A Slice of Pie & The Howard's - Smith & Cosell

John - 1965


 John Rook bio

   Read  from "Passing Thru"

           "Before I Begin"

          "The Presidents"

         "Burt Lancaster"

         "In Like Flynn"

    "Andy, David & June"


        Eddie Cochran

     Here's "More Eddie Photo's"

My friend Eddie Cochran, an early inductee into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, was an extraordinarily talented guitarist, singer and songwriter who influenced later artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and many others.

Read Graham Pugh's  "The Truth About Eddie Cochran"




            KTLN/KTLK here   


"A Slice of Pie & the Howard's"                   Pie Traynor, Howard K. Smith,   Howard Cosell   


   "Mick & The Rolling Stones"


  "Thanks for theMemory "                Bob Hope, Nat King Cole                  


               "WLS Bound"  and the WABC strike of 1967.

         "The Big 89 - WLS"




Cecil Heftel bought it, Buzz Bennett gave birth to it,  John Rook consulted it and hired Bill Tanner to create Miami's legendary Y-100  



             "I love LA - 64 KFI"  


        "KABC  - Talk Radio's First


My little slice of Paradise


 John's Poetry Page




A Tribute to Bill Gavin here


Web Radio

Click on to enjoy

Radio's Rich "Brother" Robbin  creates oldies radio like it should be. Streaming on the web here

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Rewind with Jimmy Jay as he interviews and features recent photos of the Superstars of early rock here

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If you have an RV you've gotta hear RV Dream Radio  



  Southern California beach conditions

Click For The Correct Time

"One of the great programmers, honest, passionate and powerful.   John has never pulled any punches." - Chuck Blore


"John Rook was absolutely instrumental in my career. I think of him as my radio "Dad". He was more than a great programmer, he was a great teacher, and remains a great friend"  -  Tim Kelly
The Premiere Radio Networks 



It pleases me the rest of the country thinks as highly of you as I do� �  Bill Drake


One of  "Most Influential Programmers of the Past 20 Years"  -  Radio & Records


Honored as one of

"Radio's Legends"

Radio & Record Convention - (1998)


Radio Programmer of the Year

Gavin Convention - (1969)


Radio's Man of the Year

Variety Magazine - (1969) 


Radio Consultant of the Year

Poe Convention (1977)


�John Rook�s talent caused me to get him hired out of the market. A classy guy with an abundance of ability, he�s a jewel�. Ken Palmer - KIMN, Denver  (1965)


Broadcasters have named John Rook Program Director of the Year, he�s considered the architect of WLS�s slick image. � Variety (1969)


�If we could find a dozen more John Rook�s, we would hire them�

Hal Neal Jr., President ABC radio.


�What a true professional John Rook is�

 Walter A. Schwartz, VP WABC


Yes, that�s John Rook you are hearing on WABC.  Besides being a great director, he�s also a pretty darn good air talent.� 

Bill Gavin (1967)


�And then there�s John Rook at WCFL.  After a five year stint at ABC�s KQV-Pittsburgh, Mr. Rook was brought to WLS in early 1967 as Program Director.  By mid 1968 WLS�s audience had risen to 4.2 million listeners each week and was #1 across the board. Mr. Rook was approached by Lew Witz of WCFL with an offer to counsel WCFL, and hopefully to bring the station in contention with WLS. Six weeks later Super � CFL knocked WLS out of the top position in the ratings war�.      Broadcasting (1972)


John Rook  pulled off a miracle in Chicago with WCFL and he did it in just 22 days.

Meaning, he was only in Chicago personally for 22 days.  This is actually better than WCFL has ever done in it�s many years of trying to beat WLS.  -  Billboard (1972)

 �Very few programmers have your natural ability of knowing what the audience wants before they do.�  

Jack Thayer, WNBC � New York


�Please accept this token of ABC�s appreciation for a job well done.�

Leonard Goldenson,

President ABC, Inc.

