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Pat Boone - 1955
Is it possible�.five decades since that walk home from the record store, carefully protecting a 78rpm recording of �Two Hearts� and �Ain�t That A Shame�. It was before unbreakable 45s, EPs or LPs, cassettes, or CDs. It was a time before Elvis or the Beatles. Perry Como was the rage, but this new face�this new voice�.this new music, with what they called �a rock n� roll beat�,was just being introduced by our local radio station. "It's Pat Boone from Tennessee�, said the DJ. This new comer, wearing �white bucks� that soon would become his trademark, would not only create a new fad in footwear, but give new birth to v-neck sweater sales, as young men everywhere attempted to be more like the guy their girl friends were swooning over�.more like Pat Boone.
His image dampened the dark words of those proclaiming rock n� roll was the �devil's music�. As Elvis would do later, Pat Boone began his career by introducing a wider audience to the music of black performers in an era when their songs were seldom heard on radio. As a lad growing up in the nation's heartland, I never heard of Little Richard or Fats Domino until Pat Boone's rendition of their songs introduced them to me. Pat basically introduced mainstream America to rock n' roll.
In a society that is hard pressed to remember anyone more than just a few years, and with even fewer expectations about the character of a celebrity, Pat represents a role model and legacy his kin folk would surely be proud of. A descendent of frontiersman Daniel Boone, Pat has been married 51 years to his wife, Shirley, the daughter of country music royalty, Red Foley. With more than twenty top ten hits to his credit, Pat�s recordings have occupied a notch on the nation�s hit parade more than sixty times.
Tributes may be given to those who survived in the world of entertainment for more than a dozen years, but how many recording artists have flourished for half of a century in an industry not known for longevity? Pat's career has also included success as a best selling author, a successful entrepreneur, a legendary humanitarian, and a family man. His fame is international...he has been listed as one of "The Five Most Recognizable Faces" around the world.
Here we are, all these years later, and the original American Idol,Pat Boone, is celebrating 50 years by releasing four CD�s that are sure to please his fans�many of whom are now grandparents�just like him.
With a career few singers come close to, I am shocked and astounded to learn Pat Boone is absent from his rightful place in the Rock n� Roll Hall of Fame. How could this terrible oversight have occurred? No one alive today is more deserving of this honor than Pat Boone.
The nominating process may be over for this year but I ask you to join me in the days ahead to have Pat Boone inducted into the Rock n� Roll Hall of Fame.
It is long overdue.
Visit Pat here , Purchase his latest releases here and join the effort to have Pat take his rightful place in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame at www.BackPat.org
Pat Boone was the guest of George Noory. Hear that great interview
in the archives of Coast to Coast here
Hear Pat on the Laurie Roth show here
And Rollye James sez....
If you haven't signed the petition to get Pat Boone into the rock and roll hall of fame, please go to backpat.org and do so. I've had a number of people ask, 'Why are you, a dedicated lover of obscure R&B oldies, backing this?' It's simple. I'm also a lover of history and I hate when it isn't told accurately. This is the rock and roll hall of fame, not the rhythm an blues hall of fame. At a time when great R&B would never see the light of day on top 40 stations, Pat Boone's covers were topping their charts. To deny his role in the gestation of rock and roll is to rewrite history. Granted, I doubt you'll find a rock legend point to those covers as their inspiration, but that doesn't negate their sales in the millions to young fans in the early rock era. On the negative side, his success with covers of R&B hits demonstrates the power of racism in keeping many fine R&B performers "in their place" and off the pop charts. Not a pretty story, and not Pat's doing, but definitely a chapter in the book of rock and roll. On the positive side, his stuff sold so well that the writers and publishers reaped significant bucks (or should have-- another sad story in reality, again in no way related to Pat). Perhaps most importantly, those terminally white covers built the bridge that many R&B legends quickly crossed into mass appeal acceptance.
If their were a pop standards hall of fame, Pat's voice an delivery would qualify him hands down, in my opinion. But when it comes to his place in rock and roll, it isn't about judging the validity of his sound, which we might debate-- rather his indisputably important part in its early history. Vote for him. Thanks
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The Internet � Keeping it Open and Free
I�ve made no secret about my appreciation of FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein.
