Steve I Just Said Slow Down No Need To Quit!

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My Father always used to tell me if you’re not sweating you’re not working hard enough. It was just one of the many disagreements we had because I think if you sweat while you work it might mean you’re not very good at what ever it is you are working at. Being gifted doesn’t guarantee much either because a lot gifted people just rely on their gift and don’t work at all. But not to worry because most of the good stuff comes from creative people and you can learn how to be that. Working hard is admirable but working smarter gets you more places. Once you learn creativity your only concern is the gifted people waking up and learning creativity too. On the rare occasion of this happening I would simply suggest getting out of the way and let them run, these folks when they’re on fire have the capability of producing some pretty magical things. Unfortunately a lot of them come from the dark side and tend to self destruct. When this happens it’s time for the rest us to get back to a little hard work and a whole lot of creativity again. I wonder if Loren Michaels ever took into consideration how much work some of the cast members of Saturday Night Live put into a skit before he decided whether or not to cut it.

Chuck Riley just before slipping out the back Jack and flying down the fire escape to the Criterion Athletic Club (beer parlor) said to me … I like you kid and you’re pretty good at production so I’m going to save you a couple of years. ¬†Always remember this “You Cant Splice Strings” then he turned on his heel and was gone leaving me with as we say in the biz, A S**T Load Of Production.

I wish Steve Jobs would slow down his inventing of stuff and make what we already have work better.

Wow Steve I said slow down I didn’t say quit.

Speaking of Jobs, I was at Duffys sports bar and asked both 25 year old female bartenders if they knew who Steve Jobs was. They had no idea, I left there and picked up my 15 year old daughter and her friend and asked them if they knew who he was. Cami didn’t but her guy friend AJ did. After dropping them off I went to another sports bar and asked the 30+ bartender if she knew. She didn’t either, it must be a guy thing.

When I was a PD I had learned early on that Shakespeare was right when he said “The Plays The Thing” Later I realized most air talent didn’t study Shakespeare so they didn’t see it that way. They seem only concerned with how big their part is and whether it’s more important than the other peoples parts.

Most people dream about their wants and worry about their needs.

Have you noticed most giant movie stars have very distinctive voices as well as a special look.

Woman at a young age plan to fall in love. Men on the other hand just fall in love and that’s when the moment the woman’s plan starts to kick in.

The bad news is all Media has 5 seconds to get someone’s attention. The good news is there are 5 topics that always get their attention, and I ain’t talkin’.

Doug Erickson says our deepest personal relationships are very dependent upon our listening.

If they have to choose most people would give up all other gadgets for their smart phone.

The only way to get a ton of people to listen to your show is to talk to one of them at a time.

In 1968 I was a board op at CKY in Winnipeg. Four years later I was the station manager of CFTR in Toronto. I now look back and think … Wow that sure happened fast but it didn’t seem fast then. Now just driving to the office in Ft. Lauderdale I celebrate two birthdays.

A lot of women probably including my daughters think I’m sexist but I disagree! I love most women and really adore accomplished ones. I love teasing the ones I love. The women I don’t tease are the ones who have spent their lives grooming themselves to become Mrs. Success. Then they become experts on everything and use their husband’s powerful position to lecture and scold the rest of us about how we and the rest of the world should run. These type of women usually treat other women whose husbands don’t If their husbands treated staff and service people as rudely as she does he would be out of business or a job in weeks. If this is a sexist attitude then so be it and I wear it proudly.

Just because we forgive someone doesn’t mean we will necessarily forget what they have done.

I know the answer is always to throw money at it but what was the question?

The Alan Burns recent study on radio and women came down to … Give ’em Music, Make them Laugh and Tell them the Weather. Do that and you’ve got about 95% of it done.

The Brits And Yanks Invade Winnipeg.

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Attending the CKY reunion in Winnipeg recently seems to have turned my memory button to on. I well remember being a rookie board op when CKY was being invaded by both the Americans and the British. What an exciting time it was for a young guy like me to be starting his Radio career.

Neither the British nor the Americans were being welcomed with open arms at the station but in a short period of time I was able to absorb enough from both of them to use for my whole career which produced a pretty decent life for me and my family.
The British showed me a new kind of rock which my band The Jury emulated well enough to get a recording contract with London Records and release a few hits. The Americans convinced me to stop trying to get on Bandstand because Ratings were the thing I should be chasing.
The Jury records still proudly hang on my wall(pictured) and serve as permanent reminders of one of my biggest thrills which was hearing them on the radio. The problem I found out over the years with chasing Ratings is there is definitely nothing permanent about them and your only as good as your last book. Unlike the pursuit of happiness being happiness chasing ratings does not always produce ratings. You get an incredible 24 hour high when some good ones roll in but then the chase is on again leading you to believe you must be only one great rating book away from true happiness. Unfortunately no matter how many good ones you get you just end up feeling like Don Quixote.

