Geo’s Media Blog (Whose Caddy Is That?) New for 11/04/19

After recently attending a KVIL reunion in Dallas it not only conjured up a bunch of promotional things we had done at Fairbanks back in the day, but also the memory of my first weekend living in America.

When I worked at CFTR in Toronto, Ted Rogers had thrown in a brand new fully loaded Pontiac Grand Prix as part of my deal. Unfortunately, when I accepted the National PD’s job in Indianapolis, I had to give the car back. Damn! Now I was back in my old ’67 Thunderbird.
Hey, heading to America was scary enough, but showing up in Indianapolis in front of the two-story brick on North Illinois driving a beat-up old T-Bird, how uncool was that?

When I left Toronto for Indy, I had to leave Lana, (shown above with me) and the kids behind to sell our house which I was ok with it because I wasn’t really sure my car would make it. The plan when I got there was to stay at the Hilliard’s until our new house in Carmel was ready and then go back and get them.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first weekend in Indianapolis. First of all, I U was in the final four and Bobby Knight had the whole town stirred up with his patented tantrums. Then Jim who is not only my boss but also my best friend decides that he’s in the market for a new Cadillac so on Sunday morning, he takes me car shopping. Hey, I’m always up for car shopping but the guy who drove out of the dealership in a wine-colored Cadillac Eldorado with white leather interior and a killer stereo system looked an awful lot like me.

Talk about becoming Americanized right from the get-go, but hey, what the hell’s a guy to do? I’m driving a junker and my boss is telling me that not only did I deserve a new Caddy, it also said that it looked good on me and claimed that the Feds thought so too because they were gonna help me pay for it by letting me deduct the interest.

I mean, how the hell could I resist? However, the only way I could justify it even to myself was to think of it as a work-related purchase. Hey, Fairbanks owned FMs, I needed a car with a stereo radio in it, right? That line of reasoning worked for me, but somehow I knew it wouldn’t play for Lana who managed all the bills.

I loved that car, but as I drove around Indianapolis in it listening to WNAP-FM, what kept bothering me was, “What the hell am I gonna tell Lana?” Fortunately, I had another three weeks before I was heading back to Toronto, surely I could come up with something by then? However, when I headed out to Canada, I still had nothing.
Realizing though that I still had hours before I even hit the border, I just relaxed while I listened to WIBC’s coverage of qualification day at the track and waited for something to pop into my head.
Unfortunately, when I hit the Canadian border, I still had nothing, nor did I when I pulled into my driveway in Toronto. Lana’s first words to me when I got out of the car were, “Whose car is that?” The only response I could come up with was, “It’s yours honey, Happy Mother’s Day!” I never drove the Caddy again.

GEO’S LIFE-LINES

When you make a company more efficient the expenses go down but so usually does the revenue. Then when you have nothing left to cut but you, what then? 
 

When the wall came down in Germany it sure didn’t help the West Germans.

The only way to get all the drug dealers, hookers, Churches, and rich people to share our tax burden, a giant sales tax. Absolutely no other tax, just a sales tax.

I wonder how Clemson feels even though they’ve won more games than any other team, whoever does the rankings, believe that at least 3 teams can beat them?

Speaking of winning and losing, the Dolphins win their first and the Patriots lose theirs.

COMMENTS 

Brent Farris: How old does a tune need to be before it becomes a “Classic”? Is it when you’re reaching for the car radio in your to turn up a song just as your kid is also reaching to turn it down? (I’m For Men.)

Reid Reker: If I feared your retaliation at your roast, what makes you think I would feel any differently now? 🙂  First, I’m honored to even be mentioned in this circle of people. Second, thank you for putting me on the Streetcar Named Desire 35 years ago; otherwise, I might be broke and destitute today. Wait a minute… I am broke and destitute today:) Third, seriously, what an incredible ride we have been on together and Fourth, it ain’t over yet!! Thank you! I love you like a brother! (Thank You)

Geo: I guess I forgot to teach you, the being brave part. 🙂 Love you too man!

