Geo’s Media Blog. (What The F**K Happened To My FU Account?) New For 7/08/19

When my nephew Jamie, (shown with me above) who lives in Jacksonville with his beautiful wife Lindsay, (also pictured with me above) and their five daughters told me that he was remodeling his home, (bottom photo) it frightened me and also brought back some bad memories.

When I moved to the US years ago it was kind of a scary because when you grow up in Canada, you believed that the Canadian Government would never let you starve to death. However, after arriving in America, I was pretty sure that wasn’t the case here in America.
Before moving my family to the States I was the station manager of CFTR where things were going well until I received an offer to become the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting in Indianapolis. Hey, in my world, if you haven’t played in the States, you haven’t played, so what the hell.

As I said I was a little nervous about leaving Canada, but because we were doing some very creative radio at Fairbanks and the ratings were on the rise, I bought a big new home with a pool plus a couple of fancy cars and relaxed. I stayed relaxed for about 8 years, then I turned 39, and things got scary again.
I don’t know if a mid-life crisis was involved, but suddenly, I decided that not only was I going to celebrate my 40th birthday in California, I was going to move there and start my own consulting company. All of this was very exciting to me, but not so much at home, so it looked like I’d be going it alone.
A couple months later, I finally realized my lifelong dream of living in California when I moved to San Diego. Upon arrival, I immediately bought a place right near the beach in Coronado, but because it was pretty old, it needed to be brought up to speed.

It didn’t long for my new company to get some traction, and not only was I picking up new clients, but my family decided to join me in California. Even though things were picking up, I was still a little nervous. Hey, when you’re out here on the skinny branches all by yourself, it’s scary. What I needed to figure out, was how to get some security, so I opened a secret bank account and called it, my f**k you” account. My goal was to save up two hundred thousand dollars as fast as I could, so I wouldn’t have to take any s*it from anybody. Hey with 200 K in the bank, you’d think a guy could at least feed himself for a while, huh?

Once I had my nest egg in place, like a fool, I relaxed again. Does the guy never learn?
As I said, my house in Coronado was very old and badly needed to be brought up to date, so I turned it into a Mediterranean Villa. (see photo on top) I walled it, pooled it, Mexican tiled it, and blew French doors into the upstairs and downstairs of it. When the work was done, my home looked brand new, there was no way you could tell that it was initially constructed in 1914.
As thrilled as I was with the outside, inside, things were beginning to fall apart. The bathrooms were shutting down, the wallpaper was peeling, and the plaster was falling off the wall. Time to remodel baby! 
 
I don’t know how the architect and the decorator found out about it, but before long, my “f**k you” account was gone. All I have left now are these old photos from “Better Homes and Gardens.”

 
COMMENTS
Ron Chapman: On my list of “most unforgettable people,” I have Jack McCoy as second behind Jerry Jones. The first thing I remembered was “he who controls the verbiage, controls the buy.”
More to come…
Geo: I, like you, Ron, have many McCoyismns still swirling around in my head. I’ll never forget introducing you to him and doing our first of many recording sessions with him at KVIL. As I remember it, as you tried to explain to Jack the details of the promo you wanted him to record, he said, “That’s already too much copy, I’ve got it.” As he began, you looked at me like I was crazy because we had no idea what he was talking about, but we soon did. I hope you’re doing well old friend? (My Friend Jack)

Steve Dinkel: I first had exposure to Jack during my stint as Sales Manager at KSLQ in St. Louis.  Part of the Bartell group- KCBQ, WOKY, WMYQ.  There was always a lot of talk about “this guy” in San Diego cranking out incredible station promos.  Later as VP/GM of KLSI in Kansas City, I sent many large checks to Jack’s company for promotional items such as the “Incredible Prize Catalog.” The checks were large, but the results much larger! And when the audience would call the station asking to hear the promos… you knew he was making “Magic in the Mind” for the listener.  And that is what it’s all about…. Radio as it was meant to be!
Geo: Thank you for remembering those giant checks Steve and I of course also remember the giant ratings. The prize catalog couldn’t happen today because they don’t care about giant checks heading into the building; they only want to prevent giant checks from heading out. (My Friend Jack)

Candis Johns: Jack McCoy is one of my dad’s coolest friends. I remember when he would visit us in Indiana, as was sometimes the case with various radio types. Even as a young kid, I could see he was smart as a whip, witty, and funny.

When he found out I was a gymnast, he proceeded to demonstrate some mad skills right in our dining room, doing a handstand in his dress clothes, which was beyond surprising – and incredibly impressive.

