October, November, December 2008
Delaney Bramlett dies
A songwriter, recording artist and producer, Delaney
Bramlett influenced and made measurable contributions
to the careers of many notable recording stars, including
Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix,
Janis Joplin, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, Billy Preston,
John Lennon, Elvin Bishop and Duane Allman.
With wife Bonnie, their biggest hit, �Never Ending Song
of Love� was one of most popular songs of the early 70�s
and was recorded by more than 100 artists.
At 69 years of age, Delaney Bramlett died Saturday,
December 27th in Los Angeles as a result of
complications from gallbladder surgery.
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My Christmas Tip
C. Crain's Wifi radio
My appreciation of radio was reborn last year with the
discovery of Wifi. Soon after the C.Crain receiver arrived,
I discontinued my subscription to satellite radio and
seldom listen to �local� radio anymore.
Why pay for programming when Wifi radio delivers it
with no subscription fee, free of static and offers far more
choices, including reception of most radio stations not
only in America, but worldwide.
No longer required to serve the community of license,
local radio offers little reason to listen, so in any week
I�m tuned into dozens of radio stations, not to mention
many exclusively streaming on the internet.
Wifi radio operates much like any other and by
including the C.Crain "pillow speaker," I often listen
during the night while other family members
Lagging a little behind what�s happening in Europe
and England, where Wifi radios are this seasons top
Christmas item, they are selling at a steady pace in
I've received no consideration for endorsing it but I
do have a Christmas tip, buy yourself a Wifi radio,
you�ll find a whole new and exciting world of
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Knowing the past best prepare us
for the future.
In our country, radio and society for the
most part demonstrate little appreciation
for knowing, much less caring about anything
that took place beyond last Saturday.
Some of us who recall life during the
30�s and 40�s sadly discuss the concern
we have for more recent generations
who are so ill prepared for what lies ahead.
During this holiday period and perhaps
those in future years, joy might best
come from remembering the past.
With economic conditions clouding
our ability to give in the way we
have become accustomed, it�s a time
when we can certainly give the gift
that truly keeps on giving through
the holidays and beyond.
That of making certain our friends
and family know how much we
appreciate and love them.
How bout a �hug� for the holidays.
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Omaha radio icon Steve Brown passes
Working with top 40 pioneer Don Burden at Omaha�s
1290 KOIL, he played a major role in the early history
of Top 40 radio. Steve Brown passed away Saturday,
December 13th at 68 years of age as he was preparing
to do his weekend shift at KFAB.
The legendary KOIL spawned dozens of the biggest
Top 40 radio stars including The Real Don Steele,
Gary Owens, Dr. Don Rose, Kris Erik Stevens,
Fred Winston, Dave Diamond and the voice
that would become the dean of Chicago
newsmen, Lyle Dean.
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Bill Drake�s contribution of radio ranked with that of
Gordon McLendon. Now, isn�t it about time we make a
concentrated effort to make sure Bill is inducted into
the NAB radio Hall of Fame? Send your e-mail's to
John David - [email protected]
The passing of Bill Drake served as a communication
magnet for many fortunate enough to have known him. As
usually is the case, it takes the passing of someone to
remind us how much we appreciated them. And so it was
with Bill, whose passing sparked so many phone calls
and e-mail�s to me along with numerous comments and
coverage on the web from radio and record friends alike.
With my attention glued to Saturday afternoon football
on television, the first call came from Charlie Van Dyke
asking if I�d heard of Bill�s passing just a few hours earlier
and asking for Drake�s home phone number.
Stunned I quickly reached Bill�s long time companion
Carole for the details and after relaying them on to
Charlie, I sat in quiet disbelief remembering the man I
had known as a friend for more than forty years.
It would be tears off and on for the rest of the weekend as
by Monday I decided against making the trip to California
for the memorial just forty eight hours later. Carole
assured me Bill would understand as my mind raced
More recently as a member of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame
Bill was eager to vote for his favorite artist nominee Roy
Hamilton, who's 1955 "Unchained Melody" was Bill's
all time favorite recording.
�Are my reservations at the Rook ranch still on the books,�
he inquired. �Yes of course I said, I�m holding them
open for you.� Within a few weeks, that pain he
mentioned in his back would turn out to be the
precursor to cancer that would claim his life.
Memories of Bill are with me, but he won�t be coming.
His final interview
This past summer when KYNO�s John Ostlund asked me
to help him connect with Bill neither of us had any idea it
would be the final Bill Drake interview.
Reelradio.com has it here.
He was my friend of more than forty years.
Bill Drake (Phil Yarbrough) passed away
in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon,
November 29th at 71 years of age.
Bill had stopped smoking several years
ago but in recent months lung cancer would
take its toll when radiation and chemotherapy
could not stop its spread.
It was an over flow crowd and a day Bill Drake would have
appreciated as his many friends gathered to remember
him at the Little Brown Church in Studio City.
