Geo’s Media Blog (Running Back To Saskatoon)

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Packed up my family
and headed to Saskatoon
Had to promise them though
that we’d be back real soon.

Knew upon arrival
I’d need my own team
If this move was ever destined
to kick start my dreams.

While playing with The Jury and working part-time at CKY, I suspected that the upcoming birth of my first child was doing to put me through some major changes. Deep down I knew that I wasn’t a good enough musician to support a family so when Candis was born and Bill Grogan (pictured between Vic Edwards and Frank Roberts) offered me the Music Director’s job at CKY, I left the Jury.
Leaving the Jury was very tough because it meant that I was giving up on a dream that Rolly Blacquiere and I had when we were kids.
Surprisingly, when Randy Bachman heard that I’d left the Jury, he tried to recruit me for the Guess Who. When I just laughed and when I said that I wasn’t good enough, Randy said, “I can teach you the music, it’s all that other stuff you do that The Guess Who needs.” I was certainly flattered by the offer. but committed to giving radio a shot.

Back when I began my radio career, I’d lucked out because, CKY had a bunch of Americans working there, so right from the get-go, I learned how to do it bigger and better. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before they all left to go back to the U.S. which left me with a type of radio that wasn’t fun anymore. But hey, it still beats working for a living.
The only fun now was when John Wells and I would go up to Chan’s Moon Room where I would flirt with our receptionist, Embree McDermid, (pictured below) as we drank somebody goodbye. Em wasn’t even close to what you’d call a wild woman, nor was she a “bad girl,” but she definitely was a MILF.
 
 
However, while waiting for the birth of my daughter, I received a surprise phone call from my former boss, Jim Hilliard. (pictured with his wife, Barb) Jim who was now the new program director of WFIL in Philadelphia, wanted me to jump on a plane and come talk to him about me doing promos for him just like I did when he was at CKY.
 
 
After filling out all the necessary paperwork at WFIL, we jumped into Jim’s red Caddy and headed to Bookbinders with his wife, Barbara for dinner. The place was just jumpin’ with lawyers and they were wearing their official uniforms. You know, navy blue pin-striped suits, matching vests, yellow and red striped power ties and of course the regulatory red suspenders. However, they were no match for our table.
Jim was wearing a maroon-colored Nehru suit with a huge gold medallion hanging around his neck and Barb was decked out in what can best be described as a toga. On her feet were white Roman sandals with straps that crisscrossed all the way up to her knees. The baubles on her fingers were gold as were the bracelets that snaked their way from her wrists to her elbows and her blonde hair which was piled high on her head was crowned with a gold tiara.
We spent most of the evening catching up which included the fact that my wife Lana was now pregnant. At some point during the conversation, I began to notice that we were being stared at and when I mentioned it to Jim, he said, “They’re just pissed ’cause I make more money than they do.”
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I was very excited about the possibility of moving to Philly but you can’t just wander across the border, you need a work permit. Getting a work permit began with putting my name on the bottom of a very long list. Four years later when it finally rose to the top, Jim was running a chain of radio stations out of Indy, and I was the Station Manager of CFTR in Toronto.

Meanwhile, back home in Winnipeg where I was growing more restless and thought that I couldn’t take it anymore, fate intervened while I was returning an album to the main studio. As I walked in, I overheard our mid-day talent, George Dawes, telling someone on the phone, “Thanks but no thanks.” When I asked him about it, he said that CKOM in Saskatoon was looking for a Program Director but he wasn’t interested. When I told him that I sure was, he called them back and the next thing I knew, I was on an airplane bound for Saskatoon. After only a short interview, I became their new Program Director which was very exciting, but not so much for my family. I was taking the first grandchild away from both grandparents, and my wife wasn’t real excited about leaving her new home that we just built. Oh, and I knew nothing about programming.

GEO’S LIFE-LINES
Life only begins to get sweet when you take some risks that scare you.

When my father was teaching me to drive, occasionally he’d say, “Son you’re over correcting.” America needs to listen to my dad.

Why is it when a few people die from something, it’s immediately pulled from the market place but when cigarettes and guns kill thousands, nothing happens?

Is it true that the vaping scare is being fueled by the tobacco industry?

There is nobody more sensitive than me but unfortunately, I don’t think it’s the sensitivity that the ladies are looking for.

COMMENTS

Jennifer Sue Randall: I really appreciated you putting this article into your blog. I have nothing against Trump. I was just on a cruise and several people brought up Trump’s name and then went into a rant about how much they hated him.  It’s a wonderful practice to stay quiet.  You can’t change anyone’s mind.  Even with this blog, you probably won’t change the negativity towards him.  I voted for Donald and I don’t mind saying it.  I could not vote for HC and I’m still happy that I voted for the Donald.  Being president is a thankless job with tons of criticism.  Kenny met Donald Trump a couple of times and really liked him as a person. Most of us have not met him, but yet choose to hate him and everything that he does, but that is what makes the world go round. (Unthinkable Trump)

Shaun Holly: What a great piece of historical creative entertainment!  From the clever contests and promotions to the jingles and the jocks!  I remember it so well…we could sure use it today. Thanks for sharing George! (Retro Radio In Dallas)

Peter Zolnowski: What other product can make the claim that 93% of all Americans use it?  I’m guessing toilet paper. (Making Movies)

John King: George, my favorite Ron Chapman story:  he gave away the prize of a 240Z to the wife of a contestant, who called in because her husband, who had entered the contest, was on the flight line and couldn’t respond to call within the required time. Ron asked me, KVIL’s FCC lawyer if that was okay. I said, “Well, no, because the contest rules required the person who entered the contest to call personally.” What did Ron do? He took it to his audience, asking, “Should we take the car away from her?” Then he did the classiest thing:  he let ‘em keep it, and . . . did a do-over: he gave another car away! No one ever out-classed KVIL. (Sales Promotions)

Geo:You’re right John until CBS purchased KVIL, every other radio station in town was only playing catch up. KVIL owned the promotion category. Mike Bader, as you know was our counsel at Fairbanks but unfortunately, he said no to every promotion I ever came up with. Finally, I blew up at Mr. Fairbanks, (how ballsy was that?) and the next thing I knew, I got to deal with you.
I’ll never forget the very first promotion I ran by you, I had all my I’s dotted and my T’s crossed, but in the middle of my passionate presentation you interrupted me and said, “George George, are you planning on giving away the prize?” When I answered yes, you said, “Then stop selling me, sell it to your listeners.” 🙂 (Sales Promotions)

Dann Shively: Gordon and I grew up in Vallejo and both started working at a 250-watt daytime, KGYW/KNBA when we were 12 and 13. I was more interested in on-air work; he was more interested in engineering, although he did on-air work as well.   Even at that age, he built a carrier current station at home and we broadcast to the neighborhood from his bedroom.  No one deserves the Hall of Fame induction more than Gordon. (Gordon Zlot)

Geo: I couldn’t agree more, Dann.

Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs, or to see some that you may have missed, go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.

 

 

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