Thursday, June 27, 2019


Hi Kent:
The lively art of radio-related conversation!  Some solid back-and-forth in your blog today.
You brought up this point: 
>>>I’m inclined to think that the fact that things ARE going well ought to buy you a little bit of leeway to experiment with a new idea every now and again … test the waters, so to speak, and just see what else might appeal to your listeners.  (kk) 
Things don’t work that way, I’ve learned over the years.  A station riding a crest of popularity is less likely to take risks than a station that isn’t.  It makes sense.  Because you’re doing well, you don’t want to do anything that might alter the course.  By its very nature, experimentation means adding risk, and a successful station isn’t going to do that, especially not in this hyper competitive climate.
Do you want a station to try something different?  Got an idea that pushes the envelope?  Make your suggestions to a station that’s not doing well.  A recent case in point is, well, my station, MeTVFM.
When Weigel Broadcasting took over the programming of 87.7 WGWG in 2015, the station was barely registering in the ratings.  It had less than a 1.0 share at the time Weigel introduced the MeTVFM format.  Weigel essentially was able to start out with a blank slate and the benefit of having nowhere to go but up — a much less risk-averse scenario than you usually encounter today in radio.  Weigel had a lot less to lose, going with something that hadn’t been tried before.
And, if you go back to the ‘70s, think of the last few years of the epic AM battle between WLS and WCFL.  In the middle 1970s, WLS Musicradio had become the clear Top 40 leader in town.  And, by 1975, Super ‘CFL was really scuffling.  That’s when WCFL started doing some things that visitors to Forgotten Hits often talk about in very positive terms:  playing album versions of songs and expanding the playlist, for example.  At the same time, they launched the “Super ‘CFL Change Line,” and started actively soliciting suggestions from their listener base.  While this was going on, WLS hunkered down and stayed the course, continuing to play nothing but the hits.
The lesson here is that the market leader is much less likely to try something different.  They have too much to lose.

Repeating songs over and over has always been a complaint.
Back in the day, I was told it was to maintain what ratings called 1/4 hr shares. How many people listen for 15 minutes. If you bought that concept, then the reasoning was the listener would want to hear the biggest song within that 15 minute listening period, so repeat the biggest songs over and over.
Then audience “research“ showed that some songs, even if they were hits, “didn’t test well,” so they were dropped.
These days I think it’s fear of taking chances that prevails a lot of music radio. Plus, with consolidation, there aren’t management types who have time to figure it out because they are in charge of multiple stations and don’t have the time or resources to do so.
As far as streaming goes, it’s my view that when stations figure out how to make money doing it, they’ll all be streaming.
One other thing ...
I would love to get back on the radio and play this music but so far no takers.
Keep up the good work.
John Records Landecker

It’s an absolute crime that a talent like John Records Landecker is off the air.  Here’s a guy who could be entertaining the crap out of people every morning (and Lord knows that people of a certain age can use all the crap-inducement possible in the morning!!!)
There must be SOMEBODY out there that would KILL to have this kind of talent on their station.  (Talk about turning things around!)
Believe me, we’ve mentioned it to several people … but in this day and age of more and more automation and jock-less programming (no chafing jokes please!), it just doesn’t seem to be the norm anymore.
Sure, you could voicetrack an entire week of programming from Indiana and beam it to whatever city(cities) willing to participate … but it still wouldn’t be the same.  What made The John Landecker Show work was the interaction between disc jockey and listener … they spurred each other on, creating an entertainment that all bystanders could listen to and enjoy.  You just don’t hear that in radio anymore today … and it’s a shame.  The “personality” radio that we all grew up with and responded to is gone … and it’s a medium that should have never become extinct.  The finely-tuned craft of spontaneity and interacting with your listeners have been replaced by, for all intents and purposes, a computer that can give the time and temp four times per hour … and not much more.
Maybe people don’t listen to the radio as much anymore because radio just isn’t the radio anymore.  (kk)

