was the Morning jock
and Program Director
in 1958-60. Mac Richmond
and I became friends...in fact I think I'm the only dude to work
for all of his stations...Las Vegas,
D.C. and Boston where I was the morning newsguy.
waddled in to the studio one day bemoaning the cost of the power
bill to keep running WPGC-FM (remember this was in the late 50's
so nobody even knew what FM radio was.) He said he'd sell the
FM to me for $100,000! I told him I didn't have the money...he
said I should call my folks. He said I could put $10,000 down
and get it. What's it worth today?
Griffith (Dean Anthony)
#1 ( Dean Anthony) was the station's first Rock & Roll Program
Director arriving from WGH in Norfolk and was afternoon personality
from 1960 until he left the station in 1964 for WMCA,
New York. He
took his air name from the Washington Senator's then home, Griffith
Stadium at the insistence of station owner Max
Richmond. He was the Program Director & midday personality
at WHLI, Long Island from 1981
until his passing in October 2003 of cancer at age 68. He also
operated 'Dean Anthony
Griffith (Dean Anthony) was very highly regarded by record company
representatives. He was first to play new releases, and he broke
a lot of records out of D.C. He had an amazing ear. Consequently
he received a lot of "special attention" from the record
companies, and was able to procure a lot of "unavailable"
material. I'm sure the Program Directors and Music Directors from
the other D.C. stations were scratching their heads when they
saw the Evening
Star Top Ten, wondering "how in the heck did he
get those (Beatles
songs ahead of everyone else)?"
14 (in 1962), I hung out at a furniture store remote in Alexandria's
Del Ray section -- directly across the street from my Grammar
School. Dino was class act. He never ONCE acted like I was bothering
him -- never said "go away, kid." Didn't seem to mind
my presence at all. That day at the remote, Dino was a showman.
I realized adults listened to the station, too, when people would
drift in and out, meet Dino, eyeball him and remark: But YOU'RE
not FAT!! (Re: The 'Big 'Ol Fat 'Ol Dino' schtick). He'd answer:
"Well, don't you think I HOLD IT ALL IN well?!" (BTW,
Jerry G. was back in the 'PGC
studio manning the board, and there was some memorable interplay
between the two budding radio greats).
was the 'Beatles Authority'
in DC. Dean Anthony, along with Dan Ingram and Joey Reynolds,
was one of the reasons I got into radio! Occasionally, I'd reach
him on the air, and he was always helpful and pleasant. I caught
his last week at 'PGC, not knowing that he was New York bound.
He was apparently being really hassled by Bob
Howard, because his "pizzazz" was totally gone.
He sounded REALLY down that week in November '64. Some of my "non
radio-geek" classmates noticed something was amiss, too.
Griffith -- the 'first' one." Most kids in school knew the
"real" Dino was gone! Bobbo
Howard and Max Richmond
basically didn't fool anyone. But they DID 'own' the name (along
Madison, et al). As
a DX-er, I got to catch him on 1-6am one Monday morning on 570-WMCA
(a regular 'catch') not very long after he'd left 'PGC! Although
he was using the now familiar Dean Anthony handle, I instantly
recognized his voice. I knew he was a native New Yorker, so I
was happy for him that he was in his hometown. Also, the 'big-time'
was where Dino certainly belonged.
is listenable at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. I made it a point
for YEARS to catch Dean-o on his 10-3 shift whenever I was on
Atlantic Avenue, a practice I'm sincerely going to miss. Reminds
me "it's later than you think," because I'd intended
to call him at WHLI
and ask his advice about something I knew he'd certainly be
able to help with. At least he's no longer suffering. I didn't
even know he was ill. I saw his picture on the 'HLI website last
week, and remembered thinking that, along with his now grey hair,
that Dino wasn't looking too well.
my humble opinion, Dino and WPGC will always be synonomous (with
apologies to WPGC legendary greats Harv
Moore and Scott Shannon).
Whether you call him "Big 'Ol Fat 'Ol Dino," Dean Anthony,
or Dean Griffith...Dino IS WPGC and always will be.
Moore, 'The Boy Next Door' arrived from Frankfurt,
Kentucky to do the evening till sign-off show at WPGC on March
22, 1963. He soon succeeded Jerry
G in mornings when the former went to KYW in Cleveland. Harv
became Program Director for the first time in 1964 when Dean
Griffith (Dean Anthony) left for WMCA / New
York and continued in both roles till 1966 when 'Cousin'
Warren Duffy was named PD.