The fair mindedness of the South Dakotan has done much to restore my belief in that agency. Speaking at the �What Price Media Consolidation� symposium in Philadelphia, Adelstein again questioned the need for additional media company expansion, how rampant payola in radio was �a product of commercialism� and how the Internet opened many new possibilities but warned, �it must be kept open and free�.
Our favorite FCC commissioner urged the public to help the FCC in keeping it that way.
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Supporting Radio�s Past For The Future
The Museum of Broadcast Communications stands alone as the most complete record of broadcastings contribution to our nation and the world. In this day when history seems lost on society, it�s most important for us to collect as much factual information as we can for future generations to digest. History�s repetitive cycle allows us to understand the present and see the future.
Radio�s history touched me four decades ago when I served as program director of KQV in Pittsburgh that in 1919 was known as 8ZAE. It was preceded by 8XK, known today as KDKA, the first commercial station to operate on a regular basis in the United States.
Radio brought immediacy to a world that had previously relied on the printed word. Listeners experienced events as they happened instead of waiting to read it in the newspaper. In less than five years, more than 600 radio stations would send news, music and sporting events to nearly half a million households in America. Within ten more years almost twenty million radios supplied much needed free entertainment to a nation deep in the depression. Radio was a most prized possession... the theatre of the mind.
Beginning with the election of 1928, radio began to effect political campaigns. A future President, Ronald Reagan began his radio career as an announcer of University of Iowa football games in 1932. Shortly thereafter in what was called �The Golden Age of Radio�, President Franklin D. Roosevelt�s �fireside chats� reached millions of Americans gathered around the family radio. Daily news reports from Gabriel Heatter, H. V. Kaltenborn, Fulton Lewis, Jr., Edward R. Murrow, Lowell Thomas, and Walter Winchell kept the nation informed.
As Pittsburgh gave birth to radio, it also was the launch pad for many famous radio celebrities who called the city home. I often reminded myself how my footsteps were in a path created by many of radio�s legends.
Bill Cullen Rege Cordic
In the 1930�s Bill Cullen�s radio career started in Pittsburgh. Before retiring fifty years later, he hosted many national TV programs including NBC�s long running �The Price is Right�.
In a career that began in 1943, radio introduced Pittsburgher Rege Cordic who after waking up residents with his top rated program, would became well-known for acting in dozens of popular TV shows including "Gunsmoke", �Barnaby Jones�, �Columbo�, �Get Smart� and �Ironsides�.
In the 1950�s another Pittsburgh radio legend, Porky Chedwick, along with LA�s Hunter Hancock were first to give black recordings airtime at a time they were referred to as �race records�. Porky is one of a very few radio personalities honored at Cleveland�s Rock n� Roll Hall of Fame.
Radios growth in the 1960�s came from the transistor radio fueled by the addiction of Americas youth for rock n� roll music. ABC�s founder Leonard Goldenson told me those little portable radios in the hands of teenagers provided the much needed advertising revenue his fledgling company needed to compete with CBS and NBC who while concentrating on TV, left radio to ABC�s rock music stations.
Rush Limbaugh Dennis Miller
It was in this era that Pittsburgh radio was the learning stage for a disc jockey named Jeff Christie, who would later become the national talk radio star Rush Limbaugh.
A few years later local comedian Dennis Miller got his start in Pittsburgh radio before moving on to NBC's Saturday Night Live. He and the aforementioned are just a few of the several dozen radio stars that began their career in Pittsburgh.
But this city is just a single chapter in the history of radio. We are fortunate that many more chapters of radio�s past will be available for future generations to see and hear at the new home of the Museum of Broadcast Communications located at the corner of State Street and Kinzie in Chicago. Opening next year, it will house the nations only Radio Hall of Fame. In a world class setting, this state of the art museum will make at least 85,000 hours of radio and television programs of the past available to visitors. Exhibits of radios history will provide future generations an enjoyable learning experience.
