Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Radio Chatter

We always seem to get a good response to our radio rave-outs ... and, with something like 200 deejays on the list now, maybe it's time to officially start an "Inside Radio Memories" segment ... something that could run once or twice a month where jocks can share some of their favorite stories and memories with our readers ... great experiences ... CRAZY experiences ... ridiculous programming notes, ideas and promotions ... you get the idea.
("With God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly"!!!)

Well, maybe not THAT ridiculous ... but you see where we're headed with this! 
It will take some pretty good word of mouth but I'll betcha that if every jock on the list sent in a story ... and then encouraged three or four OTHER jocks that they're still in touch with to do the same ... this could turn into a VERY popular feature on The Forgotten Hits website.
What do you guys think?  Your very own Radio Forum.
Let us hear from you and we'll see where it goes from here.
Meanwhile, our short blurb from last week has already generated quite a few responses ...

Steve Hotvedt sounds like he worked at the same Omaha station I was speaking of in my original message about listening to radio.  They also play just those two songs by Def Leppard.  Must be the same consultant??
Clark Besch

Kent -
Some of these posts from the radio folk are really bringing back memories. I was on a Clear Channel classic rock station during the transition from CDs and live DJs to voice tracking and computers. For a while, it was great - no more pulling carts, cueing up CDs or wondering if the commercial on the log was really going to be there. But as with many emerging technologies, it quickly took the human element out of the picture, and the soul of radio began to die. The first time it really hit me was when the PD came in to tell me that I shouldn't play Van Halen's "Eruption" in front of "You Really Got Me," which is how it is heard on the album. The PD is a great guy and did a masterful job running the station, but corporate policy meant we had to stick to the playlist. The beginning of the end.
Carl Wiser  

To Clark Besch ... That's a wonderful set of memories!  And from my point of view, the beginning of the "sea change" in radio was the takeover of so-called "music research" and "audience research" that happened in the 1970's ... creativity, instinct and "feel" were sacrificed for the security of research data.
Dick Bartley  

Hi Clark!  I can tell how badly bitten you were and I totally understand. There was a magic on both ends of the microphone and whether you were a listener or a DJ you knew it was a special time. The bond between the two lasted about 15 years, 1958 to about 1972 when rock radio began to loose its personality and exclusivity. That was due in part to programmers fighting for listeners' ears, the proliferation of FM stations going after the rock market and the erroneous idea that if you play the same music over and over again the listeners will remain with your station. Each contributed to the problem plus the teens who were the foundation of rock radio of the 50’s and 60’s were growing up, getting married and taking on the mantle of adulthood. The listeners who followed you had a much larger choice of music and the pied piper who was calling them to the music no longer mattered. Today that special time is merely a memory. Mother Weber used to say. “The only one who likes change is a wet baby!” 
The Other Clark
(Clark Weber)
By the way, Mr. Weber is also having a "Rock N Roll Luncheon" on March 29 in Pelican Bay, Florida!  He'll be offering up memories presented in his great book as well as new things happening in his life!  Wish I could be there!! 
-- "The other WLSClark!" / Clark Besch
Here's another link for Clark Weber's book ... a real fun read about the fun, glory days of Top 40 Radio.  And don't forget to check out the Airplay site ... they are ALWAYS adding new features there.  (And we've got an exclusive "Airplay" DVD to give away, too!  Anybody want a copy?  Drop me a line and we'll pick a winner!)  kk

Speaking of "Airplay", I hear that it is FINALLY available for purchase through!!!  Here's the scoop from Producer Carolyn Travis:

Hi Kent, 
How have you been? 
I see winter's over for you. 83 degrees in March? Wow!
I just wanted you to know that "Airplay" is now available on
Thanks again for being so supportive of our show.
Take care,
The Program Director of WGVU is Len O'Kelly, who was the overnight jock and Production Director at Real Oldies 1690 in Chicago.
Please remember that the station is commercial free and listener upported. Len works cheap -- but not for free.
-- Ron Smith  
I saw that, too, when I checked out the station.  It's fun to listen to when you know you're going to hear a couple of surprises every hour!  (kk)   