Coming To WPGC:
Hetrick was the Chief Engineer. He and his wife put me up
at their house until I found an apartment and could move my family
to D.C. Our
studios were in
SE Washington in the WMA bus terminal...in the spring they would
paint the buses (orange and black), and the paint fumes would
drift in the windows of our studios.
I first started at 'PGC I recorded the Milt
Grant show every Thursday night. His producer was a guy named
Danny (can't come up with a last name). He was a character. We
had a lotta laughs. Milt was a funny guy...serious...but funny.
It ran Sunday afternoons. I still have one of the tape boxes labeled
"The Milt Grant Show 2:00-2:25". (Not the show...just
the box). Bob
Howard gave me an extra $20 a week to record the show...lotta
cash in 1963...bought a lot of cigs! I was still smoking at that
time (like everyone else)...$2.50 a carton!
1963, we had a newsman we called MacNamara
("MacNamara here!")....helluva voice..He lived right down the
street from the radio station...real name, Ted Radomski....he
used to tell me about his brother who was struggling in an off
Broadway show...several years later he was a superstar...the "off
Broadway show was "Hair"...Ted's brother was one of the writers
- Bill Rado (Radomski).
the multiple 'Bob Raleighs':
The "original" Bob
Raleigh #1 (Rolle Ferrar) and I started at WPGC the same day
in March of '63. He was working in West Palm Beach - I was in
Frankfort, KY. He and I became best friends, and we still are
to this day - he is my son Bill's godfather. Bob left WPGC (was
forced out), went to WWDC, then WEEL in Fairfax, VA and then to
WBZ in Boston. He just retired after 20 years there. I have really
lost track of the other Bob Raleighs - there were several - several
"Dean Griffiths", too. Last
I heard, Bill
Miller was in Frederick, MD at a country station.
Dean Griffith (Dean Anthony):
Griffith was very highly regarded by record company representatives.
He was first to play new releases, and he broke a lot of records
out of D.C. He had an amazing ear. Consequently he received a
lot of "special attention" from the record companies,
and was able to procure a lot of "unavailable" material.
I'm sure the Program Directors and Music Directors from the other
D.C. stations were scratching their heads when they saw the Evening
Star Top Ten, wondering "how in the heck did he
get those (Beatles
songs ahead of everyone else)?"
The JFK Assassination:
remember vividly what happened that afternoon. Each jock had a
news shift. After I got off the air at 10am I did the news for
Bob Raleigh. We did the news from a little
desk in the control room. I was sitting at the desk talking to
Bob while he was on the air.
the building cleaning lady, called the radio station, and said
she was watching TV, and a bulletin
came across that President Kennedy had been shot. I immediately
went to our teletype, and it was just coming across from UP. I
tore it off and ran to the control room. I'll never forget; I
sat down at the little news desk, and Bob said, "Harv, read
it very slowly".
I recall, (WPGC Program Director,) Dean
Griffith (Dean Anthony) was at lunch at the time, but heard
the news and returned to the station immediately. At that point
he called in MacNamara to cover
it was learned that the President had succumbed, we immediately
dropped format, and went to generic instrumental music, and that
continued until right after the funeral. The day after shooting,
the mood was obviously somber, and MacNamara
and I continued to keep the listeners informed, as did the other
the Beatles, I
have read in several books the account of their first U.S. concert
at the Washington Coliseum as to who was on the bill with
them. They listed The Chiffons and Tommy Roe. A
fellow DJ friend (and Beatlemaniac) had given me an "original"
poster from the show, with The Chiffons and Tommy Roe
listed as the opening acts. I knew this was wrong because the
opening acts were Jay & The Americans and The Righteous
Brothers and The Caravelles. I know, because I talked
to them in the stands on the afternoon of the show.
happened was: as we all know, there was a blizzard on the east
coast, and the Beatles
had to take the train from NYC to DC, instead of flying. The
Chiffons and Tommy Roe couldn't make it in, so they
had to get some last-minute opening acts.
Several years ago on the anniversary of the Beatles
show, I had Kenny Vance of Jay & The Americans on the
air with me by phone, and he verified this.
his novelty 45, 'Interview of the Fab Four':
of The Fab Four' was Bobby Poe's idea. He recalled the
Buchanan & Goodman hits of the late 50's where they
took excerpts of hit songs to tell a story. I met Bobby in the
Spring of '64. He had a hit with The Chartbusters', 'She's
had written a song called, 'Breaking Hearts To Him Is Just
co-written with Don "Pee Wee"
Reese (Riis). Don was working with me at 'PGC at the time.
