Geo’s Media Blog (It Was A Very Good Year) Part III

The Phantoms loved to
party a way too much
We’d lost our focus
and were out of touch.

Had to so something
before it was too late
Maybe a name change
would also change our fate

So far, I’ve had some great years but none of them come close to 1964 when my whole world changed. I married my childhood sweetheart, saw the Beatles, signed a recording contract, began my radio career, and met Jim Hilliard. So Frank nailed it when he sang my song, “It Was A Very Good Year”
However, before my world exploded, I was still living at home, and even though I was making money playing with my band, my father insisted that I also needed to get a real job. As he said to me many times, “Son, we Johns men work for a living; we don’t play guitar.” Unfortunately, for him, it meant that he had to find most of my jobs because I could never manage to find one that I liked. He, of course, didn’t have that problem, he didn’t care if I liked the work or not.

With my father’s continuing support, 🙂 I ended working at a bunch of different jobs which included my becoming the Assistant Manager of a bowling alley. What made this job so strange was that I didn’t know anything about bowling. Being an enterprising kind of guy though, I decided to see how far up the ladder the assistant manager’s title would take me. So it was a no brainer when I spotted a new bowling alley being built, of course, I applied for the GM’s job.
What made this particular bowling alley cool was that it was also going to have a pool room and pool I knew about. Hell, I got my formal education at a pool hall on my way home from school every day.

My interview with the new owners went well, but before they could consider me, I had to be a certified bowling instructor. So it was “Hi Ho, Hi Ho” it’s off to bowling school I go. I crushed the course and got certified, (see below) but seeing as the bowling alley was still under construction, it would be a while before I would know whether they were going to offer me the job or not. I was in no rush because as I said, I wasn’t hurting for money, but the part I loved the most was that my folks were off my back about me finding a job. I’d figured out early that fame usually leads to fortune, so I always made sure that the venue hired a dee-jay from CKY to MC our dances which resulted in our getting an enormous amount of on-air publicity.
The way it worked at the dances was the dee-jays would kick the evening off by throwing out a bunch of records to the crowd, introduce us, and before we finished our first tune, they’d be gone. Then the following Monday I would bring their money to them at the radio station.
63503_10151827117384307_192927957_n-1On this particular life-changing Monday, I was at the CKY studios around noon to give Mark Parr (pictured above) his appearance fee. Embree McDermid, who was at the front desk, told me that Mark was waiting for me in the FM studio where he was filling in for the FM board op who was on his lunch break.
Once we got the business part out of the way, Mark asked if I’d ever run a radio board and when I told him that I hadn’t, he put me in the chair and proceeded to show me. It all seemed simple enough and was going well until he spotted Deno Corrie in another studio and said, “I’ll be right back.”
Can you spell PANIC? Everything was running at once and I had no idea what was on the air. I was frantically waving at Mark but he was too busy yucking it up with Deno to notice me.
To make matters worse, all of a sudden several “suits” walked into the studio. I was told later that one of the suits was the owner who was there proudly showing off his brand new 360,000-watt radio station to all his old cronies. Wouldn’t he have freaked out had he known that the kid piloting his new flame thrower, only had about ten minutes of radio experience?
When they finally left, I took a deep breath and slowly started to sort things out and by the time Mark got back, everything was running smoothly and all he said was, “See, I knew you wouldn’t have any problems kid; you’re a natural.”
Mark pestered everybody until they finally hired me as a part-time board op which didn’t pay much but I was thrilled and of course, had no idea that I had just embarked on what I’d be doing for the rest of my life. My good news though wasn’t good news for my Mom because when she overheard on the phone telling the bowling alley guys, “Thanks but no thanks, I’m a radio guy now” (pictured below) she cried.

GEO’S LIFE-LINES

When and who was it that decided that the rich people on the losing side of a war, never lost anything? Oh, and how come Cuba and Israel didn’t buy into that concept?

How long do you suppose it will be until the overused word, “racist” finally burns out?

When you stumble, just make it part of your act and keep on dancin’.

Is it just me or do the folks who are in charge of how much everybody makes, tend to overpay themselves?