The magic of John Rook & Associates is being heard on more and more stations. John has added  Paul Kirby from WRKO to help him with his latest additions, KRBE-Houston, WIFI-Philadelphia, WZGC-Cleveland,  KDON-Salinas/Montery, KTLK-Denver, KAFY-Bakersfield, Z-93-Atlanta, KTKT-Tucson, KENO-Las Vegas, KRUX-Phoenix, KROY-Sacramento and WGNG in Providence. -  Gavin Report - 1974 

Superjock Larry LuJack described John Rook as �the greatest program director of our time or any other time.�  ABC executive Bob Henabery is quoted as saying that �Rook understood the importance of doing everything right. He was a masterful Top 40 programmer.�

Source: ReelRadio.com
            Rook's Radiography


rookflag.gif (7195 bytes)

Click on any below to visit them

        Where Are They ?             440: Satisfaction gives a complete rundown on those who made contributions to radio over the years.

Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation�s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. 

Spotlight on....

A salute to those who deserve recognition

Listen live to the CBS news/talk stations nationally on RadioMat


     If a major disaster hits        Are you ready?

Click here to find out


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San Francisco Radio History


St.Louis Radio







A stage for many of the nations most celebrated radio star�s, it became "Super CFL" in the early 70�s in one of radio�s great battles when Super Jock Larry Lujack, Big Ron O�Brien, Paul Kirby, Kris Erik Stevens and a few others joined me at Super CFL


Jeff Roteman's Radioville

Award winning website

Pittsburgh/Chicago radio




Jerry Del Colliano, founder of "Inside Radio" continues to speak out at "Inside Music Media" here

Read Lee Abrams here

George Noory

Jerry Doyle

Rollye James

Michael Savage

Bill Press

Museum of Broadcast Communications

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        Some friends....           

Now in the Radio Hall of Fame, my good friend Larry Lujack gave fuel to my own radio career.   

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Radio for Chuck Blore began at KTKT in Tucson, a decade or so before I became the stations consultant. Gordon McLendon hired Blore to program KTSA in San Antonio and then KELP in El Paso.  His arrival at KFWB-Los Angeles created the highest rated major market radio station ever.  Forming The Chuck Blore Company brought over 500 major awards for commercial excellence.  Chuck is one of a kind � the most creative source in the history of radio.  No one motivates better than Chuck Blore.  Visit him here

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A pal of 50 years, visit George Wilson and enjoy the music here

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Bobby Cochran, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame star Eddie Cochran, writes of those early days when my friend Eddie and I roamed southern California as teenagers. "Three Steps to Heaven" is available at Amazon.com 

Visit Bobby Cochran and taste his music here.

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Wink Martindale is a master entertainer of radio and TV game shows.

"Winking at Life" is Wink's life story available at Amazon.com or at his website here.

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It's where Rock n' Roll began, a combination of white and black gospel, old and new country, doo-wop, blues,  western cowboy and pop music at Shelby Singleton's Sun Records.   

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Bill Young made his mark as one of America's top programmers in radio who now creates great video commercials. Visit him here

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A trademark voice of radio and  commercials, Kris Erik Stevens delivers. Always energetic, always positive and always a friend. Visit him here

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The Pew Research Center

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 A Slice of Pie

From Passing Thru
By John Rook

In didn�t seem to fit the much aligned image of Pittsburgh, but I was reminded of San Francisco with its hilly terrain and the street cars connecting the tall buildings downtown to the suburbs of the city. It was my first taste of a big city where by the mid 1960�s no longer did pollutants turn daylight into darkness from the smokestacks of steel furnaces that lined the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers. The title of Steel City was being passed to foreign ports as new cleaner technologies employed the locals and it was no longer necessary for business men to carry an extra white shirt to work for a mid day change.

The city was headquarters to dozens of the nation�s biggest companies. It was home to household names like Westinghouse and Gulf alongside local names of Mellon, Heinz and Carnegie. A gospel of generosity born in the era of these Pittsburgh pioneer families pledged vast fortunes to build this city at the mouth of the Ohio River.

Andrew Carnegie gave enormous amounts of money creating the nation�s public libraries. In the boroughs of New York alone he established a minimum of 2,500 libraries. At the turn of the century Carnegie was the nation�s richest man with an estimated wealth of at least four hundred million dollars. The charity and compassion he demonstrated rubbed off on generations of Pittsburghers who formed a city with the characteristics of a large family. Departing life in 1919, Andrew Carnegie honored his vow to give away his entire fortune saying, �the man who dies rich, dies disgraced�.

