Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Saturday Surveys (1-11)

Three more great charts for your perusal in our brand new 2014 Saturday feature!

First up, a Top 20 Chart from KPOI in Hawaii!!!  (How many Hawaiian charts have you seen before?!?!?)    

We've told you that Chicago's own New Colony Six were EXTREMELY popular over there ... and here you'll find their latest hit "Long Time To Be Alone" (a song that petered out at #93 in Billboard ... and only climbed as high as #13 here at home) sitting at #8 ... on its way DOWN the chart after reaching #1 a few weeks earlier!  (It was this record that allowed the band to fly over to the Hawaiian Islands for a series of shows in 1972, still one of Ronnie Rice's all-time favorite New Colony Six memories!)  

Other than that, Hawaii was pretty much in-tune with the rest of the country ... although "American Pie" seems to be inching its way up the chart here rather than the full head-on attack it had nationally.

The Twist was all the rage in Louisville, KY, this week in 1961.  You'll find Chubby Checker on top of the chart with his '60's anthem "The Twist", followed at #2 by Joey Dee and the Starliters and "The Peppermint Twist".  Checker was climbing the charts with his follow-up hit, too ... "Let's Twist Again" is sitting at #16 in its second week on the chart.  

Local group Cosmo had a Top Ten Hit with "I'm A Little Mixed Up", a track we featured AGES ago as part of our "Show Me Your Hits" feature where we spotlighted local, regional hits by artists that never made Billboard's Chart.

Here's a pretty amazing chart out of Oklahoma City, circa 1971.  

Check out the #1 Song ... "D.O.A." by Bloodrock ...  

This track was banned on numerous stations at the time.  
(It IS pretty dark!!!  And definitely not the kind of track you'd see the kids dancing to on American Bandstand!!!) 
Seeing this one in The Top Five alongside such teeny-bopper fare as "Knock Three Times" by Dawn and "I Think I Love You" by The Partridge Family REALLY makes this typically "FM-Only" track stand out even more from the rest of the pack!  

Then again, look at the hodge-podge of variety on the radio back then.  Those really WERE the days ... when you could hear Bloodrock, Santana and Led Zeppelin all played during the same hour as hits by Lynn Anderson, Jerry Reed and Perry Como!!!  (Man, what a different time it was!!!)  

Another Forgotten Hits favorite on this list ... "Games" by Redeye, a track that peaked at #27 in Billboard but was already in the WKY Top 20!

All of this week's charts come courtesy of Clark Besch ... thank you, Clark!  

Be sure to check back NEXT Saturday for more great Top 40 Memories!  (kk)

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Friday Flash

re:  This And That:

Big news this week is that David Letterman is trying to get Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to perform together again on the stage of The Ed Sullivan Theater for the 50th Anniversary of The Sullivan Show when The Beatles first appeared on February 9, 1964.  (Several other MAJOR events are already planned, including live tribute shows at The Apollo Theater and a Grammy Night Celebration / CBS Television Special called "The Night That Changed America".)

Who would have ever dreamed ... in their WILDEST fantasies ... that 50 years later this hot new "flavor of the month" fad known as The Beatles would still be relevant and able to turn the whole world on its ear with their every move.  On January 21st, Capitol Records will release the complete US Collection of Beatles albums as originally released here in America ... album titles like "Beatles '65" and "Beatles VI",
'Yesterday' ... and Today", "Something New" and "Hey Jude" that didn't appear anywhere else in the world ... but album configurations that we grew up with (and wore the grooves out on) throughout the '60's.

Of course it will NEVER be the same without John Lennon and George Harrison ... but a Paul / Ringo collaboration ("All My Lovin'", anybody??? Or how about their duet on "Act Naturally"???) would still be pretty cool to see.  (kk)

(The Beatles Live on The Ed Sullivan Show, circa 1964)

I stopped at Barnes and Noble on the way home from work today and the shelves are stocked full with Beatles books and magazines ... once again, people are making money by riding the coat-tails of The Fab Four.  FH Reader Dave Barry tells us about another new book (this one written by noted Beatles Historian Mark Lewisohn) that sounds kinda interesting: 

