One two three o’clock
four o’clock rock.
Five six seven o’clock
eight o’clock rock
When “Rock Around The Clock” began playing on the radio, things would never be the same again. Before long you began hearing the Crew Cuts, the 4 Lads, and the Diamonds mixed into the sweet soft sound of what used to be. As good as this new Rock&Roll sounded, I would discover later that most of it were only watered-down versions of even a bigger sound I would soon get to hear.
When the school year ended, we moved into a brand new home in another suburb of Winnipeg called Transcona and not only did I leave North Kildonan behind, but I also left that shy quiet guy who loved baseball and scouting back there too.
Unfortunately, being a jack of all trades, my Father had purchased the stripped-down version of our new home which meant that as his assistant I got to help him build a garage, a bedroom in the basement, a concrete driveway along with sidewalks, build a fence, and sod the yard which took most of the summer.
It was during our building years that he felt compelled to remind me about a few of the many house rules. Don’t bring the police to the front door, don’t ever tarnish the family name, and stay away from the bad girls.” I understood the first two, but staying away from the bad girls was ludicrous. How the hell were you supposed to get lucky? Also, according to my Father, all crime began after midnight, so to keep me from temptation, he initiated a midnight curfew.
The only break I got from our construction work was when my Dad was sick in bed. I now figure that sadly he must have been suffering from what know as Depression. On those days though, I’d get to wander over to the nearby park hoping to meet someone that I could play a little ball with. On one of those days, I happened to meet an unassuming guy by the name of Peter Proskurnik. (pictured on top a few years ago and playing with me and Rolly Blaquiere in the Phantoms, far left when we were hardly more than kids) I had no idea that meeting Peter that day was about to change my life forever.
Pete said that he be glad to play catch with me, but first, he had to practice his accordion a little, I remember thinking, accordion, why would anyone want to play the accordion? Less than an hour later, true to his word he was back and while we were throwing the ball around he asked if I’d like to go with him to Teen Canteen that evening? When I asked, “What’s Teen Canteen,” he said that it was a dance which didn’t sound like fun to me. The only dances I was aware of were played polkas or were square dances but since he played ball with me, I decided to go.
Later that evening as we hoofed our way to the East End Community Club the summer sun was still high in the sky so when the door to the entrance closed behind us, we were thrust into total darkness. We must have looked like a couple of guys in need of a seeing-eye dog and a couple of white canes as we slowly groped our way down the narrow hallway towards the dimly lit entrance to the dance hall ahead.
Upon entering the hall, the only light was coming from the colored lights that were strung up everywhere. However, now, I no longer cared about seeing, what I cared about was the thunderous sound blasting out of the four huge Hi-Fi speakers hanging on the wall. The raw sexuality that was pouring out of them and into my soul was making it very difficult to breathe.
I spent the rest of the night frozen in front of those speakers where for the first time ever, I heard the likes of Jimmy Reed, Fats Domino, Big Joe Turner, Little Richard, Tiny Bradshaw, Little Willie John, Muddy Waters, and Wynonie Harris.
At some point, Pete must have sent some girl over to ask me to dance, but I remember thinking, “Hell, I don’t wanna dance, I want to make other people dance, and I want to do it for the rest of my life.
Rest in peace old friend I miss you already. 🙁
Why is it that only when you’re drinking is it so easy to figure out how the world should really work?
The only people who tell the truth are those who are not afraid of the consequences.
When has any politician affected your paycheck?
The reason I was fairly successful with the AC format was mostly because I really didn’t like the music.
One of the hardest things in the world to manufacture is your image.
I don’t think that helping someone should come at the detriment of others.
One of the hardest things to accomplish is changing but it’s even harder to grow.
I’ve never had a real problem with the mob, they only hurt each other and folks involved in illegal activities. Thugs, on the other hand, hurt everybody.
I don’t think that helping someone should come at the detriment of others.
One of the most difficult things to do is manufacture an image.
To become a leader all one needs to do is start leading.
Today is different. Your “Radio’s Over” hit me like sticking my finger in an electric socket. Ever do that?
Anyway, like you, I can’t help but lament radio’s current era. I’m close enough to DFW to listen to any or all of the stations I “helped”…mostly K— well, YOU know the one. Break’s my heart. AND, I refuse to accept that I am “…out of touch with today’s modern media or whatever.” I do hear some exceptions which make it somewhat better to catch a few personalities who are connecting with their audience. That’s a good thing…but rare.
One thing that might make me ALMOST feel like “I DON’T GET IT” is to hear stations send people to the internet. If I were in charge I tend to think I’d let the internet send people to my radio broadcast. Kinda like the use of newspaper ads, direct mail, magazine ads, and billboards. The internet is compelling…made so by some VERY clever folks. So. why invite radio listeners to go to a place where they might not want to come back? (Could the sales department have anything to do with this process?) I do see plenty of web ads popping up when going to the radio websites…oh well, that’s just me. You have to know that I joined the air wars when you’d better have a good reason for a double-spot or triple-spot. I think I heard a niner recently.
Bob Glasco: Congrats Cami! I’ve watched my own four daughters take this step and it was thrilling each time. Your Dad said that he would explain to you who everyone was that commented and what a big deal they were. What he probably won’t tell you is that he is the biggest deal of them all. I learned so much from him and your Uncle Reg. I will be forever in their debt. Happy life Cami! (Camera Graduates)
Ivan Braiker: George, I am surprised, creative can be fostered within the rules! Case in point Ron Chapman, he was never anything but compelling! And never outside of the rules. Creative costs $$$, the owners were more focused on pushing the bottom line. That’s when I left the business. I started Hipcricket truly because I thought it could save radio. I would argue the point that it very well may have been able to lead the charge bringing in tech, early, not trailing! Love to have a deeper discussion with you on all this 🙂 (Sales Promotions)
Geo: It’s always very interesting talking with you Ivan, I’m standing by.
Doug Herman: Re your comment that no great story ever started with, “So there I was, eating a salad.” Back in the big bucks days when Jack McCoy and I had our promotion company housed in one of the shiny new downtown San Diego high-rise office buildings, we worked with a guy who, when we were on an elevator by ourselves, would occasionally wait until the elevator stopped at any random floor before our destination, and as the doors opened for someone to get on, would casually “continue the story” …. “So there I was, stark naked ….” Sometimes people would back out of the door and wait for a different elevator. I’m sure they heard us break up as the elevator doors closed. (I Radio)
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.