On November 5 of this year, Emmy award winner Regis Philbin will host the National Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Chicago. This is a night for radio's past and present to support. Tickets for the event can be purchased on line at www.radiohof.org or by telephoning 866-860-1640.
As I reviewed the names of supporters of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, I was most pleased to see major contributors to radio�s history, Mr.& Mrs. Paul Harvey, at the head of the list. They represent what is good about radios past.
It distressed me greatly when many of today�s new radio owners were missing from supporting this museum of their industry. Those who are counting on radio�s future�are ignoring its past.
They could learn much from it.
Click on above to visit the Museum of Broadcast Communications
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How many remember when Kent Burkhart was head honcho at WQXI � Atlanta? The program director was a young fella named Paul Drew. As Program Director of KQV in Pittsburgh I still remember our programming conversations all those years ago. Radio stations had just begun to find ways to add names or slogans that the listener could remember them by. WQXI, known as "Qxie in Dixie"challenged me to begin searching for a slogan or nic name that would separate KQV from the markets only other "K" radio station...KDKA. Thus "Groovy QV" was born at a time when Groovy was the "in" expression for things OK or hip.
Burkhart and Associates would become one of the nations top consulting companies and today unlike me, Kent has not tired of attending conventions. That�s good because the radio industry is in need of his many years of experience.
In a 12 step nut shell Kent provides his view of the recent National Association of Broadcasters convention. Let�s drop in at www.KentBurkhart.com
Hugs & Kisses�.Laurie
It was only 30 miles, but it seemed like 300. My stomach was tied in knots a few days ago as I drove back home following a hospital visit with a good friend who certainly deserves more than the tragedy that has eclipsed her life. She isn't a long time friend, but she will be.
Laurie Roth contacted me more than a year ago explaining her daily talk radio program originating in Spokane and fed to radio stations nationally was in need of direction, �can you help me?� she asked.
Confessing I had not heard her show I asked for time to give it a listen before I could commit. A few days later I returned Laurie�s phone call to say, �You certainly have the talent, but the program�s content is lacking�. I added, �If you can be receptive to my direction I�ll invest the time�. It would start a daily communication and a beginning for a new national radio star.
In the months ahead on a regular basis she would excitedly announce another new station was carrying her program. �I owe it all to you John�, she�d say as I reminded her again and again of her many talents. She was a jewel to work with, so deserving and eager for direction and certain to become a radio superstar.
She giggled with delight when I introduced her new theme song, �May You Always�, with lyrics that matched Laurie�s wishes for her loyal fans. "That song's made for me" she said, "where did you get it", as I explained it was a top ten hit for the McGuire sisters well before her birth. One of the lines from the song became Laurie's sign off..."May good fortune find your doorway"
Then several weeks ago came the telephone call that stunned me. Laurie Roth, while navigating the beauty of the countryside near her home on a motorcycle, collided with one of the many deer that populate the area. Ignoring my concerns, she often used those rides, �to escape the world�.
She was wearing a helmet but sustained head injuries that would end her daily radio program. Airlifted via emergency helicopter to a Spokane hospital, Laurie was in critical condition and in a coma unable to respond to my words in the days following her accident. Many friends, her husband Rich, two newly adopted children Wayne and Monica and family members joined me at her bedside in the weeks that followed.
My most recent visit brought joy and sadness at the same time. The fighter that she is has a much improved Laurie now sitting by her hospital bedside and able to communicate, but not able to return to a daily radio program. Reaching out to hold my hand,Laurie was eager to hear how her show had done in her absence. �I�ll be back soon� she said looking in my eyes for approval. �I�m sure you will�, I replied offering her some hope. At this writing, I�m pleased to note that Laurie has taken her first steps outside the hospital and walked in a nearby park. She is scheduled to return home to her loving family by mid October.
I ask those who are able to do so to contribute to a fund established addressing her enormous medical bills. In the competitive world of today�s radio, Laurie used all of her income to �grow her show�. She was without medical insurance. Visit her website at www.TheRothShow.com to help.
