a lot of things but normalcy is not one of them.
There is nothing more important to a human than his name.
January 10, 2011
Did Reggie Bush, Heisman Trophy loser, turn out to be a disappointment or what.
Wouldn't you love to hear about some oil company going bankrupt. Hell even with the millions and millions BP spent on the oil spill they still seem to be doing just fine.
The new jargon that now comes in with nearly every audition aircheck is ... I'm PPM friendly.
I understand in San Francisco they have free WiFi in public housing. Wow!
Everything can be done cheaper except greatness.
It costs $30 more a tank to fill your car up in Canada than it does in the U.S. How's that for free health care.
Somehow someway you have to make your station's image bigger than your music.
I wonder why Arbitron goes out of it's way to diss AM Radio. Kinda like HD did also.
I think cell phone cameras must have scared off all the UFO's
Bill Yde once told me that he wasn't going to marry any more beautiful women because they get you into too many bar fights. This Christmas it was easy to see he got over that. But one can only wonder how well he's doing in the bars.
Radio should simply be a mere reflection of life slightly exaggerated.
I think Lobbyists do society a lot more harm than good but unfortunately the only people who can get rid of them are the only people who derive any benefit from them.
Corporations are just like sharks the only people they are fearful of, are larger sharks.
OK I just checked You Tube again for the hits on WHO DAT? - THE JURY and discovered the total hits for THE JURY now are at 2500. Wow I wonder if Tommy Nast is ready to sign us and record some new product. I know for a fact that Bruce Walker our singer is still writing and my Daughter Candis still has my 58 Strat. We could kick off our World Tour at Tommy's Canyon Club in LA. Hey maybe we could even get my one of my old pal Randy Bachman bands to open for us, what would be better do you think The Guess Who or Bachman Turner. Tommy can you say signing bonus.
The reason I took up the Guitar long ago was because I saw Chet Atkins playing one on TV and he made it look so easy. Kinda like how Ron Chapman and Crew made KVIL sound so easy to do. Good Luck!
Great Radio Stations always did two special things, they got good ratings and they rang the cash register. Both the agencies and the clients were very happy.
PPM now has effectively eliminated the client. Is this going to have a good ending.
It's interesting to me that Mr. Business Man has different rules than the rest of us. Like how does the person who took their company to bankruptcy still get to run the company.
In the PPM world we now live in, you have to be bigger than music if your going to talk. Hows that show prep going ???
When I was a PD in Toronto the station gave me a brand new car and it had FM Stereo in it. One day I turned it on to hear how it sounded, on came Chicago and I went OH OH I hear the future. I was reminded of that moment the other day when my Brother Reg's partner, Hamid Badiozamani turned on his Smart Phone and was listening to a radio station from a couple of thousand miles away. He plugged it into some speakers just like he does in his car and the sound was incredible. OH OH I think I just heard the future again.
Tim Moore and I were exchanging e mails about the fact that there needs to be a higher calling than money to have a successful business. I read somewhere that when Steve Jobs wanted to lure a big executive away from Pepsi he said to him ... Do you want to sell sugared water all your life or come over here and change the World.
It's fairly easy to make money you just have to dedicate your life to it.
My old friend from Transcona, Ermanno Barone has asked me to get involved in a movie project he and Academy Award winning Producer Benni Korzen are doing together. It's called Forever Plaid and is based on an Off Broadway show that has been playing successfully for the last 20 years. PBS has already picked it up for a showing in the Spring. I don't know much about the movie business but as my daughter Candis said ... Dad you've already re invented yourself a couple of times, why not again.
I had dinner a year or so ago at the Ritz in Aspen where I noticed the waiter had a slightly different sounding English accent. I asked him where he was from and he replied, Wales. I responded with, I have a Welsh name and he said, what might that be. When I told him Johns he said, Ahh son of King John. My research project was completed at that moment. Tim Reever recently went through a similar exercise and discovered his family name meant, "Keeper Of The Kings Pigs". Tim's research continues.
Other than irritating people what you think has very little to do with what you know.
I think Women are phenomenal but be careful because like most phenomenons they may fit into the ... "Things that appear too good to be true usually are" category.
It seems our new media star Ted Williams was a no show at his first gig in New York. He didn't have proper ID so they wouldn't let him on the plane. When you live in the street I don't think having proper ID is a priority. Oh and speaking of 2nd chances what ever happened to all those urban folk that Oprah set up a few years ago. Oh I'm sorry was that not politically correct to ask that.
Where is it written that the police are above the law and have totally different rights than us.
Rich people only care about expenses, people who want to get rich only care about how to make more money.
Once you work for Jim Hilliard you're ruined. Your only hope after Jim, is to work for yourself.
January 3, 2011
Ahh 2011 a brand new year but the same old quest for Faster Cars, Older Whiskey and Younger Women continues.
Things you will never hear Michael Vick say ... " Hey I don't have a dog in this fight but. "
Jerry Del Colliano claims PPM does an excellent job of measuring all non listening.
Ever since I was a young lad I have always wanted to be somebody. It wasn't until I moved my family to California and was sitting there watching my Daughter Candis sing her heart out as the lead in her High School's production of South Pacific and I was thinking about all the ceremonies I had attended through out her High School years where she received many awards for her scholastic achievements that I started to realize I had already achieved my life long goal. I was somebody, I was Candis' Dad.
Every once in a while some stations have me come to their market and listen around to see if I can find any opportunities for them. Most times I can usually spot a few things that might improve our situation. But what I started to notice at every presentation of my ideas was the PD's always claimed they were already doing all that.
Is there really such a thing as Too Fun, Too Beautiful, Too Fast, Too Big, Too Sexy, Too Wise, Too Strong, Too Funny, Too Majestic, Too Exciting, Too Clear, Too Healthy, Too Good, Too Naughty, Too Mysterious, Too Sensuous, Too Nice, Too Peaceful, Too Smart, Too Friendly, Too Reasonable, Too Truthful, Too Perfect, Too Special, Too Rare, Too Happy, Too Pretty, Too Solid, Too Ravishing, Too Grand, Too Faithful, Too Loyal, Too Successful Too Talented, Too Good, Too Wonderful, Too Together, Too Lovely, Too Hip, Too Today, Too Timely, or Too Much Money.
As I sit here at Duffys watching Coach K on the giant flat screen I can only wonder what being the best in the world at what you do feels like.
If you ever sexually harass someone at work you better be good looking.
Now that Tiger is free to chase women I wonder if he still does.
I just noticed on You Tube that the total hits for WHO DAT? - THE JURY was around 1500. Should I be putting the group back together for a World tour.
Speaking of the World Warren Cosford says the World's population will hit 7 Billion this year.
Everybody buys the media obsession with 25 - 54 demo until they reach 55.
Lately when I meet an attractive woman and ask them what they do they inevitably they say, Real Estate Brokers.
Is there anyone more attractive than a recently divorced woman. I wonder what wonder diets they found.
My favorite license plate in Canada was Friendly Manitoba. I don't think we'll see that one in Quebec.
I was just reading that TSL for Radio was down again in 2010. But I think if they added back in that hour or so of early morning listening the PPM device misses each day maybe time spent listening would actually be up.
Everybody loves Mr.Free he's kinda like Santa we wish he really existed though deep down we know he doesn't, because there just is no such thing as a free lunch.
December 28, 2010
March 15th, 1972, the day my whole world changed forever. Things before that seemed exciting but nothing like what was in store for me. Earlier in "The Birth Of AC Radio" I had written about how I had just become the new Program Director of CFTR in Toronto. The current ratings there were dismal so we needed to come up with something new and we needed to do it real soon. What complicated the creative process was the fact that our radio license stated that we must program to adults and adults only and believe me they were not talking about X- Rated material. What we came up with would be best described today as maybe soft CHR. We launched it on March 15th, 1972.
The format consisted of nothing but softer sounding top 10 hits and we prayed the softer sound would appeal to a lot of young women but kids would be our death knoll. The ratings gods smiled upon us and blessed us with many young adults but very few kids. The big surprise for me was Ted Rogers made me the new Station Manager because of his joy for our early success. Wow, now as I look at it today I'm kinda thinking ... Hey not bad for a Transcona kid going from a board op in Winnipeg to a Station Manager in Toronto in less than four years. But even as good as things were going how was I to know it was merely the beginning of what turned out to be the stuff only dreams are made of.
By this juncture Jim who was headquartered in Indianapolis was now the CEO of Fairbanks broadcasting which owned several radio stations around the country. I could hardly wait to hear Jim's comments about my great air staff. I never really thought the music was that special. To me it was just music to keep our license by and in fact I thought it sounded rather vanilla.
Jim finally called me to discuss what he heard on the tape. I asked him right off what he thought of my air talent expecting him to say how lucky I was that I got to start a brand new project with such a superb air staff. But instead he surprised me by saying they all sounded a little stiff to him and he quickly brushed the subject aside because he said he wanted to talk about what I was doing with the music. He claimed he had never quite heard a musical sound like before and really liked how it blended together. He thought that each individual record sounded like a small part of one big record. It was the first time I ever thought about our music being anything more than a defensive move. Jim was convinced that because the music sounded so special and different to him it was what was attracting the listeners, not the Jox. He said he thought I was really onto something.
Ahh the music! With Jim's special acknowledgement of it I focused on trying to make it sound even better. One of the things we did was colour (a little Canadian for ya) code the records and put them in their own shoe boxes. The format clocks the Jox followed required them to play certain colours at certain times and in a certain order. These colours kinda represented different sounds and emotions and the colours were a way of blending them together. A couple years later in Dallas at KVIL we took this blend to new heights by adding nature sounds to the special sweeps. You know stuff like, thunderstorms, surf, wind chimes, crickets, birds and babbling brooks. We mixed a female voice into the middle of it all whispering the call letters sorta like the wind saying them. But this is getting a way ahead of my little story.
To continue forward with this I have to regress a little. While starting my radio career as a board op at CKY in Winnipeg I was inhaling radio knowledge daily at the speed of sound when all of a sudden Jim resigns and heads back to the States and a couple of the American Jox he brought in also leave. What a shock! A very exciting era in Winnipeg came to a close. CKY never sounded as good again but something positive did emerge out of that whole experience, a bunch of the young Turks who were exposed to those incredible radio days soon went on to run Canadian Radio.
Not long after Jim had left and I was wondering what the hell do I do now I get a call from him. Jim had just started a new job as Program Director of WFIL where he was launching a brand new format in Philadelphia and wanted me to come and do all the promos. I got on an airplane for the first time in my life and headed to Philly to talk with him about it. Being at WFIL for a couple of days I noticed they had same excitement in the air we used to have at CKY. That was the good news the bad news was I was a Canadian which brought the job interview to a screeching halt when we found out immigration just put your name on a very slow moving list. Back to Winnipeg I go.
But now I am determined to get back that goose bump producing feeling I used to have at CKY. One of the neat things Jim had done for me before he left Canada was make me the Production Director. So next, because I was a musician, I decided to chase the Music Director's title too. I soon turned those two titles into a Program Director's job at CKOM in Saskatoon.
I didn't know much about programming but I was a quick study and hoped I would be up to speed very soon. I kinda dedicated myself mostly to improving the work environment at my new station. My philosophy was and still is, " If it's happening in the halls it will soon be happening on the air." Years later Lee Masters (Jarl Mohn) told me he stole my saying and my attitude with which to start his very successful E ! Entertainment on TV.
You don't get to Toronto directly from Saskatoon so along the way I had to make a couple of stops in Sudbury and Ottawa. At each station I tried as best I could to install a fun attitude in the building. But in Toronto I for one may have taken that fun part just a little too far. Those Vodka Martini lunches are very dangerous.
After a few months Jim calls me again but this time he has two items he wants to discuss. The first being he has just bought a radio station in Dallas Texas and he is very excited about all the possibilities. The second thing was he just found out that my name on the immigration list was near the top of the list after all this time. He then when on to say that with the purchase of the new station the company was getting too big for him to handle by himself and he wanted me to be his new National Program Director. The way Jim ran the company everything came out of corporate so he needed me to move to Indianapolis as soon as possible so we could pick up the tempo.
Once again I pack my family in the car and we headed out across the Canadian Border. While going through US customs I swear I heard the thunk of huge Iron door closing behind me. I remember my wife Lana asking me why we are doing this as we headed south to Indiana. Ted Rogers has been very good to us she went on to say and I thought you said things were going very well. I explained to her that I longed for those days when I didn't have to instantly come up with new stuff for the radio everyday and didn't have to fight off lame promotion ideas nor get into fights all the time with the sales department, not to mention the f%*king engineers. I am now going back to what I used to do for Jim. I'm just going to be the implementer all his great ideas. This is going to be just like the old CKY days, I wont have a care in the world and we will live happily ever after.
At my much anticipated reunion meeting with Jim he tells me to spend my first week monitoring all our stations. We would have our next meeting a week at the end of the week and discuss all my upcoming duties. On Friday morning as I excitedly sit down with my old/new boss I feel pretty sure I'm ready to have a fairly intelligent conversation with him. Jim begins the conversation with George I'm thinking once we take over Kay - Ville why don't you just put that cute music on you were running in Toronto and we'll fill with it until they combine the Dallas and Fort Worth rating book. We'll discuss what we're really going to do then. Now tell me about your first week here in Indy. Well Jim as you suggested I listened to all our stations and I feel pretty much up to date on everything your doing. Good he says so what do you want to do next. I told him I was standing by to install what ever it was he wanted to do and promised he would be very happy with my implementation of all his usual great ideas. I even went on to say how fun I thought this was all going to be for me and how I was really looking forward to being his Lieutenant again. I thought this was some quality suck up stuff on my part and only hoped it went over well. Jim looked out the window for a moment, turned to me, put his elbow on the desk, leaned in, looked me straight in the eye and said ... George if I knew what to do I wouldn't have hired you!
December 14, 2010
Steve Lapa told me that John Eliott pointed out that history shows us the people who end up changing the World - the great political, social, scientific, technological, artistic, and even sports revolutionaries - are always nuts until right, then they are geniuses.
Reid Reker said if Bruce Buchanan was still on KVIL he wouldn't need any show prep.
Tim Reever told me that in order to truly coach someone they must first give you permission to do so.
What you perceive the truth to be in no way ever changes what the truth really is according to my old pal Aristotle.
Cheryl Simone Miller claims the reason women say the things they do to men is because they don't have the physical strength to just punch our lights out and be done with it ... So they have to do something !
23% of the population are born leaders, the rest of us have to act like we are.
Just because it's not politically correct doesn't change whether it's true or not.
PPM claims 75% of your listening comes from your fans.
When your a huge company and you use all your power to try and squash the little guy you better get it done because your f#%ked if you don't. Just ask Jim Hilliard !
Margaret Mayer told me that Edison claimed ... "Many of life's failures are those that did not realize how close to success they were when they gave up".
Just because PPM is deaf in the early morning doesn't mean the people are.
It has been said that the best time of your life may be to be stuck inside snuggled up to someone you care about in front a roaring fire as a winter blizzard rages outside your window.
The way it works in "CPA" radio is, in order to pay the new 60 million dollar deal for Ryan Seacrest the money needs to come from somewhere so I would look for bunches of budget cuts company wide. What's that you say the cuts have already begun.
Just got done with a Christmas gathering at my brother Reg's house and have to admit there is just something magical in the air when some very accomplished and fun broadcasters like Roy Laughlin, Reg Johns, Bill Yde, Jack McCoy, Sam James, Ellen K, Jim Smith, Hamid Badiozamani, Ernie Kovaks, Barb Lovenguth and Tracy Johnson all gather together for a festive occasion.
Lee Abrams said you are winning the music battle every time you play a cool song.
How come they are already referring to Cam Newton as Cash Newton.
I think the main job of the station PD is to make the radio station sound as good as it's biggest fans already think it is.
In the early days of KVIL we merely eliminated Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll and added the "Celebration of Women" as our secret sauce.
William Yde wrote me that 92.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
Even a bad plan superbly executed has a very good shot at succeeding.
Maybe if I didn't have so much fun my whole life I would be much younger now. Too late to stop now!
Plato said to become a very successful and well paid morning host you need to be ... "A Principle Of Influence"
The responsibility of the Program Director is to make the radio station sound as good as it's biggest fans already think it is.
Radio has to figure out how to do product placement as well as Nike did when they got Michael Jordan to wear the shoes.
Socrates said it's what's above the bottom line that causes the bottom line.
December 7, 2010
Is it possible to buy anything anymore without them trying to up sell you.
I understand in Alaska that STD's are growing at an alarming rate for some reason. Being originally from Transcona where the snow is already 3 feet high and rising whisky was only one of the 2 things you did to excess while waiting for the snow to melt. The only thing that could slow down their problem I think may be "Global Warming"
I don't know why it is but as soon as a company gets profitable their super friendly service seems to go all to hell.
60 mill for Ryan good for him. Hey those kind of numbers aren't the usual radio chump change. In fact it just may sound good enough to tempt Howard to start thinking about coming back and how far behind could Jeff & Jer and maybe even Ron Chapman be.
Betsy Cameron told me that even Haiti is a nice place to visit if you know some rich folks you can stay with.
The real neat thing about having two strong daughters is if a woman ever does me wrong I will just turn her over to them.
Don't you wonder who it was that informed Women they could say things to us that if said by another man would lead to his barely surviving the ordeal.
Jim Hilliard once told me when he first got into radio he learned every job in the building so someday he would be prepared to run a radio station. Well I guess that just about disqualifies everyone running radio today.
If I wasn't paid to do so I don't think I would listen to much radio anymore.
If you wanted to hear the hit music from "GLEE" what radio station would that be on.
The only way to be happy is to stop managing so many different people. You know, the person you are at work, the one you are with your friends, the other with family, the one with the neighbors, the one with clients etc. I've got it down to two now. The person who is with my daughters and the one who isn't.
I started in radio when I was 20 and my first radio boss Jimmy Darin such a fun work environment that I would rather be at work than home. When I had the opportunity to create a work environment I tried to pay it forward which worked out well for the industry but not so well for marriages.
When I first went consulting I officed at KOGO/KPRI in San Diego. Tom Shadek who was part owner of the company was kind enough to give up his office for me plus also left behind a couple of bottles of Whisky behind to be used for medicinal purposes. Not long after the entire staff would return to my office each afternoon at 5 for "Toddy Time". It became so crowded each day that I had to give Reid Reker his first promotion to that of Maitre d' just to handle all the reservations.
I think each and every project needs a perfect balance between ... What you've always wanted to do, what you like doing, and what should be done.
In 1983 my CPA Roger Snowdon looked up from doing my taxes and said ... Congratulations George your a Millionaire! Wow your kidding, thank you Mother Kay Ville. Uh Roger just one thing are you still holding that Mil for me??
It is said that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. But how many do you get to lose before you officially become a loser.
I used to hear about Bush's approval ratings everyday but I never seem to hear about Obama's very often. Is there some special reason for this.
Mike Vance the Dean of Walt Disney University taught me a long time ago that the great business leaders realize their main role at work is to support what the staff wanted to do. Of course that puts a lot of pressure on the staff to come up with something to support.
When a team gets together and decides they are not going to lose they seldom do.
Rich Stevens said most people don't act stupid ... It's the real thing.
Bruce Buchanan e mailed me that if he was still on the air at KVIL his show prep would all be done because he would just steal all my lines.
November 29, 2010
Isn't the real answer for radio to bankrupt it just like they did GM. How did that all turn out.
Once they finally convince us to convert everything to electric I wonder if we can begin to even imagine how much electricity will cost.
Time to check again ... Yep I still hate the word NO !
If every politician we elect is finally totally politically correct that's sure going to make for a wussy bunch on the hill.
Nobody "gets" a new radio format until it gets ratings then it gets awesome sounding.
Most women go through a "Bad Girl" phase. You can only hope you are near by when it happens.
Is the reason we don't carry around presentation tapes of great radio stations anymore is because we don't have tape or because we don't have any great radio stations anymore.
Jo Myers said she was able to read, absorb, and enjoy my story on The Birth of A/C Radio even with " Chemobrain."
Most women will eventually tire of all your great stories. At that point you have but three choices.
(a) Stop telling the stories
(b) Create new stories
(c) Get a new woman and go with the old stories again.
Speaking of telling your old stories, when you hear the line ... You've already told me that story and not only that you have told it to me several times. Now it's become time for you to figure out just what part of all the household stuff do you want to take with you.
Be careful of what you dream because it could very well come true.
A few years ago I had some surgery scheduled and as the day too quickly approached I was getting very uncomfortable with the whole project so I called the Doc and spoke to his head nurse about wanting to delay the operation and get another opinion or two. I expected her to chastise me for waiting so long. Instead she said, Mr. Johns we all heal ourselves we just to need to find a real good assistant that we are comfortable with.
73% of the listeners want the air talent to be some sort a benevolent dictator. They want to be told what to do, what to like, where to go, when to go etc. They just want to be told to do it nicely. Hey, I think thats what America wants too they're just tired of trying to figure out who the hell to vote for.
Women are still a mystery to me but Mr. Business man sure isn't.
Have you ever noticed that older people seem a little bitter. I must be getting ancient because I'm pissed most of the time now.
I just love all the special things money can buy, not the money.
I used to remember when there was "0" tolerance for dead air. Engineers lived in fear of it, Dee Jays were scared to death when it happened on their shows, PD's hated it. But It must of been unimportant all along because I hear it all the time now.
One of our favorite tricks that my Brother Reg and I used to do when we were doing "The Class Format" all over America, was to find out who the most popular Morning Person was in that town who was still playing music on AM. We would hire them and then put up a Billboard that said if you like So & So in the morning your going to love hearing them in Stereo on ****
Jamie Gold once said to me I should consider changing my name to George "ask me about my daughters" Johns.
Have you ever noticed a lot of folks e mail addresses are much too cute to remember.
Greg Budell says we spent 7.8 Billion Dollars this year on 67,000 TSA Agents looking for terrorists at the Airport. Number of terrorists apprehended so far - 0
In the recent election I don't think we really elected anybody, mostly we just fired a bunch we didn't like and we'll do it again.
Old Money is usually philanthropic and understands wealth has "pay it forward' responsibilities. New Money often feels "entitled" and can never hoard enough.
Most of us are kinda prepared for the worst but very few of us are prepared for the best.
Sharon Henwood said the only good thing about her eventually working for the Government of Canada was she got to do it in Canada's mildest Climate (Victoria) and it was pensionable.
There's never been any rewards or punishment it has always been the consequences of your actions that your going to have to deal with.
Education is what determines your standing in society's pecking order.
When it's perfectly safe at all times and everything is good for you, then what?
As the Gold family always say and I whole heartily and enthusiastically agree ... Your freedom ends at the tip of my nose !
I think the GOAT of the game should get equal billing with the PLAYER of the game.
November 22, 2010
I've written about having the privilege of working for three broadcasting pioneers/legends during my early years in Canada. The first was Lloyd Moffat for whom I toiled for as a rookie board op at CKY-FM in Winnipeg back when FM wasn't cool. My job was to roll a bunch of Ray Conniff records together with a lot of very smooth instrumentals that made up the bulk of our beautiful music format. The thing I liked best about Ray Conniff's music was the pretty girls on the fronts of his albums. As I checked out those front covers each day I started to pick up on something. Ray who did adult versions of Top 40 hits only seemed to cover the ones you could sing along with as you tapped your toe. That somewhat strange sound of his was slowly seeping its way into my head. Still, I had no idea that experience would play a big role in the birth of Adult Contemporary Radio.
now I plan on trying to appeal to younger adults instead of people my parents age. Are you going to play any rock was their next question. No, I'm going to play artists that younger adults enjoy. Great acts like Roberta Flack, The Carpenters, Bread, and even some of the prettier stuff by Elvis,The Beatles plus a little of the melodic Motown sound. Are teens involved in your new plan they sternly asked. No, I just want all the young adults that are not being presently served on the Toronto radio dial. There was a momentary pause in the conversation then next thing I heard was almost like I hard it in slow motion. We have no quarrel with your plan but we would be remiss in not telling you that if too many teens show up in your ratings we will suspect that your not complying with your adult requirement and we will revisit this conversation. Be assured at that meeting it wont be as pleasant as this one has been today. Thank you for visiting with us. The meeting was over and I think I just heard my favorite word ... Yes ! I was so excited I almost didn't need a plane to get back to Toronto.
Bruce Devine was an already there board op who made the final cut. He now is kinda CFTR's historian and recently reminded me about the time the competition approached him to sell them all my programming memos. He claimed when he nervously came to me about it I just laughed and told him he should of taken the deal because I would have written him some very special ones and we could have split the money. It didn't stop there they even had one of their board ops planted on our staff but we had him spotted, you couldn't miss him with all that red hair. They play mean in the big city.
November 15, 2010
There appears to be a viscous mob in Chicago running through the hallways of everything Tribune and eliminating anybody who can spell Randy's name. I wonder if as they rape and pillage they are chanting that phony slogan business guys love to use ... This Isn't Personal, It's Only Business.
Russ Morley taught me a long time ago that if sex ever comes up in a conversation on a date, thats going to be the extent of it.
According to Beau Weaver, Native Americans believe evil people don't have any songs so as long as who ever is around is singing, you have no fear.
Charlie Van Dyke a while back told me that the thing he hated most about doing battle with we FM upstarts at KVIL when he was doing mornings at KLIF was all the Ron Chapman Billboards. He said every where he looked all he saw was Ron Chapman and he felt it was a little like being in the middle of an unfair fight not to mention how intimidating it seemed. I told him I didn't know how to break this to him but back then we only had enough money for one Billboard so we decided to put it outside his studio window.
My brother Reg reminded me recently about how when we worked in Canada, by law a radio station could only give away $5000.00 a month. We programmers all spent most of our time figuring out how to make it sound like a lot more. You know stuff like a $5000.00 winner on the last day of the month and again the next day on the 1st day of the month. Today radio just wishes it had $5000.00 to give away.
If It's true it ain't braggin'
For me music on radio is a conceptual thing. Country music is fairly easy to spot but now that kind of music is even getting blurred. The listeners know what they want to hear on each station and our job is to figure it out. But first we have to agree on just what kind of Restaurant we have here.
I have worked with a lot of great talent over the years but I must admit this is the first time an on air personality has left us and made me feel proud about it. Joyce Kaufman has been hired away from 850 WFTL by newly elected Congressman Allen West to be his Chief Of Staff. You go Joyce! Oh and when you get to Washington we sure could use a little help with our night time signal. Wait a minute what are all those TV trucks doing outside ... Whats that you say, Joyce is staying. Great! The hell with the night time signal.
Who counts the vitamins and calories in all the food. They're not just guessing are they.
I have always been overly impressed by people who can do things I can't do.
There is only one way to make decent money in Radio is to make management afraid your going to leave.
Great humor comes from great pain.
The thing I look for the most in air talent is their ability to observe life and then comment on it in a slightly exaggerated emotional manner.
One of the few times I have empathy with a radio sales rep is when they introduce them selves to a potential client and the client responds with ... I've never heard of your radio station.
I think if we got to vote on whether or not there should be Lobbyists in Washington I'm thinkin' we would vote them out and that would change the World more than any Politician could ever do.
November 9, 2010
Jerry Moss (A&M) said talent does best when it does what it wants to do not when they do what you want them to do.
Have you noticed that the only people radio are looking for are sales people. They seem to be getting rid of all the rest
Cris Conner says everybody hates their job thats why they have to pay you to do it.
One of the smartest radio sales person I've ever met is Jerry Bobo. Back in the day at KVIL he would go to Ron Chapman and ask him if there was anything special he wanted to do on the radio that he hadn't already done yet. When Ron would mention something, Jerry would take a few days to figure it out and of course include a sales angle which made it possible for Ron to do be able to do it. I cant ever remember a KVIL promotion not working.
If you want to silence a very talkative woman just bring up sex.
Success looks totally different when seen through the eyes of the Sales Manager compared to how the Program Director sees it not to mention the rest of the staff including the GM and the Owner.
What with having a young Daughter and an even younger Grandson I'm going to have to live forever just to be able to attend all the important functions they have coming up in their life. So far it's going pretty good.
Have you ever noticed you know exactly what you should have done immediately after doing what you shouldn't have.
When coaching good talent I tend to say the same things over and over again but use different words until the lights come on. Then and only then do we unleash them on a unsuspecting audience.
I think Florida is the only State in the union where you have to drive a way up North to get to the deep South.
I will never forget the day my singer song writer Daughter Candis sent me a song she had written and recorded for me for Father's day. It was called ... "Here's To The Man Who Will Never Leave"
Bob Christy told me the first thing they train you at Mercedes Benz school is how to tell your neighbors at a cocktail party that you sell cars.
I guess they have kinda figured out that we are burned out on all political parties because what party the candidate was from was sure missing from all the advertising signs here in Florida.
Women don't tolerate nasty women only men do.
Mark Hubbard told me a long time ago that to have a successful business you needed to have 3 special people. The Dreamer, The Business Man, and The Son Of A Bitch.
Radio for some reason has over loaded on just one of those types.
I still agree with the line that we have to support our troops in Iraq and Iran but we don't have to support the people who keep sending them there.
During the 60's we used to know the names of a lot of DJ's all over North America. Then in the 70's it was the PD's who became nationally known. In the 80's Programming Consultants became the flavor of the era. The 90's brought us Researchers, and now finally it's the owners who are famous. I'll let you have last line about how well you think it all turned out.
The politicians in Canada and the USA have never figured out what all the revolutionaries in 3rd world Countries figured out a long time ago. You take over the radio stations not the TV stations. They're smart enough to know that they just look silly on TV.
Tim Moore says yesterday is history tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That's why they call it The Present.
Joe Raineri now possesses the secret formula for radio. Guard it with your life Joe the accountants will soon be on your trail trying to track it down so they can destroy it.
The client isn't always right but it serves us well not mention it to them.
I still remember a great liner I just loved on an old KCBQ air check. "Communication Is The Beginning Of Understanding" signed K-C-B-Q.
Dennis Linsin in response to my claim that Government people would starve if they had to live off of tips said the origin of T.I.P. is ... "Too Insure Promptness"
Well that definitely wraps up my theory and puts a bow on it don't you think.
I don't know why the government hasn't figured out by now that we are very very tired of them spending all their time helping the wealthy and the poor. If they don't start taking care of the rest of us soon we will vote them all out again, and that is a threat.
The last time Jerry Brown was Governor Of California he was asked about what his plan for the state was, his reply was ... Plan, what plan, I don't have a plan. So here we are Jerry 25 years later and surely by now you have some sort of a plan because your going to need a good one buddy, your broke!
I just got hooked up again with Gary Bachman an old buddy from Winnipeg. Gary runs a very successful real estate company now but the last time I saw him was at a dance my band was playing at in Tuelon Manitoba. The dance was being promoted by J Robert Wood. Gary's brother Randy was playing guitar for us that night and Donny Burns was our singer. Little did we know that night that eventually 4 of us would end up in radio. Gary as I recall was working the ladies real well and was even tripping the light fantastic as he won the Twist contest on that cold and wintry night.
Teens I'm told only go to one live concert a year. Who would have thunk.
November 2, 2010
Jack McCoy told me a long time ago that the ratings gods always smile best on the folks who paid for the survey.
Speaking of ratings have you noticed that Arbitron has most of us in radio tied now. Back in the day there were always a couple of stations in every market with double digits. Now we all have 4's and 5's. Could it be that ARB got tired of hearing the very loud complaints from all the stations that didn't have double digits and thats how they fixed it.
Now I think they have figured out how to even take it a step further by making sure the PPM device is deaf during the early mornings.
A lot of radio stations of course didn't stand a chance against huge high profile morning shows so a deaf PPM is the ticket to happiness it appears.
As soon as all the big radio stations get rid of their expensive morning shows I think we will all be tied in the 3's. Then Selector and Music Master will be fighting it out for the personality of the year award.
Women figured out when they were in high school exactly what we wanted. They of course pretended like they didn't in hopes they didn't have to give it to us. But like every rule there are exceptions ... My Daughters and my Niece come to mind.
A good sales person to me and one I am impressed by is the one who can sell a station with no ratings. Hell even I can sell a #1 radio station.
Delilah told me that the reason women don't ask each other if they got lucky last night is because they don't have to. They always KNOW who got lucky and even how many times.
