Packed up my family
and headed to Saskatoon
Had to promise them though
we’d be back real soon.
Knew upon arrival
I’d need my own team
If this move was
gonna kick start my dreams.
Deep down, I knew I wasn’t good enough as a musician to support a family, so when Bill Grogan offered me the Music Director’s job at CKY, I left the Jury. ( Bill Grogan pictured above with Frank Roberts and Vic Edwards)
Surprisingly, a few days later, I got a phone call from Randy Bachman, who wanted me to join The Guess Who.
When I laughed and said, “Hell, Randy, I’m not even good enough to play in my band, let alone yours. He said, “I can teach you the music; it’s that other stuff you do that The Guess Who needs.”
Looking back now, I realize that I’d made the right choice because, without knowing it, I had lucked out.
Jim had just become the new program director of WFIL in Philadelphia, and he wanted me to fly into Philly to talk about my working with him at WFIL so I could produce promos like I used to do for him at CKY in Winnipeg.
When we got there, the place was filled with lawyers who were all in uniform, you know, navy blue pin-striped suits, matching vests, yellow and red striped power ties, and of course, the regulatory suspenders.
Jim was wearing a wine-colored Nehru suit with a huge gold medallion hanging around his neck, and Barb was wearing what can only be described as a toga.
The rings on her fingers were gold, as were the bracelets on her arms that snaked their way up to her elbows. Oh, and her blonde hair was piled high and, of course, was crowned with a golden tiara.
At some point during our reminiscing, I noticed that everybody was staring at us, and when I mentioned it to Jim, he said, “They’re just pissed that I make more money than they do.”
Unfortunately, we soon discovered it was a little more complicated than we realized.
Getting a work permit meant putting your name on the bottom of a very long list, and by the time mine worked its way to the top, Jim was running a chain of radio stations out of Indianapolis, and I was the Station Manager of CFTR in Toronto.
When I queried him about it, he said, “CKOM in Saskatoon is looking for a Program Director, but I’m not interested.”
When I told George that I was really interested, he kindly called them back for me, and the next thing I knew, I was on an airplane bound for Saskatoon, where I became their new Program Director.
Oh, and did I mention that I knew nothing about programming?
Writing a Blog recently about Chris McCarty’s exciting new musical, “Elvis Says,” got me thinking about when another one of my friends, Reid Reker and I had an opportunity to get involved in a musical.
Reid had talked me into flying out to Vegas to meet with the lovely writer/director/producer Nancy Gregory. (pictured with me above) Nancy is a lady of many talents who has already produced several Superbowl halftime shows plus created a bunch of productions that play all over the world including Jambalaya the Musical which is currently in New Orleans. At the time I met her though, she was in the middle of writing a musical about Hall Of Fame songwriter Jeff Barry (pictured on top) called Chapel Of Love. She planned to launch it in Las Vegas where she’d already created and produced many musicals for the big rooms. Once established, she would then take it to Broadway.
Later that night when she took us to dinner to meet Jeff, he turned out to be a great guy with a lot of fascinating stories about the golden days of Rock & Roll. After spending the evening talking about all the hits he wrote, and the stars he worked with, Jeff said he’d been fortunate because he’d only had one song failure during his whole career.
It had all begun in the Brill Building in New York where he and his then-wife Ellie Greenwich, along with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, plus Carole King, Doc Pomus, and Phil Spector were all there writing hit songs. While at the Brill Building, Jeff and Ellie cranked out a ton of million-selling hits together like Da Do Ron Ron and Then He Kissed Me-The Crystals, Be My Baby-The Ronettes, Do-Wa-Diddy-Manfred Mann, Chapel Of Love-The Dixie Cups, Leader Of The Pack and Remember (Walking In The Sand)-The Shangri-Las, River Deep Mountain High-Ike and Tina Turner, Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)-Darlene Love, and Sugar Sugar-The Archies.
Jeff’s only song failure came about the day he was charged to come up with a tune for the b-side of a new Tommy James record. The record company wanted it to be so bad that the Dee-Jays would never be tempted to flip it over. He gave them Hanky Panky and the rest, as they say, is history.
I think you may agree that the one thing Trump has done is get the rest of us interested in politics.
How come there are no conservative professors?