Chatting with his friends, they each had Drake-isms to
share as a flood of memories helped provide some relief
since learning of Bill�s passing last weekend.
Shooting pool with him at his Hollywood Hills home in
the early days of 93/KHJ, I had expected a more complex
response to my question of how the station had developed
such a forward motion, non-stop exciting presentation.
Smiling, Bill simply patted his stomach and said in his
southern draw, �it�s from my gut my boy, we�re simply
given the listener what they want.� It would encourage
me from that day forward to remove the blinders and
rely more and more on my own �gut.�
Bill Drake and I regularly exchanged programming
thoughts, including what records we would be adding. In
late 1969, with Bill at KHJ and me a WLS, we were in
disagreement over which side of a Sly & the Family Stone
release would be the hit. Obviously �Hot Fun In The
Summertime� suited Drake best for his California
audience. I bet on the flip, �Thank You For Letting Me
Be Myself�. In the end, both sides were million sellers
but the side I picked reached #1 nationally and Bill�s
�Hot Fun� peaked at #2. Offering his excuse for the final
outcome, Bill said, �Well hell man WLS has forty five
thousand more watts than we do at KHJ.�
Bill's naming me President of his company in
1969 was one of the most exciting events
in my radio career.
Donations in Bill Drakes name can be made
to LungUSA at the American Lung Association.
Send your condolences to his good
friend and companion Carole Scott at
With his many friends, I'll remember Bill
as a man of class, a gentleman, plain spoken,
honest, loyal, humorous...always with a smile.
I loved the guy.
From Radio-Info.com read
Bill Drake: a Legend, a Genius, a true Gentleman
Tom Watson sez it - here
A year ago, Radio & Records interviews
Bill Drake here.
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Jerry Del Colliano
�More Music was Bill Drake�s commitment �
With respect to the audience, the advertisers buying the
commercials and the jocks whose careers he made
better for having been a radio programmer.
So forgive me for borrowing one of Bill's own familiar
production pieces to pay tribute.
Bill Drake was "Number One then (cue the crashing
tympani) -- And number one now".
Read Jerry�s �Why Bill Drake Still Matters� here.
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Economic Pyramid Scheme
At this time in our nation�s history the wisdom of
one of our most influential founding fathers and
a revered jurist deserve review:
�There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation.
One is by the sword, the other is by debt.�
President John Adams
1797 - 1801
�We can either have democracy in this county
or we can have great wealth concentrated in
the hands of a few, but we can�t have both.�
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
The Internet and only a very few talk radio
hosts have given the award winning Zeitgeist
documentary the attention it deserves.
It�s one of the most informative and provocative
two hours you will ever spend. Tell others about
it and be sure you stay to the end for �the solutions.�
View it here
Once again the nominating committee is now in the
process of deciding the 2008 inductees at the
Hit Parade Hall of Fame and those who will
become new nominees in 2009.
The vote of fans, number of recordings sold and other
factors considered important guide the nominating
committee in making a decision on who will be inducted.
Along with voting for their favorites, recording
artist with hits in any genre of music over a thirty year
period beginning in 1950 can be suggested by fans at
the Hit Parade Hall of Fame website.
The 2009 Inductees and Nominees will be
announced on January 5th.
You can vote now here
In San Francisco, KGO�s been consistently first in the
ratings game longer than any major market radio
station in America and now the station has been first
in that city to harness the power of the sun to supply
the electrical power for the 50,000 watt transmitter
of the northern California blowtorch.
But elsewhere solar power has been used long before now.
Among the first was KTAO-fm at Taos, New Mexico and
KZMU-fm at Moab, Utah.
Taking advantage of year round desert sunshine,
solar provides 100% of their electrical power.
Larry Lujack John Rook
Yes, Larry Lujack and I are planning on launching a
new syndicated format for radio in early 09.
Superjock and I have been great friends from our first
days at WLS and WCFL and we look forward to our
Check back to this website for more news in
the days ahead�.
Cast your vote for Jerry Del Colliano in his bid to
become President of Radio's Conscience here
A MORNING RADIO CALLER
This accident happened in the Dallas -Ft. Worth area
and you must take a
moment to listen to it.
Radio�.take a bow
The volatility and polarization of the presidential
run for the roses has been more than I can recall
in recent memory.
Since it�s beginning in the early 1960�s, talk radio has
been the diligent watchdog of government. While the
print media shared in this responsibility back then, in
more recent years the news they report has mirrored the
biased editorial page, lacks the immediacy advantage of
radio that is free and faces more and more a society that
either can�t read or doesn�t take the time to do so.
Talk radio has become more valuable than ever as a
disseminator of information making the public aware
and encouraging their response on news and issues that
is happening now. A newspaper shrinking in content
is no competition for radio with a local talk show host in
morning and afternoon drive backed up with syndicated
programming and local news coverage.
Addressing issues important to the local listener has
always been radio�s strength. �Playing the hits� - the
economy � the presidential campaign, even if from a
nationally syndicated talk show host can
be the top issue locally.