Reading the various opinions on programming got me to thinking about MY preference.
As a retired psychologist, I know that people are generally drawn to the familiar but, especially in this fast-paced technological world, they are also easily bored with repetition.
My idea for an oldies / classic rock station would be one that DOES NOT PLAY any songs that made the top 10 and focused on the songs that we are all familiar with but do not often hear.
I, for one, would much rather hear Turn Down Day than Red Rubber Ball, Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne rather than Brandy, and It’s Up To You, Petula rather than Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes.
How many times do you hear a not-often-played song come on and reach down to turn up the volume? And, conversely, how often do you find yourself feeling down because you haven’t heard Rocket Man enough?
Wouldn’t it be nice to listen to the radio and wonder “What will they play next”?
Is anybody out there listening?
Bob Verbos

In one of our previous discussions somebody suggested that the PERFECT playlist for Me-TV-FM would be “only songs that the other stations don’t play.”  If that doesn’t indicate in some fashion that listeners are tired of the same old, same old, day in and day out, I don’t know what does.
Of course, that wouldn’t work either … as it would be a pretty limited audience tuning in.  But the perfect balance between the two … the songs you HAVE to play balanced out by the songs you WANT to play (with good justification) creates the perfect blend.  Me-TV-FM does, to the best of its ability, program that balance … plenty of WOW songs to go along with the tried and true.  (Unfortunately there are still too many WTF songs brought into the mix, too.
Seriously, is there REALLY anybody out there that EVER wants to hear “The Gingerbread Man” again?!?!  Or The Carpenters’ album version of “Jambalaya” when it was The Blue Ridge Rangers’ hit single version that made Chicago’s Top 5?  How many Joni Mitchell or Gordon Lightfoot album cuts is the “average listener” going to recognize?)
It just takes away airplay that COULD be used to play songs that the audience actually will respond to … in a POSITIVE way, I mean!)  lol  (kk)

Hi Kent -
Your Forgotten Hits site is a daily destination for me these last ten years or more. I really enjoy reading what news the classic artists bring to the blog, but especially enjoy your passion for radio, and for the expansion of playlists on "oldies" or "classic hits" stations. I feel like a few stations in our area have heard you.
Here in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, we are absolutely spoiled by adventurous, beyond-the-normal  programming you'd not expect to find on terrestrial radio ... especially on the AM band!  These stations also stream online, so they are accessible to all.
WDGY, for example, plays 60's and 70's music … familiar and lesser known hits, with new ones constantly being added to the rotation (I’ve heard Glen Campbell's "Sunflower," The Mojo Men's "Sit Down, I Like I Love You" and Poco's "Indian Summer" for first time recently.)  They play classic PAMS-style jingles, too.
KRFO offers a similar format … and lots of "oh wow!" moments.
WXYG harkens back to the underground FM days of album / progressive rock in a free-form style.
KUOM is the University of Minnesota's student-run station and plays mostly current college rock, much of which is more tuneful (and listenable) than you'd think!
KYMN plays album rock by artists you may have heard of, but not heard ... think Austin City Limits-type music, with a nice sprinkle of better known artist album tracks and you're close.
Best part ... I can pick up most of these stations in our 72 Gremlin with push-button AM radio! Now that's livin'!
- Mike Lane

Hi, Kent –
Having been a Broadcast-Band "DX nut" since 1963, I've listened to hundreds of AM stations (after dark), for the QSL cards and for the thrill of hearing radio stations up to thousands of miles away, even if only for the few minutes when the "skip" conditions are just right.
One incident comes to mind when, back in the 80s, I was listening to a weak signal on 1440 KHz around midnight that was playing a very rare 45, "You're the Apple of My Eye" by The Four Lovers on RCA (1956).
I'd never heard it on radio before.  At first, I thought I was hearing WROK in Rockford, IL, but they're a daytime station. It turned out to be WJJL in Niagara Falls, NY, running about 50 watts nighttime power.  I called the station and chatted with the DJ, who was a college student. When I told him that the group would later become the Four Seasons, he was astounded.   Never know what you'll find out there.
I've heard a LOT of really great AM outlets in the US and Canada, and when it comes to fulfilling the needs of lots of folks, having varying tastes in "oldies" material, the station that always comes to my mind is "Zoomer Radio" CZMR, at 740 KHz in Toronto (it was CBL many years ago), a 50-KW monster that covers the midwest and much of North America in the evenings.
Their schedule, at:, is filled with oldies programs to fit almost any taste, and they even run  old-time radio shows.  They'll surprise us with a super-rare piece on occasion, too.  Their signal fades a bit, but with a good receiver, especially a car radio, it's a great getaway.
P.S.  I've attached a short audio clip that answers the question that this blog has always asked ...  (by the great Sarah Vaughan and written by the just as great Stan Freberg)


