Monday, April 9, 2012


It's our brand new Radio Feature ...
Memories of the Jocks from "behind the glass" ...  
The guys that were there spinning the hits.
We encourage all of other dj's on the list to send us their stories, too!
(Don't worry ... you can leave out certain names to protect the innocent ... or guilty as the case may be!  Besides, the statutes of limitations are probably over by now anyway!)
C'mon, guys ... the oldies nation wants to hear from you!
Send us your memories ... and then tell some of the other jocks you're still in contact with to do the same.
Depending on the response we get, we'll run these columns periodically in Forgotten Hits!

Hey Kent! 
It's been awhile since I've written to you ... I continue to enjoy the broad spectrum of hit music mentioned on FH from Frankie Avalon to Foster The People. The more things change the more they stay the same ...
So you want an inside radio memory ... most of mine are from the twenty-plus years I've enjoyed in Country Radio, but here's a good one from my Top 40 days.  
No names ... and the time frame is very important ... January, 1984.
I'm Music Director / Mid-Days at a well-managed, small-market Top 40. Our corporate PD has just hired a new Program Director. After everyone is introduced, the new PD handed me a white box with a 5" reel of tape inside, labeled ... "Boston. Amanda. 4:00"
The new PD explained it's a rough mix they obtained from a friend at CBS Records, and that the band was having some sort of disagreement with the label at the time, Epic. So why don't I go give it a listen?
As someone who remembers where I was the first time I heard WRKO play "More Than A Feeling", you didn't have to ask me twice. I ran back to the production room, strung it up on our new Technics reel deck and hit "play". Blew me away. Sounded like a hit to me, especially for our rock-leaning-but-still-mainstream Top 40.
So we carted it up and added it ... but of course, never officially. This was 1984, years before BDS / Mediabase monitoring. Playlists were still called in every Monday to Radio & Records. All the jocks were instructed to presell AND backsell "Amanda" ... every time ... after all, we didn't want a competitor taping it off our air!
As someone profoundly inspired by the Jeff Kaye / Don Berns era of WKBW / Buffalo, when it wasn't uncommon to play a "bootleg" or pre-release leaked copy of a song ... having the exclusive on a Boston record was about as cool as it got for me. 
So we went along for a few weeks, playing our bootleg "Amanda" ... the corporate PD had even copied it and sent it to the other couple of properties in our group. None were within earshot of a CBS Records office so I guess everything was fine.
Until it wasn't. 
I was told that one of the other PD's in our chain had gone ahead and reported "Amanda" as an add to Radio & Records, and the conversation went roughly like this:
R&R: "What new Boston record?!"
PD: "It's called "Amanda". I've got it here on a 5-inch reel."
A cease-and-desist immediately followed. Apparently from Walter Yetnikoff himself to our corporate PD via telephone.
And as we all know ... when it finally came out for real ... 2 1/2 years later ... it was on MCA!
The "new PD" went on to great things and the corporate PD continued his reputation for success for several years afterward. I owe both of them a deep debt of gratitude for the opportunities, lessons and disciplines learned. That small-market chain sent many of us on to lasting major-market success, and it's a crying shame such opportunities no longer exist. One notable exception is Top 40 "Q92", WDJQ / Alliance, Ohio, which is still not only live and local, but apparently beating a voice-tracked Clear Channel "Kiss" competitor in the Canton, Ohio market.  
Enjoy the day, Kent!
Charlie Mitchell
GREAT story, Charlie!  And, of course, when "Amanda" DID finally come out (in late September of 1986), it shot straight to #1 on The Pop Singles Chart, incredibly the only Boston single to do so.  (Their best-known hit, "More Than A Feeling", peaked at #4 ten years earlier.)  After a hiatus of seven years, "Amanda" was a welcome return for the Boys From Boston.  Two other Top 20 singles followed:  "We're Ready" (#9, 1987) and "Can'tcha Say You Believe In Me" (#20, 1987) ... and then they were gone for good.  (kk)