The thing that makes your daughter’s advice more worthy than other females, it’s usually less self-serving.
You can still work while listening to the radio and you can even do it while surfing the internet.
The scary thing about women is … Once you make love to them your f**ked!
Most men are not looking for a meaningful relationship, it just happens.
The first time I ever thought about woman’s rights was when my first daughter was born.
Speaking of daughters, my youngest advised me not to have pictures taken with women I wouldn’t want her hanging out with.
You can always buy great sex, but not a great conversation.
The best are always challenging to work with; if they weren’t, we’d all be working for them.
Faith is just like a muscle; it needs exercise.
You would think with the millions Roger Goodell makes, he would have some better copy?
Great weekend, Pats win and the Winnipeg Jets are still in first place.
Tom Skinner of KZST in Santa Rosa told me that when he became a GM, he bought a book that advised him what questions to ask a prospective employee. However, he stopped using it when he discovered that there was another book out there that told the folks how to answer them.
Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting are much appreciated.
Does Amtrak have a different system here in the east? I only ask because a couple times a year I travel on Amtrak from LA to San Jose to visit my friends, the Hilliards. I love the ride, you have spectacular views of the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other not to mention the spectacular service. Put this all together and my ten-hour train trip is over much too quickly. I love the train so much that I’ve taken it across America several times, and even did it once with my daughter Cami. (pictured on top near Palm Springs) However, three hours into it, she was already done and we still had three days to go. Recently, I took the train from LA to Chicago and shortly before that, from San Francisco through the Rockies which was breathtaking. (pictured below) Oh, and did I mention that in the west, Amtrak is on time?
Unfortunately, here in the east, Amtrak should consider changing their name because they are nothing like their western counterparts. Not only are they never on time, but the service is terrible and so is their attitude. In fact, if you travel across the country, you can always tell when the eastern crew comes aboard.
The reason I’m bringing this all up is that my daughter Cami who goes to USF in Tampa, Amtrak is her only way home. I’ve lost count of how many events we’ve missed because of her late arrivals. Now I even have an Amtrak app on my phone so I can try and keep track of the latest developments. Whenever Cami is coming home, the first thing I do when I get up on her day of travel is check in with the app to see how things are going with train 91 out of New York. They usually begin by claiming that the train will arrive in Tampa early which of course isn’t even close to the truth. However, if they start off my day by admitting that they’ll be late getting into Tampa, that’s when I know that I’m really in trouble and begin moving appointments around.
Once the train finally arrives in Tampa and my daughter is safely on board, it’s time to check the arrival time in West Palm Beach, doing it before that is pure fantasy. About 30 minutes out of Tampa they begin their favorite trick which is to add 2 or 3 minutes to their already late arrival time and they do it every 10 minutes which drives me crazy. I have no idea if they learned this trick from the airlines or they taught it to them. The delays usually end up being about 2 hours on a good day but Amtrak keeps you locked in place by claiming that most trains make up time. Yeah right! Going the other way which comes out of Miami is usually on time, but of course not today. After arriving with my daughter two hours late on Friday, they are already 15 minutes late taking her back to school in Tampa, and they’ve only just begun the day.
Do I have this right, only white males are evil, or are we just the only ones allowed to be openly dissed?
I think we should let vigilantes take care of all the drug dealers. I’m thinkin’, the hell with their rights and all their plea bargains.
I hear that Nancy Pelosi is already taking revenge on some of the Democrats who opposed her becoming Speaker again.
Speaking of revenge, I also hear that Trump trumped Nancy and John could be heard in the distance singing, “Instant Karma’s Gonna Get Ya!” Then Nancy trumped Trump and brought an end to the government shut down. What a bunch of spoiled children.
I think the term, “Middle Class” was created by the wealthy to scare the shit out of both the rich and the poor.
Like Bob Seger, “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”
Being bad is just like gravity; eventually, it’s gonna get ya!
Why do successful people think they’re bulletproof?
How would you know if your favorite watering hole was watering down the Vodka? I would think that Vodka mixed with water still tastes like Vodka.
I wonder what came first, the buyer or the seller?
The first time I heard “Hey Jude” was in the production studio at CKOM in Saskatoon. With me, were Gary Russell, Woody Cooper, and Ken Sebastion Singer, and I remember thinking, “Jeez, have the Beatles run out of words already?