In an earlier Blog I had written about how the PD/Afternoon drive guy Jimmy Darin (pictured) had awarded me the Sunday night gig at CKY where I got to roll all the religious tapes and even read some short announcements can you say announcer. Hey hand me my KY Good Guy jacket boy I’m about to go on. It was during one of my Sunday night shifts that music and radio changed forever.¬†
During the day I was being mentored and taught by Chuck Dann (Riley) how to do production. At night I was the board op for Daryl “B” who did a remote from an outdoor eatery called Champs. During this time we were all aware that something was getting stirred up in England by a group called the Beatles mainly because Deno Corrie had turned us on to them by playing them on his Sunday morning show called “Music Around The World” I remember thinking they sounded like the 4 Freshman singing with Chuck Berry’s band. Daryl and I used to pester Jim about letting us play more Beatle music at night but he was reluctant to do so yet.
On February 9th,1964, the Beatles arrived in America to play on the Ed Sullivan show and a bunch of us gathered together to watch that historic broadcast a the CKY studios.
There we were all cramped together in the on air studio watching a couple of small black and white TVs that we had all hooked up and ready to go. Behind us the religious program was rolling and the new one cued up so I had an hour before I had to read any more announcements. It seemed like forever until Ed Sullivan finally said the words we were waiting for. “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THE BEATLES” One … One Two Three Four “Close Your Eyes And I’ll Kiss You Tomorrow I’ll Miss You”……….. They blew us and all of North America away.

There was a regular Jock meeting scheduled in Jim’s office the next day and it was the first one I had been invited to so I felt very honored. Jim opened the meeting by pointing out that even though I wasn’t a Jock I was one of the guys so I deserved to be there. The guys all nodded their heads in agreement and I was feeling pretty good until I heard Jim say … What the hell is that FM kid jumping up and down outside my window for. Johns is he looking for you are you supposed to be doing something for him you better go out there and see what he wants. Just ignore him Jim he’s kind of a weird guy I said knowing full well it was Jack Stewart Jr and he was looking for me to relieve him for his lunch break. Nothing was getting me out of my first Jock meeting.
Jim started with all the usual housekeeping stuff like clean up the studio after your shift, sign the log, put the records away etc.etc. then finally got to the real reason for today’s meeting. He informed us he was adding some more major newscasts plus starting a new talk show mid day with a guy called Joe Pyne. He finished up with a lot of the details and asked if anybody had any questions. Up went my hand and Jim looked a little surprised but he said … What do you want squirrel do you need to use the restroom or something. I told him I didn’t think the changes he was making were going to work. His office got very very quiet and the only sound was Chuck Dann’s sarcastic laugh. Jim looked at me with astonishment but quietly asked why I thought that. I confidently told him like I had some secret inside information that me and all my friends didn’t like talk, we just wanted to hear the Beatles and the Beach Boys. I waited for the cheers from the rest of the jocks because they just stood around all day bitching about the music instead of telling Jim like I had just done. There was only silence except for another chortle from Chuck and Jim looked up at the ceiling for a moment or two (probably counting) then finally said … Johns you were invited to this meeting so you could learn about Radio but see here’s where you have gone wrong already. The only way you learn is if you listen you don’t learn anything when you talk so if you ever want to come to one of these meetings again you’ll keep your mouth shut. Am I clear! Yes Sir I said and almost saluted. The rest of the meeting continued about the usual engineering screw ups and some details about an upcoming promotion and Jim concluded the meeting by telling Daryl that starting tonight we will play The Beatles every half hour.
Then he said … Gentlemen what happened last night on the Ed Sullivan show was very exciting but it is going to change radio as we know it. Before this all settles down there will only be one top 40 station in the market and we better be that station or none of us will be working here any longer. Welcome to the generation gap. The only thing that can save top 40 radio now is if The Beatles plane goes down on their flight back to England. We would then do a big tribute weekend and be back to regular music by Monday.

“This Isn’t For Publication”

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David Ogilvy wrote, ” Tolerate genius.”

Conan Doyle says, “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself.”

Tim Moore claims “The creative person is more sensitive to just about everything.”

Executive pay in the last thirty years has gone from 30 times more than the average employee earns to 300 times as much today. I bet a bunch of them are just wondering why it took thirty years.

Wow now the Raiders and 49ers are shooting each other after the game or is that just how they play football in the Wine Country.

