Back in the day when I was the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting, every year just before Thanksgiving we’d have a management conference. In attendance at these suit and tie affairs were our GMs, SMs, PDs, Promotion Directors, and Cheif Engineers.
These annual conferences were very futuristic and Jim Hilliard who ran them dwelled mostly on where things were going and how we could better take advantage of the situation by being there waiting for it when the future arrived. In fact, when the economy was at its worst in America, we had our best year because we’d planned for it.
On the sales side, here’s how it worked. At some point during the sessions, Jim would hand the Sales Managers of each radio station, a folded piece of paper on which was written what he expected them to bill the following year. When Jerry Bobo of KVIL in Dallas saw his number, I distinctly remember him saying “JESUS CHRIST” very loudly which was followed by Dick Yancey of WIBC who said, “But Jim what if we don’t get the ratings,” to which Hilliard responded with, “Well that may make it a little tougher Dick. (Jerry, by the way, hit his number less than three quarters the way through the year)
On the programming side, it went like this. A couple of weeks before the meetings, I would call the various PD’s and say, “Tomorrow’s your day in the box baby, tape your station all day and make the best presentation tape out of it that you possibly can. Bring it with you to the conference and good luck; you’ll be playing it for a tough crowd.”Just before our sessions began in 1974, unbeknownst to Jim Hilliard, (pictured above) this special tape played as he made his way to the podium.
(Below is what WIBC’s tape sounded like in 1974. It features Gary Todd, Fred Heckman HOF, Joe Waldman, Chuck Riley, Nat Humphries, and Craig Hudson.)