Check out the two sentences below I have highlighted in turquoise. My interpretation is that the U.K. release of this book has twice as many pages as the U.S. release. Is that your interpretation? If so, why would I want to buy the U.S. book, knowing that it's heavily abridged?--dB

Published: December 11, 2013
On Oct. 12 or Oct. 13, 1961, Paul McCartney and John Lennon visited the Hôtel de Beaune in Paris, near the Seine, to have their hair cut by a friend. Mark Lewisohn, billed on his book jacket as “the world’s only professional Beatles historian,” may know more about this seminal pop-cultural event than anyone else on the planet, including Mr. McCartney. The budding Beatle might have been too caught up in the moment to remember its exact details. Mr. Lewisohn has had some 50 years to parse them.
The Beatles: All These Years, Vol. 1  
By Mark Lewisohn  
Illustrated. 932 pages. Crown Archetype. $40.

In “Tune In,” the first installment of a projected three-volume history of the Beatles, Mr. Lewisohn describes how Jürgen Vollmer, a photographer then friendly with the Nerk Twins, as those two Beatles sometimes called themselves, obliged their wish to look less Liverpudlian and more Left Bank bohemian. So he cut Mr. McCartney’s hair first into what Mr. Vollmer called a Caesar style and what the guy on the other end of the scissors called “a kind of longhaired Hitler thing.” It looked better when it grew in.
Cuttings from both Beatles’ hair were stashed under the bed; their present-day eBay value is incalculable. The next morning the hotel concierge found the mess and was furious. “She would not be the last to scream over the Beatles’ hair,” Mr. Lewisohn writes.
And Mr. Lewisohn is not the first to describe that screaming. But he is the most scholarly and painstaking, and he is the most serious historian to have examined the Beatles’ lives and work. The results can be dubious at times, when the minutiae becomes too microscopic or when he assumes that what he has not uncovered cannot be known. As for romantic entanglements, for instance, during that same Paris sojourn, Mr. Lewisohn writes about Lennon, “It isn’t known if he and Paul got l’amour in Paris.”
It probably is known to Mr. McCartney, who has cooperated with Mr. Lewisohn on many of his other Beatles projects. But Sir Paul stayed mum on this one. “Tune In” is liable to be approached slowly and suspiciously. It’s an opening salvo that doesn’t get beyond 1962. This edition, with text that runs 803 pages (lengthy notes and index are extra), turns out to be an abridgment of a two-volume version that was published in Britain and is nearly twice as long. And much more expensive. (That version is available by mail order from Britain; it hasn’t come out in the United States.) The most eager readers have little choice but to tackle both versions, a maddening battle plan. And this abridgment could have been short enough to be more approachable. But it is not: Mr. Lewisohn’s sometimes arrogant emphasis on research trumps his desire to make “Tune In” reader-friendly.
Still, the intrepid reader who enters the portals of “Tune In” is probably in the presence of slow-gestating greatness. The finished history promises to have monumental stature, and this warm-up may turn out to be its most revealing installment. Mr. Lewisohn executes the difficult trick of introducing five major characters — John, Paul, George, Ringo and Liverpool — and patiently establishing each before their paths cross. It is invaluable to view each band member as a separate individual, as in the case of Richy Starkey, a.k.a. Ringo Starr, who is the brashest, sexiest and sickliest of the four before he becomes a Beatle, three-quarters of the way into “Tune In.”
It’s also eye-opening to read Mr. Lewisohn’s revisionist versions of the most widely propagated myths about band members’ early years, especially when it comes to Lennon’s romanticizing of his mother. “Tune In” pays close attention to the many American influences on the young pre-Beatles. (Was Lennon’s early group the Quarry Men or Quarrymen? Of course Mr. Lewisohn has a footnote for that.) They hit adolescence just as rock ’n’ roll records became buyable, and “Tune In” keenly chronicles the favorites that they would draw on or recycle, even for their name: Beatles was a play on Buddy Holly’s Crickets, simple as that. And he astutely points out that they had to experience their own versions of Beatlemania to inspire it later: Holly and Elvis Presley drove them wild.
George Harrison never forgot the sight of Eddie Cochran at a live show, brushing back his hairdo and murmuring “Hi, honey” to an adoring fan. Mr. Starr, after seeing Johnny Ray dropping postcard photos of himself out a hotel window, knew this was the life for him. If there is one overall point that “Tune In” makes emphatically, it’s that the Beatles didn’t happen by magic. They envisioned a highly original goal and then fought toward it, every step of the way.
Once readers get over the hump of tuning in to “Tune In” and accepting that it must be read at a very leisurely pace, Mr. Lewisohn’s nuances can be fully appreciated. He captures the internecine struggles and bonds that were so important to forming the band’s winning formula. There is much illuminating biographical material on both Brian Epstein and George Martin and keen insight into why they became essential to the Beatles’ success.

