Ever since recently attending a KVIL reunion in Dallas, a ton of back in the day memories started coming back like when I was hired out by Fairbanks Broadcasting to be their National PD. Fairbanks had just purchased KVIL in Dallas so it became my first project.
The reason we did it so slowly was because we were stalling. We were waiting for Arbitron to combine the Dallas and Fort Worth rating books which would put D/FW in the top 10 and add millions of dollars to the market place. Surprisingly though, the “build your own radio station” concept, which we used as our stalling technique, became so popular that when I became a consultant, I used it to launch the Class/Classy format across North America.
Once the rating books were finally combined, KVIL caught everybody flat-footed when we started unveiling our giant promotions. Our specific target was 30-year-old women so we did very well with the 25-34-year-old ladies. However, they didn’t translate into big 12+ numbers so the trades didn’t write about us. This though ended up helping us because the rest of the radio stations just ignored us. We could do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, and we could do it unchallenged.
KVIL was becoming so popular with women of all ages that I’d even win free drinks when I claimed that I could predict a flight attendant’s favorite radio station. I, of course, only did that when I heard that Dallas accent.
Thank God cooler heads prevailed, and Jim Hilliard, who not only my boss but also a lot smarter than me, said, “Johns, don’t touch it, it’s perfect.” Sure enough, when the next rating book came out, KLIF went from first to worse and KVIL had doubled its audience and never looked back for over 20 years.
Genius secretly yearns for fame.
My friend Bob Christy claims that the only reason Jerry Jones isn’t on the sideline coaching the Cowboys is only because they won’t let him drink down there.
Jed Duval George: When I worked for you at Fairbanks, you rarely dropped names. Whenever you spoke, it was to put something into motion or make a relevant comment about the direction you wanted to take the next task forward. Your blogs fill in the missing pieces of your fantastic journey thus far, but you generously credit all of those who made such an impact in your life. Thank you for the narrative, and keep them coming! (Hollywood Knights)
Hi George, Please let Bob Hill know that I remember getting the baseball from him over 40 years ago. I still have it, and I’ve added many Hall of Fame names to it. I have Mays, Mantle, Berra, Aaron, DiMaggio, and several others on the ball. It’s one of a kind. It will be passed on to my son and grandchildren. I have always appreciated his help in getting it to me.
Concerning my advancing years, I’m just elated that I’m still here. I just wish radio was as healthy as I am.
Stay well, George. (Whose Caddy Is That?)
Geo: Glad to hear that you’re doing well, Craig.
Your Eldorado story reminded of Charlie Van Dyke, who came to KLIF the Mighty 1190 in 1977 to do mornings for one last gasp for a formerly AM legend. He bought a beautiful black Biarritz when he got to Dallas.
I worked mid-days, and when we looked out the window to the north, there was a KVIL billboard with Ron, Larry, and Seldon. Taped to the window of our studio was a sign with an arrow that pointed toward the billboard. It simply said, “Get ’em.” :o) After KLIF, I moved with Edd Routt to Mobile to program WKRG-FM. I took all the knowledge I had learned from KLIF and from listening to KVIL and applied it. We went from a 4 share to a 20.8 12+ in our first book. Flipped the market leader WABB on its ass. A year later I came back to Dallas as Production Director of WFAA/KZEW. That lasted a few years and finally, Dave Spence called me and offered me my dream job, working at KVIL as Operations Manager. That lasted until Mel bought the place and the economy went to hell. Billing dropped significantly and my job was eliminated 2 weeks before Christmas 87. I left radio for advertising, production, and jingles. Best move I ever made. Much more lucrative. But I miss what radio used to be. Thanks for your column. I enjoy it. (Whose Caddy Is That?)
Geo: Ain’t it fun beating up the leader of the market, Nick? When we first launched KVIL, we were chasing KLIF, but before long, they had to chase us. However, we never noticed because we didn’t have a rearview mirror. 🙂
GM’s and SM’s, DJ’s, Engineers, the “tape cart ops,” and the group from Sales, all wedged together in one enchanted hotel bar. You pulled it off, Jack, and thanks to all! (KVIL Reunion)
Geo: Great seeing you, old friend. “Oh What A Nite.”