I had found a couple of girls who called themselves, The Delights.
They were from Hyattsville, MD. We recorded a demo at the station,
and I took it to Bobby. He loved it. He placed it with Arlen Records
out of Philadelphia.
and I wrote the script to 'Interview', and we recorded
it at Edgewood Studios in DC. Ed Greene was the engineer. He went
on to become the chief recording engineer for The Cowsills. The
Chartbusters were in the studio at the same time, working on a
followup to 'She's The One'. Bobby knew that I had written
several songs, and he asked if I could write something really
quick so that The Chartbusters could back me up.
wrote 'I Feel So Fine' in about 20 minutes, and it sounds
Bobby placed the record with World Artists Records out of NYC.
They were hot with Chad & Jeremy, and Reparata & The Delrons.
They released it on American Arts Records. 'Interview'
was out about 2 weeks, and we got a "Cease & Desist"
order from Brian Epstein.
his Xmas 45, 'I Told Santa Claus I Want You':
1965 I was producing records for a band called 'Nobody's Children'.
I got the name from nationally renowned independent record promoter
Joe Cash. The band was originally called 'Adam's Apples'.
They were students at Suitland High School. I had them under contract
with United Artists Records for two years. Then I produced a re-make
of 'I Can't Let Go' (the Hollies hit), and placed
it with Neil Bogart at Buddah Records. So, 'Nobody's Children'
was then under contract for two years with Buddah.
group did a lot of traveling. They went on a dance show in Cleveland
with Greg Allman. Before they were the Allman Brothers, they were
called Allman Joy. Neil Diamond released "Cherry Cherry",
and the promoter for the record company offered to have him come
to D.C. to do a hop for me. We chose the Manassas Armory. Neil
flew in on a Saturday morning, and we rehearsed with 'Nobody's
Children' at Popey's Tavern that afternoon. The group backed
him up that night at the show. Neil stayed overnight at our apartment
in Maryland. I saw him backstage two years later in Baltimore
when he was a superstar, and then again here in Buffalo in the
80's. He rememberd me both times.
had written a Christmas song called, 'I
Told Santa Claus I Want You'
with a Beach Boys sound in mind, but I had no one to record
it. I rehearsed it with the guys from 'Nobody's Children'
who were still under contract with United Artists Records, and
we recorded it at Edgewood Studios in D.C. with engineer Ed Greene.
It was 'Phil Spector meets The Beach Boys'. I was a huge fan of
both. The kids did a helluva job on it. Lee Travers borrowed a
glocksenspiel from Suitland High School for the production. It
came out great.
sent it to Florence Greenberg at Scepter Records, and she loved
it. They released it just before Christmas in '67. Unfortunately,
that was the year that stations around the country had backed
off of Christmas songs. It did get played on WMCA
in New York though! And, of course, Cousin
Duffy played the hell out of it at 'PGC.
produced under the name 'Phil Music'- a play on words. Back in
the day we used to pad up to news time at the top of the hour
with instrumental 'fill music'. The labels on UA, Buddah / Bullet
and Scepter all read "Produced by Phil Music".
the 'Crusin' 69' album:
Cruisin' 69 tape was
an actual aircheck music and all. It's a pretty amazing story
of how that all came about. The only part that I had to "recreate"
was the very beginning and the very end. A friend of mine
in D.C. had a music tip sheet, and he told me a guy named Howard
Silvers was trying to locate me to do a Cruisin' LP. He was very
persistent, so I finally called him. He said he wanted to do a
Cruisin' '68 for Baltimore, and wondered if I had any tapes of
I told him I never worked in Baltimore...I
worked in D.C. He said, "Well, Baltimore / Washington are considered
one market". I told him I would look. I really never wanted to
go into my basement archives, and start searching for airchecks.
I didn't really save airchecks. Again, he was persistent, so I
acquiesced. The only tape I found from circa '68 was a complete
aircheck from 1969. I sent it to Howard, and he loved it. The
only thing I did was cut an intro and an outro here in Buffalo.