Warren Cosford:  As George knows, I ‘sing the praises’ of WMOM in Ludington Michigan. Small Town Radio, intensely Local, owned by a guy who has among The Best Ears for Music of any I know and a Passion which inspires The Kids he has working for him. They’re not ‘Slick’ and often sound ‘Hokey’ but there’s a real Charm to the station.  They ‘cleaned up’ at the recent Michigan Broadcaster’s Convention yet there are 9 people working there.
http://www.wmom.fm/ Yesterday Elizabeth and I spent the evening with Colin Kennedy, once an Op at The Big 8 CKLW when Paul Drew was PD.  Colin claims to have invented The Layover.  All I know for sure is…..the first time I heard one was when I arrived in Toronto from Winnipeg to work at CHUM and saw Colin working with Big Tom Rivers.  From a production standpoint, it was like nothing I had ever heard.  The two of them were creating Radio to an Extreme.  Was that Radio as An Art Form?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSbl2k0snUU  Could anyone in Today’s Radio do that today? Would anyone listen?
On the Other Side of that was Progressive Radio.  My Fav was WLIR New York. As with Pat Martin, PD Denis McNamara had ‘Great Ears’ for Music and inspired a Creative Quirkiness between the Records. Showtime just aired a documentary about them. http://dtbdthemovie.com/
But really….perhaps it was the role that Music played in Pop Culture at the time. It seems that Music simply isn’t as important in the lives of My Kids as it was to me…..and now that they’re adults, the only Radio they listen to is in The Car and it’s mostly News/Talk. They can get the music on The Web where The Playlist is a couple of thousand. (Writing The Wrongs)

Tom Cochrun: George, I really enjoyed hearing the aircheck with Bob Richards. He was a real trooper and loved radio right up to his last day. The composite brought back a lot of fond memories of that era. (WNAP Indianapolis 1974)

Bob Hill: I would love to contact Craig Walker after all these years. I started listening to him when he followed Uncle Don Wright in the early ’70s. He may or not recall but in 1979, he and Jon Erickson were given autographed balls by me with several baseball Hall of Famer signatures. At the time, I was the mascot of the Portland Beavers.
I always enjoyed Craig’s show and of course remember him, often playing his favorite song by Lenny Welch, “Since I Fell For You.”
Like myself, I’m sure Craig wakes up some mornings wondering, “How did I get this old?” (K103 Craig Walker)

Steve Smith: George, Interesting. I look forward to additional chapters in your life and career. My cousin, Bob Zens, was CKOM news director from 1988 until he retired about ten years later. He is a Saskatchewan native and still lives in Saskatoon. (Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women Chapter XV)

Hugh Whaley: Regarding East Coast Amtrak service, Geo…I used to take Amtrak from Raleigh to Washington, DC soon after I relocated here from St. Louis to spend time in the home office of the organization for whom I worked. The first couple of times worked fairly smoothly both going and returning.  However, about the fourth time I did this trip, the return trip departed DC on time but arrived in Raleigh two hours beyond its stated arrival time.  The fifth time I made the trip, my return leg was scheduled to arrive in Raleigh at 7:55 pm, but we eventually arrived at 12:55 the next morning. Needless to say, I drove from Raleigh to DC every time afterward. We sat on one stretch of track for over an hour with no explanatory announcement or updates. It is my understanding that Amtrak leases the track time from the freight train companies who own the track. Thus, freight trains always have track priority.  Not sure if that is the case on the western US tracks that Amtrak uses. (Train Wreck)

David Wolfe: George – I vote for this thought and I think it’s very relevant – “As a Canadian/American I have no interest in any policy that allows someone easier access to America than I had.” (Canada Lied To Me)

Geo: I second that emotion, David. 

Dennis Linsin: Just for the record, George, I believe the only way federal employees can receive a raise is if the entire Congress approves it…..not just one man.  (I’m sure I’ll be corrected if that’s not the case.) (Is Obama Racist?)

