Geo’s Media Blog. (I Remember The Jury) January 2019.

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Long before my radio career got started in Winnipeg, I played in a few bands along with the likes of some other Winnipeggers like Burton Cummings of The Guess Who, Randy Bachman of BTO, and also the legendary Neil Young.
I began first as a background singer in a vocal group called Shayne and The Devines based in my hometown of Transcona. However, not being much of a singer, I began recruiting some great players like Pete Proskurnik on sax, Gordy Duke on drums, Rolly Blaquiere on bass, his brother Lawrence on piano and we became The Rebel Raiders. The Rebel Raiders (see below left) played in all the Transcona community clubs but realizing that Rebel Raiders sounded a little too southern for a northern group, we changed our name to The Phantoms. (below middle) Next, we got Donny Burns to join us as our new singer (below right) and then started playing not only all over Winnipeg but also all over Manitoba and in the northern States. Unfortunately, we lost Donny to Arc Records in Toronto which meant that we needed to cut a new demo tape good enough to send to the local dance promoters and luckily two of CKY’s big Dee-Jays, Daryl ‘B’ and Chuck Dann had offered to help us out.
We’d since recruited Bruce Walker as our new singer, but because he was still a few more rehearsals away from being stage ready, we were only in the studio to cut some of our own instrumentals such as “Not Guilty.”

(Click on the photo of Shayne & The Devines to hear The Phantoms play “Not Guilty.”)”

While waiting for Chuck and Daryl to set up, Bruce asked Terry and me if we could help him finish up a song that he was working on called “Until You Do” which maybe we could tack on at the end of the session.

(Click on the photo below to hear “Until You Do”)

We’d gone into that session sounding like the Phantoms, but when we came out of it as The Jury, we had a whole new sound. The weird part is that I can remember every detail of that first recording session, but very little of those that followed. However, I’ll never forget Hal Ross of London Records saying after hearing, “Until You Do,” “Hell I’ll release that” and just like that, we became London Records newest recording artists.
The only thing that compared to Hal’s words was when a box of our new record finally showed up, we decided to drop a few off at CKY as we drove out of town to a gig. While listening to the radio as we left the Winnipeg behind, all of a sudden we heard Jimmy Darin say, “Here’s a CKY exclusive, Winnipeg’s own Jury with their new release, “Until You Do.” Wow, we almost blew the speakers out in the car and the only way to explain what it feels like to hear your record on the air for the first time is to say that it was better than sex.
When “Until You Do” began slipping down the charts, back into the studio we went and recorded my personal favorite, “I Tried To Tell Her.”

(Click on the photo below to hear “I Tried To Tell Her”)

When we recorded “Back In My World” everything was changing, and before long, so would we.

(Click on the photo to hear “Back In My World”)

When “Back In My World” fell off the charts, we decided not only to change recording studios but also record companies, and our look. When we recorded “Please Forget Her” in Minneapolis, it became the #1 Canadian record in Canada which got us an American release on Port.

(Click on the photo to hear “Please Forget Her”)

On the flip side of “Please Forget Her” was a tune called “Who Dat?” which was a totally a different sound for us which became a cult favorite. It was even covered by a punk band some twenty-five years later, and a recent magazine article claimed that it was fifty years ahead of its time.

(Click on the photo to hear “Who Dat?”)

Playing with The Jury was a wonderful experience, but I turned out to be much better at radio. I was so busy doing radio that I never thought about my band days much, but when I got the call twenty years later that John Einarson, author of the book “Shakin’ All Over,” was putting a sixties band reunion together, I must admit that I got very excited.
I hadn’t seen my bandmates since I left The Jury, so I was looking forward to our own reunion at the 60’s reunion thing which was being held at the Winnipeg Convention Center. Not only was the event sold out, but it was also being shown on TV. Hey, when you’ve got Neil, Randy, and Burton on stage together, TV is always there.
That whole night was mind-boggling, especially when Randy and Burton strapped a Fender on me and pushed me out on stage saying, “It’s not The Jury without you man.” Miraculously all the chords of our tunes came back to me instantly but what I’m the happiest about is that we’re all still alive. Although I must admit that our look had changed somewhat as you can see in the pictures from below.




