Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mid-Week Comments

Improving radio is ALWAYS a hot topic here at Forgotten Hits ...
Here are a few of your recent ideas, thoughts, suggestions, recommendations and memories ...
Hi Kent,
I've been reading, with interest, the various comments over the past week concerning today's radio. Having recently retired from the business last year I thought I'd throw in my nickel's worth.
First, on the recommendation of one of your writers this morning, I'm listening to WGVU as I type away. They have a "standards" show on Sunday morning which is featuring some tunes that were hits before my time, but I recognize most of them and am enjoying it. I look forward to hearing their other shows.
I thought Clark was writing about me in this morning's note about listening to the radio when he was young. Hanging on every word that the local dj spoke, listening to the music for hours and hours, anticipating trips to the record store, needing each week's survey and having his own imaginary radio station. Mine was in the basement. Old record player, fake microphone and plenty of 45's to spin. I guess that was the beginning of my radio career. What wonderful memories.
Mason Ramsey's comments were quite interesting this week. I started in the business when it was fun. I retired after several years with Clear Channel and another corporate owner. I agree with Mason that it's unfortunate the business has been diluted down to "liner jocks," voice tracking and book readers. But I'm not sure how the jocks can rebel against the corporate programming. For every jock who actually has a job in the business there are a few dozen guys and gals waiting in line for the job. So they suck it up just to remain on the radio.
Prior to retiring, I was program director at a news / talk station. Of course that's not enough in today's corporate world. I also voice tracked middays on the classic rock station. They had me doing the noon hour "live" because they thought there should be some interaction between the jock / station and the listener. One hour ... what a joke! And, as Mason referred to, the playlist was pathetically small. After working just one hour a day "live" I was totally sick of the same songs after just a few months. So imagine how I felt after playing the same stuff for SIX YEARS!!!  Think how the morning guy and the drive guy felt having to listen to the same songs for a few hours a day. Not to mention the poor listeners. Yes, we all complained constantly but every word fell on deaf ears.
And then there was the consultant. On one occasion when he was in town he came into my office and asked if I had any thoughts. I was all over his ass about the music. I asked why we only play two Def Leppard tunes when they had tons of hits. I asked why we only play two Bon Jovi songs when they had tons of hits as well. He said Bon Jovi was an 80's hair band that nobody cared for anymore. Hair band? Bon Jovi? I told him Cinderella was a hair band, Warrant was a hair band, Poison was a hair band.  I suggested that Bon Jovi transcended that image, that they went on to great musical success and were legends. I asked if he was talking about the same Bon Jovi that I had recently seen in a sold out concert in Omaha. I asked if we were talking about the same Bon Jovi that has consistently been one of the top concert draws over the past several years. It was obvious that neither of us was going to win the discussion. He politely excused himself and we kept playing "Runaway" and "Livin' On A Prayer."
It doesn't matter what you may think of Bon Jovi and their music. I'm simply using this as an example of the corporate / consultant mentality. As long as their thinking (and playlists) are so narrow minded, as long as their sole interest is money, the listener is doomed. Radio once broadcast in the public interest. Today they broadcast in the owners interest.
Steve Hotvedt   