The rest of it was "pristine".
original 'Redhead' was my
wife Vicki. She used to read the school lunch menus on my show
in '67 and '68. On Sunday night I would tape her reading the NFL
scores. She had trouble matching up teams with their nicknames...really
screwed 'em up. Fans would call me, and holler at me: "Will
you please tell The Redhead that it's not the 'Kansas City
remember Connie Lawn. Nice lady. As
she points out, she was at 'PGC for a hot minute. They kinda
threw us together to see if something might work.
Fierstein came to work for us in 1972 as a receptionist. I
started using her on my show doing drop-ins, and then I asked
her if she could come in a little early, drive the Money
Car on my show, and then come in and be on the show with me.
As I got busier in my Program Director's
job, I needed a secretary, so Joanie came in at 6, was on the
show with me 'til 10, and then was my secretary for the rest of
was her married name. When she came to work for us in '72 she
was divorced. After I moved to Buffalo, she stayed on at 'PGC
for a while, but then they let her go. At one point she considered
moving to Buffalo to continue her radio career, but then went
to work for NASA where she still works to this day. At some point,
she remarried - her last name is now Hoffman and she has a daughter.
Howard had a "right of first refusal" should
the station ever be put up for sale. It was a signed document
from Max (Mac) Richmond.
When the station went on the market, and it was announced that
it was being sold to the Marriotts, Bob exercised his right of
first refusal. He told me that he was trying to get some backers
to put a deal together.
Potter called me at about 11:00 one night...woke me and my
wife out of a sound sleep...doing mornings, I was getting up at
4AM. He told me that he and the Marriotts were buying WPGC, and
he wanted me to assist them in doing some "community ascertainments"
that were required by the FCC.
told him that Bob
was also trying to buy the station, and that I worked for him,
and assisting the Marriotts would border on "treason".
He said Howard did not have the financial backing to buy the station.
He said, "So, you're not going to help us?" I
said, "I can't".
the Marriotts took over, I knew my days there were numbered. I
was the enemy. Potter
called me into his office one morning after my show, and said
"things were not working out". And they weren't.
the meantime, I had been talking to Bob
attorney, Jason Shrinsky. He was putting a deal together for someone
that was going to buy what became DC101 - I think the guy was
"Benderson". The negotiations dragged on and on.
could not put the money together to buy 'PGC. The Marriotts bought
him out. It was over $500,000. Bob used the money to buy two stations
in Buffalo, WYSL
and WPHD in Oct '74., and
he asked me to move here to program the two stations. I
had worked for him since 1963, so we had a good working relationship.
sold the stations in '89 - walked away with 4.3mil...he passed
away in 1993.
His Days Since Then:
owners came in and cleaned house - I mean EVERYBODY - 'cept me.
I stayed on for a while, but decided to move on. I was doing the
morning show with my friend Bob Taylor - The Taylor & Moore
Show...highly successful. We had created the mythical Land of
Fa - ruled by the Fa King. We told every Fa King joke you can
think of. It was hilarious if I do say so myself. (We put a CD
out a coupla years ago, and it was the #1 best seller here in
Buffalo for months).
the new owners thought they were building a better mousetrap,
and brought in a new morning show. I think they had 4 different
hosts in 4 weeks. Taylor and I went to another station in town,
but we were on in the afternoon, and the format was different.
1995, independent record promoter Jerry Meyers and I started a
small record company, producing and recording local singers. In
1998, the program director of Oldies
104, WHTT / Buffalo coaxed me into doing a Saturday show.
Then, they asked me to do 12n-3p Monday thru Friday. Then, they
asked me to be Assistant Program Director, and do 10a-3p Monday
thru Friday. I later did afternoons, 2-7p.
contract was up Dec 31, 2006. They let me know in October that
they were dropping Oldies, going to a "Mix" format.
I wasn't comfortable with that. They asked me stay on thru March
31, 2007 during the transistion.
things seem so much more magical in the distance than when you
get there...I heard Harv Moore on WPGC when I was in high school...the
time when your favorite songs have this once in a lifetime significance...its
hard to live up to that...but he did....Harv was a genuinely funny
guy...didn't have to prepare stuff...just talking with him the
humor was so natural...and he knew how to live in a big picture
kind of way... on the edge but in control... always with a feeling
for the people around him...we all have regrets ...and I mean
this in the best way...I don't think Harv has too many... he's
really a huge talent and a humble great guy...
Inheriting the Morning Show:
I'm not sure of a timeline, I do remember Harv asking me to consider
going to Buffalo and that seemed to be months before he left.
Then suddenly boom, Jim Collins
was the new Program
Director and Jim's giving me a pep talk about how I'd be great
doing mornings in the style of a Charlie Tuna or Robert W. Morgan.