Red Robinson a legend in his own right said at a recent gathering of radio folks in Vancouver, Frosty Forst another legend when asked what he thought about radio today he replied with, "I have no comment, radio doesn't exist any more".
When you mix Ego and Fear together it produces a very lethal fuel that when used correctly can propel one down the road towards $uccess at quite an intense and torrid pace.
Woody Cooper claims that if the Mother of invention is necessity then Greed must be it's father.
If government employees had to live off of tips I think they would all starve to death.
Ken Moultry told me he loved Ben Taylor's response to the question about what he had learned from his father James ... "Oh you mean besides how to be on the road for 40 years without ever taking a break".
I keep hearing about all the great talent the Dallas Cowboys have but when I look at them I just see a bunch of very expensive losers.
Speaking of The Cowboys, Ron Chapman who knows Jerry Jones quite well says, Jerry's gotta be thinkin' ... I spent almost 2 billion bucks to showcase Jon Kitna ... ?
I think Lee Abrams forgot one very important rule. No body's for ya!
One of the most surprising things I learned early in my career was that not everyone at a radio station wanted to win. I'm still undecided whether learning that was a good thing or not. One thing I'm sure of though is ... I'm still very angry about it.
When I was a young and very impressionable program director I attended a meeting in Toronto at one of Canada's biggest radio stations CHUM. We were there to form a Canadian Music Network. After the meetings we all went out to the CNE which is a huge fair in Toronto. As we approached the CHUM trailer where they were doing a live remote I noticed this huge line and I thought this must be how it is in the big time. When we got closer though I discovered they were lined up to meet the Board Op not the Dee Jay who was out front. They wanted to meet the person who touched the music. I have never forgotten that.
Texting is a girl thing.
It has been said that I spoil my daughters because I give them everything they want. Luckily for me they don't want much.
Any one trying to raise money to buy a radio station who doesn't have the ability to fix it should of course be turned down and escorted out of the bank by security. It would also be helpful if the police were notified so they could be there waiting to arrest them for fraud as they were being escorted out of the building.
There are only two things important to a radio station, making product or selling time. Seeing as most of the people who run the radio biz at the present time can do neither, I wonder what it is they do all day.
My daughters give me 85% of everything I need from females. But I do have to admit that other 15% is pretty powerful.
For some reason the greeting "Happy Halloween" seems strange to me.
Intelligent People Reasonably Informed Seldom Disagree.
October 25, 2010
I think the saddest thing about America right now is how fearful the media is about reporting that very few people are watching Oprah anymore. I guess it's not politically correct to mention that. But it does make me wonder what else they're keeping from us.
If you want a quick jump start for ratings on your morning show simply substitute the word
" You " every time you feel the urge to use the letter " I "
I loved the line in Wall Street II where Gordon says to Jacob. "Is green the new bubble"
I hear some rumors that my old pals David Wolfe and Sammy James are considering bringing Plato's 2000 + year old theory The Principle Of Influence to the Digital World by merging it with David's futuristic concept of Search Engine Optimization and Sammy's creation of the right now Lead Generation. The purpose being to form a Super Company designed to dominate the quickly growing accountable world of radio sales. It all sounds very scary to me.
Al Mair wrote from Beijing where he is vacationing that there are over 60 TV stations and all of them are controlled by the Government. In our World before ratings programming was selected by the Manager's wife. She did what ever she and her friends liked because she was convinced that what she wanted on the radio everyone wanted. Turned out she was wrong.
In politics I don't like how it's going right now nor did I like how it went. Cant we have a new and better way.
Years ago the rest of the Beatles told Ringo he better start writing some of this stuff other wise he will have to tour for the rest of his life. I understand he's coming to the Hard Rock Casino in Ft. Lauderdale again next year.
When I was but a young lad I hung out with a bunch of guys who I thought were exactly alike with a few minor differences. Turned out the minor differences were who we all really were.
You really don't need credentials you are whomever your boss says you are.
The most dangerous person in the world to lie to is yourself.
When I was with CFRA in Ottawa years ago, we had film of the Prime minister of Canada answering a TV reporter's question with ... " All I know about that is what I heard on CFRA this morning." Ask me how many times we ran that in a TV spot baby!
Robert Murphy gave me his Murf's Radio Theorem #101: The Program Manager who hires you based on his respect and admiration for your talent, will exit within six months of your arrival, to be replaced by some small market hack who loathes each word you speak, does not understand why you can't squeeze in eleven songs per hour, and is livid that you missed the 1/4 hour "More Variety" one liner.
Frank Sinatra said there are only two types of shoes, black and brown and you lose the browns at 6.
The thing I like best about Randy Michaels is he makes the rest of us almost appear normal.
Necessity is the mother of invention = There will be no new thing until we run out of oil.
Seeing as you learn very little from your victories you might as well just celebrate them and move on.
Very few things turn out better than you thought they would.
Life is something you will never ever experience again.
As I reluctantly watch my beautiful young daughter Cami grow into a beautiful young women who spends most of her time dreaming about her freedom. I cant help but think about the fact that her birth took away most of the freedom her Mother and I used to have. Luckily for us I guess is we enjoyed most of our prison time.
I remember Woody Cooper once telling me about a neat new radio format called Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow which was played in 3 record sweeps. It was a complete failure, turned out nobody wanted to hear tomorrow.
It cost me Millions to be as free as I am today but right now I'm wondering if a person really needs this much freedom, because I sure could use an extra million or two right about now.
They're shooting a documentary that is going to use two of the records my band The Jury recorded back in the mid sixties. The only difference is it looks like the documentary may pay us more than the records ever did when they were on the charts.
Most successful radio stations that finally get beaten were usually destroyed from the inside.
The more successful you become the more you tend to stop doing the things that made you successful.
The only interview the folks really want to hear on the radio is an interview with a person who doesn't want to be interviewed.
Things are never quite what they appear to be.
Good radio is just a slightly exaggerated reflection of real life.
Paul Cavenaugh told me that in a recent IBM survey of 1500 CEO's that Creativity was the most important trait that top executives needed to have. Why am I thinkin' that Radio CEO's were probably not surveyed.
I don't think women ask each other if they got lucky last night. It must be a man thing!
Well I can hardly wait to see what creative new ideas the "executive council" at Tribune is going to bring to the table.
It has been said that you should never have a relationship with a Woman who loves cats because they have nothing left to give. But maybe the same could be said for Men who have daughters.
When I mentioned to Linda Stein that I never see young men driving Mercedes Convertibles only young women. She claimed that my remark was sexist and went on to say that maybe the young women bought her own cars and that just maybe, young men do not want to drive a Benz. Right Linda!
October 18, 2010
Change is inevitable except from a pay phone or parking meter.
Giff & Taz may be the only Sales Gurus left in the radio biz now. The rest have been replaced by sales drivers. This is just a crazy uneducated guess but do you think this may be because the driver types tend to work a whole lot cheaper than Gurus.
I think the word that best describes today's most successful talent is "Flamboyant"
If radio was easy to do it wouldn't be worth that much in fact It wouldn't even be worth what you paid for it.
The best inspirational tool a PD could ever bring to the table for an air talent is hope.
I have always loved working with people who are a lot smarter than. That way when I use logic to explain how you actually should put a winning show together they understand it a lot better than I do.
Tim Moore in a recent column claimed I was sagacious which I hope is a good thing. But I suspect it's not really a good financial thing unless your the Godfather.
I have always believed in letting my kids sample as many activities as possible. My theory being, maybe they will find something outside of school that they really enjoy doing . Hey you never know, maybe they'll find something they really love to do and are passionate enough about it to turn it into a lifetime career.
With that in mind my Daughter Cami so far has been given lessons in Ballet, Tap, Drama, Swimming, Tennis, Violin, Horseback Riding, Choir, Gymnastics, and Guitar. The results of all these numerous efforts are finally in ... She loves to text! Now based on how many times she texts each day I'm betting she's probably getting pretty good at it. But I'm just not sure what kind of a lifetime career it will turn out to be.
Speaking of texting Steve Lapa tells me that people read over 97% of their texts. I believe that makes texting the most powerful communication device of all time.
Even though I have spent most of my career directing I find myself to be almost undirectable.
My Brother Reg says the only word that counts in Radio is RESPONSE!
Disneyland is still going strong and it was created way back in the 50's. I wonder why it hasn't gone out of style yet. No of course I don't.
A radio station's greatest enemy is the off button, not their competitor.
It doesn't take any brains to buy a radio station just money.
With a couple of daughters out there in the real world, I think I'm for a lot more prisons where do I donate.
When you have a thing called a sweat equity deal in radio, eventually when you sell the station at the closing you will hear these dreaded words ... What you don't understand about this deal is! Translated what that means is, you are not going to get anywhere near what you were sure you were getting.
Police in camouflage cars lying in wait for unsuspecting speeders on our freeways is chicken sh*t. Get a real job!
Running has a very weird effect on me it makes me feel optimistic even when I have absolutely no reason to be so.
Programming promotions with a sales twist are a hundred times more successful than a sales promotion with a programming twist.
A strong lifetime bond between two men can only be broken by a woman.
Perhaps the only reward for you being a good parent may be that one day you might get to look back and realize you were and that should be enough.
All men speak at least three different languages. One when they are just hangin' out with men, another when there are women present, and the special language they speak when Mothers, Wives, and/or Daughters are around.
After watching a bunch of College Football this weekend I'm thinkin' maybe they should spend a little more time practicing tackling than on the touchdown dance.
Speaking of football what are we politically allowed to call Reggie Bush now that he has single handily dismantled USC's greatness with his personal greediness.
Does anyone have any suggestions when I should let my 9th grade daughter know that even though she hates football right now in less than 4 years not only will she be going to football games but she is actually going to be excited about it.
There is no such thing as Business Ethics there's just Ethics.
October 7, 2010
I began my radio career at CKY- FM a 360,000 watt radio station owned by Lloyd Moffat. Mr. Moffat was known through out Canada as a Radio Pioneer/Legend and was the first of three I would have the honor to work for before leaving Canada for America. I only saw Mr. Moffat a few times when he would bring by his cronies for a short tour of the studio to show them his new special toy, the World's most powerful FM.
I doubt Lloyd Moffat knew or cared that I worked for him, but the next two sure did which is a good thing in our biz because it's not who you know but who knows you. What I eventually came to know is ... All Radio Pioneer/Legends are not created equal. I will endeavor to try and make what I mean a little clearer as my story continues with a bit of background.
I was hired part time by CKY-FM to roll Ray Conniff type records on I guess what you would call our beautiful music format. The job required suit and tie type garb along with the wearing white cotton gloves so as to not harm the records. The work was pleasant enough and nicely supplemented my small income that I made playing with my band The Jury.
Each day I would sit at the studio consul for a couple of hours just spinning the tunes while kinda checking out all the beautiful women on the front covers of the Conniff albums. I couldn't help though but glance up more than a few times and look through the studio glass at the place where I yearned to be, CKY-AM.
CKY was the big Top 40 station in town and they playing all my favorite tunes by The Beach Boys, The 4 Seasons and lots of Motown. But I was stuck in the FM station at a time when FM wasn't cool. I laugh now as I think back about those days because how was I to know that those corny renditions of the tunes The Ray Conniff Singers covered on their Albums were slowly seeping into my system and would soon be hugely responsible for most of my Radio Career and the birth of AC
It took a little while but I eventually got to CKY-AM with the help of the AM's leader Jimmy Darin. (Hilliard) Jim made me the assistant to Chuck Dann (Riley) in production which was a real good thing because not only did I fall in love with doing promos, but I learned how to do them right from the best. I also started a friendship with Jim that has lasted a lifetime. We have worked together on one project or another for most of our broadcasting careers.
Things were going real good for me and I was having a ball while learning as much as I could from anybody who would teach me. Not only was the radio thing coming together but The Jury started cutting records so I was becoming very busy.
The next big thing that happened to me was the birth of my daughter Candis. Her birth made me realize I was at the tipping point and there was no room left in my life. I could no longer do Radio, The Jury, and my Family, so I chose my new love, Radio and left the Jury in order to put my head down and devote more learning time to my new craft.
When I next looked up and took a deep breath I was the program Director of CKOM in Saskatoon where I got my first taste of some decent ratings and learned how good that felt which led to my addiction through out my life for ratings parties. The celebration was short lived though because I soon heard those dreaded words no programmer ever wants to hear "Hey congrats on the ratings but we cant sell it, your going to have to change it".
That was my signal to move on so I thought why not go east young man. I moved my family to Sudbury Ontario and went to work for CKSO AM&FM. I was hired by a great guy George Lund who after a few weeks finally introduced me to his boss Ralph Conner. That's a whole chapter on its own better left for another time.
One of the main reasons I chose to go east was maybe by doing so I could get on the radar of legendary radio station CHUM in Toronto. CHUM was the radio station all we young radio Turks dreamed of working at one day. Sure we all had heard the persistent rumors that they were a cold hearted bunch. But we were young, arrogant and bullet proof. They were the very best in Canada so if you got a shot at working for them it meant you were the very best too.
One of my old friends from Winnipeg who used to book my band a few years earlier J Robert Wood ended up at CHUM and had recently been named their Program Director. Being the Program Director of CHUM was one of the most powerful radio positions you could ever hold in Canada and only proved to me that a western boy could make it in the east. The man who owned CHUM along with several other stations in eastern Canada was Allan Waters the next Radio Pioneer/Legend I was destined to work for.
Sudbury turned out to be a great experience albeit a short one. CKSO already had a very good air staff which I had shored up with a couple of my guys which included my life long friend Gary Russell. Sudbury was where I discovered the fact that if you bring a couple of your people with you things move forward a lot more quickly. They explain to the other Jox that your not as crazy as you appear to be. One of the things I was most proud of at CKSO was we sounded much bigger than our market size. This was possible because Ralph Conner demanded it. Ralph always wanted to live in New York and seeing as that was not possible he wanted the radio station to at least sound as good as the Big Apple and was willing to pay for it. Ralph was just starting to compliment us on our improved sound when Fred Sherratt the V/P of programming for the CHUM group came to town to recruit me. Fred wanted me for the CHUM station in Ottawa, CFRA. I can only suspect that J Robert had a lot to do with Fred's newly found special interest in me. So after only 4 months in Sudbury I packed up the family and headed to the nation's Capital.
Wow things are really rolling for me now, I'm on fire. Hard to believe but only a couple of years ago that I was a board op on a beautiful music station in Winnipeg and now I'm in the Majors as a Program Director and I'm working for the CHUM group, how hot is that.
When I arrive in the beautiful city of Ottawa I soon realize that I'm the only one there who is excited about working for the CHUM group. The station was previously owned by a guy called Frank Ryan who they still totally worshiped. I guess they didn't notice the part where Frank took the loot and scooted. Anyway the CHUM folks were all openly referred to as the Sharks from Toronto who wore matching sharkskin suits. Fred Sherratt was lovingly referred to as Fred the Rat.
It was a strange time for me but I didn't give it much thought because the Toronto folks all treated me fine and even when I met Mr. Waters he seemed to come off more like a pleasant General Store owner than a guy who headed up a bunch of sharks. Hey the way I figured it this was my shot and I was going for it so I just put my head down once again and focused on how to make CFRA sound better. The local staff of course had no interest in any of that they liked how it sounded now. They ran the place kinda like a big old country club with the long time GM deciding who was a member of the Club's inner circle and who was not. I definitely was not.
I didn't worry about any of that because the CHUM brass had promised me all the help I needed. This was great news for me because even though I now was in a Major Market I still felt relatively new to the Radio business.
They supplied me with two programming consultants, George Davies from Winnipeg and Ted Randel from LA. George was a nuts and bolts kinda guy and Ted was the concept guy. I had regular weekly calls from Fred Sherratt and J Robert and I'm pretty sure Warren Cosford another Winnipeg lad that had made the CHUM dream team must have checked in with me now and then. Even Mr. Waters called me every once in a while just to see how I was doing. I was covered man!
While listening to CFRA I noticed fairly quickly that even though the station was a 50,000 watt blow torch, it technically sounded horrible. The station engineer it turns out used to work for the phone company and that's exactly how it sounded. He was most proud of the fact that he had it cranked up so loud that we managed to reach places that were well beyond our coverage map. I argued with him night and day and finally got him to back it off and the ratings coincidentally started going crazy. The full coverage cume went down a little, but the average 1/4 hour just soared. Hello TSL, and bring on those ratings parties. Despite all the bad attitude in the place things on my end were going pretty well so the local management didn't bother with me much.
Ottawa is a beautiful city but I saw none of it, I mostly worked all the time. I was on the mission of trying to get every other station in the city to just give up and sign off. The angrier I got with some of the local staff the more determined I was to make the station sound great. What made the place even a little tolerable for me was as usual I had brought a couple of my radio buds with me. This time it was Roger Klein and Woody Cooper who helped me convert a couple more of the staff members around to our way of thinking so now we almost had a gaggle and thats all we needed to do some serious radio damage.
Most of my programming conversations and planning were with the guys at CHUM, CFRA's management mostly wanted to talk about how things used to be.
Then one fateful day all the communication from Toronto just stopped. Nothing, just silence from Toronto. The only noise was the usual local noise putting down the Toronto bunch and singing the praises of their old owner Frank Ryan. I think they expected Frank to come riding back into town on a white stallion, buy the station back, and get rid of all the nonsense from Toronto. It hadn't taken me long to figure out that they thought I was just the resident shark sent from Toronto to watch them.
So there I was working in the cone of silence wondering what the hell went wrong. I heard years later that Mr. Waters had told everyone ... The kid is doing a great job in Ottawa, lets all back off and let him do his thing. I don't know if it's true but it sounds nice doesn't it.
In the middle of all this disarray the next Radio Pioneer/Legend shows up in my life, Ted Rogers. Ted along with his right hand man Keith Dancy successfully recruit me for their floundering radio station in Toronto, CFTR. I later learned that some of the staff at CFRA had a going away party for me couple of weeks after I had arrived in Toronto, where they celebrated my departure.
Working for Ted Rogers was a wonderful experience for me. Ted seemed to be a great guy and he and Keith always treated me very well. Working for Ted who acted like a regular guy was full of surprises like the first time I went for dinner at his home. When me and my family ring the door bell it was answered by a Butler which was the first time that had ever happened to me. I used to think that kind of thing only went on in the movies. In spite of all his trappings Ted made you feel like he never even noticed any of them or really cared about them that much. Ted seemed only interested in what you were dreaming about and had really great questions about how you were going to make those dreams come true.
I will never forget him shortly after that first dinner at his home, excitedly showing me this very strange looking device. This peculiar device that he handed to me had several rows of buttons on it and was connected to his TV by a very long cord. He said go ahead play with it as our children played together elsewhere in Ted's huge mansion. As I played with his new toy he informed me that if I could fix his radio station his new focus was going to move to a new thing called Cable TV. Go ahead push all the buttons he said as I studied this strange looking object I held in my hand, because that's how many channels the folks will soon have to choose from. Wow I said this is great but why is the same program on every 5th button I asked him. That's your problem was his reply your the programmer, I'm just an engineer.
Ted always treated me like I was special and was even kind enough to even invite my kids over to his home to take private swimming lessons with his kids all summer long.
When I first arrived in Toronto I did what I usually do and that was to bring a few of my radio buddies with me. This time it was Keith Elshaw, Doc Harris, Roger Klein and Super Promotion lady Sharon Henwood. We all went to work hoping to do something special enough to put a dent in the Toronto Radio skyline.
One day while I was sitting at my desk plotting our next move, suddenly Ted Rogers appears at my doorway. He looks at me kind of strangely and says, George I just received a disturbing phone call from Allan Waters about you. Oh Oh I thought to myself this cant be good because when two Radio Pioneers/Legends are chatting and your the main topic of conversation what are the odds that ever turns out in your favor. Ted continued on with ... Allan asked me why I would ever hire a untrustworthy despicable character such as you let alone turn your great radio station CFTR over to him and allow him ruin it like he has. I feel he has forever disgraced the much honored Rogers Radio name handed down to you by your brilliant father. Before I could say anything in my defense Ted lit up like a Christmas tree and said ... "George I think we have them on the run lets turn the heat up" With that he turned on his heel and hurried off. The War was on!
September 30, 2010
Before I got into radio I had a band back in Winnipeg called The Jury and we just happened to play a lotta gigs with a friend of mine, Randy Bachman (The Guess Who and BTO) This morning I got a call from Tommy Nast inviting me to LA on Oct. 14 to see Randy and Fred who have reunited on a new Album called Bachman and Turner. Tommy told me they are planning to debut their brand new single from the album called Slave To The Rhythm at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills. He told me that Randy had said that I need to be there so I could see and hear that Neil Young who is also from our hometown, isn't the only one who is still Rockin'. I'm bettin' that Fred and him will throw in a little Taking Care Of Business, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, Let it Ride and maybe even No Sugar Tonight like I saw him do with Ringo Star in Ft. Lauderdale a few years ago.
Neil Young says he only likes to do a couple of takes of each song when he is recording a new Album because even though it's true that the extra takes may move you closer to technical excellence. He feels each take moves you further away from the spirituality of the song.
Why do you suppose pro athletes always seem to need to lay back a little when they are leading in a game. Amateurs in the same situation seem to turn up the heat so they can pour it on.
I keep hearing that the recession is over but I don't see it and I sure cant cant feel it or even get a taste of it coming, in fact it still smells real bad out there and the word "over" makes absolutely no sense to me let alone stand up to the five sensing I just gave it as Mike Vance the Dean of Walt Disney University taught me to do those many years ago..
Jim Morrison said, "None of us are getting out of here alive" So I'm thinkin' ... Hey we might as well sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride eh.
Like a lot of people I have learned a lot more from my mistakes than any of the wins I may have had. It was never scary for me try new stuff on the radio because I knew only one of two things were going to happen. Either we were going to kick some major ass or I had another chance at becoming a whole lot smarter.
All I ever hear about is attitude is everything. But I'm thinking if you don't have a little ability mixed in with all that attitude ya still got nuthin'
My Father Sandy Johns was born when the Great War began in 1914. My Dad was already a young man before he saw his first airplane. But by the time he was middle aged he watched a man and on the Moon on his TV. After World War II things really started to pick up speed. There has been more advancement in the World in the last 100 years than the thousands that came before them. The reason being ... Education!
A hundred years ago only the well to do got much schooling. When that was all changed and everybody had a chance to finish school if they wanted the World as we knew it exploded. Turns out there were some pretty smart Peasants out there.
Speaking of education I see no reason to let a person go to college who who wouldn't otherwise qualify just because they are a good athlete. Let the NFL figure out another way to train them.
I still remember the magical nights when both my beautiful daughters were created
I believe the new money for radio is going to come from figuring out how to do product placement and how radio becomes accountable to advertisers like the digital world is.
Some Radio marriages have really worked out well. The reason may have been because when put together they produced great ratings and oodles of cash at the same time. For example Jack McCoy's Last Contest + George Johns' Magic Ticket = The Prize Catalog. The Prize Catalog + American Airlines Advantage Program = Reg Johns' Radio Rewards Program on the Internet.
I suspect somewhere somebody is burning the midnight oil and getting ready to propose. Then before you know it ... The next big thing will be upon us.
I think the most wonderful word you will ever hear in your life time is Da Da. There is no more special moment then your daughter says that to you for the first time. But as special as that is an even better word is on the way and that word is Daddy. It is said that anybody can be a Father but it takes a special person to be a Daddy. You try to hang on to this special part of your relationship with your daughter as long as you can but before you know it she is calling you Dad, which is OK I guess but it's just not Daddy. Then you graduate to where I am now, Dude. Now I'm not quite sure what to think about Dude, but I do know it's a long long way from Daddy.
I have noticed though if I'm in the right place at the right time I get to hear the Daddy word again like when she is wondering about if I'm going to buy her a new car when she turns 16 like I did her sister. Sometimes it shows up when she needs me to take her shopping for the latest hip new shoes or when her Mother has grounded her and could I come and get her. The Daddy word shows up most often when she needs a ride for her and her girl friends to go to the mall and hang out for a few hours. She'll call me when she needs me to come and get them ... But Daddy please don't talk to my friends just drive us OK.
Sometimes I'll hear it when she needs her hair done, or her phone isn't working and for sure I hear it a lot around her Birthday and Christmas. Now that I think about it what am I bitching about, I really cant afford to hear Daddy any more often than I already do.
After being through this twice I have painfully finally figured out that little girls turn into women somewhere between Daddy and Dad with out any warning.
I think the President should call up Bill Clinton and see if he's still got that old sign still lying round somewhere cause it sure worked out well for us. You know the one ... "It's the economy stupid"
Is it true that in all the world there are only 12 humans who look like they do, and they all model for Victoria's Secret.
What the research says people want and PPM says people are listening to is starting to drift far apart from each other. Kinda back like when the people told Ford to build the Edsel
I wonder how many good athletes are good human beings.
It used to be that if you had a good education you could make good money. Now it takes higher education just to make the wages high school drop outs used to make.
If you don't have greed or sex on your Web Page don't expect a lot of visits.
I think whats wrong with America is too many choices. You have to keep clicking your way through the hundred Cable channels all night to make sure you don't miss what you would have really liked to have seen. Way too many radio choices of practically the same thing. Satellite is even worse. How do you settle on one perfect car and which one would that be. It even seems to take forever to order a meal anymore, I wish they would just bring me what they think I should eat.
It didn't take me long when I was just a pup to out earn my father. Alas there is no chance for my kids to do the same and it has nothing to do with how much money I may have made.
Even though the music on computers balanced all the music out and stopped the Jox from playing their favorites it like everything has a side effect. It now takes at least three days instead of 45 minutes to hear your musical changes on air.
Doug Erickson said ... Greatness, true greatness, is always linked to originality.
To be even close to becoming a successful morning show there are two things you must do. Talk about what the people are talking about and then get the people to talk about you.
Until that happens there is no need to talk about yourself.
© 2008-2010 George Johns
September 20, 2010
Are you aware that a lotta folks are a lot worse off than you?
I for one would never want to follow a legend like Gerry House. I just want to follow the fool who followed him.
I was just reading a fact that in the late 30's very few Germans were true Nazis obviously though they still had enough people on their side to almost ruin the World. With that in mind does it really make any difference if very few Muslims are true terrorists.
I never realized until I got into radio and was producing commercials that the big department stores in town, Eaton's and The Hudson's Bay Company never did not have a sale going on.
Reggie Bush has always been about money, we just didn't know it. Of course he gave the Heisman back it already gave him all the money it could.
Speaking of Football - Lou Holtz said when he was coaching he would always began the season at Notre Dame with a special meeting. At this meeting held in the locker room Lou told the players that every football season should start with a dream. His dream for this season was for Notre Dame to win the National Championship. National Champions! Now boys, wouldn't that be something. But my dreaming about being #1 will never happen until my dream becomes your dream. All was very quiet for a moment, then just like he was going to lead them in prayer Lou asked them if they would all just close their eyes for a moment. See if you can visualize yourselves standing along side your team mates on a very large stage near the edge of the very field where you just conquered your opponents and became #1. See if you can see in your minds eye the tons of green and white confetti swirling about you and the camera flashes going off like strobe lights as your being presented with that special trophy given only to the best in the nation ... The National Champions.
Now with your eyes still closed, can you also see and hear the 100,000 people in the stadium who are wildly cheering for you and chanting your name. I guarantee for the rest of your life you will never forget that moment. Can you even start to imagine the millions of people from all over the world who will be watching you on TV and the millions more who will be listening to you being interviewed on the Radio.
Do you see your folks in the stands with all your friends, man how proud do you think they are. Wait a minute listen to that music. I think it's our favorite song being played by our favorite band and don't you agree that the Irish fight song never sounded so sweet as it does today on our day of days.
Do any of you have any idea what that moment will mean to you. I do, that moment will mean you have just become immortal. Lou let all of what he said sink in for a moment or two before he asked the all important question. Do any of you see what I see. Do you? If you do, I promise you this. I know I can show you how to turn that dream into reality because I already have the plan right here he said as he raised the Notre Dame playbook high into the air.
I wonder what dream our Radio leaders today are dreamin' today. I for one can't visualize anything but continued losses for them.
Speaking of Lou Holtz - I remember once sharing a car with John Lynch to go from the airport in Las Vegas to the NAB hotel. John excitedly told me as we rode that Lou had called his house early that morning to speak with his son. Lou was trying to recruit him to come to Notre Dame. John didn't have a lot of radio on his mind that day I don't suppose.
I have always told my kids what they should do for a living is something where they lose all track of time while doing it.
What does the expression "Business is Business" really mean. It might be a good thing if you own the business but I think it may be a bad thing for the rest of us.
Isn't it strange how the term ... I just got f**ked means something real good or something real bad just happened.
I think maybe the most creative times of radio were done during the days the owners thought they were going to go broke if they weren't #1.
If marriage was as tough to get in to as it is to get out of it would last a whole lot longer.
Do radio people still carry around air checks of great jocks and great stations. If so, who are they.
Have you ever worked at a #1 radio station. Ain't it fun!
Back in the mid 80's, my Brother Reg, Bill Yde, and I bought a radio station in Portland Oregon from an engineering type. We launched it as K103 (KKCW) and It took us a little over a year to make it number one which was very fun. What makes it even more fun today is it still is number 1. Wow that for me pretty well puts them in the same league as WIBC, KVIL, and WRMF. But then again when you start to do the math they just may be getting ready to pull out and pass the other big three in my life. Congrats to whomever it is that's still fighting the good fight.
Thinking about Portland I remember the time I flew to there help launch the first ever direct mail piece that was a promotion, a contest, and a research project all at the same time. My Brother Reg had come up with it and seeing as K103 was in the early development stage (no ratings) we were all in town to help Jason Williams get it started. We were also very excited about the possibility of this new endeavor it being cool enough to blow the market away. (which it did)
Our Sales Mgr. was kind enough to pick me up at the airport and was take me to the Holiday Inn where they had booked me for a few nights. Portland is a beautiful city and I was just enjoying the scenery as we drove. When we were crossing the river near downtown Portland I couldn't help but notice that most of the redevelopment on the river was almost done. I also couldn't help but notice that on the near side of all the new construction was a recently completed brand new luxurious hotel. I excitedly said to the SM, "Hey we should try and get some trade with that new hotel" His reply to me was ... We already have trade with them. Then why are we headed to the Holiday Inn I said to him astonished over his reply. He patronisingly explained that the trade was to be used exclusively for our clients.
A couple of days later still seething I called my mentor Jim Hilliard and said, Hey Jim I remember when Mr. Fairbanks made all those market visits when we all worked together and it seems to me that he stayed at nothing but the best. Now please explain this, I'm an owner just like him but they are booking me at the Holiday Inn, what the hell am I doing wrong. Jim easily explained it ... You just don't have me! It was me years ago who got those places for the Boss, if I left it up to our staffs they would have stashed him in a Motel 6.
Gary Russell once told me the only way you get more money out of a market is when you hire rookie sales people because they are the only people who will call on all potential clients who don't presently advertise on the radio
September 13, 2010
Has there ever been an NFL team that has managed to become anything special without a charismatic coach to lead them. Hello Miami, Indy and Dallas.
Have you ever heard about of any of the "Hey look at me" loud mouth athletes who make huge money ever giving anything back to the communities they came from. Or could it be that's the only thing they want kept low profile. Yeah right!
It is hard for me to understand what with the price of tickets for the college football games, not to mention, concessions, shirt sales, shoe deals, bowl appearance money, TV/Radio rights and such why a college education isn't free for everybody.
You should only do the things you really like to do because they are probably the only things you'll be any good at.
Several times lately I have had a conversation with my Daughter Cami which ends more and more with her saying, I already knew that Dad, I am no longer a child ya know, I'm 14 years of age now. So the other day with that in mind I say to her, hey Cami now that your an adult we need to talk about something very important, at that point she interrupted me with ... Dad I'm not an adult, I'm only 14.
About 15 years ago one of the most embarrassing things that ever happened to me occurred while I was on a skiing trip in Telluride with Kari Summerfield. Kari later became the mother of my daughter Cami, but that's yet another story and best told over adult beverages.
Around the time of this skiing adventure a song called I Swear by a group called All 4 One had recently been #1 all over America for about 7 weeks in a row and now was becoming a #1 world wide hit. Heck there was even a country version of it out so you couldn't turn the radio on without hearing it all the time.