Alan Sterger: On a recent visit to our marriage counselor, the counselor asked me to apologize to my wife for something. I started out sincere and then added in my defense with a But… The counselor said it was a good apology, up to the But part. (Bad Cops)

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 Gei’s Media Blog @ GeorgeJohns. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.
 

Geo’s Media Blog (Who The Hell Is George Johns?) New 10/21/19

When I left Fairbanks Broadcasting to start my own consulting company, Jim Hilliard who ran Fairbanks, thankfully became one of my first clients. Then when out of the blue Mr. Fairbanks sold WIBC/WNAP in Indianapolis and KVIL in Dallas to Blair, Jim went with the deal so nothing changed for me. However, when Blair sold Indy and Dallas, that ended that because of course the folks at CBS know better. Eventually I also had a falling out with Mr. Fairbanks, so, unfortunately, I lost touch with most of the Fairbanks guys.

Then when Mr. Fairbanks decided to sell WVBF in Boston, he hired Jim to get it in shape, and just like that, I was back in “Bean Town.” Not only was I back in Boston with Jim, but I was also back in Palm Beach at WRMF with Russ Morley again. How cool was that?
Even though I mainly worked with Russ Morely, occasionally, George Mills who was the GM, would ask me to help out with the air talent on his talker, WJNO and put my ear on their recently purchased beautiful music station, WRLX, whenever I could.

At some point during one of my market visits, George asked me to meet with him and Paul Dunn who was the PD of WRLX to share thoughts about the station. Paul was silent during the meeting, and only George had questions. Later, Bruce Buchanan, who had done the original launch of WRMF along with Russ and me, said that Paul had come to him shortly after the meeting and asked, “Who the hell is George Johns?” Bruce replied, “He’s Jim Hilliard’s best friend, but luckily for you, he also knows a little bit about radio.” 

GEO’S LIFE-LINES

There is no such thing as too much improvement; there’s always room for more.

The only guys who use the word vagina, are Doctors.

I have instant respect for people who can do the things that I can’t do. Everybody else has to earn it.

Anger is fear cleverly disguised.

Why would any woman think that a good looking guy who wears Baroni suits, drives a Ferrari and lives in a penthouse, is out at night looking for a wife at a club?

Being a good example is the best advice you could ever give anyone. 

I always believed that the next woman in my life would be the one who was going to make me happy until I learned that only I could make myself happy. Hey, where the hell has this intel been, I could have saved thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands.

The Blue Bombers blew another big lead against the Stamps. I guess they want the season to be over so they can go south?

I see that the Dolphins and the Bengals are running neck and neck for the first pick.

COMMENTS

Bob DeCarlo: When you first came to KOGO in San Diego, you put me on a plane and sent me to Dallas to listen to Ron and KVIL. Thanks to you, I finally found out how great radio was done. And those George Johns lessons paved the way for a very rewarding 25 more years in our industry. You truly are the wizard, George. (I got Lucky!)

Geo: Bob, thank you for your kind words but it’s not what people say that counts, it’s what they do, and you did it, man! 

Jed Duvall: George: The caricature which was drawn by Lotse Balough, of Jim Hilliard (I guess between 1978 and 1979) to me is somewhat unfair, at least to my eyes and ears. (see above) Jim, from the time I first met him in 1970 to the last time I spoke or wrote to him, was and is one of the most modest titans of the industry I have ever met, especially in the media business.  Jim always discussed his success in terms of a combination of hard work, luck and hiring the right people. He never bragged about his “toys” or the power he could wield, real or imagined. Yes, Jim has an ego, but I do not think he has anything to prove to anybody, except to those who make him angry (most of those instances were people who went back on their word to him or back against him violating a contract without calling him first).  Yes, Jim has always been confident in a realistic, reasoned way in his explanations to little old me, but I never once saw or heard him running off at the mouth, telling everyone within earshot how successful he was and is, instead bragging on his people and how proud he was/is of those who served with him, like you, Dick Yancey, Dick Smart, Jerry Bobo, and Ron Chapman. (My List)