Then there are the extra Beatles, about whom much misleading information exists. These were teenage boys, after all, and they had friendships and rivalries. Mr. Lewisohn provides an in-depth explanation of why the bassist Stu Sutcliffe brought out Mr. McCartney’s possessiveness about Lennon, though Sutcliffe’s girlfriend, Astrid Kirchherr, had a strong influence on the band’s early look. As for Pete Best, the drummer who is one of many contenders for the moniker Fifth Beatle, Mr. Lewisohn treats him harshly. The book presents detailed evidence that he was recruited in desperation when the band needed a drummer for its stint in Germany and dismissed for two good reasons: he couldn’t keep a beat, and Mr. Starr was better.
“Tune In,” which starts out as a doorstop and evolves into a rich cornucopia for those with the patience to stay with it, concludes suspensefully on the last night of 1962, with the Beatles on the brink. The text’s last words, from Lennon: “It was just a matter of time before everybody else caught on.” And one last, welcome word on the final page: “Intermission.”

re:  Saying Goodbye:
McCartney, of course, wrote, produced and performed on The Everly Brothers' 1984 comeback hit "On The Wings Of A Nightingale" (#50), not a bad track but not one I've heard played in memory of the recently departed Phil Everly ... so we'll run it here today in Forgotten Hits ... along with Macca's comments about losing Phil:

Phil Everly was one of my great heroes.  With his brother Don, they were one of the major influences on the Beatles.  When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don. Years later, when I finally met Phil, I was completely star-struck and at the same time extremely impressed by his humility and gentleness of soul. I will always love him for giving me some of the sweetest musical memories of my life.
-- Paul McCartney 

From Vintage Vinyl News:  Paul Simon also noted the Everlys' impact on the Beatles – as well as on his own duo with Art Garfunkel – in a 2004 Rolling Stone article. "The Everly Brothers' impact exceeds even their fame," he wrote at the time. "They were a big influence on John Lennon and Paul McCartney and, of course, on Simon and Garfunkel." 

Got this from our FH Buddy Fred Vail ... and he's right ... when you see the accumulated list for the year, it REALLY has an impact.  Today we remember some of the artists we lost in 2013.

