Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Weekend Comments - Part 1

We've been saying it for years ... now this from Robert Feder's column last week ... reiterating that old phrase "What goes around, comes around"!!! (kk)
I still remember sitting across from Joel Hollander, the arrogant and inept chairman and CEO of Infinity Broadcasting, as he tried to explain why oldies radio was dead in Chicago. The format had been drawing a solid audience of more than 722,000 listeners a week, but Hollander insisted that it wasn’t profitable enough. “Only time will tell if we’re right about it,” he told me in June 2005 — just after pulling the plug on oldies at WJMK-FM (104.3) in favor of the bland, soulless automation of “Jack FM.” Among the casualties was radio legend Dick Biondi, who wasn’t even allowed to say goodbye to his fans after 21 years on the station he’d helped launch.
Now, nearly five years later, one of Chicago media’s biggest success stories is — you guessed it — the oldies format on WLS-FM (94.7). Singling out the Citadel Broadcasting station for achieving the largest major-market turnaround in the country, Inside Radio this week reported: “The ‘True Oldies’ outlet increased its revenue by a staggering 86 percent last year, from $6.5 million in 2008 to $12.1 million.” In the latest Arbitron Portable People Meter ratings, the station ranks No. 5 in the market overall with a 4.4 percent audience share. It’s especially gratifying to note that the evening star of WLS-FM is none other than Dick Biondi. As for the unapologetic Hollander, he was finally was forced out of Infinity Broadcasting (which was renamed CBS Radio) in 2007.
-- Robert Feder
And then this reminder ...
Speaking of Biondi, he and fellow Radio Hall of Famer Herb Kent will share highlights of their amazing careers when Bob Sirott hosts “Inside the Radio Studio: 100 Years on the Air with Dick Biondi and Herb Kent” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Film Row Cinema of Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash. The historic event is free and open to the public. In bringing together two of radio’s greatest living legends for the first time, Sirott observed: “To say these guys are part of our country’s pop culture history would be an understatement. Biondi shared the concert stage as an emcee for Elvis as well as the Beatles, and Kent used to book Michael Jackson and his family at South Side dances that he promoted. . . . [In so many ways], these guys transcend radio and records.”
-- Robert Feder
The big event is TONIGHT, folks, at Columbia College ... I'm hearing that there'll be a pretty good turn-out for this ... a GREAT opportunity to see three Chicago Radio Legends ... Bob Sirott, Dick Biondi and Herb Kent. If anyone out there is able to attend, please report back as I'd LOVE to hear this whole program!!! (kk)

Did you guys get a chance to listen to Rich Appel's I.R.S. Countdown last weekend? Just picked up this blurb from the "Ross On Radio" Newsletter:
Here's the latest on Rich Appel’s “I.R.S.” countdown — songs about which one could say “It Really Shoulda”-been a Top 10 hit. T
he songs that have made the countdown over the last three years have ranged from those that are radio staples now (ZZ Top’s “La Grange,” Modern English’s “I Melt With You,” Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour”) to critical favorites (The Byrds’ “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”) to those songs beloved by the jocks who played them and forgotten by many others. And we’re happy to say that our readers’ votes for the song we chose as “The Greatest Hit You’ve Never Heard” last December finally pushed it from No. 2 on last year’s countdown to No. 1 this year, ahead of last year’s winner, “Born To Run.” Appel will publish the entire top 104 in an upcoming issue of his Hz So Good newsletter in the next few days. But here’s the top 10:

1. Flirtations, “Nothing But A Heartache”

2. Orpheus, “Can’t Find The Time”

3. Bruce Springsteen, “Born To Run”

4. Critters, “Mr. Dieingly Sad”

5. Magic Lanterns, “Shame Shame”

6. Five Satins, “In The Still of The Night”

7. Formations, “At The Top Of The Stairs”

8. Peppermint Rainbow, “Will You Be Staying After Sunday”

9. Billy Joel, “Piano Man”

10. Knickerbockers, “Lies”

Meanwhile, “True Oldies”
WLS-FM Chicago is doing its own “IRS” weekend for last-minute tax preparers this weekend, although its version will spotlight “Incredible Records from the Sixties.”
Want a copy of the complete Top 104??? Just drop Rich a note and he'll send it off to ya!!!