Seeking no escape, many life long residents of Pittsburgh seldom traveled outside eastern Pennsylvania. Loyalty to sporting teams became a religion to the faithful who prayed the Pirates and Steelers would be victorious, especially when combating Cleveland or Cincinnati. On those warm summer nights the voice of the Pirates, Bob Prince, could be heard like an echo all over town broadcasting his play by play descriptions of Pittsburgh Pirate games.

Names like Vernon Law, Luke Walker, Manny Mota, Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente were elevated to god like status. Pie Traynor I�d find, was among those names.

KQV became the nation�s first network owned top 40 radio station when ABC brought Ralph Beaudin to Pittsburgh from Omaha. �Big Red� had learned from the father of top forty radio, Todd Storz. In short order, Beaudin was propelled to WLS, then head of all radio for ABC, Inc.

Even though saddled with hours of boring network programming each day, KQV captured a substantial share of Pittsburgh radio listeners by programming hit music in the hours that were left for local origination. Within a year of my arrival we would shed the programming of Don McNeil�s �Breakfast Club� and Notre Dame Football, though I elected to carry Howard Cosell sporting news. He was a Rush Limbaugh of sports that a disc jockey named Jeff Christie would learn from.

Shortly after my arrival at KQV, driving home one evening I headed into what Pittsburghers call the �Liberty Tubes�. Dual tunnels carved thorough the mountains that separated the hustle of downtown commerce from the residents of the south side. Approaching the entrance the traffic slowed enough that I could hear KQV on several nearby car radios. I smiled proudly hearing Daddy Dave Scott playing the hits, tapping my fingers on the steering wheel to the beat of the music. Swallowed by the earth, my radio faded as I entered the �tubes�. A few minutes later as I began to see sunlight with the radio signal returning, I strained to hear the voice of a hesitant old man announcing the days sporting news. A pause that seemed like an eternity was broken only by the shuffle of his script, as he began to voice a commercial for a local steakhouse - �They have the best sea-same bread and the fillit mig-nongs are thick and jew-see� said the meek voice.

Clearly the announcer didn�t do much for the tempo the station. I reasoned he must be one of the network programs we were forced to carry. I made a note to inquire first thing the following morning to find out who this man was and why was he on KQV.

Marching into my office the next morning I barked out my displeasure and questioned my secretary to find out just who this mystery man was. With a look of shock and dismay she replied, �Everyone loves Pie�. Asking for her to arrange an appointment with him as soon as possible, I also inquired for someone to replace her �Pie� on the air. Hesitating for a moment she replied, �Well maybe Beano Cook could do it�. �Fine�, I said, �I want to see him too�.

Within the hour a less than impressive Beano Cook arrived at my office and I reasoned surely someone with more confidence and gumption could be found, something not missing in the years ahead when his combative questioning of sporting celebrities brought him national acclaim

Another hour would pass before I was advised �Pie� had arrived at my request. With a full head of youthful steam I arose from my desk to greet this person who had created such despair for me. I was disarmed immediately as a silver-headed grandfatherly gentlemen approached, offering a smile and a handshake. �Hello Mr. Rook, I�m Pie Traynor.� Dressed immaculately in a dark blue suit, he apologized for his delay in meeting me. He explained he normally walked a seven mile round trip each late afternoon from his home to do his 5 minutes radio show, as I sheepishly realized my need to see him ASAP doubled his daily walk on this day. He had never learned to drive, preferring instead to �hoof it� as he called it. It would be Pie who began my �Buc fever� as I began to regularly attended Pirate games at Forbes Field. Seems my esteemed �announcer� was one of Pittsburgh�s most cherished celebrity�s.


Pie Traynor

Modestly explaining he had played 17 years in the majors, he proudly noted with just one team, his Pittsburgh Pirates. In the 1920�s & 30�s Pie Traynor was an ace third baseman and a superb .320 lifetime batter before being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Inviting me to join him for lunch, I was in for a humiliating experience. His �nearby� eatery was a dozen blocks from my office and as I huffed and puffed to keep up. Folks along the way offered their greeting to Pie, even the corner traffic cop tipped his hat as he stopped traffic for us during the noon time rush.