This past November, I read an article that approximately 550 to 600 World War 2 veterans -- all members of 'the greatest generation' -- are dying on a daily basis. Proportionately, 2013 - 2014 has taken it's toll on dozens and dozens of some of the greatest pioneers of pop, rock, and rockabilly music. So far, in 2014, we lost one half of what could easily be called the greatest duo (and certainly the most influential) in the history of rock and roll, Phil Everly. We also lost one of the most noted lead singers, Jay Traynor of "Jay & The Americans" and lately of "The Tokens."
2013 took a far greater toll. We lost hundreds of singers, musicians, songwriters and a few key non-performer legends, perhaps, most notably Grammy Award winning producer / engineer Phil Ramone, "Crawdaddy" creator / publisher / author Paul Williams, impresario / promoter Sid Bernstein (95 years old and still snubbed by the RRHOF), Bobby Martin, producer / engineer and one of the architects of "the Sound of Philadelphia," producer / engineer Andy Johns (Stones, Hendrix, Rod Stewart, Clapton, Zeppelin), "Shindig" host / radio deejay Jimmy O'Neill and the incomparable 'star' of WLS and WCFL Radio, Chicago's Larry Lujack. 
When we read about these fallen trailblazers in Forgotten Hits -- every few weeks or a few times a month -- it does not hit you like seeing them all in one place.
But below are 'some' of the folks who influenced our lives with their musical contributions.
"Forgotten Hits" regular and friend, Alan O'Day  (that one REALLY hurt - kk)
Former Mouseketeers and hit makers "Annette" and Dick(y) Dodd (The Bel Airs and Standells)
Patty Andrews (The Andrews Sisters)
"The Singing Rage, Miss Patti Page"
Marshall Lytle (Bill Haley and The Comets)
Bob Engemann (The Letterrmen)
Lou Reed
Bobby Blue Bland
Jewel Akens
Eydie Gorme
Richard Street (The Temptations)
Bobby Rogers (Smokey Robinson and The Miracles)
Jim Sundquist (The Fendermen)
Stanley Knight (Black Oak Arkansas)
Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Floyd "Buddy" Mc Rae (The Chords / "Sh-Boom")
Reg Presley (The Troggs)
Leroy Bonner (Ohio Players)
Rick Huxley (The Dave Clark Five)
Ken Hodges (Spanky and Our Gang)
Robert "Bobby" Smith (principal lead singer, The Spinners)
Marvin Junior (The Dells)
Virgil Johnson (The Velvets)
Richie Havens
Shadow Morton
Tony Sheridan
Claude King
Peter Banks ("Yes")
Eydie Gorme
Clarence Burke (Five Stairsteps)
Joe Kelly (Shadows of Knight)
Drummer Tommy Wells
Gordon Stoker (The Jordanaires)
Marshall Sewell (The Edsels)
Alvin Lee
JJ Cale
Billy Adamson (The Searchers)
Pete Haycock (Climax Blues Band)
Allen Lanier (Blue Oyster Cult)
Doug Grasser (Ohio Players)
I'm sure there are a number of you out there who can add to this list --and, sadly -- there were dozens more including a number of additional musicians and songwriters.
We owe a debt of gratitude the wonderful musical legacy they left us.
Fred Vail
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
Music City, USA
Right off the bat you can add these names to the list:
Sammy Johns ("Chevy Van")
Larry Verne  ("Please Mr. Custer")
Bobby Parker (who we interviewed a couple of years ago in FH ... and very likely was screwed out of the royalties for the popular '60's song "You Got What It Takes", a hit for both Marv Johnson and The Dave Clark Five)  Bobby also recorded the hit "Watch Your Step", the guitar riff from which John Lennon said inspired him to write The Beatles' #1 Hit "I Feel Fine".  (It's always sounded a lot more like The Allman Brothers' "One Way Out" to me!!!)
Country Singer Jack Greene
Noel Harrison
Apple Records artist Jackie Lomax
Hugh McCracken  (guitar whiz session player)
Emilio Pericoli  (Al-Di-La)
Tompall Glaser
Marvin Rainwater (he spoke with Forgotten Hits many moons ago)
The legendary Slim Whitman
and Country Superstars George Jones and Ray Price
as well as (in addition to legendary DJ Larry Lujack), our FH Buddy "Wild Bill" Cody
Yep ... a VERY tough year for saying goodbye.  (kk)

