Geo’s Media Blog with comments about Jack McCoy. New 3/18/19

Ron Chapman: On my list of “most unforgettable people,” I have Jack McCoy as second behind Jerry Jones.  The first thing I remembered was, “He who controls the verbiage, controls the buy.”
More to come…


Geo: I, like you, Ron, have many McCoyismns still swirling around in my head. Also, I’ll never forget the first recording session that we did together at KVIL where Jack used a grain of sand to explain your phone system to the listener. I also still remember the look of disbelief on your face as he was doing it. I hope you’re well, old friend?

Reid Reker: Jack McCoy = Creative Genius!  Not only is Jack, a good friend but he also resurrected my early fading radio career and put me in the hands of my longtime best friend and programming mentor, George Johns. How fortunate I was to be just a punk kid learning at the hands of these two radio greats!

I also shared the privilege of being in the studio watching Jack perform his promo magic where he said to me, “I don’t work with copy cause the copy is in the music.”  We would set out to do promos for the latest contest but end up with 20 imaging promos for KOGO, it all depended on where the music took him. On top of that, Jack could have easily made it on the stand up comic circuit being one of the funniest people on the planet. He had me laughing so hard one night at dinner (or maybe just cocktails now that I think about it) that my stitches from a recent surgery literally burst out.

Jack McCoy is the most futuristic person I have ever met.  I will never forget hearing him speak at a Fairwest Convention in 1989 where he told the audience that one day all radio stations would have a 2 share and that commercials would be purchased electronically.  All I can say about that is WOW!

Thanks, Jack for showing me the definition of the word “BIG” and for being a huge inspiration.

Geo: Reid, I believe that was at that same Fairwest Seminar where Jack also claimed that any one of us could do promos as well as he did. All we had to do was find some great movie soundtracks and start ad-libbing stuff. Right, Jack!

Bill Gardner: Jack was the first Program Director to say “Bill Gardner….you’re a morning man. Come down to San Diego and do mornings for me on KCBQ.” And who wouldn’t? He said all he could do was match my current salary in Seattle, but he’d give me a raise when he could.  My FIRST WEEK doing mornings, Jack increased my salary to what I’d asked for.

We even lived in the same apartment building.  And I remember seeing his black Lincoln Continental with “suicide doors” parked near my car.

Jack taught me something which I later became fairly famous for….an economy of words.  He did it by grabbing a tape of my morning show, a razor blade, and splicing tape and painstakingly editing words from things that I’d said that morning until it was streamlined, sharp, concise, and much more compelling!

And don’t get me started on how he MADE  the sound of a Ferrari from an old sound effects disc of a dump truck but played at 78 RPM, later pinching the tape during playback to recreate the sound of shifting gears. Enzo Ferrari himself heard it and approved it!

Creative? I still have a hand-written letter Jack wrote to me.  Hand printed, but written in total reverse!  You’ve got to hold it up to a mirror to read it!

And personally, a hell of a man. When he and I left San Diego for temporary jobs at WMYQ Miami, Jack said: “I want to introduce you to a great company for your long term plans….call this guy: George Johns at Fairbanks Broadcasting.”

PLEASE keep me up to date on one of my true heroes! I wish Jack the very best.  He deserves no less.

Geo: I’m so glad that Jack got you to call me Bill, I’m not sure how many tours we ended up doing together, but there were a bunch.

Linda Duffy: I still remember the day George ask me to send you one of his one-liner zingers.  It was supposed to read “are you still short,“ only I typed “as you still short,” I thought he was going to shoot me.

Geo: I loved the part, Linda, how you would imitate his voice when you’d buzz me to say that he was on the phone … GEORGE, JACK-MCCOY!

Sharon Henwood: One of my earlier memories, in a long career in various media and communications forms, was doing The Last Contest in Toronto at CFTR. What a blast to have a job that paid me to ask people their greatest dream then figure out how to make that a prize package – even with our limited Canadian budgets. I was in awe of the guy that thought it up, and although I never met you in person, still feel a buzz when I think of that time. Thanks, Jack.

Geo: Very exciting times Sharon, I’ll never forget them.

Art Vuolo: Jack… After a couple of knee replacements and other invasions of the body, I’m still kickin’ and hope you’re well also.  I have yet to win The Last Contest, and KCBQ is but a distant memory for this Michigan boy.  Be well bud, and my best from “Radio’s Best Friend.”

Bruce Buchanon: Jack, you are the very best which is why during radio’s 75 anniversary you were placed in the top 50 of radio’s most influential people.

Geo: I agree with you Bruce, but I also remember you cutting some damn fine promos when we launched WRMF in South Florida.

Bobby Rich: I first shook hands with Jack McCoy at KSTT Davenport, IA in 1972. I didn’t know who he was, but he was on a trip pitching the syndicated version of The Last Contest. A couple of years later when I landed in San Diego (at KFMB-AM and K-FM B-FM and flipped it to B100), we reconnected. He was done with KCBQ and doing RAM Research then, and we bought (one of?) his first call-out projects for the station. He was still tweaking so there was a lot of hands-on oversight and training with me and the B100 staff.

We were starting a big contest at B100, “100 Ways To Have A Ball.”  I asked Jack to voice the promos. This was HUGE since Last Contest had taken the market by storm on KCBQ just a couple of years prior. And of course, radio freaks all over the country had to have dubs of Jack’s “work” for B100. He not only did dozens of takes for the individual prize packages (the whole thing was a total rip of Last Contest) but also did teases for the Major Announcement, the “announcement” itself, and a highlight on top of highlights for me was… he gave me a dub of THE GONG (anybody who knows Last Contest knows what I’m talking about. It was so unique that no one was able to duplicate it even though the sound fx library had very similar takes.)