Geo: You’re right Jed, Jim would never commission have something like that. It was created by some of the staff members, and Norm Wilkens of our agency. (My List)

Rich Stevens: Cami…
You made it, and you deserve only the best!
So remember this little bit of advice…
There is no “one way” to do something. Even though many will try to convince you that their way is THE way.
Do things the way that works for you. Even if someone tells you, “this is the way it’s always been done,” if you think of an easier or more sensible way, do it.
Be you. Plain and simple. No matter where you go. Be you. And be the very best you that you can possibly be.
Look for the good in people. It’s easy sometimes to find what’s bad or wrong with people, but it feels so much better to see what’s good. When you’re struggling with this, try even harder because you’ll feel so much better when you do.
Have fun. Really we’re here to have fun. So even the mundane or monotonous…
Make it fun! (Cami Graduates Today)

Bill Gardner: That theory of taking almost EVERY cent of every dollar to the bottom line is the prevailing 21st-century thinking. I remember arriving as VP/Programming in Oklahoma City in the mid-1980s when the independent owner told me our annual “promotion budget” was $600,000. I asked him if I’d be his hero if I pulled it off for $150,000 a year? And for the first year, I think I was his hero 🙂 I think we all designed “client promotions” when there weren’t any more “promotion budgets.” Do you agree? (Could Have Had Her)

Geo: I do agree, Bill, I discovered early on that the money was in the sales manager’s office. All you had to do to get it was tell him what was in it for the client. (Could Have Had Her)

Chet Tart: Recently, John Parikhal reminisced to Lee Abrams that nobody stays up all night anymore creating radio that would be executed the next day. But I bet they do at Google. I truly miss that time and the people involved! (Are You F^^king Kidding))

Jim Hilliard: A most timely, and beautifully framed note on a special day George. Maybe the World is not going crazy! Thank your friend for making this Holiday, something meaningful, again. (In Flanders Field – Bruce Walker of The Jury)

Geo: Haunting, isn’t it? I’m resending it again on November 11th, but this time it includes the poem itself. Glad you enjoyed it, Jim.

Doug Thompson: You humble me with your comments George. I’m a Leo (but on the Cancer cusp, so it’s sort of balances out). You and I both started out as board operators, then moved into production, but then you moved on up into programming, management, and consulting. I could never have done what you did George, so I stuck with what I knew (expanding into television documentaries as well)….so here’s to production people everywhere…often the unsung hero of any radio station. (Comments)

Geo: Dougie, I think there should be a special place for the production folks in the Radio Hall Of Fame. Who would you nominate Doug? You’re definitely on my list. 

Camera Anne: Even the mom is too young for you, daddy. I think that should tell you to “don’t even think about it”!!!! 🙂 (Don’t Even Think About It)

Daddy: I think you’re right, honey.

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 (In Flanders Fields – Bruce Walker of Winnipeg’s Jury) 11/11/20

poppies

As the Great War raged on in Europe, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrea, (pictured above) a Canadian Physician from Guelph Ontario, visited the gravesite of his good friend Alex Hemer to pay his last respects. As he looked around, he noticed that the only thing growing amongst all the crosses, were poppies. As he sadly gazed at the final resting place of the fallen soldiers he was inspired to write his immortal poem, “In Flanders Fields.”

After enduring the butchering of Mr. McCrea’s poem at a Remembrance day service a few years ago, my old bandmate, from The Jury, Bruce Walker, (shown below) disgustingly headed home, plugged in his guitar, turned on the tape recorder and give the famous poem a melody.

Bruce’s version of “In Flanders Fields” which he dedicates to all the fallen soldiers, is now in the Lt. Col. John McCrae museum in Guelph and is being played at more and more legions each year during their Remembrance Day services.

It’s beautiful and very haunting, Bruce, and know this, we “The Jury” were with you in spirit as you recorded it.

In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt the dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
 
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