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.
Miller ("April May') writes:
let eveyone get their 15 minutes of fame every chance he got and
for a man of his fame that was amazing -- no ego just the boy
next door for real. He told jokes about my blueberry muffins on
air: I believe they were used for door stops and paper weights.
Said my parents were going to enroll me in cooking school but
I burnt the application! We got a lot of mileage out of my lack
of culinary skills. I had to put the fire department on danger
money every time I turned on the stove!
Potter was looking to make changes in the station from the
get-go. Harv was fired in January '75. Harv was not about to take
direction from him, and THAT was no secret. Plus he had a fallback
deal with Bob Howard which
surprisingly took some time to put together. Harv was one hell
of a nice guy, that I can absolutely attest to. I remember the
day well. It was snowing like hell, and Potter entered Harv's
office to give him his two weeks notice. Harv said he knew it
was coming, but was surprised at the timing. Anyhow, and I wasn't
there, he basically said "I'm outta here now".
remember seeing Harv's office after he had left, and wondered
what else was coming down. Barry Richards had this gig on Channel
20, and Harv and the Redhead
were guests periodically during the transition to Buffalo. Then
he was gone, and Joanie dropped off the map. There was a kind
of real sadness as to what had transpired during my almost one
year there. Morale had plummeted after the sale, and the Mormons
were a disaster. They knew nothing about how to treat people,
or about the radio business.
was originally from Baltimore where he had worked previously with
Bob Howard who, in 1966 hired
him to become Program Director and afternoon man at WPGC. He held
the dual role until 1968 when he left for WPGC's sister station,
WMEX in Boston. He later programmed
KMET in Los Angeles. From 1994 - 2004 he did afternoons in Los
Angeles at Salem's religious talk, KKLA. Today,
is semi- retired but still does a weekly radio show in Orange
County, California. Visit
1959, we put a "Good Guys" Top 40 format together at a little
station in York, PA owned by Susquehanna Broadcasting. For
its time, it was very innovative.
company purchased a station in Ohio (Akron to be exact) and in
1961 they named me as their first program director at WHLO and
of course, the "Good Guys" format trailed along with us.
1966, the station came to the attention of Bob
Howard, whose family lived in Cleveland. He would monitor
the station when he visited his relatives, and somewhere about
1966 he and I got in touch and next thing you know, I was living
in Silver Spring, MD and I was the afternoon jock and the PD of
left WPGC to take a hiatus, moving briefly to St. Thomas in the
Virgin Islands for a time of rest and re-focusing because - frankly,
45s were dying out and LPs were coming in and that meant a new
format which I called "underground" and took that format to Boston
and WMEX - also owned by the company
that owned WPGC. Then, I brought the "underground" format
to Los Angeles and in 1969, put it on the air at KMET FM.
returned to the air briefly in 1974 - with Wolfman
Jack - on KDAY here in Los Angeles - a blend of albums and
45s that was semi-successful until the station was sold to black
ownership and all the white guys were fired - including me.
The Air Staff:
was there for about 3 years - using the name 'Cousin Duffy.'
Jack Alix had been one of our
competitors on WEAM -
so we hired him to join us. Also, from the upper Michigan
peninsula - I hired a DJ and since Peyton Place was such a big
hit TV show at the time, we changed the guy's name to Bob
Peyton - he did our mid-days.
Moore was the morning man when I arrived and he was still
there when I left.
of our weekend DJ's was Bob
Raleigh - who we called "Tiger Bob" when he was playing records.
Brooks had been one of the disc jockeys when I got there,
but we thought his talents were better used in the newsroom and
so he became one of the station's premier news
Memorable Station Promotions:
was one of my best cities in radio, until I came to Los Angeles.
remember coming on the air with a big promotion: for the March
of Dimes, I marched from Dulles Airport to the Washington
Monument - and as long as the phones kept ringing, I kept walking.
I don't remember how much money we raised, but I do remember I
walked in a blizzard from 6 in the morning to about 6:30 that
had many, many successful promotions and events connected with
the station including the WPGC "Hide
the Picnic" where we invited listeners to come to a free picnic
- but we only gave them clues to the location. They had
to find out where the big event was being held. That
was lots of fun.
of course, hosting the concerts with Hendrix and Joplin - with
Jim Morrison - and so many others. Brings back wonderful
Beatles had already hit by the time I got to Washington.
