Geo’s Media Blog (We’re #1 Right Here Right Now!) New 8/05/19

When I began consulting, my very first clients were the Shadeks who owned KOGO and KPRI in San Diego. KOGO was an AM radio station doing a unique format called the Radio Magazine and KPRI was an FM album rocker. Luckily for me, Tom and Ed also owned the radio station in San Antonio that changed my life. They’d tried every format under the sun, and were hoping that I could bring a little of the KVIL magic in Dallas, to San Antonio.
The first thing we did was change our name to Class FM and then begin to launch it the very same way that KVIL in Dallas and WRMF in Palm Beach were launched. The concept was, “Build Your Own Radio Station” and before long, with the help of legendary Bill Gardner, (shown above) Reid Reker, Bruce Buchanon, and Cat Simon, doing most of the heavy lifting there, (I love being the idea guy) not only did we blow away San Antonio, but “Class FM” also went nationwide.
The GM at that time was Jack Collins who got my attention when he got the money before we got the ratings. He did it by having Arbitron do a zip code run which showed that Class FM was already #1 in the northern half of the city. North San Antonio just happened to be where most of the malls were and the affluent lived.
Next, he printed up a bunch of maps of the city with a line drawn down in the middle deviding the city in half. On the northern half he printed in large block letters, “Class FM Is #1 Right Here Right Now” and then sent them out to all the advertizing agencies. He instantly got most of the advertising dollars.

GEO’S LIFE-LINES

The only time a PD really hears his radio station loud and clear, is when he’s listening to it with his boss.

I wonder if they teach socialism at the Harvard Business School?

The mere passage of time does not change the rules.

How is one supposed to handle your 14-year old grandson having a much more manly voice than you do?

Why do women think that their family is more important than ours?

Women make much more sense when we love them.

Women are into the why of ‘it’ whereas men are only into what ‘it’ is?

One performance is worth a hell of a lot more than a bunch of promises.

Every major event on our planet has left behind some kind of artifacts except for two. The Exodus and Noh’s Ark. Hmmm!

Sometimes baby steps are just not big enough.

If I had it to do over, the smarter way to go would have been to have the big fancy place down south for eight months a year and a small cabin on a lake up north for the rest of the time.

COMMENTS

Chris Duffy: As an imaging director, I had to come work at WGN to finally learn the most stop-in-your-tracks method to announce important breaking news is not a powerful drone, stab or sweeper intro. It’s the news guy cutting in saying …’ Hey can I interrupt here?’ (It’s Ok To Lie About Sex)

Bruce Munson: “A woman you adore saying to you … ‘Hey, but we can still be friends’ feels about the same as someone saying your dog just died but you can still keep him.” Yes, that one will be on my Facebook page soon.  Now, it’s not plagiarism if I give you credit, is it, George?

Geo: Have at it Bruce, lord knows where I got it from? (It’s OK To Lie About Sex)

Paul Meacham: George, you are a great storyteller. I did a TV commercial and jingle for your Classy in Kansas City and I think also for Seattle with my company Eagle Marketing … Was that Sandusky? I think Dana Horner was one of the GMs. Great format.
Keep em coming, George…
Geo: Yes it was Sandusky, Paul. Toney Brooks ran the company which was filled with AOR stations but he decided to give “Class Fm” a shot with KLSI in Kansas City. Steve Dinkle was the GM and it all went so well that we also got KLSY in Seattle where Dana was the GM. Fun days!