Geo’s Media Blog. (Retro Radio In Dallas) 6/04/18. #4 in 2018.

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Back in the day when FM wasn’t cool, Jim Hilliard the CEO of Fairbanks Broadcasting, paid almost two million dollars for KVIL-FM in Dallas which local broadcasters thought to be exorbitant. It later sold for eighty-five million, but long before that our main job in Dallas was to figure out how to get the folks to come over to the FM band.
What we came up with was so unique that within a few years, some version of it was heard all over America and probably the world. What was so special about KVIL was its jingles, the likes of which Dallas had never heard before, it’s outstanding aggressive air personalities, the locals claimed we overpaid them but seeing as most of them are in the Texas Radio Hall Of Fame, I think not, its promotions, most of which had the whole town buzzing, including one that had the listeners sending us over a quarter million dollars. Mostly though, KVIL simply played classy music for the beautiful ladies of Dallas we adored. (to hear our first year as America’s first Adult Contemporary radio station, click on the link at the bottom of the Blog) On air, we treated the lovely ladies of Dallas like they were potential candidates for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
The way we promoted our new creation was by using spectacular billboards that made our on-air staff at KVIL look bigger than life. All of our billboards were created in Indianapolis by Norm Wilkens with a great artist named Lotsy. Lotsy not only did our boards in Dallas but he also did some award-winning ones for our stations in Indy, Philly, Boston, and Palm Beach. However, in Dallas, our first big billboard campaign consisted of one billboard. Not to worry though, we placed that billboard right where it would do the most damage, outside the studio window of KLIF so that whenever KLIF’s morning man looked out at the sunrise, what he saw instead was Ron Chapman staring back at him with a shit-eating grin on his face. (1st billboard below)
Of all the billboards we put up though, some of which are shown below, none of them were more controversial than the one promoting our Elf in the afternoon, Mike Selden. (pictured on top) Who could have predicted that his billboard would end up across the street from a nunnery? I mean what were the odds of that?
The Church, of course, was very upset with us and demanded that we remove the offensive billboard immediately. However, KVIL’s mandate was only to do what our listeners told us to do so we asked them for their thoughts which necessitated them driving by the board before being able to comment on it which caused some problems leading to the newspapers and TV covering the situation. Eventually, due to popular demand, we finally moved Mike’s board to another location which the Church was nice enough to publically thank us for doing.
However, the billboard that was the most fun of all was the one that upset all the other radio stations in town. This one appeared in full color on the front page of The Dallas Times Herald with a headline that read, Mayor, Moonlights on KVIL. The billboard featured Ron Chapman and Wes Wise with the slug line, Wise with Ron. On the board, Ron was toasting the Mayor with a KVIL cup of coffee, and the Mayor was handing the keys to the city to Ron.
Oh and don’t get me started on the insurance nightmare we had with our billboard at the freeway exit to downtown Dallas. This one read, “The Big Swing is to KVIL” and featured scantily dressed young ladies taking turns swinging several stories high above the traffic. This was happening during Ron’s morning show, and It turned the exit into a parking lot. The bad news was that before long the police were yelling at us and demanding that we bring the girls down. The good news, however, was that once again we were on TV and in the papers.
Then, there was our billboard that inflicted a lot of damage on one of our fellow broadcasters. In the quest to get the folks to get the folks to move from AM to FM, KNUS were doing their part with the younger crowd, but shortly after KVIL became #1, they made the mistake of putting up a bunch of billboards claiming that they were the Top Banana in Dallas. This pissed off our owner Richard Fairbanks who retaliated by buying up all the locations in front of their billboards to post what you see in the black and white photo below. Sing along with me now or better yet, click on the KVIL jingle link at the bottom of the page to hear ’em all…

“It’s a shame
what’s happened to radio
but they can’t afford
to do it anymore

“It’s a shame
they can’t hire
a section of brass
be so much class

“But they can’t afford
to do it anymore
It’s a shame.