re:  Diggin' The Charts / The Saturday Surveys:
I thoroughly enjoyed looking through the radio surveys of other radio stations here in the country and to see what records made the surveys and which ones didn't that would turn out to be big hits on a national level.
You mentioned that the song GEORGIANNA was big in Chicago and didn't make the national charts. You said you didn't understand that. Many years ago, a man in record promotions told me that the question could be answered in one word and that one word was PAYOLA. I have had record promotion men look at weekly surveys and would and or could tell which ones were considered to be of the PAYOLA type. Who knows? Would be interesting to know just how many copies were sold at the various record shops in Chicago.
Finally, I learned something today. I was familiar, though not all that much, of the singing group Dave, Dee, Dozey, Beaky, Mick and Tich. I did not know they recorded the song BEND IT. That particular song by that group didn't chart here in OKC. However, a local group which called themselves the Noblemen did record it. For the week of March 16, 1967 here in OKC, their version of BEND IT peaked at #2. It was on CJL record label with a flip called STOP YOUR RUNNING AROUND.
Larry Neal
I have ALWAYS loved the song "Bend It" and it got a TON of airplay here in Chicago despite never making any of our local charts.  (Even WIND used to play the heck out of this one.)  My Mom loved it, too, and bought (and played) the 45 ... a couple of us kids bought copies, too.
I didn't learn until many, many years later that Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich recorded two DRASTICALLY different versions of the song ... we covered this AGES ago in FH (and I'll have to dig through the archives to see if I can find that piece) as apparently some folks thought the version we featured the other day was perhaps a little too "suggestive" for its time.  To this day, I still don't get it ... and thought this song should have been a MONSTER hit here.  (It never charted in Billboard and only spent one week at #100 in Cash Box.  Back home in Great Britain (where these guys were a HUGE success), it peaked at #2.  GREAT track as far as I'm concerned.  The song that DID chart for them was the infinitely inferior "Zabadak" from 1968.  Go figure.  (kk)
UPDATE:  No need to go digging through the ancient 2002 - 2006 archives ... I found highlighted excerpts up on the current website after all.  You can check out this article, posted after Dave Dee died in 2009:
I'm reading Mac Gayden's autobiography "Missing String Theory," and in one chapter he writes about his hit song "Everlasting Love." He states that the record (original Robert Knight recording) reached Number 13 on Billboard, and would have reached the Top Ten if Monument Records had agreed to buy a full page ad in Billboard . They refused, and the record stalled, then dropped. Have you heard of this kind of situation?
David Lewis
Unfortunately yes, and although not openly talked about in outside circles, apparently it was a fairly common practice exercised by all of the major publishing trades at the time.  (Suffice to say that payola was NOT confined to radio stations and disc jockeys!!!)  In fact, word is it still continues to this day, just in different "work around" formats.  There has long been talk about which artists have gotten the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame nod in the past based on which record labels bought the $25,000 tables for the awards ceremony.  Makes you wonder if ANYTHING was real back then.  How do you truly trust ANY of the chart information when you know that tactics like this were going on behind the scenes.
And don't miss our brand new weekly feature, The Saturday Surveys, spotlighting charts from around the country.  Be sure to check back tomorrow to see this week's edition!  (kk)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Our Movement To Bring The True Oldies Channel Is Underway ...

... but we still need your help!!!

Somehow ... someway ... we need to continue to get the word out to the radio fans of Chicago who want our oldies back!!!

The timing is right ... scroll back to read Monday's post to get completely up to speed ... and then help us spread the word through any means available to you.

Chicago LOVES their oldies ... we've been an oldies town since the late '70's and early '80's ... and we're tired of hearing the same tired 200-300 songs playing on EVERY radio station in town!!!

I agree 1000% and now that Cumulus has two more rock stations in Chicago, it's time that WLS-FM be returned to Oldies!  Every one of their legendary jocks would embrace such a change.  It is SO logical and would tap a demo that not only HAS money they also HAVE the time to spend it. WHY is radio being SO blind to the obvious?   I'm out in Las Vegas at the CES but return this weekend I will do my best to help out.  Can you get Rob Feder to do a piece on this? He has readers and that equals power!  
Rock on Kent.
Art Vuolo, Jr

Actually, we appealed to Feder (and Chicagoland Radio and Media, too) to help us with our cause ... or, at the very least, spread the word to all the listeners out there  frustrated by the same diet of repetitive music that plays relentlessly non-stop on every station in town ... but so far we've heard nothing back.  Nothing from the television media either ... and the ONLY way to get this movement off the ground is to spread the word and gain the support of the listeners who will faithfully embrace this station.
Again, folks HAVE to help us to spread the word or this dies on the vine right now.  (kk)

UPDATE:  Yay!!!  Chicagoland Radio and Media ran a link to our cause in today's column!!!  Let's get this movement underway!  
Kent Kotal's popular blogsite Forgotten Hits has started a grass roots campaign to get the Oldies format returned to WLS-FM. More details on this can be found HERE.