>>>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!!!)  kk
Cool to hear YOU also made your own charts!  I was VERY into CFL and WLS and, now, KEYN-FM stereo in Wichita, but also VERY aware of Billboard and CashBox and often combined them all with my own tastes when creating my weekly charts.  Here's one of my charts from July 5, 1969 firecracker time in Dodge City, Kansas.  My "station" at the time was called KLGR (AM / FM simulcast).  I just liked the sound of the calls.  I had every intention of someday having such a station or being a DJ at WLS.  I'll cover two bases with the personal chart AND the number one of "Someday Man," one of Davy Jones' BEST vocals. 
At this time in Dodge, we were able to get DJ copies of new pop / rock 45s from the local country station, so I could basically program my own station with brand new exclusives! 
The influences are seen on this chart.  "Someday Man" was #1 knocking off 2 week #1 running "I Could Never Lie to You" by our beloved NC6.  B side "Listen to the Band" was #4!  It would peak at #2 the next week with Lincoln's "2525" Zager & Evans taking over #1.  Note that I list the original Trust label 45 version along with the RCA 45 we had just received at the Dodge Station weeks earlier.  It had been #1 in Lincoln when we came up for Easter months earlier to visit relatives. 
Billboard leaves impressions by being where I came up with the million seller info, "Romeo & Juliet" at #2 (not a fave, but because it was #1 nationally).  I did not have any "bullet" so fast movers were designated by my writing OVER the typed title with felt tip pen to designate a big mover. 
KEYN-FM was represented by the "stereo" designations (if I had a song taped off KEYN in stereo, that counted as a stereo play as well as having a stereo 45).  KEYN charters I grabbed would be their then #1 BST "More & More" even tho it was a B side, the Beatlesque "Ulla" by People (yep, same group as "I Love You"), the original 45 version of Illusion's "Did You See Her Eyes" before it became a hit with a remix version.
Then, some 45s I just got as DJ copies and really dug were "Mannix" and "One Road."  Other groovy 45s I got for free that were in my 51 - 130 charters included Cowsills' "Daniel & John" "Stay & Love me all Summer" by Brian Hyland, Hugo Montenegro's "Happy Together" "Wake Up" by Chambers Brothers, Crows' debut "Time To Make A Turn", the Association's "Yes I Will", Steve Miller's "My Dark Hour."  Another great year of music, radio and pretending
!   BTW, my mom LIKED me typing up my lists weekly and listening to radio and music -- just "not so loud!". 
Clark Besch
PS.  Because of having the luxury of DJ copies, by the end of July, "Room at the Top" would be #1 on my chart.  By the end of August, Chicago's first 45 with a rare pic sleeve, would get to the top.  In September, the Buckinghams' "It's a Beautiful Day" would be near the top.  In November, the Cryan Shames' "Rainmaker" would be #1 (knocking off NC6's "I Want You to Know") and eventually be knocked off #1 by NC6's "Barbara I Love You" in December!  Looking BACK from the July 5 chart, the "Synthesis" cuts would be top 10 in June, "Only the Strong Survive" at top in May.  "First Train to California" was a month at #1 in April.  Buckinghams' "Where Did You Come From" up top in February, with NC6's "Things I'd Like to Say" at #1 in January and lingering into April on the chart!  The Chicago sound seemed to be failing nationally in 69, but NOT at my house on MY station!

