Geo’s Media Blog (Hollywood Knights) New for 10/14/19

I just finished watching an excellent documentary on Netflix about music mogul, Clive Davis, entitled, “The Music Track Of Our Lives.” I had no idea that Clive was involved with so many huge artists over the years.

One of the things the documentary featured, was Clive’s famous pre-Grammy parties, which luckily I once had the pleasure of attending along with Charlie Minor and my daughter Candis. At the time, I was working on a Satelite project in LA and had just rented an apartment in Westwood which luckily for Candis, was just down the street from UCLA where she was a senior.

Shortly after Candis and I moved in together, I called up my old friend Charlie Minor one afternoon to tell him that I’d be in town for a while and wondered if he would like to hang out. Charlie claimed that I called at a convenient time because he had a question for me that had to be answered yes or no right now. When I told him to fire away, he said, “I have two tickets for the Grammys tomorrow night, you want ’em?” “Hey, Candis,” I yelled, “Charlie wants to know if we wanna go to the Grammy’s tomorrow?” When her screams of joy subsided, Charlie told me to meet him at Le Dome later that night, and he would give me the tickets.

Arriving at Le Dome, we discovered that they were already turning away folks at the door. Not to worry, though, when we mentioned Charlie’s name, we got whisked right in. After wading our way through a multitude of Charlie’s celebrity friends who were all drinking flutes of Champagne, I spotted Charlie holding court at the bar. When he spotted us, he came right over and gave Candis a big hug and told her that when she graduated, she should call him to because he had something in the works. Then when he slipped me the Grammy tickets, he whispered, “Stay close, a few of us are gonna crash the Arista party.”

A couple of drinks later, Charlie says, Ok, we’re outta here, and the next thing I know, we’re at the Beverly Hills Hotel where he’s leading to the ballroom where the invitation-only party was going on. I remember thinking at the time, “How the hell is Charlie going to pull this off” when out of nowhere, Clive Davis appears. After giving Charlie a big hug and thanking him for bringing his friends, he escorts us inside to his fabulous party.

Once we were seated, not only did we discover that we were sitting with Jefferson Starship, but fellow Canadian, Jeff Healey, was the entertainment and everywhere we looked all we saw were Superstars. Personally, I thought it was very cool when Barry Manilow and Kenny G wandered over to introduce themselves, but I’m sure Candis thought it was so much cooler when Charlie called her over and introduced her to childhood idol, Donny Osmond. (pictured above) I was amazed that she was able to get through the conversation without blurting out that she had grown up singing into her Donny and Marie microphones.” Oh, what a night and it wasn’t even Grammy time yet.

The Grammy’s were hilariously hosted by Billy Crystal, who we saw again at a private after Grammy party at Spago’s. After Wolfgang Puck personally served us with his famous personal pizzas was wandered around mingling with the stars. However, I lost Candis when she spotted Rick Springfield, her favorite soap star, and I didn’t see her again until it was time to go.
I’ll never forget those Hollywood nights, nor the King of the Hollywood Knights, Charlie Minor. Rest in peace, my brother.

GEO’S LIFE-LINES

To be a man, sometimes you’ve got to man up.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada.

Speaking of Canada, what the hell happened to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers?

Eventually, even the rebellious people will have to be rebelled against when they become successful. 

Even though the Beatles haven’t played together in almost 50 years, they’re still as big as the Stones.

You can’t save anybody else if you can’t save yourself.

When they don’t give you what you want, sometimes you’ve just gotta take it.

Gangs are the place cowards go to hide.

Everybody loves giving advice, but very few appreciate listening to any. 

What I can’t figure out is why the north freed the slaves when they disliked them so much?

It makes no sense to create stuff that doesn’t matter.

To remain at the top, one must have the courage to change things.

Working for Jim Hilliard was like working for your Dad, except unlike your real Dad, he thought you deserved everything you wanted.

At the billion-dollar companies, the only people who make football player money, are the top executives.