Jack McCoy, an epic storyteller, has recounted some of the most hilarious tales I’ve ever heard, which had me laughing so hard that I could barely breathe and which remain part of the soundtrack of my childhood.

I still remember them and to this day occasionally retell them to people at parties when unkind swans, heated hotel bathroom floors, or would-be hotel fires come up in conversation.

I had the honor of working for ‘Mr. McCoy’ in my senior year of high school and, as such, witnessed the creation of those amazing promos.

When I had the opportunity to say hello at my dad’s birthday party, he was still just as cool as ever.  In fact, they don’t come any cooler than Jack McCoy… always ‘Mr. McCoy’ to me. (My friend Jack)

Peter Z: When you wrote, “It is said that when the restoration of Notre Dame completed, the only person still living will be Keith Richards.” I said, “Seriously? I think when the restoration of Notre Dame is completed, Keith Richards will be making a birthday cake for Betty White.” (3 Halls Of Fame Baby)

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. (Whatever Happened To My Old Friend Riley)

Jim J: I am SO glad I found this! I have been a HUGE Chuck Riley fan from the first time his voice leaped out of the TV towards me on CBS. I feel Chuck never got the respect he deserved as one of the great voice talents. Ernie was solidifying immortality with The Love Boat liners and Don was….well Don but when you search today and there is very VERY little info on Chuck Riley.
Talk about a double bonus to read that you actually sat on the other side of the booth from him!! Okay, I have to ask you. Did you ever record Chuck in the 1990s? Listen to this flipping promo from 1995.

I just have to know what kind of a mic he was using? Most likely a 416 but I just had to ask if he had his own mics he liked to use. Also, do you remember how close he worked the mic?
Thanks again Geo for giving the man some props on your site!

Geo: Thanks for the read, Jim. No, I didn’t work with Chuck in the ’90s, by then I was living in Boston. However, when I did work with him, he preferred the Neumanns and he worked them rather far away because he liked how they opened up and sucked up all his low tones.
The main reason that Chuck isn’t as famous as his contemporaries, is probably because he didn’t want to be.
(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.
 

4 thoughts on “Geo’s Media Blog. (What The F**K Happened To My FU Account?) New For 7/08/19

  1. “If what one has to say is not better than silence, then one
    should keep silent.” – Confucius, 511 BC

    “Ask yourself if that bit you’re about to do is better than
    ‘Hey, Jude’. If it’s not, play ‘Hey, Jude’”. – George Johns, 1974 AD

  2. I first heard him when he was Chuck Dann. It was CKY Winnipeg 1964. A fine radio station that bred some great talents….J. Robert Wood, Chuck McCoy, George Johns, Jim Hilliard, John Wells. “Cactus” Jack Wells and Lorne (Pa Cartright) Greene protégé Richard Scott had already been around for a while. Chuck was one of The Best.

    I was working in radio part time while in high school at CJOB a station that had broken Rock and Roll records in pieces on the air. Yes, some stations did that back then.

    CKY “owned” The British Invasion. Chuck sounded like The Gatekeeper.

    I lost track of Chuck when I went to Regina to help launch a quirky little FM station in 1966. While I was away CKY’s owner Lloyd Moffat died, new management “blew up” the format and Chuck disappeared.

    I found out later he went with Hilliard to Indianapolis.

    In 1970, J. Robert hired me at CHUM. I suddenly found myself in a studio recording Chuck Riley as we produced the first BeatlesRadio Documentary for Syndication. Wood knew what Riley could do and wanted The Best. So we flew him in from Indy. But I remembered Chuck Riley as Chuck Dann. It was more than a little intimidating.

    As I look back on The Experience, Chuck was probably the biggest all around talent I ever worked with. But Chuck was also, on the surface, The Biggest Son of a Bitch. Eventually he’d be Great. But Eventually took a lot of work. It was a battle to get him to read The Script the way we knew he could read it.

    A few years later JRW decided that Chuck was the guy we should use for The Evolution of Rock. All 64 hours of it. Guess who was chosen to “direct” him?

    It was decided that I would record Chuck in Indianapolis every other weekend rather than flying him into Toronto. Not a good idea. On his “home turf” Chuck was an even Bigger Son of a Bitch.

    Chuck Riley was afternoon drive at WIBC, the most successful station in town. He was King of The Hill. Nobody from Toronto was going to tell him how to read.