Speaking of Football it looks like another long dry season for both the Dolphins and the U of M here in South Florida.

One of the greatest hours of my life was spent flying up front on my way to Nashville with Dwight and Buck. During the flight they got their Guitars down from the overhead and Buck taught Dwight his first #1 hit “The Streets Of Bakersfield”

A little over a year ago I was having lunch with a social worker who was checking me out because my daughter Cami was going to live with me for a while. Mr. Johns I’ve been told that you are an alcoholic were her first words to me. How the hell do you respond to that other than deny it. She went on to say … I know you’re not but I had to bring it up anyway, alcoholics have DUI’s you don’t, so you’re not.

Roland C. Warren wants to know why we aren’t mad at the Mistresses because as Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer and The Arnold all go down in flames “The Home Wreckers” as they used to be called now have all become celebrities.

The first time I think I even thought about woman’s rights was when my daughter Candis was born.

I overheard two women talking yesterday at Duffy’s. One said to the other, He’s the kinda guy you would love to marry, He owns his own home, has a nice car and is well dressed. I wonder what the equivalent conversation for men would be.

Who is it rich people live in fear of again, I know it used to be the Feds.

I just watched that video once more time of the “Stand By Me” done all over the World. I never get tired of watching and hearing it because when you take a great song and mix it together with a great concept you get pure Genius.

For some reason now when people talk to me they will sometimes stop in the middle of a story and say … Hey and this isn’t for publication!

I just read a headline that stated. NO NEW SOCIAL NETWORK WAS LAUNCHED TODAY!

The guys who are the best at “chatting up women” are the worst.

Unfortunately the world you live in is only normal to your world.

According to PPP only 52% of Americans approve of God’s performance.

Why is it that the more successful you become the more you stop doing what it was that made you successful.

There has to be at least one person who was just trying to survive who ever became somebody.

I have met very few talented people who understand the fact that other people are very talented too.

Darwin claimed it was not the strong who survived … It was The ADAPTABLE.

How kind would PPM be to Howard Stern today.

I was listening to some football experts on TV discussing that now a days they don’t give the rookies enough time to learn the pro game before they play them. I doubt with the amount of money teams have to pay rookies now a days any of them are looking to run a football school.

When Bob Christy and I wanted to launch a Country Station in Boston we were told Boston was the only place in America where Country wouldn’t work. Jim Hilliard said lets do it anyway so The Country Club, WKLB was born. I notice looking at the most recent PPMs in Boston, WKLB has now moved up to #2 beating even the mighty BZ. Damn!

Lee Abrams and I were having an e mail discussion about what radio stations today would you play for your air staff to fire them up. Which stations do you suggest ???

All Men Speak Several Different Languages..

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It sure didn’t take long to evolve from Flash Dances to Flash Riots did it.

So it turns out the Borders book stores closing had nothing to do with Kindle type devices taking away too many sales. They closed simply because the new owners knew nothing about selling books. Kinda like Radio huh!

Social Media is not you telling people about you it’s people telling other people about you.

In California the old folks are jogging in Florida a lot of them use walkers or is that just a New York kinda thing.

Speaking of the elderly Rich Stevens and Dave McBride were doing a show on 850 WFTL recently about tipping for good service. A lot of the service people called in whining about the whiny attitude of older people. One of them said she no longer says to them would you like something. She says instead … Did You Like Anything?

3D movies seem to be going through what early Stereo did. Remember when all kinds of things were flitting back and forth in the speakers like ping pong balls. 3D can’t seem to give up hurling things at us.

Men believe it or not all speak several different languages. They use one language when speaking with their Grandmother, Mother, and Daughter. A different one is used in conversations with Wives, Sisters or Girlfriends. In the presence of women in they dont know they even have another. They use a special language when they are alone with each other.

Radio sales people are convinced they are going to sell a ton of spots when ratings show up. Unfortunately they are going to find out you never have enough ratings and if you do it’s not the demo the agencies are looking for.

When only listening to the woes of the rich and the poor it is very difficult to figure out who is who.

The thing that rich people all have in common is over valuing risk. They get away with it only because they can.

Research cant help you determine what the Monster News Story of the day is, you have to figure that out all by yourself.

Speaking of top news stories there are very few news types that can tell you which ones the folks think they are.

One of the things that Radio has to come to grips with is the fact that eventually the advertising campaign you are running for a client has to work. It’s not all mathematics like the accountants who are running radio at the moment think.

A lot of history is written by the winners but most of it is written by the people who just write it down.

If make up can make a guy look like a beautiful woman I guess we should go with the old expression … Buyer Beware!