Reaching the establishment, Pie and I were moved past the waiting line to a window side table. Inquiring as to how he was given such an unusual name, he explained it came from his sweet tooth as a child when home made pastries were more available than candy. He explained, the name "Pie" stuck with him from that time forward.

Thus far our conversation seemed all about Pie as he inquired why I wanted to see him. I replied sheepishly, that I just wanted to meet the staff. Offering to have his sponsors commercial produced rather than delivered live by Pie, his eyes lit up, �oh, that would wonderful�, he said explaining his five minute program was, �a long time to kill�.

Following lunch Pie asked if I�d mind if he just walked on home from there, �No problem�, I said in appreciation of not having a return race. Just a block later stabbing pains gripped my back and leg forcing me to hail a cab to take me back to the office.

Entering the office my secretary Joanne inquired with a look of puzzlement, �what do you think?� �About what�, I asked. �About Pie� she quizzed. �Pie� I replied, �oh, Pie will do just fine� I said disappearing behind my office door.

Named as the best third basemen of all time, Harold "Pie" Traynor, is one of only eight players to have their number retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1948, he joined the ranks of baseball's elite when he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Pie Traynor left us March 6, 2023 at 72 years of age.

Beano Cook went on to become famous as the Nostradamus of ESPN

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The Howard's - Smith & Cosell


Being an ABC owned radio station brought several network stars to KQV to broadcast their programs.  Howard K. Smith and I chatted several times as he sat in my office waiting for studio time to begin his radio broadcast to the nation. We both began our career as newspaper reporters, Howard in Louisiana and me a dozen years later in Nebraska. His radio broadcast in the era preceding television, from the front lines in World War II, earned him a trusting relationship with Americans of the 1940�s. But most would remember him for being moderator of the very first televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. �Nixon was far more qualified to be president� he said, in commenting on the election that brought �Camelot� instead to the white house.                     

From time to time Howard Cosell traveled to Pittsburgh covering a major sporting event.

�Rookie, let�s get this show on the road� he�d bellow rolling through the radio station as if he owned it. Always reminding of his vastly superior knowledge, his nasal articulation on virtually any subject elevated Howard to as much a celebrity status as those he reported on. A young Cassius Clay, known as the �Louisville Lip� did much to elevate Cosell�s star as their verbal sparring hyped the early fights of the man who would become �the greatest� - Muhammad Ali.  Howard was Ali's chief defender after the world champ was stripped of his title for refusing to enter military service.   

Howard at KQV 

I remember Howard Cosell for a new word he introduced to my vocabulary. Relaxing for a few minutes following one of his ABC radio network broadcast, I kidded him when I marveled in jest at his ability to seemingly have a view about everything��is their anything you don�t know Howard��. taking a deep breathe as though giving thought, he replied, �No, I doubt there is�. Adding, �Chutzpah has a lot to do with it�Rookie�.  �coots-bah?� I quizzed, �how do you spell that�?  Shaking his head in disbelief of my limitations Howard spelled - �c-h-u-t-z-p-a-h�, telling me to �look it up�. I couldn�t find it in the dictionary, but my Jewish pal in the KQV sales department Ed Lubin explained �self confidence� as being chutzpah.

More than a dozen years would pass before I again saw Howard.  Securing seats for the 1981 Las Vegas Herns-Leonard championship fight was a coup itself. My buddy Neil Bogart telephoned at the last minute saying he would be unable to attend and supplied me with ring side seats in the circus like atmosphere that brought out a celebrity packed crowd.  I was delighted to find myself separated by just three seats from Cosell. In the dozen or more years since our last meeting, Howard had become one of the worlds most recognized personalities, swamped by even celebrity fans. I sat quietly before I decided just prior to the start of the fight, to reintroduce myself. No longer with a crew cut, but with shoulder length hair, I could tell Howard probably didn�t recognize me. Howard was cordial, saying he was glad to see me, but his words were unusually hesitant, leading me to surmise he really had not remembered me. Returning to my seat for the fight, I noticed Howard glancing in my direction, as if trying to recall me from his diary of memories.  But it was not until the fight had ended that Howard stood up, leaned over to me and said,  �chutzpah, Rookie, it�s chutzpah��as I shook my head in agreement and began laughing.


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