I�ve been responsible for lining up the guest hosts who have appeared on her show not only in the past, but since her tragic accident. To those who volunteered, she expresses sincere thanks for your time and talent. As Laurie would want, I have distributed to several the almost daily updates on her condition and told her of your love and prayers. I�m sure she would say to you as she has ended many of her messages in the past�
�Hugs & Kisses, Laurie�
The final Laurie Roth radio program was broadcast to the nation on September 30th.
I join her many fans and friends in wishing her a speedy recovery and a return to the airwaves ASAP.
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A federal judge in Sacramento has ruled that requiring schoolchildren to recite the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton said he was bound by a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the earlier lawsuit that the reference to God violated the constitution's requirement of separation of church and state.
For many years early radio's favorite funnyman
who passed away in 1997 was Red Skelton. I somehow think he might
like to be heard again.
Click here to hear Red's Pledge of Allegiance
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Bill Tanner sez he's one of my "kids". If that's true then I'm one very proud parent of one of radio's most gifted programmers. His direction has delivered some of the nations most successful radio stations...English and Hispanic.
A conversation with Bill Tanner
Bill Tanner is arguably the most influential programmer in Spanish-language radio. After spending decades in English-language radio, 13 years ago he joined HBC � now Univision Radio � and turned around its Spanish-language programming. Five years ago, Tanner signed with the competition joining SBS as executive vice president of programming. Under Tanner's leadership SBS, the smaller company, has given Univision Radio a run for the ratings. Today, it's the SBS stations that top Arbitron's ratings in markets like Miami and New York.
Why go the consultant route?
It frees me up to be a partner or an owner. I couldn�t do that with a full-time job at SBS. In the last year, I received several offers to enter Spanish-language radio ventures as a partner or with an ownership stake, but had to decline.
Are you going to focus only on radio?
No. I'm going to spend time doing projects not directly in radio. I'm going to look at the Hispanic market and the non-Latino one as well.
What makes this a good opportunity?
The statistics of Hispanic population growth and projections are astounding. Many people involved in English-language media now want to do Spanish. More people want to get into Spanish-language media than know how to do it, so I can help there.
How has the Hispanic radio programming changed?
There has been a shift from a dependency on gurus, people who magically know what to do, to people like me who are based in research and see it as a guide for programming. Great radio is achieved by the intersection of creativity and research. One thing alone doesn�t work � you can't purchase a research book and follow it straight and you can't program as well without research. Overall the changes have been positive.
And the top problem for Spanish-language radio today?
Selling spots too cheaply. To break that trend, Spanish-language radio has to continue to have good ratings because that drives the value behind the pricing. I'm not a salesman, but I have been around radio sales longer than I care to admit. There's no excuse for Spanish-language rates to be at a 40 percent discount.
How can you translate ratings to top-dollar sales prices?
Limiting inventory will force prices up. If you sell as many spots as you can, you will never get the rates up. The limiting of inventory is increasingly becoming a factor in the radio industry. One thing that will help is Arbitron's portable people meter (PPM). This measurement tool will keep an accurate record of what people listen to. It's more accessible, and monitors more frequently, than the present system. Plus, it won't depend on recall. The ppm is actually a panel of people tuned in to the product for a longer period of time. It tracks listening minute-by-minute, song by song.
Are there still opportunities for new Hispanic radio
The main opportunities are to define, develop and grow talent. The business needs good DJs, performers, hosts and comedians. They make radio stations interesting to listen to and are the ones who will keep listeners going to radio rather than tuning in to an iPod. Radio can't play as many favorites as a single iPod can. What's between the records, that's the future of radio.
And big names?
Personalities like Ren�n Almend�rez Coello and Luis Jim�nez, you can't duplicate that with research or with an iPod. That's sheer talent. We need to turn to grassroots to develop new talent. I'm originally from Mississippi, I know all about small town, grassroots radio. I didn�t work in a top market until I was 30 years old. Developing and training talent is the future of our business.
Has Spanish-language radio become too vulgar?