Sometimes you win by not playing.
So LA gets another shot at Boston after the Sox embarrassed them in the World Series Huh?
Is Tony Romo the freshest thing to step into the broadcast booth since John Madden or what?
Sean Payton kinda lucked out last week by the bad no call because he made a couple of bad play calls down the stretch that has gone unnoticed.
Nobody hates the Cleveland Browns, but they soon will.
Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs or those under still construction go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting are much appreciated.
This February, NBC will be presenting a huge TV special produced by Ken Ehrlich, producer of many Grammy telecasts and hosted by Blake Shelton with an ALL-Star Cast. The special which will celebrate and remember the comeback show that Elvis did some fifty years ago, could not have come at a better time for my good friend Chris McCarty.
Chris, (pictured above) spent most of the past year writing a musical about Elvis which he hopes to open in Nashville and then to Broadway.
His new stage play, “Elvis Says” was originally inspired by one of his own songs which he wrote and recorded a couple of years ago as a demo. (click on the link at the bottom of the page to hear, “Elvis Says It’s Alright,” with Elvis’s back up singers, the legendary Jordanaires and The Stamps who had never sung together before, doing it on the tune that started it all. Chris, over the years, has written many hits for such notables as Steve Miller and Martina McBride, composed a whole batch of new tunes for his musical which you’ll hear along with some old favorites by the King when you click on the link below.
Chris, believes as I do, that Bruno Mars would be perfect as the principal. Not only is he a megastar, but he started his career doing Elvis impersonations which should give him an emotional connection to the new musical. Maybe even more important than that though is, as Chris says, “It’s time for Bruno to do Broadway.”
The whole production is full of surprises not to mention an unexpected twist which I won’t give away, so I’ll just say, “Of course that’s how you do it, ’cause Elvis says it’s alright.”
Political & Politically Incorrect.
I wonder how many folks believe as I do that brown is not the color of the future? I prefer black and white myself.
Philosophical & Inspirational.
Only when you forgive an enemy does one feel a complete sense of freedom. Ahh, so that’s why I feel like I’m in prison?
Some things just can’t be changed but others that should. However, knowing which is which though is the tricky part.
Speaking of change, if you can’t change something, maybe your attitude needs changing?
If you’re gonna fall, then at least fall forward so you can make a little progress.
The talk of love is easily rejected, but the demonstration of it is simply irresistible, not to mention, quite addictive.
The Catholic Church is still the world’s biggest corporation.
Speaking of corporations, only Disney has the balls to claim that the only reason they’re raising ticket prices is to cut down on demand.
For every opinion, there’s a poll that agrees with it.
Any conversation not based on truth is not real communication.
The only people who can hurt you are those you love.
My friend Bob Christy reminded me of what his mechanic told him about ten years ago when he was thinking of buying a Ferrari. He said, “Buying a car like that is like being in love with a beautiful woman who doesn’t love you.”
Man Oh, Man! Pitchers & Catchers report February 13.
What is the purpose of baldness?
Why do women appear to be normal until you say, “I love you?”
Why do we spend so much time trying to figure out how to pay those greedy bastards who made health care so expensive instead of going after them?
Did I miss the part where the government explained to us why the hell we’re still doing battle in the desert?
Hey, do you get to go through midlife crises again when you turn eighty?
How come it’s so easy to subscribe but so hard to unsubscribe?
When and who was it that decided that the rich people, even if they were on the losing side of a war, got to keep all their land? It’s quite apparent that Castro and the Israilies never got the memo. Also, the Native Americans are very interested in discussing how this all works.
Hey, the Jets are still in first place in their division. How cool is that?
One of mankind’s main responsibilities is to distance itself from the animal kingdom. However, it seems to me that we’re going in the wrong direction.
The more rights we acquire, the more dangerous the streets become.
The only people who can hurt you, are those you love.
To be successful one must be somewhat arrogant. For example, it’s impossible to land a jet fighter on an aircraft carrier in rough seas without being said same.
A lot of the things we are now capable of were once thought impossible.
The only way women are ever going to become financially equal is when it’s just children first, not women and children.
So much for home field advantage huh!
