Geo’s Media Blog. (Whimpering & Whining) New 9/21/20

I became a fan of Country Music back in Canada when I was just a kid in a Rock & Roll band.
My band was called the Jury and almost every weekend we’d be playing in small towns all over Manitoba, North Dakota, and Minnesota which sometimes necessitated our having to drive back to Winnipeg in the middle of the night.

Driving all night was bad enough, but seeing as I was the designated driver I needed the radio to help keep me awake.
Unfortunately, in those days, the radio stations played nothing but Country and Western Music overnight and my not being a fan of the Western part, the already long drive seemed even longer.

However, I must admit that whenever the likes of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Johnny Horton, or Buck Owens came on the radio, I’d turn them up and sing along. (pictured above)

One of the things I learned when Bob Christy and I talked Jim Hilliard into launching Boston’s first Country Station, WKLB, on the ’90s, was that the ladies who wear boots don’t seem to like female singers very much.
What they want is manly men singing their favorite tunes because as they say, “It’s the only time they ever hear a guy whimpering and whining about a love gone bad.” However, their girlfriends, I guess whine about this kinda stuff all the time so the last thing they want is them singing about it too.

GEO’S LIFE-LINERS

South Florida, one of the few places in North America where we, the residents, actually look forward to the winter.

The only person who can stop you from making any progress is you.

Do you have to be dead before becoming a legend?

When and why do the folks who run for office suddenly want to send free money to countries who hate us?

The only thing that’s bad about good luck is figuring out how and why you got lucky.

Men attract women with their success; women attract men with their beauty, but I believe that men may have it a lot easier.

I feel sorry for the liberals who think they have intellectual superiority over conservatives because they believe that they’re only dealing with rednecks and hillbillies. Be prepared to be embarrassed.

Is there anything sweeter than revenge?

How come I haven’t seen the new ‘Vette’ on the streets yet?

We don’t like bad guys, but we sure love bad girls.

Who do you think would better handle discovering that their spouse had a one night stand, the wife or the husband?

What I find hard to believe is why my learned liberal friends think that the leftist rich are different than the ones on the right.

Is there anything loftier than being envied?

There are three types of beautiful women; those who suck the oxygen out of a room as they enter, those you’d kill for, and those you’d die for. However, if any of them show up anywhere near you, I suggest running.

Speaking of the threes, most of us are three different people, the person you think we are, the person we think we are, and the person we really are.

I wonder how many potential immigrants bailed after reading the fine print in the American dream?

Wow, I just heard that KVIL in Dallas billed $67,000 in August, that’s a long way from the almost two million the ‘A’ team used to do during the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.

COMMENTS
Jack Schell: Howdy, George! This particular blog was sent to my email this morning (8/24/20)…and, most likely to bunches of other radio pals you have acquired over the last few years…uh OK, DECADES! Anyway, one of your LIFE-LINERS caught my attention, like a shout! It was, “Without a script, there’s no movie, no play, no TV series, no actors, no agents, no assistants, no money, no nothing. I thought, “Hmmm, what about R A D I O??” To me (at this time), “script” means FORMAT. When I think back about formats (some that worked…some that didn’t), it seems to me that formats (as presented to the listening world) were pretty much defined by the music. In a way, like…uh…like, how loud the drums and guitars were played…and, like, did the lyrics have a message that, in so many words, said, “I love you.” (BTW, using the power-word “like” 2 or 3 times per sentence is SO TODAY!…are you, like, chuckling?). Having listened recently to some major-market stations, I’m not sure any WORDS (song lyrics) came through. Mind you; I do NOT require Julian Bream’s sound…but I do miss hearing a great riff played on a Tele. YOU would know what I mean! What’s the POINT of all this? GEORGE! Think FORMAT! Formats that have NEVER existed. I thought of one just the morning but not for publication at this time. I really did, not sure why. BTW, you’re right about Bill G! Have I spoken past the allotted 20 seconds? Sorry, be right back after this break. (Ideas Are A Dime A Dozen)
Geo: Do you have the “single” version of this, Jack?
Jack Schell: No, but, I DO have the “elevator” version… Don’t modify the past; go for an “Out-of-the-box NEVER done like this before!!” Alrighty now, 3-1/2 seconds!” The second floor, Mezzanine, ladies’ sportswear, children’s shoes, gift wrapping, and complaint department. Thank you for shopping George’s Surplus Warehouse” (SURELY, you’re NOW chuckling…if just a little?)
Geo: I am, Jack, I am!

