Not done yet
I’ve still got a few chapters to go
About some magical people
I was lucky enough to know.
As these ramblings come to a close, I’m only now beginning to realize how good radio has been to me. I’ve met brilliant people, traveled all over the world, and got to live in a variety of cities.
Some cities were better than others, but all of them managed to teach me something.
Growing up in Transcona, I learned that it didn’t matter if you came from a small town, you could still make it. Then when I began working at CKY in Winnipeg, I figured out that if I opened my ears and shut my mouth, maybe I could make this radio thing work?
In Saskatoon, I discovered that no matter what management says, they prefer evolution to revolution. Sudbury taught me never to let anyone intimidate me ever again. Ottawa was where I discovered that no matter how toxic the situation, you only needed to surround yourself with five to seven like-minded people to become successful.
In Toronto, where they made me the station manager, I learned that you’re whoever the guy who signs your check says you are. In Indy, I figured out how to get the sales department to pay for all the promotions.
While living in San Diego (pictured above), I learned how to do a multitude of radio stations and have fun doing it. In Austin, I found out that if you bring major league talent to a minor league town, you can crush it, and Boston taught me how you do country in a city that didn’t want it. In West Palm Beach, I learned how to be a better Dad.
As I look back, what I enjoyed most was creating promotions that were so big that they disrupted the city’s flow. Some of them were so disruptive that we had the station’s GM memorize the words, “We never imagined nor anticipated that our listeners would overreact to our fun promotion so on their behalf I apologize.” His job was to try and sincerely say that to the news cameras when they showed up.
Of all the promotions we did at WNAP in Indianapolis, like the Raft Race and 2093, one of my favorites was Fantasy Park. Even though Fantasy Park was only a make-believe concert, 100’s of people drove around Indiana trying to find it.
Meanwhile, across the hall, at WIBC, we claimed that the feds were going to print new money in the new year, so we started auctioning off the old stuff. Eventually, we had to shut it down because we couldn’t get the folks to stop bidding more for the money than it was worth.
While doing the Prize Catalog in San Diego at KOGO, Don Walker (pictured above) needed some kind of a promotion for the DoubleTree Hotel so I suggested a drop off party.
The promo said, “For a final shot at a fantastic prize from the Prize Catalog, simply mark your name and number on your catalog and then drop it off at the DoubleTree on your way home from work this Friday.
What we were hoping for was a little foot traffic, but what we got was, the DoubleTree’s parking lot was slammed by 4:15, their lobby and the bars were overflowing and according to the TV news choppers overhead, Highway 8 looked more like a parking lot than an Interstate.
Across the hall at KPRI, after bringing in Buster Bodine as the new PD (pictured above), we came up with a brilliant TV spot. It featured a beautiful blonde model named Peggy dressed in skin-tight orange shorts and a yellow sweatshirt that had huge red call letters printed on the front.
As the camera zoomed in for the close-up, Peggy said, “Whenever I hear KPRI, I just wanna dance,” and then the music started, and so did Peggy. Whew!
Then when she became so frenzied she began stripping her shirt off, we did a freeze-frame on the call letters just before it reached her nipples. The crawler underneath read, “Next week, Peggy takes the shirt off.”
What a great TV campaign, but unfortunately we had a problem, none of the San Diego TV stations would run it because they claimed that it was too risque.
However, when the news departments at the TV stations heard about the ban, they ran it in their newscasts, and even the newspapers showed a few pictures of Peggy at the freeze-frame part of the TV spot.
Don Walker and his crew quickly took advantage of the controversy and sold “Peggy Watch Parties” to all the Sports Bars in town. They’d load up a trailer with a giant screen TV and a bunch of giveaways then hit the bars with Peggy. The on-air promos said, “It should be the public who decides what’s too risque and you can do so tonight at so and so’s, sports bar.
Hey, maybe Peggy took the shirt off at those parties, I don’t know, when my wife saw a copy of the TV spot, she wouldn’t let me go.