Geo’s Media Blog (The Big One) New 6/01/20

While sipping some wine at Duffy’s in South Florida with Tom Skinner (pictured above with me) who was visiting, we traded a few Gordon Zlot stories. At some point, he mentioned that he was only 27 when he joined KZST as the station’s new sales manager. However, having no previous management experience and knowing that he would soon need to conduct some job interviews, he bought a book called, “The Ten Best Questions To Ask Prospective Employees At A Job Interview.” Tom claimed that the book was a great help until he discovered that there was another book out ther called, “The Perfect Answers To The Ten Most Asked Questions At A Job Interview.”

Unfortunately, Tom said, when he first arrived at KZST, he discovered that the former Sales Manager who had not only left Gordon high and dry, he also hadn’t left Tom any sales tools. No sales brochures, no rate cards, no leave behinds of any kind, no nothing.

The owner, Gordon Zlot, who was an engineer by trade had put KZSY on the air with his bare hands, so Tom wasn’t quite sure how to approach him about any of this. Finally, because he desperately needed something to work with, he just blurted it out and Gordon who is now a member of the Bay Area Hall Of Fame, not only said yes; he asked if he could help?

The first thing they did was get one of the more creative agencies in town to help them but unfortunately for Tom, who desperately needed the stuff yesterday, the project then went into slow motion. Unbeknownst to Tom, Gordon was and is a very detail-oriented kind of guy. He needed to see the various shades of the colors that they wanted to use and all fonts that were available.

As Tom looks back at it now from semi-retirement, even though the process was very frustrating, he’s so glad Gordon did it that way because it set the standard of what KZST was soon going to become.

When the project was finally finished, the local advertising community raved about how San Francisco it all looked. In fact, even though the programming wasn’t quite in place yet, KZST instantly became the “Big One” in town because they already looked like they were.

Shortly thereafter I’m proud to say, that it didn’t take long for KZST to become #1, and just like WRMF in Palm Beach, and K-103 in Portland, they have remained there for over thirty years. Unfortunately, though, the station that they were all designed after which was the biggest of them all, KVIL in Dallas, is now just an embarrassment.

GEO’S LIFE-LINES

Why do we care about the rights of people who don’t think we should have any?

It’s never too late to be what you should be.

Seeing as drummer Don Henley is the only original member of the Eagles left, I guess that makes them the best tribute band of all time?

Speaking of drummers, can you imagine Ringo calling his All Starr Band the Beatles?

Buying smart water is a dumb thing to do.

Is it true that some cities in California are beginning to look like they are in third world countries?

I wonder how many so-called poor people are scammers?

The reason more women aren’t running more things right now might be because they don’t want too?

The problem with music research is lots of women love the Stones, but none of them want to hear them on their favorite AC station.

COMMENTS
Jed Duvall: George: When you and Jim promoted me from a producer to assistant program director for WIBC-AM in 1978, when you sent Larry Knight to Philadelphia to succeed Kevin Metheney at WZZD-AM (You were in Philadelphia, so it was Jim whom broke the news and told me to remove anything that even remotely sounded like “disco” off of WIBC’s airwaves (which I did in less than 24-hours as it was pretty easy since all of the music was on Fidelipacs and LPs (the BMF M.-O.-R. songs that WIBC aired right after the newscasts), Jim told me NOT to report WIBC’s music adds to “Billboard,” “Brenneman,” “Bill Gavin” or “Radio & Records.”  Larry Knight had been getting pressured from outside to do so but refrained, being the good soldier and beacon of integrity that he was.  After all, just like KVIL, the trades and other radio groups wanted to crack the Fairbanks shell and treasure trove of secrets that must have been in hallways of 2835 North Illinois Street, with both WIBC and WNAP at the top of the Arbitron rating heaps.  Jim told me of his most significant “coup” when he flipped WFIL-AM from his take on a traditional Top 40 to Drake-style “Boss Radio” before consultant Paul Drew landed to put the format on WIBG-AM, all because a record person had a big mouth.  Jim admonished me, saying the old W.W.-2 naval admonition, “Loose lips sink ships.”  I think the only record that I ever added that wound up being reported to the trades, and not by me, was “Morning Dance,” by Spyro Gyra. Gary used it to time-out into the newscasts, occasionally, until it finally charted into the Top 20 in Billboard! (A Few More Life-Lines)