COMMENTS
Brent Farris: I like Hockey and was a keeper for two years back in High School. Sure, I was 2nd string, but still loved to play. I loved Orr and Gordie Howe and Mario even Gump Worsley ( yeah I am old ), but I wonder, could they play for 2, 3, or 4 teams at the same time? Each Team demanding different playing styles, uniforms, various team members, and do it all with no practice. Just show up at the game, play, and then on to the next team.
Then I thought about the coaches, could they coach, book the games, lug all the requirement equipment.. sharpen all the skates, and watch all the other teams so that they had a chance of knowing what to do to win? On second thought maybe they could…. they didn’t… but perhaps they could?
Not sure about radio, NOT evolving?  I think it did, just not in a way that makes excellent talent want to play the game. I say More Hockey Players on the radio! (Writing The Wrongs)

Bill Gardner: Some real fun times and memories there, including my “Mysterious Saudi Guy” stunt that I didn’t think anyone else remembered.
I told NO ONE on the staff except Dave Spence that this was my stunt, and withdrew the money out of .my account so that even our business manager would be able to tell the employees who asked, “Is this a REAL deal, or just a promotion.”  What they didn’t know was I’d stuffed that briefcase with paper towels from our restroom with a layer of money on top so that it looked like a real huge bundle of cash! I remember then sales manager Jerry Bobo saying, “I saw that bundle of cash there. There must have been $50,000 in that case!” I think it was about $3000 with many paper towels underneath 🙂
Yes, my actor picked me from the crowd to join him on the street just as I’d told him in “pre-rehearsal.” And I’d join him in the limo I rented to tell the folks over KVIL where we’d be handing out cash. 🙂  Also remember staffer Becky Ulrick saying days later…..” I smelled a rat when Bill Gardner was still hanging around the station at 5.45 PM!” 🙂 (Lets Blow Up The Phones)

Geo: Bill, the whole reason we did that promotion was because Ron​ Chapman was in the middle of​ shooting the “Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders” movie. It was supposed to be finished well before the​ rating​ book started, but when I discovered Ron was on tape​,​ it obviously hadn’t, so I headed to Dallas.
​Upon arrival, I knewthat​ we needed​ to turn the​​ heat up real quick. ​Thankfully, you pointed out the story about the Saudi who was tipping large, so our version just had to be bigger than his.
The funny thing​ though about the actors we hired​ was​, even though she looked the part​, we had to keep the female in the entourage quiet ​because when she opened her mouth, she had a New York Jewish accent which would have blown everything. 🙂

Russ Morley: Cami, I have enjoyed many a great time with you, your dad, and my daughters Natalie and Noelle. I have watched you grow and become a beautiful young lady. Remember, life rarely gives us what we want, but it often gives us what we need. The Great Spirit of the Universe never gives us more than we can handle. Keep those thoughts in mind as you move to the next chapter in your life. You have parents that love you very much. You are very blessed in many ways. Congratulations!

Duane Zimmerman: We need to make radio more of a social media form of entertainment. If some genius could create a radio version or Facebook with music, you would be on to something big. (Writing The Wrongs)

Peter Proskurnik: Great blog, George, I remember your Dad to this day and all the friends in Transcona. It would be great to meet everyone once again before it’s too late and reminisce about the old days. Anyways depression is a severe condition that I went through myself when my wife was dying and eventually passed away. Take care, Bro. (Depression)

Geo: Sadly, it’s already too late, Peter. “Rest In Peace” old friend.

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

Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women (Hollywood Knights) Chapter XLIV 4/03/22 (44)

Livin’ large in the ’80s
and havin’ fun
But my brother Reg and I
were always on the run

We lived out of a suitcase
Cuz we traveled a lot
,
but I did get to sample things
that having money bought.

While in the middle of writing about my second tour of Boston, I happened to watch a documentary about Clive Davis called “The Soundtrack Of Our Lives.”
Wow, I had no idea how many artists Clive was involved with, and when they mentioned
Clive’s famous pre-Grammy parties, it brought back a great memory.

I’d just begun working on a satellite project in LA and had moved into an apartment in Westwood with my daughter Candis.
After settling in I put a call into my old friend Charlie Minor at A&M records to let him know that I was in town.

Charlie said that I couldn’t have called at a better time because he had a question for me that required an immediate yes or no.
When I said, ” Fire when ready,” he said, “I have two tickets for the Grammys tomorrow night, do you want them?”

“Hey, Candis,” I yelled out, “Charlie wants to know if we wanna go to the Grammy’s tomorrow night?”
When her screams of joy subsided, which I assumed meant yes, Charlie told me to meet him at Le Dome that evening and he’d give me the tickets.

When we arrived at Le Dome, they were already turning away folks away and I thought to myself, “Oh-oh!”
However, the mere mention of Charlie’s name got us whisked right in.