>>>Check out It is a PBS station out of Grand Valley State University near Grand Rapids, Michigan ... but unlike any PBS or oldies station you have ever heard. They play records that will make you say out loud "OH, YEAH!, I forgot about that one." For instance, I have heard lately:  "Charity Ball" by Fanny, "Cinnamon Cinder" by Pastel Six, "The Sound of Love" by the 5 Americans, "Out and About" by Boyce & Hart, "Help Me Girl" by the Outsiders and hundreds of local and area (read Chicago) bands. Plus you can click to see the playlist for song and artist. Give it an hour or two and you will be hooked. Yeah, they play some of the same 60 or 70 songs that the "oldies" stations have in their rotations, but the other two thirds of the time is delightful.  (Dube)
FH reader and wonderful friend, Bob Stroud, grew up selling 45s in the Grand Rapids record stores.  Although I have many GR radio surveys from the late 60's (WKNX mostly), Bob sent me hundreds more years ago and I cherish those.  Together with mine and his, GR had a great set of stations that played TONS of Forgotten Hits and lower charting 45s that would have made growing up near and selling 45s in GR a great time.  Maybe that is what WGVU is working towards.  The Stroud Crowd stretches beyond Chicago in all directions!  :) 
Clark Besch
I put WGVU on for awhile on Sunday afternoon ... here's a link to their playlist:
LOTS of Forgotten Hits tunes on this list ... including a couple that are coming up in the next week or two in our Sound Advice feature.  Cool, too, that this is considered a "Real Oldies" station ... boy, we sure miss ours here in Chicago!
I devoted a good percentage of my early teen years making up my own charts, too ... growing up here in Chicago, we had TWO powerhouse AM stations ... and my whole world revolved around them.  I'd faithfully pick up both the WLS and the WCFL survey each and every Friday ... and then put together a "combined" chart based on the overall performance of these records based on the two stations' lists.  (I had NO idea what Billboard or Cash Box Magazine were back in 1967 ... my scope for music never extended beyond Chicago ... I just figured that if WE were hearing it, the whole WORLD must be hearing it!!!)
I can't count the times my dad would come into my room while I was hovering over my surveys compiling my own list and scream "Stop playing with your papers and go outside and get some exercise!" or something to that effect.  That's what he called them ... my "papers".  (lol)  How ironic, I suppose in hindsight, that many of my "friends" were playing with THEIR papers in THEIR bedrooms, too ... only THEIR papers were ROLLING papers and they were embracing the ever-blossoming drug scene.  Meanwhile, I was perfectly content to just sit there with my records and my surveys, playing back my own countdown from my limited collection.
I can't tell you how many people have shared a similar growing-up experience with us over the years.  There was no limit to the passion that we held for this music ... and the fact that it has carried over all these 40-50 years later proves again just HOW powerful it really was.  (kk)
By the way, we heard recently from Lou Simon over at XM / Sirius Radio ... he does a weekly countdown on their '60's Station that incorporates The Top 40 Biggest Hit Records of the week based on a combination of the national charts.  If you're an XM / Sirius subscriber, you'll definitely want to check this out ... it airs Sunday Nights at 10 PM Eastern and again on Wednesdays at 9 PM Eastern.  (kk)

Randy Price's "Randy On The Radio" internet radio show celebrates its anniversary on Wednesday, March 14, 8 - 9 PM ET. Tune in for lots of forgotten hits, including several rare stereo oldies, a Mystery Oldie contest and a Guess The Segue contest. Info for accessing the stream and entering the chat room are available at
Previous Randy On The Radio shows are archived at:

Would you believe this past weekend I got out Charlie Rich's MOHAIR SAM and played it here at home since I hadn't heard it in forever how long. My all time favorite of his wasyour posted song of LONELY WEEKENDS. Great post to your Sound Advice.
One final item and no big deal. But I believe the correct name of the label was Phillips International.
Be sure to check out TODAY's SOUND ADVICE Column ... as Forgotten Hits salutes the very first EVER Gold Record Single!!!  (kk)

Philly Pop Music and Clutch Cargo is proud to announce our benefit CD release ...  "Mull of Kintyre", featuring Charlie Gracie and Clutch Cargo
Street Date - March 15th
Downloads @ iTunes and CD Baby plus Limited Edition Hand Numbered CD's.
Partial proceeds to benefit the Philadelphia Police and Fire, Pipes & Drums Band
Featuring special guests:  Charlie Gracie, Philadelphia Police and Fire pipers, Birdie Busch, The Orlons, The Hooligans Luke Jardel, and Skip Denenberg.
Why this song ...
George Manney:  "We chose the McCartney single for two reasons ... first of all, it features bagpipes and we are trying to help raise funds for the Police & Fire Pipes and Drum band.
Secondly, as a fitting tribute to Sir Paul, we chose Philly R&R pioneer, Charlie Gracie to cover McCartney's hit since Sir Paul covered Gracie's 1957 hit, 'Fabulous' and this year is the 35th anniversary of the original release of 'Mull of Kintyre'."
Clutch Cargo;
George Manney - drums, Irish percussion, synthesizer , backing vocals
Rocco Notte - piano, glockenspiel
Su Teears - vocals, synthesizer
Dave Humphreys - bass
Jim Mahoney - lead guitar
Marty Ahearn - guitar
Clutch Cargo operates with a flexible line-up of collaborators.
Plus the Choir; Lamb Bristow, Lisa Ciarrocchi, Su Teears, Luke Jardel, George Manney, Stephen Caldwell, Jean Maddox
Recorded at Geo Sound studio
Produced, mixed, engineered and arranged by George Manney
Mastered by Peter Humphreys - Masterwork Recording
Art Design by Su Teears
Visit PPFPD online: 
Visit Clutch Cargo online: 
Philly Pop Music -
Historically, the 1st for Cameo-Parkway artist (The Orlons) to back-up former Cameo artist, Charlie Gracie.
George sent me a short promotional piece to share with our readers to give them a taste as to what this new release sounds like ... you can also click on the Amazon link to hear a 30-second snippet and order a copy of the new release after Tuesday!