Jim Harper: Like most kind and wise men, you never asked or seemed to want anything but to engage in interesting conversations and see people succeed. Maybe THAT’S the point? I could never repay you for the success you’ve helped me achieve.
My FAVORITE Georgeism: “OK…let’s stop discussing this great idea before we talk ourselves out of it.” (Write The Wrongs)

Michael O’Shea: Good read, Geo. No wonder Joe Amaturo likes you so much. (Racist)

Geo: Joe is one of the great ones as you well know, Michael.

Jerry: I’ve seen stations pass over a great weekend talent and hire a new full-time guy when they had an opening. The reason being, it was quite often harder to fill the spot of a good reliable part-time position than the full-time gig. (Super Star)

Joan Vidler: Got a candlelit here Georgie for you and your neighbors’ safety. (Hurricane Mathew)

Geo: Miss you and Gar so much, “Young Joan.”

Mister Below: Speaking at a broadcasting class at Butler University recently, I told them that when they get to do the radio station tour in a few days, the BMW’s Cadillac’s, Audi’s, Lexus’ and so on… in the parking lot, belonged to the sales folks. (faster Cars)

John Walton: Some undeniable truths posted here.  Some bromides that don’t pass the litmus test of the “real world.”  Here’s my reality, I’ve had a fairly successful radio career for 45 years and a very successful morning program for 35 straight years now if we had blindly accepted and implemented even half of what was “strongly” recommended by a dozen big-name consultants, we would have most assuredly joined the post Telecom 96 off the air club. But, I have always read it all there is because there is so much left to learn. (Nuthin’ on but the radio)

Geo: You’re right John, sometimes the key to success is just being curious.

Dick Taylor: FABULOUS story Geo! My greatest success was being a father to two wonderful men. My greatest joy is being a grandfather to a “baker’s dozen” of grandkids.
We are lucky radio dudes. (Hey There Nathaniel)

Tom Hoyt: George, I love ya man…..but as I see this weekly, I am bemused by your always referencing Canada and Fairbanks. Great stories those, but what about KFROG and the stuff Joe asked you to do? Every once in a while, I see a reference to Joe and Betsy, but KFROG was also a big success. Joe w’ the investment $ and yours truly, executing the plan…..I was there for 16 years, with Amaturo, American Radio, and CBS, and many of the folks I put in place are still there today. Scott of The Frogmen in the Morning, Leslie Bischoff the Marketing/Promotions gal, Michael Valenzuela, a sales guy I hired from XEROX, who is Entercom’s Market Manager today and 3 or 4 AEs still selling. You have had a hand in all of that….ever think of a column on KFRG/KXFG/KVFG/KEZN? They deserve some props…..just my view. (Classy)

Geo: The Frog was good to both of us Tom, and not only did we win big in the Inland Empire, we had a lot of fun plus also a few memorable adventures. Things started to spiral down when CBS bought it, but now that Entercom owns it, they have sunk to new lows. Not only have they taken the Frog names off, but I hear they program it out of San Diego. Hey, and happy 80th.

Dee McGinn: George, I knew you via Don Garrard (dandy) back in the late 70s/early 80s. I was married to him while he was in Indy at the buzzard through his stint with you in San Diego. I still have a note you sent him asking, “Don, you haven’t caused any trouble for a while…are you ill?”I only met you a handful of times, but you were just delightful to talk to, and Don thought very highly of you. I spotted your blog while trying to see what Tom Cochran and Buster are up to now, and thought I’d say hello and wish you well. Take care! Dee (Garrard) McGinn (Comments)

Geo: Thank you for reaching out, Dee, I enjoyed working with Don and miss him a lot.

Steve Eberhart: If the TV networks were in Dallas, their perception of America would be quite different.  How many times do you see a news story that occurred in New York on the national news and think, if that happened here, it would never make the national news. They report what they see, which is often tainted by perspective. (American Airlines learned this concept a LONG time ago when they moved to Dallas and look how they’ve done!) (The Great Motivator)

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 Geo’s Media Blog @ GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.

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