Liz Rivera: George, you rock! Trying to catch as many of these as I can. Of your posts that I can. Some of the best content out there. On a side note, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”… Bravo! To tears… L. (Rules To Teach Your Son And Grandson)
Geo: Thanks for the read, Liz, and also for checking in.

 

Geo’s Media Blog (Running Back To Saskatoon) New 8/17/20

My first radio hire
was a hippie named Gar
He helped me a lot
as we gathered our stars.

Sebastian & Woody
became part of our gang
When we added Ron Doc & Alfie
we came on with a bang

When my daughter Candis was born and CKY made me their Music Director, I left my band called The Jury. I wanted to focus on radio and before long I was named the new Program Director of CKOM in Saskatoon.

Upon my arrival in Saskatoon, I soon discovered that it was even colder here than it was in Winnipeg.
Management wanted me to listen to the radio station for a few days before coming in, so I spent my first couple of below zero days hunkered down in a motel room with the heater on full blast.

However, after listening for two days, I was just crazed, and even though I didn’t know much about programming, I knew this would never work.

They started the day off with some middle of the road music (MOR), you know, folks like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Perry Como. Then a piano player who the morning man obviously hated showed up at nine and played some sing-along stuff.
At ten, they switched to Country, followed by CHR at four and back to MOR in the early evening before doing some talk shows.

Whew, I had my work cut out for me, so with my notes in hand, I headed into the station to get started.
After being introduced to the staff, I then sat down with my immediate boss to discuss my findings but when I tell him what stuff needs to be pulled immediately, I hear nothing but crickets. Looking up from my notes I discovered that my boss was sitting there red-faced and trembling with rage. Until that moment I had no idea that I was talking to the guy who’d put all that sh*t on the air in the first place. Oh-oh!

That meeting cost me at least six months, so I decided to take fix our production sound first and because we were short an announcer, based on J Robert Wood’s recommendation, I hired Gary Russell. (pictured on top with me)
When Gar arrived in Saskatoon he only had one question, “What the f**k is all this?”

My bosses loved our new production sound so much that they gave me a raise, but when I told them that my fixing production wouldn’t fix the ratings, it just fell on deaf ears.

Sure enough, when the new ratings come out, they’re a disaster and management panics. It seems that the owner was heading home from Palm Springs soon so all they care about now was how quickly I could change the sound. They wanted to be able to say, “Yes, the ratings are terrible, but as you can hear, we have a brand new sound.

As they say, luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and Gar and I hadn’t been idle, hell, we already had most of the replacement staff lined up.
We held on to Ken Sebastian Singer from the old crew, brought in Keith Elshaw from Toronto and Doc Harris from Vancouver. Next, we got Ron Andrews from Regina, Woody Cooper from Omaha, and when we brought in Dylan Thomas from Albuquerque, we were all set.
Not only did we sound completely different, the owner even told me that he liked the new sound but I think what he liked the most was the fact that something had finally changed on his radio station.

Even though our new sound scared the sh*t out of our sales staff, we were also attracting some new fans like Joni Mitchell. (pictured above) Joni surprised us by stopping by the station one day with a friend to give us her new album.
While she was there she agreed to do an interview and when we took a short break she introduced us to her companion who turned out to be Graham Nash of the Hollies. Wow!
Graham told us that he had come to see Joni for a couple of days before heading to LA to record an album with his new group, Crosby Stills & Nash. (pictured below)

When the new ratings hit, they’re killer and I thought everything was beautiful until the owner popped into my office to ask if I was ready for the big meeting?
When I just laughed and said that I didn’t need to do much prep for a celebration meeting, he shocked me with, “It’s not a celebration, in fact, it’s quite the opposite.” He went on to say that the sales department was getting resistance from some of our old clients so they want to return to the old ways.

I sure wasn’t ready for that and was in total shock, so I called my mentor, Jim Hilliard, who said, “Go into the attack mode.”

So knowing that I was about to rain hell down on everyone, I called my wife to tell her that I might not have a job come supper time. Instead of panicking, she told me to do whatever I had to do because if worse came to worse, we could always live with her folks.

It’s easy to be brave when a man has his family backing him, so when I walked into that conference room, I was walkin’ tall and loaded for bear.

Strangely, even though I’d arrived a few minutes early, everyone was already seated, which pissed me off but I give much better meetings when I’m pissed.

The GM began by congratulating me on our great showing in the rating book. However, when he got to the part about our having a few issues, I interrupted him by saying, “No, what you have, is a few problems, and they’re all sitting in this room.