In regards to your 'more radio chatter' in today's comments, you asked for possible memories of several things one might remember through the years happening to and or on radio in the city where one lived. One of the things listed in your 'inside radio memories segment' was crazy promotions one might remember. For some reason I have always remembered this one crazy promotion here in OKC on our local top 40 radio station back in 1960. The promotion was as follows:
One of the DJ's (and I can't remember which one), was to go to a department store in our downtown OKC, go up into one of the windows looking out towards the sidewalk below where all the people are walking by and they can see him and he can see them. He was to remain there from 6 PM Friday evening until 12 Midnight Sunday night. He was supposed to stay awake, not go to sleep at all and listen to this one particular record over and over and over again. Obviously he could eat and drink while there as well as take a bathroom break. The record he was to listen to over and over again was Bobby Hendrick's 1960 recording of PSYCHO on Sue Records. I really can't remember or don't know if he lasted until 12 Midnight without falling asleep, but I do know that PSYCHO did make it into the top 5 of the local top 40 radio station's survey which of course the DJ worked for.
I am quite sure that other DJ's did crazy promotions like that at other stations in other markets.
Larry Neal
Wait till you see all of the crazy stuff our buddy Wild Bill Cody did over the years ... many of which landed him the record books.  C'mon, Bill, share with our readers!!!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
I'm not sure if you have seen this yet or not ... consultants and other suits trying to figure out how to increase their “cume” with schemes and marketing social media BS, probably while still playing the same few songs that every other station is playing. This is why RADIO SUCKS!! 
Eddie Burke,
Yeah, I'm actually on this mailing list, too.  I love to hear the high-paid consultants reassure us that "We keep playing what we're playing because that's what the listeners want to hear."  Maybe they need to expand their polling audience just a little bit ... I guarantee you, if you look ... I mean actually LOOK ... you WILL find some intelligent listeners out there who want more from a radio station than the same 300 songs, played over and over and over again.
And I'll tell you another thing ... if you're going to play the same 300 songs over and over again, then you damn well better be offering something else in your programming to make people tune in and listen and want to hang around ... 'cause let's face it ... at that point, it's NOT about the music anymore.  We've all HEARD the music ... COUNTLESS times ... BILLIONS of time ... we know it, we love it, we own it ... do something IN BETWEEN THE MUSIC to entertain us and we'll stay tuned in. (kk)

After fifty years, this presentation of WLS sales has resurfaced ...
Memories of 1960's Chicago. 
John Rook

Hey Kent, 
Been missing the old Dick Biondi Friday Night Request Show and the even older Jeff James Saturday Night 70's Request Party.  Do you know of any good programs that run themselves like these two did?  I'm having request withdrawals and am sick of hearing Journey and Bruce Springsteen in endless rotation on WLS, WJMK, and WILV.  I need to request some of my favorties :)  Let me know if you know of any good request shows!
I believe Danny Lake still does his Saturday Night All Request Dance Party on WLS-FM ... and Danny's one of the better jocks at the station.  Of course if you tune into Dave The Rave's "Relics And Rarities" Show on TopShelf Oldies, HE'LL play your requests, too ... but that means you'll need to be near a computer to hear them.  I agree with you ... it was fun being out in the car on a Friday or Saturday Night and hearing some "surprises" once in a while.  From what I understand, WLS-FM has received HUNDREDS (if not THOUSANDS) of letters asking that they bring back Dick Biondi's Friday Night All-Request Show ... I can't think of ANY reason why they shouldn't do so ... how about giving the listeners what THEY want for a change?!?!?  Wow, what a novel concept!  (kk)

Hey, Kent,
Did you ever listen to Jeff James’s ‘Saturday Night Live @ the ‘70s' on Y-103.9?
If you did, you know just how great it was! Shame on the management for putting Tom Kent on in Jeff’s place. It’s been that way since July of last year. If you ask Jeff, he’d definitely want to move out of the Sunday 9 am - 2 PM slot, and get back to his loyal legion of Saturday Night ‘70s lovers like myself!
Can anything be done to convince Ryan Wild to realize that Tom Kent’s network, just isn’t working for us! Let the ‘70s music live on!
Dave Wollenberg,
Wheaton, IL 
All we can do is encourage fans to continue to write and email the station and let them know how unhappy we are with the Tom Kent Take-Over.  There isn't a week that goes by that I don't hear from at least one or two former fans of Y103.9, letting their complete dissatisfaction be known ... nearly every one yearning for the return of jocks like Jeff James and Jim Shea to the fold.  All I can say is that Y103.9 really blew it on this one ... and any loyal listener fan base they may have had must be down to next to nothing judging by the mail I've received.
I can only tell you guys that I share in your frustration ... and I rarely put the station on anymore ... but, sadly, I have no input at all. Former Y103.9 listeners unite ... and let the station know how you really feel.  Maybe there's hope for them yet!  (kk)