Were it not for radio, those heading to the polls
would be fewer in number. Instead, voters are
projected to surpass all previous elections with
black and Hispanic radio playing a major role
in registering new voters .
Talk radio can take a bow for the major role it plays
in advancing the American dream.
Peggy Angie Terry
Having spent my early years in the Dakota�s,
I�ve always appreciated that spectacular
slice of paradise.
Mount Rushmore, the beautiful Black Hills,
and while the prairie of North Dakota might not
measure up with as much appeal, that state gave us
some treasure as well - Peggy Lee,
Angie Dickinson and�.Terry Ingstad.
Terry Who ?
His interview is here
Amos Heilicher Dies
Out of Minneapolis Amos Heilicher helped launch the
career of many music stars during the early years of rock,
a time when small independent record labels and big
distributorships introduced hits to the entire nation.
His named spelled backwards, �Soma,� became the label
that first discovered Bobby Vee in the late 50�s and
�Liar, Liar" by the Castaways. "Surfin' Bird" by the
Trashmen and "Six Days On The Road" by Dave
Dudley are also among the hits given a giant
national start by Heilicher, who distributed to
retail record stores in many states.
Amos Heilicher was one of the most influential
sources at a time when word from him of a records
success would earn it a leap up the national
On October 12th in Minnesota, at 90 years of age,
pneumonia has claimed the life of Amos Heilicher.
Radio Does It Best
Leading into the vote on Monday, it was talk radio
that informed better than any other media, including
TV and print.
The rush to push the bailout through before the public
realized the implications of the legislation was once
again stopped by talk radio that encouraged
concerned citizens to register their discontent with
their representatives in Washington, D.C., who are
up for election within a few weeks.
It was a staggering defeat for congressional leaders
and the white house, but a major victory for radio
that delivered in depth information and the time
needed for open discussion on an issue of vital
importance to the public.
As was expected, those who supported the bailout
would ignore the large majority of citizens who
opposed the plan, including a giant slice of
congressional democrats that voted against the
leadership of their own party. Instead, losers
blamed the defeat on republicans, dismissing the
fact they voted against the wishes of a republican
Of course, a new revised, slightly cleaned up bailout
is on the agenda already and will probably be
approved in the days ahead. But, thanks to radio
the public was the winner in round one. The facts
rallied the citizenry to action.
It was a reminder of the days before deregulation
when a licensee of the public airwaves was expected
to "seek out issues of importance to the public
and make them known."
No one does it better than....RADIO !
The Sky Is Falling
For a year or more while the print and TV were
mesmerized with a menu of fluff news items already being
covered by supermarket tabloids, talk radio once again
gave advance warning of the economic peril we are
currently facing, much like they did the impending
immigration fiasco that in its own way added fuel to our
current economic collapse
Now we have major consequences facing us all that could
have been avoided with responsible government that
listened to the public. Instead the nation and the world
is adrift with no answers from our elected officials except
to throw good money after bad, something lending
institutions would be hard pressed to do in propping up
a failed small business. While it would appear
government will now step in to forestall the agony of a
depression, it still looms in the near future.
For some time at the direction of the white house, the �r�
word rarely found its way on to the pages of the print
media. Certainly the dreaded �d� word was avoided
like a plague.
Openly discussing the situation, radio found many
callers-in forecasting the inevitable, believing that
despite a government shell game to the contrary,
we were already in a recession, with what could
become a depression brought on by fear and instability
from a lack of confidence in the government.
As readers to this site know, deregulation isn�t all that it�s
cracked up to be. With a responsible government and
regulatory overview with strict enforcement of laws
that guard against overreaching, we would not now
be witnessing the most serious threat to our lifestyle
that most alive today could ever imagine.
Instead, the sky is falling.
No one was a better dining out host than Elmer Dills,
whose radio and television reports sent waves of
Angelinos to little known out of the way eating
establishments and broad smiles to the faces of
restaurant owners .
As program director of KABC in the mid 80�s, Elmer
introduced me to meals and lunches worthy of royalty
as all steps were taken to receive his endorsement.
I�ve never before nor since witnessed such dining.
Elmer Dills entertained heads of state as an officer with
the Central Intelligence Agency prior to entering radio.
At 82 years of age he died in Los Angeles on September
15th. My condolences to wife Lynne, his family and
all who appreciated knowing Elmer, a real classy guy.
In recent years since its creation the Hit Parade Hall of
Fame has aimed to pay tribute to recording artists,
many largely forgotten until now, who have brought so
much enjoyment to fans worldwide.
With the help of a very accomplished Nominating
Committee, the path to success for the Hit Parade
Hall of Fame has widened considerably.
Recently, Dr. George Pollard of the widely circulated
on-line magazine Grubstreet.ca inquired about our
doing an interview not only about my many years in
radio, but on a variety of subjects including the
Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
I couldn�t resist and hope you will find my memories
The Grubstreet interview is here.