Someone,” I said, “Should have anticipated the resistance and formulated a plan on how to overcome it.

We should be out there right now, explaining to our clients how they can take advantage of all our new listeners. Instead, it looks like our crack sales force was asleep at the wheel.
Not only do we sound good, but we also have statistical justification proving that we’re on to something. So if you’re here to tell me that you want the old ways back, I can assure you that it won’t be me doing it. And with that, I walked out.
COMMENTS
Jed Duval: Well, another year, another strike-out for Jim Hilliard, George Johns, Dick Yancey, Chuck Riley, Roy Cooper, even Gary Todd in the Richard M Fairbanks / Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame for 2020.
While I do not begrudge their nominations or inductions,  Paul Mendenhall (yes, WNAP’s / WIBC’s part-timer who has been full-time at WTTS-FM for the last 20-years and is retiring in September) and former WIBC – WNAP receptionist, Terri Stacy, who became Jeff Pigeon’s side-kick, then Steve Simpson and now does public affairs on WIBC-FM, will be inducted this year.
Why, because Geoff Vargo is President of the Indiana Broadcasters Association and Jeff Smulyan still has veto power over inductees.I quit the Broadcast Pioneers and the I.B.A. in disgust in 2005.  Oh, and the Executive Director of the I.B.A. is none other than Dave Arland, who was in the late 1980s a news reporter for one Fred Heckman!
Dave is like a lap-dog to the Indiana Broadcasters Association board, most of whom hate WIBC/WNAP from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s.
The i.B.A. board has total control over the approval of every nominee to the Hall of Fame.
Geo: It’s a damn shame, Jed. I’ve been asked a few times what I attribute the success I’ve had in my career? The answer is easy, the air talent.
Hey, when most of the on-air folks I was lucky enough to have worked with both in Canada and the US ended up in Radio Hall Of Fames, how tough could it be? In fact, I have two more going in this month, Bill Gardner in Texas, and Brent Farris in San Francisco.
As I look at the list above of who’s going into this year’s Hall Of Fame in Indy, I realized that even though I spent over ten years in Indianapolis, I never heard of any of them. However, I sure heard of Gary Todd, Chuck Riley, Jerry Baker, Bob Lamey, Orly Knutson, and Buster Bodine and a few others that should be in there.
As for Jim, me, Roy, and Dick, I’ve always believed that the Hall Of Fame should be for the stars so I’m ok with not being included as I’m sure they are too.
What I don’t understand is how Jeff Smulyan who was sleeping on Mickey Mauer’s couch when I lived in Indy, gets to use Mr’ Fairbanks’ money to veto who should or shouldn’t be in Indiana’s Hall Of Fame. Tell him to use his own.

 

Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women (Running Back To Saskatoon) Chapter XVI 2/11/22

My first radio hire
was a hippie named Gar
He helped me a lot
as we gathered our stars.

Sebastian & Woody
became part of the gang
And when we added Ron Doc & Alfie
we came on with a bang

As I said, When my daughter Candis was born and CKY made me their Music Director, I left The Jury to focus on radio.
Then before I was even ready, I was named the new program director of CKOM in Saskatoon.

Upon arriving in Saskatoon, I soon discovered that it was even colder there than in Winnipeg.
Management wanted me to listen to the station for a few days before coming in. So I spent my first couple of below zero days hunkered down in a motel room with the heater going full blast.

However, after listening for a couple of days, I was crazed, and even though I didn’t know much about programming, I knew this would never work.
They started the day off with some middle-of-the-road music (MOR), you know, folks like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Perry Como. Then a piano player showed up and played some sing-along stuff. At ten, they switched to Country, CHR at four, then back to MOR in the early evening, followed by some talk shows.

Whew, I had my work cut out for me. So with notes in hand, I head into the station to get started.
Almost immediately after they introduced me to the staff, I sat down with my boss to discuss my findings.

Like a fool, I start right in with what has to be ripped off the air immediately but hearing nothing but crickets; I look up.
What I see is my boss trembling with rage, and I suddenly realize I’m talking to the guy who put all that shit on the air. Oh, oh.

That meeting cost me at least six months, so as I gathered my wits about me, I decided to fix our production sound first, and because we were short one announcer, I hired Gary Russell. (pictured on top with me)
When Gar arrived, he only had one question, “What the f**k is all this?”

Management loved our new production sound so much that they gave me a raise.
However, when I tried to convince them that fixing production wouldn’t improve the ratings, they just waved me off.

