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Dedicated in memory
passed away in the early '90's. This site is dedicated in his
began his radio career at 15 in Lawrence, Kansas. "It
was a small operation out in the middle of a cow pasture. I
had to water the cows before signing on the station each morning".
first came to the Washington area in 1969 while stationed at
Walter Reed Army Hospital. While an announcer with the
Armed Forces Network, he also did weekends & swing
West" at WPGC, a name he shed by the time he joined
the station full time briefly for late nights then afternoons
in late 1972. Early in
1975 he became Program
Director, a position he held until the 'Great
Strike That Struck Out' in May of 1977.
the strike, Jim became Vice President of Pop Promotion for Polydor
Records in New York. He returned to radio in the early
'80's as Asst. PD of 66
WNBC, which was then the most listened to station in
the nation. There he also produced the weekly 'Music
Magazine' feature and was the regular fill in host for the
'Imus in the Morning' program.
you would like to add your memories,
I want to thank you for the WPGC site. I am Jim Collins' younger
brother - and it was tremendously moving to see all the material
about him and about the station. I looked at it with our 85-year
old mother and you can imagine how it affected her now that Jim
has been gone for 20 years. It was very bittersweet, but wonderful
Jim loved music, he loved radio and he loved WPGC. Thanks for
all the work which went into the site. He'd be so flattered.
I think of Jimmy I think of the Cameron Crowe movie 'Almost
Famous' and the scene when the band bus is traveling through
the midwest at twilight...there's just something about that
scene... innocence and an instant in time on the brink of things...thats
when we all knew Jimmy...
Del Gallo writes:
was an amazing individual who was keenly aware of the nuances
of radio; the right sound, personalities, and music selection.
He was never the same after the breakup of his marriage. We
would converse at least twice a year. I always remember our
Christmas time phone calls and could detect a bit of sadness
in his voice.
all have to deal with our own demons. I cannot find fault in
how Jim chose to deal with his. Whenever I think about Washington
radio, I can't help but think of the greatness of this facility,
broadcasting from the Parkway Building in Bladensburg, and how
many lives it ultimately touched.
yes, Jim Collins was directly responsible for that success.
have many memories of Jim, I'll share one of the funny ones.
Back in those day's, American
Top 40 came in on albums. As soon as they arrived we'd drop
the needle down on all the segments to make sure there were
no warps scratches etc.
ran the show on Sunday mornings , Then I'd do an air shift to
follow. The audience was so huge I was afraid to leave the studio
while Casey was playing.
One Sunday morning I came in and the disks were missing! I frantically
made the call NO Jock wants to make. Jim, obviously still sleepy,
went from the disgruntled sound of "Why are you calling
me on Sunday morning" to... "Oh Shit, I left it in
My office" (exact words).
I asked him what do you want to do? He said it has to air on
time, do what you need to do. I kicked his door open so bad
it pulled the frame off the hinges.
I could hear his smile on the phone as I told him the countdown
was in my hands, but his door was pretty much destroyed.
Every time I mention American
Top 40 on XM 7 "Seventies on Seven,", that flashback
vividly comes back to me of knocking down his door!
Denver (Good Guy Jim Madison #4) writes:
Collins was one of the great radio programmers of our generation.
He operated with a gut feel and passion for music and radio
that were uncommen then, and even more rare today. He worked
and lived his life on the edge, and we are all better for knowing
him and learning from him.
Bless You Jim.
was probably my best friend. I introduced him to his first wife
and he introduced me to mine. We saw each other or spoke almost
daily for over 20 years; I spoke to him the day he killed himself
(he was in Kansas, I was in NYC; he gave no indication anything
was wrong) and have been to the Collinson family plot in Kansas
to visit his grave (his ashes were buried with a copy of The
Eagles' Greatest Hits, his favorite album) with his Mother.
I still think of Jim and am still angry at him for not toughing
it out against his inner demons. But then, maybe if I had been
him I wouldn't have either. There's no way to know such a thing.
was unusually talented and unusually sensitive to those around
him, although he was never really comfortable with people. He
was more comfortable with things, and a website (like a radio
station) is a thing. He would have loved this site and would
no doubt have been a vigorous contributor.
who were around at the time know what an amazing job Jim did
as 'PGC's PD; he really made "The Pig" sing and it
wasn't just us radio people who thought so. Now, thanks to this
great website, Jim and his achievements live on!
remember him and the WPGC basketball games.
would dress up like a clown and get a pie
in the face, etc.
remember when he first came to the station to apply for a
in uniform, shy, insecure, sincere. We knew immediately he was
He spent many a night at the Jones household early in his
career, eating homecooked meals, and relaxing. He was one really
guy. I miss him terribly.
last time I spoke with him he was back in
Kansas, and he sounded really sad, and confused. He was programming
station in the market, can't remember which. He was really surprised
I called him. God Bless him.