Just before leaving on our ski tripe I put that very popular song on a cassette and put a plan together to play it for Kari at a perfect moment. The perfect moment arrived at 12:01 AM when it officially became Valentines Day in Colorado. At that moment I nervously put the tape into the cassette machine and hit play. So far so good and even much more importantly, everything worked and the song played. How romantic huh!
I chose that song because I loved it and the words in that tune best communicated what I felt inside for her far better than I ever could way back then. It also voiced how strong my commitment to her was. I had it all going on, the perfect song at the perfect moment for the perfect woman.
When the song ended I of course asked her to marry me and she graciously accepted. Whew! I couldn't have been happier at and was also pretty proud of myself for managing to put that special moment together and how rather well I thought it had come off seeing as how nervous I was.
I also think I might just escalated I Swear to the lofty position of record of the year for her because now every time she heard the song the lyrics would have a new and special meaning, almost like they were written especially for her. I was even thinking this tune had to have a good shot at becoming "our song" for the rest of our lives. Hey maybe I could even get All 4 One to play at our wedding, would that be hot or what. I'll have to give my pal Charlie Minor a call and see what he can do for me.
Now as Kari was sitting there admiring her new engagement ring and getting ready to call her folks back home in Florida and I was just sorta basking in the after glow of it all she suddenly turns to me and asks what my reason for playing that strange music was, just before I proposed to her. Huh!
At the time of this very special event, which now was turning into a very strange moment I was living in Boston. Kari lived in West Palm Beach where she was a huge fan of WRMF. She really liked the station a lot and loved listening to all of its personalities. I would with some certainty guess WRMF was probably the only radio station she ever listened to. Well now! Who would have ever thunked it ... Who could ever have predicted it ... Who could ever guess what the odds against it were but It turns out that Russ Morley the PD during the time of this special event, had never ever played I Swear on WRMF.
Kari of course had never ever heard it before and probably would never ever be hearing it ever again. Color me totally embarrassed. Forever!
I know I have written this before but there are certain people whom I love dearly, that need to read this statement everyday. "A Tattoo Is The Permanent Record Of Momentary Insanity."
Merle Haggard said when your young you waste all your time chasing women. When you get older bunches of women aren't nearly as important to you so you finally get creative and try to do something special with the rest of your life. He used a different word for women but I'm sure you get the general drift.
Speaking of women they appear to be very serious creatures which much to your surprise starts to show up shortly after you tell them you love them. Then lo and behold they get even more serious if thats possible immediately after that quick trot down the aisle, when they become experts on every topic known to mankind.
Joe Raineri told me at lunch today that he figured Ron Chapman would tolerate about 10 minutes of all the morning shows in West Palm Beach. Joe also mentioned that Tom Watson had told him earlier that I should leave the radio business because I've lost touch with it. Little does Tom know ... But I have never been in touch with it.
A while back two things occurred almost simultaneously which inspired me to begin writing. First my brother Reg suggested because I was a story teller I should start writing a couple of them down because maybe my kids or even my grand kids might enjoy reading them at some point. Next I discovered spellcheck on my lap top which completely set me free until it claimed I was misspelling both of my Daughters names.
The answer has always been ... Ask the right question!
Just because something is not against the law certainly does not mean that it's not immoral.
Even though I didn't get along well with my father while growing up I find much of what I believe in today was actually taught to me by him.
Knowing exactly what to do brings on an enormous problem. Now you have to do it.
In Canada when the Government doesn't do what it claimed it was going to do there has to be another election called. That of course is just another set of problems, but at least it keeps down a few of the empty promises politicians cant resist making.
When you first become a father along with the joy comes the fear of providing for them so you work a lot harder than maybe you should. With this 2nd time around for me you would think I would be able to change my outlook and be calmer about it all. But no the fear of not being able to provide still pulls at me still
Even gay guys are totally distracted by a beautiful woman.
In Major League Baseball all you ever hear about are the hitters and the pitchers. But what is unbelievable to me are the plays the infielders make. Some of them are not humanly possible, but I know I saw them with my own eyes.
Getting ratings on a radio station is just like trying to seduce a beautiful woman. First you have to get her to notice you, then you do something very special so she'll like you, and finally you have to make her fall in love with you. Good luck!
My brother Reg and I grew up in a household that didn't have a lot of huggin' & kissin' going on in it. In fact the showing any kind of affection was certainly not a big priority at our house. The result of being deprived of that is we both need a lot of hugs, but hey please don't hug us or could ya just make it a quick one.
Sex & Greed are the only two things that make fear disappear.
September 7, 2010
Al Mair asked me how radio was going to handle what he claims is going to be the #1 song of the year. F**K You - Cee-Lo
Don't you wish that just once when a person parted company with a radio station that both sides would say what they really thought of each other.
When ever I read about a new PD being hired somewhere she/he inevitably always tells the trades about how great the station is and how much they have always admired it. Then they go on to talk about the wonderful the staff they have. Hey If all that is so true It's extremely difficult for me to figure out just what the the new PD is going to be doing.
Paul Cavenaugh asked me if I've noticed how quickly those yellow lights go to red now that they've installed those cameras to catch people going through a red light.
The way something or somebody becomes great is through repetition. Radio of course is trying to eliminate that.
It is rumored that the reason The Beatles created Sgt. Pepper was because they had heard The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album and now the competition was on. Turns out The Beach Boys didn't even play on their records so what kind of competition was that.
When you tell your music system what not to do, you are actually telling it what you want it to do. The problem is you don't have any idea at all what you just told it to do until one day you say ... Why the hell are we doing that.
When I was almost 50 and living in San Diego I hired an Elite World Class runner by the name of Thom Hunt to help train me because I was entering a new age category and thought maybe with the right training I could pick up some hardware.
Back home my nephew Jamie Boychuk was running track for his High School and just for fun we entered a 5K together. I was lucky enough to beat him, which surprised our whole family, what with our age differences and all. A year later Jamie called me up and said, Uncle George I've been training for longer distances now and want a rematch. Oh Oh I say to coach Thom what do I do now, he says just take him long. The young Turks always go out a way too fast and soon flame out.
Back to Winnipeg I go and talk Jamie into entering a half marathon which featured a former great Olympic runner and current author of very informative running books, Jeff Galloway.
Off we go at and at about the 2 mile mark with slightly more than a 11 to go on a very sunny not so cool day, I spot Jamie just up ahead of me. I decide to pick up the pace a bit and as I go by him, trying to look like I'm just loping along very relaxed, I ask him how he feels and he says fine, so I pick it up even a little more trying to throw a little intimidation his way.
During the remainder of the race I just feel like I'm dying because I have never run this far this fast before. I'm thinking Jamie must be right on my tail and is probably just waiting for the last hundred yards to go racing by me laughing
Finally thank God there's the finish line up ahead and with out even being able to breathe anymore I run all out and cross the finish line and almost pass out from sheer exhaustion.
Whew! While still breathing hard, no check that, more like panting like a dog I still manage to look around, but no Jamie. Wow did I actually beat him again. I stand there exhausted thinking he must be rolling in any moment now but hey I might as well do a little stretching while get my breathing back as I waited for him to cross the finish line. Wait a minute what is this. I notice the arrival of not Jamie, but Jeff Galloway. I beat the Olympian, Impossible!
Later that same day and still very excited about my finish time which was 1 hour and 31 minutes which was a new PR for me and good enough for a 3rd place medal, I called Thom Hunt back in San Diego. I give him the good news about my time and also excitedly tell him I finished ahead of Jeff Galloway. Then I cant help but realistically say but hey, I bet he's in these these races all the time and he probably didn't run full out. Well that's his story Thom said ... Yours is you beat him.
Women probably understand what Mrs.Woods did do that got her those million dollar bills in her divorce from Tiger. But a lotta men out there are kinda wondering what she stopped doing that might have contributed to the whole mess.
It is said that it's better to give than receive but I bet even ol' Santa sometimes gets weary of being Santa Clause all the time.
I think Kobe Bryant probably lays awake at night thinking about what more he needs to do to become bigger than Michael Jordan. Now wouldn't you know it, 3 guys show up in Miami who are going to do everything they possibly can to make sure that never happens
I hate the word no so much that I even find myself getting angry whenever I find myself even anticipating I'm about to hear it again .
I think the penalties should be a lot more severe for crooked cops and politicians than for ordinary citizens. Regular folks don't have any shot at covering up their misdeeds.
The Republicans and the Democrats have at least two things in common neither are afraid of the rich, but both are deathly afraid of the wealthy.
The phrase "This isn't personal it's just business" had to have been invented by some wimpy business guy hoping we would buy it and not hit him.
I really like most radio sales folks I just don't trust them, I don't have any reason to.
Jack McCoy once told me that if he didn't say it yesterday it's probably not true anymore. I think I'm gonna go with that myself pretty soon.
Selling radio time never gets any easier, as the ratings go up so do the rates.
I love the "Daddy" word the best, but it still makes me a little nervous about why it is being used at that particular moment.
Athletes always seem to forget that to get into any hall of fame you have to be the best at what you do plus be a decent human being too.
One of the good things I have going is neither of my daughters ask me for much. I would probably would probably give them anything they wanted if they asked and they would have turned out to be terrible human beings. So far it's worked out well for all of us.
Hey as Jim Morrison said, "None of us are getting out of here alive". With that in mind let me ask you this ... When do you suppose would be a good time for us all to lighten up.
The thing about air personalities is you have to teach the audience to like them. They already like the right music.
Brent Farris and I recently did a jingle session together in LA. One of the singers was very excited because he was going on a world tour soon with Pink Floyd as their new lead singer. How much I wonder are they are going to charge us to see a jingle singer.
I wonder if most of the athletes who spend most of their time telling us how great they are ever realise they probably will never be in the hall of fame.
Bobby Bowden said he doesn't want to coach a player with talent, he only wants to coach one with passion.
John Madden says what ever you do, do something that makes a memory.
Inside every older person is a younger person saying WTF happened.
One of the very amusing things that just popped into my head today was the time I was watching my oldest Daughter Candis, tear 'em up with her band at The Roxy on Sunset Strip in LA. During one of her great sets she did one of my favorite ZZ TOP tunes of all time and when she came off stage for her break I complimented her on how well her version sounded. But as I told her I was very surprised that she chose that particular ZZ Top tune to do because It seemed a little out of character for her even though I enjoyed it immensely. To put it mildly, Candis was and still is a kind of a liberated young lady. Color her horrified at my disclosure to her about "Tush". Candis all along thought the tune was called "Touched", and that's what she was singing.
August 24, 2010
Some of the e mails I send to people that don't get responded to always tell me a lot more than the ones that do.
John Lund claims that about 50% of your audience is interested in your station's contest and will probably mentally play along if it's interesting enough even if they don't physically participate.
In the radio biz the only time the spotlight is on you is when you are losing. When your winning you seem to be working in a vacuum and your wins become a very closely guarded secret.
So as I take my youngest daughter Cami to her High School orientation tonight I cant help but think back to my first year in High School and how it shaped my whole life. Things sure were sure simpler then and it seemed a whole lot easier to achieve your dreams. Life now looks a whole lot more complicated to me and I'm frightened for her.
I'm starting to figure out that the expression "It's All Good" isn't really a good thing. It usually means it's all pretty bad, but we're covering it all up as fast as we all can.
Now that we have instant communication all the time, are things better ?
So the word is according to the experts and PPM much more music is the way to go in the AM. Well the experts better just pray that the Howard doesn't come back because all the experts will need to re tool and Arbitron will just say, hey all we do is measure.
I love the line when Chelsea was asked by Hillary before the wedding if she and her fiance had sex yet. Chelsea supposedly answered with ... Not according to Dad.
Bob Christy told me when a sports franchise fails they fire the management and keep the players. At a failing radio station they do the opposite.
Have you ever noticed that even though the Government has the most employees, pays them decently, and gives them great perks, somehow every project that the government is involved in seems to be behind schedule and the employees look very unhappy.
Recently I was traveling east through the Rockies on Amtrak and was having dinner with a couple on their way to New York. They asked me if I had done the train from LA to Seattle. I responded I had a few years ago and found the service and the train staff's attitude to be superb. They said they found the service on the train we were presently traveling on was OK but no great shakes. I told them just wait until you switch trains in Chicago, you'll look back on this ride as a great one. How can that happen they asked, isn't Amtrak all owned by the same company. Well thats another story isn't it.
When I was growing up I was always told by the Chamber of Commerce to be good to the tourists we need them. I started to noticed though that I always seemed to have the same amount of money in my Jeans whether they were there or not.
In Florida where I make my home we swell by several million residents each year come Thanksgiving. But the spot rate on radio stations doesn't go up nor do we seem to have anymore running. Other than I cant get in my favorite restaurant while they are here, To this day I cant understand why the Chamber ever thought I needed these people.
I just got through reading a great article by my friend Tim Moore. Tim was writing about motivation and mentioning the kinds of things that motivated him for most of his life. I was kinda nodding along as I read but it got me thinking that maybe you have to be sensitive to motivation to be motivated. Or better put, you may have to want to be motivated to be motivated.
Everyone seems very upset about the music industry. The Artists, The Songwriters and The Record Companies all claim the Internet has ruined the music business. My daughter Cami who has about a thousand tunes in her I Pod seems happy enough with it though.
When I once asked Joe Amaturo who is heavily involved in Muvico Theatres, why some of his theatres seemed more splendid than others. Joe told me it was because he beleived the theatre in some way had to match the community it was located in. Wow I wonder if that would work in radio(-:
The more I learn about how PPM works the more all the mysteries of the old diary method tend to disappear.
Giving away a lot of money to charity doesn't make you a good person. Just how you got the money your giving away is what determines that.
I think a lot of people misunderstand Arbitron's intention. They are not in the business of searching for the truth about what radio stations people listen to. They are in the business of searching for money and most of their decisions are based solely on that, and that only.
Boy the Dr. Laura announcement that she is hangin' it up come the end of December has driven the sales dogs into an e mail frenzy, all of course claiming their talk client that they represent is the perfect replacement.
I have come to the realization that Art must be an unnatural phenomenon. I have never found it to happen naturally.
After sitting at a red light for what seemed like eternity again the other day and with absolutely no sign of any traffic, I couldn't help but wonder how much they paid the people who set up the systems for all the traffic lights. What ever it is they are definitely overpaid and owe us money.
The goal of every radio station should be to sound like they are not doing it for the money.
August 12, 2010
Where is or better yet, what is the symbol on your lap top to make a smirk instead of a smile.
Everything you have ever done in your life that was kinda bad and your embarrassed and ashamed about it now still make the best stories. But usually you have to be a little little loosened up by some fine wine so as to work up the courage to tell them.
The only people who can control Mr. business man is his competitors.
My Daughter Candis told me that she was driving along the other day with my 5 year old Grandson Nathaniel and kinda heard him singing and humming something from the back seat. When she listened a little closer it turned out to be a JURY tune he was singing from 40 years ago. Go ahead ask me how I feel about all that but only do it if you have an hour or two to waste listening to my answer.
Speaking of The Jury somebody is shooting a musical documentary and wants to use two of our records in it. They contacted me to find out who owns the rights to the songs now. I gave them the name of the publisher and suggested they might also contact my daughter Candis in California because she used to be in the music licensing business before she took on the even more formidable job of raising my grandson and could probably help out.
Turns out the publishing company doesn't exist anymore, so I suggested maybe the rights to the songs reverted back to the writers Bruce Walker, Terry Kenny and myself. Candis said Dad I've seen all those contracts nothing ever is in them that would return anything to the artist or writers. Back when I was singing and writing she said, I just couldn't bring myself to sign them like you guys probably did without hardly even reading them.
Of course now you have four records nicely framed hanging on your wall and people shooting documentaries about your music and I sure don't. So how smart was I after all.
I think Wars are between Governments not people, we just get dragged into it.
I only deceived my oldest Daughter once and that was when walking her down the aisle I did the symbolic gesture of handing her off to her Husband but I really didn't mean it. It was only symbolic to me and always will be. Oh the figuring out how to drive her and her date to and from the senior prom didn't count. I was just being very helpful as all fathers should be.
When Buzz Bennett and Jack McCoy were PD's they were a way ahead of their time. Some of the stuff they figured out even works better today.
It must be weird living in a world where you spend most of your life doing what ever it takes to become famous. Then suddenly you realize some other person can become famous in an instant just by killing you.
My best friend from High school Jim Quail e mailed me the other day to tell me how envious of me he was. He seems to be struggling with his early retirement. He spends most of his days golfing and worrying about whether the golfing everyday is going to tax his stamina because of course each night his fantastic wife will want him to make love to her like she does every night.
Then there is also the added pressure of trying to figure out where in the world they should consider living for 4 months of the winter. It has to be a fun place and there are so many too choose from that it's just exhausting.
He claims that he would give anything to be on the road with me struggling to get through security at the airport, sitting in center seats on jammed airplanes, listening to the endless on board announcements that are only done for our safety, waiting for the ramp to be pulled up to the plane, apparently even though the pilot to the second knows when we are going to arrive they never inform the ramp driver, waiting for the car rental shuttle bus as two or three from the other companies go by empty, lining up for the rental car because once again we are a surprise so there are only two at the desk and ten walking around with sheets of papers in their hand that are a lot more important than us, stuck in traffic on the 405, explaining to the front desk clerk at the hotel that the person who answers the phone knows who you are and they also have your reservation please check with them.
Jim says he still remembers and misses those great late night dinners where they keep working you and all the after hours club somebody always knows about which leads sometimes to you waking up with some woman who somehow in the morning just didn't manage to quite match the beauty she had the night before. You quietly try to chew your arm off rather than disturb her because you've got to get to that very exciting early morning meeting even though you have a big splitting headache.
But hey you live for those meetings man, they are your life. You can hardly wait for the part where some sales type says ... I don't know anything about programming but! His or her about what they don't know explanation takes about an hour. The only thing about their speech that was useful was they were absolutely right about their opening line and maybe in the future we wont have to suffer through another hour of their meanderings.
The best part of it all is you get to head back to the airport to do it all over again in another city only this time you are running a little late because the big guy had to take a bunch of phone calls during the meeting which he claimed would only take a moment. Those little special moments made the meeting run over but everyone said it was a great meeting, even though nothing was decided and no tasks were assigned. Meanwhile your wondering what your going to do if you don't make the plane, so your mentally making alternative plans. You cant even get on your cell phone because your in California.
Johns your a lucky man my buddy said, don't you worry about old Jimmy you just enjoy yourself out there, I'll be OK. I'm just not sure right now if I should take the boat out or do another round of golf. Trying to make all these decisions is about wearing me out. Aw the hell with either of those two things. I think I'll just have my self another afternoon delight.
I understand in the State of Nebraska alone they could grow enough food to feed the whole world. But I understand for economic reasons or something the Government pays them not to grow stuff. Are the people who decided this the same people who decided what ever got us into this current recession.
About 35% of your listeners are listening to you the rest are just hearing you and some reluctantly.
Have you ever noticed the amount of creativity that goes into telling you no. Yes is still just yes.
I wonder if the American women ever have forgiven Oprah for turning her back on a woman and endorsing Obama a while back. Lets check the ratings ... Nope, time to retire.
Tim Moore wrote that his Dad told him a long time ago that the cemeteries were filled with serious people and that maybe he should pick a different attitude.
August 4, 2010
Nobody has ever thought they were overpaid. But I know of a few and after a couple of glasses of a nice red I start naming names.
If nobody in Germany was for Hitler ever who were all the people in those huge stadiums cheering loudly and wildly for him for all those years.
When I google myself I seem to be an entrepreneur, a lawyer, an author of fine books and a military man of some importance. Hmmmmm now how do I turn all those great credentials into something useful.
Robert Murphy recently reminded me about the time he was leaving WRMF in Florida and heading back to Chicago. He remembered me telling him that I really admired the great unapproachable attitude he seemed to have. I knew at the time that I wished I had that same look so the sales department would be too afraid to approach me also.
Robert asked me at dinner recently how come we didn't talk a little more to each other when he worked at the station. He thought it may have been a good idea and maybe little more fun for him and the station too. I told him I was too afraid to. He was The Murph, Man!
Sales departments are very similer to a few women I know. They dont take any responsibility nor do they want to be accountable for their effect on the ratings.
A lot of people ask me why I dislike sales people so much. The truth is I really love hanging out with them they are fun people. I just don't like working with them, they lie for a living!
As predictable as talent is off the air they need to be equally as unpredictable on the air.
I bet in Nashville even the Chinese waiters have Southern accents.
Jim & Pat Felton (Jim Brady) e mailed me while back with the following quote "Your an overrated jerk"
When KVIL in Dallas was in it's infancy stage BILL Gardner, our then midday jock submitted his tape to Billboard Magazine for the coveted personality of the year award.
Bill's tape it turned was the one that the judges liked the best but Claude Hall said we cant have a winner from some station nobody has heard of. So for that year there was a tie for first place. Bill's trophy which he still proudly keeps on his mantle even has the call letters wrong KXIL. But it wasn't too much longer until the whole country had heard of KVIL including Claude.
You could turn a lot of movie stars into great Jox but I don't think the reverse is true.
Have you noticed the latest scam at the pumps. Sometimes when you slide in your credit card it says see attendant. They move that around everyday because it's designed to get you to go inside and maybe buy something, that's where the real profit is just like at the movies.
If you really want to be happy I've been told you have to live a balanced life. You have to spend equal amounts of your time on your spiritual, physical, intellectual, and financial well being. No wonder the rich only smile in photos.
The PPM device is deaf for the first hour of morning radio which means the agencies get that first hour for free.
Speaking of morning radio it's still the only day part with any influence on the listeners because they are listening to it not just hearing it.
I was watching a TV show that had a bunch of comedians on it sitting in the round in the middle of the audience. They were all just kinda chatting but at the same time being very competitive with each other and trying to make each other laugh.
Jonathon Winters was just sitting there not saying anything until somebody said, Hey Jonathon you knew Richard Burton right? Jonathon nodded and the guy went on to ask him if he ever talked about Elizabeth Taylor. Jonathon waited until the room got real quiet and responded with ... Yes he said she was very furry ! The place fell down.
Jonathon also said he tried explaining to all the French people while in France, that unlike them, when an American person holds both of his arms upright over his head it just means, touchdown.
What I cant understand is why shortly after first meeting them women seem to want/need all my money for the rest of their life.
If you have ever wondered if your crazy or not, your not. Crazy people don't have crazy thoughts like that.
Once a player makes the NFL there are only two other things he covets. A Super Bowl ring and induction into the Hall Of Fame. I don't think T.O. will get either.
I told my Daughter Cami who is going into High School in a couple of weeks that for some reason my memory record button didn't kick until that time. I don't remember hardly anybody from the 8th grade or before. But I sure remember and am still in touch with a bunch I started with in the 9th at TCI. Oh yeah and I also remember what I was thinking about, so I will be staying close to my little girl. I bet she loves this part(-:
It used to be that marketing was 70% of the whole deal and product was 30%. Now consumers are demanding the reverse.
Women lose there power over us when we no longer want to sleep with them just like we lose our power with them when we run out of money.
Mornings are still the most listened to day part on radio no matter what PPM says.
There is nothing more powerful than a beautiful woman walking into the room.
Speaking of beautiful things, Lindy Rome who left radio a while back to start her own business proved you don't have to be or look like a man to make Man Sized Money.
My Dad always told me to stay away from the bad girls. I thought that was strange advice at the time because I really really liked all the bad girls. I now know what he was talkin' about.
I was proudly thinking about my niece Christina today. She graduated from High school in San Diego a couple of years ago with a 4.0, but for some unknown reason to me that wasn't good enough to qualify her for UCLA. I have a strong feeling though that some very spoiled athletes who are there just to train for the NFL, NBA and MLB and will probably leave early with out ever graduating got in very easily not to mention free. I don't think many of them attending UCLA at the moment equaled let alone surpassed her grades and yet we the public get to pay for all their training. There's just something wrong with all that.
How come Asian people don't whine about their circumstances in America. Shouldn't they be demanding some special privileges. What's wrong with them.
Don't you just hate that moment when you are in the middle of a very intense argument and you suddenly discover your wrong!
July 29, 2010
It is said that greed is the biggest motivator of all, It like sex makes you immune to fear.
Frank Osborn who came from the financial side of the biz told me he always went with the concept that GM's got two PD's and PD's got two books.
I had always heard that the the character Pig Vomit in the Howard Stern movie really was a combination of Kevin Metheny and John Hayes.
No wonder divorced women are pissed. When they were married they controlled the spending of 81% of the family's income, after the divorce they have to live on 50% which is impossible for them to do
Please tell me this 50 year or older sales trick isn't still being used. ... "If we don't do this immediately the client will cancel. Or the even lamer, we wont get the money if we dont do this.
I always figured that it really doesn't matter who owns Pizza Hut until your Boss says the new concept is, we are going to use a little less cheese in each Pizza now. In radio I think we are a way beyond that and have moved on to no cheese at all in the cheese Pizza. Now would be the perfect time to be running around screaming ... THE SKY IS FALLING THE SKY IS FALLING !
Speaking of Chicken Little, Jim Hilliard once said in a meeting I attended, " Had they just killed the damn chicken that would have ended all that nonsense." It would have made story a whole lot shorter that's for sure.
I always loved Ron Chapman's answer when pressured for an immediate answer to a sales promotion. If you need an answer right this moment the answer is NO he said, but if you give me a couple of days I might be able to turn that NO around. But that's not a for sure. I just need a couple of days to really ponder it. Do you think he got his extra time???
What is the prediction on Idol's ratings show business is based on the Star System (unlike radio) and like Elvis, the star is leaving the building. OK maybe just one of The Beatles like Paul or John. I predict a little curiosity interest at the beginning then the ratings will begin to plummet.
I understand that Obama wants to extend the unemployment benefits. I'm all for it but he needs to add one little thing. They all have to look for work or they get cut off immediately.
When I was on the train recently coming through the Rockies and was getting ready to get off the train the Steward said, Mr. Johns we didn't see much of you this trip in fact you were the quietest person on the train. I told him a lotta people will find that hard to believe so he might as well keep it to himself and not bother to alert the Media.
I never realized until recently when I was meeting with Brent Farris and his morning partner Debbie Abrams, that women actually believe they need all those shoes.
I learned a long time ago how to keep a woman from getting too close to me, but I have no idea how to get them too close.
I for the life of me can't figure out why God made Kari, Cami's mother and me her Father.
It is hard for me to believe that some men are as successful as they are when every 7 seconds they are thinking about the beauty and charms of certain women and not about the task at hand.
It is said that if you want to find an assertive engineer just look for the one who is looking down at someone Else's shoes.
When I was the the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting I was always trying to recruit some great air talent for all our stations. One I really liked and pursued for years was a great jock at WAKY in Kentucky by the name of Lee Masters. Lee got so tired of me hounding him that he left town and changed his name. Recently I discovered he is now calling himself Jarl Mohn and is hiding out I understand at some NPR station in Pasadena. If he hasn't lost his chops I'm coming for him again, he can run but he cant hide in a building named after him.
Have you ever noticed that all the airline staff seem totally shocked when the flight is full. You would think someone from ticketing would let them know so they could begin boarding a little earlier rather than giving us all these silly instructions on how we can speed up the boarding process so they can leave on time.
I had to stay at the downtown Oakland Marriott recently so I could board Amtrak early the next morning for my trek through the Rockies. At the bar on the Mezzanine floor I told the bar tender that I was very impressed by the hotel. He asked if it was my first trip to downtown Oakland, when I told him it was he said ... Were you a little bit frightened ?
I stayed in Redwood City a week or so ago and saw literally groups of police cars giving out tickets. I couldn't help but wonder who the hell was fighting crime.
In Florida as I'm sure in other spots around the nation the Police and Firemen have great benefit packages.In Florida there are no fires so I'm not sure what the firemen do other than start their own businesses on the side.
July 20, 2010
I was thinking about the Clear Channel new plan of cutting the wages of Morning show folks who cost more than 30% of the income of their shows. Now of course if the show doesn't cost 30% they will all be getting raises right? Yeah ... Right!
While vacationing in Vancouver I had the privilege of lunching one day with two radio hall of fame rs at the same time Red Robinson and Gary Russell. Luckily they didn't let me say much because what would I say to them anyway. I think maybe my role was supposed be the paying of the check. But I long ago forgot how that tune goes.
Brent Farris said, when the bean counters are the ones planting the seeds, it's time to sell the farm.
The word I think best describes a great morning show is "Unpredictable"
I heard a teacher on the radio up here in Victoria, Canada say that the schools should worry a lot less about a students self esteem and more about their learning ability so they can begin to cope in the real world. Hmmmm I wonder if that would work in America.
With the passing of The Magic Christian I couldn't help but notice that all the stories that have been pouring in about him are exactly the same even though most of these people never worked together but they all worked with Magic. But then who didn't.
My very socialist friends in Canada were asking me while I was on my recent bucket list tour ... What's up with Obama, he seems to be a little over the top.
Jerry Del Colliano wrote a great column the other day explaining how PPM really worked. I was a little upset about the fact that I thought he was giving away all the secrets until I suddenly realized there are very few people left in radio today who would even understand what he was writing about.
PPM has changed a lot of things but it didn't change the fact that most of your 1/4 hours come from your fans. Turns out they just weren't as loyal as they thought they were in the diary method.
Things continue to be what they are, and not what we wish them to be.
Holding on to what you have keeps you from having what you want. Case in point, almost 100% of Americans have some kind of insurance but less than 20% invest in anything.
Have you ever noticed that guys never seem to buy their favorite cars until they get 50 or 60 years of age.
Why does Government think we have the extra money they need to balance their budget.
Before PPM broadcasters spent a lot of time pounding call letters so the "Phantom" cume would mark them down. They never did and all we managed to do was irritate all the people who did know who we were.
Speaking of Phantom cume, according to PPM it did exist and wasn't just some phantom myth.
What the hell is a SIG Alert?
I think the Government spends too much time helping the rich and the poor, neither does much for the country but whine.
I'm on what I call my bucket list trip, you know visiting people and places I haven't seen in a long long time. It started Fathers day weekend in San Diego at my brothers house with my two daughters Candis and Cami. When Cami and I headed to LAX to fly her back to Florida I thought I had plenty of pre paid gas to get us back to Enterprise Rent -a- Car but with a couple of miles to go the gauge moved into below empty and I was real nervous. Finally I saw the facility and breathed a sigh of relief and told Cami that when they said bring the car back empty Daddy finally did it because we were on fumes. When we pulled up the rent a car guy jumped in as we were dragging our stuff out of the trunk and yelled ... HEY GOOD JOB ON THE FUEL, THAT'S THE WAY YOU DO IT.
I think Orville and Wilbur Wright were the last airline guys to make any money.
I have been drifting around Canada and America now for over a month and have come to the conclusion that you cant drift. Friends and relatives need pretty exact times about your comings and goings if you expect to stay with them. Kinda like if you want your listeners to listen to your station you better make an appointment with them otherwise they will be the ones doing the drifting.
July 13, 2010
Have you ever noticed that all estimates are always a lot lower than the actual final bill. So the actual ratings must be much bigger than the estimates ARB gives us also. So I'm thinking the rating party should also be bigger too right???
Whisky lies to you (you really can't fly) as it seduces you into telling the truth when you definitely shouldn't.
If the truth is not politically correct do you still have to tell it in a court of law.
Vic Gold told me that all fiction novels were at least 50% true and you could actually half educate yourself by simply reading more of them.
Another one of the great things about vacationing in Vancouver this time of year is, not only is it much cooler up here than in Florida, but I have already seen two football games and it's only early July. Oh did I mention that my home town Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat up the Hamilton Tiger Cats pretty badly.
I have known and worked on and off with the Magic Christian for most of my broadcast career. During that whole time Magic always claimed he was dying thus needing a lot of time off and a lot of drugs to ease the pain. Last night his early prediction sadly came true but needless to say he has left most of us with a ton of stories that we will never tire of telling.
Men and Women sure live in two different worlds. When a Woman gets engaged it shuts down the whole office for the day as she shows off her engagement ring. When a Man gets engaged the first time you hear about it is when he's already married.
Jim Hilliard and I have worked together so long that now if he just thinks something he expects me to somehow hear it and do it.
Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing but it only works out on the street, it sure doesn't work at the office.
I quit smoking back in the 70's and just happen to notice a bright sign advertising the low price a carton of cigarettes were on sale for today. Wow how can anybody afford to smoke anymore.
I just noticed that Arbitron is bringing out a new and improved PPM device that they claim will measure listening more accurately. But I still don't think it hears the clock radio when it goes off so what good is it.
Radio like the car business used to be all about image. With cars it's still all image until you finally choose your brand then it becomes all price. With radio it's all image until you get in someone else's car.
I have only been in Canada my friend Gary Russell for the last 5 days and have managed to have seen 4 Football games already and I'm not talkin' World Cup. Now that's the way I think one really kicks off an excellent summer vacation.
It's competition that keeps down prices not the goodwill of the owner who yearns for a monopoly.
What ever happened to the coffee break.
Speaking of breaks, don't those people who are milling about outside some building having a smoke look a little sad and lonely to you too.
While I was doing some radio work in Detroit a while back I remember heard a bunch of car spots saying you could buy a Ford today for the lowest price ever. I couldn't help but think wow how could they afford to sell them for a lower price than Henry sold them for. They weren't lying were they.
Chuck Knapp said ... "Finally Magic will have nothing to complain about".
Jay Williams claimed that Magic told him once that the reason he wore such cheap after shave was so his scent remained at the station long after he went home.
Bob Christy said he fondly remembers hearing a girls voice on Magic's show saying, "This is Patty Hearst, and when ever I am hiding out in Boston I always listen to The Magic Christian on WVBF. The FBI called in shortly thereafter.
Christopher Coleridge founder of V Water according to John Picano said ... Mornings were the best times to get some body's attention because they were filled with optimism unlike evenings when they were slightly annoyed and frustrated.
June 29, 2010
Have you ever noticed that most of the things you don't want to do but you are ordered to do so are all supposedly done in the name of safety.
I read somewhere that depression was merely anger without much enthusiasm.
Has a secret relationship ever had a good ending.
My least favorite word is no, and my absolute least favorite line is, "I don't know anything about programming but"............................!
When Jim Hilliard was running Fairbanks Broadcasting he announced that there was only one person who was allowed to see the new ratings before he did.
That person is George Johns. Jim said because George just loves ratings parties and I as some of you may know, believe the sole purpose of my office is to bring good news to the sales department. I am very confident that George will always find me some so he gets the first peek at the rating book.
Is it safe to say that the new boss of Clear Channel wont be a radio guy.
George Burns once said the secret of a great sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending. But to make it very special all you have to do is put the beginning and end as close together as you can. That sage advice sure sounds like it would work real good on radio as well.
I don't believe that all women are as awful as their so called girlfriends claim they are.
How the hell is Mark Mays going to live on a million a year, there has got to be some skimming going on somewhere.
My brother Reg said to me ... How many people do you think reads your stuff. Just the ones I want to was my reply.
Joe Amaturo finally met my Daughter Cami and I think she softened him up a bit which isn't that easy to do. Mr. A went into a very long philosophical dissertation about "Act In Haste Repent At Leisure" which was very interesting to me because it more resembled how I try to get points across than the specific filled way he does it. Later on I asked Cami what she thought of him. She said he was nice and she really liked his story about not getting pregnant.
Cris Conner was telling me that he was thinking about his Dad on Fathers Day and remembers years ago him asking Chris what his plans were for after High School. Chris said he mumbled, "I don't know maybe go to College or sumpin' " His Dad said if you choose something instead of College you will get to put "Dumb Ass" on your resume.
For some reason loud records tend to soften with age.
It seems to me almost all new records are perceived as too loud.
There is no music as fast as a radio station Jingle.
My experience is ... You must grow a morning show to make it better, you cant just order it up.
Radio programming is now in the hands of the mechanics and they continually adjust the Art to fit their mechanics, which of course is the exact opposite of how it works.
Less time should be spent on the decision making process and a lot more time spent on the implementation of the decision.
I think compromise is something you may have to do in your business life but I definitely don't think you should do it in your personal life.
I went away for a week and when I came back I discovered gas is up 10 cents a gallon again. Which one of you scared those oil wimps.
I hear Delilah is getting ready to take on John Tesh in LA.
I think most cars are bought by women but they send a guy (Husbands) to pick them up for them. If it was really up to the guy he would probably be at the Harley store.
Have you ever noticed that the sales folks seem to be what I call "Fair Weather Listeners". They always seem to forget how much they were against things in the early stages of a new format but once the ratings show up they claim they were for it and knew it was a big hit all along. But then again I guess they really don't have to remember because I do.
Back when I was an aspiring young musician I was also a sheet metal apprentice only because my father said ... In this family we work for a living we don't "play" in a band.
When your a programming guy it doesn't matter if you like the music your playing or not. In fact it may even help if you don't. But if your an air talent you'd better like it because the fans of that music can generally tell in a minute or two that you don't unless of course your a great actor. But then again if you're that good then you need to be in Hollywood because as you already know Radio only pays chump change compared to them.
I don't ever think I've heard a woman say she got "lucky" last night.
June 22, 2010
Beefs&Bouquets. ( I'm sure this title brings a small tear to Warren Cosford's eye.)
There's an old saying that pertains I would think mostly to men. If your not good lookin' "You Better Learn To Dance".
Bill McMartin E mailed me my first hug after reading that my Daughter Cami claimed not many people liked me because I was too mean. Bill disagreed saying that he remembers meeting me for the first time when I came to Syracuse to meet with him. He said the first words out of my mouth were ..." Where The Hell Am I And Can You Show It To Me On A Map" Bill said how can you not like a guy who makes you laugh right from his opening remarks.
Jim Hilliard's reaction to Cami's statement was ... I just love that kid!
When we finally go all green I wonder how much will electricity cost. Scary thought huh.
I think both my daughters understand how committed to them I am, but I get the feeling they both wish I would ease up a tad.
While at the Transcona Homecoming I went out with Ermanno Barone and Willie Parasiuk to look at a movie lot Ermanno had just built. After that we had lunch with Willie's old boss the former Governor General Of Canada and Premier of Manitoba,
Ed Schreyer. While at lunch Ed's wife asked me what happened to the Winnipeg music scene that used to be so huge when I was playing with The Jury.
I explained to her that because they built so many Hockey Rinks in the Winnipeg area they also had to build community clubs so the kids could change into their skates. With those Community Clubs came places to play, so bands started forming to match how many community clubs there were.
Then one day they lowered the drinking age to 18 so a lot of 16 year olds got fake ID's and went to the bars to watch the bands while enjoying adult beverages. That of course immediately killed most of attendance at the community club dances. Mrs. Schreyer then turned to her husband and said ... Ed you single hand idly wiped out our great Winnipeg music scene.
I was saddened to hear of the passing of the great John Wooden. Years ago when my daughter Candis was going to UCLA and we were training to run the LA Marathon together. One day we decided to do our training run around the Campus so she could show it to me.
All of a sudden I just stopped running and just stared. Candis said what's wrong Dad, I said nothings wrong this is real right. Honey they named an arena after a legend while he is still alive. The John Wooden Arena and it's not a memorial arena. Wow how neat. Never heard of him said Candis as she ran off.
Your own sales department can destroy your radio station a lot faster than any of you competitors could ever even dream of.
If the first word used to describe something is "illegal". Don't you think it should be the last word as well.
Now that the Airlines no longer trust the flight attendants with cash do they have any other duties we should be concerned about.
Banker Bill Lewis who wrote the song Cherish for his girlfriend while going to College told me a while back that he thought The Association ruined it.
When I was going to High School in Transcona there were several guys like Marshall Quelch and Bill Taylor whom I was real afraid of. I noticed while attending the Homecoming and seeing them again nothing had changed. I was still afraid of them.
Speaking of the Transcona Homecoming it was real neat to watch and hear Bruce Walker sing The Jury's first hit "Until You Do" I asked Rolly Blaquiere if we should join him on stage for a couple more of our hits. He replied ... F**K 'em! Hell It's only been 40 years why would things have cooled off that quickly, what was I thinking.
Seeing all my old High School buds was neat but several of them accused me of now having an American accent. I responded with ... If that is true why do all my American friends break out laughing every time I say the word "about"
Helen Torchia wanted to know when I was going to grow up. I told her not anytime soon, I don't see that many happy grownups.
Egos are great for giving you the courage to climb up on the stage, stand in front of the cameras, or talk on the radio. Other than that they are fairly destructive.
My son Curtis academically I think takes after me more than both my daughters Candis and Cami do which is not a very good thing for Curtis.
I still vividly remember going to the parent teachers night when we lived in Coronado and how I would try to trick their Mother Lana into splitting up the visiting duties with her. I thought she should visit Curtis' teachers where they would immediately put up the sign of the cross when we walked in and introduced ourselves, unlike Candis' teachers who started up the band with our arrival, and quickly crowned us parents of the year. So much for household environment.
You would think psychics would have a real good shot at the lottery but you never hear of them winning. What's up with that???
Wow what a Fathers Day! For the first time in 14 years I was with both my daughters. Talk about a breathless moment.
Speaking of Fathers Day, I was a better father than my Father was. Then I got another chance to become a better Father than I was and took advantage of it. But now I think it's time to leave it there and hang 'em up. But.........
A lot of people don't think I take life seriously enough. but the way I figure it why should you. No matter how you live, none of us are getting out of here alive anyway.
Now that we are all armed with Cameras in our cell phones, isn't it strange that we no longer seem to hear about UFOs
June 15, 2010
One of the things I am very grateful for is my "No Regrets" list is at least 10 times longer than my "Regrets" list.
According to Brian Tracy as time moves forward and you start to look back on your life, the only things that will count will be the quality of your relationships.
People who only have the power to say no always tend to way over use their power.
If you asked the Government to point out to you their greatest accomplishment what do you suppose that would be.
I just finished a home coming reunion in Transcona and I have to say that my boyhood friend who was the one responsible for me getting into music Peter Proskurnik still has great sax chops. I'm almost over him leaving The Phantoms those many years ago because he fell love, or was that lust. Hard to tell the difference back then.
At the same reunion, Jack Wright who played with my Brother Reg in a band together back when they were kids said of Reg's drumming when he sat in with the makeshift band at the affair was that it was memorable, and he was totally stunned by it.
For some reason I seem mostly attracted to broken women, so if for some reason I hit on you, my advice would be that you should make an appointment with a shrink asap.
A lot of people ask me when I took up writing ... The moment I discovered spell check! Now, where is that punctuation button
Jim Hilliard says he cant spell because as a jock you had to write everything out phonetically so you could say it correctly. Even though I wasn't on the air much I'm gonna go with that too.
Everything I read says you should only get into the kind of work you are passionate about, mainly because your probably not very good at anything else.
Women generally like male singers the most because it's the only time they ever get to see or hear any emotion from men.
My Grandfather claimed life was all about Faster Horses, (cars) Older Whiskey, Younger Women and Mo' Money. If I pass all that down to my Grandson Nathaniel I think my Daughter will kill me. I think I'll just go with the Mo' Money part, if he gets that the rest goes with it.
The great thing about living in Florida and California is you don't grow old as quickly as my old friends in Transcona did ... Well that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
While at the Transcona Homecoming dinner they were rolling tons of pictures of all of us in High School and on sports teams and stuff. They even ran a bunch of great pictures of The Jury. The thing I miss most about the band, is my hair.
What just hit me is ... What the hell is BP doing drilling off of our shores for anyway???
Speaking of BP Have you noticed that even though they are spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf, the price at their pumps is going down. Got to be just huge margins in that stuff.
Your children spell Love T-I-M-E
Speaking of time, Ken Schlafmann (LeMann) says "Father Time is a Mother"
A couple of weeks ago as I was having dinner with my super tax accountant Cindy Adair she mentioned that she really liked listening to someone called Delilah on the radio at night. So I asked her if she would like to meet her. I had heard a few days before that she was in West Palm Beach headlining some sort of women's Expo. Cindy was rather surprised that I claimed to know her and just thought I was teasing her as I tend to do. I told her it didn't matter if I knew her it only mattered if she knew me. She asked if I thought we could even get in. I said if Delilah knows me we sure can, do you want to test it. She said I buy a lot of things you say, but I'm calling you on this, lets go.
When we got to the expo there was a huge line waiting to talk to her get pictures signed by Delilah. We kinda worked our way around the side of the line where we could see her and I was hoping she could see us but she was focused on the people in line.
The whole time Cindy is saying how could you know her, your just spoofing me right. I said lets find out right now and I loudly called out Delilah's name. She looked up a bit startled and shouted GEORGE with a big grin on her face as she came around the table with her arms out stretched and gave me a big hug. What a perfect moment that was soon ruined by the crowd yelling ... "Hey back of the line buddy" and some other not so nice things. Our sweet reunion soon came to an abrupt halt and Cindy and I ran for it. It was time to go check her Puppies anyway.
People who are crazy never wonder if they are.
Hey what if its not just paranoia, and they really are watching you.
I've been told my whole life that supply and demand sets prices. If that's really true shouldn't Wine cost about a dollar a bottle.
The Ump who blew the perfect game call is the only sports figure I can recall that admitted he was wrong and offered up an apology. But then again he's not a player is he.
My Daughter Cami recently told me that a lot of people don't like you because I'm too mean. I said that's not true honey a lot of people like me. She responded with ... Most of them are only pretending to like you Daddy because they are afraid of you. I think I need a hug!
In the world of being somebody is Steve Jobs leaving Bill Gates in the dust or what.
They say any plane landing you can walk away from is a good one. But traffic reporter extraordinaire Paul Cavenaugh limped away from his last landing, that's the bad news, the good news is he will soon be recuperating on that yacht the settlement is buying him.
I told everyone at the reunion that would listen that I would have been a Rhodes Scholar had Pete not gotten me in to music. They had to give it to Willy Parasiuk instead but I no longer hold any grudges about it(-:
June 8, 2010
REGRETS? I HAVE A FEW.
Wanting to be somebody a way too much.
Not running track in High School, "I coulda been a contendah".
Not paying enough attention in Mr. Deering's English class.
Not paying enough attention in anybody's class.
Not being in the classroom the day my life long friend Jim Quail punched out our smart assed science teacher.
Never having a great relationship with my Father and unfortunately carrying that tradition on with my own son.
Not being a very good husband.
Never winning one discussion/argument with my mother even though logic seemed to be on my side
Leaving The Jury.
Not leaving Saskatoon sooner.
Leaving Sudbury too soon.
Being just a radio guy with a radio brain and not fully realizing how neat Ottawa really was.
Not teaming The Magic Christian up with some other jock for mornings somewhere.
Not going to Hawaii enough.
Going to Venice too often.
Not accepting the Shadek's ownership offer in San Diego and beyond.
Buying a radio station in Indy and pissing off all my old friends
Selling KKCW in Portland.
Buying Star in Milwaukee.
Not killing the money guys who didn't show at our closing of WMET in Chicago
Not being a very good older brother.
Leaving San Diego
Missing some of the neat smaller events my kids were involved in.
Being so intense on all the family vacations.
Walking away from it all and now not even remembering why.
Telling too many people over the years to F**K OFF but still managing to miss a few that so deserved to hear it. Damn!
Not winning some kind of reward so I could thank all the people publicly who made me who I am today.
Not laughing as much as I really feel like doing mainly because people say this life stuff is all very serious and it would be very inappropriate to laugh about it.
Turning down the charms of a few beautiful women while trying to take a rain check. There is no such thing of course.
Not resisting the charms of some I should have.
Never buying a Ferrari.
Not being able to totally calm my rage.
Not completing my mission of getting to everyone on my revenge list, but at the same time feeling kinda bad about even having one.
Not keeping in touch enough with all the great talent I had the pleasure and privilege of working with over the years.
Not starting each and every conversation I ever had with a sales person with those special words ... Don't lie to me now!
May 31, 2010
How come nobody asks the President of Mexico who is currently complaining about our border policies, what his are?
I don't know why everyone at a radio station feels the need to communicate that they once again have spotted something wrong. The kind of people who do this usually dump that stuff in your lap and go home. I for one only love the people that say ... Hey we have a problem but here's how I think we can solve it. My all time favorite people of course are the ones who say .... We had a problem but I fixed it. Those are the types that I'm always begging the big guys to please give them some more money.
Bill Gardner and I were laughing on the phone the other day about Paul Drew. Joe Amaturo who craves specifics and attention to detail would have loved this guy. Bill was working for him at WIBG in Philly at the time and on this particular day was filling in on the morning show. At the top of the hour he did the time and the special ID which ended with his name. But on this occasion Bill also threw in the words good morning as he punched in the first hot hit of the hour.
The hot line went off immediately and it was Paul shouting at him, BILL LEAVE OUT THE SUPERFLUOUS BULLSHIT! Bill asked him what he was talking about. Good morning you said good morning, thats superfluous bullshit and we don't need it. STICK TO THE SCRIPT, and with that bit of wisdom communicated he slammed down the phone leaving Bill speechless.
Carl Reiner said sometimes you have to leave out the best stuff just to make the whole show work.
Jim Hilliard and CBS have been doing battle in the courts for almost 11 years over an on air News person. It was finally over a couple of days ago in his favor. Wow, World Wars don't last that long never mind the battles.
When rejecting The Beatles in 1962 Decca Records said ... "We don't like their sound and guitar music is on the way out" They were all later fired of course and when last heard of were running something called radio.
The biggest perks in the world belong to some Corporate executives and all Government employees. I really think they should try some other incentives like maybe fear, because the perks don't seem to be working. Have you ever seen any more miserable people in your life.
If you couldn't run any commercials on a radio station would you really want one.
Listeners work hard at not listening to or even noticing commercials our job is to make all that impossible.
A good bit always starts with the end already done, then you add a strong beginning, put a little mystery in the middle and you are close to being syndicated baby!
All women want to lose 10 lbs
Are the police really fighting crime like they say they are or are they just mainly handing out speeding tickets for a living that pays great money, with great overtime, great perks and a great pension. They better smile while they're handing out those tickets.
15% of the folks claim they have sex while driving.
So how pissed are the oil companies at BP after they coerced Obama into talking about off shore drilling maybe being a good thing for America again. All of a sudden the oil spill hits the gulf. Hey Mr. president we're ready to vote on it now.
Have you noticed that everything is shrinking. A Lb. of coffee is no longer a pound and those giant bags of everything you used to buy have a little less in them but the price is the same. Mr. business man for some reason thinks he has been given the God giving right to cheat us. Maybe it's called Divine cheating.
How did that Divine right thing work out for those crusades type Kings. I think it's even going to work out worse for Mr. business man.
Tim Reever is a radio sales type I actually like but probably mainly because he's a runner. When I lived in Boston we would go racing every two weeks but Tim who was good enough to go to college on a running scholarship, always finished a way ahead of me. When I called him recently to wish him well on his B day. He responded with ... Now that I'm the same age as you when we first met back I just wish I could run the times you ran back then.
Anybody who just checks off a punch list everyday thinking that's a career, deserves exactly what happens to them.
I think the people of America are the most charitable people on earth and I'm not talking about our Government who just love to give away our money. I'm talking about all the regular folks who send their own money to devastated folks all over the world even with out receiving much love in return.
My brother Reg and I have always had great conversations about everything under the sun but I've noticed lately that he finishes a lot of our chats with ... Hey don't write about this OK.(-:
Just because it's politically incorrect to mention that some people are incompetent doesn't make them any more competent.
I don't think it's right to give special privileges to people who aren't special.
Sometimes being ignorant of the so called rules is good like Jimmy Bowen who was recording Frank Sinatra for the first time. Frank walked into the studio took off his nifty fedora and did his usual "one take" put his hat back on and headed for the door. Jimmy interrupted his hasty departure with ... Mr. Sinatra could we get another take. While the whole orchestra gasped for air, Frank said sure, turned around took off his hat and laid down another excellent take like only he could do.
With the Stanley Cup finals on now it reminded me about when Jack Kent Cook brought The Kings to LA. After their first season Jack said it was a no brainer bringing Hockey to Los Angeles mainly because he knew there were over 2 million Canadians living in the area. But what he missed he said was the fact that these Canadians must hate Hockey and they had moved to LA to escape it.
Speaking of Hockey you didn't choose to play goalie you were chosen, probably because you were the slowest skater.
I recently read a headline that said ... IS BP LYING ABOUT THE OIL SPILL. Hey they're an oil company if their lips are moving we all know the answer to that question dont we..
May 24, 2010
Brent Farris said he was recently standing backstage chatting with his long time friend Tommy Smothers who was patiently waiting to go on stage for the last time ever with his brother Dick as the Smothers Brothers. Brent asked him if there was a secret you had to know in order to have a long and successful career. Tommy replied ... Having talent is good, luck is good, knowing people in the biz is good, but there is nothing as important and powerful as being different. Being different is the only secret you will ever need to succeed.
Last week my daughter Cami and I were walking through the men's shoe department at Dillard's on our way to to ladies shoes to find something to go with the beautiful dress she was going to wear to the 8th grade dance. As we strolled together along the aisle I happened to notice these real good looking Ralph Lauren deck shoes that were in black, red, and navy blue. They also had that special Polo logo on them and I was kinda wondering how much they were as Cami said ... "Dad if you ever wear anything like those I would immediately have to De-Father you."
I have been involved in A/C music most of my life and it's been very very good to me. The funny thing though is I don't even like it which allows me to very cruel and harsh about what I do and don't play on the radio.
After seeing the movie Robin Hood It became very clear to me why the Muslims hate us so much.
I have never heard the words slutty and beautiful used together to accurately describe a particular person of interest.
Income is not based on need it's based only on ability, perceived or otherwise.
I used to hear a lot about South Africa when the world was angry about how it was being run. Has anybody checked lately to see how things are going now. Are they happy?
I saw some research a long time ago that said the 3 main things that caused tune out were. 1- Bad Music 2- Bad Jox 3- Bad Commercials. OK, I'm working on the Music and the Jox, whose got the Spots??? HELLO! HELLO ... CAN ANYBODY HEAR ME? IS THIS WORKING (thump thump) IS THIS ON? HELLO!
Woody Cooper (Gary Housley) said he likes my longer "life" stories a lot more than my liners. Speaking of a liner King, what say you Bill Gardner?
I just got off the phone with David Martin who reminded me about the time we were working on a project together in Chicago back when we were mere pups. But of course we thought of ourselves only as young Turks.
We were winding down a busy day that was filled with meetings about why we couldn't do all the things we needed to do to so as to have have some impact in a town that was already filled with morning legends. We discussed our dilemma high above the city in some roof top bar sipping on a large glasses of wine as we gazed out at the magnificent skyline of downtown Chicago. David claims he can still see the moment clearly in his minds eye when he turned to me and said ... George, what question are you asked the most as you travel around the country visiting your client stations. Like what would you say would be the all time # 1 question, the one you get tired of having to answer all the time. He said that he remembered that I paused for a moment or two before taking another sip of wine then finally turned away from the beautiful view of the city and tiredly said ..."When are you coming back" Yep, that's the question they most want to know, thats definitely the # 1 question by far. When are you coming back.
David said he laughed out loud and said to me, that's real funny because that was my next question.
When your a runner you run slow mostly so you can race fast.
In the movie The Dark Knight, The Joker says ... "If your real good at something never do it for free"
I love women meeting women who refuse to be intimidated by a man mainly because I've tried to teach both my daughters how to become just like them.
Being an experienced broadcaster is like being an experienced football player. Where does that all end up. Not in a good place I wouldn't think.
What happened to all those women going crazy at all those hard rock concerts you see on You Tube. They sure don't listen to the stations that are still playing all the groups they were all throwing themselves at just a few years ago.
I was kind of an irresponsible guy until I held my first child in my arms. I have to admit when she got married years later and I had to hand her off to the man she chose as her husband, that I was just faking it. That hand off to me was just symbolic, I'm still here, I'm still on guard and I'm still watching.
David Mamet claims the audience is not tuning in for information they are tuning in for Drama.
The big thing with a lot of pro Athletes is getting the respect they feel they deserve. I think we all respect their athletic ability but getting us to respect them as decent human beings is another thing. That's conditional, they really have to deserve that kind of special respect.
To be or not to be is not the question ... The question is, how do you make the same old s**t sound different?
As Jeff & Jer prepare to go back on the air again in San Diego there will be a major difference. For the 1st time they will be on the air 7 days a week. Wow isn't that kinda like the big guys learning Karate. What do all the little guys do now.
Alcohol and fame are a lot alike, eventually they both turn into truth serums.
When it's real quiet that usually means something real loud is about to happen.
The boys in pin stripe blues always want the on air talent to be very clear and precise about what they are talking about. But the audience begs to differ they want drama.
The audience wants to wonder about what the talent is really saying, like where this is all going, and what's this all really about. When I listen to the radio now It sounds to me like the boys in blue are winning!
May 17, 2010
It is said that we should all live in New York once but get the hell out before we get too hard. It is also said that we should also live in Northern California once but get out of there before we get too soft.
I've noticed that all the New Yorkers who visit Florida didn't get out in time. Damn!
For some reason I feel more Canadian now than I ever did as a Canadian.
Jeff Blazy says the evil Tylenol person was a woman who poisoned her husband and tainted a bunch of of the pills in stores so it looked like the Tylenol did it. Tom Mullane sends a story out of Chicago that new evidence now links a man to the murders who was charged with extortion years ago in the same case.
You would think that being sold out at a radio station would be the best day anyone could ever hope for at a station with a new format. But with the huge amount of anger I have witnessed when it happens, it has to be the worse day.
John Lund says you have just 3 seconds to get your listeners attention.
Turns out that new research says that folks listen to the radio twice as much as they do any other audio device and three times more while in a car.
During an interview The Beatles were asked about why they didn't speak up about the war in Vietnam, John answered with "because somebody would probably shoot us" ... Turns out somebody did anyway.
One day back at Corporate Headquarters in Indianapolis Dick Yancey walked into Mr. Fairbanks office and told him he had figured out how to double the billing. Why would we want to do that asked Richard M. Dick responded with ... I don't have that answer sir I thought you did.
In the olden days of radio before TV the producers would have the voice actors audition scripts fro a studio where they couldn't see them. The producers would mark down black hat or white hat beside each actors name. The listeners still do it to this day.
Nobody really prepares for success they only prepare for failure.
Holding on to what you have keeps you from having what you want. About 5% of the American public invest in the stock market in hopes making a better life for themselves. A 100% though invest in some kind of insurance, trying to hold on to what they all ready have.
It's a different radio world in all of Southern California. Hell, show producers out there than make a lot more money than the air talent does back here in Miami/Fort Lauderdale.
Of the many things that can ruin your life, one that is most surprising to me is ... Becoming successful at what you were always trying to be successful at.
A couple of weeks ago I was driving with Brent Farris from LA to Palm Springs for meetings we both were involved in. As we creeped along I decided to tune in The Frog which used to be one of my favorite radio stations when Joe Amaturo owned it and Tom Hoyt was the GM.
What a shock! Instead of sounding very fun and friendly like they used to now they just sound loud and angry. The music, the promos, the spots, the jingles the liners, the Id's and even the jox sound extremely loud and angry. KIIS-FM sounded softer smoother and more fun than they did. Maybe they're bummed about the ratings???
Years ago when I was at CFTR in Toronto I had most of the national voices in Canada as my air talent.
I proudly sent an air check tape of my line up to my mentor Jim Hilliard who was running Fairbanks Broadcasting in Indianapolis. I called him in a few days to queried him about what he thought of my great air talent. He claimed they all sounded cold and stiff to him but what really interested him was my music. What was I doing that made it sound so good he asked. I know every tune but for some reason it sounds very different and magical. Hey I think I need you to get your ass down here to the States and put that music on a new station I've just bought in Dallas called KVIL.
A very similar magical musical sound that is different is starting to show up on the air at JILL FM in Orange County.
Had drinks the other evening with "The Socialites" along with "Supertech" Matt Greeney. Their Cocktail Confessions were both stimulating and exciting. The Caveman sounds like quite a character and I can hardly wait to get it all on the air as America goes wild over Sex In The City 2
While watching the Celtics beat the Cavaliers the other night at a sports bar I overheard an older guy say to his buddies ... "The longer you stay around the less you get" They all knowingly shook their heads and laughed a very weary laugh.
When I was with The Jury we had the number one Canadian record in Canada and I never received one penny from the record company. We made all our money playing. Now I hear the record companies want a piece of that. I wish I was still back playing so that the mob that run record companies had to come out and talk to the guys who really run Transcona about who owes whom. The out of towners would have never gotten out of there alive back then.
If your not a household name you better be talking about the neighborhood where their household is located if you expect to get any ratings.
Ron Chapman said my line about the homeless having all the great locations made him think ... Why don't the Jehovah Witnesses also deliver the mail, they're going to visit every damn home in North America.
My Father always said "if you need a task done quickly give it to a lazy person".
Neil Simon's play "It Happened On The 13th Floor" is about the death of manufactured bits.
In a couple of weeks my brother Reg and I go back to our hometown of Transcona for a town reunion. It will be fun to see all the guys I went to high school, played Football, Hockey and started Bands with. Guys like Easter, Termite, Baronie, Fade, Hughie, LoLo, Willy, Shpog, Bruce, Shift and Pete to just name a few of them.
It's time to tally up how it all turned out for us. Some wont be there because they are gone a way too soon, Bomba, Gibby and Ringach will be missed a whole lot at this fun affair. I also can hardly wait to see how all the pretty girls I remember so well, held up.
Rhys Hollyman says he knows he should be more patriotic and stick up for the Habs against the Flyers. But he cant help feeling that would be anti the Toronto Maple Leafs and maybe even more importantly it's anti English speaking Canada. So the final result is, he is very glad they got blown out.
OK one more time here's the formula that superstar air talent use to make over a mil per year. T+S=A+(p+i)+(Ee)xP+I=$uccess
May 11, 2010
The most important word an air talent can use on air is "YOU" Most air talent and me over use the word "I", but then again I'm not on the air.
Have you ever noticed that the only part of show business that sales moves in front of the art is radio. I wonder how thats working out for us compared to Movies, Broadway, Cable, TV,Concerts, etc.
It has been rumored to me that Roy Laughlin when he was the GM of KIIS-FM in LA was once approached by the sales department who wanted to know why he treated them like s**t compared to how he treated Seacrest, Ellen K, and the rest of the KIIS on air staff. Roy responded with ... Because you are s**t -- you're sales people.
How does the hostile work environment law work for the workers male and female in Iraq?
You can order an on air talent to be excited on the air about your new promotion but that never gets it done and ultimately they are in charge of weather or not your new promotion is successful.
Does anyone have the name of the guy who screwed with the Tylenol containers years ago and poisoned a bunch of people. I'm sure by now some liberal judge has let him out of prison and I don't really want to hurt the guy (well maybe a little) I just want to go over to his place and beg him to help me get this shrink wrap off this container I'm trying to f***ing open.
The scan button don't stop on unfamiliar.
Have you ever noticed the person who is lying to you (Airlines and Stuff) always claim that they're not in charge and cant do anything to rectify the situation. The people in charge of course always seem to be too busy elsewhere to deal with us.
The worst person in the world to lie to ... Is yourself!
Why don't they hire the homeless to wave all those big signs at you ..."We Buy Gold", "We Do Taxes" Etc. They have the absolute best locations.
Have you ever noticed that errors on the log always occur with more spots running than should be, never less. How do it know.
In this world of no radio jobs you get people cheaper but they are all so happy to have a job that they move immediately into the "CYA" mentality and have no creativity to offer up.
How do all the food companies know how many calories are in their products. They wouldn't cheat would they.
If you didn't get any of the blame you cant get any of the credit.
Sales folks can sell anything they are excited about. You only need good ratings if they are not excited.
There is a lot of money being made off of shipping and handling. That's the business to be in I figure.
I think the people who complain the most about problems, are the problem.
While watching The Jersey Boys in Vegas I started to realize that The Four Seasons were never as good as these guys.
William Shedd wrote ... Ships in the harbor are safe but that's not what ships were built for.
How come charity executive positions seem to pay more and have a lot better perks than regular executive positions.
It is fairly simple for a singer to become a musician, but it is very difficult for a musician to become a singer.
Speaking of musicians I saw Van Morrison in concert the other night. Wow he was so good it made me want to play again.