Sure enough, when the ratings come out, they’re a disaster, and management wants to know how quickly I can change everything?
They wanted to be able to say to the owner when he got back into town, “Yes, the ratings are terrible, but as you can hear, we have a brand new sound.”

It is said that the definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity and because Gar and I had anticipated this opportunity, we already had the replacement staff all lined up.

We held on to Ken Sebastian Singer, brought in Keith Elshaw from Toronto, Doc Harris from Vancouver, Ron Andrews from Regina, Woody Cooper from Omaha. Then when Dylan Thomas arrived from Albuquerque, we were all set.
Not only did we sound completely different, which scared the shit out of the sales department, we were also attracting some new fans.
One of them was Joni Mitchell (Pictured below), who was in town visiting her folks when we launched.
Joni surprised us when she dropped by with a friend one day to give us her new album and while she was there she agreed to do an interview.
When we took a short break, Joni finally introduced us to her companion who turned out to be, Graham Nash from the Hollies. Wow!

Graham told us that he had just popped into Saskatoon to see Joni for a couple of days before heading to LA to record an album with his new group, Crosby Stills & Nash. (pictured below)
This time when the ratings came out, they were killer and I mistakingly thought everything was beautiful until the owner popped into my office to ask if I was ready for the big meeting?

When I just laughed and said that I didn’t need to do much prep for a celebration meeting, he shocked me with, “It’s not a celebration; it’s quite the opposite.
The sales department,” he said, “Was getting resistance from some of our old clients, so they want to return to the old ways.”

Boy, I sure wasn’t ready for that, so when I called my mentor Jim Hilliard for advice and he said, “Go into the attack mode,” I was up for that.

Knowing that I was about to rain hell down on everyone, I called my wife Lana, who was visiting family in Transcona, to tell her that I might not have a job come supper time.Instead of panicking, she told me to do whatever I had to do because if worse came to worse, we could always live with her folks.

It’s easy to be brave when a man has his family backing him, so when I walked into that conference room, I was walkin’ tall and loaded for bear.Strangely, even though I’d arrived a few minutes early, everyone else was already seated, which pissed me off. No problem, I give much better meetings when I’m pissed.

The GM began by congratulating me on the excellent ratings, but I interrupted him when he got to the part about our having a few issues.
“No,” I said, “You don’t have issues, you have problems, and they’re all sitting in this room.”

“Someone,” I went on to say, “Should have anticipated that there’d be resistance and formulated a plan on how to overcome it.
We should be out there right now, explaining to our clients that it’s time to take advantage of all our new listeners. Instead, it looks like our crack sales force was asleep at the wheel.”

“Not only do we sound good,” I continued with, “But now we also have statistical justification proving that we’re on to something.
So if you’re here to tell me that you want the old ways back, I can assure you that it won’t be me doing it.” And with that, I walked out.

 

Geo’s Media Blog. (Righteous) New for 8/31/20

This morning, I stumbled across a feature on YouTube where you get to watch people’s reactions to a song and artist they were previously unaware of.

This particular video was Righteous Brother, Bobby Hatfield, singing “Unchained Melody” at a nightclub in 1965. Bobby said later that because his parents were in attendance, he was very nervous, but he nails it, and in fact, I think it was better than the record.

Now the person who was seeing this for the first time some fifty years after the fact is a black lady whose reaction as she watches the video is priceless. (see it by clicking the link at the bottom of the page)

I’ve loved The Righteous Brothers dating back to 1962 and “Little Latin Lupe Lu. Unfortunately, I never got to see them until the early ’80s when I saw them in concert along with Fats Domino at the San Diego Zoo.

However, my favorite Righteous Brother moment may have been when we were running a promotion at K101 in San Francisco, where Don Bleu married a couple aboard the Goodyear Blimp high above the Golden Gate Bridge.
When the ceremony was over, the happy couple requested Unchained Melody as their wedding song. However, when Bobby Hatfield called to thank them for requesting his song, I got goosebumps.

GEO’S LIFE-LINERS

Repetition = Success.

There’s always lots of room at the bottom but very little at the top. 

Just because it’s urgent doesn’t mean it’s important.

The problem in America isn’t with the immigrants; it’s with some of the folks who were born here.

Did any world leaders write their famous quotes?

Why are we letting Governors, Mayors, and Police Chiefs off the hook for the Coronavirus? If they can impose curfews, they can also impose mandatory face masks and social distancing.

I think the middle class should abstain from being involved in the upcoming election. Seeing as the politicians only help the rich and poor, maybe we should let them have at it. Good luck.