You are 'the man'!  Here is a promo that we made just for that purpose and the cover art.

And here is the Amazon Buy Link: 
Keep up the 'great' work my friend.
All the best,
George Manney - producer 

Seventies Rock Pioneer Michael Stanley To Release New CD 'The Hang' 
3/12/2012 – Philadelphia, PA - Much to the excitement of fans and music critics worldwide, music legend Michael Stanley will be releasing his 25th album 'The Hang' on March 2012 on From the mid '70s to the mid '80s, the Michael Stanley Band enjoyed a strong and fiercely loyal following, touring with some of the superstar bands of that period including Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Foreigner and The Doobie Brothers. With over 70 minutes of music, the latest CD from Michael Stanley features twelve new original compositions and covers of songs written by Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler and songwriter extraordinaire Patty Griffin. Once again the album was mixed by legendary Bill Szymczyk and features the talents of Michael's road band, The Resonators throughout.  
“I think it would be fair to say that this is the 'darkest' album I've ever made as it was conceived during a particularly daunting eighteen month period in my life ... but, that being said, I also think it's a testament of hope and to the power we accrue from those we chose to have at our side on our journey.”

Discovered by New York record producer, Bill Szymczyk in 1973, Michael Stanley released his debut album 'Michael Stanley' (Tumbleweed Records), and second LP, 'Friends & Legends' (MCA) to critical acclaim. Both albums featured guest appearances by Todd Rundgren, Joe Walsh and David Sanborn. During this time he formed a trio with two area musicians, Daniel Pecchio and Jonah Koslen, who played Stanley's solo songs as well as new material live. In 1974, out of work, Michael's close friend, Joe Walsh (another Cleveland area musician) suggested he pursue music full time. It was a turning point for Stanley, who along with Pecchio and Koslen brought in drummer Tommy Dobeck and the The Michael Stanley Band was born!
There were several Top 20 and Top 30 hits in the early '80s, among them "He Can't Love You" (1980) and "My Town" (1983). In late 1982, MSB released their final album for EMI 'You Can't Fight Fashion'. The single from the album, "My Town", made it to number 29 on the Billboard charts. The band released two independent albums, 1983's 'Inside Moves', and 'Fourth And Ten' in 1984 (recorded live at Blossom Music Center), before formally disbanding in late 1986, shortly after performing 14 'farewell' concerts at Cleveland's Front Row.
Michael's 'post-MSB' years found him co-hosting WJW-Channel 8's 'Cleveland Tonight' and 'P.M. Magazine', until they were canceled. He also began his long stint as afternoon disc jockey and on-air personality at Cleveland's WNCX 98.5. After several well-received albums in the '90s, as well as a MSB reunion concert, Michael Stanley & The Resonators was formed, which became the band's performing moniker; once again pleasing their loyal MSB fans while winning over new ones, with a set list of old favorites and clever covers interspersed with fresh originals. The pace showed no sign of letting up as the 'The Ground', was released on October 21, 2003. Michael continues to man the airwaves as afternoon 'drive-time' personality at Cleveland's popular WNCX, while performing with "The Resonators" and "Midlife Chryslers" throughout Ohio.
In 2011, Michael Stanley and all The Resonators hit the ground running with their critically accliamed CD 'Shadowland'. And now in 2012, in a career that spans over forty-five years, Michael Stanley's 'The Hang' is a work that sets a new standard in the musical journey of one of rock's finest singer/songwriters!
For song samples from Michael Stanley 'The Hang': 
For more information visit 
"He Can't Love You" is one of my favorite tunes from the '80's ... great to hear that Michael is still out there making new music!  (kk)
That Philly Sound is proud to announce that our newest CD, "The Great Writer / Producer LEON HUFF" has just been released and is available to purchase through CD Baby.  
In 1962, songwriter / record producer, John Madara, discovered Leon Huff playing in a club in West Philadelphia. John invited Leon to play on some of his and partner, Dave White's, productions. As Leon honed his skills, he began writing and producing songs through John's production company. John's company was located in the Shubert Building, where he met Kenny Gamble. They would team up to write and produce some of the most iconic songs in the history of soul music, including "Expressway To Your Heart," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "Love Train" and "Me and Mrs. Jones," to name just a few. In 1971, Gamble & Huff formed Philadelphia International Records. Their sound became known as The Sound of Philadelphia
This historical CD is a compilation of Leon Huff's early Philly Northern Soul Productions from 1963 - 1969 while he was writing and producing for John Madara's production company, before he would break out on his own with Kenny Gamble. Leon wrote 10 songs, co-wrote 9 songs, produced 3 songs and co-produced 15 songs. Kenny Gamble co-wrote and / or co-produced 6 songs. John Madara co-wrote 4 songs, produced 2 songs and co-produced 13 songs.   
Click here to purchase "The Great Writer/Producer Leon Huff."  
Also, please go to THAT PHILLY SOUND to purchase other rare Philly CDs from our shop and learn more about the artists and people behind the scenes that made up "The Sound of Philadelphia."    
Click here to go to THAT PHILLY SOUND.

