Geo’s Media Blog (WNAP-Indianapolis 1974 plus a few more Life-Liners) New 4/08/19

Back in the day when I was the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting, we used to have a management conference every year just before Thanksgiving. In attendance at these annual affairs where the mandatory dress code was suit and tie, were our GMs, SMs, PDs, Promotion Directors, and the Cheif Engineers. Cris Conner from WNAP understood that the dress code only meant that he should wear his white mechanics smock filled with racing patches rather than the blue one. Ron Chapman from KVIL in Dallas commented, “Oh I get it, if you get the ratings, you can wear whatever the hell you want.”

These conferences were very futuristic. Our boss Jim Hilliard who ran them talked mostly about where things were going rather than where they were or where they had been. He wanted to take advantage of the situation by being there waiting when the future to arrive. In fact, when the economy was at its worst, we had our best year because we had planned for it.

On the sales side, here’s how it worked. At some point during our sessions, Jim Hilliard would hand the Sales Managers a folded piece of paper on which he had written what he expected them to bill the following year. When KVIL’s Jerry Bobo saw his number, I vividly remember hearing him saying, “JESUS CHRIST,” followed by WIBC’s Dick Yancey of WIBC asking, “But Jim what if we don’t get the ratings?” 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 our meetings, I would call the PD’s and say, “Tomorrow’s your day in the box baby. You need to tape your station and then make a presentation tape out of it. Oh, and good luck; you’ll be playing it for a tough crowd.”

(Featured in the link below from 1974 is Bob Richards (RIP), Tom Cochran HOF, Mike Griffin, Cris Conner HOF, Buster Bodine, and Jay Michaels.)

Back in the day Fairbanks Broadcasting was one of the best broadcasting companies in America with a lot of air talent that ended up in the Hall Of Fame, great promotions, and sounded damn good, other than some local news awards; I don’t think we ever won any National awards. At the time, we were such a low profile company that only the listeners and the folks who published the rating books knew who we were. 
Radio, if it needs to make more money, should not only embed their commercials but also make a couple of their air talents famous enough to do endorsements. That’s where the real money is, ask Michael Jordan.
I’ve often wondered if a songwriter can tell right off if he’s written a blockbuster? 
It is said that the universe is in complete disorder, but I’m thinkin’ that maybe we can’t get far enough back to see the pattern? 
How come they don’t steal car radios anymore? 
The best way to figure out if your dreaming or not is to ask yourself if you would really dream about the world that you live in today? 
Have you ever noticed that when some folks are having a bad day, they manage to share it so you can have one too? 
Why do women think that their drama is the only important drama?
Why do rich people always look pissed? 
Why do liberals always go silent whenever Arabs do something terrible?
Regrets wear you out. 
Procrastinating makes even the easiest of things hard to do. 
As long as you know it, saying something grammatically incorrect to make a point, is perfectly ok. 
In the ’50s and ’60s, people thought they were pretty insignificant. Not only do they think they’re significant now, they actually think that they’re much much more than that. 

Men seldom lie when they’ve been drinking.

Woman are generally difficult to deal with unless you’re rich. 
The law is black and white, but unfortunately, the world is grey. 
When you happily discover that you’re going to have your first child, you have no idea that your life is about to be destroyed. However, when the wee one finally arrives, you don’t care. 

Even though my daughter probably tires of all my questions, I still think that’s better than me asking none.

There’s an old saying that goes, “You are what and where you came from.” I’d keep that in mind when you’re voting; if your favorite candidate doesn’t have a similar background as you do, you’re about to get screwed.

The Winnipeg Jets are in the Stanely Cup playoffs. Go Jets!

Speaking of the Stanely Cup, 3 Canadian teams are chasing it this year.

Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs, or some that you may have missed, go to On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.


10 thoughts on “Geo’s Media Blog (WNAP-Indianapolis 1974 plus a few more Life-Liners) New 4/08/19

  1. Hiya, George,
    Do you suppose you might repost the first TWO items in REALITY, above? I spent about 12 minutes wondering what was the connection. Then, I realized they are totally separate concepts….each, being a free-standing truth. I guess number 2 is, indeed, a truth…having never been rich (hey, but I DID get some free movie invites back then). If you have a minute…
    Oh, and…BTW, ask me, sometime, about tickets and a “Howdy” at a Kenny Rogers concert at a casino in Oklahoma.

  2. George: When you and Jim promoted me from a producer to assistant program director for WIBC-AM in 1978, when you sent Larry Knight to Philadelphia to succeed Kevin Metheney at WZZD-AM (You were in Philadelphia, so it was Jim whom broke the news and told me to remove anything that even remotely sounded like “disco” off of WIBC’s airwaves (which I did in less than 24-hours as it was pretty easy since all of the music was on Fidelipacs and LPs (the B.M.F. M.-O.-R. songs that WIBC aired right after the newscasts), Jim told me NOT to report WIBC’s music adds to “Billboard”, “Brenneman”, “Bill Gavin” or “Radio & Records”. Larry Knight had been getting pressured from outside to do so but refrained, being the good soldier and beacon of integrity that he really was. After all, just like KVIL, the trades and other radio groups wanted to crack the Fairbanks shell and treasure trove of secrets that must have been in hallways of 2835 North Illinois Street, with both WIBC and WNAP at the top of the Arbitron ratings heaps. Jim told me of his greatest “coup” when he flipped WFIL-AM from his take on a traditional Top 40 to Drake-style “Boss Radio” before consultant Paul Drew landed to put the format on WIBG-AM, all because a record person had a big mouth. Jim admonished me, saying the old W.W.-2 naval admonition, “Loose lips sink ships.” I think the only record that I ever added that wound up being reported, and not by me, was “Morning Dance”, by Spyro Gyra. which Gary used to time-out into the newscasts, occasionally, being an instrumental, that is, until it finally charted into the Billboard Hot 100 Top 20!

    • Jed, when I was a kid and knew absolutely nothing about radio, Jim filled my empty head with his great version of it. It appears from your comments that you also got lucky or then again, maybe Jim was just pissed because his disco dancing lessons weren’t going well.

  3. I am amazed at all of the people who wanted to know about the “secret sauce” in the WIBC / KVIL / WNAP music mix whom maybe sat down in hotel rooms and wrote down every tune played, only to find out it was much like every other radio stations, only missing perhaps a few songs that did not test well. So they thought it had to be the people and all of the money Fairbanks spent (instead of all of the money the Fairbsnks stations billed that was plowed back into the stations).

    • Jed, early on we discovered that women didn’t really like Rock&Roll which was our so-called “secret sauce.” When research later confirmed our findings, it was already too late for others to catch up. By then we’d moved on to HOF air talent, huge promotions, traffic done from a chopper, color radar weather, award-winning newscasts, and the very best jingles ever heard on the radio.
      It was fun winning Jed, glad you got to be a part of it.

  4. George I really enjoyed hearing the air check with Bob. He was a real trooper and loved radio right up to his last day. The composite brought back a lot of fond memories of that era.

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