Saturday, December 3, 2016

It's Another One Of Those Great Forgotten Hits Soapbox Moments

We haven't had one of these in a while ..

But the timing of these two emails was just too good to pass up.

So indulge me for a few minutes again this week as we let our passion for the music take over this weekend's column.

Kent ...
Scott Shannon isn't talking to me anymore ... so I have to send my WCBS-FM complaints to you.
In the month of December,  from 7 PM to Midnight, WCBS-FM is playing Christmas music.
One month a year, it's okay to go back to 1940's for Bing's "White Christmas."
One month of the year, it's okay to go back to 1957 for Elvis' Christmas album.
One month of the year it's okay to go back to 1954 for the Drifters "White Christmas."
But from January to November, we can only play 1970's and 1980's music.
I guess they think that people like me only listen to the radio one month a year.
Elvis Yesterday:  I have cassette tapes of WCBS-FM playing Elvis' top 25 Hits.
Elvis Today:  The only song they play is original version of "Burning Love" from 1972.
They won't even mention the fact that in the last two years Elvis' digital albums with The Royal Philharmonic were million sellers thanks to remakes like "If I Can Dream" and "The Wonder Of You."
We both know there will be more of these albums to come. I guess WCBS-FM will continue to ignore the new Elvis albums and keep playing "Burning Love" ... except for the month of December.
Frank B.
It's frustrating, I know ... and it isn't just WCBSM-FM ... this seems to be the mentality from coast to coast these days.  Even Billboard Magazine now seems to ignore all of its chart information before the first "official" Hot 100 Chart in August of 1958 ... that means that Elvis' 24 Billboard Chart Hits (ELEVEN of which went to #1!) don't even make the cut anymore.   GREAT tracks like "Hound Dog", "Don't Be Cruel" "Blue Suede Shoes", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Love Me Tender", "All Shook Up" "Teddy Bear" and "Jailhouse Rock" have virtually been wiped from existence.
And, with a totally straight face, radio programmers, consultant and owners of many of the reissue lables will tell you that they only market to people who "are still alive"!!!  Meaning that some of the greatest music ever created will soon disappear forever, without the chance for future generations to discover it and fall in love with it all over again, just like we did.
The thing they don't understand is that there had been no precedent for rock and roll.  I promise you that despite their hardest efforts, this music will NOT disappear ... new people WILL continue to discover and embrace it.  I see it every single day as kids now seven decades removed from the original onslaught of rock and roll and still diggin' these sounds.  The shame is that all these so-called "know it all"'s have got it wrong ... and can't even see the big picture here ... yet they're the ones in control!!!
Think about this ...
When Elvis hit in 1956 and revolutionized the sights and sounds of music, was the rest of the world listening to music from 1890?  When The Beatles hit in 1964, did they stand out because everyone else on the planet was listening to music from the early 1900's?  When disco erupted in 1978, were the rest of the population doing the dances of 1918?  Michael Jackson's big comeback in the 1980's .. was that no big deal because everyone on earth was still drooling over Valetino?
The world has never had to deal with a force the likes of rock and roll music ... because think about what I've just said ... people today still have a DEEP love and affection for the music of the '50's, '60's, '70's and '80s, even tho it's some 60 Something Years Later!!!  It still MEANS something to us ... we can still FEEL It ... we still embrace it ... and so do our children and even THEIR children.
This "fad" that was supposed to disappear in fifteen minutes in 1956 is still with us ... and it's just as strong as ever.
Throw out ALL the old rule books ... because they don't apply here.  You won't find millions of Americans standing in line for next week's jitterbug contest ... you won't find them lined up at special screenings of Rudolph Valentinos' Greatest Hits either ... because they'll be at the theater watching the new Ron Howard film "Eight Days A Week" about The Beatles' touring years from 50+ years ago.  You'll also still find the likes of The Beatles and Elvis and The Beach Boys and Paul Simon and Dion and any huge number of others cracking the top of the charts with their latest releases.
