Today at 6:48 AM
June 15, 2015
Claude’s Commentary No. 68
By Claude Hall
The seasons come and the seasons go and we linger on a while, each day precious as we attempt to achieve just a little more. Seeking every last shade of glory that’s due. Some seek money as a form of glory. Some seek naught but fame. But the mountain is never high enough. We stare at it with delight. Ah, another boulder to toss out of the way as we struggle for the rarified air of success. Thank god, God put the mountain there! Something to do. The mere pursuit.
I never got there. The mountain kept moving on me. I longed to achieve success as a writer. Live in a bungalow on an island in the Caribbean. Write on the verandah, looking out to the sea and distance dreams.
Instead, I write on a laptop facing a television set for white noise. Not my dream, but okay. I suppose. Where has my mountain gone?
Anyway, you can’t get even here from Brady, TX. Or Winters. Too far. Wherever here is. I’m reminded of “Das Schloss.” It’s confusing sometimes.
A friend sent me a trial subscription to Billboard. But it is not the Billboard that I knew. It is not my Billboard. I’m grateful to the friend, though, for this look see. Basically, the Billboard of today is indicative of what’s happening in music, in radio, in all of the fluctuating cultures that exist today. The world is a flood of questions, with more than likely a different answer for each question. And no one really knows the answers … or not enough answers. Or you proffer a suitable answer and meanwhile the question has changed.
I enjoy doing Commentary. Love the emails. Some of the history that reaches me is fascinating. I was very fortunate to get the job with Billboard. My Billboard that existed in the 60s and 70s. The time and the place were absolutely perfect for me at the time. Billboard fit. I fit. Now, Commentary seems to fit. And I’m grateful for that. At the moment. My mountain.
However, it’s time for you guys to get your blogs teamed up with the new Vox Jox. The address is email@example.com. A couple of people have already got in gear. I plan to notify everyone when Vox Jox takes over. You’ll find Claude’s Commentary there. Should be fun!
Jay Lawrence: “I want to join the accolades for Ken Draper. He was the most creative program director for whom I ever worked. I was one of the KYW Cleveland crew that he tried to keep under control. It was a wild time, a Beatle time. I recall Dick Orkin spending an hour on the phone with me trying to convince me to come to Chicago with Stag, Runion, and my closest friend in life Jerry G. What would my life be like if I had accepted? I guess I'll never know. I just emailed Ken thanking him for the time I didn't have when he tried to get me to come to Davenport and the wonderful years I did have at KYW.”
Dave Anthony, www.DaveAnthony.us: “Here’s a fast Bill Drake story for you, oh master of the radio pen. In 1992 as PD, we split the simulcast of KSFO & KYA in San Francisco. In ’93, I wanted to streamline the feel of KYA so we tracked down Bill Drake. We found him living in a motel, hired him to work with us. For those who knew the man, this should be familiar – he wouldn’t attend a staff meeting, wouldn’t talk with the GM or the chief engineer about anything; heck, he wouldn’t step foot into the radio station even after hours. The closest I could get him was the parking lot. We had strategy meetings in restaurants and upscale drinking establishments. But it worked. Oldies formatted KYA-FM became ‘93 KYA’ in 1993 and ‘94, complete with Johnny Mann jingles, Lee Baby on middays, and other air talent who could deliver the sound. I don’t know whether this was Bill’s last consulting gig or not but I appreciated my time working with him one on one.”
Neville Johnson is seeking information, pro or con, about Dave Diamond. He’s a huge Diamond fan. As am I. So, if you knew Diamond going back to KHJ or pre-KHJ days, please drop him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be grateful.
“Hi, Claude! Nancy Plum here (formerly of KGBS, TEN Q, KMPC, KFI, Star 98, KLAC, WSB Atlanta and now WKYW in Frankfort, KY!). I thought I was done with radio when I found myself doing a traffic report or newscast in Lexington, KY, for minimum wage two years ago! That was a sad moment and I decided to just be done with it. Around September 2013 a girlfriend was sitting on the beach in Cancun with another girlfriend discussing their sons and one of them said ‘my son is running some radio stations over in Frankfort’ and my friend replied ‘Oh, I have a friend who used to be in radio’ and then the other lady said ‘Well she should contact my son because he is looking for announcers!’ I swear that's the way it went down. I got this email from my friend who said I should call this guy JC Burton at Cap City Radio. I sent him an email and an hour later he called me. Seems there's a demand for LA talent in KY! Ha ha! I was offered a little three-hour shift for little money playing oldies. Perfect! I have another business on the side and wanted more time for that but hey I could still play music! In the last month I became program director of Passport Radio AM/FM Frankfort, KY, as we acquired a local FM to simulcast our ‘Vintage and Eclectic’ format. We play over 2000 songs from the 50s, 60s & 70s and we have a phone app and we stream worldwide on www.mypassportradio.com. Check it out! The Plum rides again! Probably into the sunset -- moral is never say never. I'm having a blast everyday with my little show and making a bit more moola now that I'm PD. I am working on my short stories about my radio adventures but they are on hold temporarily as I just bought a house here in Frankfort and am busy moving from Lexington to the new place. Life is wonderful! And, yes, I'm still single!”
