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Mike Cohen

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Mike Cohen today

Mike Cohen was a Salesman in the late '60's & early '70's.



Mike writes:

I am alive and well, living in Potomac, MD just outside of DC.

I started at WPGC in 1966 and left in early 1974. It was kind of an interesting story of how I got there.

I worked at "The New WEAM" from 1960 until 1964. The first 2.5 years as morning man Johnny Sharpe. At the time WEAM was number one all day long including AM drive but I was barely making an affordable wage, even though I was also the traffic director.

WEAM's mid day guy was Dashing Doug Vanderbilt a.ka. Bill Prettyman. (You see General Manager, Bob Howard was not the only guy with the wacky names that belonged to the radio station and not the talent policy). But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I noticed that the Sales Guys were driving the big cars and seemed to be leading a better life. The infamous Harry Averill had just taken over the GM chair from Ken Wood at WEAM and he was very open to the idea of me joining the sales department.

I did well in sales there and Doug (Bill Prettyman) Vanderbilt decided he wanted in on this as well. Our desks were across from each other and he used to watch me work the phones to get appointments to sell advertising time.

But after almost a year in sales, Harry started playing games with the commissions, which did not sit well with a young, ambitious Mike Cohen, so I left to become a partner in an ad agency.

Bill left soon afterwards and joined WPGC. After 6 or 7 months, he started hounding me to come to work there. I had always heard that Bob Howard was impossible to work for and I sure didn't need to jump into that frying pan again.

Prettyman was very persistent and one day at lunch he pulled out three commission checks he hadn't even bothered to cash yet. They were for more money in one place than I had ever seen before, so I scheduled a meeting with Bob Howard the next week. I was a WPGC Good Guy shortly thereafter.

I never regretted the move. I would probably still be there today if Max Richmond's estate hadn't sold the station. As soon as it became apparent that Bob Howard was not going to get the station, I saw the handwriting on the wall.

I replaced Bob Cobbins and worked with Nils Seibold but I do not remember him being called Nils. Seems he was either called Harvey or Herman but not Nils. I got to know Paul Neal, Jeanne Oates, Don Cavaleri, Charles Giddens, Owen Weber and Mary Egan after my 'PGC days. I worked with Charlie Schue (as he used to say to everyone "like on your foot") for four or five years.

Charlie was also an Air Personality and Program Director before he got into Sales. Good guy. Last time I saw him was in Jacksonville, FL. in 1982. He was up from Punta Gorda visiting friends and I ran into him by sheer chance. He was living on a sailboat and loving life.

I left the "Big PG" in 1974 to become the General Manager of WMOD. I took the station live and ran it for three years before converting it to WMZQ in 1977. In 1981, I was recruited away to put some new stations on the air in Jacksonville, FL. In 1988, I returned to Washington, left the radio business for publishing and television.

In 2002, I semi-retired. Since then I have helped my wife with her very successful real estate business. Being fully licensed in DC, MD and VA, I help her with her clients when necessary but mostly handle her marketing and promotion work. The rest of the time you can find me on the golf course (weather permitting).

On The Missing W Contest:

As you may or may not know, I was sworn to never reveal the identity of 'Dr. Strangeletter' under penalty of severe reprisal from Captain Good Guy. But now that the good Captain has gone to that great radio station in the sky, I can let the world know that 'Dr. Strangeletter' was indeed me, a.k.a Mike Crawford (WDON), a.k.a Johnnie Sharpe (WEAM).

On Harv Moore:

I can tell you that Harv Moore in my opinion was more than just a WPGC Good Guy. He was a Great Guy. Harv was the consummate morning man who was entertaining and funny. Consider... Harv aired one of Washington's highest rated morning shows without a producer and without being raunchy. (Harv occasionally got "spicey" but never crossed the line. Besides, its a lot harder to be funny and clean.) Harv was and I'm sure still is a "class" act. You can count me as a big Harv Moore fan both professionally and personally.

On Jack Alix:

Jack and I go back to his days at WEEL. He followed me after I retired "Johnny Sharpe" at WEAM just before Harry Averill started the Red Coats and I went over the "Big PG".

Later in our careers when I was working with Eliot Paul ('Paul in the Music Hall') in the advertising business, we started a subsidiary company called 'Action Attractions'. We hired Jack to help us run our show promotions business. Our biggest night was when we booked Neil Diamond right after he released 'Cherry, Cherry'. By the time he came to play his date for us, the song was a monster. Jack looked like a genius!

Jack was unique. He was a wonderful promoter. He had a magnificent grasp of the radio business and he will be missed.




With 'Phono Phunnies' contest winner (L) in 1973.



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