Back in the day when the FCC required all radio stations to broadcast a certain amount of news each week, you had to get creative. In ’73, when we launched America’s first AC station on KVIL in Dallas, everything else had to be entertaining.
The other things that counted as news content other than our regular news were weathercasts, sports, traffic reports, and stock market tips.
Our news was done by future Hall Of Famers Andy McCollum and Bob Morrison. For weather, we got color radar. The radar enabled Chapman, Gardner, Schell, Selden, and Major Tom to do block by block coverage of a storm as it passed through Dallas.
The sports was done by Wes Wise, who was the Mayor of Dallas at the time, which, to say the least, was very controversial, and for our traffic reports, we put the highly entertaining Suzie Humphrey in a chopper.
Now comes the hard part, how the hell do you make stock reports entertaining? I was taught early on in my career by Jim Hilliard that a person is always the answer. So with that in mind, we went out and got a stockbroker by the name of Billy Bob Harris. (see on top) What a character, when he called in each morning to Ron Chapman’s show on his two-way, he claimed he was driving from Ft. Worth to his Dallas office in his beat-up old pickup truck. The reports were hilarious, but knowing Billy Bob as I do, he was probably doing them from the back seat of a Bentley with a driver.
Billy Bob and I have stayed in touch over the years, and the other day he was telling me about a conversation he had with his neighbor, Lara Burnside, who is the Administrator of John Peter Smith Hospital. Lara said that they had 7200 employees at JPS who were all putting their lives on the line 24/7 of every day, and she no way of communicating to them how much they were appreciated.
After thinking about it for a few days, Billy Bob got his friends, Larry Gatlin (pictured on top) of the Gatlin Brothers to do a special message for the staff at JPS, and Bill Melody of the Righteous Brothers (also pictured above) to do one for the 50,000 employees of Baylor Scott & White.
To see and hear what the staff saw, click on the links below. However, be warned, you may need a tissue for the Righteous Brothers.
THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS
Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs, or to see some that you may have missed, go to Geo’s Media Blog @ GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.