Henry Miller claimed the only way to forget about a woman is to turn her into literature. I know a couple who just hope I keep on remembering them.

Have you noticed that young people don’t bother to wear watches. Everything they need is on their cell.

Most people turn out to be a lot different than we originally thought.

Bruce Munson commented after reading about the fact that my Daughter Cami doesn’t want me to speak to her friends that even my eldest Candis may not want me speaking to hers either out of fear of me trying to make one of them her new Mommy.

Doug Herman said my advice to my Grandson Nathaniel about faster cars, older whisky and younger women being the meaning of life might be faulty. He claimed if you just chase the money you can have all three. I responded with the fact that the money would probably all go to the older woman after you found the younger one.


Which Way Ya Going Billy. (part 1) a repost

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Just before the CKY reunion in Winnipeg I was thinking about some of the guys I used to work with so I got a hold of Warren Cosford and asked if he knew what had happened to Rick Hallson. I’d worked with Rick at CKY back when we were young board ops and knew at some point he had moved to Toronto and had worked with Warren at CHUM. All that Warren knew was that he had heard that Rick had some depression issues and had written a book about his unsuccessful attempt at suicide. Hearing about Rick’s situation got me thinking about one of the first times I’d ever even heard about depression.
When I was a kid I played for The Transcona Nationals and at this time was very excited about going back for our big 50th reunion and seeing all my team mates again. Back in those days I was into two things “Sports and Music” and each of them came with a different set of friends. One of my sports friends was Bill Wakeman or “Bomba” as we all affectionately called him. Bomba actually also crossed over to my music side being quite the dancer so we used to hang out a lot at dances together and later on he would be at all my gigs when I started playing with bands. Bill who lived just down the street from me at 14 was already into building his own cars by using the money he made as a pool shark to buy all the parts that he needed from the junkyards. Amazingly from all the junk he bought, a car appeared which we used to drive up and down all the back alleys in town keeping a sharp eye out for the cops. Hey but what could they do to us anyway, they couldn’t take our drivers licenses away we were only 14 year olds punks so we didn’t have any.
As time goes by you start drifting apart and because I’d turned into a radio gypsy and had moved all over the country I hadn’t been in touch with many of the old guys in a while so I was really looking forward to finding out what everyone had done with their lives. Bill surprisingly had become a teacher and I could hardly wait to see him again to find out how the hell that had happened. I got into town the day before the reunion and spent that evening hanging out with my longtime friend Jim Quail and Ermanno Barone who both looked great and appeared to be healthy enough to suit up again. Speaking of suiting up I was planning on doing a little of that myself by wearing my brand new Transcona Nationals jacket that Jim Quail had surprised me with as a gift a few years before. Wearing one of those at TCI back in the day was star status stuff when Bill Burdeyny was busy making us famous each week in the Transcona news. Somebody mentioned that they didn’t think Bomba was coming to the people because he wasn’t doing so well so I called him up to see what was wrong. He told me that he was depressed which I really hadn’t even heard about so I asked him what the hell was he depressed about and he said he didn’t know but he couldn’t even leave his house. earlier had told me that Bill wasn’t doing so well so I called to see if he was coming to the party. I had no idea what Bill was talking about and said … Bomba, you’re a National man, and The Transcona Nationals play hurt man so you get your ass to the reunion or I’ll come over there with a couple of the guys and drag you to it. The next night he actually showed up and I am so glad he did because he later told everyone that he had the time of his life. If Bill was depressed you sure couldn’t tell it that night because he was telling all the old stories, laughing, and hugging all the people he had lost contact with over the last couple of years. Unfortunately I wish this had a better ending but Bill died of a heart attack a few years ago year and his brother Fred who was with him on his last night told me that the last thing he was talking about before he passed was how special that night was to him. Bill (Bomba) Wakeman’s funeral was so big that you couldn’t get into the Church and a huge crowed was out in the street listening to the service on speakers. I just hope somehow Bill saw how many people loved him.

I only bring all this up now because a while ago now there was a reunion at a radio station in Winnipeg that my brother had worked at when he was a kid called CKRC. Billy whom I had met several times while visiting Reg was very bright and became one of the very few radio people who became successful without ever having to leave Winnipeg and ended up owning his own radio stations there. Reg had heard that Billy was having some issues but he was looking forward to seeing him again along with all the other “Guys and Gals” of CKRC but Billy never showed. He later claimed that he had been out in the parking lot for over an hour in his car trying to work up the courage to go in but just couldn’t bring himself to do it.
Not too long after the CKRC reunion I got an eloquently written e mail from him as did others. You began to realize though as you read along that you were actually reading his obituary which Billy wrote shortly before taking his own life.