Is there such a thing as an underpaid under perked Government employee.
How many people who work in service related areas today could get a job at Starbucks do you think.
May 3, 2010
April 26, 2010
Have you ever noticed they don't ever use the word genius when describing any Government employee including the President.
Dana Horner said you've got to include Chris Mays in your "Last Programming Conference" she did some great work when we all put KLSY in Seattle together. I agree. Chris c'mon down!
In 1927 H.M. Warner of Warner Brothers said "Who the hell wants to hear the actors talk" I think radio today has come around to his way of thinking.
I ran into one of my all time favorite FCC attorneys John King at Ron Chapman's induction into the Radio Hall Of Fame.
John reminded me about the time I came up with a promotion called the "Magic Ticket". The promotion had produced incredible numbers both in ratings and billing at both KVIL Dallas and WIBC Indianapolis.
In Indy though our competitor turned us into the FCC and bragged to their staff that we would never be able to run that promotion again.
John handled that whole mess with the FCC wonderfully, in fact he came out of there with which we laughingly referred to as the only FCC approved contest in America. Dick Yancey of course immediately put it into syndication, and the "Magic Ticket" ended up buying me my first Mercedes. Thank you Mr. King.
Just in case you were thinking that finding more off shore oil might lead to lower prices at the pump check out the $4.35 per gallon price in Canada where they could never run out of oil. But then again that could be all taxes as the oil companies claim. Gotta pay for that free health care somehow.
Lets see if I've got this straight. The way radio fixes itself is to get the multiples back. The multiples come back when the stock rises. The stocks rise when there is financial growth. There is financial growth when listener ship increases.
So when does the meeting about how to increase listener ship begin. When do we get back to the basics. Not going to happen anytime soon it appears, they are all a way too busy doing another series of endless sales meetings. I must be missing something.
I don't think very many radio people are working on the radio station owners mission. I think they are mostly are working on their own.
If you want to know how the Government run health care system will work go to the post office like I recently did. They invented the word no and love saying it.
Just talked to Pam Cesak about some of the plans they have for the Jeff & Jer weekend syndicated show. Very very exciting.
People understand real well and vocalize loudly how they need specific tools in order to complete their assigned tasks. But somehow they just fail to understand why you do.
Shortly after being inducted into the Radio Hall Of Fame, Ron Chapman kindly said from the stage. "When I first met George Johns he taught me never to get into anything I didn't know how to get out of. Turns out George was talking about more than a radio bit ... He was talking about life."
If your not getting any complaints about your radio station you don't have a very good one.
Wow! Jerry Jones did a quick fly in and was a surprise special guest at Ron's induction into the Hall.
It's always what you do say and how you say it that counts, never how much you say or didn't say.
The word sexist doesn't just pertain only to men as racist doesn't pertain only to white men.
How come all women except my Daughters and my Niece of course know what a Lap Dance is.
I think the best radio ever done is on some tapes somewhere in someone's garage disintegrating. They can never be played again so they remain the best radio of all time forever.
There was a time when I couldn't believe I got paid to listen to the radio. Now I almost don't listen unless I do get paid.
Speaking of listening to the radio, I was out in LA checking out JILL FM and I do have to admit that Rick Shaw and Bill Gardner have the music sounding so good I couldn't turn it off.
So with the recent make nice agreement between the PPM Coalition and ARB will the ratings be moving closer to the truth or what a few want the truth to be.
Who ties all the knots in your charger cords.
If they are not racial profiling on I 5 North at San Clemente in California what are they doing?
Any other words other than yes still mean no.
Why does it always take so long to explain why I cant have what I want?
Radio Stations don't realize the image of the client washes over them when the clients name and the station call letters are side by side as in ... Presented by!
The difference between National spots and Local spots is ... The Nationals talk to you and tell little stories. The Locals yell at you. Someone has got it very very wrong.
April 20, 2010
A short time ago my good friend Gary Russell visited me in my Florida home so he could take a little break from the Winter's gloom in Vancouver.
Vancouver of course was just coming down off it's Olympic high what with Canada winning the most gold ever and maybe even more importantly, the winning of Hockey gold in overtime against the USA.
Gary was the first air talent I ever hired as a PD and even though I didn't know it at the time, it must have been a great hire on my part because much later Gary went on to being inducted into the Canadian Radio Hall Of Fame. I am very proud of him, what a great career he had. Gary when I hired him was a self professed hippy and proudly claims he still is.
We sat around my Florida condo for a few days drinking a little wine and checking out my view as we reminisced about those early days in Saskatoon.
That time was very special to us because we were learning first hand what we would and wouldn't do in our broadcasting future.
I'm also pretty sure the amounts of red wine we were consuming made us feel like we had a whole lot more fun back then, than we actually had.
My daughter Candis who is really into nutrition told me that drinking red wine is good for you but I can never remember if she said a glass or a bottle.
As I sat there chatting with Gary my mind started wandering back to the day I was loading my wife Lana and our six month old baby girl Candis into the car on a frigid life changing afternoon. I still remember how unsure I was about the whole idea of leaving our home, family, and all our good friends behind and plunge into the unkown.
But I had made the decision to leave and I had made it for the right reasons. There was no turning back now so it was time to head to Saskatoon and the beginning of my brand new radio career as a Program Director.
As we drove away that cold winters day waving goodbye to the rest of our family, we had no idea that we would never live in Transcona again.
My plan was to just get my programming chops in Saskatoon as quickly as I could and become competent enough to get a PD's job back home in neighbouring Winnipeg so we could live happily ever after.
Even though we were barely on the road but for a few minutes we could hardly wait to come home again and reunite with all the Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, Brothers and friends we were leaving behind. What a great party that was sure to be.
As we headed west to Regina on the Trans Canada we were listening to CKY where I was recently the Production and Music Director for a short after leaving my band The Jury.
A bunch of the great folks I worked with at the station, Porky, Jim Coghill and John Wells were saying goodbye to us on the radio and even though they were all wishing us well, it had a kinda ominous sound to it that made me feel sad and scared at the same time. But I knew I couldn't show any of this to my family.
Once we reached Regina we headed north out across barren prairie on highway 11 to Saskatoon. It was cold enough doing the trip that way there was no way I was taking the shorter 'Yellowhead Route' out of Brandon which was even more barren and even a lot colder.
As we drove Northward I remember quietly pushing aside a bunch of clothes we had hung on a rod in the back just to check on Candis who was back there sleeping in her Bassinet.
As I peeked back through all the hanging clothes, there she was on her tummy all stretched out and just looking back at me with a big toothless grin that seemed to say ... It's all going to turn out OK Daddy.
As we approached Saskatoon late that night I finally picked up what was to become my new radio home CKOM. The station seemed to be doing some strange kind of programming as we listened. I though It just must be some special weekend show that didn't turn out as good as someone had anticipated. I'll fix it first thing. I never suspected that weekend show was a sneak preview of things to come.
Management earlier on had decided they wanted me to spend a week or so in the Motel and just listen to the radio and make notes before I came in to the station. When I was ready they would introduce me to everyone, show me my office and then decide what time we should sit down and discuss all my findings. They were quite anxious for me to get on with the fixing because the ratings were dismal.
Much later when we finally arrived in Saskatoon, we checked into the Motel the station had provided and tried to settle in as best we could.
It was so cold outside that we had to turn the heat on high in the room and leave it there which soon made the air unbearably dry which wasn't very good for our daughter We had to keep wetting bath towels and hanging them on the heating vents so she could breathe properly while Daddy did his radio thing.
As bad as the conditions were in the Motel, I still couldn't believe they were paying me to do what I would do anyway ... Just isten to the radio.
I got up early the next morning and turned on CKOM. The morning guys name was Easten Wayman he was kinda just OK and was playing what I guess you would call MOR ( middle of the road) music. You know Patti Page, Dean Martin, Frank, Tony, and all the rest of the usual suspects.
There also was some News done by Bill Stovin Jr. and Gord Hume. Sports was handled by Wally Cameron whom I found out later on also sold used cars on the side.
I was just starting to pick up the rhythm of the whole morning show and get an idea of what Easten's style was all about when suddenly he was joined by a piano player. Easten and Mr. Piano just kinda chatted on and on about nothing and I believe if memory serves me correctly they even took a few piano requests.
The thing I picked up on as this nonsense continued was the fact that they hated each other. That was their problem mine was trying to figure out why this show is on the air or even better yet find out who is the piano player related to at the station.
Mercifully soon the morning show was over and on came a pleasant enough sounding guy by the name of Dale Heath. I liked Dale's smooth sound right away. He had one of those those rich warm Peter Jennings type voices that a few Canadian announcers possess. Jim Hilliard says I'm a sucker for that sound to this very day. That was all good but for some unknown reason Dale was playing Country Music. He didn't look or even sound anything like a Cowboy.
What the hell happened to all the MOR music was the next notation I made in my note book. I was glad the tinkling piano was gone, but Country.
I didn't know much about Country Music other than I didn't like most of it. I did sorta like Buck Owens though because when I weekend toured with my band The Jury sometimes Country music was all you could get on the car radio and as I remembered it Buck's band sorta rocked.
I will always remember teasing Dale about how I thought Tammy Wynette's days were numbered now that Patti Page had her version of "Stand By Your Man" out. As I recall he just laughed at me.
What a strange sounding station this was turning out to be I thought as my listening marathon continued. I had never heard anything like this before but most of the surprises were still ahead.
Next up was a kid by the name of Ken Sebastian Singer. Ken also referred to himself on air as The Psychedelic Banana and as he came blasting out of my radio lo and behold he was playing rock. My note book was filling up and I was only about halfway through the day.
Later when I met Ken I found out Ken was a musician who like me was coming off the band thing and this was his first radio gig so like me he was a rookie too.
I hadn't seen Ken since I left Saskatoon but I got to catch up with him last year in Ottawa at Gary's induction into The Radio Hall Of Fame. Ken laughingly told me he remembered when he me for the first time. At that brief meeting he said he asked me what what a PD did. He claimed I said ... I hire and fire the jocks. I got it he said, then quickly disappeared.
When The Psychedelic Banana finally said good night on came Gordy Brown who was not only married to the Continuity Director but like me was also from Transcona. Gordy played some more MOR music and this went on for a couple of hours, till it happened!
Are you ready for this ... Are you sitting down. Square Dance Party hit the air! You've got to be S**Ting me, I thought to myself. Square Dance F**King Party, are you kidding. Is this some sort of trick my old station CKY had prearranged with these folks. Naw!
I'm going to bed this has got to be a giant mistake. It's got to be some disgruntled engineer who has gone mad and taken over the transmitter and locked himself in. Someone hopefully will soon break down the door and drag him out while I'm sleeping and all will be well with the world by sunrise.
OK then! I'm up and at 'em again bright and early the next morning thinking it must have just been one of those strange Monday's where they were filling some CRTC (FCC) requirements or something. I'll find a better place to hide that kinda stuff soon as I go in.
Nope 2nd verse same as the first. As I go threw the day it seemed to follow the same pattern as the day before but with one big exception.
This time after the MOR serenade we didn't go to the Square Dance Party which was a blessing in it's self ... We went to Schizophrenic Anonymous.
I'm not kidding that was the name of the show, Schizophrenic Anonymous. The crazed engineer who had locked himself in the transmitter shack last night must back in there again tonight, only this time he has put himself on the air.
That's it, I cant take anymore, I'm going in coach! This place needs major construction. The only thing I could consistent about CKOM was it's inconsistency.
I think the real reason I was really going in was because I was afraid to listen any more. I knew I would be frozen in place out of fear.
My going in away ahead of schedule and blurting out to the man who had put it all on how much the programming all sucked cost me a year and also introduced me to the monster whom to this day I have never mastered. Politics!
But all of that some other time because another meeting has broken out here in South Florida and this time it's sales. They claim they really need my help. That's radio speak for they want my promos.
April 13, 2010
Women are a lot more current than men.
When my oldest kids Candis and Curtis were both very young, they saved up their allowances and baby sitting money so they could present to their Mother and I, a quit smoking plan called "One Step At A Time". I have never ever smoked again. It turned out my children were and are lot more influential and powerful than any Teachers, Politicians, Doctors, Wives or Bosses in my life.
It's been said that if you think you can or you think you can't your absolutely right.
Morning shows should take tip from Garth Brooks when he was on stage at all his sold out concerts. He sang to the people in the back row not the ones in the front row.
Thinking about my "Last Programmers Conference I thought hey who have I missed that needs to be there like Paul Dunn who had a pretty good run in West Palm Peach and George Francis said we've got to include Dick Orkin. George also wondered if the odd SM could sneak in. I told him it would be OK as long as they were prepared to serve drinks to the rest of us. I know I've gotta be missing a bunch of super radio guys. Bring 'em if on you've got 'em. email@example.com
Radio needs to entertain the people who are only hearing it, not just the ones listening to it.
You cant make anybody love you more, no ratings there. But if you can turn like into love, a whole bunch of ratings waiting there.
Now that Jeff & Jer are going National on the weekends, I wonder what station in San Diego is going to be savvy enough to put them on weekdays. They then of course would have Jeff and Jer on the air 7 days a week. How the hell do you beat that.
Other than our Government can you find anybody else that believes anything the oil companies say.
One of the big reasons Ron Chapman is being inducted into the Radio Hall Of Fame today is because Ron has always been a champion of women, and they could hear it everyday on his radio show.
Speaking of Ron Chapman, We have put together a little partnership we think could cause a little radio damage around America. Details at GeorgeJohns.com
Have you ever noticed that when your impatiently waiting for a red light to change and it finally does you still sit there anyway because all the very slow drivers always manage to be first in line. How do they get there first.
I'm working on a new radio concept called "Cocktail Confessions Of The Socialites" with four very beautiful Miami women, Marnie, Angela, Beatriz and Josette. At some point Angela turned to me with a sly smile on her face and said, your a Cuchacho. A Cuchaco! Yeah an old guy who acts young was her response.
Jo Jo Holotka sent me a couple of her unmixed tracks from her upcoming album that seemed very hot to me but still nothing a cold shower couldn't take care of.
My old pal Bob Christy all going well, will take possession of what was a lifelong dream for a lot of us, his own Radio Station. The station he is buying is even in his favorite city Boston, and he is doing it with no debt. That will make it kinda tough for him to fail I figure. Congrats Bobby.
The best location for radio station facilities is where the talent can bring 'em to work, then send them home.
I've had a lot of pleasure from being a part of the radio industry but none as great as sitting at Gary Russell's table as he got inducted into the Canadian Radio hall Of Fame and now as you read this I'll be proudly sitting at Ron Chapman's table as he most deservedly gets inducted into the Radio Hall Of Fame at the NAB in Las Vegas.
I remember the day I sat down with my son Curtis and explained to him that it was the end of the money supply from Dad. But I said should he want to take any courses to better his career opportunities, I would gladly pay for that. He said he had a feeling for a while now that this little chat we were having was coming. I asked him if he had any idea what he would like to do or what courses he would like to take. He responded with ... I just wanna hang out Dad! I've watched you work hard my whole life and you don't look that happy to me, so I think I'll just hang out.
In June my brother Reg and I are headed back to my home town of Transcona for a big reunion of people born in the 30's 40's and 50's. Each group probably thinks they are the most important, but our group invented Rock&Roll and nothing else has lasted as long as that, so we win.
In 1964 a momentous occasion occurred when Elvis and The Beatles met for the very first time. There must have been so much electricity in the air that special day that everyone one must have been frozen in place because not one picture was taken at the historic meeting.
I read somewhere that a tattoo is the permanent record of temporary insanity. More@ www.GeorgeJohns.com
Radio Performance Legends Ron Chapman and George Johns Launch Talent Coaching
In order to do something uncommonly well, you simply can’t do it for everyone. Yet for a select group of radio companies and their talent, two of our industry’s most prolific personalities will soon be available to help craft advanced skill development for people with an unassailable commitment to rise above the field.
Through the seventies, eighties and into the nineties, NAB Hall of Fame inductee Ron Chapman and KVIL were synonymous with the rare air of achievement. KVIL was acclaimed “AC Station of the Year” season after season, while its revenues set records for the vaunted Fairbanks Broadcasting group. Chapman’s versatility shined brightly when in Paul Harvey’s later innings, Ron became Paul’s go-to pinch hitter, proving that inordinate talent belies set-piece roles.
Behind the scenes—though not by much—says Audience Development Group’s managing partner Tim Moore, was George Johns; architect of Fairbanks’ uncommon success in Dallas-Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, and West Palm Beach.
Neither Chapman nor Johns have been sitting quietly polishing their trophies. Both continue to be active in multi-layered consulting projects or in Chapman’s case, sustaining talent involvement. Soon, both will be accessible to select radio stations and their talent, through in-field station working labs or on-line webinars. Select companies will tap the creative gifts of this acclaimed tandem.
Moore adds, “The irony of this development is its ‘back-to-the-future’ implication. Here are two gifted people who bring incredible stylistic techniques from the past, into today’s talent void, bereft of most of the secrets of pyrotechnic stylistic delivery, at a time when its arguably more critical than at any time over the last 30 years. Ron and George’s presence in a radio environment equate to master painters or sculptors as visiting faculty at a great university. Their ability to transfer rare skill-sets to good radio talent is game-changing.”
George Johns recently wrote in his radio blog, “There are three types of people in radio: the gifted, the creative, and everyone else.” For the creative in search of a winners edge in our over-communicated society where consumers are drowning in a sea of sameness, Ron Chapman and George Johns are ready and willing to be the difference-maker in your stations or clusters where winning still matters, and “talent development” has meaning.
Tribune CEO Randy Michaels said " George Johns is synonymous with Fairbanks, Ron Chapman, Jeff and Jer, Class FM, creative contesting, and unique, powerful impossible to duplicate talent. We've all stolen from him."
Scott Shannon of Citadel Broadcasting adds "With George and Ron, You Have Two Radio Legends, Who Also Happen To Be Great Teachers, Thats A Lethal Combination!"
Ron and I look forward to working in a myriad of ways with a variety of talent. We have partnered with Roy Laughlin former GM of KIIS FM as well as a new player in the private equity entertainment world to negotiate and select our projects. You can contact Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the ball rolling.
April 6, 2010
I think Delilah is an incredible woman, not only is she the Oprah of radio, or is it that Oprah is the Delilah of TV, but no matter when Delilah is not helping people on the radio she is helping them in person all over the world. She told me that she just got back from Haiti where it's even worse than she imagined.
March 29, 2010
Hello Radio, It's concept first and details later.
If you talk about what Rush, Hannity, Beck, or Savage talk about on their shows, they then become unbeatable.
Negativity is the killer of Creativity.
If we all evolved from Monkeys how come they still exist, or were they just the smart ones that decided not to come along.
Hugh Heller who did some brilliant jingles for us at Fairbanks, told me it was real tough mixing Black and White singers together because Whites tend to sing a hair sharp and Black folks tend to sing a bit flat. The result kinda produces a dis chord.
Rhody Bosley once told me if he owned a radio station he first would find out where his signal was the loudest and cleanest. Then he would go door to door and ask the folks who live there exactly what do they want to hear, and just do that. Rhody that's a way too simple, we radio folks need it to be a lot more complicated than that.
Having dinner with The Murph, Robert Murphy the other night he told me that the greatest thing that happened to him in radio was getting fired.
It seems the station he was working for wanted to change to an Urban Format, so they cleaned house and paid his contract off.
That sudden move allowed him to get all his financial ducks in a row. The best part of it all he says is now he no longer has to have anymore meetings with GM's & PD's.
When your past is bigger than your future ... It's time to start writing.
Before I hang 'em up I would love to put together "The Last Programming Conference".
At this final get together I would really enjoy talking a little radio trash with some fine folks like ... Buzz Bennett, Lee Masters, Bill Tanner, Ron Jacobs, Bob Pittman, Randy Michaels, Kevin Metheny, Claude Hall, Jerry Del Colliano, Scott Shannon, Reg Johns, Ron Chapman, Jeff and Jer, Brent Farris, Reid Reker, Bobby Cole, Tim Moore, Jim Hilliard, Lee Abrams, Jack McCoy, Bill Gardner, Cris Conner, Delilah, Gary Vidler, Chuck McCoy, Keith Elshaw, Woody Cooper, Doc Harris, Ken Singer, Bob Christy, Pam Cesak, J Robert Wood, Red Robinson, Pat O'Day, Jo Myers, Rollye James, Chuck Knapp, Rick Shaw, Little Tommy, Russ Morley, Bruce Munson, Ken Moultrie, Jason Williams, Gary Burbank, Bobby Rich, Warren Cosford, Charlie Van Dyke, and Mike McVay.
I'm not sure that radio sales people are too much different than any other sales people. But I do believe that on air talent are unlike any other human beings I have ever met.
Robin Garret claims money is an aphrodisiac.
When Jim Hilliard owned WRMF we were billing over a million a month and were #1 biller in the market. WRMF is still the #1 biller in town but I hear now they bill around Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand a month. That I think about sums up how radio sales is doing.
Roy Williams said unsolicited advise is abuse.
Jake (Scooter) Hagen said all the smack talk used in all the Olympic Hockey games by all the teams from all the different countries represented, was all English.
I guess the F bomb just doesn't sound as special in other languages as it does in English.
66% of the Canadian population watched the Canada, US, Olympic Gold hockey game. My old good friend from Transcona Jim Quail said, it's lucky Canada won the gold, otherwise there would have been a mass funeral immediately following the game and the NHL would be looking for a whole bunch of new hockey players.
Gary Ryan Blair says life doesn't go according to plan, if you don't have a plan.
Scott Shannon told me that he likes the musings where I write about my daughters the best. He and I both intensely agree that if anybody hurt our daughters they better hope they get put away quick because they would never make it out of the court room alive. We figure the worst that could happen to us is, we would be judged by our peers. Fathers of Daughters.
60% of Americans believe that if off shore drilling is allowed that oil and gas prices will drop. The oil companies of course are very very quiet on the subject or should I say ... SILENT!
My Brother Reg said there are no sales nor ratings without one simple word. Engagement !
Frances Frei says you cannot change a persons behavior until you change their beliefs.
The only people who want radio to be different today are the folks who are listening and the folks who are not.
I keep noticing that when I hit spell check on my computer it always claims I have misspelled my name.
I learned very early in my radio career that those who made all the decisions also made all the money.
Have you noticed the more deregulated the big companies get, the more regulated we the folks become.
John Hayes said to a KKOB staff member in ... Would you please drive me to downtown Albuquerque. We are downtown the staff member said. "Then you need to drive me to the airport" was John's reported response.
Gary Miles said to me after I had just spoken to a gathering in Toronto of all the Rogers Radio stations in Canada ... " George even though we didn't pay you to do this, I still feel we overpaid."
Cat Simon once pointed his finger at me and said, I, I, I, I get it now Johnsy, I got it! Even though on your clock you don't have any room for bits, I, I, I can do them anytime I want to as long as you laugh ... Right?
I don't think PPM reacts well to radio slogans and radio jargon.
I doubt very much that many people would pay for what most radio gives them for free.
A huge ego is not a very pretty thing.
Jack McCoy once told me that when they took the word please out of the instructions, more people filled out even more listening in their ARB diary.
Jarl Mohn (Lee Masters) just told me that even though they were actually naming the 24 million dollar studios they were building at KPPC in Pasadena after him ... His main job at the station was to write the liners.
Jeff Vidler says a new study shows that radio in the United Kingdom is now gaining listeners unlike North America where even though Satellite Radio is not that successful, it is still a big enough force to prevent any listenership gains by Traditional Radio.
"Got Scoop" Just received a very early draft from Marnie Howard of a new book she is writing which serves up a 101 ways to have and hold on to the worlds most beautiful women. Color me fully armed and loaded with insider info.
Ford Wilson who has this whisper act going, wants to know if I have enough juice to get him on American Idol.
Roy Laughlin told me that PPM hurt morning shows two ways. First, the device doesn't capture the total listening time early in the morning. Secondly, it discovered that the P1s didn't listen as often nor as long as they thought they did when they used to fill out a diary.
March 21, 2010
In "The New Beginning" I was writing about how I went from just a guy in a rock band to a Program Director of a radio station in about six months time.
To explain how I had the audacity/courage to load my baby girl and her Mom into the car, wave goodbye to the Grandparents and head out across the snow laden prairie all the way to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where I would become CKOM's new Program Director and start a whole new life, means I have to digress a little.
Around the time I was thinking about leaving my band The Jury, three exciting things happened in about a weeks time that kinda sped up the need for me to make some lifetime decisions.
First I started hearing a rumor that the Radio Station was getting set to give me a big promotion. If this rumor was true it meant my part time job at CKY would soon turn into full time. As I was contemplating how I would handle that because it would surely end my band days, my old boss Jimmy Darin calls me.
Jim had been the afternoon drive Dee Jay and PD of CKY when I first started working there part time. Hey every artist needed a day job to help finance their run for fame, and I was very lucky because mine was very very cool.
You would think that would be enough excitement for the week, but no within a few days I also got a call from Randy Bachman who heard I might be leaving The Jury, so he called to recruit me for The Guess Who.
When I told Randy I wasn't near good enough to play for them he said, George I can teach you all the music stuff, it's that other stuff you do that The Guess Who needs.
The call from Jimmy Darin though turned out to be the mind boggling event of a very eventful week. Jim at this point was the newly appointed PD of WFIL in Philadelphia.
His new job was a career maker and he took himself off the air forever so he could totally focus on making the station #1.
Jim was a great Jock back then, but now he had his sights set on a whole new vision, and jockin' just didn't cut it anymore. He also no longer needed his stage name, so he went back his real name, Jim Hilliard.
During our very brief but very stimulating conversation on the phone, he explained he didn't have enough time to really explain all the details, but he needed me to jump on a plane as quickly as possible and fly to Philly. He said he wanted to talk to me about me doing all the promos at The Famous 56.
Turns out he had always loved the way I did the promos for him at CKY when I was the production board op. He claimed they all sounded like movie trailers to him and he wanted a whole bunch of that on the new WFIL that he was presently in the middle of creating.
Just writing this of course brings back to me a few of unusual things that went on when I was a rookie and didn't understand a lot of stuff.
One of them was a line Jim said that took me about four years to figure out. Jim said ... I came to Canada as a Democrat but I will be leaving as a Republican.
I completely understood what he meant instantly when I opened up my first big paycheck after hitting the big time at CFTR in Toronto.
I stared in horror and disbelief at the total of all the tax deductions and I remember thinking ... Boy this free health care is sure expensive ain't it. Good morning America how are ya!
But much more on all that much later, lets get back to Jim's unexpected but promising phone call.
His proposal was very scary and very exciting all at the same time. The most difficult part of it for me was just figuring out how you get to Philadelphia quickly.
I had two problems I needed to over come. First of all I had never been on an airplane before and secondly I wasn't even sure where Philadelphia was exactly. Back then I had never been east of Kenora.
When you live in Western Canada unlike what they think down here in South Florida, you don't speak French, and you don't look east you only look further west at places like Calgary or Vancouver as maybe a good place to live when you finally can't take the winters any more. As the saying goes, "Go West Young Man" Not east!
You don't even go anywhere east for vacations. Hawaii is the chosen dream destination of western man, not the Bahamas. The Bahamas are even further east than Florida, why would you want to go there.
Even if for some reason when you were drinking with all your buddies and someone shouted out " Lets drive to Florida" you would only head out to the west coast of Florida. There are no Western Canadians in Miami, not even drunk ones, trust me on this.
Those easterners are a way to too stiff and serious for we westerners. We like to say strange things like, good morning, how are you doing, hows your family, how are you feeling etc. We even smile at each other.
But then again there is something about the people of the east that we do love. We love to stomp them in the Grey Cup. The Grey Cup is the Super Bowl of Canada and pits the best of the East against the best of the West.
Just picture the differences between the folks in the North and the folks in the South here in America and you come a little closer to the feelings held in Canada. Whats that, What are you saying ??? The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in the Eastern Division of the CFL now. You've got to be sh**ing me!
When Jim finished up his surprise call to me about my coming to Philadelphia, he told me not to worry about anything because he would have a travel agent take care of all the details, she would be calling me shortly.
He told me I needed to arrive hungry because he and Barb were taking me to dinner at a very special restaurant called Bookbinders which was a world famous fish place in downtown Philadelphia.
When the travel agent finally called me with my trip details she informed me that I would be flying from Winnipeg to Toronto where I would change planes and fly to La Guardia in New York.
Once at La Guardia I would board a Helicopter for the short flight to JFK, there I would board my flight which would take me directly to Philadelphia.
Say what ... Do What?? Are you kidding, there has to be another way. I have never been on an airplane before and that's going to be scary enough. There is no way I'm getting in a helicopter, are you crazy.
She informed me that the only other way I could do it was a milk run that went from Winnipeg down to Minneapolis where I would start changing planes and landing in every city between Minneapolis and Philadelphia. I said ... I'll take it!
Much much later that evening when I finally arrived in Philly I was by now of course a seasoned flyer that was very anxious to stop flying
Jim and Barb picked me up at the airport in a bright red Cadillac convertible and off we went to Bookbinders. Jim asked me when I had left Winnipeg, I told him around dawn. He asked what took so long, when I told him he said I should have taken a bus it would have been a lot faster.
We get to Bookbinders and spend a very enjoyable evening chatting about a bunch of the folks we all knew when we worked together back in Winnipeg.
The meal was excellent but as we were eating and I was kinda looking around drinking it all in, I just have to describe the whole scene to you as I saw it that night.
First off Bookbinders as I remember it, was kinda old looking with a very conservative feel to it. The place was filled mostly with lawyers who were very easy to spot because they were all wearing the Brooks Brother suits with yellow or red power ties.
Even a radio rookie from Winnipeg could pick them out of a crowd, they looked exactly like they do in the movies.
Jim and Barb on the other hand to put it mildly just didn't seem to quite blend in with this serious Pennsylvania crowd.
Jim was wearing a wine colored Nehru suit with a huge gold medallion around his neck that hung down to about the middle of his chest.
Barb on the other hand was decked out in what can best be described as a very short white Toga. She had on gold Grecian sandals that went perfectly with all her ancient looking gold jewelry.
The sandals had very long straps on them that kinda wound up and around her legs from her ankles to her knees. Her blond almost golden hair was piled a way up high with long ringlets that cascaded down to her bare shoulders.
Wile we were chatting I was also looking around a little and I started to notice the whole place was staring at our table and maybe even whispering to each other a little.
When I mentioned this fact to Jim he said they were just pissed because he made more money than them.
The next morning we went into the station which I thought was really neat looking because the building was round and sorta looked like a stack of 45 records to me.
Once inside It was time to fill out a bunch of the company's paper work. I of course also had to swear that I had never been nor planned on becoming a member of the Communist party.
That was the only kinda boring part of the whole trip. But it soon started to heat up real good when I got to meet all the great jocks who were fast on their way to becoming radio legends, Dr. Don Rose, Jim Nettleton, Jay Cook, George Michael and Long John Wade. The sad thing when I think about that exciting day now is, they are all gone except for Jim Hilliard who is the only one from that very special day that is still with us. Wow, how sad.
Once I finished all the paper work and meeting the Jox, I went back into Jim's office where he told me he needed me to join his team immediately. He wanted me to start producing some great sounding promos right now
I later learned that Bill Drake's right hand man Paul Drew was coming to WIBG to do battle with him, and up until that time the Drake format had never been beaten.
Jim said I could send for my then pregnant wife Lana later, because we had a lot of work that needed doing and we needed to get at it as quickly as possible.
At some point during the time we were discussing all this, I remember someone in human resources mentioning to him that it just wasn't possible to have a Canadian just start working in America.
You need to apply, and the way you applied was by filling out a bunch of complicated immigration papers. A mere formality, Jim snorted ... We'll have you here in no time squirrel!
By the time that mere formality came through I was the Station Manager of CFTR in Toronto.
But that story and how I got there is way way down the line, and I may be too bored by then to write it and you will probably be too bored to read it.
I returned to the station and did get the promotion I heard the rumor about, in fact I got two promotions. I became the Production Director and the Music Director of CKY and soon after the birth of my daughter Candis, left the band business forever.
A few short months later I got the offer to become the new Program Director of CKOM in Saskatoon. I didn't have hardly any radio experience which kinda made it a very scary proposition.