Steve Dinkle: Paul, every once in a while I get out that song that was written around our TV commercial and play it again.  No one would ever play a 2 to 3-minute promo song anymore but when you get the University of Missouri marching band playing your song at a Chiefs football game.. not too shabby!
At the beginning of KLSI, we were the strangers in the mostly AOR mix at Sandusky… until the money truck pulled up at our door and unloaded! They were fun days George.
Geo: Steve, I remember when all of us from KLSI showed up in Phoenix for the annual Sandusky meetings. All of their other stations rocked, so I’m pretty sure that when our presentation tape was about to be played they expected to hear something very wimpy. Instead, KLSI blew the room away. (Women Are Not Welcome Here)

Moto: Good advice; Never Kill a Client – you could end up in a bit of a bother.  If at all feasible, attempt to find a less drastic and more reasonable solution.  Killing a client is just plain wrong – no matter how well thought out your excuse. – Inspiration from Brett Halliday.
Geo: Moto, as one of our former sales managers told me recently. At every Hilliard meeting, he was ever at, Jim would always say, “Nothing happens in Radio until somebody sells something.”

I told him that at our programming meetings Jim would say, “We don’t have anything to sell until you guys put something worth selling on the radio. (For The Good Of The Country)

Steve Taylor: On another subject, Dion.  Mr. DooWop finding new ways to reinvent himself. He is like the Eveready bunny of the music biz. After over a decade in the music biz, he reinvented himself with Abraham, Martin, and John.  Fast forward to April 19, 1974. I was witness to one of the biggest musical trainwrecks ever.  Dion unplugged on the stage at Grand Valley State College, near Grand Rapids, MI.  Dion was the “surprise” warm-up act for Frank Zappa!  Frank’s legendary sonic orgies fueled by his fusion of jazz, screaming Stratocaster arias to an audience predisposed to experiments with chemical auras led to the most outrageous vacant stare in music history when Mr. Dimucci quietly walked to the middle of the stage and sat upon a tall, gray, 4 legged stool.  I thought to myself, this guy has got more guts than a government mule!
What is Dion going to do to win this crowd of pre-lit college kids over?  No horns, no driving beat?  Dion with an acoustic guitar playing his biggest hits, and new socially aware tunes.  He attempted to appease the crowd with a brief editorial about the fact that he was surprised to be there too!  Unless that spruce top had a secret pickup, fuzzbox, and stack of Marshall amps connected, Mr. DooWop was going to find out the hard way when the music died.
He left the stage after a couple of songs, with tear-filled eyes and a one-handed salute celebrating the smallest whole integer.
Fast forward to December 2011, and Dion 37 years later is promoting a new album? Frank Zappa is dead and his legend lives on.  Dion is alive and still trying for one more grab at the brass ring.
Stranger things have happened, but you will know when Dion has arrived… when he does his first commercial for Colonial Life or some reverse mortgage outfit.  “I’m the kinda guy that likes to hover around… ”
Geo: I’ve always loved Dion’s sound, Steve, in fact, I think if James Dean was alive today, he’d want Dion’s voice to sing with. (Who The Hell Are You?)

Chuck Knapp: Hey George, My wife Cheryl told me that she instantly fell in love with you. So take that. She’s using lower case letters for love though, not the upper case, but hey at least you’re on her keyboard. Keep smiling
Geo: Tell Cheryl that I’ll take all the love she’s got, upper or lower. It’s lonely out here, Chucker. 🙂 (What’s Love Got To Do With It)

John Lund: The Big 8. Just taught a graduate radio journalism class Thursday at MU in Columbia, MO.  Nothing illustrates the best of radio news in the Drake era than CKLW.  Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDCdbmwy9l8

Geo: I understand that they had 23 people in their the news department alone. Hell, they don’t have that many at a whole radio station now, John. (Hockey, Football, & Sex)

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.

 

 

9 thoughts on “Geo’s Media Blog (We’re #1 Right Here Right Now!) New 8/05/19

  1. Although KVIL allowed Consulting Engineer Charles Crossno to attend and heavily influence KVIL Staff Meetings, I did not want to attend. I was providing a service and didn’t really have anything to lend. And Larry Reid & I were very busy fending off interference by the aforementioned Crossno.