Perfection is the only unattainable goal worthy of your pursuit.

Great acts may go out of style but great songs seldom do.

I wonder what America would be like if we had as many political parties to choose from as we do radio stations and cars.

Nobody ever talks about how easy it was to become rich, they only whine about how poor they were when they started out. I guess they’re hoping that we won’t notice them not sharing their good fortune.

If females are wonderful, why won’t mothers let them anywhere near their young sons?

I loved that 15-year-old Brynn Cartelli won The Voice. I was beginning to think that I’d I lost it because the judges only seemed to like the singers who howled and did runs.

Speaking of The Voice, I wonder if Ed Sheeran would have any chance of making it through the blind auditions?

I wonder who it is at the networks who decide what we see and hear on the news and maybe even more importantly what we don’t? I’d like to tell them about how Walter Cronkite would do it because I believe he’d kick their ass.

The smartest thing a good director can do is stay away from the spotlight.

Laws aren’t about doing what’s right; they’re just laws.

All that counts is who gets to call the shots not who gets the credit.

Jim Hilliard once told me something that is very evident today. “It doesn’t take any brains to buy a radio station, just money.”

Does it offend you as much as it does me to subscribe to something only to discover that they’ve automatically jacked up the price because you had the special introductory rate which you were never aware of?

Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it bad.

One of the realities of consolidation is that when you add up the ratings of the radio stations a company may own in a given market, more often than not they don’t equal what one of their stations used to have.

I see that the Red Sox still have the best record in baseball. Go, Sox!

As KVIL ends, may I present the beginning.

A short story about #Billboards in #Dallas, #JimHilliard, and a few #LifeLiners about radio are above. Comments about so much more @ On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.


Geo’s Media Blog. (Radio Royalty) 6/25/18. #8 in 2018

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I’ve had the good fortune of working with some incredible talent during my radio career but not all of them became as big as they sounded. The ones who did though, share a secret, “When you move to a city that you love stop moving and become a giant.”
The legends that I was privileged to work with like Jack Wells in Winnipeg, Ken Grant in Ottawa, Gary Todd and Cris Conner in Indianapolis, Ron Chapman in Dallas, Loren & Wally in Boston, Jim Harper in Detroit, Chuck Knapp in Minneapolis, Jeff ‘n’ Jer and Jack McCoy in San Diego, Don Bleu in San Franciso, Shotgun Tom in Sothern California, Russ Morley in Palm Beach, Rick Moranis in New York and Toronto, Dan Donovan in Kansas City, Craig Walker and Bruce Murdock in Portland, Larry Ahrens in Albuquerque, Delilah in Seattle, Don Cannon in Philly, and Brent Farris in Santa Rosa did just that..
Brent Farris(pictured above) confirmed all of this when he said to me, “Over 30 years ago I discovered that I loved living in Northern California, so when I hit Sonoma County, I simply stopped moving.” Brent’s been #1 there ever since, and in fact, is so popular that I’m pretty sure that he could run for mayor of both Santa Rosa and Petaluma and win easily.
He’s had numerous opportunities to work in the majors, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to leave the lifestyle he loves. Brent sums it up best by saying, “A lot of folks are trying to figure out how they get to move to Sonoma County and enjoy the vineyard lifestyle all the time rather than just visiting. Hey, I’m already here, why would I leave?”
I too love Sonoma County and because I work with Brent, I get to enjoy that lifestyle occasionally too. On another subject, over the years Brent has often said, “When George Johns starts talkin’ sales, I’ll know radio has come to an end.” Well, we may be nearing the end, my friend, because there’s sure a lot of it in Geo’s Media Blog this week.



As murky as politics are to me as a centrist, I’m amazed at how crystal clear they appear to be to my liberal and conservative friends.

