I knew I was destined
to be a radio guy
When I began working part-time
at old CKY
I used to love going to radio conventions; not only did I get to hang out with a lot of good programmers, but I also got to reconnect my old Canadian radio buddies. However, when they started filling up with lawyers, bankers, and brokers, I lost my appetite for them, but I still remember the first one I went to and also the last.
My first convention was in Las Vegas shortly after I’d become a PD for the first time at CKOM in Saskatoon. (pictured above with fellow Canadians, Paul Ski, Tom Peacock, Barry Nesbit, and Al Mair) Anxious to absorb all the radio knowledge I could, I went to every session and took copious notes.
Not only were all the radio legends there, but I also got to hang out with my old boss from CKY, Jim Hilliard. Jim, who at the time was the PD of WFIL in Philly, had just accepted an offer to return to Fairbanks Broadcasting in Indianapolis, but this time he was going to run it.
One of the better sessions featured Chuck Blore, (pictured above) who had left the programming ranks to start producing award-winning commercials. At that session, Chuck stated that the length of any commercial has very little to do with its effectiveness.
To prove his point, he played a 10-second commercial that went like this, “When we asked the ladies in LA what they thought about Hai Karate cologne for men,” they said (woman’s panicked voice) “OH MY GOD!”
The last radio convention I went to was in San Diego when I was there visiting my brother Reg and got to hang out in his suite. Not only did I get to reunite with my old pal and now superstar Delilah, but I also got to sneak into Jeff and Jer’s Session. (pictured above)
I’d worked with them when they first moved to San Diego, and now I planned to sneak into their session unnoticed and then, at the, go up and surprise them.
Even though it was packed, I managed to find a seat way in the back. I’m sure that most of the folks that were there were hoping that Jeff & Jer would share their secrets, especially the one about how to make the kind of money they did. However, I’m sure that they didn’t want to hear the part about how it took a lot of show prep and hard work, though.
Their session, which was moderated by the legendary Tracy Johnson, was filled with stories about the many stunts they’d done over the last twenty years. Then as Tracy said, “It was time for some Q & A.”
One of the first questions was, “Do you remember the day you knew you were going to be as successful?” Jerry responded with, “It wasn’t a day, it was three days.”
He then explained that shortly after arriving in San Diego, their new boss, Pam Finn, told them that she had a gift for them. The gift he said turned out to be a career-changing three-day programming session with a radio god by the name of George Johns.
Damn, I thought as I slipped lower in my chair, they must have spotted me and are now setting me up for one of their pattened big finishes.
Jerry then went on to say that Pam claimed that after three days with George, you’ll know to become #1 in San Diego. At this point, Jeff jumped in and said, “At our first session with George, he told us to forget about the other radio folks, the stars in this town are a TV Sportscaster and the Mayor.”
Jeff then said, “We spent the next three days discussing what we had to do to become bigger than them. Now some twenty years later, we still do each and everything we learned during those three magically days.”
When the session ended, and I surprisingly remained unscathed, I made my way up to the front. Jeff and Jer were shocked to see me, and when Jerry gave me a big hug, he said, “Hey man why didn’t you let us know you were coming, we would have said some nice shit about you.”
When they introduced me to Tracy, who was their boss (pictured above), he claimed that Jeff and Jer meant every word they said about you. “I, though he went on to say, “Am tired of hearing your name because whenever I need them to do something that they don’t want to do, I get to hear, “George warned us not to do that kinda stuff because it will ruin our careers!”