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Jim Collins

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Dedicated in memory of Jim Collins


Jim passed away in the early '90's. This site is dedicated in his memory.




Jim 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".

He 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 as "Mark 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. On 01/20/75 he became Program Director, a position he held until the 'Great Strike That Struck Out' in May of 1977.

Following 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.




If you would like to add your memories,
please e-mail the Webmaster


Columbus writes:

When 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...



Dino Del Gallo writes:

Jim 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.

We 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.

And yes, Jim Collins was directly responsible for that success.



Marty Dempsey writes:

I 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.

I 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!



Joel Denver (Good Guy Jim Madison #4) writes:

Jim 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.

God Bless You Jim.



Alexander Goodfellow writes:

Jimbo 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.

Jim 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.

Those 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!



Kevin James writes:

I remember him and the WPGC basketball games. He would dress up like a clown and get a pie in the face, etc.



Davy Jones writes:

I remember when he first came to the station to apply for a job, in uniform, shy, insecure, sincere. We knew immediately he was a "winner". He spent many a night at the Jones household early in his partime career, eating homecooked meals, and relaxing. He was one really nice guy. I miss him terribly.

The last time I spoke with him he was back in Kansas, and he sounded really sad, and confused. He was programming some station in the market, can't remember which. He was really surprised that I called him. God Bless him.  




Keith MacDonald writes:

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 gone!



Anita Miller ('April May') writes:

Jim 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!



Elena Nacanther writes:

I shared an office with Jim for the last two years of 66 WNBC 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!



Dale Parsons writes:

I 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.


Marty Sacks writes:

On 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.

Jim knew his stuff and he was always nice to me. I'm sad that he's not with us anymore.



The Webmaster remembers:

Jim 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 WNBC / New York where, as Asst. PD he was instrumental in my hiring. 

As 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!




Click on images below to see enlargements.

Playlist cover
from June 1973

With 'Phono Phunnies' winner in 1973

With another 'Phono Phunnies' winner

w/yet another 'Phono Phunnies' winner

With Harv Moore, a movie promoter & Columbus in '73

Wearing Music Troll T shirt

Publicity shot
from 1973

With Harv Moore & Bob Raleigh (Bill Miller) in 1974

On the air,
in January 1976

With Helen Reddy on NBC's 'Midnight Special' in 1976

In Sept. 1976

Pre-strike, 1977



Print Materials


Click on images below to see enlargements.

















Print Ads

Click on the images below to see enlargements.


'Air Force Bombards DC'


'Public Apology'

© The Washington Star

October 1973



Click on images below  to see enlargements.


WPGC Shifts To The Middle

September 1976

© The Washington Star

No Magic Formula at WPGC


© Billboard


Collins Resigns At WPGC

May 1977

© Radio & Records




Composite Airstaff, 1974

With Helen Reddy in 1976



Sound Files


09/07/69 (as 'Mark West') - 17:13

August 1972 - Missing W located! - :46
October 1972 - 12:37
December 1972 - :54
02/09/73 - :24
10/01/73 - :42
11/21/73 - 17:15
January 1974 - 3:42
12/23/74 - :54
12/23/74 (with Carla) - 1:00
June 1975 - 7:22
November 1975 - 2:48
December 1975 - 1:25
April 1976 (used by JAM to demonstrate jingles in use) - 3:51
November 1976 - :48
11/11/76 - 2:40



Jock Jingle - Grid (as 'Mark West') - :02
- © PAMS of Dallas


Jock Jingle - Logoset / Priority One - :04
- © JAM Creative Productions, Dallas


Accapella - Logoset / Priority One - :01
- © JAM Creative Productions, Dallas

(Special thanks to Jonathon Wolfert for the above).



Fall 1969 Hub Furniture - (as 'Mark West') - :29
Fall 1969 Northeast Ford - (as 'Mark West') - :51
May 1976 JKJ Chevrolet - :55



09/19/72 Who Is Mr. Whisper? (w/Columbus) - :27
01/27/74 Name That Tune (w/Columbus) - :31
01/06/74 Musical Mystery Tour Winner (w/Harv Moore) - :36
01/07/74 Write It Down! (w/Columbus & The Redhead) - :32
1976 John Denver In Concert - :41
1976 Win America's 'History' Album - :57
1976 Three G's & a 'Z' - :52
1976 Visible Vault 1 - :20
1976 Visible Vault 2 - :34
1976 Win the Top LPs of the Year - :58
1976 Win A Mexican Vacation (with Tim Kelly) - :59



01/27/74 Pomponio Land Scam - :39


Sound Off!

01/01/77 Open & Close - :11


11/21/73 Bonus Basketball - 1:16
01/07/74 Name That Tune 1 - 1:04
Jan. 1974 Name That Tune 2 - 1:29
Jun. 1975 Superstash - :21


Miscellaneous Audio

Oct. 1972 Mr. Whisper clue #3 - :11
01/01/73 Columbus on: Jim Collins' waterbed  - :12
02/12/73 Harv Moore on: Jim Collins - :27
1973 Harv Moore on: Jim Collins' circus family - :26
1973 Harv Moore on: Jim Collins' fat girlfriend - :18
10/01/73 Money Plane Mention - :23
May 1976 Tim Kelly on: Jim Collins - :23
Nov. 1976 Big Ron O'Brien on:
Jim Collins' date with a porcupine - :12
Dec. 1976 Big Ron O'Brien on:
Jim Collins' outstanding show - :11
01/01/77 Big Ron O'Brien on:
Jim Collins' New Year's Eve - :10


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