    The Operator for most of our sessions was a kid named Howard Schrott….a bright guy who obviously worshiped at the Alter of Chuck.. (Howard would later become Emmis Broadcasting’s Comptroller). It would be quite a contest. After getting mentally beaten up during the first session, I came back to Toronto, listened to the tracks and got back on the first airplane to Indy.

    I was going to kill The Son of A Bitch if he didn’t do them right.

    By the mid-70’s I knew that, in order to get “performance”, I had to pat most announcers on the head. Occasionally I had to kick them in the ass. But Chuck would require nothing less than a kick in the balls. Fortunately, at the time, I had a green belt in Tae Kwon Do. Like most bullies, Chuck was a chicken shit.

    No…that’s being unfair. He was actually a Great Guy. It just took him a little while to let me know.

    Chuck Dann/Riley (real name Hanks) eventually did a wonderful “read” on The Evolution of Rock. The Show was syndicated throughout The World by TM Syndications and won Billboard Magazine’s “International Documentary of The Year”. Chuck would never admit that he was proud of The Show until one day he called me at CHUM to say that he’d heard it on WLS Chicago. He asked if I knew the WLS PD John Gehran. I did. Chuck said….”well, they’ve got some guy doing the bumpers who is trying to sound like me but sounds like crap. Tell Gehran that for a bus ticket and a peanut butter sandwich I’ll go to Chicago and give them the real thing”.

    That’s My Chuck!

    One of the psychological ploys I used on Riley during the recording of the voicetracks was to tell him that I thought the Evolution of Rock could be his ticket to The Big Time. My friend Ron Morey had just struck it rich in New York as the Voice of General Motors. Ron had gotten his Big Break as The Voice of Don’t Say Hello I Listen to CHUM. I told Chuck I thought he was better than Ron. He just needed an Attitude Transplant.

    A few years later Chuck called me at CHUM. By then, the writer of The Evolution of Rock, Bill McDonald, was working for Chuck Blore in LA. Could I ask Bill to ask Blore to critique Chuck’s demo tape?

    Of course.

    A few weeks later Bill McDonald called me. He was trying to find Riley. Chuck Blore had recommended him for the job as backup to Ernie Anderson at ABC-TV. The Network was auditioning over the next few days and if Chuck wanted a chance at The Job he would have to get a tape in soon.

    I called Chuck’s home. His wife Katey told me he was in Pittsburgh interviewing for a job on L.A. Radio. Really?

    I called Pittsburgh and told the switchboard operator it was an emergency. When Chuck came on the line I told him he had to get a tape to ABC in L.A. before the end of the week and he should try to sound like Ernie Anderson. Ernie who? Turn on the TV Chuck..

    At 3AM the next morning Chuck called me at home. He had been recording in the studios of WIBC for a few hours. It was not going well. Could I come to Indianapolis to help him sound like Ernie Anderson? Give me a break Chuck! So I directed the audition tape over the telephone. It was the easiest “direction job” I’d ever had with him.

    Two days later Chuck called me back. He had couriered the tape to ABC, but they still hadn’t received it. The courier company didn’t know where it was. Chuck was panicked. What could he do?

    I couldn’t believe I was having this conversation with him.

    “Chuck it’s simple. Call up ABC and tell them you’ll do the audition live tomorrow afternoon….and then get yourself an airline ticket”. He did. And got The Job.

    But it didn’t last long. Chuck was a Big Talent. But he also had a Big Mouth. King of The Hill in Indianapolis didn’t amount to a Hill of Beans in L.A.

    The Good News though, was that the ABC job got him one of the best agents in L.A. She must have had a lot more patience than most because Chuck quickly landed as the promo voice of CBS-TV. Guess they wanted “their” Ernie Anderson.

    Since then, you’ve probably heard Chuck Riley hundreds, maybe thousands of times, on TV, on radio, on movie Trailers. I know I have. But I didn’t hear FROM him for about ten years.

    He tracked me down in London Ontario of all places. By then, he was not only The Voice of CBS-TV, but also The Voice of Emmis Broadcasting on radio. Apparently a competing L.A. radio station, KODJ, were broadcasting The Evolution of Rock to debut their Oldies Format. It was a “conflict” in his agreement with Emmis. Could I stop them? Of course I couldn’t. Well…what could he tell Emmis?

    “Chuck…that’s easy. If they ask, simply say that fifteen years ago before you became a famous fashion model in L.A., an old boyfriend took some black and while photos of you….in the nude.. And now they’re in Playboy”.

    “Goodbye Chuck”.

    Warren Cosford
    2001

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