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Dedicated in memory of Jim Collins



 

Scott joined Jim Elliott for morning news in the Summer of 1978 from Atlanta.

 

 

Scott writes:

I listened to all of the Elliott and Woodside air checks and at 54 years old I became very emotional. WPGC was the highlight of my entire 30 years of broadcasting experience. I remember when Elliott and I went from worst to first in 6 months. How did we do it? By being ourselves. No bits, no sound effects, no smoke and mirrors, just relating to our listeners. Who allowed that? Dan Mason. He was a great friend and genius radio manager.

 

On 'Congressman Cottonpicker' :

'You'll get richer quicker with Cottonpicker'!  I came up with the concept.  One morning Elliott turned on his mic and asked me a question and I used a Southern voice and he asked who I was and I told him Congressman Buford T. Cottonpicker.  And the rest is history. At the time Dick Marriott owned the station and asked that we do the bit twice a morning because he loved it.  We burned the poor congressman out after three months.  I even went to personal appearances dressed up like Cottonpicker and nobody knew it was me because we were such a new morning show!

 

On the Armadillo Country Amusement Park:

This is just another example of how creative Dan Mason was. The three of us were talking, and he said something to the effect: “Guys, your Armadillo Country Amusement Park bit is fantastic and I can’t believe the thousands of people that think it’s a real amusement park here in the area.” We never gave out a location. Our tag line on those fake spots was always: Take the Beltway and follow the signs. Turn left at the first arrow and go another 5 miles to the entrance.

We had Dave Foxx do one of those real fast tag lines. It was great because listeners were always calling up asking where the amusement park was. They wanted us to elaborate on the directions which made for great phone bits. Some people would call and play along like they had been there. We would play along with them as well.

 

On the Thanksgiving Day Parade:

Dan Mason suggested we do a fake parade in DC for Thanksgiving day. “Why don’t you guys record your show for Thursday so you can have Thanksgiving with your families?” Since there wasn’t one in DC at the time, we decided to put together an entire theater of the mind parade. We promoted it for about two weeks before the event so that we could stir up the “monkeys” a little bit.

By the time Thanksgiving day came around callers blew out the request lines trying to find out where the parade was located. We embellished everything, used crowd effects, marching band sound effects, made up the name of the floats to relate with what was going on at that time. I believe the other jocks were a part of the parade as well and were supposedly on the scene filing reports.

 

On UFO's:

Do you remember when we did the UFO stories at WPGC in the fall of 1978? Well, I did a bunch of research and did a lot of sound bites with a lot of people in the “know”. I must have hit a nerve because the FBI had me followed and even tried to find out where I kept all of my research. It scared me so bad, that I had to go into hiding at Elliott’s house for 3 months after we finished the UFO special. That’s one of the reasons I loved DC because you just never knew who was listening.

 

On Dan Rather:

Once when Dan Rather became the CBS anchor and began wearing sleeveless sweaters I once said on the air that he looked gay and that you could take any person off the street and put them in front of a teleprompter and they would do better than Dan. Well, his daughter called crying and later tried to sue me and the station for slander.

 

On Tip O'Neal:

Another time I was kidding on the air with Elliott and told him that when I was at a picnic over the weekend one of the guests was Tip O’Neal and all he did was keep taking food off of my paper plate. I was kidding of course and trying to relate because that’s when there were a bunch of fat jokes about Tip. Well, his grandaughter called in tears. I put the little 5 year old on the air and before the end of the interview we were all crying. That was the magic of Elliott and Woodside. We were allowed to be ourselves.

 

On Chip Carter:

There are hundreds of stories like that. My favorite was when I paraphrased an article in the Washington Post about Chip Carter having an affair with a DC socialite in the private quarters of the White House. I got sued for 4 million dollars and Marriott freaked out. It took 5 years back and forth before it was settled out of court for a mere $30,000.

Seems like I was always in trouble. That’s when Mason and Marriott and Potter labeled me as a “loose cannon”. Had they not been so paranoid they could have hired me back somewhere after the Q107 debacle and I would have excelled like never before. It would have been good for both of us. But they never really recovered from when we left WPGC and I think they were always bitter about that.

On Leaving WPGC:

Actually, we were the ones that contacted Q-107 program director Alan Burns 18 months earlier. We met but couldn't come to any agreement. Alan told us to leave the door open and call if anything ever changed. Their first offer was to find out how much we were making at WPGC just so they'd know how to play their cards the next time if it ever came up again.

WLS offered Elliott a job without me in September or October of 1981 just a few months before we went over to Q107. WLS offered Jim $80,000 to move. He came back to WPGC and told PD Steve Kingston about the offer So WPGC raised his salary to $80,000.

He made a mistake by telling me what had happened so I went in and asked for a raise too. After all, Kingston, Giddens, and Potter said that we were a team and putting our strengths together is what made us "bulletproof" at the time.

I remember going to Steve Kingston and asking him for a raise. He told me to give him back 60,000 dollars and whatever was left is what I was worth. The next day I called Alan Burns at Q107 and told him I was interested in leaving. He asked if Elliott would consider coming to Q too. I told him yes, and he arranged a meeting the next day at the old Hamburger Hamlet in Potomac. That’s where we agreed to sign a five year no cut contract with Q107.