What successful company bought out by another company ever become better? Sure hasn’t happened in radio.

Women used to know their place, but I actually had to tell my daughters that they needed to get up to the front of the line.

Does anybody know in days hours or minutes how long coming soon is?

For the last decade or so, we’ve been fighting the war in the desert door to door, yet the military still wants more money from congress to build faster airplanes and bigger warships. What are they for?

COMMENTS

Bob Christy: On December 30th, 1994, I was driving to a meeting with our station’s attorneys in Wellesley, MA. I was on the Mass Pike and had dialed around the radio checking things out, KISS, EEI, WBZ regular programming on the air. I turned on WBUR, Boston University’s NPR station and they are doing wall to wall coverage of a shooting at an abortion clinic in Brookline. I listened for a few minutes and turned back to WBZ, nothing. I called Len Malo at our station and told him what was going on, he checked it out and broke in on the air with a bulletin. I went back to WBZ, still nothing…I knew at that moment the clock was ticking on the number one radio news outlet in Boston. It took WBZ a half hour to catch up. The funny thing or maybe not so funny is at the time WBZ was in the same building as WBZ TV who was all over the story. WBUR is the top radio news station in Boston today. They are on top of breaking news and do brilliant deep-dive coverage of stories as well. The long-form stories they did on the Whitey Bulger trial were excellent Today in LA If KPCC in Pasadena had a better signal, they’d be on top on radio news in LA in short order. The thing that all these NPR news operations have in common is a total commitment to news, and they get great demographics by doing it. Fred Heckman once told me, “if there is a column of smoke in the sky and you can’t tell them why it’s there, you’re finished.” it’s still true today and always will be. (Write The Wrongs)

Doug Chapelle: George, Funny thing between Canada and the USA many Canadians think it is wrong for Trump to want to have the Southern border secure from Latinos crossing illegally into the USA BUT they are also pissed that Trudeau is allowing/encouraging illegal immigrants flowing across the border at Champlain NY into Quebec “OTTAWA – Canadian officials in Nigeria are working with the U.S. on developing tools to flag Nigerians applying for U.S. visas who may be at “high risk” of crossing illegally into Canada across the U.S. border.
So far this year, the majority of illegal migrants arriving in Canada are Nigerians who have recently been issued U.S. travel visas.”
Canada has become the Nation of double standards. (Classy)

Jim Harper: Regarding your idea of Radio doing “product placements” instead of just spots…we did that at Magic in Detroit and with great success. It’s tricky…it makes the lawyers very nervous (we did disclaimers at the end of every hour to indicate we’d been paid for mentions), but it CAN be done! The salespeople created a whole new item on the rate card for it, and it appeared on the log as a unit (we called them Poz-Mens for positive mentions) and the morning show figured out a way to bring a product or service up in natural conversation. Just like on TV shows or movies, but it’s more challenging since it can’t have been seen sitting on a desk or in someone’s hand. Be glad to explain it in detail if anyone’s interested. Clients loved it, and it was added revenue. It did NOT impact the spot load per hour. So once again George, you’re onto another great idea. Close-minded/nothing should impact the product-people/ won’t get it. But it’s as old as showbiz itself. And it makes the talent very sharp. (Radio Royalty)

Earl Mann: Excellent article, George. It is appalling to see the media’s continual attempts to castrate and crucify this man! Trump has actually done an amazing job, especially considering the slings and arrows the Left has thrown at him. The economy is booming! More people have more money in their 401K’s than they ever have before! The stock market is higher than it has ever been thanks to Trump’s deregulation and his cutting of corporate taxes! “Yuge” amounts of money are now flowing back into the U.S from overseas; creating jobs and improving infrastructure! Illegal immigrants are no longer flooding into the U.S because they know Trump means business! And, finally, instead of ‘leading from behind’ as Obama did, Trump is telling the world two things: “America first” and “Don’t fuck with us”! Btw, getting China to begin to pressure North Korea seriously is the result of Trump’s leadership no less. Gone are the “Kumbaya” days of a feckless and impotent globalist – Obama! (Unthinkable Trump)

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 GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.

 

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