After spotting Charlie holding court at the bar with a bunch of other Hollywood Knights we slowly worked our way through all the folks who were standing around drinking flutes of Champagne.
As soon as he saw us he came right over and after hugging Candis and telling her to call him after she graduated, he slipped me the Grammy tickets. Then he whispered, “Stay close man we’re gonna crash the Arista party.”

Before too long he came over to me and said, “We’re outta here,” and the next thing I know, we’re at the Beverly Hills Hotel following Charlie down a staircase to the ballroom below.
There were signs everywhere that read, private party, no admittance, and once again, I thought, “Oh-oh!”

Suddenly from out of nowhere, Clive Davis appears and after hugging Charlie and thanking him for bringing his friends he escorts us inside.
After sitting Candis and me at the Jefferson Starship table which I thoght was very cool, but when Barry Manilow and Kenny G came over and introduced themselves to us, that was mind-boggling.

However, as good as the evening was going for me, I would guess that the highlight of Candis’s evening had to have been when Charlie called her over to meet her childhood idol, Donny Osmond.
I was amazed that she was able to carry on an entire conversation without blurting out the fact that she had grown up singing into her Donny and Marie microphones every day.
(Donny pictured on top)

What a fun and very memorable party but the next night, the Grammy’s hilariously hosted by Billy Crystal was equal to the task.
When it was over, we got to go to a private party at Spago’s where Wolfgang Puck not only personally served us one of his famous personal-sized pizzas, but once again we got to mingled with the stars.

Unfortun,ately I lost Candis when she spotted her favorite soap star, Rick Springfield across the room.
I never saw her again until it was time to go.

I’ll never forget those Hollywood nights nor will I ever forget the most magnificent Hollywood Knight of them all, Charlie Minor.
Rest In Peace, my brother.

 

Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women. (Hillbilly Music) Chapter XXXIII 3/10/22 (33)

Spent a lotta time
on air planes
Traveling across
our fair land.

So how is this
any different
Then playing
with a Rock&Roll band

While watching the Ken Burns documentary about Country Music a while ago, I was very interested in the segment they did about Buck Owens.

When I was a kid I used to play in a band called The Jury who played all over Manitoba and the Northern United States.
Sometimes getting back home from some of these gigs required driving all night and unfortunately, the only music the radio played was Country and Western which I didn’t care for much but I did kinda like Buck Owens and his Buckaroos.

Anyway, fast forward some twenty years where I just got back from a band reunion in Winnipeg
On this particular evening, when I left the offices my brother Reg and I shared in La Jolla, for a change of pace, I dialed up KSON on my car radio and had no idea that I’d end up on the streets of Bakersfield.

As I left the hills of La Jolla behind and was driving south on I-5, all of a sudden, Dwight Yoakam’s, “Guitars and Cadillacs” came on so I cranked it up and sang along.
I think I like Dwight’s music because he reminds me of Buck Owens which in turn reminds me of my old band days.

As the tune begins to wind down the Dee-Jay says, “Hey, I bet Dwight will be singing that one when he takes the stage in a few minutes at the Convention Center.”
At that moment my headlights hit the exit sign for the Convention Center and even though I had an early morning flight to Nashville I thought, “What the hell!”

After buying a ticket and heading inside, I discovered that the opening act wasn’t very good so I decided to cut my losses and leave.
Fortunately, as I was walking out, I noticed that they had a bar in the back so I decided to have a couple of CCs and Coke just so that the whole night wouldn’t go to waste.

As I stood there sipping my cocktail all of a sudden on came Dwight. Talk about electric, when Dwight hit that stage, he was rockin’, and the ladies were howlin’.
He had his cowboy hat pulled way down over his eyes and as he strutted and pranced all over the stage in his skin-tight jeans, he had the ladies all heated up and I had a ball.

The next morning, I headed to Nashville, and as I was changing planes in Dallas, I thought I recognized RC Bradly at the front counter.
RC had been the Sales Manager of KZBS in Oklahoma City back when I was their consultant so taking a chance, I called out his name and sure enough, it was him.

When he came over to say hi, I asked him what he was up to he said that he managed a hillbilly singer by the name of Dwight Yoakam.
When I told him that I’d seen Dwight in concert just last night in San Diego, he just laughed and said, “Let me see, do I have this right, George Johns, one of America’s most respected radio consultants spends his downtime going to cowboy concerts?”