In response to your / our plea, it would be great if you could post all the important email addresses and even phone numbers if you think that will work to get the oldies army into action. I’m trying to find Lew Dickey’s addy as I type. 
Thanks for your leadership.  
Scott Schultz, 
We've been trying to track down Lew Dickey's email address, too, but so far no luck.  However you can write, fax or call Cumulus Broadcasting via the information below. (Of course first it'd be nice to generate some support here at home ... so don't be shy about contacting the media outlets right here in Chicago, too!)
3280 Peachtree Road, NW Suite 2300
Atlanta, Georgia 30305
TEL. (404) 949-0700
FAX. (404) 949-0740
The word WILL get out ... we just need to nudge it along a little bit right now!  Imagine if we just get two guys over at Cumulus kicking this around between themselves while admitting, "Hey, you know ... that's really not a half-bad idea!!!"  (kk)    

I hear ya loud and clear man. How can we contact higher management? I have already sent my plea to  WLS / FM and the company that bought the LOOP.  
It sure is funny ... you would think radio would cater to the over 30 crowd ... any one younger probably does not listen to radio the way we do (or used to)! 
Mike De Martino 
President of the Lovejoy Music Club  
It's programming with blinders on, targeting the completely wrong audience for all the wrong reasons.  I think you may be right ... today's audience may not even GET the radio!!!  Give us a REASON to listen, and we will!  And then the advertisers will have the captive audience they so desire!  (kk)      

Kent - 
Just read your Monday cumulus posting and I completely agree with you. For the past year I no longer listen to any AM or FM station in Chicago. Instead, I have 7000 songs on my ipod which plays those songs at random. When in the car I only listen to Sirius XM 50's and / or 60's channels.  
But I miss hearing good radio voices talking directly to me such as Scott Shannon.  And it doesn't have to be original voices as frankly Fred Winston (who was one of the funniest during his heyday) and John Landecker now just sound tired (I'm not sure if this is due to station edicts or the fact that they're just being tired)  
In any event, your request to contact Cumulus is a great one. However you failed to give info as to how best to contact them. Please post instructions in order for us to best reach those who can make a decision to do what you suggest.    
Steve Davidson   
See the info above, Steve ... and then let your fingers do the walking ... and the talking!  (kk)    

I see you’re trying to talk WLS into doing oldies. 
I grew up in Chicago, and listened to WJJD starting in 1956 and all the others.  WLS, and later the WLS / WCFL competition, were the highlight of the sixties, of course.  Being a writer, I’ve interviewed all the jocks I could find in 1982. WLS would have an unrivaled source of the most  unbelievable material from the 1960s.  It would be really unique if they played one a day.
Mike Callahan 
Both Sides Now  
It would be like NOTHING else on the radio today ... allowing the station to stand apart from ALL the others in town ... and all the while paying fitting homage to the legacy of this great, great station.  I'm telling you, it's a KILLER idea ... now how do we get folks to listen???  (kk)   

Hi Kent: 
What a station like WLS should do is just air the old unscoped airchecks of their stations! There are hundreds in circulation and Lord knows how many are not. If the archivists have more of these, that would be great Radio!  Just like it was in the 60’s, where all the great old jocks will be live again. Wouldn’t it be great to turn on WLS and hear Clark Weber, Art Roberts, Ron Riley, Larry Lujack, Dick Biondi, etc. I think so. 
Ken Freck  
A BIG part of the problem with radio today is that the people who are programming it ... and controlling what we hear ... have absolutely NO grasp of what has worked in the past ... in their minds, it's all from a bygone era and it's not the audience they're seeking.  Too bad ... THAT was the era that made radio the giant it was. (kk)

And, speaking of Clark Weber, check out his comment below to see where part of the disconnect is.  

