Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bill O'Rieilly is a Dick

Bill O’ was up for spending a few days in the Florida sunshine. Our AM in South Florida carried his radio show from Westwood One. Bill needed a place to do his daily show live, we provided him a studio, we provided him a hotel and a limo. He owned a condo in Fort Lauderdale, but he needed a hotel suite, more on that in a minute.

A couple of hours before O’Reilly’s appearance, his producer showed up at the station, nice young guy, easy to work with. He and our producer, the highly competent Lupe Soto worked everything out. Then O’Reilly showed up 10 minutes before the first show and pretty much threw a grenade in the room, slammed the door, waited a minute or two and then proceeded to scream at his producer and our staff. No one could figure what he was pissed off about. He was just pissed. He was angry. He was a dick. According to Bill O, nothing was right, nothing worked to his satisfaction. Somehow our station, a radio station that operated like a fine watch 24/7 was a smoking, steaming pile of shit.

After the show got under way, I left for lunch, I walked out in the parking lot, noticed a black town car idling in the hot Florida sunshine. Sitting in the back seat was a young woman filing her nails. I realized at that moment why Bill needed that suite at the hotel and wasn’t using his family condo.

We did a meet and greet with a few clients and listeners after his show the next day. Bill O was a dick to them too. He was short, ill-tempered and treated them with contempt.

As he closed his last show he told his loyal audience that he was meeting his family for the weekend at their Florida condo as he closed the “Factor”. Never mentioned the station, never mentioned our staff. As he walked out the door, he didn’t shake a hand or bother to say goodbye.

Bill O’Reilly is and was a massive dick. Worse than Michael (Wiener) Savage, who spent his time in South Florida wearing a heavy coat and a long scarf, at least Savage didn’t shit all over our staff.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

No Trumpets before 9 AM


On a warm and sunny day in Southern California, a man is sitting at a table, across from him is an earnest young woman with a tape recorder. It begins

“I have no idea why anyone would be interested in any of this or what I think about what’s happened to the radio business.”

“You spent most of your life in it, your opinions and thoughts matter. They’re a part of the history of the business. You were there at the beginning, as a participant.” She said.

“I wasn’t there at the beginning, when I showed up and got involved it was a few years after it began, So I wasn't a pioneer, that’s for damn sure." The man lighted a cigarette, an American Spirit Yellow.
"The opportunity for change was there, the big guys, the smart money, just couldn’t see it. Think of it this way, the fire was ready to burn and a few of us showed up with the matches, all you had to do was strike one and light the kindling. The smart guys didn’t even think the stack of wood would burn, to the point of denying that it was even burning, after it started. Some couldn't even feel the heat.”

“What do you mean?” She asked.

“It was obvious at the time FM would work, there were beautiful music stations on FM all over the country generating huge listening audiences, some of the money men and the smart guys, the big companies, owned the damn things, who knows what they were thinking? A company has a facility. Let’s say in San Francisco, the fucking thing is number one or two in the market. At that point in time, almost nobody owns an FM receiver, but somehow the station is generating a huge audience. I used to wonder what the hell went on in the board meetings. I had dinner one night with the father of beautiful music, the guy they were paying to create the programming. I asked him, you know what he said?”

“I haven’t a clue.” She said.

“He said nothing, he just shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t know either."

“So what happened?”

“The music changed for one thing, that was the catalyst. The music needed an outlet. It sure as hell wasn’t going to get it on sixties era Top 40. Stations at the time tried to play an edited version of “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan. The listeners revolted and forced them to play the song unedited, all 5 minutes and 56 seconds of it. That happened in the mid 60’s and it was a big deal in an era of record companies editing songs down just for radio, shit they used to cut old Beach Boys songs to under 2 minutes. I can’t remember which of the Beach Boys songs it was, whatever it was, I think the original was 2 minutes 36 seconds long. They cut it to 1:56." The man took a long drag on his cigarette, blew the smoke up in the warm air. 

"Capitol actually put out radio only albums called “short cuts”. Really, really stupid and the listeners wouldn’t put up with it anymore. The people running the radio stations at that time couldn’t understand what was happening. Actually, the silly bastards didn’t want to understand, they couldn’t get their heads around the fact things were changing, that they could no longer dictate musical tastes or control it anymore. Neither did the record companies."

"Our generation certainly wasn’t having or taking it anymore. There had to be a medium where what the listener could hear what they wanted to hear, demanded to hear. The un-loved, underutilized step child FM signals were the solution. Somebody once called them, the funny little stations down the hall.”

“Only took about 5 years for them to stop laughing. A few of them never got it.”

“Want another cup of coffee?” The man asked.

The woman nodded, yes.