After telling him that I liked Dwight’s music because he reminded me of Buck Owens, RC asked if I would like to meet him?
Sure, I said, so off he went and was back a few minutes with two guys who were wearing these very cool long trail coats made out of Indian blankets.

After introducing me to Dwight, RC says, “And George, this is the legendary Buck Owens.”
You’re sh*ting me, how f#king cool is that?
(See Dwight and Buck below)It turned out that they were all going to Nashville to tape a TV Special which was honoring the legends of Country Music.
Luckily when they called our flight, I’d used my reward miles to upgrade to first class so I got to sit up front with them.

Once we were in the air and I was sitting back enjoying a couple of cocktails, all of a sudden Dwight and Buck got their guitars down from the overhead.
For the next hour we were entertained by Buck teaching Dwight the song that they were going to do on the TV special.

None of us, including them, had any idea that we were also witnessing the birth of Dwight Yoakam’s first #1 record, “The Streets Of Bakersfield.”

 

Geo’s Media Blog (Get Out Of Jail Free Card) New 10/28/19 #9

At the recent KVIL reunion in Dallas, when a few of us reminisced about a few of the great promotions we use to do at Fairbanks Broadcasting, it caused a bunch more to pop into my head while flying back home to West Palm the next day. (Me above at the reunion with Ron Chapman, Bill Gardner, and Jerry Bobo) 

When I began my radio career, I lucked out because many of the KY Good Guys in Winnipeg were Americans. Now the thing about the Yanks is that they liked to do stuff big and flashy and of the many things that I learned from them one was how to do promotions that not only caused talk but also excited the air staff. Unfortunately, when they left, I was left with my mistakes being my only teacher.

Armed with my two-point promotion system, when I became the Program Director of CKOM in Saskatoon, we caused quite a stir but knowing that a PD is only as good as his last book, I studied how the diary system worked. Thankfully, by the time I got to CFRA in Ottawa, I’d figured it out which got us some great ratings and me a new job in Toronto.

After putting up a few CFTR billboards around town, was when I accidentally discovered that promotion had more than two elements and number three was how to get some publicity while you were doing your promotions. As our billboards were going up, we hired a truck driver to drag one of our billboards all over town which unfortunately broke down on Yonge Street right in the middle of downtown. (oh darn) The breakdown, of course, caused a horrendous traffic jam on Canada’s busiest street so consequently, it made the TV news. (see below)I loved working at CFTR because not only did I get to create a whole new music system, I not only got to work for the legendary Ted Rogers, but I also got to hook up with another legend, Jack McCoy. Jack was the one who taught me the fourth element of promotions, the art of adding visuals to all the produced promos.
Now armed with my new music system, my new-found knowledge diaries, and the four-pronged promotion concept, it was time to take on America.
My first stop was Indianapolis where I became the National PD of Fairbanks Broadcasting and reunited with my old boss from CKY, Jim Hilliard plus Chuck Riley and Gary Todd. I also met Dick Yancey and Jerry Bobo who taught me the all-important fifth element, how to make money with the promotions.
For starters, we did a fun promotion called the “Great Race” both at WIBC in Indy and KVIL in Dallas. The concept featured our morning and afternoon guys racing each other around the world and all the TV stations in town were kind enough to do updates on how they were doing. Their clothes and travel bags were of course sponsored by the local department stores, the airline tickets came with a promotional plan we sold to the airlines they were traveling on and the start/finish line was sold to a local hotel.
Meanwhile, way in the back of the “two-story brick,” Cris Conner was busy running the annual WNAP Raft Race which was rivaling the Indy 500 for attendance figures. (see event above) Unfortunately, after nine years it had to be abandoned because too many folks who had no chance of getting to the finish line, had brought the traffic in Indianapolis to a standstill.
When we ran the “Big Sugar Daddy” contest at WIBC, it blew out most of the phones in Indy which put us on TV news again like it did when we caused a massive traffic jam when we put up a billboard on the busiest street corner in town featuring pretty girls in Bikinis swinging on a swing high above the morning traffic. (see the swing above) When we did it in Dallas, they got a court order forcing us to bring the girls down ’cause they were so hot, they froze the freeway.
Back home again in Indy, WNAP ran a make-believe concert on the air called Fantasy Park. Buster Bodine, (see Buster above) along with the rest of the Buzzard boys did it so convincingly that people were driving around aimlessly looking for the concert. Before long the TV reports claimed that the police were trying to put a stop to the make-believe concert but they couldn’t find it.(Buater and I later did it again at KPRI in San Diego)
When we did the 50% Off Free Fair in Dallas on KVIL and in Indianapolis on WNAP, it shut down every road and highway that led to the fairgrounds. By then though, the TV stations all had their own Helicopters, so now they showed it live. (darn)
Up in Boston at F-105, Jay Williams was running a great promotion called, “Show us a sign that you want to win free money.” I’ll never forget watching the New England Patriots on TV and as Jim Plunkett threw the winning touchdown pass, his tight end had to leap high in the air in front of a huge F-105 sign in order to grab it. My favorite part though was watching the instant replay, over and over again.
When Ron Chapman, (shown above with me after been inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame) decided to do his first-ever parachute jump live on the air, all three networks in Dallas were kind enough to show him slowly floating down on all their newscasts that evening.
A few weeks later, losing a tug a war contest to one of the local TV stations, got us five minutes in both of their newscasts with some nice close-ups of the giant KVIL call letters on our brand new sweatshirts which proved that sometimes ya gotta lose to win. 
Oh, and when we hired the Mayor to do sports, we also put a billboard up to promote it, the Dallas Morning News showed a picture of it on the front page in color and above the fold. The headline read, “Mayor Moonlights On KVIL.”
I guess we should have been embarrassed when one of our billboards featuring Mike Selden ended up across from a nunnery in Dallas. When the church complained the media couldn’t help but rag on us but after we agreed to take it down, the church then blessed us and as I recall, that was one of our better books. (see Michael’s billboard above)