Hi Kent; 
I enjoyed reading your plea for the return of "Entertaining Radio" in Chicago. One of the perks of being "An Old Coot" is that I remember radio in its "Heyday" and am well aware of what created it and more importantly what's killing it. We all recognize that one of the foundations of creating that "super" station is to convince Lending Institutions that even though the asking price is 10, 15 or 20 times earnings that the buyers can generate enough money to pay off the loan within a proper time frame and still make a profit. I can think of perhaps a half dozen or more of Chicago stations that are making good $'s today and the rest are floundering. 
The proposed new owners then decide what formats are still making money. Country, Urban, Spanish, Talk with the money demo's of 18/44 and 25/54. Your friendly Ford Store (and a host of other sponsors) are not interested in 50 plus even though that demo buys 48 percent of cars. The 60 plus demo is in most cases unsellable to radio sponsors even though those listeners (I prefer calling them customers) have the most disposable income of all who tune in to radio. 
Scott Shannon was a master of the "Oldies' format and his show skewed older and that's a tough sell and that's why it was dropped! My agency started selling the 55 plus demo back in 1996 and believe me radio stations can't make money with that demo. Truth be told many radio stations can't make money today regardless of what demo they are targeting. 
Last but certainly not least is to listen to the way radio station treat their sponsors. While listening to the BIG 89 a few weeks ago one of the commercial stop sets contained at least 7 and perhaps 8 or 9 30 second spots as I lost count! In that stop set were two car commercials back to back! Speaking as an ad agency, what the f*** can I possibly create that will make my clients commercial stand out in that hodge podge of spots. The listener is trained to tune out that segment of the program anyway because its merely commercial noise (Along with Looney traffic reports every 10 minutes that are read at 150 mph) waiting for the next song. By the way the station has also jacked up the rates so that 60 sec spots are so expensive on purpose. They can jam more 30 second spots in a stop set and they discourage 60's. After the commercial flight is over the client calls me and says radio doesn't work and he won't use it again. He's right and many agencies use other media that are just as or more effective then radio. 
Last week the Fort Myers Florida newspaper ran a story that the Lombardo family of Sanibel was upset that there was zero interest in their turning over all of the masters and arrangements of the famous Guy Lombardo band. Lombardo and his Royal Canadian's were one of the premium big bands of the 30's, 40's and 50's. The Lombardo's fail to realize that their Uncle's fan base is dead and the music is so dated that current generations don't care for it. That's the same fate that waits music of the 50's, 60's and 70's ... it's the fate of all once popular music.  Sorry!  
Some good points to be sure ... but that all still boils down to the people in charge not knowing how to USE radio to the best advantage.  (NOTHING will make a listener turn away faster than one of those six minute commercial blitzes you just talked about.  Radio was NEVER foolish enough to break the listeners' attention span for more than 30 seconds ... that's why so many of the jocks even did their own commercials!  Once you've switched over to something else, you might not come back!  Isn't that Radio 101???)
The argument has been made for years now that the audience is dying off that appreciate the music of the '50's, '60's and '70's and therefore this music is simply disappearing ... it's the "circle of life", radio-style.  These folks claim that THIS is the reason the music of the '20's, '30's and '40's became extinct ... simply a natural evolution. 
But I disagree.  
NO other music has ever captivated and endured the way rock and roll music has.  The other day we ran a list of at least fifty ads that are currently running using old rock songs in their campaign.  The music is prominently featured in movies and television, theme parks, advertising commercials, jukeboxes, reality show singing competitions and even six-year-old's birthday parties!  It's literally everywhere you turn.   
It's fun, feel-good music that sticks in your head ... and, as such, generations from now people will still be singing "Happy Together" and "Daydream Believer" and "Hound Dog".  (Do you REALLY think for a minute 30, 40 or 50 years from now folks will be walking around reciting some angry rap lyrics at breakneck speed?  It ain't gonna happen!!! They'll be far more likely to break into a chorus of "Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do"!!!) 
The music has proven itself to be timeless.  This wasn't the case with the sounds of the '20's, '30's and '40's ... it didn't endure ... it didn't "comeback" and start a nostalgic phase.  Heck, there must have been 20 Elvis Birthday Celebration Shows in Chicago alone this past week!!!  (Somebody made a comment yesterday that Rick Saucedo has now played Elvis longer than Elvis himself did!!!  And it very well may be true!!!)  And don't even get me started on all the 50th Anniversary Beatles Celebrations that are being put together over the next few weeks!!! 
There's never been anything else like it ... not for Bing ... not for Frank ... not for ANY of the big band leaders or killer vocalists that entertained our previous generations.
And this music continues to hold up against ANYTHING that has come out since.  No, not all of it ... without question, a good percentage feels "dated" and would sound grossly out of place on radio today ... but I'll betcha in a week's time I could come up with a "definitive play list" of about 6000 songs that STILL sound great on the radio, still spark a special memory and will still captivate an audience regardless of age group ... and not one of those songs would have to be newer than 1980.  Not to mention the fact that working from a list like that wouldn't require the non-stop repetitive repeats that are driving listeners away the way radio is today.  
Variety and personality have NOT gone out of style ... we're just stuck with a generation of "leaders" who don't understand it or know how to use it ... and that's a shame ... because THAT is what will spell the death of radio once and for all.  (kk)