The issue is how much is too much. A little risqu� a little wink is fine as long as it fits within the established indecency guidelines. Spanish- and English-language radio companies have had direct contact with people on the air explaining what they can and can't say. People who step over the line will get caught. The FCC can easily hire some Spanish-language interpreters and understand completely what�s being said. It's quite possible to do entertainment, funny, warm programming without stepping over the line.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?- For SBS, Tanner's departure is a big blow. Wall Street analysts are still divided as to whether the news will have a strong impact on the company's stock price. By midday Thursday, SBS' stock was down 10 cents to $7.71 from its opening price. David Joyce, an analyst with Miller Tabak + Co., anticipates that Tanner's departure will cause hesitation from SBS' advertisers. "It casts a cloud of uncertainty," says Joyce. "There are some who might wonder if there will be some drastic change in the stations' programming." On Thursday, SBS executives said Tanner's decision was strictly personal and there was no animosity involved. "He decided to get off the fast treadmill and take a slower pace," says Marko Radlovic, COO of SBS, who had words of praise of Tanner's tenure at the radio company and for the programming insights that returned stellar ratings.
"Tanner brought general market mechanics to SBS' world and has a good gut for on-air talent and promotions." In addition to making wise programming moves, Tanner put in place a programming department at SBS that focuses on the strengths delivered by the various formats and markets.
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Michael Graham to KFI
A brilliant move�.program director Robin Bertolucci has
hired WMAL talk show host Michael Graham
�because KFI Still believes in free speech.�
WMAL�s talk show host Michael Graham was fired by ABC who allegedly folded to the Council on American-Islamic Relations who objected to Graham�s comments about Islam being more than a religion. His charge that �Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist organization� was all that it took for the Disney owned station to show him the door and surrender virtual control of the stations programming to CAIR, who demonized negative comments about radical Islam as �Islamophobia�.
Never mind that CAIR has found any wrong in Islamic terrorist such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
Chalk it up as a big loss for WMAL, a big win for Michael Graham who could soon be allowed to talk freely to a much larger audience thanks to KFI � Los Angeles.
Nice move Robin�
And Michael add's, "I'll be on Rightalk.com every weekday at noon for a one-hour edition of a new radio show, "Michael Graham, Unleashed!" No liberal network execs, no advertisers, not even the FCC. You'll be able to listen live, or the show will be available for podcasting or downloading every hour, on the hour."
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'Fats' Domino Missing, FOUND and never forgotten
New Orleans is a city famous for its music makers, but none more loved than Fats Domino
The 76 year old Fats has eight children with his wife Rosemary, who lived with him and his daughter in a three-story pink-roofed house. On Monday afternoon, Domino told his manager, Al Embry of Nashville, that would refuse to join the evacuation suggested by officials.
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement winner and Rock Hall of Fame member was missing for three days and concern for his welfare was noted when his home in the 9th district of New Orleans was discovered under water.
Then word came from officials "the Fat Man" had been rescued from the flood waters by boat.
Traveling with the 1957 "Shower of Stars" Fats was introduced to me by Eddie Cochran in Los Angeles. A shy man, Fats erupted the minute he sat down behind the keyboard of his piano with a band second only to that of Little Richard's. His short stubby arms pounded the keys with his head buried in the microphone on a stand close beside him. His fingers seemed dwarfed by huge diamond rings. The audience was mostly white teenagers with some jumping up from their chairs to dance in the isle. Fats was the star of Imperial records before it introduced a teenage TV star named Ricky Nelson.
Traveling from city to city on that tour, the black artists had their bus and the white artists had theirs. While blacks and whites appeared on the same stage, they stayed at different hotels in each city.
Once top forty radio programmed the music of Fats Domino and other black recording artist, discrimination began to end. I always believed radio was largely responsible for lessening this sore on society.
Fats Domino was missing...now FOUND and never forgotten.
