Turn Off The F**king Wind Machine!

Way back in the day when I started my brand new career in Radio as a rookie board op in Winnipeg I got lucky. It seems at the same time the British and American invasion of CKY was also underway and I was right in the middle of it. Now I’ve been told many times that luck is defined as the moment where preparation and opportunity meet. I still have no idea how or when I prepared for what followed but what I do know is I still use today what I learned back when this great picture was taken. Bottom row left to right Chuck Dann, (Riley) Jimmy Darin (Hilliard) Top row Phil Everly, Gary Todd, Don Everly, and Dean Scott. The funny thing about this picture is that even though it was taken in Winnipeg there is not a Canadian in it.

I have a theory that every woman at some point in her life has a shot at becoming a Swan. I do hope my Daughter Cami hasn’t peaked a little too early though because at her recent Sweet 16 party not only did she look like a beautiful Swan but she was also wearing feathers.

There is a lot more applause waiting for you when you turn out to be much better than you think or claim you are.

Can you imagine Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Carmelo, TO, or Randy Moss ever hearing the words …. Hey you guys are even better than I heard you were.

Speaking of ‘Mello is it just me or did the Knicks start to lose it when he returned from an injury.

The PGA tour was in West Palm Beach a couple of weeks ago and it was up 64% over a year ago. There was only one reason for that and that reason was one man. How much money do you think they should pay Tiger.

Speaking of Tiger, even though he is not playing very good golf he is still largely responsible for the good life most of his fellow golf pros are living.

Half the population in the World never get lucky and on any given night the percentage even drops lower than that.

Being from Western Canada I’m not a real big fan of Quebec nor the folks who live there. But then again most of my favorite Hockey players like Rocket Richard, Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafluer, and Jacques Plante all played for the Montreal Canadiens so I guess I have made some allowances.

Red Auerbach claimed “9 out of 10 great Basketball Players will end their career ungraciously”

Speaking of Basketball It’s been a long hard road back for IU so it’s lucky that the guy who fired Bobby Knight a decade or so ago died because I’m sure by now the Hoosiers Alumni would have killed him.

Here in South Florida everybody was all excited when Miami traded Brandon Marshall to Chicago because they thought the Dolphins were making cap room for Manning. Turns out Marshall punched out some woman at a party over the weekend and the owner Steve Ross wanted him gone.

I wonder why most cars have cruise control in them, does anybody ever ask for it let alone use it.

Why do the worst sounding commercials always seem to be the easiest to sell.

I wonder it it’s even possible to go from nothing to something anymore in America.

Every time I hear the old Seger song “Against The Wind” it reminds me that as we go through life we are always going slightly against the wind. When your young you don’t even notice it and if you do it only feels like a very nice soft cooling breeze. As time marches on it seems to pick up a little speed and at some point in your life you are so tired of it you just want to yell … Would somebody please turn off the f**king wind machine.

In the World of “there are no rewards or punishments only consequences” the consequence of good programming is good ratings.

Speaking of ratings they have nothing to do with your need for them just your deserving of them.

In the good ol’ diary days we used to pound the call letters at the audience over and over. The rule was the first and last thing out of your mouth were always the call letters. What a waste of time that all was and the only thing we accomplished was to probably irritate our biggest fans who already know who we were. It’s like introducing yourself to your best friend over and over again. The final insult was that after all that pounding they only wrote down the dial position anyway.

Have you ever noticed how easy Mr. Business Man is to work with when he is frightened. Can you say … Mr. Cooperation!

Speaking of cooperation it seems to me that the people who are overly cooperative at the radio station always seem to lack an abundance of real talent.

I think getting listeners is much tougher than getting clients. Can you tell by how fair and balanced I am that I’m a programming guy.

Speaking of sales the rules of what is acceptable to their good taste on air always seem to change depending mostly on the size of the order.

A woman saying “I don’t like you like that anymore but we can still be friends” doesn’t work for me. Not enough cheese in that tunnel for me to continue to be her errand boy thats for sure.

I have always said there are two George Johns one with my Daughters and one without. The only question I have is which one is the real one. Hey don’t be looking at me I have no idea!

22 thoughts on “Turn Off The F**king Wind Machine!

  1. We kinda remember the early days George
    You and Pete Verbin
    You two came a long ways – good on you both !!!!


  2. I was a very young Jock at WFEC in Harrisburg Pa. when the Stones first came to America…. they played to 300 fans at the Farm Show Arena……and they are still around…but then again, so am I

  3. The title of this blog and the comment about “Against The Wind” brings to mind this story I heard this week (I forget the station.) about a radio spot that had been on the air on the east coast for years. The name of the sponsor is “The Sofa King”. After 19-years on-the-air, the general manager is listening to the station and hears the phrase, “Take advantage of The Sofa King low, low prices…!” (Just say it real fast and add a New Joisey accent !) It reminds me of how The Magic Christian would do the Memphis school lunch menus every Friday morning, telling everybody that the cafeteria would be serving “Fish Dicks” when we were at WHBQ in 1980.

