Geo’s Media Blog. An inside look at music movies radio & life. (Fairbanks) 8/13/18

Everybody believes that their part is the biggest part and that it would be impossible for a company to be successful without them. Case in point, when the John Blair Company of New York purchased WIBC/WNAP in Indianapolis, and KVIL in Dallas, they paid the highest amount that had ever been paid for radio stations.
Now what you have to understand about the owner, Richard M Fairbanks,(pictured above) is that he can trace his family back to the Mayflower. Also, Fairbanks Alaska was named for his grandfather who just happened to be the Vice President of the United States, so he sure didn’t need the money. What he liked best about this whole thing was that he was making broadcasting history by being on the upside of that record making deal. However, as part of that deal, he had to give up his longtime CEO Jim Hilliard. Blair wanted Jim to be the president of their broadcast division which meant that he would still be involved with WIBC/WNAP and also KVIL in Dallas.
The only real change would be in Indianapolis where Mr. Fairbanks would be departing, so with that in mind, Jim asked if he could put a small farewell dinner party together for him? It would involve some of his longtime employees and give them an opportunity to say their goodbyes. Mr. Fairbanks, who later in his published his memoirs didn’t remember that it was Hilliard who ran his company, not him, responded as only he could. “Jim, I’ve carried all these people for years, surely you don’t expect me to eat with them too?” Proving beyond a doubt that he was definitely a Dick not a Richard. (pictured on top is those of us who owned a tiny piece of WIBC/WNAP’s soon to be new home in Indianapolis.)


Speaking of Mr. Fairbanks, his best line ever may have been when he and Jim went to lunch in Jim’s new Bentley. Jim asked if he’d ever ridden in one before and Mr. Fairbanks responded with, “Never in the front!”

One of the greatest newspaper ads ever showed a newspaper boy staring at a new Cadillac with a caption that read, “Someday, someday!” I wonder who it was that called the meeting that killed that kid’s dream?

Great rewards come from great risks, but then again, you’re not working with a net, so they should.

Now that we are all members of the “me too” society when are the gentlemen gonna serve up the names of the ladies who offered up their charms for a little boost up the ladder?

How much do of their saying, “Were only doing this for your safety” is bullshit do you suppose?

If anybody thinks that Andy Boudain and Kate Spade are in a better place now, they better not talk that shit to my daughters or I’ll find a way for them to join them.

Whatever happened to gas wars?

If LeBron would have been smart, he’d have stayed in Cleveland and lived free for the rest of his life as King James. However, nobody has ever accused a pro athlete of being smart.

Only when being in the middle of a crisis, does one discover who’s loyal?

Fear and regrets are the evil twins who rob you of your happiness.

Being a Centrist I’m a little liberal about things and a little Conservative about others, but I’m never Socialist about anything.

For most of my life, political conversations never came up, now they never, not come up?

Would you be more likely killed by a cop or a thug? I wonder what the Vegas oddsmakers say?

Why do the celebrities at award shows keep singing to the choir?

I’m very suspicious of all government agencies that use initials instead of their full name. CIA, FBI, DEA, DOJ, IRS, DMV, USPS, DOT, EEOC, EPA, FAA, FCC, FDA, FDIC, FEC, FTC, INS, NASA, NIH, NLRB, SEC, and USIA to only mention a few. What do you suppose they’re hiding?

With all the gun controversy and how upset the people are about the school shootings, you would think the NRA would be smart enough to concede a little something?

I believe that more business is done in America at lunch than at any other time.

I don’t want my kids to have Obama care; I want them to have the same health care Obama has right now.

Implementing music at a radio station is not an art form.

Radio’s best and worst friend is the scan button.

The only thing that counts is what’s on the radio right now?

If you don’t have anything special to say, please don’t say it on the radio.

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8 thoughts on “Geo’s Media Blog. An inside look at music movies radio & life. (Fairbanks) 8/13/18

  1. Because I was in Des Moines, the first time, in the first half of 1981, I was not around to see the groundbreaking for 9292 North Meridian. I have always wondered why both Jim Hilliard and Roy Cooper were not there I know later, at least in writing, Mr. Fairbanks took credit for most, if not all of the success of the company after 1968. The Fairbanks profile in the Indiana Broadcasters Association “In The Public Interest” made no reference Jim Hilliard at all, and the authors, being non-broadcasters, were none the wiser, even when asked about it later by other Indiana broadcasters in the book like WTLC’s Amos Brown, WRTV / WFBM’s Howard Caldwell, and, of course, WIBC’s Jack Morrow. If Mr. F. was ever grateful for what Jim and his team did for Fairbanks Broadcasting, I do not recall hearing of it. I am aware now of the many options Jim had in 1968 when he was.leaving WFIL-AM in Philadelphia because Walter Annenberg was selling Triangle Publications. Here is a big “What If” question:.
    What IF, in 1968, Jim Hilliard would have gone to ABC Radio or CBS Radio, or better yet, some organization like Gene Autrey’s Golden West Broadcasters ? This is not to say that WIBC could have later returned to ratings and billing success after 1968, but there would likely not have been WNAP.or KVIL.

    • Jed, there is no way Mr. Fairbanks could have put a team together like Jim Hilliard did at Fairbanks. Even if he did, there was no way he was capable of handling them, his motivational skills were based on fear and a lot of us would not have responded well to that.

  2. Hi George. Would it be possible to identify the people in the photo? You may soon be the only guy who knows and History Awaits!

    One of your past Posts about Mr. Fairbanks incited a bit of research and as I recall, he had quite a life apart from KVIL. As far as I know, he never came to KVIL while I was there so I never saw him.

    • Hi Hollis, thanks for the read. Left to right, Mr. Fairbanks, Norm Wilkens, Gary Todd, Len Betley, Brenda Wilkens, George Johns, Dick Yancey, Dick Smart, and Roger Snowden. Mostly Corporate people out of Indy.

  3. Great stories on Fairbanks! Having been a long time employee in Dallas, Philly, and Boston, I now know why he and I never had dinner together or even met. 🙂 But come to think of it, same for Les Moonves during my ten years at CBS!
    One story you shared one time that I always loved.
    Mr. Fairbanks requested two lists every year back in the 1970’s. The first, every employee whose salary was above $25,000 or more. The second list….why?
    Always loved that one, true or urban legend.

    • True Bill, he didn’t think that anybody who lived in Indy needed more than $25,000 to live. We corporate people were paid a base 25 grand which kept us under the radar. However, we also got two bonus checks a year in salary which before long dwarfed our salaries. Unfortunately, our family had to live on our salaries but when bonus time showed up we bought new homes and cars.
      Oh, and the dinners you never got to have with Mr. F, I envy you.

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