When Jim and I first met he was the newly appointed Program Director of CKY in Winnipeg and ended up being the one responsible for most of my success. When he gave me the break of a lifetime by hiring me to be his National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting we had a great ride together and the best part of it all is … We ain’t done yet.The man needed to be thanked first though is Mark Parr whom I knew before I met Jim. It was Mark who actually got me started in radio by teaching me how to run the board one day out of the blue then drove management crazy until they hired me as a part time board op. Without out his persuading me to give running the board a shot I doubt very much that I would have had a radio career.
Before Jim had left CKY for Indianapolis he’d made me the Production Director so now that I also had the Music Director’s title George Dawes our midday jock (pictured) used both of my titles to get me an interview with some folks he knew at CKOM in Saskatoon where I soon became their new Program Director.
Becoming a PD was good news but the bad news was, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.
I’m told that a person is usually the answer and that person turned out to be Gary (Vidler) Russell who also ended up becoming a life long friend.(pictured with me) Without his help my whole radio career might have ended right then.
Here’s to Roger Klein who made me sound so smart in Sudbury Ottawa and Toronto where along with Keith Elshaw (photo) we created the first ever AC station.
Speaking of Toronto I can’t ever leave out Keith Dancy and Ted Rogers (pictured) who managed to lure me to Toronto from CFRA in Ottawa where ratings wise things were going real well.
They also had the balls to let me launch a brand new experimental format on CFTR which changed not only my whole life but probably a few others too including theirs.
When Jim Hilliard hired me to be his National PD I put my new format on KVIL in Dallas where Ron Chapman along with his Texas Hall Of Fame Staff took it to legendary status (Ron pictured with me after I inducted him into his third Radio Hall of Fame) Not only did the huge success of KVIL launch an entirely new career for me, it also allowed me my childhood dream of living in California to come true.
My first priority at Fairbanks though was WIBC/WNAP in Indy where I was back working with Chuck Riley and Gary Todd again whom I’d worked with in Winnipeg. We had an incredible line up there like Fred Heckman Lou Palmer Tom Cochran Bob Lamey Jerry Baker Buster Bodine and one of the most creative guys I ever worked with, Cris Conner who made my first few years in America a pleasure (Cris pictured with me at his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame)
I’ve gotta thank sales guru Dick Yancey (photo) who convinced me that if I could just figure out a way to creatively tie sales into all of our promotions, wonderful things like my first Mercedes would soon happen.
I’ll never forget the first time I met Jack McCoy which resulted in me getting to run a lot of his great promotions first. Jack was also my secret voice on many of them but most importantly he taught me the “math” of ratings and was kind enough to spread my name across America.(pictured with me on a magazine cover).
Here’s to my smarter than me brother Reg who managed to combine a few of our better promotions and figure a way to put them up on the internet which made him real well.
Ed and Tom Shadek who owned the stations also owned one in San Antonio where they allowed me and Reid to launch the first ever “CLASS FM”. KLLS soon became a big hit and before long Jim West had it on 40 stations and I thank God that we had a few talented guys like Cat Simon, Jason Williams, Bruce Buchanan, Al Gardner, Harry Nelson and of course my old buddy Bill Gardner who had been at KVIL for its birth and not only won personality of year in America during his tenure there but also helped us out in San Antonio. These guys thankfully not only totally understood the “Class” concept but were also able to hit the road quickly to launch a few others for us.Hey how big do you supposes those cajones on Toney Brooks are. (pictured) When I first met Toney he was running a chain of very successful rock stations all over the country for Sandusky but gave me two of them to put “Class FM” on. It turned out that Toney was right because KLSI in Kansas City and KLSY in Seattle went on to very big things under the great leadership of Steve Dinkel and Dana Horner.
After doing my taxes one year Roger shocked me the news that I had just became a millionaire. (Rog do you still have that Mill) In San Diego there was Jerry Perkins who kept the Feds off my back but it was Bill Yde though who talked me into buying Fairwest which led to our being able to purchase our own radio stations, what a mind boggling experience that was for a lad from Transcona.
I can’t ever thank my old buddy Bob Christy (pictured) enough for all his help and all the fun we’ve had while working together on a few projects both in Indy and Boston where he took the lead on our launching of WKLB, Boston’s first ever Country Station.
Hey Mark Hubbard (pictured) what a joy it was traveling with you for all the years you were running Fairmont which allowed me to work with good friend Jim Harper in Detroit.
Thank you for not only introducing me to an up and coming new talk show host by the name of Rush Limbaugh but also being smart enough to put him on the air in the “land of entitlement” against my better judgement.
(all pictured in Palm Springs along with me and Bobby Cole whom I once traveled the nation with back in the day when he was the V/P of Programming for Fairmont Communications) KZST became one of my first clients over 25 years ago and I’m very proud to say they still are today and I’m looking forward to seeing them all once again in a few weeks. Thank you for great radio and great fun guys. Hey I can’t leave out the folks who help me almost everyday like Matt Greeney and Rich Stevens. Matt is my favorite techie who actually taught me how to e mail which led me to start writing. Sorry that I put your name out there Matt, stand by for some angry responses. Hey Rich thanks for designing my Blog and also for fixing it when I screw it all up as I constantly do.
There are a lot of other people who have helped me along the way and they know who they are and hopefully they already know how thankful I am to them but this chapter is already longer than “War and Peace” so I’ve got to stop somewhere but I can’t stop without thanking the ladies in my life first, Lana in Winnipeg, Sharon in Toronto, Linda in Indy, Jamie in San Diego, Kari in West Palm Beach, and Laura in Miami. These women were responsible for making my journey so worthwhile not to mention very exciting, but that’s another story for another day. geo