So far, I’ve been over informed about so-called bad boy Trump, but very under-informed about what Biden has planned. Why is that?

Back when I lived in western Canada, not only were we pissed about the fact that Quebec was over-represented in parliament, but how most of the federally funded projects just happened to end up in Quebec. Surely that’s over by now?

COMMENTS
Steve Eberhart: Regarding Tim Moore’s comments on KVIL. I can remember many staff meetings where discussions would be held about how many out of town radio types were coming to Dallas to listen to KVIL to try to figure out the secret to its success.
Occasionally, we’d hear stations who tried to imitate it, only to smile amongst ourselves at the very significant elements to the strategy they’d miss.
The truth is, it wasn’t THAT complicated. Most of them started with music. Sure, they could find our playlist and copy that. But what they missed was the music wasn’t the star. It was a concept that baffled many in the industry; the music was the easy part. A carefully tuned ear could instantly recognize a song we’d either play or not. No chart position or record company hype EVER entered the conversation.
The promotions could be copied word for word. Some of the marketing, perhaps, if you had the budget (most didn’t).
The one thing they could not duplicate was the PEOPLE at KVIL.  Not just the on-air legends that occupied the various time slots. Literally at every position, from the receptionist to engineer. Sales to management, to news, to board ops. Each person in that position was hired because they were the very best person to accomplish that job.
At every level, you were working with passionate, driven, and talented individuals with one goal. To do and be the very best. It was no accident, and there wasn’t a lot of luck involved. Literally, everything in that building was purposeful. Almost all of it contrived by the brilliant mind of Ron Chapman and a laundry list of very talented people, with second on the list George Johns. (no offense George).
How dedicated was management to the task?  There was a full-time salaried person whose only job each day was to create a one-sheet “Daily Sheet.” It listed all of the various local events and topics that were top of mind awareness for that day. Air talent used it seamlessly on the air to relate to listeners. One might think that could be a task assigned as an add-on to perhaps an administrative assistant or DJ. It could have been, but it would have been a secondary task for that person resulting in a secondary effort.
It might surprise many to learn that the daily sheet was as important as any air talent, promotion, or billboard management spent money on.  I can’t imagine a scenario in which any other Program Director would be able to go to management and say we need to hire someone to do the daily sheet and pay them equal to an on-air talent. KVIL did.
There were a lot of BIG reasons KVIL was enormously successful.  There were probably a lot more SMALL things that created the magic as well.  Quality control at every level was uncompromised.  Most could never decipher it from listening to a couple of hours of recording of the station. But that’s cool too!
Geo: Jim Hilliard often said that the Daily Sheet was responsible for at least half of KVILs ratings. The beauty of the sheet was, if you read it on air as it was written, you’d sound like an idiot. Everybody had to rewrite it to fit them, so it seemed brand new with every read.
Bill Gardner became so addicted to the Daily Sheet that when he worked in other markets, he wrote his own.
At one point, Bill went to work for my brother Reg in Toronto, and after being held up at the border, he barely made it in time for his first shift. However, as Reg later said, Bill sounded more Toronto that day than any of his other jocks ever did.

Chuck Knapp: Great words of wisdom. Your son and grandson are so blessed by their grandfather. (Rules)

Dick Taylor: Geo, what a FABULOUS list of things to remember to be grateful for in our senior years. Thank You for sharing it. I’ve printed it out. It’s a keeper. Sharing it with others too. (65+)

Geo’s Media Blog (Rules To Teach Your Son And Grandson) 8/07/20

1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.


2. Learn how to cook a signature dish.


3. Spend 30 min a day reading up on current events.


4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.


5. Request the late check-out.


6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.


7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.


8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.


9. Play with passion or don’t play at all…


10. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye.


11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.


12. Stand up when she enters the room.


13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.


14. You marry the girl, you marry her family.


15. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.


16. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.


17. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.


18. Never turn down a breath mint.


19. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.


20. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.


21. Thank a veteran. Then make it up to him.


22. Open her door and walk on the outside of the street.


23. After writing an angry email or Facebook post, read it carefully. Then delete it.


24. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.


25. Manners make the man.


26. Give credit. Take the blame.


27. Stand up to bullies and racists. Defend their victims.


28. Write down your dreams.


29. Add value everywhere you go.


30. Be confident and humble at the same time.


31. If ever in doubt, REMEMBER WHOSE SON AND GRANDSON YOU ARE and REFUSE to just be ordinary!


32. Change the world, don’t let it change you.


33. Be kind.


34. Be prepared.


35. Never stop improving yourself, a little every day.