I was one of the first 3 program directors in America to feature
The Beatles on WHLO in Ohio -- they had recorded a single on a
small label prior to their major releases on Capitol Records,
and we made one of them our PICK HIT OF THE WEEK, played it every
other hour and even had Brian Epstein on the air thanking us for
playing their record in America. None the less, we tool
full advantage of connecting to the British invasion while I was
have no airchecks - no jingles - very few souvenirs from that
era - just some wonderful memories of a time in radio history
that perhaps can never happen
The Passing of Jack Alix:
and I were young kids getting started in the radio biz back in
DC. As I remember, he was at WEAM
when I first heard of him. For a very long time General
Manager, Bob Howard and
I were very aware of Jack's presence in the marketplace and his
great work and secretly we always hoped he would someday be part
of our Good Guy team.
he arrived and quite honestly we didn't know what to do with him
so we gave him the evening show. But as you know, with 'PGC being
a daytimer back then, I didn't even get to do my entire drivetime
show during the winter (we signed off at 4:45PM for a few weeks).
So it took a little convincing but Jack came onboard and he was
simply wonderful to work with.
He was very professional -- far beyond his years (or mine). He
argued, never disagreed, always made things work for the good
of the station and that was always his first thought. He also
had a terrific promo mind and was constantly bringing famous recording
artists to town for live shows. We teamed up on a few of them
over at the old Arlington Roller Rink - remember?
He always had a smile. That's what I remember most about Jack.
He was never down or depressed. He always had something to smile
about. It -- and he -- were infectious. He not only smiled, he
laughed out loud long before the internet. It was a combination
giggle / laugh and many times he laughed so hard he broke into
a cough. He was simply a joy to be around.
He went on a vacation to Mexico one year and brought me a beautiful
silver gift back from his trip. In all of my years in broadcasting,
nobody before and nobody since has ever been so thoughtful. He
was a real pioneer. He was a good friend back in the '60's. I
send my condolences to his family and my thanks to God for knowing
- and have the chance to work with - such a great, great man.
held the distinction of having worked in both Programming &
while at WPGC. He was named PD in 1968 when 'Cousin'
left for WMEX / Boston . In 1969,
he gave up the programming reigns to 'big'
Wilson and moved into Sales.
Charlie passed away on 12/21/15.
a great website! Another radio friend of mine brought it to
my attention. How great to see and hear about the guys I worked
with from '68 to '71 at the 'PIG. But talking about being out
of it...I had no idea about Jim
Collins. He was a great guy. Really sorry to hear that news.
semi retired in Punta Gorda Florida, doing a three hour morning
gig at WCVU 104.9 FM and was thrilled to find this web page.
Great job. I put it on my favorites!
(spelled with a lower case 'b', perhaps
to avoid confusion with the long-time afternoon man at WNBC
in New York) came to WPGC from WZOO for afternoons & Program
Director in 1969 when Charlie
Shoe gave up programming duties to move into sales. His
tenure lasted until approximately 1973 when he left for WEAM.
He later programmed WNOK in Columbia, South Carolina.
If anyone knows of his whereabouts today, please email
Guy Todd Reynolds / Ed Kowolski / Ed McNeil writes:
Wilson's handle came from, you guessed it,
Bob Howard. "big" was removed as PD when the shit
hit the fan as a result of the Chris
James phone call that got on the air during Harry Chapin's
"Taxi", shortly after 6PM one unforgettable Sunday.
He went on the air one Sunday in late-summer '72 to do 6p-Mid.
Second song into the show was "Taxi." He gets on a
business line and calls his girlfriend.
jock Brad Scott had left
the studio Ampex in record position WITH the pot on the board
UP & OPEN. Phone call goes on the air over "Taxi."
James doesn't know, has monitor potted down. Several profanities,
but never the F-bomb. Finally, a listener who was working at
the Mobil station over the hill calls the newsline to tell James
that his call is going on the air, adding "and so is
this one!" James quickly figures what has happened.
morning, shit hits the fan at the PIG. Bob
Howard learns of episode. James is fired. BoHo also discovers
several other shady deals Wilson has pulled. Howard
strips Wilson of PD stripes, gives 'em to Harv
Moore. Shortly thereafter, Wilson moved to overnight remotes,
including board op (!), and Sales
before taking remote idea to WEAM
a short time later. I actually heard the phone call on the air.