Great on you, Nancy. Pleased to hear from you and happy about your job.
Frank Boyle: “RE: Allen Shaw -- I was privileged to do a couple of deals with Allen. Great guy -- superb Broadcaster -- Southern Gentleman. Has built Centennial Broadcasting Holdings (Radio Group) over the years in Southeast.”
Steve Tyrell sends a uTube link to a tribute to the late musician Lew Soloff. Nice to be remembered. Class, Steve!
I’d mentioned Marshall McLuhan and Kenneth Burke in a note to the Three Mesquiteers Minus One, i.e. Woody Roberts and Dr. Bob.
Bob Weisbuch: “Hey, Claude, did I ever tell you Kenneth Burke is my hero? Finally met him -- without reading him might never have gotten so deep into lit. Speaking of which, Woody, name a few scifi short story collections and I will read the suckers. Editing, editing cutting last third of book on Lee Baby Simms into 25pp. Guys. New book ‘Hey Kemosabe’ by Dan Ingram's son Chris. Fun read though the statement that it is partly fictional takes away a bit of pleasure. But Chris is a fine writer. Your pal in Jersey.”
I’ve just received a cute booklet from Mel Phillips titled “From the Mailroom to the Majors.” It’s sort of a condensed version of his radio career and interesting to me because of the names mentioned. Walt “Baby” Love? He was at WNBC at the time. Later, Walt joined R&R magazine. Then, I believe he became a minister. He’s out there somewhere. As for Mel, he started in the mailroom at ABC and mentions Herb Oscar Anderson, Sam Holman, Dan Ingram … you name them. Fascinating book, Mel. If anyone would like a copy, checkout Amazon.com. Or I’m willing to connect you with Mel.
Frank Jolley: “Claude, today is the One Year Anniversary of the www.rockhouse.mobi (mobile website) .MOBI signature online. Today Marks the birth of www.kkdj.net. Opening day has over 488K rockhouse listeners in over 70 countries and opening day also has Jimmy Rabbitt, John R, Frank Jolley and Moli. Right now Jimi Hendrix is playing ‘Rock Me Baby!’ Give us a listen to the Billboard we've compiled from the R & R era. I think Jerry, Drake, Stewart and Gorden would approve, hope you do too.”
Devon Wendell: “I'm am really enjoying the blog. It's that time a year in which I do an interview prior to my coverage of The Playboy Jazz Festival which I dread with every fiber of my being. If only there were more than 3 or 4 jazz acts and if only the LA Phil respected the press. Well, at least I got to interview Wayne Shorter which makes it worthwhile.”
“Here's my remembrance of the late great Ornette Coleman.”
Lee Gordon in West Hartford, CT, www.leegordonproductions.com: On Saturday, June 27, 2015, we will commemorate the 40th anniversary of ‘the day the music died’ at WPOP. Let's get together at the Mattabessett Canoe Club http://mattabesettcanoeclub.com/ (a/k/a Harbor Park) in Middletown, CT, starting at around 1 PM and continuing until we all run out of gas (history suggests that could be around 6 or 7, possibly later). As in past get-togethers, there will be no speeches or presentations, no special programming, no admission fee (unless the restaurant decides to charge one) and no food and drink provided. If you want to eat or drink, just order and pay for it just like any regular restaurant/bar customer, because that's what we are. However, this is important: since we are not paying for the use of the facility, we can't prevent them from serving their other restaurant customers. If any of us are sitting at a table long after we have finished a meal or are nursing a drink and they say they need the table to seat other diners, please relinquish it. Believe it or not, restaurants mainly make their money from the food, not from the bar, despite what you may pay for your beverage. If you're on this mailing list, you either worked there or know someone who did, or have been a member of the media in Hartford or elsewhere. So you're invited. And feel free to spread the word.
Burt Sherwood sends this “American Pie” link:
Woody Roberts sent this business of music, 2015:
May the Good be upon thee!