Rylee John Rook
Thanks to Jennifer and Jason the
September 2009 arrival of Rylee
did much to recharge my batteries.
Visit the Rook household this holiday
and you'll be serenaded by our
Happy New Year everybody
Thanks Mr. President !
One of the very first lessons learned from early Top Forty
radio came when a competing new station was successful
in eliciting a response from the top dog in town. Rush
Limbaugh cut his radio teeth during the 60�s, evidence of
his consistent use of many of the tricks today that reaped
success for radio programmers back then.
Despite the downward consumer spiral of the print
media, radio�s instantaneous availability delivers
millions who tune in each day. Talk radio does
more to inform and entertain than any other
format. Certainly showmanship, blowing smoke
and the taunts of Rush Limbaugh have made him
the undisputed king of the talkers and he now owes
a big thank you to an overly reacting White House
for acknowledging him, elevating his status and
sending millions more to sample his program.
While the administrations press secretary Robert Gibbs
dismisses radio as being inconsequential, he and the
President have stumbled into promoting Rush Limbaugh,
falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book. Having
been lured into the trap of publically responding to
talk radio�s criticism, the White House has wasted
its vast power in promoting what it considers
We expect Rush Limbaugh will show big ratings
gains due to the promotion from the White House.
Thanks Mr. President.
Dare to be different
As Paul Harvey (below) reminded me of the importance
of being �different,� my mind raced back to earlier years
when I first tasted some success as a disc jockey in small
town radio at KOBH in Hot Springs, South Dakota. The
seeds that were sown there would propel me to an
exciting career in radio that would last a lifetime.
Forty years later I actually visited KOBH. Imagine my
surprise when my on-air antics of the 1950�s were
remembered by a receptionist, who as a kid grew up
listening to Johnnie Rowe, my on-air name back then. �I
remember you� she said, as her memories of my living
and broadcasting on a raised platform for 16 days
without coming down helped to raise the funds needed
for a chamber of commerce project that paid tribute
to nearby Sioux Indian history.
On distant stations at night I listened to KIOA - Des
Moines and KOMA � Oklahoma City, Dan McKinnon and
Rod Roddy each were �different� in their presentation.
In the early 60�s as I moved on to KALL-Salt Lake City,
Charley �Weird Beard� Peterson and Don Shafer were
indeed �different� and arriving in Denver at KTLN I
marveled at the showmanship of Pogo Poge on KIMN.
Dialing in Dick Biondi on WLS-Chicago and Wolfman
Jack on XERF out of Mexico, I discovered my first
As a program director for ABC Howard Cosell and I met.
Talk about �different�, his voice and delivery placed
him in a class all by himself, as did that of newsman
Al Julius at KQV & KDKA in Pittsburgh.
Cousin Bruce Murrow on WABC, Larry Lujack on WLS,
the Real Don Steele, Robert W. Morgan and Humble Harv
on KHJ each were indeed �different.� Anyone
experiencing the magic of top forty radio can
hear it in Rush Limbaugh, who cut his teeth on
communication during that era. Dozens of other
on-air talents contributed to radio�s success during
what is now called �its golden years.�
It�s a lesson radio of today with its sea of sameness could
learn from. Provide a stage and encourage on-air talent
to take the blinders off and �Dare to be different.�
= = = = =
Paul Harvey Dies
He was a true gentle man with a unequaled style as a
person and as a professional broadcaster. With his wife
Angel at his side, he gathered the news and with a
resonant voice and a unique trademark delivery
Paul Harvey captured millions of loyal listeners
longer than any other radio performer in history.
After starting out in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Paul Harvey
was on the radio for seventy five years.
As program director of WLS back in the 60�s I was
located on the floors of ABC radio in Chicago�s
Stone Container Building, as was Paul Harvey who
originated his daily feed from there to the nation.
From time to time we would meet, he always
with a smile and always positive. Each
time I felt he had fueled my spirit, giving me
something I would remember all the years
since. "Dare to be different John" he said.
Paul Harvey certainly was that, with his
colorful descriptive writing and story telling
and those "pauses" that punctuated the words
He was an original, their was only one Paul Harvey.
At 90 years of age in Phoenix, on Saturday, the final
day of February, Paul Harvey has gone to
join his wife Angel who preceded him in death a year
earlier. He leaves a legacy that is unequaled in
= = = = =
Tim Conway, Jr.
We predicted (below) that some of those formerly heard
on KLSX-LA could soon be heard on KABC, with head
honcho there, Bob Moore, a fan of their talent during
his days in charge at KLSX. Tim Conway, Jr. was the first
to cross the welcome mat at South La Cienega Blvd.