THROW THE PLAYBOOK AWAY ... it doesn't apply here.  And pull your heads out of your collective asses and face the fact that Rock And Roll Music Is Here To Stay!  Take a trip down memory lane with the Oldies But Goodies ... grab your best girl At The Hop ... do The Twist, The Limbo, disco your ass off if you want to ... this music ISN'T going away ... so you might as well embrace it.  (kk)
The email we received today from noted deejay Big Jay Sorensen makes many of these same points ... but Jay's ready to throw in the towel and give in to these bastards.  I say NO WAY!!!  
A guy like Scott Shanon can play by the corporate rules and rule the ratings with his WCBS-FM top-ranked morning show ... but he combats that by spearheading The True Oldies Channel 24/7 playing the music he REALLY loves for the listeners who really want to hear it.  (I think it's how he holds on to his sanity!!!)
Me-TV-FM is doing their best to keep "timeless and memorable music" alive through their programming list, playing songs that have been absent from the airwaves for DECADES!!!
Internet oldies shows take the time to do the research and play both the hits and the near-hits ... because they know and understand that we fans remember them ALL!!!
Here is what triggered this response ... (for the record, Geoff is a long-time disc jockey in the UK ... or a "radio presenter" as I guess they like to call themselves!!! ... and he misses seeing other sheets like ours dedicated to preserving the memory of the great music.)  To an extent, having just celebrated our 17th Year Anniversary, we very well may be one of the last ones. (Of course I've always thought we were one of the BEST ones, too!  Lol)
Anyway, here's Geoff's original query ... along with Big Jay's response and rant.  (Today truly is another Forgotten Hits Classic Soap Box Moment!!!)
>>>Kent - I have been very interested in music since way before Bill Haley told us we are gonna rock around the clock. Over the years I have had e mail dealings with good knowledgeable folk like your good self.  One who seems to be missing in action the last few months is a guy called Big Jay Sorensen. His link says things like “has been assaulting the airwaves for four decades, in some really extraordinary places, as Disc Jockey, Talk Show Host, News Anchor, Beat Reporter, Commercial Production Director ... and occasionally even as Program Director and Operations Manager”.  I just wondered if you might know him or as to why he stopped the lists.  Take care.  (Geoff)
>>>Big Jay Sorensen is a Forgotten Hits Regular ... he's been on our list for YEARS ... and you'll still find his emails coming through on a somewhat regular basis.  I know he's bounced around a bit over the past couple of years ... but I'm sure he'll see this and want get in touch with you.  (kk)
Which, of course, is exactly what happened!
Kent ...
I saw that your listener "Geoff" (didn't mention where he was from) was saying I fell off the radar, or something like that.
Please inform Geoff that while I did stop writing my weekly exhaustive blog about Big Jay's Big Week in Pop Music History, I am alive and well. 
I just didn't see the reason to continue in the music direction after I was told I wasn't "tight and bright" enough anymore after about eight years at WCBS-FM in NYC. 
Like many of your FORGOTTEN HITS readers who still yearn for "Youngblood," by the Coasters and "Build Me Up Buttercup" 30 times a day, the station simply isn't what it used to be for Oldies Record Pigs. It can't be. Nor should it be.
I have said it before and I'll say it again, today's 40-year-olds graduated High School in 1994. That is the center of what TODAY'S classic hits stations want to reach. Read that sentence over again. 
And given that for most people the age of 15 is the center of what your favorite nostalgia music is ... you realize that five years either way of that number (of let's say a 40-year-old today) then that median year is 1991. So, if that theory holds, then the years 1986 through 1995 are the years’ today's 40-year-olds enjoy when they are looking for nostalgia. 
And if that theory holds, then if you are 65 today, YOUR median years (if you graduated at age 18 in 1969), your years are from 1964 through '74. 
How many stations (a select few AM's) are still playing that music? 
The reason they aren't, largely is purely based on what advertisers want ... and it ain't us.
Sure, if you want to tout the latest arthritis medicine or chair lift to the second story of your home, or to get an AARP card, then an "OLDIES" station might work. 
But Madison Avenue and the ad buyers (who have always been about 24 years-old) wouldn't know Steppenwolf from Steppin Fetchett ... because they've never heard of either one. 