Then there was the time when a Saudi was reported tipping lady bartenders all over Dallas with hundred dollar bills. Taking advantage of the situation, Bill Gardner (shown above) withdrew a few thousand dollars from his account so it couldn’t be traced back to KVIL and we hired some Arab looking actors. Next, we sent them to the KVIL studios where they started handing out money to the staff.
When Larry Dixon invited the leader to explain on-air what was going on, he claimed that the other Arab was a phony which he was going to prove by giving away much more money than he did but he needed our help. He then, of course, picked Bill Gardner out of the crowd to join him in the limo and show him some good locations. Once there Bill would call the station to tell the listeners where they were.
Things were going well, and as GM Dave Spence and I watched it all unfold on TV, we celebrated with high fives as the camera showed a crumpled up hundred dollar bill going around and around on one of the turntables back at the station. Then when we heard that the trail of cars following the limo was over a mile long, I knew we had a hit on our hands but when we got the call saying that the FBI had shown up at the radio station, I got a hold of Bill and said, “Send Ahab the Arab back to the desert, Bill.”

Surprisigly though, the most publicity we ever got didn’t cost us a dime. Ron Chapman simply went on air and said, “If you’ve got an extra 20 bucks in your wallet, send it to me, and we’ll figure out something fun to do with it.” However, when over a quarter of a million dollars showed up in just a couple of days, Ron had to go back on the air and beg them to stop.
Not only was it all over the loca news, but it also went National.

When I left Fairbanks to start my own company, I of course took the four-point promotion concept with me. Pretty soon we were blowing out the phone systems all over America by giving away vast amounts of cash and expensive cars. Hell, the cheapest car we ever gave away was a Trans Am and that was only because the Smokey and the Bandit movies were hot. (see newspaper article)
At KOGO in San Diego, where we did the first-ever prize catalog and wrapped it all up with, “For one last shot at a big prize, scratch your name and phone number on your catalog and drop it off at the Doubletree on Hotel Circle. I wish you could have seen the mess, Interstate turned into a parking lot, but according to Don Walker, (pictured below) the TV shots were spectacular.
I unfortunately missed all the mayhem because I was smart enough to be out of town when it went down.
Just down the hall from KOGO, our sister station, KPRI was busy shooting a TV commercial that caused quite a stir. It starred a “looker” named Peggy who was dressed in tight shorts and a mid-drift KPRI T-shirt cut way up to here.
The shot opened with a pouting Peggy who is just staring into the camera. However, when the music starts, she breaks into a big smile and begins to dance but then all of a sudden the music stops and Peggy says, “When I hear the music on KPRI, it makes me so hot that I just wanna rip my shirt off.” With that, she begins pulling the shirt up and as it almost reaches her nipples, the shot freezes on the call letters printed on the shirt and scrolling underneath was some text that read, “Next week Peggy takes the shirt off.”
Unfortunately, at the last minute, the TV stations all canceled our schedule because the commercial was too provocative. They did though run it in their newscasts as being the first TV commercial ever banned in San Diego.

