keep finding myself thinking about the best days of my career,
or at least the most fun days of it.. There were hard days to
be sure, and certainly there have been other highlights since
'PGC, but being in Bladensburg
are some of my absolute best memories.
Jim Elliott pulling up next
to me in his orange 240Z in the parking lot at Howard Johnsons
and introducing himself to standing in the control room
watching Liz Kiley pull off
another perfect break and getting that wicked grin...it was
a wild ride.
Through all the good times...and bad...I look back now with
great fondness on my salad days at WPGC.
'The Great Strike That Struck Out':
guess I was pretty naive when I got to WPGC. I had no concept
of how nasty the Strike
was until a few years later when I first met the local AFTRA
representative and she wanted me put in jail...literally. After
I did my first shift, the late Jim
Collins met me across the street to offer me a full time
job after the strike was over. After I picked my jaw up off
the ground, I said yes of course. Neither of us knew what the
outcome of the strike would be, but he said that there were
a couple of people he'd be happy to replace anyway, once the
dust settled. Of course now we know that I would be replacing
Jim Elliott who moved to
Doing Middays Over & Over & Over...:
I did do a lot of different time-slots on PGC, but it always
came back to mid-days. Bill
Prettyman even told me once that I would be doing that shift
for the rest of my career because I was perfect for the job.
Steve Kingston ended
up saying exactly the same thing a few years later and even
hired me to work at Z-100 for that very purpose, even though
things didn't work out that way.
Replacing Elliott & Woodside:
Elliott & Woodside
crossed the street to Q107,
brought Joe Theismann
in to do mornings and asked me to ride herd on the
all-star Redskins QB and provide some radio sense for the guy.
It turned out I didn't need to do much except act as traffic
cop, which was fine with me. Joe and I hit it off pretty famously
and I ended up getting to know him and his family as well as
really good news for 'PGC was, Elliott
& Woodside never
beat us in mornings during those two years until management
reluctantly dissolved the show. (They came close but never surpassed
us 12+ or 18-35.) Joe's other interests got to be too time consuming.
That's when we started experimenting with comedians. Dude
Walker and I were two straight guys in search of a real
comedian, but looking back, I have to say it just never seemed
to click. Bill Prettyman
was (as usual) right. I didn't belong in morning drive and
they felt, rightly so, that J.
Robert Howe and I couldn't carry it all by ourselves. (J.
Robert Howe had left a few months before.)
the time Jeanne Oates came
to town and started tinkering with the format, changing the
name of the station to Classy 95 (puke!) I knew it was
a dead horse too, but every time I started to look around for
a better gig, management kept coming up with more money, making
it harder and harder to exit. Even once she was unceremoniously
dumped from the station, the big-wigs kept coming back with
more and more money. Finally, Steve
Kingston said the magic words, "No amount of money
can substitute for your pride". I knew he was right.
remember Al Casey watching
a conversation I had with someone else at WPGC one time, about
LSD and how people suffer flashbacks later in life. Al interrupted
and said that was a myth. Both of us looked at him with surprise.
He said, I did my time in Haight-Ashbury back in the 60s,
which included dropping a lot of acid. (He was totally
clean by the time he got to WPGC.) He continued, Ive
prayed for flashbacks! He thought the experience was pretty
cool, but would never do it again. I guess those days took their
was the kindest and most gentle man I think Ive ever known.
And frankly, he probably forgot more about programming than
most Program Directors ever know in their lifetimes. He was
it turned out, Steve
Kingston offered me even money to come do mid-days
for him in Baltimore for the now defunct B-104. I was never
so glad to get out of a place as I was that day. Of course,
it wasn't long after that that the Cook Inlet Company, a group
financed by the Eskimos who raked in so much money from the
Alaska Pipeline that they were looking for any kind of investment
property, bought WPGC. Dan Mason
swooped in and changed the format to Urban and that was the
definitive end of the legendary station, even though it had
been dying for several years by then.
The Glory Years:
look back on the glory days of WPGC, post 'The
Strike That Struck Out' with a fondness I cannot describe.
A lot of the people who passed through those halls went on to
much bigger careers, but I doubt sincerely that any of those
careers included jobs that were better. The founding father
of Z-100 (Scott Shannon)
and his successor (Steve
Kingston) were there. Half of one of Los Angeles'
biggest morning shows (Gene
Baxter) was there. One of the nation's best Program Directors
(Liz Kiley) was there. One
of America's leading talk-show hosts (Glenn
Beck) was there too. And I knew them all when we were a
band of radio renegades in our nation's capitol. What a trip!
Washington Radio Today:
visit Washington pretty frequently and scan the dial, looking
for a station that no longer exists. I am constantly disappointed.
Oh, there are some decent sounding stations there, but none
of them have the same energy and spark that WPGC had. CHR as
a format, barely exists in Washington. Washington radio is a
very twisted thing, with so many of the music station's trying
desperately to cater to the inner city folks with little or
no thought to all the people living in the sprawling suburbs.
Most of the Washington radio people I know are very parochial
in their views on the business and don't realize how bad things
are. I keep waiting for someone to come into DC and program
a real CHR station with a super strong lineup and kick that
town's butt. So far...not even close.
Thank you for putting this site up. It's nice to know that someone
knows what a powerhouse CHR can do in a town like Washington.