Back when the FCC required all radio stations to broadcast many hours of news each week, you had to get creative. Back in ’73, when we launched America’s first AC station on KVIL in Dallas, we were a music station so anything else we did, had to be entertaining.
Now the other things that counted towards our news commitment besides regular news was, weather, sports, traffic, and stock reports.
Now our news which was done by future Hall Of Famers, Andy McCollum, and Bob Morrison was very conversational and very different. For weather, we got a color radar machine so Chapman, Gardner, Schell, Selden, and Major Tom, could do play by play of a storm as it passed through Dallas. Our sports was done by the Mayor of Dallas, Wes Wise, which to say the least, was very controversial, and for traffic, we put the highly entertaining Suzie Humphrey in a chopper.
Now comes the hard part, how the hell do you make stock reports entertaining, and as I was taught early on in my career by Jim Hilliard, “A person is always the answer.” So we went out and got us a stockbroker by the name of Billy Bob Harris. (see on top) What a character, when he called in each morning on 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 pick up 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 (pictured on top and right above with Billy Bob)) of the Righteous Brothers to do one for the 50,000 employees of Baylor Scott & White Health.
To see and hear what both staffs watched, 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.