Seems Tim lasted only three days at KABC before
Bob Moore had to show him the door there citing
the humor of KLSX-fm didn't fit KABC. But it would
not be long before Tim had moved over to KFI where
unlike his move to KABC, he obviously has had some
direction from a good PD, Robin Bertolucci.
Too bad his time at KABC had not received
more "direction" before he ever hit the air there.
= = = = =
Michael Jackson returns to the concert stage in
London this summer. His take for an estimated
eight weeks will be $100 million.
= = = = =
Recuperating - Lyle Dean, the dean of Chicago
radio news following surgery in Chicago;
one of the real pioneer jocks of Top Forty,
Dave Diamond: legendary recording executive
Russ Regan and recording star Al Martino.
Get well you guys !
= = = = =
As this website first reported on 2-9, KLSX-fm in
LA after a long run as "free-talk fm" began
challenging KIIS-fm's CHR format on 2-29.
Within days of Westwood One
pulling the plug on talker Tom Lykis, he now
has been shown the door at KLSX, as was Adam
Carolla and the rest of the stations personalities.
Don't be surprised if some of the KLSX gang
find a new home on S. La Cienega Blvd. in the
not to distant future.
CBS also announced format changes elsewhere
including fm's in Dallas, Las Vegas and in New York
where CBS's WXRK-fm will take on Clear Channel's
top rated CHR, WHTZ-fm.
And speaking of the Big Apple, changes could
be coming soon to WPLJ-fm. Owner Citadel
has taken steps to make several PD changes
at PLJ, at KABC and WLS with more to come
for the facilities once owned by ABC.
= = = = =
During those days when radio and the recording industry
both benefited from the music excitement of breaking the
hits of new artists, he promoted records for RCA Victor,
Columbia/Epic and Grunt records, was important
in the careers of Willie Nelson, Henry Mancini,
Jefferson Starship and many others.
In his 80�s, �Augie� Blume passed away on February 6th at
University of Virginia Hospital at Charlottesville. He will
be remembered for his kind spirit and dedicated resolve.
= = = = =
And remember those days when the local print media
crowed about how they were far more superior
to radio. Now-a-days the number of daily radio
listeners in most markets exceed the circulation
of newspapers. Of course, more and more people
are addicted to the internet for their
= = = = =
Just when we thought it had been put to bed, the
Performance Tax has once again reared its ugly head with
the RIAA and its allies moving to introduce legislation in
Congress that if passed will force further cuts in live
local music programming.
So sad that the mutual promotional of music once shared
by radio and recording artists has disintegrated, largely
brought on by a reduction of radio�s exposure of new
music. The �music excitement� that once benefited both
ceased with the centralized control broght on by the
monopolization of radio in recent years.
Only a very small percentage of any new performance tax
will ever help recording artists, instead it will line the
pockets of record companies eager to make up their losses
for being so short sighted on digital delivery of product
to the consumer.
= = = = =
Erica Farber, long time president and publisher of
Radio & Records, Inc., will be presented with the
annual Trailblazers Award during the Radio
Advertising Bureau�s Luncheon in Orlando on
March 18. The award goes to women who has
�blazed new trails� for women in the radio industry.
Erica also serves on the nominating committee of
the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
= = = = =
Steven Spielberg, John Denver, William Paley,
Ahmet Ertegun are among the thousands
of investors who lost millions of dollars thanks
to Bernard Madoff 's Ponzi scheme.
The full list of victims is here.
= = = = =
While those so called �oldies� stations continue to
ignore him, Elvis Presley once again is the top money
maker for 2008 leading all other deceased hit makers
by raking in $52 million.
= = = = =
�Ella� to Herbie and Lani
Hit Parade Hall of Fame nominee Herb Alpert
and his wife Lani Hall will be honored by the
Society of Singers with the prestigious �Ella�
award at their annual Beverly Hilton benefit
on May 18th.
SOS is a non-profit organization that benefits the health
and welfare of professional singers worldwide. Named
after its first recipient, Ella Fitzgerald, the ELLA
Award is given to individuals whose significant
musical accomplishments are equaled by their
dedication to charitable and humanitarian causes.
Previous recipients of the �Ella� are Frank Sinatra,
Tony Martin, Peggy Lee, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme,
Lena Horne, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Williams, Tony
Bennett, Julie Andrews, Placido Domingo, Barry
Manilow, Celine Dion, Elton John, Johnny Mathis,
Gladys Knight, and Andy Williams.
= = = = =
History Repeats Itself
For many months this website has suspended what
could be considered negative commentary aimed at
radio or the recording industries. Disagree with
the management of the two and/or the direction
they have taken, the disastrous collapse of the
world�s economy certainly can�t be
laid solely at their feet.