By the way, I just received this from a friend of mine.  Perfect timing!  Great reading for music lovers. 
When it appears, click on "continue without subscribing."

Hi Kent:
Just take everything Commercial Radio has done for the last 40+ years and do the opposite. That should help fix things.
Or you could have a station that just played unscoped aircheck tapes! AM before 1972 and FM before 1976.
I’ve been encouraging JR Russ, who runs the website, to include more airchecks from ‘CFL during their hey-day.  It’d be cool to hear clips of Lujack and all of the other jocks sprinkled throughout the day … along with their Big 10 Countdowns, the Chickenman spots he’s currently airing, and all the music from the ‘CFL Era.  I’m sure the readers of Forgotten Hits could come up with all kinds of vintage tapes we could use.  (Isn’t it weird to think that the next new thing could be something that’s really 50-something years old?!?!)
Hey, we loved it … and I’ll betcha those folks that were there would love hearing this stuff again, too.  Now we just need to find a way to finance the whole thing … and draw new listeners in! (kk)

>>>On November 14th The Drifters, The Platters and The Coasters are appearing at The Genesee Theatre.  (Now that’s kind of an unusual line-up for this venue … hopefully we can help to get the word out as there certainly is an audience for this music … although I can’t imagine that there’s a single original member left between the three of them!)  kk
Hi Kent,
As far as the Coasters, the Platters and the Drifters go, there is only one original member left: Charlie Thomas of the Drifters. If the group doesn’t include him (and it will say so if it does), it’s bogus. The Coasters and the Platters are both bogus groups with no original members.
I wish promoters would be honest and divulge the names of all the members of all groups and state whether they are original members or not. If they’re not, they should state which groups they’ve played with.
That’s being open and honest.
What do you think?
Bowzer got the “Truth In Music” Act passed in most of the States YEARS ago … yet we still see this sort of thing all the time.
I don’t see Charlie Thomas’ name listed anywhere in the advertisement …
However it DOES refer to The Coasters as “Cornell Gunter’s Coasters.”

As such, I found this to be especially interesting:

From Wikipedia … 
Cornell Gunter was an American rhythm and blues singer, most active in the 1950s and 1960s. He was born in Coffeyville, Kansas, and died in Las Vegas, Nevada, after being shot in his automobile. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 as a member of The Coasters. 

The bio goes on to say that Gunter recorded with The Platters BEFORE they had changed their name to The Platters … and was not an original member of The Coasters but joined in 1958 to replace Bobby Nunn and Leon Hughes.