One of the saddest things that I was ever involved in got so much publicity that it had to be killed before it had hardly even started. Reid Reker (Pictured above) and I had created a brand new format for his radio station in Phoenix called “Radio For Men.” We went as far as to say that women were not allowed to listen to it and had a billboard showing the symbol from the women’s restroom with the ghostbuster line drawn through it.
We sounded so sincere about our Radio For Men that it drove the city crazy. Not only was the local media all over us, but it went national when People Magazine and entertainment shows like “ET” showed up to cover it. Unfortunately, when the owners turned on the TV and saw the Now organization marching on the station, they pulled the plug.
 Most of the promotions on our “Class/Classy” stations caused so much commotion that whenever we got a new client, I’d immediately meet with the GM and present him with a “Get out of jail free card.” On that card were the words, “We never dreamed, imagined, nor anticipated this kind of reaction to our promotion which I suggested the GM should memorize. He would need to say those words, I advised, to the TV cameras which will be showing up soon. When they’d ask how I knew the TV people were going to show up, I said, “Oh trust me, they always do.”

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

Geo’s Media Blog (The End Of Innocence) New for 9/23/19

The fifties were a great time to be growing up in North America. The post-war economy was booming, and for the first time ever, kids had money, and Mr. Businessman wanted it. First, he renamed us “Teenagers” and then began to manufacture clothing for us, made movies we starred in, and then recorded music that our parents hated, called Rock&Roll.
It was while doing homework as my Mom made dinner when I heard that same strange-sounding music my friend Barry’s sister had played at his place a year earlier. However, this time it wasn’t coming out of a record player, it was coming out of the radio.

One two three o’clock
four o’clock rock.
Five six seven o’clock
eight o’clock rock

When “Rock Around The Clock” began playing on the radio, things would never be the same again. Before long you began hearing the Crew Cuts, the 4 Lads, and the Diamonds mixed into the sweet soft sound of what used to be. As good as this new Rock&Roll sounded, I would discover later that most of it were only watered-down versions of even a bigger sound I would soon get to hear.

When the school year ended, we moved into a brand new home in another suburb of Winnipeg called Transcona and not only did I leave North Kildonan behind, but I also left that shy quiet guy who loved baseball and scouting back there too.
Unfortunately, being a jack of all trades, my Father had purchased the stripped-down version of our new home which meant that as his assistant I got to help him build a garage, a bedroom in the basement, a concrete driveway along with sidewalks, build a fence, and sod the yard which took most of the summer.

It was during our building years that he felt compelled to remind me about a few of the many house rules. Don’t bring the police to the front door, don’t ever tarnish the family name, and stay away from the bad girls.” I understood the first two, but staying away from the bad girls was ludicrous. How the hell were you supposed to get lucky? Also, according to my Father, all crime began after midnight, so to keep me from temptation, he initiated a midnight curfew.

The only break I got from our construction work was when my Dad was sick in bed. I now figure that sadly he must have been suffering from what know as Depression.  On those days though, I’d get to wander over to the nearby park hoping to meet someone that I could play a little ball with. On one of those days, I happened to meet an unassuming guy by the name of Peter Proskurnik. (pictured on top a few years ago and playing with me and Rolly Blaquiere in the Phantoms, far left when we were hardly more than kids) I had no idea that meeting Peter that day was about to change my life forever.

Pete said that he be glad to play catch with me, but first, he had to practice his accordion a little, I remember thinking, accordion, why would anyone want to play the accordion? Less than an hour later, true to his word he was back and while we were throwing the ball around he asked if I’d like to go with him to Teen Canteen that evening? When I asked, “What’s Teen Canteen,” he said that it was a dance which didn’t sound like fun to me. The only dances I was aware of were played polkas or were square dances but since he played ball with me, I decided to go.

Later that evening as we hoofed our way to the East End Community Club the summer sun was still high in the sky so when the door to the entrance closed behind us, we were thrust into total darkness. We must have looked like a couple of guys in need of a seeing-eye dog and a couple of white canes as we slowly groped our way down the narrow hallway towards the dimly lit entrance to the dance hall ahead.