But what popped into my head and gave me the courage/arrogance to accept that position I think was ... Hey if I'm good enough to work with Jim Hilliard, Dr. Don, Gentleman Jim, Jay Cook, King George and Long John in Philly, plus be good enough play for The Guess Who ... How tough could Saskatoon be!
March 12, 2010
There are only two types of people left in the Radio Biz these days. Those who are scared to death they are going to be fired and those that hope to be.
I was driving along I-95 North in my car headed for West Palm Beach from FT. Lauderdale with a buddy. Being originally from Canada and having no idea about these sort of things but kinda curious nevertheless I asked him how many people in America way back did he suppose owned slaves.
He looked around a little, I think even checked out my back seat before he said, maybe 3 or 4%, 5 tops
I asked him why he was looking around before he answered. He said we can't talk about this kinda stuff man! I asked why not and he replied because it's politically incorrect and people's careers have been ruined for even saying less than we just have.
Why are the reputations of used car salesmen and politicians so terrible, surely they don't deserve them.
You can become whatever and whomever you want to be mainly through repetitious action.
Tommy Kramer said Walter Cronkite spoke at the rate of about 120 words per minute when he was on TV. Most people speak at a rate of 165 - 200 words a minute. Walter knew that by speaking slowly he would stand out, plus he would be understood.
I do lean a little to the right, but not far enough as to not know The Oil Companies, The Banks, The Medical Insurers, and the Government are probably all my enemies.
You don't see any young men driving fancy cars only young women.
Now as we head away more and more from fossil fuels and consume more and more electricity, how long do you suppose it will be before the Electric Barons start kicking our ass.
As quickly as women forgive themselves I wonder if they just assume that the men in their lives have done likewise.
Do I need an Auto Tuner so as to better communicate with my fourteen year old.
In Olympic Hockey, what language do you suppose all the players from around the globe were using to trash talk each other with.
We all kinda know what the other person should do, it's what we should do that's most difficult.
I'm hoping at my 100th birthday party that my two beautiful daughters push the very good lookin' nurse out of the way and both roll me in together.
I've noticed that the sales folk seem to becoming a lot more sensitive lately, it may be I think because they want to be recognized as part of the art form.
Not going to happen!
What I have never figured out about NFL football coaches is why they predictably do what the other team knows they are going to do and have been practicing how to stop it all week. Hell I'm only watching and I know. The one time last year when the Dolphins didn't, was against the Patriots (Wild Cat) the Patriots couldn't stop them.
The folks who got fired in the early days of Consolidation were the lucky ones.
They got to sell their stock and became rich or at least almost rich. The unlucky ones who weren't fired had to helplessly stand by and watch their stock fade to the almost worthless state.
Sales systems will never replace good ratings as a sales tool.
I think the corporate executives who are lecturing sales staffs all over America using various electronic delivery systems should have to make a market visit and go out on the street really show us all how it's done!
If your not a poet can you still use poetic licence.
Have you ever noticed if your in a room and no one else is around and sometimes you might start to mumble out loud to yourself, but you immediately start to sing what ever you were talking about if someone happens to walk in on you.
One of the tricks I used to use when I was doing "The Class Format" was bring Major League Talent to Minor League towns, it worked every time. Hey I think it would work right now in LA.
You can't over play someones favorite song.
Jerry Del Colliano says that 40-60% of a station's revenue comes from the morning show, not counting all the forced buys to other day parts if you want to get on in the morning. Yet, and someone needs to help me with this, the big companies seem to be firing all their morning stars.
Color me very confused!
Way Back when I was at CFTR in Toronto I decided it was time for us to play the hits, but according to CRTC regulations we had to broadcast only Adult music. I went out and bought every Ray Conniff album I could find and played the original versions of everything he covered.
You cant get any more adult than that.
I used to imagine when women had sleep overs together they all wore baby dolls and stuff from Victoria's Secret. Turns out most of them were really wearing flannel pajamas with bunny feet in them.
What ever happened to "The Customer Is Always Right" Last night I had a small dispute at a local sports bar with the bartender about a ruling concerning their special rewards program. I asked to see the Manager to see if I could get it cleared up.
The Manager came out and opened the conversation with ... I was wrong and I was also rude. She wouldn't let me even state my case, in fact I never even got a chance to open my mouth.
Radio has always been under attack, TV, then MTV, then, The Internet, then Satellite, now there is a bunch of different kinds of technology competing for the consumers attention.
Through it all Radio prevailed mainly because it always looked for the new thing to do and always found it. Why do I get the feeling now nobody is even looking.
Tim Moore is a brilliant writer amongst other things and every time I read him I just marvel at how he crafts his pieces. Then suddenly it hit me, we write about mostly the same things, mine is just the blue collar version ... Ok I feel much better now!
I bet more people saw the Olympic Gold game between Canada and the USA than have ever seen any other Hockey game.
What's got radio in such dire straights today is the single digit multiples of course. Growth is the only way the multiplies will go up, but unfortunately it's only audience growth that can do that. Do you think anybody is working on more audience, are there any meetings about figuring out how to get more people to use radio.
© 2008-2009 George Johns
March 1, 2010
Last year I went back to Indianapolis to visit some friends and I happened to catch Orly Knutson doing a little fill in work on the radio. I was amazed at how young he still sounded.
When I bumped into Orly a couple of days later in a restaurant I mentioned it to him, he laughed and said he gets calls all the time from people telling him that they used to listen to his Dad.
Passion and Emotion are entirely two different things.
I guess it's good thing that women don't watch much porn because if they did, a bunch of them would be horrified to see themselves starring in it.
Jim Hilliard was a father figure to a lot of our staff at Fairbanks. So when he told you he thought you deserved that exotic new car, swimming pool or even a new house, you went ahead and got it. Next thing though you were working like a dog trying to make the payments.
The great thing about having Daughters is you are their hero for their whole life. Can't say you will be to their Mothers though.
Speaking of daughters, a young woman approached me in the parking lot of the restaurant I had eaten at tonight and said ... Sir, the gas light in my car is on empty and I don't have any money to get back home can you help me. I reluctantly helped her with a few dollars
Now my daughters will suffer because of it because now I think they both need a lot more education. I will not allow them to be in the situation that young woman was in, and only education will keep them from it.
Russ Morley said ... You throw one cart down the hall and somehow it becomes your life long reputation. Russ when you did that, WRMF was one of the finest sounding radio stations in North America. I think you may need to do it again !
I think the only time technology becomes as important as the product is when the technology enhances the product like FM did.
I was having lunch with old friend Chuck Knapp this week and just seeing him reminded me of when we were working together at All New WIBG in Philly.
One day I was listening to Chuck just cookin' along like only he can do when all of a sudden he comes out of a record and starts lecturing us on the evils of smoking.
He made smoking sound so bad that I had to smoke a whole pack of cigarettes in five minutes just to try and calm myself.
Doesn't it get a little boring when you and your friends virtually agree on everything.
Jim Quail said if you have to think about it, you should never start a fight in Hockey, especially not with him.
Ermanno Barone told me he was getting ready to shoot a movie about Marilyn Monroe. I think he said I could help with the casting but I wasn't sure because he kinda mumbled it.
When I said to Warren Cosford after hearing Dale Hawkins died that I thought he might be The Hawk's cousin. He replied, George everybody in Arkansas are cousins, just like in Transcona.
Tom Skinner told me the research on 40 year old women was finally in. 50% Landing Strip, 25% Brazilian, 25% All Natural.
Bill Gardner says he is tired of staring at the Ocean. "Put Me In Coach"
When the Fall Arbitron came out in Santa Rosa, Gordon Zlot said if the total shares of our 3 stations beat their 5 stations, we're bringin' the Champagne. That project took Brent Farris about 2 minutes to complete, the delivery of the Champagne took 15.
When I first became a PD all my creative time was spent talking to upper Management about the length of the Jox hair.
I wonder how many times a day a Government employee uses the word no.
The more successful you become the more you tend to stop doing what made you successful. Just ask Toyota.
I think when a new President takes office all Civil Servants should have to reapply for their jobs and explain what they do, and why they should continue to do so.
My Father used to tell me to stay away from the bad girls. The problem with that advice was they had a hell of a lot more influence over me than he did.
Reid Reker says after you finally get past Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF.
There is absolutely no money in pointing out what's wrong with this picture. All the money is in coming up with a solution of how to fix it.
In a court of law if the truth is not politically correct, do you still have to tell it.
Jerry Bobo claims that there are some sales types in in The Texas Radio Hall Of Fame. Hmmmmmm I wonder what the All Star Cast of the original KVIL who are all in there think about that.
I want about half of all the women I meet, but that's down from the 90% of only a few years ago.
In Radio today I feel a way way too much time is spent on things other than Ratings & Revenue.
I don't think society has the right to seek revenge for a crime that has been committed no matter how horrific, but those personally and directly affected sure do.
Whom do you think the public dislikes the most ... Oil Companies, Banks, Medical Insurers or The Government.
Is there ever a convenient time to put gasoline in your car.
I think the Star system works this way. On stage the Actor is the Star. Backstage it's the Director.
Because the Saints won the Superbowl and The Jury had a record out called Who Dat? the same year The New Orleans Saints were born, there seems to be some renewed reaction with a lot of hits on our old tune on You Tube http://youtube.com/watch?v=XDmGSgLikvk
Who Dat? Turned out to be my daughter Candis who was born that same year.
Delilah who was born Delilah Luke said that her parents named her older brother Matthew Mark Luke as a bit of a joke. They went on to name her after the notorious woman in the Bible who sheared Sampson's locks, as a cheeky exclamation mark.
When I moved to Indiana from Canada, I knew about Hockey not Basketball. It wasn't long until I learned I was in the hot bed of basketball and that the two topics talked about most were the Indy 500 and IU Basketball. If you didn't talk those two subjects there wasn't a lot of conversation.
IU was led by Bobby Knight who seemed to be winning national championships or being on the verge of winning them most of the time.
When I moved to California, I later learned that the school had tired of his antics and dumped him. Hmmmmmmm I wonder how their recruitment program is going these days.
A few years ago I had lunch with Trace Adkins who told me he was afraid to go back to his home town because he already had three #1's under his belt but unfortunately no money.
He was sure his hometown could hardly wait for him to show up because they probably expected him to build a new wing on the hospital. The only thing Trace had received so far for his efforts was a pick up truck for doing a TV spot, which he gave to his Daddy.
When he called his friend Tim McGraw and asked him when he thought some f***ing money would show up. Tim thought he was still about 3 hits away.
Who was it and when was it decided that all lands, businesses and holdings should go back to the original owners of the losing nation after a war. Was that shortly after the Indian Wars and who forgot to tell Castro.
We are all equal as long as we continue to fight our natural instincts.
I wonder what Peyton Manning really thinks of the two most recent big decisions made by his rookie coach. The first being not to go for the perfect season and the next, playing the Superbowl not to lose. ( prevent defense).
The way I see it that's two! I don't think even Peyton will have to worry about it because I think the Indiana season ticket holders will decide how many more he has.
The way it works the best in show biz is, you mimic your idol and what you generally end up with is the next real you.
Don't you think some entertainers are so drunk with applause that they didn't even notice when they were over.
What I like most about Arbitron's PPM is it takes most of the lies out of the results.
Maybe the perfect rating service would be the one that only measures people who buy things.
A few years ago I went to a seminar in DC that George Burns put on. At the start George said ... I see we have the Godfather of A/C in the house, George Johns. I turned to my associate Jamie Gold and whispered, Godfather of A/C, I like that, and I think it sounds very neat. She whispered back ... I believe he said Grandfather!
How come every time you see those men working signs you never see any men working.
Is there any doubt that LeBron James is New York bound, he just looks "New York".
There are 3 coverage maps for each and every radio station. The Owner's is the largest, the Sales Department's is only slightly smaller and the Engineer's is the smallest of all. The PD of course claims he cant hear the radio station anywhere.
Robin Marshall told me she wants to be the "Anti" Delilah. I can hardly wait to hear what that is. But what ever it is I'm sure Delilah has done it in real life.
Women forgive, but they never forget except of course for their own little indiscretions.
A lot of support people think that the place couldn't run without them, little do they know that there is a meeting going on right now trying figure out how to do that very thing.
On air radio people are the only people in the whole show biz world who think they can conceptualize, write, produce, and perform a radio show all by themselves. I wonder if that's why they are the least paid in all of the entertainment world even though they have the larger of all the audiences.
Lets review again the four topics men talk about when they are hangin' out with each other. (1) Sex (2) Sports (3) Work (4) Sex
Canadians on a whole don't think they are really as good as Americans. Australians on the other hand think they are a whole lot better than the Americans.
I don't know where either of them got their thinking.
Leaders are very visionary and it's the passion they use to attack their vision with, that causes people to follow them.
It continues to amaze me that air talent want to make a big deal about it being the end of their show each day. All the hit TV shows don't end, they continue week after week after week, until everybody is rich. Then they end.
Dion told me at breakfast that he came home from school one day to find his kitchen filled with looked like the cast of Sopranos. One of them said to him, hey your father here has been bragging a lot about you in the bar down the street. He claims you and your buddies The Belmonts have a hit record. Well we know how to help you with that kind of stuff so we are here to listen to the record and see what we got.
Dion put the record on and after about 30 seconds the same guy say to Dion's Father ... Your son sounds like he's singing through a dish rag, then they turned around and left. Dion said, it was the luckiest day of his life.
Many years ago when I left The Jury to get into radio, Randy Bachman tried to recruit me for The Guess Who. I told him I wasn't good enough to play for them. Randy said he could teach me the music stuff, but it was all that other stuff I do that the Guess Who needed.
Carole King said most of the songs she wrote back in the late 50's and early 60's were about sex, and women's fear of having it.
Contrary to public opinion I do think radio sales is a very worthy profession, hey everyone cant sing or dance somebody has to sell the tickets. I just wish they didn't make such a big deal about it.
Don't you just love it when the ticket sellers come out of their little booths up front and approach the stage to give us a little free advice on how they think we could and should fix the play.
Oh oh! I'm going to hear from Barry O' Brien now because he especially loves it whenever I give out my little "sales hugs"
Because New Orleans won the Super Bowl I guess, Who Dat ? - The Jury has been posted on you tube. We recorded it in 1967 the same year as The New Orleans Saints and my daughter Candis was born.
Dana Horner told me that his wife Lindsay claims that he doesn't hear so well anymore. My response to him was ... We always hear what we want to hear, but as we get older I have noticed we tend not to hear what we don't want to hear.
The bad news is ... During my career I have blown several million dollars. The good news is I'm much happier than most that haven't.
Dale Gold warmly told me many years ago "George sometimes the squeaky wheel gets replaced rather than greased". Mrs. Gold I have a bunch that need replacing immediately and I sure could use your help.
Several months ago while driving my youngest daughter Cami to one of her events she turned to me and said ... Daddy, yesterday I asked Mommy if she thought you were going to buy me a new car when I turn 16 like you did for Candis. Mom said I should consider myself very lucky if you even managed to buy me a used car.
Daddy if you buy me a used car you know someone probably smoked in it and I always get a migraine when I smell smoke.
Daddy when I get a migraine It makes me throw up, if I do that while I'm driving I will probably crash.You don't want that do you.
It's hard to argue with this kind of logic especially when she used the "Daddy" word 3 or 4 times during our short conversation instead of "Dude"
I wonder why there is no Radio Hall Of Fame inductees from the sales department, or did I just miss that session.
The other say I was thinking about fear and how paralyzing it can be. When I was but a wee lad I was deathly afraid of the ball.
My Dad used to put me up against the shed out back and throw a base ball at me real hard, thinking I guess that the repetition of him doing that would drive away my fear.
I don't think I ever caught one of his throws. Every time he threw the ball at me I just ducked or moved out of the way in fear. Finally he just gave up which was fine by me.
A few years later a good buddy who was really into baseball talked me into practicing with him because the little league try outs were coming up soon.
Sure enough my worst fears were realized, I got hit in the head. But It didn't hurt near as bad as my fear told me it would, in fact all it really did was just make me angry, and I'm still very angry to this very day.
USA TODAY is a great national newspaper, but it is nothing locally in any town in America, the school paper is bigger. What part of why that is, is radio not getting.
Does anybody know what they are saying on the drive through speaker at McDonald's
What does a woman really think ??? I don't think you really want to go there.
The infamous third eye doesn't let silly things like logic or reason deter it from his ultimate goal.
Have you ever noticed that during bad economic times the oil companies, health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies seem to still have record breaking months and years.
Shortly after saying "I love you" your whole life starts reversing direction.
I heard "YES" a couple of more time last week. Things may be picking up.
People aren't really sure what they want to hear on the radio but they sure know what they don't want to hear.
Breathtaking moments are what makes up most of your memories. I for one sure I could use a few more of them.
I wonder why the speed of light is absolute.
When I lived in Transcona a lot of people including Sandy and Betty Johns used to drive south to Grand Forks N.D. and spend the weekend there just because all the service was so good. I bet the Canadian folks don't bother to do that now.
The thing bosses need to understand is, they don't need any credentials.
I recently explained to my daughter Cami that a lot of people claim I spoil her. I totally agree with their findings, but as I explained to Cami they don't realize I am only teaching you yet another life lesson
My life lesson for this subject is ... As long as you continue to do well in school I will continue to spoil you. This is no different than what all the companies in the work world will do to you and all their employees who over achieve. Of course under achieving brings all that spoiling to a sudden halt a lot faster than it ever got started.
I've had a lot of adventures in my life but I've got to admit that going from Da Da to Daddy to Dad to Dude is still one of the all time best.
How come when anything goes wrong you only get to talk to the people who claim it's not their fault. Why is it then that the person whose fault it is who could probably fix it is always unavailable.
I think whomever got all the stuff done for the handicapped folks should be running our country.
If the pursuit of happiness is happiness, why isn't the pursuit of profit, profit.
The listeners know more about good radio than most radio people do.
The toughest thing to handle when morphing from V/P of programming for Fairbanks to my own consulting company was dealing with the fact that all my ideas no longer instantly got on the air.
One of the things Ron Chapman taught me was sometime you have to lose to win.
The best example was when we had a tug a war with one of the big local TV stations over the Trinity river in Dallas. Ron instructed our very competitive staff to lose. KVIL got 10 minutes in both of the newscasts that night.
OK OK I just noticed that the gas prices are very slowly coming down again. Now you have to promise me that you'll stop scaring those wussy Oil Barons.
I don't think content is king on radio anymore, it's performance. You can get all the content you want from many many sources. The same is not true about performance.
When is the President going to figure out that unless the economy gets fixed there is no way we are going to be able to pay for his health reform. How does that go again ... Oh yeah! It's about the economy stupid.
What ever happened to Joe Biden.
Hey have you seen the Valentine Video from Robin Marshall, It's so good I can't show it to my 14 year old daughter Cami. Google Cuppa'Jayne scroll down a couple and click on the video of ... What's Underneath That Little Black Dress.
Is there such a thing as too much "Wine, Women or Song". What say you Tiger.
It is said that the average male thinks about sex every seven seconds even while running a Marathon. So if your sexually addicted what number could that possibly be.
It seems to me that wives get a lot of credit for their husband's successes, but none for his failures.
Why does one missed belt loop ruin your entire look.
The thing I think that Ron Chapman and I most have in common is the pleasure we both derive from successfully teaching creativity to gifted people and the art of manufacturing to the creative folks.
PPM is a lot closer to the truth than the diary ever was, but it misses about 30-45 minutes of radio listening every morning, so it's still not there yet.
If you force your PD to listen to his/her radio station once a week I guarantee he/she will change most of it.
Why do government employees need so much time off. Covering your ass all day can't be that exhausting.
Surely all women aren't as dumb as the wives who even though they were living life very very large, all appear to be in total shock when informed their husbands were being arrested for illegally gathering all the funds that they were enjoying so much.
I have learned so much more about diary only markets now that I work mostly with PPM.
This radio thing isn't going to end well so you better enjoy the journey while your trying to figure out how to get in charge of the way it ends with you.
Sociology is already much more important than technology.
We all agree that doing the detail work is super important. Unfortunately the person doing this all important work isn't paid very well so nobody wants to do it.
Walt Disney claimed there was no such thing as motivation, only inspiration ... You can not make anybody do what they don't want to do.
You are whoever the guy who pays you says you are.
Obama is very charismatic but he doesn't hold a candle to Churchill, Kennedy or Trudeau. In fact speaking of candles I think his is almost out.
At the Grammys, Kings Of Leon won record of the year. The oldsters said who the hell are the Kings Of Leon ? The Youngsters said ... What's a record?
Doug Erickson said that a new radio operator in today's world has a good shot at making 10 million profit which is pretty exciting compared to one of the old guard radio operators who need a 100 million profit just to come close to breaking even.
Some traditions die more slowly than others, like have you ever noticed a woman no matter how much money she may have ever pick up the check.
In the olden days of radio the only ones making a lot of money were the owners, but they never shared. Now they are not making any money but they sure don't mind sharing that part with us aren't they.
Joyce Kaufman said "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction"
There is no need to invent new product for new technology, just use the new technology as an excuse to leave out some product that you feel didn't keep up with the times.
I'm still a student of the "Biz" and I'm still curious about life in general. Unfortunately though there is not really much going on in radio that I want to learn about so I'll just continue to study life until this part is over.
It's never been about the government it's always been about us. How many times do we have to blow them out of office before they get that.
Now if we could just cancel their pension plan and medical coverage when we get rid of them wouldn't that be sweet.
I just checked radio again, it's still the same. No Money, No People, and No Time.
It doesn't mean anything if you get fired in radio today so you might as well do anything you want. Hell It might work!
Shakespeare was so good that he even figured out how to give the actors instructions and make those instructions part of the play
Back when there was a big controversy going on about whether it was really Shakespeare who wrote all those great plays. Mark Twain, a great pen man himself commented ... Shakespeare or someone calling themselves Shakespeare wrote those plays.
Tim Moore recently told me that back when he was in Dallas working his way up the corporate ladder at TM he heard the early KVIL that Ron and I were putting together. He told me he couldn't believe he was the only one in "The Biz" that realized that this new sound was going to kill everyone.
Turns out that Tim was the only one that had his ears on back in the day. No wonder he ended up running TM.
85% of the reason a person turns on an FM station is for music, but it's only 25% of the reason they stay.
Recognizing what is artful is an art in its self.
Steve Lapa said that is going to be real tough for a woman to make it in Sports Talk Radio because of all the strip club spots. The spots will embarrass her and excite her listeners, but they wont be thinking about her and sports.
Arnold Segal said rivalry is a good thing, it's what keeps America rolling.
Talent is only one of the tools you'll need to have to become popular. Too much talent in fact will probably get in the way.
Your inability to become anything like your heroes allows you to become yourself.
Anyone can learn how to play guitar. But you cant learn how to play guitar like Eric Clapton & Jeff Beck.
Was it just me or was the interview with the President (Katie's little editorial) about health care total out of place during the Super Bowl coverage.
I only tease people I like. Now if I love you, it becomes almost unbearable as my Daughters Candis and Cami plus my Niece Christina I'm will attest to.
The thing I like best about PPM is we can give the listeners what they want instead of what we need them to have. Now what was it they wanted again ???
As I write this I am flying at about 35,000 ft. on my way to a client meeting in San Francisco. I'm kinda just sitting here all relaxed, having a glass of red wine and marveling at the fact that I can check my e mails, watch a football game and write this piece on my lap top, as I wing my way from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Travel it seems has always been involved in the the way I make my living. Back in my early days traveling with The Jury, we were touring in cars dragging trailers filled with gear behind us. Now I'm flying along almost at the speed of sound with all the gear I need in my head.
Speaking of traveling I hate to think about it but I have flown over two million miles on American Airlines alone, not to mention probably the same amount on all the others while I've been doing this thing called radio.
As I fly west through the darkened skies, I can't help but peer out at the blackness and wonder about how this all came to be.
I guess the story really begins at the end, by that I mean the end of my band days. Strangely enough I started to feel like maybe it was time to move on just about the time we had the # 1 Canadian record in Canada.
But shortly before having that #1 record, a couple of very exciting things were in motion that I had little control or knowledge of. These events though turned out big enough to cause me to start thinking ... Maybe it was time to give up the dream and hang up my guitar.
The first exciting things that happened was I got promoted at CKY to Music Director and Production Director almost simultaneously. These promotions took me from a part time day job, to a full time career job.
The next life changing event occurred not too long after, it was the birth of my Daughter Candis. Candis' arrival in my world was possibly even more exciting than my hearing The Jury's first record played on the radio for the first time. I must admit though the thrill of her birth has been much longer lasting.
During the time my wife Lana was carrying Candis, I was wrestling around with the fact that I just couldn't see myself raising a family with the limited amount of musical skills I possessed. I had put years and years into the band, but now I was going through a few changes mentally and I needed to deal with that soon.
Everything seemed to be happening all at the same time, as the promotions at the radio station were being offered to me our record company was also pressuring us to go on an extended tour. I knew I couldn't do both so it was choose time.
I chose the one that I believed had some sort of future to it and maybe even some stability. What was I thinking, right? But nevertheless, that was the day I put my guitar down for good and gave up on the dream. I became a full time radio guy, which I have been ever since.
As I had written earlier, the beauty of having both titles led quickly to me getting a job offer to become the new Program Director of CKOM in Saskatoon.
So there I was about six months after Candis' birth, loading my baby girl, her mother and a few essential items into the car for our long cold drive to Saskatoon for the beginning our new future.
Taking the PD's job at CKOM was a excellent career opportunity for me. But I have to admit it was also very scary. We were leaving family, friends, and our hometown for the complete unknown.
I sure wasn't very popular guy with either of the two sets of Grandparents while making this career move. I was taking away their first grandchild, the one they all had been waiting a long time for.
I knew any small hopes I may have had about becoming son of the year, son in law of the year, husband of the year, or father of the year were definitely out the window with this new adventure of mine and what a long adventure it turned out to be.
The scariest thing about this first move was, I really wasn't sure what the day to day details of being a Program Director's were or even what they really did.
The only PD's I had ever known were Jimmy Darin my first, and for a short while his successor, Bill Grogan.
Bill and Jim each ran things a lot differently, and seeing as I had no way yet, I thought the best thing I could do would be to try and emulate Jim's style
The way Jim did it seemed to produce a bunch of wins for the station, not to mention we sure had a bunch of fun too as we were doing it.
Oh and did I mention that because we were having so much fun a few of us worked more hours than we ever got paid for.
Come to think of it I still work a couple of projects for Jim even now, and I still work more hours than I get paid for. How does he do it. (-:
The real truth to it was back then it was a lot more fun to hang out at the station than any place, so that's what we did. I wonder how many radio stations today have a bunch of radio types hanging around, long after their shift is over.
When I got my my first PD shot I decided that was the kind of work environment I would try to create.
When I worked for Jim as a pup, It didn't take me very long to figure out that he spent most of his time thinking about how to get more people to listen to the radio.
He always did big promotions and those promotions always caused talk. He also always had very colorful characters on the air. That all got so ingrained in me that to this day I cant think of a better way of doing it
Of course more people listening to the radio resulted in more ratings. More ratings led to fancy cars, fancy clothes, and big homes, Jim has always had more than his fair share of all that, and I sure needed me some.
My short term goal was to figure out how to get ratings as quickly as possible. I needed ratings quickly in order to achieve my long term goal, which was to get a job offer to return home to Winnipeg as a Program Director and live happily ever after.
But of course deep down what I really lusted after was to become the Program Director back at CKY, the station where making records and making radio had all started for me.
When I was growing up I always spent a lot of time just dreaming about becoming somebody. Trying to be somebody probably was the driving force behind a lot of things I did.
I played most sports and was pretty decent at them, but I wasn't very big, so I turned to music and started a band.
The band thing was very very exciting, there is nothing that feels like the feeling you get when your on stage performing. During my youth I spent most of my waking hours just wondering about stardom and how really good that must feel.
One of my fondest memories is Rolly (Termite) and me, plus a few of the other band members toasting each other and shouting ... "Lets get drunk and be somebody" as we downed our CC and Cokes and headed back to the stage for another set.
But eventually as fun as it was the band thing started to stall, and to make things worse I really didn't feel like I was anybody yet. Besides that, doing the band thing wasn't even coming close to satisfying all the pent up drive left in me.
So I had turned to radio, I figured if I ever was good enough to become the Program Director of CKY in Winnipeg, then I would definitely be somebody. Right ???
How was I to know as we drove through that frigid prairie night towards the future that we would never live in Winnipeg again. Hello Saskatoon, hello new beginning.
When my Daughter Candis turned five all I wanted to become was the man she already thought I was. When about 25 years later my Daughter Cami turned five I realized I still had some more work to do.
My Brother Reg told me this week that I'm still much better at being inspirational than I am at being an A** Hole. He said he has met a bunch of them in his travels and most of them were a lot better at it than me. Damn! And I thought I was getting pretty good at it.
There is a simple way of achieving happiness ... Just simply say what you mean, and mean what you say. Hey that ain't that simple!
How long do you think the FCC is going to tolerate the nationalization of local radio.
When I was discussing with Marnie Howard what I thought she should do with her great book "Giving Is Living" she said ... Your just fearless aren't you!
I'm not sure she meant that in a good way.
Robert Murphy told me that when he had a job interview in Dallas, to do mornings, he turned on the #1 Morning guy, Ron Chapman to hear how tough he would be to beat.
Ron at that moment was taking a call from a woman who said she was calling from Arlington. When Ron asked her whereabouts in Arlington she told him and he said ... Oh your almost across the street from that old Texaco station they're tearing down. Robert said he was outta there, he couldn't possibly love the Dallas area as much as Chapman.
Speaking of Ron Chapman, I can hardly wait to be sitting at his table in Vegas in April when the NAB inducts him in to the Radio Hall OF Fame.
My main role in this affair is of course to carry his bags and park the car for Nance and him just like I have always done.
There is nothing more powerful than a song, it just kinda sneaks up on you and changes your life.
I only trust the people who love me. Boy that list sure could stand to be just tad longer.
Shouldn't there be a little trainin' on what to do if you fall in love. It's the best and worst thing that will ever happen to you.
I'm really lovin' the word yes lately and maybe that's only because I finally heard it a couple of times last week. As foreign sounding as it was, it still had a nice warm glow to it, just like I remembered.
Canada is very proud of being a unprejudiced Nation. But when you hear the English speaking population talking about the French and vice versus not to mention how they both speak about the Indians, ya just gotta wonder where they came up with all that pride.
Disneyland/World is just a bunch of roller coaster rides like any other park, but their image sure ain't. Hmmmmmmmmm
Unfortunately it seems you don't accumulate wealth by being very nice.
I wonder what's worse, being married to someone you don't love or being married to somebody who doesn't love you.
After all these years, hearing my record with my band The Jury on the radio for the first time still ranks right up there as one of my all time favorite breathless moments.
Joe Amaturo loves the word specificity but by the time you even learn how to say it ... It's already too late to live by it.
There has got to be a good reason why there are not more statues dedicated to or honoring Mr. businessman.
Jerry Del Colliano says that when Steve Jobs brings down his Tablet to us it will have access to virtually everything on it but Terrestrial Radio.
If you can figure out how to get your listeners to listen to your station for an extra day a week, you'll blow the ratings apart.
My daughter Candis asked me the other day if I won the lottery what would I do. I replied ... Remodel my Florida Condo, maybe by a little place in California for the summer and I guess a new car. She said no, what would you do work wise.
I told her I wouldn't change a thing because right now I only work at what I want to work at, and and I only do it when I want to do it. Why would I want to change any of that.
Back in the fifties, young adults had money for the first time in history and became a commodity called teens. They instantly invented Elvis, I wonder what they are inventing right now?
I've noticed that your taste in women doesn't seem to evolve much as time goes on. When I was 15, twenty year old women sure looked great to me and they still do.
I think radio folks at the moment are too busy working on things that have nothing to do with ratings to have any chance of getting any.
I think all rock stars wish they had the charisma of movie stars and all movie stars wish they could sing like rock stars.
I wonder what kind of people want to start a radio career these days.
I only want women I cant have.
The folks would rather listen to bad commercials than bad music.
How could possibly not take it personally when you get fired?