And here's some more news regarding some up-coming great radio ...
Hi Kent, Glad you enjoyed the Tommy James interview on April 1st. Had a nice chat on air this morning with Tim Conway, with a major focus on his early days on local tv in Cleveland. This coming Thursday, 4/15, I'll be talking to Robby Krieger about the new Doors movie, and on Thursday, 4/22, I'll have my long awaited chat with Tom Smothers. Big month. In fact, by popular demand, since we've had so many of these fine guests lately, we've launched the Best of Jim Shea Saturdays 6-10a starting 4/10 ... it's just another chance to catch some of these interviews (and other stuff on the show) you may have missed.
Jim Shea / Y103.9
Excellent ... happy to help to spread the word. Is this the Doors movie that now contains Johnny Depp's narration? It's supposed to be EXCELLENT. (And Johnny's readying a Keith Richards documentary right now, too ... conversations they had while making their "Pirates" movie together!) Tommy Smothers should be REALLY interesting ... lots of focus on their show lately ... full season DVDs and a new book ... various guest appearances ... love it! Thanks, Jim! (kk)
Yes, and I've got the movie soundtrack in hand from Rhino ... it's got a lot of Depp reading Morrison's poetry, giving the movie a mystic quality ... Rhino also plans to release Absolutely Live from New York within the next week or so ... probably the best taste of live Doors we've ever had. The footage of Jim is from a scuttled film project (shot in gorgeous 35mm that looks too good to be him) that's been sitting around ... it's a lot of them working out music, a la Let it Be.
Morrison lives! Jim
According to "Rolling Stone Magazine", The Doors' flick ("When You're Strange") was first shown at The Sundance Film Festival back in 2009. At the time, it featured Director Tom DiCillo's narration ... but after the film was so well-received, he decided to "tighten up the pace" of the film and brought in Johnny Depp, replacing himself as narrator. "Rolling Stone" says Doors fans, new and old, will "find the experience hypnotic" and says the clips from a film that "Morrison made of himself in the desert are alone worth the price of admission." Sounds pretty amazing. (Morrison lives?!?!? Hmmm ... one has to wonder ... can an "Eddie and the Cruisers" revival be far behind???) kk

'Cause let's face it ... there's GOOD oldies radio and then there's BAD oldies radio ...

The other day I had the chance to listen to Donny Osmond's syndicated "8-Track Flashback" daily drop-in on WLS-FM and came away TOTALLY annoyed with what I heard. First of all, he announced the anniversary of Chicago's 1969 appearance at Carnegie Hall as "the VERY first appearance by a rock band at Carnegie Hall". (I guess The Beatles' appearance there back in 1964 didn't count!!!) Then he introduced John Lennon's solo hit "Instant Karma" as the song that was coming out of EVERYBODY's 8-Track players on this date in 1970 ... except that Lennon's song was only released as a single at the time ... it didn't appear on an album until five year's later when it was included on his "Shaved Fish" / Greatest Hits LP ... meaning that not only was it not "coming out of everybody's 8-Track player" ... it wasn't coming out of ANYBODY'S 8-Track player!!! Unfortunately, we have to listen to this type of constant misinformation all the time ... and it's annoying as hell ... because we just know that several OTHER people hearing this on the radio today went out and repeated it to other family members, co-workers or music-lover friends as "fact" when, in reality, nothing could be futher from the truth. The mistruth then gets repeated time and time again until everyone just accepts it as "fact", regardless of how bogus the information may be. ("It MUST be true ... I heard it on the radio!!!" Or "It MUST be true ... Donny Osmond couldn't be wrong ... he was THERE!!!") I know we'll never be able to stop it ... but over the past eleven years we've done our very best to get the REAL truth out there ... and correct these "wrongs" when we see or hear them. Before history is completely rewritten with erroneous information (no, Charles Manson did NOT audition for The Monkees!!! And "American Pie" was NOT the name of the airplane that Buddy Holly crashed in!!!), we just HAVE to point out these errors, flaws and mistruths to anyone willing to listen. Don't get me wrong ... Donny Osmond wasn't trying to mislead anybody ... he's just reading the script as it was written ... but SOMEBODY needs to stand up for the truth once in a while. (Hey, wouldn't THAT make for an interesting "drop-in" on the oldies channels ... the TRUTH about some of these songs and artists?!?!? A program devoted to dispelling all the lies, rumors and innuendos that have been circulating for years!!! Gee, what a concept!!!) kk