Not quite sure exactly how Cornell would still be involved if he died in 1990 … but that’s showbiz!
For that matter, Charlie Thomas was NOT an original member of The Drifters … but WAS around during all their biggest hit making years when they crossed over to the pop charts, beginning in 1959 when  he joined the group (technically coming from The Five Crowns, who were rechristened The Drifters after the original group broke up.)  According to Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles book, the new group consisted of Thomas, Ben E. King, Doc Green and Elsbeary Hobbs.  (For the record, the original Drifters scored eleven Top 10 R&B Hits between 1953 and 1955.
None of those original members … Clyde McPhatter, Gerhart Thrasher, Andrew Thrasher, Bill Pinkney … were part of the reformed group that crossed over in such a big way to the pop charts.)  The “new” Drifters, led by the vocals of Ben E. King, had sixteen Billboard Top 40 Pop Hits between 1959 (“There Goes My Baby,” #2), and 1964 (“Saturday Night At The Movies,” #18.)  One of those (“Save The Last Dance For Me”) went all the way to #1 in 1960.
Fans purchasing tickets have a right to know just who it is they’re going to see.  (Any member of The Platters, The Drifters or The Coasters, if still alive, would be well into their 80’s at this point in time … but it would appear that all key members are now deceased … so just who is carrying on the tradition?  And shouldn’t it be billed as a “Tribute To” these artists, rather than the artists themselves?
I’m all for keeping this great music alive … it’s or main motivation here and has been for twenty years … but be honest with the public … because they’re spending good money to see something that hasn’t accurately and honestly been represented.
(As covered numerous times here before, with SO many of our original heroes having moved on, it’s virtually impossible these days to present much more than “A Tribute To …” whomever.  Either that or we’re doomed to endure nothing but Hologram Tours from this point forward if we want to truly see the “original artist.”  At that point I think I’d rather watch the real deal on YouTube videos!!!)

Promoters themselves help to fuel this fire … after running the recent plug for The Happy Together Tour, I shot over to the Paradise Artists website to see what they had to say about it and if there were any reviews posted.

While there, I found their radio promotion ad … 
...which makes NO mention of the fact that Howard Kaylan, the lead singer for The Turtles and the guy who sang all the hits, will not be touring again this year and that the lead vocals will be handled instead by Ron Dante (of The Archies)

They also use the hit versions of the songs recorded by The Buckinghams (which featured Dennis Tufano on lead vocals) and The Classics IV (which feature Dennis Yost’s lead vocals, despite the fact that Yost passed away eleven years ago.)
It would seem to me that, at the very least, they should feature newly recorded song clips by the actual artists who'll be performing on stage to use in their ad that would better represent the artists actually singing with the band.  (Carl Giammarese has been the lead singer of The Buckinghams for over thirty years now … HIS voice should be the one featured in the advertisement, rather than misleading listeners to believe that Dennis might be there for this show … because he won’t.)  Same with The Turtles and The Archies.
Thankfully, Gary Puckett, Chuck Negron and the remaining Cowsills are all the real deal.
Don’t get me wrong … it’s a GREAT show … and you’ll have a GREAT time seeing it.  I just don’t think they should be advertising the groups’ previous singers (Kaylan, Tufano and Yost) to lure fans in.  (kk) 

kk …
Regarding THE DRIFTERS … Charlie Thomas and the Drifters are a good group. I saw them at one of those outdoor concerts.  Charlie is in his 80's and still sounds good. Charlie Thomas was a member of 1959 - 1966 Drifters and recorded with the group.
Regarding THE PLATTERS = Sonny Turner and the Platters is Okay. Sonny Turner replaced original lead singer Tony Williams in 1960. Sonny sang lead on these Platters Billboard Hits – 1966: "I Love You 1000 Times" and "With This Ring" and “Washed Ashore," both from 1967.
As for THE COASTERS, there are no original members still around. Original Lead singer Carl Gardner's son, Carl Jr., leads a Coasters group.
Frank B.  
There is NO mention of Charlie Thomas, Sonny Turner OR Carl Gardner, Jr. in the advertisement for this concert.  The ONLY name singled out is Cornell Gunter, who died in 1990 … so I don’t think he’ll be up there on stage singing “Charlie Brown” at The Genesee Theatre.
So to quote Butch and Sundance, "Who are these guys?!?!?"  (kk)

Some great memories of that M-OKY concert, I agree.  Hard to believe that there was so little coverage.
So Barry was no longer with The Royal Guardsmen when their first non-Snoopy BIG hit (“Baby, Let’s Wait”) was yet to come, even ‘tho Barry sang and recorded it with them in 1966???
And how could all of these acts not fill a bus from Sheboygan???
Clark Besch

Check out the set list that the Monkees did that day ... It’s like a concert in itself without the others!!!