And, perhaps a NOT so new release ...
re:  DONOVAN:   
>>>Just in time for his Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction, we'll be treated to a new Donovan "Essential Greatest Hits" CD.  (kk)
The only thing new about it is the cover art. It was first issued in 2002.
Tom Diehl
Hmmm ... a timely RE-release then!!!  (lol)  kk

Hey Kent,
Enjoyed the GFR piece - I wrote a book assisted by Don and Mel of GFR on the band BTW
Here's the link FYI 

Kent ...
Another sad death to report.
Frank B.   

Click here: Michael Hossack of The Doobie Brothers 1946 – 2012

You only have to see Rio Scafone perform for a minute to know — she has that look in her eye, as if all she is doing is all that matters at that very moment. The live show exhilarates.
Whole thing starts with a video of preachers condemning rock 'n' roll and Christian DJs smashing rock records. Then Scafone's on stage, twisting, gyrating and owning every inch like some sort of possessed, evangelical-satanic dervish. It's at once nostalgic performance art, killer show band and a rock 'n' roll wonder.
Scafone's a living argument in favor of the idea that rock 'n' roll is in the genes.

Got this from our FH Buddy Wild Bill Cody regarding this years inductees to The Colorado Music Hall Of Fame ...
Sugarloaf, the Astronauts, Flash Cadillac, and KIMN radio will be the inductees this go around. The Moonrakers, Rainy Daze, and one other group will get special recognition. That will be the sixties groups. They will move on to other decades and genres in the future. There will definitely be a folk group induction and maybe a jazz group. We met with the folks from the hall and they have put a lot of thought and effort into this. I think it will come off well.
Bob MacVittie
Hey All Colorado Music Kids:
I briefly interviewed Bob McVittie, the original drummer of the Moonrakers and Sugarloaf, two weeks ago on my radio show concerning them going into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and above is the email I just received from Bob. I know so far, Red Rocks, John Denver, Barry Fey and Harry Tuft (who opened the Denver Folklore Center in 1962) are the ONLY INDUCTEES into the Colorado Music HOF!
I can't believe Judy Collins and Bob Lind are NOT included here.  I will definitely put a bug in the ears of the induction committee that they certainly should be considered as well.
Wow, this is incredible ... this will be a special occasion, and I'll be sure to let you all know when it will take place in case you'd like to attend!
(I wonder if this will be anything like the Rock & Roll HOF with groups performing?)  ANY members of Sugarloaf, the remaining living Astronauts and Flash Cadillac would be a GREAT SHOW!
Congrats to you, Bob, and the rest of Sugarloaf, the Moonrakers and Rainy Daze!
"Wild" Bill Cody
Please pass this along to anyone that enjoyed these groups back in the day!

Kent ...
A brand new documentary, Strange Fruit, will take a look at The Beatles' Apple Records and feature singers on the Apple Label.  
Click here: New Documentary on The Beatles Coming in April
Frank B.

Found this in the most recent R.I.P. Renfield Newsletter ... made me laugh ...
I show up at work the other day ... and a woman comes running over to me, hands me a catalog, and tells me to read the product description beneath a backyard wishing well on the back cover.  (She was in the market for something like that.)I WAS TOLD TO READ IT TO THE END!

I got a really good laugh out of it ...
(shocked in fact that it got in print in at a serious business)(('sneaked-in', private joke?  none of the other ads were 'funny'))IN FACT, I'M PRETTY SURE THAT SHE AND I WERE PROBABLY THE ONLY TWO PEOPLE
(funny how it got into OUR hands)
As Ron Britain might say, "Wella Wella"!!!  
We have VERY few "pop culture" references going on where I work ... so a gem like this would have been the highlight of my work day.  (Although the other day out of the blue, one of the sales guys was passing through and, completely off the cuff said "They brought their trains with them" ... TOTALLY cracked up every guy in the office.  Not a woman there had a CLUE what we were laughing at.  That hidden "male bond" that is "Slap Shot" ... not a GREAT movie ... or even a particularly successful one ... but a movie that every guy on the planet must have seen ... and loved ... at some point of his upbringing.  Funny what strikes you as funny all these years later ... thanks, Gary!  (For more of this kind of craziness, be sure to check out Gary's website via the link above.)  kk