Special thanks to Ron Smith for sharing this story with us ... as you know, we're ALL about the Local Hits!!! Guess who's FINALLY getting around to releasing their second album!!!
You might be interested in the "comeback" of one of Milwaukee's big acts from the sixties:

Now, if only the Unchained Mynds could mount a comeback (and what was with Milwaukee groups and vowels?).
- Ron

(Click chart to enlarge)

VERY interesting article on Tony and the Tygers ... who knew all the paths they crossed back in the day!!!
We're still chompin' at the bit to do our next "Show Me Your Hits" feature ... if you've got some local hits to share, please send 'em along! Meanwhile, be sure to check out the awesome Milwaukee chart Ron sent along ... I just LOVE seeing these vintage surveys, don't you?!?!? (What's the deal with so many radio stations using the "Silver Dollar Survey" theme?!?!? I thought that was OUR deal here in Chicago with WLS!!!)
In the #6 spot is our recently-featured "Bottle Of Wine". (BTW, I heard Jeff James play "Canned Ham" the other day on his program, a few days after our Easter Offering was posted on the web!!!) Tony's Tygers are in at #10, the Madeline Bell version of "I'm Gonna Make You Love" is in at #12, the recently-departed Alex Clilton takes a HUGE jump from #28 to #15 with his Box Tops Hit "Cry Like A Baby" ... and look at some of our Chicagoland Local Heroes on the chart!!! (The New Colony Six jump 20 points, from #40 to #20 with their soon-to-be #1 Hit "I Will Always Think About You" and The Cryan' Shames are holding strong at #14 ... up from #26 ... with their OUTSTANDING version of "Up On The Roof"!) Funnily enough, I was watching The Buckinghams' DVD "Up Close" over the weekend and got a real kick out of Carl Giammarese introducing their "last Top Ten Hit" as part of the program, right before the band launched into "Susan." Their last Top Ten Hit ... from 1967!!! lol By the way, it's a GREAT concert video that is also available from The Buckinghams' website:

Click here: The Buckinghams - Up Close DVD

... and, speaking of our Local Heroes ...

re: PEPSI:
Hi Kent,

Just in case you don't have this, I thought you might like it.

Thanks, Bill! I know I have this here some place, but it's nice to now have it on the computer, too ... and to share it with our readers, too ... it's The Ides Of March doing their Pepsi Commercial, circa the "Vehicle" days. (All kinds of "Coke" commercials have been floating around for years on various CDs ... I imagine Pepsi could easily put together a decent compilation, too ... we just recently ran the cool video for The Turtles doing THEIR Pepsi Commercial, too! (kk)


The headline I saw said, "The undertaker in The Wizard of Oz is not only merely dead, but sincerely dead." (lol) kk

Malcolm McLaren, former Sex Pistols manager dead at age 64.

Meant to tell you that I just read the other week that Brown Eyed Girl just received an award from BMI for it's 9 MILLIONTH airplay. Perhaps FH members were on to something when they voted it one of the top 10 most overplayed songs.
Nine million plays ... and that was just last week alone, I think!!! I doubt that I've listened to this song all the way through in about three years now ... and that's a real shame because I used to LOVE this song ... but constant and repeated airplay has totally ruined it for me. (kk)

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