Hey Kent -
I noticed that you posted something on Forgotten Hits about a concert we did at Milwaukee County Stadium.  I think it was 1969.  I somehow missed the request for information from the various groups that played.  For this I sincerely apologize.
We were fortunate to be on the bill at that venue, along with at least a dozen top acts of the day.  If I remember correctly, it was rainy and wet, and yet there was still crowd of over 20,000 people that came to watch this show.
From what I remember, it was incredibly well organized, especially the stage. 
The stage was in two parts and revolved.  This way, the group that was playing was obviously facing the audience while at the same time, on the other side of the stage, the next group was being set up so that they would be ready to go for the next performance.  When the first group was finished, the stage would revolve and the next group was on!
As I recall, they miked the drums and the amps and had four stage mic's for the singers.  We normally used six mic's but we adapted to this by having Hooke sing on Jim Fair's mic when he needed to do backgrounds.
We went on right after The Bob Seger System.  Bob played the drums and sang the lead.  They sounded fantastic.  I don't know if Glenn Frey was with them at that time ... I didn't notice. 
I got to talk with Bob for a few minutes before they went on.  He was a really nice guy and a great drummer.  When they were done, the stage revolved and then we were on.
I truly don't remember how it sounded, but we were extremely well received.  And I remember seeing an enormous crowd sitting and standing in the rain.
The concert lasted for quite a few hours.  The groups came and went and not everybody was around when we went on.  If I remember correctly, besides Bob Seger, Tommy James and the Shondells were there and they also sounded great.
The dressing room was just a huge open area where everyone could gather.  This is where we met the Monkees.  PeterTork was extremely friendly and very affable.  Mickey Dolenz went out of his way to introduce himself and to make sure everybody was very, very comfortable.  Davy Jones was a little more quiet, but still friendly.  They in no way embodied a star attitude.  It was just like they were long lost friends.
The Monkees went on last.  They had a band of studio musicians with them and my recollection is, they sounded great.  I will always remember how welcoming they were.
Hey, one other thing. 
I noticed that you listed some shows that are coming up at the Genesee Theatre and you mentioned Three Dog Night.
I know that they're not the Three Dog Night that we all know and love, but one of the new singers is a guy named Dave Morgan.  Dave was an original member of The Travelers.  He was at the audition when I was hired to be the lead singer.  He was a great keyboard player at that time.  He still is and he's a super guy.  If you have a chance to see them, make sure you go backstage and give Dave my very best.
I am sorry that I was not able to get this to you when you were doing your publishing.
Tom Doody
The Cryan' Shames

>>>Today you mentioned Fanny as being the first all female rock band when Goldie and the Gingerbreads, fronted by Genya Raven preceded them by a number of years. (Jack)
>>>I will admit to never having heard of Goldie and the Gingerbreads … (who?!?!) … so that’s technically not a mistake … just ignorance on my part (if, in fact, it's true ... they never charted so exactly who knew about them?  And what year would that have been?)  kk
Here's an all-female hitmaking band which clearly predates both Fanny and Goldie & the Gingerbreads:  Ina Ray Hutton & her Melodears.  Decades before The Grateful Dead started "Truckin'" and Creedence Clearwater Revival checked out "Suzy Q," Ina Ray and her girls were already there -- swingin' against the tide of all-male big bands.   Born Odessa Cowan in Chicago, Ina Ray -- who died in 1984 at the age of 67 -- could truly sing and dance up a storm -- in the late 1930s!  How old was Ina Ray when she recorded "Truckin''?  22. 
Gary Theroux
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll" 

Harvey Kubernik has written another excellent piece, this time on the 60th Anniversary of Motown Records. 
Too big to publish here … but if you’d like me to forward you a copy, drop me an email and I’ll send it along.  (kk)

I enjoyed seeing your Top Instrumentals lists again. 

Got this from Jim Farber ... "Who Needs Lyrics."

While purely instrumental songs can be a hard sell in the pop world, some have managed to break through.

Here are some of the best:

        1 - "TEQUILA" - The Champs (1958) = A Mexican-tinged rocker highlighted by a horny sax solo.