In part four of Buried Treasures I was wrote about how my hearing The Jury's first record on the air for the first time was a very special breathtaking moment for me, to put it mildly. I didn't think there ever could be another moment as strong again. But as usual I was wrong.
Being a member of The Jury as a kid was mostly just a lot of fun in our early days. Becoming a recording artist of course was an unbelievable experience, the stuff dreams are made of. But as I wrote before, I guess every up has to have it's down that's how Yin and Yang works
All that travel without any kind of serious money coming in, and none on the near horizon that I could see eventually took it's toll. Being a member of The Jury started becoming kinda frustrating for me.
At the same time the frustration was beginning to build, my part time day job at CKY on the other hand was becoming more and more fun.
I'm not sure if it was the fun or the curiosity about how radio worked that was turning me on but what ever it was I found myself spending a lot more time at the radio station and a lot less time with my guitar.
I had no idea back then that a couple of other things were already in motion and those other things were going to make the decision about what road I should take pretty easy to decide.
The first thing in a chain of events with my name on them happened shortly after Jimmy Darin ( Hilliard) left the radio station to head back to the States. Shortly there after Chuck Dann (Riley) also decided to leave, but before Chuck left he convinced management to give me his off air title. Chuck besides being an excellent on air talent was also Production Director of the station.
His claim to them was ... Seeing as I was doing all the production work anyway, I deserved the title. They agreed, and that was the beginning of the end for me and my band days.
Chuck later went on to become one of America's greatest voice over talents, so I think you could easily say that I really lucked out during my early impressionable radio years because without me even having the chops to know good from bad, it turns out I had been trained by the very best.
As I said goodbye to Chuck and thanked him for his vote I had no idea that in the not too distant future we would work together once again. Only the next time I would be his boss. I write that part with a smile on my face, because I doubt if anybody could really ever be Chuck's boss. What colorful character !
But the radio gods weren't done yet, wouldn't you know it but only a couple of months after Chuck's departure, another event occurred that really sped up all the big changes that were about happen to me.
It was sorta like the stars were all aligning with the next one, Daryl "B" ( Burlingham ) decided it was time for him to move on to a larger market so he resigned from CKY to accept a new on air position at CFUN in Vancouver, and went to work for the legendary Red Robinson.
Before Daryl left, he like Chuck also gave me with a wonderful going away gift, Daryl convinced the brass that I should have his Music Director's title. My fate was now sealed.
Those two special gifts from a couple of very special guys set up a whole new world of opportunity for me and that world of opportunity showed up in the form of yet another "Moment"
The next "Moment" jumped started a whole new exciting life for me and my family that has yet to end. A whole new life that allowed us to live a way beyond any dreams we may have had. But much more on that a little later.
Daryl like Chuck, went on to bigger things such as Jockin' on CKLW the BIG 8 in Detroit, after he left Vancouver then on to Radio Mecca in Canada, Toronto. In Canada, if you haven't played Toronto you haven't played. Daryl played and he played well.
Sadly as I mentioned before, both Chuck and Daryl have passed. I still miss them both. But I still have all the great memories of all the laughs and all the good times we had together, so they both still live on for me.
When I became both Music and Production Director of CKY it turned a part time job into a job full time job, something had to give and it was about to give real soon.
Meanwhile at the same time I was being promoted at the station the band had decided we needed one last shot at the big time and the only way to do that was improve the quality of our recordings, so we booked a session at Kay Bank studios in Minneapolis.
These studios had already produced a few top 10 hits for some other big acts, so maybe it could do the same for us.
What we needed was to record something good enough to get us American release so maybe we could go onto national fame like our band mates, The Guess Who and Neil Young.
The session in Minneapolis produced what was to to be our final record. The session itself was miserable, we had decided to take the train down and as usual somehow when we got together we always drank. By the time we hit the studio we were very hung over and sounded like S**T. But when we heard the first play back through those giant speakers it perked us up and pretty soon out came "Please Forget Her b/w Who Dat" which went on to become our biggest record. In fact it even went on to become the #1 Canadian Record in Canada.
Someone just told me the that they just saw it up on E Bay the other day for well over a hundred bucks. Oh and yes we did get that American release, but alas still no call from Dick Clark, no national fame, just more traveling and feeling a whole lot older at a time when the crowd appeared to be getting a whole lot younger.
I'm not sure if anyone could even come close to imagining what a tumultuous time this was for me. I had just become the Music and Production of CKY in Winnipeg plus had the #1 Canadian record in Canada on the charts. Hey you would think that would be enough excitement for one guy wouldn't you.
But no! Look out now, here comes that other "Moment" I was writing about earlier. But this moment though was of the breathless moment variety, a moment that calls my bluff and forces me to decide whether I'm a musician, or a radio guy. My Daughter Candis was born.
The real funny thing about Candis' birth that we both still laugh about was, for the nine months her mother was carrying her I was positive she was carrying around my son. I had his whole life mapped out for him, and wanted to get started on it as soon as we could after his birth.
Can you imagine my total surprise when they presented to me one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen in my life, my daughter. A daughter, are you kidding me ... What the hell do you do with them?
Years later at Candis' wedding I explained to the gathered guests that not only was I in complete shock after being presented with a brand new baby daughter, but even worse, I was without plans for her.
I told them she was a complete surprise to me then and she still is now. Candis who has done many exciting things in her life and made a father very proud many many times, now raises my Grandson Nathaniel. For Nathaniel I have a plan, it's an old and almost withered up plan, but it's a plan.
I love and live for breathless moments. I was told years later while studying with the Dean of Walt Disney University that life was really measured by them and if you don't have them you wont have many memories.
I just wonder how many do you suppose your allocated in a life time. I think I have had more than my fair share because another real big one showed up showed up about fourteen years ago, when my daughter Cami was born.
As I said I live for breathless moments but enough all ready with the daughters. I'm getting tired of them pushing me around, and putting me in my place.
The birth of my first daughter Candis woke me up big time. I wasn't much more than a kid, and barely able to take care of myself let alone a wife and a brand new baby girl. But I was starting to figure out that my raising a family and playing in a Rock & Roll band was just not coming together for me.
The strange thing that really forced my hand though was surprisingly, the success of our new record. We had also just gotten our American release which we were all very pumped about, but with that also came the pressure from the record company.
The record company wanted us to go on the road to expose the record to a whole new audience and see if we could make it a world wide hit which would get us the national fame we all had been craving.
I thought about this long and hard because I had spent a good portion of my life dreaming about this day. But deep down I knew I was not really a good enough musician to play myself home should the band break up on the road.
I had never dreamed about becoming a great guitar player, I just wanted to play a guitar on stage with a band and if I was lucky enough maybe bring a record out. Hey mission accomplished so I decided to walk away from it forever.
I must tell you, that first Saturday night at home in years was a weird weird feeling, which gave me great pause.
I guess I officially became a radio guy the day I hung up my "58 Strat". Yep I still have it and the funny thing is, I often think about if the radio business today was anything like that back then would I have still walked away.
Come to think of it there's nothing like the present, maybe I should just dig out the old Fender and put it in tune I could be Rockin' and Rollin' soon.(-: Hey c'mon, Burton, Randy, and Neil are still playing.
Although I had made my decision to be radio guy and was only a couple of months into my new full time radio gig, I was kinda getting buyers remorse. Most of my radio friends had left the station and without them radio seemed pretty boring. Just in the nick of time though wouldn't you know it, another "Moment" showed up.
One day when I walked into the on air studio to put a new album in the record bin, midday jock George Dawes was on the phone and I heard him say ... Thank you so much for the offer but I'm happy in Winnipeg and I want to stay here. When he hung up I said, hey "Doody" what was that all about. He told me that a station in Saskatoon that he had once worked at, was looking for a new PD, and they had offered him the job.
I said, wow I would love to be a PD. "Doody" then said he would call them back and tell them I was interested if I wanted him to. The next thing I knew I was on a plane to Saskatoon for a job interview.
I realized a long time ago that I got that interview mainly because of those two going away gifts I had received from Chuck and Daryl in the form of my two new radio titles.
I knew how to do Production and I knew a little about music, but I knew very little about being a Program Director. When Jimmy Darin was my PD I just carried out the tasks he needed done, but I wasn't sure what he did and I wished I had paid more attention. The thing I remembered most about Jim was he was a very inspirational guy and the work environment he provided at the station was total fun. I knew for sure that was something I was going to try and bring to my first PD gig.
Luckily I guess, I turned out to be a quick study for the rest of it because becoming the Program Director of CKOM in Saskatoon soon turned my career into a rocket ship.
Getting into programming "full time boogie" I was consumed by radio and never thought much about my band days. But when that new CD showed up with the seven Jury cuts on it a new sense of pride swelled up inside of me as I listened to it, and once again I was very proud of being a member of The Jury
I totally understand what Sir Paul McCartney meant when he recently said, that he is more amazed now by once being a Beatle, than he ever was while he was one.
I have come full circle on this whole issue. I had spent most of my teenage years in high school writing songs and day dreaming about becoming a rock star, instead of learning much and my grades showed it.
I was sure when you had records out the world would become your oyster. I couldn't figure out what school and being a Rock Star had in common with each other, but after years and years of practicing and playing I woke up one day and said, this sure isn't what I was dreamin' about. So I put all my energy into radio and forgot about the band
But now as I drove along listening to the new CD, "Buried Treasures" I cant help but wonder how many of the people driving beside me are listening to a new CD with seven of their tunes on it.
The Condo complex I live in must have at least thousand folks living in it in, how many of them do you suppose ever had a record out.
Once having a record out is now a special thing with me again after all these years. My daughter Candis who lives in the record star land of LA says she never runs into anybody that ever had a record out.
But now I'm so over the top about it all, that I'm converting one of the rooms in my condo in West Palm Beach into a music room. I have framed all my old 45's and I'm in the midst of hanging them, along with a bunch of pictures and memorabilia I still have. Can you say obsessive.
Hell If nothing else I figure doing this will give the folks from up north something to stare at while they are visiting when the snow flies in the Motherland. They may cut short their stay though when they figure out they have to hear the hours and hours of stories that go with all that stuff hanging there.
Here's to Chuck Dann,(Riley) Daryl "B", Mark Parr and Jimmy Darin,(Hilliard) four great Winnipeg Dee Jays who all went on to bigger and better things and left me behind with some very high standards to live up to. But they were also kind enough to leave behind some great left overs, big left overs that I soon used to jump start a great life for a kid from Transcona.
I had no idea that as good as I thought I had it back then that I was really only in Kindergarten. As time started picking up speed, It turned out that Jimmy Darin who had done so much for me in my early days by giving me enough rope to succeed or hang myself, hadn't really even started with me yet. Turns out he had a lot more rope waiting waiting for me.
I'll need a few adult beverages before I can get in to all of that though.
Radio for me is merely the soundtrack of life or maybe better put ... "Should be the sound track of life".
Do we have the name of the person who first came up with " Politically Correct." Do we also have the correct addresses of his or her family members ?
Men are into what "IT" is, Women are into why "IT" is.
It is said for every hour you exercise, you live two hours longer.
Everybody is for or against everything until it affects someone you love.
As the poor people of the world starting numbering into the many millions was it just sheer luck for all The Kings and the rest of the rich folks of the era that the "Ten Commandments" conveniently showed up in the nick of time.
While living in Florida it is easy to spot the snowbirds, they are the ones driving around with the top down as the rest of us occasionally have to bundle up in sweaters and jackets.
Doing music for a radio station is pretty simple ... Just play more of the music folks like and less of the music they don't like. Now what should go in between the tunes. Well therein lies the problem grasshopper.
It's not about the athlete it's about the game, it's not about the actor it's about the play, it's not about the artist it's about the painting, it's not about the musician it's about the music. But there is always the exception isn't there. It is about Tiger and not about golf.
There are a bunch of radio stations in America who have achieved the lofty position of "Good Enough" The problem in beating them is even though your station may sound better and even be more exciting, their listeners are not really dialing around to find anything else.
Bruce Munson told me he wants the new Miranda Rights to go as follows ... You have the right to remain silent for 15 seconds when the 15 seconds are up certain parts of your body will begin to hurt and will continue to hurt you until you tell us everything you know.
Hey once in a blue moon finally happened and it happened on New Years Eve.
Scott Shannon told me that a lot of Dee Jays need lessons on how to be appreciative and thankful for the generous people who mentored us in our strange business.
The economy is still not bad enough for the service to get any better.
If the pursuit of happiness is happiness then the pursuit of profit must be profit. Wait a minute that doesn't make any sense, I'm going to have to rethink this whole thing.
I'm a very focused individual but you put a beautiful smart woman between me and the project and I know I'm soon saying ... What project ???
Ron Below said that a great advertising slogan for an airline would be " We Profile"
John Picano wanted to know who my favorite talents were that I had coached. Hmmmmmm!
Well in no particular order here goes, Delilah, Jeff & Jer, Ron Chapman, Loren & Wally, Jim Harper, Cris Conner, Chuck Riley, Brent Farris, Bill Gardner, Cat Simon, Don Bleu, Buster Bodine, Russ Morley, Don Wright, Robert Murphy, and Jo Myers
would round out my top 15, with a bunch more to be named later, bubbling under.
From Canada it would go Gary Russell, Woody Cooper, Sandy Hoyt, Rick Moranis, Ken Singer, Keith Elshaw, Roger Klein, General Grant, The Magic Christian and Doc Harris who are all in my top 10.
When you have talent it gives you an opportunity to create your image, from that image comes your popularity.
Women tend to forgive but they never forget, men tend to never forgive.
Kurt Johnson said 90% of the traffic information on radio is irrelevant to 99% of the people listening.
Tim Moore said, before you can solve a problem you first have to figure out if it's a Puzzle or a Mystery.
Fear is a great motivator but the problem is I feel unmotivated because I'm not afraid of much anymore.
I've always felt that I was one of the best, but at what has always alluded me.
Only the government can be politically correct because they are playing with house money (ours) For the rest of us it means sanctioning incompetence, which leads only to bankruptcy.
I just heard from Joasia Holotka ( Jo Jo ) who tracked me down by e mail. We've lost touch with each other for about a decade. When I asked her if she was still beautiful she sent me this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me5WFYWzkzI&feature=email
I'm much smarter on an e mail than I am on the phone.
When the then owner asked the then GM Ivan Braiker why he couldn't get his station to sound like WRMF, Ivan relied ... Because it's what George doesn't do on WRMF that makes it sound the way it does.
In Buried Treasures part three I was writing about The Jury recording our first tune "Until You Do" the details of which came back so vividly to me as I was driving up I 95 in South Florida listening to a brand new CD called Buried Treasures which just happened to have seven of our old hits on it.
As I was driving down the road, listening and humming along to all those old tunes of ours, it sorta put me in a trance and forced me to kinda reflect on all of the good times we had together as a band. But as they say, the good comes with the bad, so unfortunately I still remember the bad times and all the disappointments too.
All bands I think go through a lot of bad stuff, you know the long drives to the gigs, the long nights playing for four hours, the hangovers, the band fights, the not getting paid, and the real bad part that breaks most bands up ... Running out of topics to talk about while talking to people who only have the music in common.
I could handle all the bad stuff OK but it was the big disappointment of Dick Clark not calling to put us on Bandstand that brought me to my knees and ultimately ended my band days.
Hey that's how I heard it was supposed to be when you had records out. You know the limos, fine women, fine wine, fame, movie deals, and lots and lots of spending cash. Hey I always heard all this stuff kinda just showed up right after your first appearance on American Bandstand.
Dick never called man, so I think I'm outta here! But having a record out did provide me with one of the greatest moments of my life
But I think I'm getting ahead of myself here because first I want to tell you about how I accidentally stumbled into radio and I'll get back to "The Moment" part later.
When "Until You Do" was released I thought my future and what I was destined to do had finally showed up. Later, much to my surprise I discovered I wasn't even halfway to what was to become my destiny. Music was going to be my life alright, but just not this way.
Don't get me wrong I was very lucky and privileged to become a recording artist. Being in a band though led to something that turned out to be much more important in my life. Being a musician had put me in touch with the four four guys who would introduce me to what I was always intended to do.
The Jury was just part of my journey and it taught me things that I would need much later down the road a piece.
Two of the four guys who are responsible for my life as it is unfortunately are no longer with us. I just hope I was smart enough to have communicated to Chuck Dann (Riley) and Daryl B. (Burlingham) how generous they were back then for giving the band a shot at our dreams.
Daryl and Chuck were the ones that recorded our first record and you would think that would be enough but they weren't done with me yet.
Another special person of the four who figured so prominently in my life was Mark Parr. Mark was another one of the great Jocks at CKY I hung out with quite a bit. We did a little after hours drinking now and then and I thoroughly enjoyed watching how he charmed all the ladies. In fact Mark would have given Tiger a run for his money back then and maybe even still today.
One day when I went up to the station to see what plans Mark had for after his show, he talked me into trying a little board work just for grins. For some reason even though it all looked very complicated, I picked it up fairly quickly. Pretty soon Mark was bugging everyone in command at the station that CKY needed to hire me part time to help out.
Unbelievably Mark got it done. I vividly remember thinking at the time ... Hey this is just fun and now Mark you say they're actually going to pay me. You've got to be sh**ing me.
The way I figured it was until you get famous every band guy needs a day job. My day job was the best I couldn't believe my lucking out like this. The rest of the band had jobs that seemed very boring to me, I had the exciting one.
What I never even suspected was, I was working part time at something I was destined to do for the rest of my life. I thought I was a musician but It turned out I was a much better radio guy. I just didn't know it yet.
I was assigned everyday to fill in at noon on CKY FM as a board for the full time went for lunch. I got to spin beautiful music discs in stereo for an hour, back when FM wasn't cool.
The rest of my work time was spent hanging out and learning from the earlier mentioned Chuck Dann who was the Production Director. Chuck ended up shortly there after returning to America as Chuck Riley, and soon became one of the world's best voice over guys. Chuck who had taught me most of his production tricks before he left, also recommended that I replace him as the Production Director when he left the station.
Daryl B. by this time was almost a member of the The Jury he by now MC'd most of our gigs and even joined us on stage to compete with me on who could scream the loudest. I'm thinkin' now, that couldn't have been too good for his voice, I know because mine is still shot from it.
Daryl much too soon went on to bigger things in Vancouver and Toronto, but before he left he was kind enough to recommend me for the Music Director's position.
Those two moves, Chuck recommending me for the Production Director's job and Daryl also getting me the Music Director's job had sealed my fate and jump started my brand new career, long before I even knew I had one.
A side bar about Daryl here is Randy Bachman told me a few years ago that he used to listen to Daryl on the air and heard him say all the time ... This is Daryl B. "Takin' Care Of Business". Randy claimed the phrase just stuck in his head for years and one day just popped out one day as a world wide hit.
When I began working at the CKY I sorta just hung out after my short shift was over, just trying to learn the radio ropes while I waited for Dick Clark to call me with the date he needed The Jury to appear on Bandstand.
Learning all about radio was fun for me and I was very very curious about all the programming aspects and why they did everything they did. After all I had nothing else to do while I waited for Dick's call. He definitely turned out to be a Dick and not a Richard in my life.
Jimmy Darin who was the Program Director of CKY and my boss, turned out to be the fourth and probably the most influential member of that special team of four who completely changed my life.
Jim used to say to me all the time ... Hey squirrel can you do this project for me or that one over there and when your done with that do you know how to do this.
Jim was a real different kind of boss for me, It was the first time in my life that I worked at a place where you called your boss Jim, instead of Mr. Darin.
I of course told Jim that I could do all his projects and more bring 'em on. Then I would run around the station looking for someone who could teach me how to do it.
I remember one day being invited to the Jock meeting, which for me was a very rare privilege as I was the only board op to do so. At this meeting Jim was explaining some new twist to the format and at the end he asked if there were any questions. Like a fool I put up my hand and he kinda glared at me and asked what my question was. I told him I didn't think his new twist to the format was going to work because me and my friends wouldn't listen to stuff like that.
He told me that my job at these meetings is too shut up and just listen. he still says that to me to this day as we work on a couple of projects together.
Jimmy Darin of course was Jim Hilliard and still one of my best friends even to this day. When Jim left CKY to return to America we stayed in touch. In fact when he was making history at WFIL in Philly, he tried to hire me to board op the promos because he liked the little twists I gave them. I had a knack of making them all sound like movie trailers and he wanted that sound on The Famous 56.
But just popping across the border wasn't going to happen but it did start the necessary paper work Jim and I would need a little later. By the time Jim called again I was full tilt boogie into my radio career and by this time was the Station Manager of CFTR in Toronto. Jim called to say, it's time for you to stop fooling around in Canada. You need to get down here and take America on, boy!
Jim by this time after blowing apart Philadelphia was back in Indianapolis and was running Fairbanks Communications with a piece of the rock which was unheard of in those days.
Jim was busily buying up new stations as the new CEO and he was trying to run them all by himself. He said he needed me as his National PD because he had just bought a station in Dallas called KVIL and he was out of time.
Now just like when I was cutting my first record and got no premonition that my life was about to change nothing showed up when I heard the call letters KVIL for the first time. No chills, no wind chimes, no nothing to warn me that those now famous call letters were going to change my life again for the third time.
Four guys, Mark, Daryl, Chuck and Jim were instrumental in making come true everything I had ever dreamed about. As a kid I desperately wanted to be somebody when I grew up. It took all four of them to make that dream even possible.
I have just recently reconnected with Mark, but as I mentioned sadly both Chuck and Daryl are gone. I still do as I mentioned do a couple of projects with Jim but mostly we just kinda hang out and laugh a lot just like we did when we first met.
But I do have to confess that I have noticed lately that he is starting to get a little grumpy. Maybe that's just because he is so much older than me.
Another strange side bar to all of this radio stuff is ... The Jury's original singer Donny Burns also ended up in radio as a Dee Jay and big voice over guy in Toronto. J Robert Wood who booked a lot of our appearances went on to become a legendary Radio Programmer in Canada. Even Randy Bachman who played a couple of gigs with us when we were Phantoms now does a National Radio show himself on the CBC in Canada. Terry Kenny our lead guitar player became a Radio and TV engineer when his guitar pickin' days were done.
Radio it seems trapped a lot of we unsuspecting lads from Winnipeg in its sticky web.
Before getting hooked on radio I remember thinking that when you signed a record deal your moment in the sun had arrived. But I soon found out that wasn't true when yet another disappointment showed up as Chuck and Daryl explained the bad news to me. They told me other than bragging rights nothing was going to happen with the band until you get your record played on the radio. How do I get that done I innocently asked. You've got to figure out how to get Jimmy Darin to add it to the station's play list was their reply.
Well I guess I would try to figure out how to deal with all of that getting a record played type stuff come Monday when I got back from a weekend gig in Brandon Manitoba.
Once again how was I to know one of the greatest thrills of my life "The Moment" was about to happen. That moment is something very few people have ever experienced
I still remember it being a beautiful sunshine filled afternoon with nothing but a blue Manitoba sky above us as we driving out of town listening to Jimmy Darin playin' the hits. All of a sudden we hear Jimmy Darin say ... Here's the KY Instant Discovery "Until You Do" by The Jury, turn it up Winnipeg !
He didn't need to tell us to turn it up because we almost blew the speakers out as we sang along at the top of our lungs with the first ever playing of our first record. Even though many breath taking moments have occurred in my life that will always be one of the best.
I need not conjure up that unbelievable moment any more because good friend Chuck McCoy another Winnipeg boy who made good and is the V/P of all things Rogers in Canada not too long ago found the air check of that special moment in the archives of CKY when his company bought the station.
Chuck was kind enough to burn it to CD and send it to me. How precious do you suppose that is to me.
Ahhh gotta stop now because my favorite thing to do has showed up again, another radio meeting (-: But I will tell you this, the moment anybody agrees about anything I'm outta there before they talk themselves out of doing the right thing.
When I get out of the radio meeting I think I'm going to write about how recently I finally understand what Sir Paul meant when in a recent quote he said ... The Beatles are much bigger to me now than they ever were when I was a Beatle. And also how I used the two gifts I received from Chuck and Daryl to propel my radio career along at warp speed, as the Buried Treasures saga continues.
December 22, 2009
Brent Farris told me that radio used to be a part of Showbiz but when they pulled the Show & The Biz apart the magic escaped.
Have you ever noticed that kids are just mildly amused by magical tricks. That's because they believe in magic, we don't so we are totally amazed wondering how he did it.
My Daughter Candis said to me, the new catch phrase should be " If you don't fix it ... It's going to break."
Robin Garrett said the only talk she ever hears about President Obama, is just on talk radio
I was taught early in my radio career that the only two things that mean anything are Ratings & Revenue. Either I was lied to, or the guys at the top are definitely over paying themselves.
It takes a little talent to recognize talent.
My brother Reg and I were talking about the fact that radio sales people never seem to realize when they are trying to get a sales promotion on the air that it is never been about who pays our salaries or whether or not the station needs the money or not that gets our attention.
With programing people it's only about the image the promotion comes with good or bad.
Warren Cosford wrote ... There doesn't seem to be any room for mavericks in radio anymore.
What would you ever TiVo on radio even if you could.
When did free air go up to 75 cents ?
Well it looks like Obama is just like his predecessor, afraid of big business. They are all still doing whatever they want, whenever they want to, just like they all were doing when the economy nose dived. I can hardly wait to hear as usual, how it's entirely our fault.
I was just reading that Nielsen did a study with adults in America and found out of all the audio they heard 50% of it was to radio and 8% to Satellite radio. What I can't figure out is why the NAB spent so much money fighting the Satellite merger.
If they need a project why don't they spend it on trying to get car manufacturers to install regular antennas on cars rather than the hidden in the windshield type.
Have you heard how good radio sounds on a real antenna lately?
Did you ever wonder why so many recording artists moved to Canada in the early days of Rock&Roll, believe me it sure wasn't for tax purposes.
But the flight over the border all seemed to happen right after Jimmy Rogers was mysteriously beat up and hurt real bad.
The only thing besides the music these transplanted Americans had in common was, they all happened to record for the same label.
In Canada where the citizens pride themselves on being an independent nation.
But the Canadian Government of course just about copies everything America does, while speaking out against said same.
Canada like America also decided to go consolidation, even though most radio stations in Canada were making money. In fact it was said you had to try real hard not to.
The result of Canada's consolidation move is the same as the US, layoffs 900 at a time.
Now the CRTC (FCC) for some reason is beginning to grant a bunch of brand new licenses.
I can only think that the reason for that must be so all the unemployed radio people will have more choices to listen too as they sit at home with nothing but time on their hands.
What men want most from women is unconditional adoration or they might just have to wander off to find it. Ask Tiger.
Jeff Katz told me that he is so fed up with taxes that he is going to take up bunch of Floridians with him to Washington to do a Boston Tea Party Reunion.
For the last little while the wholesale price of gas has been going down but the pump price has been pretty stable. But now I've noticed the wholesale price is headed back up. They aren't going to raise the pump price are they? They wouldn't cheat us would they? Huh, the pump price is already up!
During my life I have known a few married guys who get hit on by women all the time, if they give in to temptation I would call that 2nd degree cheating as opposed to married guys who hit on women. That in my opinion would be called 1st degree cheating, and should be dealt with accordingly.
How long do think Arbitron can withstand pressure from the government to fudge the ratings for Urban and Hispanic radio stations. What do you mean check Chicago ?
I just got an e mail from Scott Shannon in New York after reading my piece "Buried Treasures." Scott said ... I know Neil Young, The Guess Who, and The BTO Boys and I also know that they like you are from that same God forsaken city in Canada, but I never heard of The Jury. How did I miss them ?
Russ Morley e mailed me that he thought bad decisions made good stories. This man knows of what he speaks.
Ron Chapman wrote ... There's not much radio left in which to practice our craft, but as the Trail Boss said in " City Slickers"; 'The Day aint' Over Yet'.
America is frightened and the more frightened it gets the more it will seek returning to the familiar womb.
Jo Myers was walking her small dog recently in Chicago when it was suddenly attacked by a St Bernard. Jo successfully wrestled the huge dog off of her little dog but was cited by the police because in doing so she had to drop the leash to save her dog's life. Don't you just love America.
Billing always follows the ratings but ratings seldom if at all, ever follow the billing.
Unfortunately women don't go to bars where men hang out but the reverse is certainly true.
Often an E mail is really only for someone who is on the CC list.
I think 50 year old women like what 40 year old women like, but I don't think the reverse is true.
I over heard Nance Chapman say to Tom Skinner with a soft Southern drawl ... Tom would you rather marry a woman who had 20 lovers in 20 years or a woman who had 1 lover in 20 years. Tom said, I would rather marry the one who only had one lover. Nance responded with ... See that's the real difference between men and woman.
It seems to me that the thing most women want in their life is choices. But my experience has been when they finally get all the choices, they seldom choose.
Scott Carpenter said ... For every dollar of income an personality makes, he pays $10.00 in Alimony.
December 15, 2009
The reason I started writing Buried Treasures in the first place was because when I was visiting a client radio station in South Florida, WFTL I had gotten a phone call from Shawn Nagey, who was calling to tell me he was putting a reunion concert together in Winnipeg with a bunch of the bands from the 60's and 70's. He was calling to ask if I would consider reuniting The Jury for the event. I had done one earlier with Neil Young, The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Over Drive in 1987, but as I told Shaun, as fun as all that was, that was it for me.
I had left my band The Jury shortly after my daughter Candis was born even though we had the #1 Canadian record on the Canadian charts. In fact it was just listed on E Bay the other day for a hundred bucks.
At the time of my leaving the group I was just beginning my radio career, and because it took off so quickly it took up most of my waking hours, so other than my brief appearance at the '87 group reunion, I hadn't given a lot thought to my old band days.
Even my daughter Candis mentioned to me that she really loves reading all this stuff about my band because it's all new to her. When she was growing up she only knew me as Dad, the radio guy. Of course she knew I once had a band and all but she had never heard me talk about it much.
Candis also told me that she was very proud of the fact that her Dad once had records on the charts before she was born. The whole thing was a very big deal to her
Candis' much younger sister Cami on the other hand has a much different opinion. Cami questions the reason we would even bother to record such lame sounding music. She's deathly afraid her friends might hear it and she will be banned from the 8th grade forever not to mention her embarrassment about it all..
When I returned again to WFTL again a couple of weeks later, the receptionist informed me that this time a CD had arrived in the mail for me. I thought it a little odd someone would send a music CD to WFTL which is a news and talk station. But OK it was free so what the heck.
The CD turned out to be an oldies album called "Buried Treasures" and as I flipped it over to see if some old favorites of mine were on it, just try to imagine my surprise when I discovered, lo and behold there were seven cuts by The Jury listed there. Wow how cool was that. I wonder what The Jury sound like in digital after all this time.
There was only one way to find out if this old Jury stuff was even listenable anymore, but I was going to do it in private. I quickly headed out the door and jumped into my car, dropped the top and pulled out of the station's driveway on my way to I 95 for the fairly long drive north to my home in West Palm Beach.
As I whipped along the interstate I shoved the CD into the player and turned it way up because I thought if might be a little noisy with the top down on the old Benz. But that might be a good thing, if The Jury sucked on this CD.
Not to worry though about the noise. The wind and traffic sounds were no match for Terry's unique sounding guitar opening for "Until You Do" as it cut through the speakers just as well as it had through those giant speakers in the studio where we had first cut it, those many years before.
When Bruce's voice hit my speakers I suddenly felt like I was being transported back in time. Magically there I was with the rest of The Jury being led down a dimly lit hallway of a radio station by two of radio's greats Chuck Dann (Riley) and Daryl B. (Burlingham)
Chuck and Daryl were two Dee Jays back then on one of Winnipeg's most popular radio stations, CKY which interestingly enough was located on what was reportably to be the coldest street corner in Canada, Portage and Main. But yet others claim it's actually the coldest street corner anywhere on the planet earth.
Even now as I think about all that transpired that night of all nights I wonder why as Chuck and Daryl led us to the studio on that cold December night I didn't get some kind of a premonition of all the things to come. I know now that before that night was done, my life was never ever the same again.
I like you, have seen all those movies where the main character always looks around, surprised by something he thought he heard, an eerie sound or maybe he just felt a sudden chill come over him as his life was about to change big time.
But those things just happen in the movies I guess, and this was real life. But come to think of it my life sure seems to resemble some kind of movie.