Nielson’s statistics may be true about the people in their sample but what about the people they don’t have. I’m talking about the 23% of the population who are Alpha types who would never wear a PPM device.

Then there’s the continuing problem of the 30 minutes the device misses every morning, and how about the fact that they can’t find anybody under 25 to participate in their research. Also, I can only wonder if the people wearing the PPM devices really hear all the radio stations the device does?

As I look around, I don’t see much justice, so what the hell does the DOJ do?

Hey Winnipeg, do we tear up our Grey Cup tickets already? Oops, the Bombers just won one, I’ll put the ’em back in the drawer.

As I have said many times, I love hanging out with salespeople, I just don’t like working with them.

Radio needs to get into product placement, and the only way it can do that is with endorsements. I’m not talking about live reads; I’m talking about endorsements from the station’s stars. What do you mean you got rid of the stars because they were too expensive. How much did that cost?

Speaking of endorsements, Nike became the biggest shoe company in the world with the help of their spokesperson Michael Jordan. The thing about though was the fact that Michael never mentioned Nike; he just wore the shoes!

The thing that excites the listeners are their wants, not their needs. If you give away anything it better be something that they really want; otherwise, they’ll just sell the prize to pay bills and never talk about it.

Salespeople can always sell the stuff they like, so you better sell the salespeople first.

The customer isn’t always right, but our job is never to let them know.

I remember when my counterpart, Dick Yancey offered his sales staff a 35% pay raise. All they had to do was work a half day on Saturdays. Nobody showed!

Most good salespeople are type A’s but the people who participate in rating surveys ain’t, so we have to discount their opinions.

Some of the best salespeople are women, and most of them I guess, just happen to be good looking.

The very best sales folks are not only smart and good-looking, they’re also a pain in the ass.

Radio sales folks are fair weather listeners. You only hear that they liked the station when good ratings come out.

Do salespeople still try to claim that they pay our salaries?

Speaking of good-looking successful sales ladies, how come they’ve yet to figured out how to pick up a tab?

I learned a long time ago that the salespeople don’t work for the station, they work for the client. We just pay them.

When I worked at Fairbanks, it was low biller out so every quarter we had a fun new sales person to torment.

When the sales folks at WRMF in Palm Beach would ask PD Russ Morley for a sales promotion, he’d throw them the rating book.

Selling radio never gets any easier, the more ratings we get, the more we want for them.

The sign over Jim Hilliard’s door read, “The purpose of this office is to bring good news to the sales department.”

I remember a salesperson who claimed that he couldn’t sell anything because the rates were too high so the GM asked him what rate he could sell? When the rep told him the GM said, “Ok you got it, that’s gonna be your exclusive rate. Just bring me everything you sell, and I’ll get it on the log for you.” The salesperson, of course, brought him nothing because as we all know the rate has little or nothing to do with it.

It’s easy to sell what can’t be purchased elsewhere.

During the bad times, the big just keep getting bigger.

I remember attending a sales meeting back in the day where the V/P of sales said, “Ok here’s how this month’s sales incentive works, the low biller will be going down on the top biller.” (boy we don’t play that rough in programming)

Speaking of sales, how cool is it to have Paul McCartney sell us his new album this way? Wow, talk about product placement.

Up above #Geo’sMediaBlog talks about #RadioSuperStars, #PPM, and the #LifeLiners talk about radio sales. A lot more about everything else is @ On Twitter@GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.




Geo’s Media Blog. (Hell, I’ll Release That!) 4/28/18. #6 in 2018.