        2 - "ALBATROSS" - Fleetwood Mac (1968) = This dreamy guitar cascade bridged British blues and Hawaiian music.

        3 - "CLASSICAL GAS" - Mason Williams (1968) = An ideal nexus of fine acoustic guitar fingering and vigorous strings.

        4 - "GRAZING IN THE GRASS" - Hugh Masekela (1968) =  Featuring one of pop's coolest trumpet hooks.

        5 - "TIME IS TIGHT" - Booker T & the MGs (1969) = Stax Records' smoothest brand of soul.

        6 - "HAWAII FIVE-O THEME" -  The Ventures (1969) = Music that's as dynamic as a wipeout wave.

        7 - "SCORPIO" - Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar Band (1971) = Latin funk meets Detroit rock.

        8 - "LOVE'S THEME" - Love Unlimited Orchestra (1973) = Disco at its most sumptuous by Barry White's 40 piece orchestra.

        9 - "FRANKENSTEIN" - Edgar Winter Group (1973) = A synth-funk riff as monstrous as metal.

      10 - "HOCUS POCUS" - Focus (1973) = The only art rock hit to feature yodeling.

      11- "DUELING BANJOS" - Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell (1973) = The fingerpicking bluegrass classic from "Deliverance.

      12 - "PICK UP THE PIECES" - Average White Band (1974) = Funky stuff --- from Scotland.

      13 - "TSOP" - MFSB (1974) = Even without a vocal, this track nailed Philly-soul.

      14 - "CHARIOTS OF FIRE" - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1981) = The dignified synth-driven theme from Vangelis.

      15 - "HARLEM SHAKE" - Baauer (2013) = Trap music gave this century its own instrumental hit.

Check out #14 --- The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, before they found Elvis, Roy Orbison, Aretha, the Beach Boys, etc.


We’ve always referred to Instrumental Hits as simply “Too Good For Words” … although (as we have also learned through the years) vocal versions DO exist for the great majority of these songs.
I’ve gotta tell you that it’s REALLY weird not to see two of the songs that scored the highest in our Readers Poll a few year’s back … Percy Faith’s “Theme from ‘A Summer Place’” and Santo and Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” are nowhere to be found on Jim Farber’s list.  (I’ve got about 35,000 people who would disagree with THAT assessment!)  kk

Sad to hear that Terri Hemmert is stepping down as mid-day host on WXRT.  She has been a fixture at the station for the past 45 years, probably the one person most immediately identified whenever ‘XRT is mentioned.
Although if you read Robert Feder’s column, it sounds like she’ll still be around quite a bit … just not doing her regular Monday thru Friday gig.  (Even Terri says “How can you miss me if I won’t go away!”  lol)
Terri was also a regular host at most of the Fest For Beatles Fans held here in Chicago (also approaching 45 years here in Chicago … this August’s Fest will be the 43rd edition!)

More on Terri here: 

Chuck Buell here expressing disappointment that the Kotal’s Trip to Breckenridge, Colorado did not happen!
>>>Our plans to go to Colorado this past weekend to see Paige in her starring role in “The Taming Of The Shrew” at the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre fell thru.  (kk)
Special Colorado Courtesies had been put in place to welcome any car bearing THIS License Plate!

Actually, if anyone deserves a Special Colorado Plate, it would be the local ‘Star of the Rockies!’

Congratulations to Paige for her Excellent Reviews in “Shrew!”
CB (which stands for “Colorado Boy!”)
Trust me, nobody is more disappointed in our not being able to attend than we are.  (Would have been really cool to meet up with you there, too!)  Just couldn’t get all of the planets to align for this one.  (She loved the license plate, btw!  Says she already wants to move there!)
Thanks, Chuck!  (kk)

>>>Facebook has decided to block images of Led Zeppelin’s “Houses Of The Holy” album cover for what they described as "child nudity"  (kk) 
Will the cover of Nirvana's first album be next?
Randy Price

God, I hope so … I can’t even imagine the number of cases of Penis Envy THAT album cover has inspired!!!  (kk)