  4. George: The “good ol’ diary days” are still here. 236 radio markets still use the diary while just 48 have PPM. Additionally, all communities not in the top 284 rated markets get County by County ratings (also from the diary). So while 60% of the population lives in those PPM markets, programming to the other 40% requires total recall of the station name brand. Remember years ago that we guessed that half of all radio listening was lost due to diary recall? PPM began in 1992 and we were proven right. PPM shows much more radio listening than with diary. What’s the difference between the top two rated stations in any format? #1 has 30 more station name mentions an hour! Can you over ID the station? No, not with diary recall. Continuous branding is essential. Note I’m saying “station name”, not call letters. For FM listeners, the brand is the frequency, but for AM listeners, the old timers still use the call letters. 90% of all diary entries for FMs are the exact dial position; a similar percent is true for writing call letters for AM stations. And station fans (P1s) are not irritated when we say the station name 40 times an hour, nor are they mad when go into Macy’s, McDonalds, Wal-Mart, or any other retailer and see their brand name posted everywhere. Repetition is the basis of learning (ask any parent). Thus, the fastest way to increase diary ratings in the next sweep is double the station name mentions each hour! Fix the programming, and numbers will stay up there!

    • Good stuff John. Before I was in radio I used to listen to WLS who said the call letters better than any other radio station. I knew who I was listening to because dialing them in from Winnipeg was a bitch. I thought they said the call letters so often because they liked saying them and the way they said them was with enormous pride. It made me want to work there just to feel the good vibe of the place they were portraying. I also thought they said them so often was because they were taunting WCFL and laughing at them because those jox weren’t lucky enough to be able to say DOUBLE YOU LLLLLL SSS

  5. Loved the line: Why do the worst sounding commercials always seem to be the easiest to sell. *** Ain’t that the truth! Moreover, because they didn’t spend any money on the creative, they have a ton to spend running them. And if they also happen to be running for political office, we have to give them the lowest ad rates on the station, allowing them to buy even more air time. And when the ratings go in the tank, no one goes lookin’ for the sales guy, do they Geo?

    • The sales folks are our “fair weather listeners” Dick. They seldom hear the next big thing and in fact most times dislike it. When the ratings finally roll in they of course always liked the sound and claim they knew all along it was going to be big. Each time I do anything new and sales goes out of their way to tell me how much they and their clients don’t like it I tell them that they will forget we had this conversation but lucky for them I wont and we can have it once again at a more appropriate time.(-:

  6. Re your comment about WLS: “I thought they said the call letters so often because they liked saying them and the way they said them was with enormous pride.”

    That is exactly right. We’ve all said a load of call letters in our on-air lives, but I have never heard anyone “say ’em like you mean it” like the old 1960s and early ’70s WLS guys. Most of that talent was on other stations before or after WLS and at those gigs didn’t have that same conviction and pride in the brand. I don’t know whether it was built into the culture at the Big 89, but it really showed on the radio. And the all-time champion best “say ’em like you mean it” guy was the great Lyle Dean. Wow! In a class by himself. (Maybe I’m partial because when I was on the air I was a news guy…)

  7. The George you “are” near your daughters is the George you “need” to be, both morally inside, and in how you focus your professional knowledge. An Angel on your shoulder. An internal compass. If you could ditch this dude, you could be RICH!
    The “bad boy” George, when the kids aren’t around, is who you “want” to be, and totally enjoy being, thus the “real” you, especially when the lower brain is the only one doing the thinking!
    Face it, you could be 2 distinct people inside, and dangerous to be around!

  8. was at WLS in the late 60’s and early 70’s.. (Buddy Carr at CFL and Tom Lee at LS) . Those days were special, .. I knew my career could only go down hill, and it did…. Best to you George, You and Chapman are my heros…

    • Tom I visited WLS once in ’69 from Ottawa because I wanted my Chief Engineer to see what kind of equipment a real radio station had. Color me embarrassed because my station was way more modern. Which only proves that one should never blame their tools. What a sound they got out of that place.

  9. Steve Hnat was the only guy whose engineering shop you could really learn something.
    As for magic just remember better living through chemistry. Currently. In north Florida where its Tim tebow will he or wont he go to Ny. Lets see if this was radio you. And Jim would pay whatever. It took. Watching and listening.

  10. Speaking of that, I remember the disappointment I felt the first time I walked into WIBC in 1969. I was coming from Bismarck, North Dakota, to a 50,000 watt station and the control room didn’t compare to the one I was coming from. But I was there for three years during which the first rebuilding took place and it was much fancier when I left.

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