Ahead of all others more than a year ago while most of
the media and our government had its head buried in
the sand of denial and whimpered only of what might
be a slight recession in the winds, some talk radio hosts
were chided for warning of an oncoming depression.
Since then the walls of the economy have tumbled
leaving millions unemployed and more recent
generations in shock, unemployed and for the first
time in their lives tasting what will be a
While the times have taken a decidedly turn for the
worse, a year from now we can only pray our lives will
be as good as they are now. It is obvious our government
can not erase the glutinous habits for extravagant living
that have been unleashed over the past half century.
Those who experienced the 30�s and 40�s can strengthen
and help prepare more recent generations for what looks
to be a long and bumpy ride. The lessons of the past
have been exempt from their schooling and they have
much to learn as history repeats itself.
Credit Talk Radio
With a large portion of the population drifting more and
more toward being political agnostics, my appreciation in
recent times has been minimal for either of the major
Like so many I have hoped for a new party, much like the
one that swept Abraham Lincoln into the White House.
While Republicans today like to claim our 16th president
had their blood in his veins, he distanced himself from
them to form a new party made up of disenfranchised
citizens, the National Union Party who along with 42
senators and 149 House members of the new party
took control of government following their election
144 years ago.
Since then the cards have been stacked more and more
against any candidate who is not either a Republican or a
Democrat. Unfortunately more recent generations have
little if any knowledge of events that are shaping their
lives as the same disregard for history that is no longer on
the agenda in schools has shamefully become
unimportant in the mass media too.
We can only hope the campaign to silence talk radio fails.
The format stands almost alone in providing valuable
information and is far more than the three or four hosts
usually named. Many do indeed provide pro and con to
important issues such as the reckless government bail out
of a Bush White House and the so called �stimulus� of the
Credit talk radio for a job well done.
Fearing the Fairness Doctrine
My addiction to radio will be with me for the remainder of my life.
It�s a long way from the days of my youth when only three or four AM radio stations provided information and entertainment. The large floor model Zenith radio and the home made crystal set gave us all we needed and it was not until I graduated from high school in rural Nebraska and traveled to California that I first viewed black and white television.
In my lifetime it was the electronic media that did most in bringing about change in society. Certainly it was the music of America that contributed much, but it was radio that gave it a stage and along with news also introduced listener participation via talk radio long before their was a Rush Limbaugh.
It was the radio lobby that pushed for deregulation twenty some years ago that changed talk radio from a more balanced exchange of opinions to what became an hours long commentary by the host of a program.
Not all, but some hosts today would lead us to believe talk radio prior to their more recent arrival was nothing but book reviews and recipe shows, boring and without any meaningful contribution to society.
Of course they lack the historical appreciation of early talk radio many of us did before the death of the Fairness Doctrine.
Pioneer talk show hosts, Barry Gray, Alan Courtney, Joe Pyne and Joe Finan were among those who in exposing the misdeeds of many in and out of government, were outspoken and controversial.
I was privileged to work along side a talk radio pioneer, George Green at KABC. As program director I brushed against some of the greats in talk radio before the demise of the Fairness Doctrine. George was there when talk radio was first created by Ben Hoberman in 1960. For sure �fair and balanced� was indeed practiced with brilliant progressive communicators, Michael Jackson and Bill Press among those given a stage along side conservative host�s including Dennis Prager, one of the dozens who benefited from being introduced to a long successful career via KABC.
KABC not only was top rated in Los Angeles, it was among the nations top revenue producers for decades.
Shortly before being named program director at KABC, I was interviewed by the Reagan White House who was interested in my becoming an FCC commissioner. With hundreds of letters from broadcasters endorsing my candidacy, most believed I would rubber stamp the death of the Fairness Doctrine. Instead I expressed my views that it had been no real hindrance to programming and that while deregulation had a nice ring to it, I warned that any such move would need to be enforced by regulators with enough teeth to prevent an over reaching by those desirous of monopolizing the industry. I did not believe the industry would police itself. I recall using the analogy of the carnage that would take place if the rules of the highway were not aggressively enforced.
Being one of the sheep in a flock of followers has always been difficult for me. Long ago my friend Bill Gavin advised the need to be persistent, while waiting for time to prove you right.
It did, with deregulation bringing what most now painfully would agree, brought little to benefit the radio industry as a whole.
There are many talk radio hosts today who while offering their own opinions, give ample time for opposing views. They should have no fear of a Fairness Doctrine that I seriously doubt will return anyway.
True we should be on guard of the political correctness germ that could incubate the same virus that is sweeping Europe and stifle one of our most precious gifts, our Freedom of Speech.
In the future we may see a move to provide more local news/talk programming and that�s a good thing not only for the community of license, but also for radio to spawn the seeds of tomorrows talk show hosts.