No company no marriage
just me on my own
But I was ok
with being alone.
Did another tour
of Boston Mass
Ran a lot on the Charles
and became pretty fast.
Shortly after “Radio For Men” flamed out, Jim Hilliard persuaded me to join him in Boston and help him pump up WVBF, and then he was going to sell it for Mr. Fairbanks.
Jim claimed the project would take about six months, and then I could return to San Diego. Then when he said that he’d put me up in the Back Bay, I thought, what the hell, packed my bags, and caught a plane back to “Bean Town.”
Once we were in the air, I ordered up a couple of cocktails and settled in for the long flight. As I sat there sipping my CC and Coke, I began to think about some of the things that had happened to us since Jim, and I last worked together back in Indy.
After leaving Fairbanks to start my own consulting company in San Diego, Bill Yde persuaded me to buy a syndication company called Fairwest. Doing so, he claimed that would lead to our being able to purchase radio stations.
One of the formats Fairwedt syndicated was a format for AM stations called “Music Of Your Life,” which we planned on putting up on Satelite. However, doing so would necessitate my spending a lot of time in LA, so I rented an apartment in Westwood.
My living in Westwood worked out well for my daughter Candis because UCLA, where she went to school, was just down the street.
Arriving home early one afternoon, Candis was already there and watching E! When I told her that I knew the guy who created it, she claimed that it was her favorite TV channel and asked if we could get a tour.
When I put a call into my old friend Lee Masters, (pictured above) he Lee said that he’d be delighted to see us the next morning.
Arriving at the E! studios the next day, the receptionist gave me a strange look after buzzing Lee and saying, “George Johns is here to see you.” Moments later, Lee, with a big grin on his face, came out and escorted us back to his office.
Once there, he told Candis that he remembered meeting her at our home in Indianapolis when. “You probably don’t remember,” he said, “But I stayed at your home in Indy a few times when your Dad was trying to recruit me for one of his stations. Thank God he was unsuccessful because I’d probably be still honking the hits for him in some godforsaken town.” Instead, he went on to say, “I chose to go to WNBC in New York, which I hated so much that I quit radio and ended up at MTV, where I helped create VH1.”
As we got up to begin our tour, Lee said to Candis, “I’ll explain later but be prepared for some strange looks when the staff hears your Dad’s name.”
Candis loved her backstage tour, and we did get a lot of strange looks. Once back in his office, Lee said to Candis, “I’m going to show you a videotape now that is required viewing for all our new employees. Oh, and it also contains the reason for the strange looks you got today.”
The video showed Lee sitting behind his desk, where he thanked whoever was watching for joining the E! family. Then he went on to say, “Long before I even started thinking about creating E!, I met a wise man by the name of George Johns who told me something that I’ve never forgotten.
What he told me that day is still the very essence of my management philosophy and also the cornerstone of our company.
What George said to me was, “Lee, whatever’s happening in the halls will eventually make its way to the air.” Then Lee leaned into the camera and said, “Your responsibility as you join the E! team is to make something happen in the halls, and mine is to take care of the rest.”Lee, who now goes by his given name of Jarl Mohn (pictured above), sent me an email when he was running NPR stating that he had just given the same speech to all the NPR folks. So now there’s a whole other group of people wondering who the hell George Johns is.