Forty Years After October 25th 1976
Gerald Ford was president. Gasoline was 35¢ a gallon. The world had its first look at a United States space shuttle as the ‘Enterprise’ rolled out of its hangar and drummer Larry Mullen posted a note seeking band members at his Dublin school and U2 was formed.
That summer I worked at a Houston K-Mart in the photo-department. Part of the job was making announcements over the public address system for “Blue Light Specials”. They assigned that duty to me because as the store manager said: “you have a nice voice”. By the end of summer I was back in school and looking for another part-time job when I heard of an opening at a tiny radio station out in the woods – On October 25th 1976 I went inside, filled out an application and got hired on the spot! Thank you Charles Kobs (RIP)
Except for a period of time in the ‘environmental’ business, marketing for companies that cleaned up oil spills and hazardous materials around the world, radio stations have been my home.
Many of those years and especially after I married and began to have children, and even now I have a firsthand involvement in the advertising side, writing and producing commercials not only for radio, but television and video, print, billboards and nowadays of course websites on the internets. I developed a saying that caused a lot of advertisers to scratch their heads, then look at me and agree: “Advertising is the world’s oldest profession, because if you want something sold, first its story has to be told” and they’d happily agree to my advertising plan for them and see their business grow.
One of the joys of being connected to advertising is I feel like I’m part of the grease that oils the wheels of commerce – what advertising does is stimulate business. People say they ‘hate’ commercials but they’re chock full of information that help you buy the best tires, clothes, jewelry, appliances and eat the best tasting food and so on from the best stores. Commercials help you.
My memory is a little fuzzy, but the first record I ever placed on a turntable and set the needle on to play over the radio was Hearts “Magic Man”. Other top 40 artists of that era included The Ohio Players, John Sebastian, Wings, Paul Simon, Elton John and the Bee Gees to name a few. I always thought it was the most fun way to make money; you get to sit in a nice comfortable air-conditioned room and listen to great music and in-between the records make snarky tongue-in-cheek remarks to keep your friends laughing.
There were no cell phones with cameras of course and selfies didn’t exist so there’s no photo evidence but along the way I met people like Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Steve Miller, The Winter Brothers, Rod Stewart, and all the members of ZZ Top, Donna Summer, Debbie Harry (Blondie) Rick Derringer, Bob Seger, Sammy Hagar, the aforementioned Heart, Huey Lewis, Joe Walsh and many more. (I’ve got a few crazy backstage stories too!) I became so spoiled and accustomed to having ‘back stage passes’ and complete access, that to this very day I’ve never purchased a ticket to see a concert and sat in the audience to see the show.
Best show I ever saw? Believe it or not the Temptations and the Four Tops came to town in the mid 80’s and were the most incredibly entertaining group I’d ever seen do a live show. No lip synching of course they did it for real.
So. Today October 25th Forty Years After and I’m still here and I feel fortunate to be with a company like Townsquare Media that really emphasizes serving the public interest both on-the-air and on the web. It’s a new age in the broadcasting business or as it’s more fittingly known the ‘content delivery’ business. We not only can keep you informed and abreast of what’s going on locally and up to the minute, but also deliver relevant information to you via the written word on our websites. It’s ‘news you can use’ and as far as I know no other media company does it quite like we do or as well.
A few highlights I like to point to are winning five gold and platinum albums from record companies from the days when they’d award disc jockeys that helped them get at least a million copies of a record sold, a 40 Share in afternoons and doing the morning show in Denver, Colorado. There was nothing as lovely as the view from the 16th floor of the Denver Post building as the sun peaked over the horizon in the east and lit up the Front Range to the west.
Happy Anniversary to me! I hope the next forty years are just as fun.