I'd like to thank Vito Picone for spending last Friday evening visiting my show and talking about his many friends and his career. If you missed the interview let me know. I can email it to you to listen to at your convenience. It runs 2 hours and 35 minutes. It is also available on the oldies your way website. It is interview #11.
DJ Stu Weiss

Hi Kent,
Been reading the comments about WGVU on Forgotten Hits.  I've spent some time listening to them and their playlist is fantastic.  I've heard a lot of regional gems I missed out on, having been raised in the Pacific Northwest.  I think the resurrected KISN in Portland I've been working with will appeal to the same crowd who digs WGVU.  A very deep playlist with lots of regional hits, some of the original Good Guys cutting voice tracks (including Tom Murphy who you probably heard in his Chicago days), the old KISN jingles, great imaging courtesy of Duke Morgan, and several hundred classic spots.  We're having a blast putting this thing together and it has quite a following, thanks in part to exposure in the local news media, like this article in the Portland Tribune: and this news report by KPTV Fox 12: 
You can check out the station here: 
I love reading Forgotten Hits ... keep up the good work!

Hi Kent,
Thanks for spotlighting G.T.O. today. It was the first song I ever played on the radio and the memories came rushing back. I wonder how many jocks remember the first song they ever played on the air.
Steve Hotvedt
I'll betcha a whole BUNCH of 'em!!! Probably most if not all.  I would think such a momentous occasion would stay will you for all-time.  (Have you seen our First 45's Segment?!?!?  We really DO remember this stuff!!!)  kk
I know the status of radio these days is pathetic, nothing like we grew up with.
I have checked out some online stations, some are good, some not so good, but I applaud everyone who is trying to keep the music alive.
Is there anything like a 60's station -- say a WLS style station on the internet?
Yeah, we get tired of 99 ads per hour, but couldn't there be a sponsored station with great jingles jocks music etc. to recreate what we grew up with?
Seems as though some of the folks that put out packages of oldies -- Sundazed, Rhino, etc., could help sponsor some things too.
Nobody will get rich in the beginning maybe, but it's a lot cheaper to do than a whole brick and mortar thing would be wouldn't it?
Maybe I've had too much coffee this morning, or there's already one out there that I've missed?
It's been tried ... but the whole prospect is just so INCREDIBLY expensive today, even on the Internet, that even expert radio veterans like John Rook (who recently tried to launch Hit Parade Radio with some GREAT names attached to it) threw in the towel.
Probably the closest I've heard to dedicating themselves to the actual SOUND of '60's radio was put together by Ricky The K (our FH Buddy Rick Kaufman) ... and he tried to do it via subscription ... but that failed, too.  (He had all the old jingles, radio patter ... the whole pace and feel of '60's radio down ... but just couldn't make a go of it.)
XM60's has some talented jocks on board (Terry "Motormouth" Young and Phlash Phelps amongst them) but that's a subscription service, too ... and, since they merged with Sirius, they seem to be playing more of the same stuff that everybody is playing these days.  It's a tough go for radio today ... so when we find a great station like WGVU or KISN, we try to help spread the word to the real oldies fans out there who will seek out (and hopefully help to support) these stations.  (kk)

WOW!  I've been listening to WGVU and I just looked at their playlist ... and in the past hour, they have played SO many faves that were more obscure!  "She May Call You Up Tonight" by Left Banke!  "Goin Home" by the Osmonds is arguably their best song.  Play it back to back with Edgar Winter's "River's Risin'" and it will show you that when they were both out, it was "what's in the group name" that sometimes made a difference in AM to FM airplay.  Almost the same tunes, but one by an FM'er and one by an AM'er!  "Listen to the Band" by our beloved Monkees and one VERY surprising non-Hot 100 fave, the Tokens' "Greatest Moments in a Girls' Life" that I always had taped off a performance on Bandstand in 66 before eventually getting the pic sleeve 45.  VERY COOL, guys!  I have lots of GR radio surveys from the old days and you guys are doing a great job.  Even playing The Bossmen!!  Right on! 
We've heard from dozens of readers now who are loving what they're hearing on WGVU.  Send them an email ... tell them what you think of the station (and how you heard about it in Forgotten Hits) ... help keep this momentum going so that others can discover both of our efforts to help keep this great music alive!!!  (kk)

Here are a couple you just don't hear anymore ...
"River's Risin'" went to #33 for The Edgar Winter Group in 1974.  "Goin' Home" was a #21 Hit for The Osmonds the year before.  Do YOU think they sound a lot alike???  (kk)