The dirty radio secret is that the average 1/4 hour has been plummeting for years. Nielson tried to help out by adding in 6+ hoping to shore up the cume but unfortunately, nobody buys cume, nor do they buy share. It’s cost per point baby!
Click on the link below to hear all the songs featured in Chris McCarty’s new musical, Elvis Says!
Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs, go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and comments are much appreciated.
Comments From Geo’s Media Blog.
Jerry K: Thanks for including that George, that was a brutal awakening. I’ve never considered that as an option but one can see how you could slide into that groove. We are getting into the age that fellow record spinners are starting to drop for various reasons. The cold hard facts of life are when your gone, you’re gone. The gig is up, no final goodbyes and lots of unfinished business. Enjoy life to the fullest and never sell yourself short. Live every day as if it’s your last, it just might be. Make peace with all, friend and foe while there is still a chance. Most of all don’t leave until they shove you out the door. (Suicide Prevention)
Steven Smith: George…I really enjoyed your article entitled, Sales Promotions. Nice to read history written by a guy who was there.
Paul Cavenaugh: First of all, every car is worth about 25% of its original purchase price after five years. (12% actual trade value). Electric and Hybrids depreciate even more because of the eventual cost to replace the battery. Yachts are even worse! Down at my condo pool, the music playing the loudspeaker is from the 60s and 70s. The Frank Sinatra station is number one at Hospice! (Mostly Life-Liners)
Earl Mann: GREAT ARTICLE GEORGE! It deserves to be #1! I’ve personally witnessed Trump’s extraordinary generosity. He gifted my son-in-law with $40K for his double lung transplant. Do not judge him solely by his words ~ (he can be a rude, crude dude). And do not judge him by anything said about him by the ‘alphabet media.’ Judge him, rather, on his deeds! Trump is an extraordinary human being! But, the mainstream media will never tell that side the story! Thank you for doing so! (Unthinkable Trump)
Canada has become the Nation of the double standard. (Classy)
Geo: All countries think that the folks that they don’t want are much worse than the people that other countries don’t want, Doug.
You have had a hand in all of that….ever think of a column on KFRG/KXFG/KVFG/KEZN? They deserve some props…..just my view. (Classy)
Tom, the Muses give me this stuff, but they do it chronologically, I’m not at the Frog days yet, but I will be, buckle up!
Steve Michaels: KZZY to KLLS in San Antonio. I didn’t know what greatness I was with when I was in the Alamo City. Thanks, George!
Jim Ford: I loved the Class FM format which I listened to in Wichita on KLZS. It played mostly currents and recurrents and didn’t get too old. I really liked the concept.
Glen Livingston: Thanks, George. Winnipeg’s loss was our gain when Daryl B relocated to Vancouver and became a CKLG boss jock. Listening to his show was the highlight of my day!
Geo: Daryl was not only a great friend of mine Glen, but he also produced my first record plus got me the Music Director’s job at CKY which kick-started my radio career.
JJ: Yes, I always thought it was very interesting how politicians get so wealthy on their salary, hmmm. (Livin’ Large)
Geo: They’re just a heartbeat away from jail at all times Jenn Jenn.
Believe me, George, I happen to like a WIDE variety of music types…from dance to easy listening…rock, folk, ballads, R & B, country…even hip-hop and Rachmaninoff!…to name only a few.
Like you say, “…lots of memories.” I happen to think IN THE AIR TONIGHT (Phil Collins) is still a winner…and would love to have been in the control room to play DON’T BE FALLING IN LOVE – AS SHE’S WALKING AWAY (Zac Brown Band – w/Alan Jackson), etc., etc…
Could Pandora or Spotify be today’s KVIL? I hear them EVERYWHERE!
Oh well, enough said…my 50-second+ break is way over. Glad you put the blog together. Really. Over and O U T…Jack. (Retro Radio In Dallas
Geo: Yes, you’re right Jack, death is a better word, and she began dying when CBS installed their New York ways of doing things. Why do New Yorkers always think they know better? Kay-Ville began taking on water the moment they decided that Ron Chapman was an “oldies” jock. When they put Ron on KLUV, that was the end my friend, and she never recovered. I’m writing her obituary even as you read this.
Mike Buxser I Enjoy your blog. Spent 50 years doing radio and loved (almost) every minute of it.
Keep trucking, my friend.
Willy. (Making Movies)