When Jim and I first met he was the Program Director of CKY in Winnipeg and become my mentor for most of my life. He gave me the break of a lifetime by hiring me to be the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting where we had a great ride together but the best part of it all is … We ain’t done yet.The man needed to be thanked first though is Mark Parr whom I knew before I met Jim. It was Mark who actually got me started in radio by teaching me how to run the board one day out of the blue then drove management crazy until they hired me as a part time board op. Without out his persuading me to give running the board a shot I doubt very much that I would have had a radio career.
Next up is Daryl “B” and Chuck Riley, Chuck gave me great production ears and Daryl talked management into giving me his Music Director’s title when he left for Vancouver.
Before Jim left for Indianapolis he’d made me the Production Director so now that I also had the Music Director’s title George Dawes our midday jock (pictured) used both of my titles to get me an interview with some folks he knew at CKOM in Saskatoon where I soon became their new Program Director.
Becoming a PD was the good news, the bad news, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.
I’m told that a person is usually the answer and that person turned out to be Gary (Vidler) Russell who also ended up becoming a life long friend.(pictured with me) Without his help my whole radio career might have ended right then.
Here’s to Roger Klein who made me sound so smart in Sudbury Ottawa and Toronto where along with Keith Elshaw (photo) we created the first ever AC station.
While at CFTR I got to work with some incredible talent like the Magic Christian, Sandy Hoyt, Doc Harris, plus Earl Mann with whom I still work a little with today, but its Earl’s board op Rick Moranis I really want to thank.
Rick made all our Jock meetings hilarious but he also made a dinner I had with him in New York very special for me when he was kind enough to tell my daughter Candis who was going to NYU that I had been a big inspiration to him at the beginning of his career.
Speaking of Toronto I can’t ever leave out Keith Dancy and Ted Rogers (pictured) who managed to lure me to Toronto from CFRA in Ottawa where ratings wise things were going real well.
They also had the balls to let me launch a brand new experimental format on CFTR which changed not only my whole life but probably a few others too including theirs.
When Jim Hilliard hired me to be his National PD I put my new format on KVIL in Dallas where Ron Chapman along with his Texas Hall Of Fame Staff took it to legendary status (Ron pictured with me after I inducted him into his third Radio Hall of Fame) Not only did the huge success of KVIL launch an entirely new career for me but it also allowed my childhood dream of living in California to come true.
My first priority at Fairbanks though was WIBC/WNAP in Indy where I was back working with Chuck Riley and Gary Todd again whom I’d worked with in Winnipeg. We had an incredible line up there like Fred Heckman Lou Palmer Tom Cochran Bob Lamey Jerry Baker Buster Bodine and one of the most creative guys I ever worked with, Cris Conner who made my first few years in America a pleasure (Cris pictured with me at his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame)
I’ve gotta thank sales guru Dick Yancey (photo) who convinced me that if I could just figure out a way to creatively tie sales into all of our promotions, wonderful things like my first Mercedes would soon happen.
Thank you attorney John King (photo) for getting our promotions past the FCC so well that when Dick Yancey syndicated “The Magic Ticket” it was stamped … FCC approved!
How could I forget Norm Wilkens and his gifted artist Lotsy who created so many of our award winning billboards.(Billboard of the year)
I’ll never forget the first time I met Jack McCoy which resulted in me getting to run a lot of his great promotions first. Jack was also my secret voice on many of them but most importantly he taught me the “math” of ratings and was kind enough to spread my name across America.
Here’s to my smarter than me brother Reg who managed to combine a few of our better promotions and figure a way to put them up on the internet which made him real well.
It was there that I met my long time friend and associate Reid Reker.(photo) The Shadeks who owned KOGO/KPTI also owned KLLS in San Antonio where Reid and I launched the first ever “CLASS FM” which became hit instantly and before long Jim West had it on over 40 stations in North America. The “Class” format was just a clone of KVIL and I thank God that we had a few talented guys around like Cat Simon, Jason Williams, Bruce Buchanan, Al Gardner, Harry Nelson and of course my old buddy Bill Gardner who when he had been at KVIL for its birth and won radio personality of year during his tenure there so he helped us out enormously in San Antonio. All of these guys understood the “Class” concept so luckily we were able to send a bunch of them out into the field to launch a few others for us.Hey how big do you supposes those cajones on Toney Brooks are. (photo) When I first met him he was running a chain of very successful AOR stations for Sandusky radio but gave me two of them anyway to put “Class FM” on. Toney turned out to be right because KLSI in Kansas City and KLSY in Seattle went on to very big things under the leadership of Steve Dinkel and Dana Horner.
Before them though there was Roger Snowdon who after doing my taxes one year surprised me by claiming that I had just became a millionaire.(Rog do you still have that Mill tucked away) In San Diego it was Jerry Perkins who kept the Feds off my back but Bill Yde was the one who talked me into buying Fairwest which led to our purchasing our own radio stations. What a mind boggling experience that was for a lad from Transcona.
I’ll also never forget you introducing me to a new talk show host by the name of Rush Limbaugh who against my better judgement you put on KKOB in Albuquerque “The land Of Entitlement.” Boy was I ever wrong!
Then there’s Tim Reever who taught me how to be fast and showed me how to take the events to a whole new level while still having fun and telling stories.
I can’t ever forget my favorite lawyer Betsy Cameron who not only got me involved with Joe Amaturo’s stations, but also got me into my beautiful condo in West Palm Beach.
They are all pictured with me at our meetings in Palm Springs along with Bobby Cole whom I once traveled the nation with when he was the V/P of Programming for Fairmont Communications. I’ve been working with KZST for well over 25 years now and still look forward to each and every visit and I want to thank them for not only some great radio, but also great fun.
It’s impossible to leave out folks like super tech Matt Greeney who actually was the one who taught me how to e mail which led me to blogging and put his life in danger. Thank you Rich Stevens who designed my Blog and fixes it when I screw it all up as I constantly do and there are a lot of people like “Little Jim” who help me without realizing it and I can only hope that they know who they are. This chapter is becoming longer than “War and Peace” so I’ve got to stop somewhere but I can’t stop though without thanking all the special ladies in my life. First there’s my daughters Candis and Cami of course along with their mothers Lana and Kari plus Sharon, Linda, Jamie, Leslie, Robin, Mary, Laura, and Joasia. These ladies have not only kept me motivated throughout my journey but they also kept me excited but that’s another story for another day. geo