Perhaps in some markets advertisers might WANT that 65-year-old. But frankly their research tells them that you can't change the buying habits of "old" people. That's what they say.  
If I ruled the radio world, I'd make WABC MusicRadio 77 again. Right now. And currently I'm ON that station as the sidekick / announcer for my old friend Joey Reynolds.
He does a Sunday Night Live show called The LATE Joey Reynolds Show 9 pm et and on KABC AM in LA at 6pm pacific. Soon to be available on VIDEO ... and listenable on iHeartRadio's app each week. You can hear podcasts of the shows at
And I'd do the same with WLS-AM ... And KFI-AM ... and WFIL-AM ... etc. ... You get my drift.   Nostalgia is subjective. I want to hear songs I know ... with a melody ... with lyrics ... sometimes fun, sometimes angry ... sometimes bubblegum, sometimes hard rock or pure soul as WE REMEMBER when we were kids. 
Sadly, I am living in a pipe-dream. It would only happen if the conglomerates blew up and died. That COULD happen as some of us know. 
It may seem as though I'm speaking from both sides of my mouth about this whole DEMOGRAPHIC thing. I guess I am. I think a 50 year-old would listen to the top 40 music of the ‘50s, '70s, and '70s ... IF it is presented properly. Maybe a 40 year-old would as well. Well, maybe not the '50s ... but if it's fun and, (and here is the key) ... IF they would allow REAL PERSONALITIES back on the radio, it just might work.
Sadly, many of the people who did it so well from the 50s through the 70s are either dead, retired or not in good health. Sure there are some left ... or perhaps the second generation jocks like ME who can aptly recreate at least the tempo and sound of the era could make it work. I have friends who would LEAP at the chance to prove it.
Listen to my tapes when 66 WNNNBC did "THE TIME MACHINE" in '87 and '88, complete with reverb, Pams jingles and the forward moving tempo that was top 40 radio in its hey-day. Subscribe to You can also hear the ORIGINAL dudes who made it so much fun to listen to back then. 
Would Madison Ave. react kindly to this pipe-dream? Dunno. As long as the 24 year-old buyers are conducting the business — likely not. But if “programmatic buying” really took hold with all that ad inventory, and instead of Erectile Dysfunction and Snake Oil medicine-men and money-handlers buying time by the hour on even the biggest AM stations in America on weekends and stopped playing UFO shows all night on almost every spot on the dial across the land on weeknights, it might stand a chance. Or maybe there is so much noise on AM today that didn't exist back in the day … it would be a wasted thought because of LED lights, computers, smart phones ... etc. ... meaning almost nobody can listen to AM unless they are three blocks from the transmitter. (I’m sorta joking.  Sorta.)
I know I'm rambling ... but when Geoff asked where I was (and he sounded like an older gentleman) it got me thinking. I love the music from the eras I mentioned above, just like KENT and all the thousands who read his column daily. He puts his LIFE into this thing. Imagine having a regular job and then working another 40 hours per week on a BLOG?!?!?!?! That's what I believe he does. His passion is unmatched. He is a bit too Chicago-centric for MY musical tastes, but we all LEARN a lot if you didn't grow up listening to WLS, WCFL, etc. 
Geoff, I stopped trying to do a weekly column that took sometimes three days a week to put together, because I didn't see the return ... neither via email, social media ... (the same 30 people LIKED it ... but likely never READ it) ... NOR was I able to monetize it. I did it initially because I was only working part-time and HAD the time to put into it. You can look at my former work at ... it's all still there. But it took its toll. 
So now I'm STILL in the radio field, part of a revolutionary idea of doing a VARIETY show on RADIO. OMG. Are they crazy??  
We've had many of our heroes on the show ... ranging from Frankie Valli, to Gene Cornish of The Rascals, to Lou Christie to songwriter Chip Taylor ("Angel Of The Morning" and "Wild Thing") on the show, along with people like Tommy Chong, Andrea McArdle (Annie) and comedians like Pat Cooper, Vic DiBitetto, Dave Konig and so many more. It is a little this and a little that. On a SUNDAY night no less. So ... we think if there is anyone left listening to radio on a Sunday night, we might as well entertain them with some big stars, some small stars and just plain interesting people. 
SO that's where I am Geoff. I am HONORED that you asked Kent about me in his blog. 
And if anyone wants to write to me, do it at BigJaySorensen@gmail.comI will reply.
Big Jay Sorensen