At Fairbanks, most things that we did on all of our stations were created and fine-tuned in Jim’s office in Indy. My job was to take them to Boston, Dallas, Philly, and Palm Beach, where with the help of the local PD, we would install them.
As I said earlier, a PD needs to be a GP today, not a specialist, so I guess I’d be what you’d call a GP consultant huh?
Jim hit the nail on the head, George. Wish I’d met you earlier in my career. I met Jim Hilliard when he visited KIMN in the early 80s. Wish I’d met you then too.
Geo: Now you’re making me blush, you’re an evil man, Doug. 🙂 I too wished we had met in the 8o’s, Doug, we would have melted a few cities. (I Got Lucky)
Geo: Thank you, Bob. Do you mean my pride was showing? Shame on me. 🙂 (Hey There Nathaniel)
Geo: He always bragged about having his “first” whatever the hell that meant Jerry.(3 Halls Of Fame Baby)
Chuck Knapp: Fabulous tribute George. Thank you for telling me he wasn’t doing well. I immediately called him and we had a long conversation, our last. He was a big voice from the small town of Duncan, Oklahoma. Chuck and I were roommates and had so many fun times together. He was “big Chuck” and he called me “little Chuck”, a truism in body size and vocal ability. While some will remember him for his “worst of times” attitude I’m with you. Chuck’s “best of times” is beyond description and so damn entertaining. Rest in peace Charles Daniel Hanks Jr. I can only imagine. lol. (What Ever Happened To My Old Friend Riley)
Bob Christy: After you left Indy for fame and fortune, I had the pleasure of being the guy in between Chuck and JCH. Chuck and Jim were in non-speaking mode and there I was in Jim’s office, Chuck and I sitting across the desk from Jim. The conversation went like this:
JCH: “Bob, tell Chuck that the equipment he is demanding for the show isn’t going to fly”
Me: Repeat Jim’s statement
Chuck: (in a super low movie trailer voice) “Robert please inform Mr. Hilliard that without the proper equipment the fucking show isn’t going to work and without the proper studio equipment, I will not, I repeat, will not do the show!”
Me: Repeat Chuck’s statement
JCH: “Bob tell Chuck, that he doesn’t need 6 Neumann microphones to do a three-person show.”
Chuck: (in his slightly out breath Orson Welles voice, with all the proper moments of silence used as punctuation) “Tell Mr. Hilliard, that we will have guests from time to time and we need to accommodate them with the proper fucking equipment. Or maybe he no longer cares how the god damn station sounds to the listeners or possibly he has forgotten what got him his lofty position in the first place.”
This went on for an hour, when it was over, Chuck put on his smiley face and went on the air, leaving JCH muttering and me sitting there going, “WTF did I just experience!”
I loved the guy, but he could be…
Tom Snyder: When I was a young boy (16) considering a career as a disc jockey, I had the pleasure of visiting Chuck one night in the control room at WIBC (same as the above pic). I don’t remember whether he encouraged me or not, but it was a wonderful experience to meet my VO hero. Later I did become a disc jockey, and later an advertising producer and used Check many times for spots after I moved to Florida. He was my secret weapon. My spots were fantastic. He was the greatest personality and voice actor I’ve ever encountered or ever will.
Jed Duvall: George, thank you for the aircheck clips of Chuck. Although we were never close and although he gave me a great deal of grief, I realize now he was training me, as were you, Jim, Gary, and Bake, to adhere and never budge from demanding high standards, which stuck with me in my professional radio, TV, web and print career. I was fired a couple of times for not budging, but at least I could look at myself in the mirror the next morning and go forward. Listening to these clips bring tears to my eyes and re-opens the small hole in my heart. You and others have a bigger gap in the soul because you worked with Chuck longer. He was a talented person that no one could ever forget.
Geo: Chuck, Tom, Bob, and Jed, I have no idea what I’d be doing right now if I hadn’t met Chuck Riley. Probably working in a car wash in some small town. (Whatever Happened To My Old Friend Riley?)
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.