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Having hung around radio stations for most of my life and working with Hall Of Fame folks like Ron Chapman, Jerry Bobo, Larry Dixon, Mike Selden, Jack Schell, Ken Barnett, Bob Morrison, Steve Eberhart, Suzie Humphries, Jeff & Jer, Delilah, Jack Wells, Jim Coghill, Gary Russell, Chuck McCoy, J Robert Wood, Fred Heckman, Sid Collins, Joe Pickett, Jim Shelton, Jack Morrow, Joe McConnell, Art Schreiber, Tom Cochran, Cris Conner, Sunny Joe White, Don Bleu, Terry McGovern, Steve Hicks, and Jim Harper, I got to hear some pretty strong lines. However, even though the most memorable line I’ve ever heard was said in a radio station, it wasn’t said by a radio person.
It all began one frigid January night in Winnipeg when CKY dee-jays Chuck Dann and Daryl ‘B’ graciously agreed to record a demo tape for my band The Jury. We’d recently recruited a singer by the name of Bruce Walker to replace Donny Burns whom we lost to Bill Gilliland of Arc Records but he wasn’t “stage ready.” Our plan that night was to cut a few instrumentals and If they turned out half decent, we’d send them out to some dance promoters like J Robert Wood. While sitting there waiting for Chuck and Daryl to finish setting up, Bruce asked Terry Kenny and I if we would help him finish up a tune he was composing. He was hoping that if we got it done maybe we could tack it on the end of the session.
After having played our instrumentals so often on stage, things went very smoothly, so we had plenty of time to have a go at Bruce’s new tune called “Until You Do.” After going through it with the rest of the guys a few time we laid down a couple of tracks of it and then went into the control room to hear what we had.
The playback blew us away, not only did it sound decent, it sounded very English which was very important because we were right in the middle of the British Invasion. Chuck and Daryl who were also excited about the tune, suggested that I should bring it back tomorrow at noon and play it for their boss, Jimmy Darin. Jim was the Program Director of CKY, and as they said,”If anybody knew what to do with our new song, it would be him.”

The next day at the stroke of high noon, I was back at CKY, with tape in hand and after Jim listened to it, he asked if I could hang around until six? He went on to say that Hal Ross who is an executive with London Records was coming by to take him to dinner, let’s make him listen to your song first. When Hal showed up, we dragged him to the studio and when “Until You Do” faded away he said something that I’ve never forgotten, “Hell, I’ll release that!”


One of the neat things about the recent Royal Wedding was the lack of politicians looking for camera time. As the happy couple said, “This is not a political affair.”

Speaking of the royal wedding, I loved when Harry said to Prince Charles after he escorted the bride down the aisle, “Thanks Pa.”

Supposedly at his bachelor party, Prince Harry was overheard saying, “It feels weird stuffing my grandmother’s picture into g-strings.”
I never realized that there are 31 teams in the NHL but only 6 of them are in Canada. Seeing as hockey is Canada’s national sport, shouldn’t they have teams in Kelowna, Regina and/or Saskatoon, Hamilton, Quebec City, and Halifax?
How cool would it be to see a Yardbird reunion with Clapton, Beck, and Page?
I love when companies turn the negative about their product into a selling point. Example, Heins Ketchup making us believe that if it’s not hard to get out of the bottle, it’s no good. Or Uber recruitment ads saying, “You get to drive your own car” and others saying, “You can work from home.”

Why are we never shocked when a corporate executive is charged with fraud?

I was watching a special the other day about Larry Bird and one of the NBA superstars said, “Here’s the thing with Bird, he couldn’t run, couldn’t jump, and couldn’t dribble. The only thing he did really well was kicking your ass.”

Why do people who not only still vote like their ancestors even though the times have changed rant at us that we should do as they do?

If New York and California are always gonna vote the same way, why do we waste money counting their votes?

As Garth Brooks once said for me, “I was a little wild in school but not as wild as I wanted to be, I was too scared.”

The NRA has to figure out how to get people to stop committing suicide with guns so they can get their stats down.

Great Indy 500 which featured a new car design that put the driving back in the hands of the driver. Will Power, an Australian, won it after Danica Patrick ended her career crashing out.

Wow, the Cavs beat the Celtics at home on their way to the NBA finals. How many times can LeBron do it himself?

Geo’s Media Blog above is about #Making a #Record and a bunch of #LifeLiners about the #NHL, #NRA  and the #RoyalWedding. Much much more@ GeorgeJohns. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing & commenting is appreciated.