#6 Guitars Radio & Wild Wild Women. (Thank You) Chapter LVIII (Thanksgiving/15)

The Writing of my book “Guitars Radio & Wild Wild Women” has stirred up a lot of old radio memories but what I remember most are the moments when some very special people who changed my life so this next to last chapter is dedicated to them with much love.
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My biggest benefactor was Jim Hilliard pictured here with me at the CKY Christmas party along with Barbara, Jack Wells, Flicka and Lana.
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.

63503_10151827117384307_192927957_nThe 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.

11830877_10154065896314307_613367014_n11801904_10154067422824307_1939011784_nNext up is Daryl (“B”) and Chuck Riley (pictured) because Chuck taught me how to do great production and Daryl talked management into giving me the Music Director’s title when he left for Vancouver.

11781601_10154048231124307_9067135727541813866_nBefore 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.
67943_10151829946124307_1870727631_nBecoming 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.

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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.

190783_135273026543977_197894_nSpeaking 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.

320086_10151827089544307_580782341_n1When 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.

1453302_10153297953614307_8840166964075773340_nMy 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)

10373492_10153384414099307_5927178104755756993_nI’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.

581109_10151918938284307_880147102_n2Thank you attorney John King (photo) for getting our promotions past the FCC so well that when Dick Yancey syndicated “The Magic Ticket” it was stamped … FCC approved!

67590_10151827053899307_1043893693_nHow could I forget Norm Wilkens and his gifted artist Lotsy who created so many of our award winning billboards.(Billboard of the year)

10888560_10153433858284307_5479790178253898376_nI’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).
1924268_1071944722915_1700_nHere’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.
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When KVIL exploded I became a consultant and met Reid Reker (pictured) who was the operations manager of KOGO/KPRI which was my first client.
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.
10400331_1087704719644_4721943_nHey 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.

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Accountants were a bigger part of my life than I realized and Cindy Adair along with Ric Hindes (pictured) covered my financial ass more than a few times but before him came Roger Snowdon.
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.

1391957_10152288632444307_1679316170_nI 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.

10176231_10152811775364307_6925602966885010106_n 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.

969933_10151896021274307_2005995881_nTim Reever (pictured with me) taught me not only how to be fast but he also showed me how you can take events to a whole new level while still having fun and telling stories.

305959_10151825017259307_1307603411_n2I can’t forget my favorite lawyer Betsy Cameron who not only got me involved with all of Joe Amaturo’s stations but also got me into my beautiful condo in West Palm Beach.

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I better wrap this up before I begin weeping but first I must raise my glass of a fine Sonoma County red to the folks in Santa Rosa, Gordon Zlot, Tom Skinner, and Brent Farris.
(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
 

 

 

34 thoughts on “#6 Guitars Radio & Wild Wild Women. (Thank You) Chapter LVIII (Thanksgiving/15)

    • Thank you Ron, but I don’t think there was much head room for you to get any better. On my side of it though I never had as much fun in radio as I did while working with you at KVIL. My favorite Ron Chapman moment though didn’t occur at KVIL it happened in Santa Rosa where we were doing an aircheck session with Brent Farris of KZST. Brent who was used to my soft approach was startled to hear you saying immediately following his opening line on the tape … “That’s Absolutely unfucking unacceptable”, the session went slightly downhill from there. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for a lot of memorable years Ron.

  1. All I did was show you where the “Send” button was … You taught me to never say “No” … I did, however, learn to say “Know” .. as in “I know a solution to that…”
    always glad to help ya buddy! πŸ™‚

  2. If I feared your retaliation at your roast, what makes you think I would feel any differently now?:) First, I’m honored to even be mentioned in this circle of people. Second, thank you for putting me on the Streetcar Named Desire 35 years ago; otherwise I might be broke and destitute today. Wait a minute… I am broke and destitute today:) Third, seriously, what an incredible ride we have been on together and Fourth, it ain’t over yet!! Thank you! I love you like a brother!

  3. George, your innovative contests had the gumshoes scratching their heads in the FCC’s Complaints & Compliance Division. We ran around ’em in circles for sure, didn’t we?! The most rewarding aspect (and I know the FCC was sympathetic to this) was that what you did with audience involvement was great radio.

  4. What’s this Roast and Toast??? Geo it was a blast in Saskatoon…still one of top highlights of my career. You had a great run and I was proud to be just a small part of it. Look forward to you. Is it in September. Take care my friend

    Gar

  5. George,
    We’re honored to be included in this list. Oh BTW…I just figured out what KY was. CKY. I thought you were referring to …..you know KY Jelly. But what’s that go to do to oidar? That’s radio backwards. I’m off to have a martini now. You know where that might take us!