Since that day, I have never been able to listen to "Taxi"
without expecting to hear a phone conversation in the background.
lost track of him after he left DC around '74-'75 (that saga
would take more words than I have time for now.) Then in '82,
when I was at the FCC, I read in one of the trades where he
was PD at WNOK in Columbia, SC, a market-leading CHR pulling
double-digit shares. This was just before I was taking a week
off to visit friends in Myrtle Beach. So I took one day of my
vacation, and drove to Columbia for lunch. It wasn't too much
later that a competitor came into the market, cut 'NOK's shares
in half, and "big" was outta there.
in '90 or '91, someone, don't remember who, called to say he
would be featured on Hard Copy or another of those tabloid
TV shows. The show aired at 3 in the morning, so I set the VCR.
Turned out that he was running his own chimney sweep biz. It
still exists in suburban Columbia. I called the number. The
guy who answered told me he bought the business from him a few
years earlier. He said he hears from him once a year of so.
He also gave me a phone number for him, but it had been reassigned.
was having an affair with some low level (Clerk of the Court
or Register of Wills) government official from one of the rural
counties. They had split up right before the election. Word
of the tryst got out just before Election Day. The girlfriend
was defeated. She was taking him to court for alienation of
affection, and also claiming that he leaked word of their affair
as a vendetta for the break-up. IT'S DAMNED SCANDALOUS, I TELL
YOU! (I then understood why Channel 4 buried the show in the
middle of the night.) That was the last I've heard of him. I
will never forget, however, the video of him on someone's roof,
wearing a top hat, preparing to stuff the brush down the chimney,
all the while flashing his sly grin.
Miller ('April May') writes:
Wilson gave me the name 'April-May'. He had a thing for
initials meaning something cosmic so Anita Miller became April-May
so when the guys bounced gags off me on the air I could be famous
and unknown to the listeners. Chris
Fisher made everyone play Elvis records if they wanted a
paycheck. It was a small price to pay to get paid. One time
she gave Biggie a check with all zeroes in the amount. We waited
in bookkeeping for a long time waiting for him to hit the roof
and demand his due. Nothing. Finally Chris broke down and went
in search of Biggie to see if he was dead on the control room
floor -- nope! He said he figured it would happen sooner or
later - that Uncle Sam would take out more than he earned!
Moore was again named Program Director in 1972
when 'big' Wilson's run in
that position ended. Harv would continue as morning man and
PD until he left the station early in 1975 when Bob
offered him a piece of ownership at the station he had bought
in Buffalo, WYSL.
Collins 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.
passed away in the early '90's. This site is dedicated
in his memory.
was an amazing individual who was keenly aware of the nuances
of radio; the right sound, personalities, and music selection.
He was neverthe same after the breakup of his marriage. We would
converse at leasttwice 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 itultimately touched. And yes, Jim Collins was directly
responsible for that success.
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. God 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
and told Dino and a few others. By the time Carla got around
to it the woman was gone!
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!
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. Program Director 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!
Mason began his career in radio in doing overnights at WKLO
in Kentucky. In 1974 he moved to nights at
Z-93 / WZGC-FM in Atlanta. He was later named Asst. PD
and became Program Director in 1975.
joined WPGC in May of 1977 when the Great
Strike That Struck Out occured from sister station
Z-93 in Atlanta. He continued as PD after being named the
National Program Director for First Media
until he left for a General Manager position at KTSA / KTFM in
San Antonio in 1979.
returned to First Media
where he was named Executive Vice President. When First Media
became Cook Inlet Radio Partners, he was named that organization's
President in 1988. In 1993, he joined Westinghouse as President
of Group W Radio.
named President of CBS Radio (renamed Infinity Radio) in November
of 1995 where he was responsible for the operation of the group's
184 stations in the largest markets across the United States.
As President of Infinity Radio, he successfully integrated the
original CBS, Group W and American Radio Systems stations, among
the most venerable radio broadcasting groups in the country,
by merging operations, blending business styles and increasing
serves as an advisor and consultant to companies in the radio
broadcasting industry since his retirement from Infinity Radio
in 2002 and also
serves on the Board of Directors of Spanish Broadcasting System,
Inc. He has previously served on several other boards including
the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and CBS Marketwatch.com.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Dan Mason graduated from Eastern
Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcasting.
He was named that university's "Outstanding Alumnus of
the Year" in 1995.
he was named Radio Executive of the Year by Radio
& Records Magazine.
formed a partnership with longtime radio programmer, Walt Sabo,
Sabo-Mason International Inititatives.