Kingston says he was kidding. He wasn't kidding and he knew it. Since he was my direct supervisor he was reflecting management's feelings towards me. How else should I have taken that? I felt that I had been a major contributor to the morning show. Everyone told me that but Kingston, so when he hit me with that statement in his office, I was shocked. But you have to remember that during that time in radio, news directors were not considered talent, and it was extremely difficult for management to pay a news person the same money as the DJ.

I picked up the phone and called Alan Burns and told him I was ready for a change. Elliott and I talked and decided to go talk to Q107 leadership as a team. Long story short, we agreed on an incredible 5 year no cut contract. Shook hands and departed.

The next evening I met Ernie Fears at midnight at a gas station in Chevy Chase to pick up my contract. I never had a contract before and there weren’t really any contracts anywhere in the mid 80’s in radio. Elliott and I met with Alan and Ernie at Alan’s house on a Saturday morning before Christmas and signed the deal. We both met on Monday afternoon at Riggs bank and received our $25,000 dollar signing bonus in cash! After the signing of the contract General Manager Ernie Fears said: “Gentlemen, you are both now making more money than the President of the United States.

When I went back to WPGC to give my notice two weeks notice you can imagine that conversation. 15 minutes later I was filling up a box with my belongings and escorted out of the building.

I remember getting a call the next day from Glenn Potter who was on a ski vacation with Dick Marriott. I missed the call. They wanted me to change my mind and stay at WPGC. He called later and we talked and I told him that I shook hands with Ernie Fears and Alan Burns and gave them my word that I would accept their 5 year contract offer. The only thing you have in life is your word and your handshake. I couldn’t go back on that no matter what Marriott was offering.

Dan Mason, who by then was GM of KFMK in Houston called on behalf of Marriott and Potter and told me that if I stayed they would double what Q107. It was too late to go back. It was the hardest decision I ever made in my broadcasting career. Had I not given my word to the Q107 guys I would have backed out and gone back to WPGC.

On the Mega Bucks Offer From Q107:

At the time our contract was the highest amount ever paid to radio talent within the ABC family of radio stations and as a result they had to raise Larry Lujack's salary in Chicago and Harden and Weavers in DC. Why? Q leaked our contract details to the Washington Post and when word got out everyone had to be bumped up in salary. We were also the first radio talent to ever be given a no cut contract. 5 years too! More than $1,000,000 over the five year period!

The amount of the contract was so high that when Elliott and I agreed to sign, Ernie Fears had to call ABC president Leonard Goldenson to get his permission to do his deal. Leonard was playing golf in China at the time and had a satellite phone on the course waiting for Ernie's call.

And I'll tell you this. If I've learned anything over the years, money is not the answer. That's the most money I ever made in 30 years of broadcasting but those five years at Q107 were very difficult for me. Everyone knew how much we were making and everyone at WMAL and Q107 were totally resentful of us being there.

On Union Issues with AFTRA:

AFTRA had to let Elliott cross over to Q. They fought it, but ABC worked something out with union boss Evelyn Freyman. He was allowed to work at Q but he was not a part of AFTRA. ABC paid his dues. When I came to WPGC from Georgia I was non-union. During the AFTRA strike I freelanced in NY and made a tiny fortune. When the strike was over an agency called me and congratulated me on becoming the new on camera spokesman for Ford. When I told them I was non-union they told me to join.

I tried to join and the guys on Wisconsin Ave kicked my ass right out of the door. It took me two years going before boards and union members to be allowed membership. I am proud to say that I’m an active member of SAG-AFTRA and have been since 1984!

On Making the Move to Q107:

It was the worst mistake of my life. When they brought us over they tried to change us overnight. Little did we know that the only reason they did what they did was to cripple WPGC so that Q would be the only top forty station in the market. They cut back on our talk, they added a bunch of that early MTV music that really sucked, they told us what to do and when to do it.

Ernie and Alan knew what it would take to ruin 'PGC. They never hired us because they liked our act. They hired us to "blow up WPGC." They never intended to let us do at Q what had made us successful at WPGC. We weren't allowed to do anything but play the hits and do the news. The music sucked, and we just sat there every morning doing a few breaks every hour. It came down to this: We did whatever they wanted as long as they paid us the money.

We became whores for the money. Just went through the motions every morning. They took away our “fire”. They ruined WPGC and they ruined Elliott and Woodside. Elliott and I broke up with about 18 months remaining on our contracts. Q paid us off entirely. They didn’t want to but the AFTRA forced them to.


On the Demise of Elliott & Woodside at Q107:

Why did the team break up? I broke up the team. Elliott was doing boatloads of cocaine and wouldn't stop, so I organized a confrontation. The show ran out of steam for the obvious reasons. Back then everyone in broadcasting knew that drugs were being consumed but it was an unspoken thing. Management didn't want to hear about it nor did they want to deal with it.