Jack, your inventiveness and development of major radio stations, promotions and ground-breaking research has brought numerous memories to listeners and broadcasters. We will always remember you and your super cool manner and voice.

Geo: I wonder how many other broadcasters Jack influenced Bobby because he sure influenced my brother and me.

Russ Morley: I have had the pleasure of working with Jack in West Palm Beach, Memphis, and Dallas. Our association was one of sensei and student. His creative genius was so very evident in broadcasting with his ability to transport the listener into an imaginative dimension through words, tone, pace, and inflection. But Jack was so much bigger than radio, as his mastery of other unrelated endeavors proved.

I used to marvel at his ability to come down to my level to communicate with clarity and precision and watched him do so with reluctant GMs and Sales Managers. He captured their imaginations as well, rather than try to sell the sellers. Jack also has a remarkable talent for staying in the shadows and allowing those who championed his projects to take the credit for their success. I miss our association and our conversations as I now do things well outside the bounds of broadcasting.  I have sincere gratitude for having worked with Jack and have tried to emulate but a morsel of his character.

Geo: I second that emotion, Russ.

Barry O’Brien: I remember meeting Jack when I was at WVBF in the mid-’70s and many times after that when I was at R&R.  Not sure if I ever sold him any ads in R&R, but I always liked him.  Please say hi.

Candis Johns: Jack McCoy is one of my dad’s coolest friends.  I remember when he would visit us in Indiana, as was sometimes the case with various radio types. Even as a young kid I could see he was smart as a whip, witty, and funny.

When he found out I was a gymnast, he proceeded to demonstrate some mad skills right in our dining room, doing a handstand in his dress clothes, which was beyond surprising – and incredibly impressive.

Jack McCoy, an epic storyteller, has recounted some of the most hilarious tales I’ve ever heard, which had me laughing so hard that I could barely breathe and which remain part of the soundtrack of my childhood.  I still remember them and to this day occasionally retell them to people at parties when unkind swans, heated hotel bathroom floors, or would-be hotel fires come up in conversation.

I had the honor of working for ‘Mr. McCoy’ in my senior year of high school and, as such, witnessed the creation of those amazing promos. When I had the opportunity to say hello at my dad’s 70th birthday party, he was still just as cool as ever.  In fact, they don’t come any cooler than Jack McCoy… always ‘ Mr. McCoy’ to me.

Geo: You’re right honey, Jack’s stories have always been hilarious

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8 thoughts on “Geo’s Media Blog with comments about Jack McCoy. New 3/18/19

  1. George, as you well know, Jack, you and I traveled throughout the USA selling the promotions he designed that made our client stations lotzo money., that’s why they kept coming back. Some of Jack’s genius came from how he pitched. If the light wasn’t on in the prospect’s eye, he’d wrap it it up and walk. I would usually hang back, get some feedback on how to follow thru as that was something he didn’t want to do. I would and did my best to close the deal, but it all started w’ Jack’s pitch. He knew it was good and he knew they knew it, so let’s move on to the next pitch. We laughed a lot, developed the friendships we share to this day. As I look back on my years in the radio biz, those were the most unforgettable days.

    • Geo: Tom, I still remember the time I hitched a ride with you guys in Jack’s plane seeing as we were visiting some of the same markets. Unfortunately, at the Time Jack had Vertigo and needed to hang onto me until we were in the radio station. However, once seated in the board room, he was as magnificent as usual.
      When I asked him later what was up with the Vertigo stuff, he told me that he’d recently quit drinking and now the Demons were constantly whispering in his ear, “If you don’t take a drink soon, we’re gonna tip you over.”

  2. I had a unique experience working with Both Jack McCoy and George Johns on stations in Los Angeles. They helped me get hired at the ABC station that later became KZLA…. One of my greatest memories is driving down Sunset Blvd, in the heart of Hollywood with Jack at the wheel, George in the front passenger seat and me in the back seat as Jack & George sang at the top of their lungs….Willie Nelsons, “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain.”….It was incredible. BUT…How many of you can remember and still define “Reticular Activation System” (I am not sure of the spelling but I can still tell you what that meant) and how many of you bought the hard bound “Chapter One” rating analysis books or RAM Research especially the perceptual version…. or remember not only “The Last Contest” and “MAGNUM ONE !”…I am lucky to have known and worked with and for both Jack and George.They changed my life and I will forever owe them for any success I have enjoyed…Proudly their friend, Jim Wood

      • For a kid from Dayton Ohio, who was just hired from Chattanooga Tennessee to be the Ops Manager and PD for a set of ABC Stations in LA…(George..remember Peter Newell the GM …He was overwhelmed by the group of us but saw the magic) …These sorts of nuisances at the outside edge of the entire event were and still are powerful images in my brain. I have a million of these stories but I will wait until someone writes “The Book.””

        • I just remember my first visit to the station Jim and when the Sales Manager picked me up in a red Ferrari, I found myself thinking, “Now this is the kinda radio I wanna get involved in.”

  3. I ran into Jack McCoy when KQWB -AM in Fargo, ND bought “The Last Contest.” I’d been pounding on the owners to upgrade the audio processing with the all-new BL-40 ModuLimiter. When we met with Jack, I asked if the station should get one. Jack got up, went out to the rental car and brought one inside! It got installed that night and we were off to the races with the new audio processor, a “rubber clock” with only select times to announce – to coincide with Arbitron time credits – and The Last Contest……DAMN it was a FUN Time in Radio!!

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