March 2007, he was once again named President and CEO of CBS Radio,
overseeing 144 properties nationwide.
the Strike and its aftermath in 1977
beginning it was total chaos...I got into town about midnight
just as the strike began...I did morning drive the first morning
and Bill Prettyman was
reading the news believe it or not.....He sounded pretty good
by the way...Little by little we hired new people...Dave
Foxx came from our Provo station...we hired Brandt
Miller to do afternoons...Waylon
Richards had worked with me a few years before in Kansas
City and finally Liz Kiley
came from Grand Rapids,. I believe she was a former school teacher.
4 months, the staff began to gel and within a year, WPGC had
tied WMAL for the number one position in the market....It was
quite an accomplishment...I left to take a VP/GM job at KTSA
/ KTFM in San Antonio and Scott
Shannon came in and even made it a better station.
Becoming National PD for First Media
had increased when I was the National PD for First Media...We
had acquired KOPA in Phoenix, WZLX in Boston, WUSN in Chicago,
KFMK in Houston and KUBE in Seattle....That meant much more
travel and I wasn't physically there to do an airshift at WPGC
anymore...I still did Thanksgiving and Christmas shifts so the
full timers would have some holiday time off...And I did afternoon
sports on Brandt Miller's
show when I could...We sold that report at 5:30PM.
Memorable Station Promotions
for Tots - Major, major success....We had some big groups
and gathered so many toys for kids around the area...we filled
the Cap Center every year we did the show.
Star - Overwhelming number of entries...hey..does Fox give
us any credit for this idea?....We did the record company contract
as the Grand Prize...We had a couple of really good people...One
I remember very well..Andris Plavnicks (sp?)...He was a Steven
Bishop sound alike.
Richard- When Star Wars came out..we went out and got a
55 gallon drum and painted it blue...Smitty
and Newt put lights
all,over it and we had a triple decker cart machine with Star
Wars type respones ...We actually had someone get into the drum
to run the equipment...We took it on remotes. Last I heard,
the drum is still at the transmitter
building ...no doubt gathering a lot of dust.
stations at that time were successfully coverting to AC from
CHR..WNCI in Columbus is the best modern day example of this...They
have great adult numbers...It was a gamble but with Q107
pounding us on the younger end, we thought we could migrate
to the 25-34 women demo.
Shannon began his career in 1969 at WAAB in Mobile,
Alabama. In 1971 he moved to WMPS in Memphis. From there he
went to WMAK in Nashville spending three years as PD & Air
Personality. After a stint as National PD for Mooney Broadcasting,
he headed to Atlanta to WQXI. LA beckoned next as he then accepted
a position with Ariola Records.
Prettyman hired him as WPGC's PD on March 26, 1979. Scott
successfully faced the onslaught of ABC's revamped Q107
successfully. When he left the station in 1981, it had regained
the Top 40 crown in DC. Then it was off to program Q105 in Tampa
where he developed the Morning Zoo concept, one he refined even
further when launching Z100 New York in the Fall of 1983.
Radio in LA came next for him followed by a return to the Big
Apple as morning host of the syndicated 'Scott
& Todd' morning show, originating at WPLJ.
Most recently Scott was inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame.
Today he does mornings at WCBS-FM in New York.
remember when he first got to town, he moved into a townhouse
on Capitol Hill where his TV was stolen the first week. I was
with him when he discovered the theft...the thieves had knotted
together quite a few of Scott's prized silk ties to make a sling
so they could lower the TV out of his bedroom window. Scott
was outraged-but because of the ties, not the TV. His reaction
was one of the funniest things I've ever seen...
of the cutest things I remember was when Shaun Cassidy came
to the station in 1981 to see Scott Shannon. Scott told all
the girls that Shaun would be here soon and demanded that we
were not to stand around and gawk (which is always what we did
when a celeb came by) and to continue working as normal. So...Shaun
arrived and went into Scott's office and they shut the door,
we ladies waited out in the hall.
a while went by I decided I was going to see this guy whether
Scott liked it or not...so I knocked on his door with a sealed
envelope in my hand with Scott Shannon's name on the front.
He yelled 'Come in!' and I walked in and handed him the envelope.
I said, 'This just came for you.' as I turned to Shaun with
a big smile and saying hello, and then casually walked out of
the room. Scott opened it immediately and inside was a note
that read 'Ha! Just wanted to get a look at Shaun!'.