    But preventing leaks is a better reason. Managers, Accountants, Programmers, Jocks, and Salespeople are competitors, but Engineers view other Engineers as colleagues regardless of where they work. A fellow Engineer has loaned equipment or has come to help put a station back on the air and I have done the same. XEROK Chief Engineer Bruce Miller Earle came over to KINT-98 after midnight with the loan of a critical piece of equipment and read every Memo on every wall. I’m sure that Jim Taber would have had a fit. I wasn’t paying attention and I really didn’t care. But that’s the sort of pointless leak that would go directly to an opposing PD. This was not a problem at KVIL because Ron did not tend to post memos on walls.

    Engineering should not be included in Strategy Sessions for security reasons and I would include Accounting, who can smother any idea in its cradle. Ann Bradley being a notable exception.

      • Ron did have an Engraved Plaque on the wall with this (as I recall):

        “Rules Do Not Cease to Be Rules Merely Through the Passage of Time.” R. Chapman (1976).

    • Hollis, I have the scars to prove that most engineers are part of a fraternity and not at all a part of the radio station.
      At a couple of my stations, we’d discover a new piece of equipment that once installed, would make us so loud that the other stations sounded like they were coming in from out of town. However, this would only last a couple of weeks before we’d all be equal again. When I would ask the engineer why he turned us down, he’d say, “I didn’t turn us down, the other stations just got louder.” When I would ask him how they did that, he would say, “I told them about the new equipment we got, so they got it too.” What!

  2. San Antonio’s Class FM was 2 1/2 years of my life and career and a “worst to first” source of personal pride as VP/Programming and Morning Personality. Thanks for reviving and helping re-live the memory, my friend!

  3. George, even though I understand the economic discrimination of “redlining” real estate and putting stigmas on the economic classes we as Americans (and human beings) are not supposed to do, radio, TV, websites, magazines, books, newspapers, texts, tweets, etc., etc., etc. are all forms of communication in which hooks of all sorts are needed to gain attention in this crazy, over-communicated, noise-filled world. Although I have always believed that understatement is the best avenue, I realize I am and was wrong. Whatever I might think about Donald Trump, he has proven time and again, that today in the 21st Century, the loudest and bluntest language breaks through the attention-barrier of most people. Jack Collins at KLLS-FM was absolutely correct, and frankly, even today, was not being racist in the way he presented his maps to advertising agencies. Without calling out agencies that we both remember in Indianapolis, we knew agencies that discriminated between and against stations for reasons known only to the media buyers. The families of staff, programming and management and engineering all depend on sales savages convincing small businesses and advertising agencies were and are worth the investment, on a sustaining basis to prove that exposure on the radio produces results. However that message was transmitted without slurs, exaggerations or outright lies was and is fair game. In the 1970s, WIBC became KING with WNAP (as did KVIL and WRMF). Maybe it was not fair to the other radio stations in the market, but I remember when Jim Duncan did a study of the Indianapolis and Louisville radio markets in the early 1980s (which I still have). Duncan found that because WIBC and WNAP led the market in commercial rates and kept the pedal pressed to the floor-board, even lesser stations in the market could thrive slotting in below WIBC and WNAP. WIRE-AM and WXTZ-FM under the ownership of Burrell Small and Mid-America Media did very well making money, slotting in at # 3 and # 4 in the 1970s. In Louisville, with the lack of leadership in programming and sales management (except maybe for WAKY-AM) on the part of WHAS-AM and their FM (First the Bingham family, then Clear Channel), Louisville was a tough market to make real money, but then the Binghams owned the Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times. It is amazing how many radio station managers take the easy road and not push themselves to higher levels, larger scale. – Jed Duvall

    • It’s always about the market leader Jed, they set the rate pace. I once talked Joe Amaturo into not going after the #1 radio station in town which was AC, with his new radio station because they have great rates. I explained to him that it would take a long time to beat them so, in the short term, all they would accomplish is to drag them down. This, I said would make the Country station who had terrible rates #1 so all our rates would have to tuck in under theirs. He went country instead.

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