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Talk Radio�Playing the Hits
Several months ago, I wrote, �most of the syndicated talk shows are bogged down in the boredom of politics, unable to address the real issues concerning the masses.� I explained talk radio was not �playing the hits�. Like the record promoter paid to promote a �stiff�, talk shows bought into the politics of the beltway, a constant diatribe of liberal�s vs. conservatives, republicans vs. democrats. It was as though they had forgotten the listener, instead allowed the politicians to decide what the �hits� were. After a year or more of witnessing an election campaign that side stepped the real issues, the public had about as much interest in politics as politicians had in serving the public.
One could easily see the tail wagging the dog simply by watching white house press conferences. Reporters attending those functions were just as out of touch as were most talk show hosts. The agenda was set by the politicians, with reporters seemingly unaware of the questions millions of the citizenry would ask.
It may have worked in the past, but not in the new era of the internet where information and communication is a whole new experience for a populous thirsty for answers. No longer is the choice for information limited to the old media�it�s a whole new ballgame.
The internet is replacing the newspaper of yesteryear and talk radio could easily find itself in the same wagon as music radio. It had best add more variety to its �playlist�and pay more attention to �playing the hits�. Internet radio is knocking at the door and am/fm talk radio is inviting it in.
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Talk Radio�s Funeral
Not only do elected representatives in Washington aim to erase our borders, they also are taking steps to erase talk radio's freedom of speech by duplicating Canadian law.
This month, an �anti hate� bill called �The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005� (AMDT.2662) was passed by the house of representatives and has been handed over to the Senate Judiciary Committee, one step from being placed on President Bush�s desk for his signature to make it law.
Like so much legislation that escapes the attention of the public, our check of various congressional representatives found several unaware of just what the bill would do. Labeled a �Hate Crimes� bill, some just voted for it without giving it the scrutiny it deserved. One congressman's office admitted they were not familiar with the legislation, but assured me, "we are against hate crimes of any kind."
Similar legislation in Canada has virtually ended free speech there. If this legislation becomes law in the United States it will be chilling effect on talk show hosts and publishers alike when they find free speech has ended and they are subject to arrest.
The bible would be considered �hate literature� and preaching from it �hate speech�. This legislation is being pushed by the Anti-Defamation League of B�nai B�rith, who�s national executive board member Lynne Abraham is also the Philadelphia District Attorney that had eleven Christians arrested recently as �hate criminals� because they were preaching from the Bible.
If this legislation proceeds as planned, it will be talk radio�s funeral in the United States. I urge all talk radio hosts to explore this legislation and make it known to their listeners. Being left in the hands of Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter virtually assures its speedy approval.
Your freedom of speech is once again being challenged.
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I, like so many others before me, had every expectation that my sons would retrace my footsteps in broadcasting. That all ended when The Telecommunications Act of 1996 had a devastating impact on the local ownership of radio.
Today, the deregulation dragon continues to delete more and more jobs from the radio industry as locally programmed stations become even more a thing of the past.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, http://www.bls.gov the consolidation of radio will continue to slice off more jobs in radio in the years ahead. Now able to run up to eight radio stations from one office, producing programming for one station that is often repeated on the others, radio owners have eliminated the need for multiple announcers, programmers and news staffs. Similarly, technical workers, upper level management, and marketing and advertising sales workers are pooled to work for several stations simultaneously. While group owners achieve major cost savings through consolidation, the Bureau of Labor advises, �workers may face stress� in jobs that don�t offer the financial satisfaction they hope to achieve.
The Bureau continues, �Job growth also is being constrained by the use of programming created by services outside the broadcasting industry. These establishments provide prepared programming, including music, news, weather, sports, and professional announcer services. The services can easily be accessed through satellite connections and reduce the need for programmers.�
With an estimated 113,200 radio employees working nationally at this time, the number of radio announcers currently employed will drop by an estimated 17% more by the year 2012.
According to the Bureau, the average radio employee today is being paid $31,100 a year, about what I was being paid almost fifty years ago at the start of my career. Of course that�s pocket change for the media moguls who profit from those who work in the trenches.
I have the utmost admiration for the handful of owners who continue to serve their listeners with local programming. I do hope you will continue to survive in the future and that if you choose, your sons will be able to walk in your footsteps.