Long story short, the team broke up and I was pretty much black balled in broadcasting for turning Elliott in. PD's were afraid to hire me thinking that I was a snitch and would be causing trouble. Hey, I did cocaine too. I'm no angel when it comes to that. But I stopped doing it when I found out what it was doing to me. Elliott continued. Elliott has admitted to me that I was responsible for saving his life.

We were known as a team and it was extremely difficult for me to find another position in radio. Our success was based on chemistry with each other and putting the best of two people together was the key. Individually we just didn’t have the same “power” than when we were together.

Elliott and I are friends and we speak from time to time. I do believe that if we ever did jump on the air together that the chemistry would re-ignite and it would be like no time had passed.

Nothing lasts forever and we all move on from time to time in life, and that’s ok. That’s perfectly ok.

 

On Returning to WPGC:

I was hired to go back to WPGC when it was changed to WCLY and work with Jeff Baker. Boy was that “fun”. That lasted a year. Then Jerry Clifton came in and cleaned house and let me stay and do mornings by myself for 6 months. One day Mason came in and said: “Son, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you’re the last white guy left at the station and we need to replace you with a black guy.” I left with 6 months severance and then a year later was asked to move to Atlanta to do mornings at WZGC.

I no longer talk to Mason and he doesn’t talk to me. He fired me from WZGC in the late 80’s for reasons I still don’t know and that just about did it for our friendship. I was told if I moved to Atlanta and reunited with my old partner from the 70’s that I could stay there forever. Well, 2.5 years later I found myself on the street. Had to sell my house and wow did it suck.

My last job in broadcasting was a freakin’ traffic reporter. Talk about the bottom of the food chain for a seasoned broadcaster. That lasted three years. Thank goodness the pen company took off in the meantime.

 

On the Glory Days:

I will say this: You could put Elliott and Woodside in a studio today and we'd have the same success that we had before. Why? Chemistry. That's the answer. PD's constantly put morning show teams together without much luck. The missing factor for success is chemistry. It's either there or it isn't. Elliott and I would still be doing mornings in DC had it not been for the drug issue.

It took me years to get over what happened, and to this day when I go to DC for meetings, I cherish the memories that I have and secretly wish that we could have had another chance. My on air days are over now though.

 

 

Photos

Click on images below to see enlargements.


With Jim Elliott in 1978


With Jim Elliott  in 1979


With his hair in 1979


With Scott Carpenter in '79

With contest winner in 1979

 
With Lenny & Squiggy in 1979


With Kenny Rogers in 1980

 

 

Print Materials

Click on images below to see enlargements.

Articles

WPGC Newsmagazine

February 1979

WPGC Newsmagazine

March 1979

 

Playlists


09/30/78

04/14/79

06/02/79

08/26/79

04/19/80

 

 

Sound Files

Airchecks

11/22/78 - 1:11:10 - 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Simulated Parade
February 1979 - 6:35
01/22/80 - 25:43
10/20/80 - 1:19:56 - WPGC 26th Anniversary Show
12/31/80 - 38:05 - Top 50 of 1980
1981 - 1:24
11/19/81 - 14:32
11/29/81 - 2:35

 

Newscasts

11/22/78 - 2:51

Feb. 1979 - Chooz Yer Nooz (with Jim Elliott) - 2:01

01/22/80 - 6:30AM - 1:45
01/22/80 - 7:00AM - 1:54
10/20/80 - 7:30AM - 5:26
10/20/80 - 7:58AM - 5:25
10/20/80 - 8:27AM - 6:00
10/20/80 - 8:56AM - 5:41
10/20/80 - 9:28AM - 4:59
10/20/80 - 9:56AM - 5:43

10/20/80 - Chooz Yer Nooz (with Jim Elliott) - 2:37

11/19/81 - Chooz Yer Nooz (with Jim Elliott) - 2:16

 

Jingles

1980

Elliott & Woodside Halleluah Choir 1 - :10
© JAM Creative Productions, Dallas

1980

Elliott & Woodside Halleluah Choir 2 - :41
© JAM Creative Productions, Dallas

1980 Starts Washington's Morning - Positron - :06
© JAM Creative Productions, Dallas
1980

Congressman Cottonpicker for President - :10
© JAM Creative Productions, Dallas

1980 Congressman Cottonpicker Halleluah Choir - :10
© JAM Creative Productions, Dallas

(Special thanks to Jonathon Wolfert for the above).

 

Promos

1980 Elliott & Woodside Appearance - :44

 

Spots

Feb. 1979 All American Ford - 1:00

Miscellaneous Audio

1978

Snow Emergency Announcements - 1:37

11/22/78 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade:
Thanksgiving Trivia bit - 1:30
11/22/78 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade:
Billy Carter bit - 1:52
11/22/78 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade:
Liz Ray bit - 1:17
11/22/78 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade:
Ricky Ricardo bit - 1:30
11/22/78 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade:
Tong Sihn Park bit - 1:04
11/22/78 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade:
Interview with 'Richard' (with Jim Elliott) - 3:52
05/28/79 Arbitron Announcement - :20
Fall 1979 The rappin' "Dee-Jay's Delight" song! - 3:53
Dec. 1979 The rappin' "Santa's Delight" song!! - 1:42

 

 




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