Upon entering the hall, the only light was coming from the colored lights that were strung up everywhere. However, now, I no longer cared about seeing, what I cared about was the thunderous sound blasting out of the four huge Hi-Fi speakers hanging on the wall. The raw sexuality that was pouring out of them and into my soul was making it very difficult to breathe.
I spent the rest of the night frozen in front of those speakers where for the first time ever, I heard the likes of Jimmy Reed, Fats Domino, Big Joe Turner, Little Richard, Tiny Bradshaw, Little Willie John, Muddy Waters, and Wynonie Harris.

At some point, Pete must have sent some girl over to ask me to dance, but I remember thinking, “Hell, I don’t wanna dance, I want to make other people dance, and I want to do it for the rest of my life.
Rest in peace old friend I miss you already. 🙁

GEO’S LIFE-LINES

Why is it that only when you’re drinking is it so easy to figure out how the world should really work?

The only people who tell the truth are those who are not afraid of the consequences.

When has any politician affected your paycheck?

The reason I was fairly successful with the AC format was mostly because I really didn’t like the music.

One of the hardest things in the world to manufacture is your image.

I don’t think that helping someone should come at the detriment of others.

One of the hardest things to accomplish is changing but it’s even harder to grow.

I’ve never had a real problem with the mob, they only hurt each other and folks involved in illegal activities. Thugs, on the other hand, hurt everybody.

I don’t think that helping someone should come at the detriment of others.

One of the most difficult things to do is manufacture an image.

To become a leader all one needs to do is start leading.

COMMENTS

 

Jack Schell: Hiya, George. It should come as no surprise to you that I have read almost all of your blog essays.  Always interesting…even the ones that take us back to your times singing and playing guitar.  Maybe the connection stems from my having also been in a band…singing and playing electric bass and guitar.  How about THAT!
Today is different. Your “Radio’s Over” hit me like sticking my finger in an electric socket. Ever do that?
Anyway, like you, I can’t help but lament radio’s current era.  I’m close enough to DFW to listen to any or all of the stations I “helped”…mostly K— well, YOU know the one.  Break’s my heart.  AND, I refuse to accept that I am “…out of touch with today’s modern media or whatever.”  I do hear some exceptions which make it somewhat better to catch a few personalities who are connecting with their audience. That’s a good thing…but rare.

One thing that might make me ALMOST feel like “I DON’T GET IT” is to hear stations send people to the internet.  If I were in charge I tend to think I’d let the internet send people to my radio broadcast.  Kinda like the use of newspaper ads, direct mail, magazine ads, and billboards.  The internet is compelling…made so by some VERY clever folks.  So. why invite radio listeners to go to a place where they might not want to come back? (Could the sales department have anything to do with this process?)  I do see plenty of web ads popping up when going to the radio websites…oh well, that’s just me.  You have to know that I joined the air wars when you’d better have a good reason for a double-spot or triple-spot.  I think I heard a niner recently.

Bob Glasco: Congrats Cami! I’ve watched my own four daughters take this step and it was thrilling each time. Your Dad said that he would explain to you who everyone was that commented and what a big deal they were. What he probably won’t tell you is that he is the biggest deal of them all. I learned so much from him and your Uncle Reg. I will be forever in their debt. Happy life Cami! (Camera Graduates)

Ivan Braiker: George, I am surprised, creative can be fostered within the rules! Case in point Ron Chapman, he was never anything but compelling! And never outside of the rules. Creative costs $$$, the owners were more focused on pushing the bottom line. That’s when I left the business. I started Hipcricket truly because I thought it could save radio. I would argue the point that it very well may have been able to lead the charge bringing in tech, early, not trailing! Love to have a deeper discussion with you on all this 🙂 (Sales Promotions)

Geo: It’s always very interesting talking with you Ivan, I’m standing by.

Doug Herman: Re your comment that no great story ever started with, “So there I was, eating a salad.” Back in the big bucks days when Jack McCoy and I had our promotion company housed in one of the shiny new downtown San Diego high-rise office buildings, we worked with a guy who, when we were on an elevator by ourselves, would occasionally wait until the elevator stopped at any random floor before our destination, and as the doors opened for someone to get on, would casually “continue the story” …. “So there I was, stark naked ….”  Sometimes people would back out of the door and wait for a different elevator. I’m sure they heard us break up as the elevator doors closed. (I Radio)

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