I remember the night Jim Collins came in to Dino Del Gallo, holding a
stack of albums. He asked Dino to check thru 'em and try to
find a single for this group that just couldn't seem to buy
a top 40 hit, but was doing fine in concert. So Dino went thru
the albums, and went back to Jim with his pick the next day.
When Collins realized what the selection was he told Dino, hey,
they already released that and it died. Dino came right back
saying, no they didn't, they released the studio version
and it died... they need to release the live version.
So Collins took the recommendation back to the record company.
They released the live version... "Rock & Roll All Night",
and Kiss finally got their top 40 start.
The NAB Convention was in DC that year. Jim went, and
met up with an old friend (who's name I won't mention). Anyway
this old friend was back in town for the convention and had
called a very pretty and somewhat notorious radio groupie to
be his date. Collins didn't know her, but assumed she must work
in radio... so sometime during the evening he gave her an invite
for a tour of the station.
Surprise, surprise the following Monday she shows up for
the tour. So Jim gives her the quick once around, but has to
go on the air as it's 2:00pm. Well, she asks to 'borrow the
phone' in his office. So Jim tells her to dial 9 to get an outside
line and heads to the control room. Five minutes goes by and
Jim gets a call on the inside studio line. She can't get her
call to go thru, and wants his help. Jim has a long record on,
so he heads for his office to fix the problem. Just outside
the control room he runs into Glenn Potter and Bill Prettyman.
A brief conversation ensues, and Jim explains the problem
as he's walking down the hall to his office... with the Potter
and Prettyman a few steps behind ready to help. Jim opens the
door and there she is ... NAKED on his desk... legs spread wide...
and she says "Just wanted to give you a preview of what you
can have later". Jim never missing a beat, pulls the door mostly
closed, leaving his head inside just long enough to whisper
loudly... "get the @#$# out of here"... and then loudly says...
"Yes, it's '9' you need to press then wait for the dial tone".
He then has to almost push Potter and Prettyman back into the
hall...."No problem" "Phone is fine" "She wasn't dialing 9"
or some such.
Well no one would ever have known about this.... except
that when he got back to the control room, he realized some
naked crazy woman was in HIS office, and might not leave. So
he called Carla who was working on public service
stuff, told her what happened, and asked her to go throw this
woman out. Of course before she went to Jim's office she called
a few others. By the time Carla got around to it the woman was
Miller ('April May') writes:
Collins was a joy to work with. He and I didn't get to play
together too much - he usually came in just about the time
I left for the day. He was always friendly and nice to everyone
just not much of a talker off the air. In the control room
though he really sizzled!
shared an office with Jim for the last two years of 66
so I really got to know him well. He was a really caring person,
who was very misunderstood by his co-workers because he cared
too much about the intricacies of the radio station. I really
miss him. I still feel bad that I didn't get the chance to return
his phone call a couple of weeks before he died. It will always
haunt me. Thanks for memorializing Jim!
still miss Jim. He was one of my best friends. I wish I could
have convinced him to come out here to Hawaii. I know at the
same time, Imus was trying to get him to come back to New York
and produce his WFAN show.
one Sunday, Jim had finished his on-air shift (he worked six
days) and was in the production studio listening to a record
- yes vinyl! He had the speakers turned all the way up and they
were blaring Kansas' "Carry on my Wayward Son".
He played it over and over again and finally called me into
the studio (I didn't even think he knew me - I was pretty new)
and played it again - as loud as those JBLs would go! He yelled
over the top of the record that he was sure it was going to
be a hit. Sure enough it was a huge hit for them.
knew his stuff and he was always nice to me. I'm sad that he's
not with us anymore.
was a colleague, a mentor and a friend. Certainly he was
one of the biggest influences in my decision to get into radio.
I remember vividly my first night on the air at 66
/ New York where, as Asst. PD he was instrumental in my hiring.
I cracked the mic for the first time, he was standing several
feet away, behind the glass with the board engineer on the other
side, staring down at me. I was much more nervous about
performing before one of my radio heroes than I was being watched
by the NBC tour or being heard by 3.5 million listeners in the
Greater NY area!
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thanks to Jonathon Wolfert for the above).
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