I’ve worked with a lot of great owners and GMs since I’ve been in radio biz but the worst had to be Bob Price, what a prick.
Bob was similar in style and attitude to a lot of Harvard graduates, you know, within ten minutes of meeting them they always manage to work into the conversation that they went to Harvard. With Price though, it was his table at “21.”
Old Bob never liked me much and the feeling was mutual but the way he showed his affection was by firing me several times. Unfortunately, I just wouldn’t stay fired.
The Price saga began the day Frank Osborn (pictured above) called to ask if I could meet with him at K101 in San Francisco.
Once we were seated in the conference room, Frank told me that he was very concerned about the station’s lackluster ratings and asked if I thought I could fix them?
Seeing as I’ve always loved the Bay area when I told him that I’d love to try, he said that he’d get back to me.
A few days later he called and said that he needed me to come to New York and meet with the owner and him.
The owner’s name was Bob Price and after Frank got through singing my praises in his Manhatten office, Bob’s only comments were that I was too expensive and that he thought he’d already paid Frank to do whatever it was that I was going to do.
Then he just threw his hands up in the air and said, whatever Frank, and with a wave of his hand, we were dismissed like Hop Sing at the Ponderosa.
OK time to put a plan together so I met Jack McSorley who was the station’s charismatic GM.
Because I needed a little time to gather the talent and fix the music, I talked Jack into doing our TV commercials.
The TV spots showed Jack hanging out at all the neat places in San Francisco saying that he was remodeling K-101 but needed the listeners to help with their ideas. Then he would point to all the new cars, boats, and vacation stuff gathered around him and say that these were just some of the thank you helping gifts he was going to use.
Before long Jack was a star and was welcomed with open arms at all the agencies where the lady time buyers always found him some money. Once again proving that ratings are only one of the ways you sell radio time.
Our plan worked out much better than we ever imagined because before the remodeling of K101 was even half-finished, the ratings at K101, exploded.
When Frank first hired me, he said that hopefully, I wouldn’t see very much of him. He explained by saying that the only time he ever visited a market was to deliver bad news.
True to his word, the next time I saw him, after congratulating me on the ratings, he told me that he was leaving to start his own company.
With Frank’s departure, Price decided to move Jack McSorley, to New York to replace him.
Jack, who is not excited about leaving San Francisco told him that he’d only do it if he could have me involved in the programming of the whole company.
Wouldn’t you know it, with things rolling along fairly well, all of a sudden Jack does a Frank and with Jack leaving to also start his own company the real dance with Price begins. I guess tiring of training his group heads to be owners he puts the whole group up for sale and I was probably one of the first people to hear about it when he excitedly called to fire me.
Once again my phone rang, and once again an excited Bob Price was on the other end telling me that I was fired.
I’m sure Bob must have had some really bad Karma going on because he couldn’t win with me for losing because now
the new owner was Frank Osborn who also insisted that I be put back on the payroll.
This time, when Bob had to call me back again, he couldn’t resist asking me what kind of pictures I had of these guys.
John was a no-nonsense buttoned-down kind of guy and even though he was very different than most of the guys I’d worked with, surprisingly we got along well.
One of the first things John did was tour the stations which were located in Detroit, Nashville, Albuquerque, and San Francisco. When he hit KKOB in Albuquerque, legend has it that he told the driver to take him downtown and when he was told that he was downtown, he said, then take me back to the Airport.
Like those who came before him, John also left to start his own company, so Frank put Mark Hubbard (pictured with me on top) who ran Frank’s small market division in charge of it all.
Mark and I hit it off immediately which was good because we traveled together a lot.
It was while we were visiting KKOB in Albuquerque that I was surprised to learn that GM, Art Schreiber had traveled with the Beatles on their first American tour as part of the news pool. When I quizzed him about how the Beatles managed to resist the charms of all those pretty things he laughed and said that none of the Beatles resisted any of them. In fact, he said, we were amazed that they could still play.
Our next stop was San Francisco where Mark and I were attending the K101 Christmas party which was being held in the ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel.
Even today I can still see the look on Mark’s face as our married with two kids News Director slow-danced his way by with one of his fellow newsmen. Then when the music director who was holding our sweet young receptionist in her arms floated past us, Mark leaned over to me and said, “Let’s get the hell out of here before this place gets struck by lightning!”