The whole reason we were walking down that hallway on that very frigid night was because The Jury desperately needed some kind of demo we could use to send out to concert promoters and such. We were even kinda hoping that if it turned out near good enough maybe we could also use it to get a record company interested in us.
But we all knew the odds of that were pretty slim because we were in a little bit of a bind at the moment. Our long time singer Donny Burns had recently skipped town to cut a novelty Christmas record on his own in Toronto called " Cool Yule."
I remember being really bummed out about it all because not only did we have this session booked, but we still had a bunch of dance commitments left to do with local concert and dance promoter J Robert Wood.
What with Donny's disappearing act, all we had left to record were a few original instrumentals which really wouldn't show us off as well as I would have liked, but they would have to do because I in no way was going to cancel this session after Chuck and Daryl were nice enough to arrange it for us.
Luckily for the group Terry Kenny our lead guitar player had recently recruited Bruce Walker the singer from his old band, The Chord U Roys to join us. But unfortunately we were still many rehearsals away from him helping us finish up all our dance dates let alone help us tonight. Bruce came along anyway just to kinda hang out with all of us.
I can still see in my minds eye the studio as it looked back then as we entered it through this huge sound proof door that closed with a soft swoosh like thud. To me it felt like we had just entered the cone of silence.
I can still see the once white acoustic tile on all the walls, kinda yellowing probably from the hundreds of cigarettes that had been smoked in there when all kinds of different bands had performed live on the radio from here, so many years before. Some of the old tiles over time had fallen off and were just stacked over in the corner waiting for someone to reattach them.
In the opposite corner were some neat old music stands just kind of pushed together and out of the way. Right In the middle of the studio was this huge black grand piano that seemed to be begging to be played again like it always was, back when it was still popular to have live bands on the radio. I couldn't resist so I pounded out a couple of bars of some old Jerry Lee Lewis tune on it.
Even the unsightly cigarette burns on the studio furniture looked like they belonged as I stood there breathing in the moment. Even now I can still smell the old cigarettes mixed together with the the not so good aroma of stale rancid beer and lord knows what ever else that was hanging in the air.
As I waited for are session to begin I wondered what tales this studio could tell us about all the musicians and singers that had performed here. Was The Jury destined to become another one of it's many many stories of the famous and not so famous who had all played here hoping something special was going to happen.
I knew for sure of one special person who had played here when he was a kid. He was playing for his Mom and Dad's band when they all played live on the radio every Saturday morning. He called himself Hal Lonepine Jr. back then, but it wasn't long before he was known to the music world as Lenny Breau, one of world's greatest guitar players ever.
On the nights we got to play in town we used to go to the all night Jazz clubs where Lenny was playing after our gig. We would just sit there and watch in awe as Lenny played.
I think even Randy Bachman who at one time was lucky enough to get private guitar lessons from him, would probably agree that with out Rock& Roll Lenny probably would have been the only one playing anywhere and the rest of us would have been s**t out of luck.
They say hind sight is 20-20 and I now remember the moment my whole life was about to change. I just sitting there with Terry tuning our guitars while the rest of the guys were setting up the rest of the band gear and helping Chuck and Daryl place all the mics where they needed to be.
That special moment occurred with out any fan fare as Bruce approached Terry and me saying that he was working on a new song. He asked us if we could help him with it because if we finished it up in time, he thought maybe it could tagged on to the end of the session and give our demo tape a little variety.
Terry and I jumped in with couple of words here and there that sorta rhymed plus worked out a few of the chords and added some guitar parts.
At some point the rest of the band drifted over to see what was going on and they too were soon adding their own creativity to our on the spot creation.
As we shaped the tune we started getting a little excited because the more little things we added to the song, the more English it started sounding. The British invasion was in full force by then, and we like all the bands in Winnipeg were trying to capture that great new sound that was sweeping the world as quickly as we could.
Earlier when Donny Burns was our singer, he sounded just like Elvis, that Elvis sound had served us well for a good many years but as Dylan had aptly put it, "The times they was a changin'."
With Bruce in the band now we knew we had a pretty good shot at sounding a whole lot more like today and sounding today meant sounding a lot more English.
Not only after this session did our sound change but so did our look. It wasn't very long until we started looking very English. I have to laugh even now as I remember Rolly Blaquiere our Bass player having to comb his hair back like Elvis each morning when he went back to his day job at the CNR shops.
At the shops and all over Transcona the worst thing that could ever happen to you was being called was a phony. Being a phony was the biggest crime you could commit in our town even though we had more than our fair share of gangsters living in it.
To all the blue collar union types in the shops all the Brits just looked like phony girls. So for Rolly, Elvis it was.
Finally our recording session got underway and it went fairly smoothly as we struggled a bit learning how to be a recording band as well as a performing band. We had our instrumentals down pretty tight after playing them so often at gigs, so we layed them down rather quickly.
Now the moment we were all waiting for, it was time to get on with Bruce's new vocal. We were all quite anxious to get started on it because we felt we had something a little special going on with it. But we needed to hear if it sounded as special as we thought it did once we got it on tape.
The first thing we did was lay down the instrumental backing together with Bruce's vocal all mixed together at the same level. This little technique enabled us to keep our guitars loud and very thick sounding, it moved them right up in front of the speakers. On the next take Bruce simply sang along with himself which just popped his voice right out there, without us having to turn the music track down.
After only a few takes we were done there was nothing more we could do to it to make it better. The time had come to join Chuck and Daryl in the control room and hear what we had. As the final mix of "Until You Do" played through those giant speakers we all looked at each other and smiled. With the sound of disbelief in our voices we said ... Are we just tired, or does this sound pretty damn good. Not only did it sound pretty damn good, it also sounded very very British.
Even later when our drummer Ray Stockwell bumped into Gary Peterson of The Guess Who, Gary told him when he first heard our song on the radio he thought it was a new one by The Beatles. But I'm getting a way ahead of myself here, more on how "Until You Do" got on the radio comes later on that.
Back in the control room we listened to the master several more times and I thought the repeat playing of it, just made it sound all the much better. The real burning question of the day though was what do we do with it now.
Chuck and Daryl suggested that we needed to play it for Jimmy Darin. (Jim Hilliard) They claimed that If anybody knows what to do with this it will be him. Jim was CKY's Program Director and he picked what tunes got played on the station, so he should know.
Around noon the next day Chuck, Daryl and me meet Jim back in the same production room where we had cut our song.
I only knew Jim slightly then and only because he had MC'd a couple of our gigs. I still remember standing there just scared to death as Chuck threaded the tape onto the big old tape machine. Daryl turned the pot up real loud and hit the start button. A new day had dawned and I wondered as I nervously stood there, if our new tune from the night before could stand the light of the new day.
Terry's guitar intro suddenly blasted out of those huge speakers, then when I heard Bruce's voice start singing I got goose bumps. I couldn't believe it actually sounded much better today than it did yesterday. But it was over much too quickly for my liking because now good or bad it was time for me to hear Jim's opinion. There was only silence, which to me was much louder than the song.
Jim finally broke the silence by saying ... Hey there's a guy by the name of Hal Ross from London Records coming into see me late this afternoon. Hal is on some kind of a PR tour for his label and I'm thinkin' we should make him hear this tape before I let him buy me dinner. He then turned to me and said, George do you think you can hang out till then. Right, I was going somewhere!
A few hours later Hal showed up for his appointment with Jim and once Jim got off the air we took him right back to the production room and rolled the tape. "Until You Do" thundered through the speakers one more time. I still remember as the last chord fades away, Hal Ross saying ..." HELL I'LL RELEASE THAT". Wow and just like that we were London Recording Artists. I'm talkin' label mates with The Stones man! They'll probably want us to open for them when they hear.
Even today it is too hard to explain what hearing the words "Hell I'll Release That" meant to me, and just how exciting they were to hear.
Hal true to his word went on to give us a great record deal, you know the one where the record company gets everything and the band gets nothing. But what did I care back then I remember just being ecstatic.
I literally flew down the station's stairway about ten feet off the steps, and at about the speed of sound. I was real anxious to get home and share the unbelievable news with everyone.
About halfway to the bottom I pass Neil Young who was headed up the stairs. Neil had Guitar in hand and as we nodded at each other as we passed, I remember thinking ... I wonder what he hopes to produce with just that guitar. I know he cant sing, I've heard him!
Damn they're calling me for another radio station meeting, maybe I'll use a little humor at this one to lighten it up a bit. Maybe after the meeting if we all have time, I'll tell you about the four guys who gave me two careers and more importantly got me the hell out of Transcona.
Oh yeah and just when I though there would never be another special moment another better one comes along that I can still hear anytime I want to now as the Buried Treasures saga continues.
December 7, 2009
In part one of " Buried Treasures" I wrote about getting a call from a Shawn Nagey a concert promoter who had tracked me down at WFTL in South Flotida.
Shawn had called to see if I would be interested in putting my old band The Jury back together for a 60's and 70's band reunion he was doing back in Winnipeg.
I told him thanks, but no thanks, I had already being there, done that back in 1987 when I had reluctantly gone back for the first big band reunion at The Winnipeg Convention Center.
This one had featured famous Winnipegers, Neil Young,The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Over Drive, The Jury, and a bunch of other local 60's bands. I surprisingly had a ball at that one and even ended up unexpectedly playing.
But the band phase of my life was a way over back then and was even more over now. As I said I had already done a reunion so I couldn't see any sense in returning to do it again, not to mention the fact that all the bands he had regrouping were from the later sixties and early seventies. The Jury was popular in the mid too late 60's, so this was a little after my band time, and more in my brother Reg's era when he had his band Saffron.
Reg who was in attendance at this reunion said it was kinda sad because the Rock & Roll wars that had started some forty years ago between these bands continued right up to show time.
One of the new disputes was which band is still big enough now to close the show. Reg told me the funny part was the show was running so long that by the time they figured out who was closing the show most of the crowd had already left.
Earlier when Shawn had told me all about his plans for this new reunion he had mentioned that a couple of the old Dee Jays were coming back to MC the whole affair. After I hung up the phone with him I started thinking back about all the great Dee Jays of that era.
I wonder what they are all doing now are they still alive, what ever became of them. I had spent endless hours listening to them teach me about Rock & Roll when I was just a kid growing up in Transcona. I dreamed of being just like them, hanging out with all the stars and all.
I had no idea that I would get to live the life they lived only I got to do it in double time. Hey wouldn't it be fun to reunite them at the same time as all the bands were reuniting.
These were the radio Guys I spent most of my waking hours listening to as I was trying to learn how to become a musician. I even was lucky enough to get to know a few of them when they MC,d some of the dances we played around Winnipeg.
What fun it would be to to see and talk with some of these legendary Dee Jays again. I for one would like to have an opportunity to just thank them for being a great inspiration to me when I was but a young Turk, trying to be somebody. Trying to be somebody was what fueled me through a lot of hard times later on.
The guys I can hardly wait to see again are the giants like PJ The DJ, Deno Corrie, Mark Parr, Jimmy Darin, Gary Todd, Daryl B and Chuck Dann from CKY, Frank Todd, Boyd Kozak, Don Slade, Harry Taylor, Dave Palmer, Doc Stein, Ron Legge, Bob Bradburn, Bob Washington Jim Christie and Jim Paulson from CKRC
These were the legends in Winnipeg and all of them were so much bigger than the records they played.
They were the guys that influenced so many of us kids back then who like them got sucked into the not so glamorous world of show business. Four of those special guys later changed my life forever..I have a way too many of my own stories, but for an opportunity to spend a night with these guys, even I think I could shut up for once and just listen to what they had to say.
I am still in contact with a few other Winnipeg pups from back then people like J Robert Wood, Chuck McCoy and Gary Russell who all went on to much bigger things after serving as board ops and gophers, when the legends were on the air rockin.' We all watched and listened and I know I often wondered what it must be like being them. I think we all hoped someday we would find out.
I know where a couple of them are but it's going to take some time finding the others. Warren Cosford another Winnipeg radio guy who made the big time we thought would be the perfect person to spearhead this project.
But it was not to be, there just wasn't enough time to round everybody up in time for the scheduled band reunion. But I think with the way things are going we've got this done before it's too late.
Hey this just in ... Warren says that BTO is reuniting in Winnipeg for Manitoba's 2010 homecoming ... I'm thinkin' that's when we are going to do it!
All this talk about reunions and stuff though has got me thinking once again again about my own musical beginnings. I'm talking about a way back when my obsession with music first started. Back when I was not such a stellar student at TCI in Transcona.
I wasn't very popular with all my teachers back then mostly because I used to just sit around in class all day writing songs and uttering the occasional smart assed remark instead of paying attention to my studies like I was supposed to. Well at least I finally gave up one of them.
Luckily for me one day I got invited to join the local vocal group called Shayne and The Devines and just like that my whole world caught on fire.
After only very few rehearsals we started playing at a bunch of community club dances, and school functions. I to this day still remember how terrified I was going up on the stage in those very early days
Butterflies use to just fill up my stomach all the time, but thankfully they soon just became part of the "high" of playing. Many years later when they went away, I knew it was about time to hang 'em up.
Shayne and the Devines as I mentioned were a vocal group but I always wanted to be in a band so I talked the rest of the group into adding some great musicians to our act. Talented people like Peter Proskurnik on sax, Gordy Duke on drums, Lawrence (fade) Balaquiere on Piano, Lawrence's younger brother Rolly on bass and me on guitar and just like that we became The Rebel Raiders and started playing a lot of instrumentals that were very popular on the radio at the time.
Even though I now was a so called professional musician I still hadn't given up my dreams yet about becoming a running back for The Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Hey I had to have something in my back pocket if this band thing didn't work out.
When I was going to High School I played halfback with Transcona Nationals along with my rather large best friend Jim Quail who was a line man. I think I kinda suspected if me being called a "Devine" went on much longer, Jimmy was sure to put the boots to me. ( a Transcona tradition)
As time went on even the name Rebel Raiders started sounding jive to me so we became The Phantoms, which to this day I believe was my best band.
When we went from Rebel Raiders to Phantoms we started adding a few new band members like Jimmy Harrison on another sax, I moved over to rhythm guitar when I found this kid by the name of Perry Waksvic. Perry was a huge pain in the ass, but as Chuck Berry said, he could play guitar just like ringing a bell and man could he ever wail.
Next we added Jerry Zenchuk on drums. Jerry was the first guy I had ever seen wear Hollywood shades on stage, he just looked too cool.
You would think that would do it but we also decided to add a great vocal group along with two feature singers, Gerry Anderson and Donny Burns. Gerry looked like Fabian and Donny sounded like Elvis.
The Phantoms were by far easily the best band in Winnipeg. Man what a sound. There was only one huge problem with the Phantoms, when it came time to divvy up the spending cash each night there was never enough to go around. I knew then it couldn't last, but I still remember it as being so fine.
Sometimes it's just good to be King and if nothing else for a little while we were the Kings of all the bands in Winnipeg.
But now It was time to get back to reality and reality meant we had to get back to the basics of Rock&Roll and stop fooling around. We needed to make some serious money if we were ever going to upgrade and get all the stuff we needed like bigger amps and stuff so we would have a shot at the big time.
Hey come on Rock and Roll all started with three guitars and drums. So three guitars and drums it was and The Jury was born. It didn't take too long for The Jury to become the most popular band I ever played in. We even got open for people like Ral Donner,Gene Piney, The Bill Black Combo, The Crickets Peter and Gordon, Manfred Mann, The Zombies and even legends like Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. Not to mention eventually having our own #1 record.
The Jury consisted of Terry Kenny on lead, me on rhythm Roland Blaquiere (termite) on bass who had been with me since The Rebel Raiders, Ray Stockwell on drums and Donny Burns who had been a Phantom as well, was our vocalist.
When I think back on this band stuff I cant ever remember when anybody elected me Captain of all of this, but for some reason I turned out to be the leader of the band.
Maybe I was Just the most intense about it all and could persuade the guys into doing a lot of different stuff. I know for sure I wasn't qualified to do it but I ended up deciding the fate of all the bands I was involved in plus consequently of course each band member.
Being the band leader though wasn't much fun as it sounds. It meant mostly just calming down all the disagreements the guys had with each other. I now think was just in training for what I was about to become a little further on down the road.
Maybe it was just like Randy Bachman said to me after I left The Jury and he was trying to recruit me for The Guess Who, a very nice honor but I turned him down saying that I was not even close to being a good enough musician to play with them. Randy said to me ... George I can teach you all the music stuff, it's all that other stuff you do, that The Guess Who really needs."
Oh Oh they are calling for me to board the plane,time to head for yet another meeting in yet another city.
I wanted to get into how a new CD hitting my desk took me all the way back at the speed of sound to one very special night and how four Jocks and no phone call from Dick Clark changes my life again. But all that will will have to wait for yet another time.
December 1, 2009
A couple of days ago I was sitting at a spare desk at WFTL a radio station in South Florida, waiting for another meeting to break out. I'm not a real big fan of meetings mainly because they never seem to accomplish much. But when your a radio programming consultant you get to go to a bunch of them anyway.
As I sat there waiting for the call I kinda was just looking out the window enjoying all the sunshine, flowers, palm trees and tropical paradise of the place I now call home. This is sure a far cry from the cold place I was soon going to get rocketed back to.
My solitude was broken by the receptionist buzzing me, not with the start of the expected meeting but with the fact I had a phone call from a Shawn Nagey.
Shawn it turned out was a concert promoter who was putting together another sixties band reunion at The Winnipeg Convention Center, he wanted to know if I would be interested in putting my old band The Jury back together for it. He said a lot of the old 60's bands reuniting for what he was hoping would be a major event.
The Jury was once one of the bigger bands in Winnipeg back in the sixties so he thought a lot of our old fans would love to see us again. As Shawn was telling me about his upcoming reunion concert I couldn't help but reflect on the one I reluctantly went back to in 1987.
The '87 reunion was a pretty big one and was even shown on TV. The reason for the TV coverage was because It featured some very famous Winnipegers like Neil Young, The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Jury plus a whole bunch of other bands that had been popular in Winnipeg through the sixties and early seventies.
After leaving The Jury in the late sixties and until the 1987 reunion concert I had been spending most of time working on my growing radio career which mostly consisted of fighting never ending radio wars all over America and Canada.
These ratings battles also necessitated living in a lot of different cities like Saskatoon, Sudbury, Ottawa, Toronto, Indianapolis and San Diego, so I kind of lost touch with the band and the Winnipeg band scene while moving around so much.
I hadn't thought about The Jury in a long time let alone talk about them which was just as well because when you talk about being in a band that had records out most people just want to hear about all the groupies not the music.
Well If there were any I've completely forgotten about them which I'm sure my daughters are very thankful for.
Besides that if any of that really went on with the rest of the group I wouldn't know because I seem to clearly remember going quickly to my own room after each out of town performance and falling asleep dreaming about having beautiful daughters someday.
Do you think Candis and Cami are buying this part?
I'm not really not sure what dragged me back home for that '87 reunion maybe I just missed seeing all my old band mates and was feeling a little guilty about not keeping in touch with them as much as I should have.
I had thought mostly about radio and how I was going to make my way through life now that I was no longer a musician. But I do have to admit once in a while I kinda wondered what all the guys were doing and how their lives had turned out.
Going back turned out to be the highlight of the decade for me. It was it was an absolute ball, and will remain a treasured time in my mind forever. ( nothing at all like those scary High School Reunions you always hear about)
Back in '87 when I landed at the Winnipeg Airport I don't know if it was returning to the city of my birth that was getting to me or not, but things I hadn't thought in years started to slowly creep back into my head and started picking up speed as the day continued.
It was early afternoon when I landed and I had lots of time to get to the Winnipeg Convention Center so after retrieving my luggage I caught a cab and had him drive me around a little just so I could see the old town again.
As we drove through the streets of downtown Winnipeg I realized that even though a lot of time had passed since I had last been here things looked exactly the same as they always had. It was like Winnipeg was caught in some kind of a time warp.
When the cab dropped me off at the Convention Center and I went inside it was alive with a lot of action. Stage hands were very busy setting up all the special lights and stuff as roadies from a few of the current bigger bands were busy setting up the ton of a equipment that later would turn into a giant thunder storm of sound.
Just watching all these people setting everything reminded me about when The Jury was current. The only difference back then was we had to set up our own gear. We had a little help from"Q" but "Q" was mostly our bodyguard. A body guard you say, yes we definitely needed a bodyguard because as The Jury got more popular with all the girls we became less popular with all the boys.
It would get a little nasty in some of those small towns when the local farm girls were crowding around the stage with that pick me look in their eyes. Those big farm boys didn't take too well to that but they were no match for "Q"
Meanwhile back at the Convention Center I picked up my credentials and wandered around back stage looking for The Jury. I finally caught up with them as they were busy tuning guitars and stuff while getting ready for their performance that evening.
They all looked great and thankfully seemed healthy enough to my eyes.
We unfortunately had lost a few of the other bands members to some abusive life styles, but The Jury was still intact and at this moment just buzzing with the nervous anticipation I remembered only a way too well but it was sure great to see them again after all this while.
It had been twenty years since I had seen any of them and I kicked myself for that.
They all looked a little bit different but father time all in all had been pretty kind to them. They like me had lost a little hair except for Bruce Walker our singer, his hair even seemed a little thicker to me now than it was back then. I never liked him that much anyway! (-:
As we stood around chatting and catching up on what had been going on during the twenty years that we hadn't seen each other, they presented me with a maroon colored satin jacket with my name on it.
The jackets it turned out was what they were going to wear on stage so I was all set to join them on stage if I wanted. they said.
I thanked them very much for the jacket but I told them there was no way in hell I was going up on that stage with them.
Terry Kenny the lead guitar player told me that they had been rehearsing for a little while and even had played a couple of small warm up gigs to get their playing chops ready in anticipation of the big reunion concert.
He mentioned that he was sorry I didn't live a little closer so I could have rehearsed and joined them on stage for the big event. I just laughed and said, Terry those playing days for me have been over for a long long time and I don't miss them for a minute. But hey I'll be back stage rooting for you guys, so break a leg man!
After hangin' with the whole band for as long as I did I figured it was time to leave them alone so they could get ready. I spent the next hour or so as we got closer to show time just wandering around back stage renewing acquaintances with the guys I knew from all the other bands.
The reunion was well underway and just rockin' by the time I got back closer to the stage so I would be there when The Jury went on. As I stood there waiting Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings ( huge World Stars by then) walked up and gave me a big hug. As I stood there talking with them, I had no idea that they were about to turn on me.
Burton then mentioned that he was pretty sure The Jury were on next so I edged a little closer to the stage so they could see I was at least supporting their brave efforts.
They were shuffling around nervously waiting for their introduction but I think I was more nervous than they were and I wasn't even playing.
Then all of a sudden and with no warning, Randy and Burton shove me out on to the stage.
They yelled as they pushed me out onto the stage ... It was your band George and without you up there it's not really The Jury.
Oh no there's those butterflies again in my stomach along with an old Bob Seger tune pounding in my head ... Here I am again ... Up on the stage again ... Turn the page.
Is this crazy, what the hell am I doing up here in front of this huge sold out crowd.
I certainly didn't come all the way from California just to start playing again, and what's worse yet I don't even know how to anymore.
I hadn't touched my guitar in over twenty years. But yes I still do have that '58 Strat that I traded my Olds trumpet in on when I was going to TCI back when Elvis, Chuck, and Buddy were screaming up the Charts but they played guitars not trumpets.
I have my guitar still hidden away for some future Johns' that might get the music bug but I sure hope they don't. Otherwise I'm pretty sure Randy, Neil, and maybe even Eric Clapton would love to get a hold of it but I'm going to keep it around for just a little while longer.
But there I was again through no fault of my own and with absolutely no desire to do so, I am never the less standing on that cold dark stage once again.
The whole band by this time is just laughing at me and it helped them get rid of their nervous tension I guess as they waited to go on.
What do I do now was all that was going through my mind. As I was thinking about how do I get off the stage before the lights went on, a stage hand handed me a guitar and plugged it into an amp.
I quickly turned it all down just as I heard those dreaded words I never needed to hear again ... Ladies and Gentlemen would you please give it up one more time more for Winnipeg's own The Jury.
How am going to fake my way through this was what I was wondering about as the crowd roared and the huge colored stage lights came on about the same time as the all to bright spot lights hit us. I just just stood there frozen praying I didn't look near as stupid as I felt. The Jury was on one more time!
Miraculously as I tried to duck in behind Bruce and Terry all the chord patterns came back to me. By back I mean they came back to my hands only because my brain was still saying WTF are we doing up here. My hands though knew exactly what we were doing up here 'cause they were rockin'. Amazing!
I have no idea how I got through the whole thing but I finally relaxed and tried to enjoy my myself as we played all of our hits. The crowd seemed to enjoy us and almost before it started, it was over.
The other big moment of the evening for me after we got off stage, and were signing autographs on a bunch of our old records that people had brought to the event with them, was watching a much too short twenty minute version of American Woman.
You haven't lived until you've seen and heard Burton Cummings howling the all too familiar lyrics as Randy Bachman and Neil Young traded ear piercing guitar licks with each other. Man that was too good.
What an unexpected absolutely wonderful night it turned out to be and what a thrill it was to once again relive a little of the good part of the past that I hadn't even thought about for such long time.
Then suddenly the concert was over. We all hugged and said our goodbyes with well meant promises of this time staying in touch for sure..
The evenings festivities of course had turned me somewhat nostalgic so I decided to rent a car and drive back to my hometown of Transcona and revisit where I used to live.
I thought I might even drive by the old school and maybe some of the community clubs where I played hockey and made musical appearances at on the weekend when I was just a kid.
I wonder if there are any bands playing in them now, kinda searching for a sound like we used to do.
As I was driving around I started to get a little hungry as my excitement buzz wore down so I looked for a late night bar and restaurant that I could slip into and get a bite.
I was also in the mood for a couple of pops to wash it down with. My drug of choice when I was a guitar carrying member of The Jury was Canadian Club and Coke. ( the drinking kind ) Right about now I was thinking a couple of those babies on ice would go down pretty smoothly as I let the past gently swirl around inside my head.
Transcona unlike Winnipeg had gotten a lot bigger since I went to school here I realized as I got a little lost driving around looking for a restuarant.
I finally found a sorta Sports Bar that was open late so I parked the rent a car and in I went. As I walked through the door, it was like they were expecting me because much to my surprise a loud chant broke out ... Transcona, Transcona, Transcona.
A lot of people who had been at the concert were in the bar, along with a lot more who had seen it on TV.
I guess that night they were just as proud as I was that one of Winnipeg's biggest bands back in the day, had it's early beginnings deeply rooted in Transcona.
The noisy bar quieted down a bit as another hometown hero Wilson Parasiuk was being interviewed on the late night TV news.
Willy at the time was Manitoba's Finance Minister and had attended that nights reunion with his wife Wilma. He was telling the news reporter how much fun it was for him and his wife to once again be dancing to The Guess Who and The Jury just like had done those many years ago when he and Wilma were just dating.
"Oh what a night" late December 1964 I hummed to myself as I sat there sipping my CC and now "Diet" Coke (you've got to make adjustments) and thinking about that special night in '64.
Then I found myself slipping all the way back to where it all began
What's that you say ... The meeting is about to begin. Okay tell them I'll be right there.
I guess how I we went from a little Transcona vocal group to a band with the #1 Canadian record in Canada will have to wait.
And what about the four guys who originally jumped started my band, then turn me on to some new dreams, which completely change everything I had ever dreamed about.
It's just all part of a lifelong story that not too many kids from Transcona get to tell, but the telling will have to wait for a more convenient story telling time to tell them. Right now I've got some Radio that needs tending to.
November 24, 2009
Ron Below agreed with Jamie Gold that a lot of my stories need a lot of editing. Ron thought though she should have used the killer line on me ... "It's not a diamond till it's cut."
I told Marnie Howard that when she writes a sequel to her popular book Giving Is Living she should use the line ... If giving isn't really living how come in all the pictures you see of Santa Clause he's always laughing or smiling ?
A person is always the answer !
Radio can not be fixed until most of it goes into bankruptcy, the longer it takes to do so the longer it will take to fix. But soon there will be nothing left to fix.
When John Lennon said, The Beatles are just a band Yoko's my life. I don't remember anybody going ... Ahhhhhhhhh ... Isn't that sweet.
The people your always a little nervous about having in your home are always the ones who are the most fun to listen to on the radio.
How come all those athletes who are making 20 million a year always need advances before payday. What the hell do you spend that kind of money on ?
I recently heard that the only difference between making Five Thou a month and Fifty is just figuring out how to get it done. OK I'm all over it ... But just so you know nothings come to me so far.
A couple of years ago at an NAB conference in San Diego, Jeff & Jer were keynote speakers. They said at their session that when they first came to San Diego they had a big meeting with me, and to this day they still remember everything I told them that I thought they should do. Not only that but they said they still do. I wish I had written down back then all the things they claim I told them to do. I sure could use a few of them for a couple of projects I'm working on right now.
Harvey Wharfield just checked in and wanted to know what the name of that (pin head) Jock was, that wouldn't go on with out a big pay raise. Nice try Wallbanger but I only remember the names of people I love or hate(-:
I have often said that there are two types of talent Gifted, Creative and the public really can't tell the difference. The Monkees were totally manufactured but lots of times sat in the #1 position on the charts ahead of the gifted Beatles.
A couple of weeks ago a new CD came out called Buried Treasures with 7 cuts on it from my old band The Jury. Just hearing all those again got me remembering and writing about my band days which my oldest daughter Candis just loves. When she was born I became a radio guy so all she heard around the house when she was growing up was radio stuff. My youngest Cami is just embarrassed by it all. She cant believe that I'm proud about being in this lame band.
I've been involved with a few women in my life but the only ones so far who have changed what I think about life, have been my daughters.
I was telling David Gifford the other day that surprisingly to me, the two things in radio that can make you very successful are seldom done.
In sales it's making cold calls, in programming it's show prep.
David suggested that perhaps they need a name change to make them more appetizing. How about Opportunity Calls & Communication Preparation.
Giff even went on to say that the title Program Director was a little out of date, he thought they should be called DADS. Directors Of Audience Development.
"If its not broken don't fix it" I have gone round and round on that one. But seeing as the mere passage of time breaks things so I have come to the conclusion that it is breaking so you have to fix it all the time.
The further away from things you are the clearer they become.
A couple of years ago I figured the answer to that age old question ... If a tree falls in the middle of a Forrest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make any noise?
My answer is ... It makes the same noise whether any body is there to hear it or not.
But the one that still has me puzzled is ... If a man alone in the middle of a Forrest makes a statement and there is no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?
I think in this CYA world we live in a no that in retrospect that should have been a yes should be a punishable offense.
The only meeting I feel that are worthy of attending at a radio station are the ones about how to get more people to listen to the Radio Station or get more money to come in. Most of the meetings now seem to be about something else.
Its the tunes on your iPod that are the miracle not the iPod.
A year or so ago I read in the trades that the station Jeff&Jer were at in San Diego got a new PD. When I work with Jeff & Jer I don't get involved with the station I just work with them exclusively so I seldom know the station people.
When I was talking to Jerry I asked him how the new PD was. He claimed he was great and according to Jerry was the best one yet. He went on to say that the new PD came around and introduced himself when he first got there and asked if there was anything he could do to help them. Jerry said yeah stay the f*** away from us! We haven't seen him since. We love him man he's the best.
When Jim Hilliard was the president of the Blair Company they owned WHDH in Boston. Jim noticing that the station's women numbers were great, gave the staff a project to work on. Figure out how to get some more males without hurting the females.
Al Brady Law told Jim to cancel the project because he had already figured out how to do it. Play one more Blue an hour he proudly told Jim.
How many great morning shows do you suppose there are in Canada and America ?
My daughter Candis asked me the other day what I would do if I won the Lottery. I told her I would probably buy a Maserati Spyder, I really like them. No she said, I'm talking about would you retire. I said hell no, why would you stop doing what you love to do.
My Brother Reg told me that Ringo was the perfect drummer for The Beatles because he wasn't too busy on his drums. The Beatles had a lot of subtleties in their music and Ringo was kind enough to let us hear them.
Before I was a consultant I was the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting. One of the things I liked to do was call all the PD's and ask them what new thing(s)
were starting this week on their radio station. When I got to Ron Chapman at