    • Gordon, what’s happened to radio was done without the help of KY Jelly which it needed badly. If I ran the FCC I would require all potential owners to sit with you for a few hours so they could learn how everybody does well when you do things the right way. Thank you for your friendship.

  6. You gave me my first VP stripes and said “I’d like you to go run our San Antonio stations.” Remember? We agreed on a salary, and you said “All but $1 of your salary is to run Class FM. The dollar is for our AM.” Worst to first soon followed over the next two and a half years. Thanks for including me among the legends.

    • I loved the fact Bill that I didn’t have to explain KVIL to you having won personality of the year when you worked there so you just jumped in and took it to the top. My favorite meetings though were with you and Al when you would say … Would you please explain to my brother exactly what I need from him in the morning. πŸ™‚

  7. You and Steve Dinkel, KLSI, blazed a trail that was pretty easy for KLSY to follow. Having Chris Mays as our PD was another bonus. One of the topics covered on our cruise from Seattle to Victoria, BC I have never forgotten was the role of the GM. Consider the role as “keeper of the park.” Think of the KLSY filter for everything that goes on air. Disney was your example. That advice worked depending on the “park’s” format…country , rock, CHR…just understanding there was a filter for whatever the theme made decisions easy for all staff to understand. I also remember you stated emphatically that “muses” only fly in first class.

    • Thank you for being so much fun to work with Dana and you’re right Chris got the whole concept in a heart beat which amazed me. I still recall staring at the blank faces of the then AOR jocks as I was trying to explain Barry Manilow to them. I remember finally buying my way out of the meeting by promising them that they’d all be driving Mercedes soon. Loved how you took the lead on that one Dana or did Dink beat you to it. Thank you for buying into all the concepts but I’m still a little ticked that you didn’t go for that first class one.

  8. Nice walk down memory lane George. I was proud to have worked with Daryl “B” at CKLW in the late 60’s. An awesome talent! It also reminded me to ask you if you know whatever happened to Jack McCoy and Buzz Bennett (of the LAAAAST contest fame), et al.

    • Thanks for the read Big Jim. I ‘m still in touch with Jack McCoy but have no idea what happened to Buzzy, what a great character. Seeing him at a radio convention was worth the price of admission alone.

  9. Geo,
    Sales people were never high on your list, but we did a few unique things together. (Palm-Aire) As Reineri once said “once and a while you’ve got to give one back”.

    Talk soon!

    • As I have said many times Scotty I love hanging out with sales folks I just don’t like working with them. I discovered early on that they actually worked for and were paid by the client so I just didn’t feel that they had the best interests of the radio station in mind while they were lying to me. -:)
      Reineri was absolutely right though, occasionally you’ve got to give one back but as I walk the Scotty Mile it looks like you’ve given more than once.

  10. Thanks for the mention…those years at KVIL, WRMF, and KLLS were my favorite during a 28 year radio career. I credit you, Chapman, and Hilliard with forcing me to approach programming in an entirely different way. To this day I’m not sure the industry really knew what happened when KVIL went #1 in 1976.

    Some day I’ll tell you about the time I entered KOGO/KPRI, at midnight, with a Colt .45 and asked three drunk staff members to leave the building. Oh, the good times !!!

  11. Bruce, you were always the best instant fix I’ve ever met, you could do it all and Management always loved you because you always wore a suit. They thought you were the only sane one I hired, truth be known you were the craziest of all. (-:
    No I don’t need to hear about you escorting the drunken staff members out with a loaded gun just like I didn’t need to hear how many times Reid had to bail Cat Simon outta jail.

  12. George
    I enjoyed reading your blog very much. I also enjoyed our time together. You are a great teacher and love what you do, always striving to improve things. You believed and supported me and helped me achieve the confidence I needed to go out on my own. Thank you my friend.

    • Thank you for your kind words Debbie, I would love to hear about all the things you’ve been up to since we worked together. Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end.

  13. Geo,

    Somebody said to me the other day, “you’ve had an interesting life.” I responded, “Yes interesting but not always easy.” You and I have spent a lot of interesting and not so easy years together. Up, down, good bad-but always interesting, see you in a couple of weeks for your birthday…
    Martini time and remember always stay to the right going down the stairs. To the left going up….

    • Yes we have had an interesting life Bobby with some breathless moments thrown in. I hear ya about the stairs but the way I come down them after a couple of your “special” Martinis seems to be quicker.

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