Part 31: Radio People, Etcetera

"Memories of nearly 50 years in the Biz"

Part 31: Radio People, Etcetera

Postby Brian Lord » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:04 pm

Brian Lord's Radio Stories

Radio People, Etcetera #31

Taking the three major media, Television, Print & Radio, there are many differences--many, many. Because I was in the radio business for 50 years, I know and like radio people best. However in all those years one is bound to get a healthy dose of television and print types. Television people tend to be a bit stuck on themselves... snotty... while newspaper people are known for drinking. Like Hughy Watson's drinking buddies rolled him off a cabin roof on Bowen Island and sent him to the hospital. They'd figured (in their condition) they were duplicating the daredevil, Whatzisname, who went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. One Christmas Ted Reynolds came into the toys section of Woodwards where I was working part-time, this was before I got into Radio. Ted wanted to know what he should get his kid for a present. I suggested "Why not a new Studebaker" "He's too young to drive. He's three" and Ted wasn't smiling... I swear he didn't get the joke.

Monty McFarlane was a real funny man on the radio but he was much quieter when off the air. However he would do outrageous things. He saw me in a crosswalk one day, stopped his car, beckon'd me over and proceeded to tell me about a golf game he'd had yesterday. He was blocking one lane of traffic and they were honking and I mentioned this and he said "Screw 'em" and finished his story while cars gunned by him in the other lane. He got a lot of dirty looks--as if he cared. Jack Cullen used to have open house at his studio on Howe street in downtown Vancouver. He had a trick. He'd put on a tune , open his mic, turn around so his butt was a few inches from the open microphone--and fart. I said to Vic Waters one day, "I got a problem I think you could help me with". The next night when his show was over, he got two glasses, opened a 26oz of Scotch and told me some of his radio stories. After three hours he asked what the problem was. I'd forgotten.

But if DJ's were ...ah... different, the people who made records were differenter. What a tremendous cross section. Liberace was probably the weirdest I ever came in contact with. I'd ask him a question and he'd turn to his mother--I saw him thrice--and his mother was always with him. He'd tell HER the answer. His extreme feminine mannerisms and and speech affectations drove me nuts. He really was a freak in person. Peggy Lee was great, she gushed. Debbie Reynolds grabbed the mic and interviewed ME. Dinah Washington came by but she was so messed up, all she could do was nod and grin. Della Reese through a tantrum because I'd written some words on a piece paper for reference. "Wait there boy... you have to write "Vivacious" even before you know whether I am or not. I'm not." Johnny Ray was terribly let down when I told him his interview would run around three AM. "Hey"... I'm doin' an interview for dead people". I thought he was going to cry.

When Rock became the thing, radio interviews really didn't get a whole lot better. Freddie Cannon ("She's my Tallahassee Lassie....wooo") had this semi hit (Abigail Beecher Our History Teacher") and we asked the audience to send in who they thought was their favorite teacher and why. That got enormous response for such a goopy contest but eventually this very cool, nice looking young teacher won. The DJ's took her to lunch with Freddie Cannon. The dickhead never opened his mouth 'cept to say hello. Charlie Rich ("Big Boss Man") was another dead-beat..."huh"....."huh... I dunno". Marty Robbins said "Don't play that, it's got FIDDLES in it." Rolf Harris brought his wobble-board. Bobby "Boris" Pickett sang "Monster Mash" leaning over my Johnny Cash once sang "Don't take you're guns to town Brian... " on the stage at the Cave... But I'm in digress, here.

When the Brits entered the game, radio interviews changed, thank god. The Brits absolutely refused to be serious. I started asking dumb questions and got dumber answers and it was like a little comedy set. A relief, believe me. Peter Noone (Hermits Hermits) tried to teach how to speak with a Manchester accent, Lennon tried to make me sound like a scouse. One of the Stones, I think it was Charlie Watts tried to teach me real cockney. When these guys were talking in the vernacular they were impossible to understand. We hear Brit accents all the time but not in Britain and not street people. It just ain't English... but I love listening to it.

Bobby Hatfield tried to teach me falsetto when I interviewed the Righteous Bros. and Unchained Melody was riding high (I hated that song).

There wasn't a whole lot of originality in Rock radio back in the 50's and 60's. An opportunity would present itself and Rock stations would glom onto it. I'm sure there were plenty of stations that did the Abigale Beecher thing. Batman was huge...there were Bat-variations and Bat-contests in almost every market across North America, none of them very exiting. This was when the Batman series came to television, the black and white one. With Robin. About 1966. I remember the station where I worked jammed the bandwagon. We would, each day, feature episodes of GarbageMan written by us and voiced by us with the theme music stolen by us. GarbageMan had continual problems with some brand of soap. A company had a logo using a little soap figure running around trying to kill GarbageMan who eventually was eaten by seagulls down in the city dump. Heavy stuff. But radio was fun, for both the DJ's and the listeners. It also had the highest staff turnover of any mass-medium in existence. The long and short of it all: The DJ's just couldn't stand the thought of not hearing their own voice so they came up with stuff. Some of it good, some of it very good and some of it puke.


I can't really remember what happened but all of a sudden the end came at CJJC. Everybody got invited into Joe Chesney's office one day separately and all the air staff got the boot. Ched Miller was already onto another job. Jacques & Dave Chesney and his fashion model librarians...were okay. But for the rest of us... poof, dust. McMahon was gone. As I said last time, Mike was the funniest DJ I ever heard anywhere but he had a terrible attitude and I think that's what got him jerked. Rob Carlyle went into Joe's office near the end of the day thinking he had missed the cut. He thanked Joe and did a little dog and pony show about how he loved 'JC and blah, blah but before he finished, Joe interrupted. "Rob, imagine there's a bucket of water here. Dip your hand into it, pull it out and look at the bucket and you'll know how important an impression you make on this station."

Rob caught up to me a little later and we went to the pub and got drunk and phoned Mike McMahon. Mike said "Don't Phone. Leave me alone" and hung up in Rob's ear. I tried phoning him and he got pretty hot." "You're Buggin' me, piss off. For EVER." Well of course Rob and I had some crazy drunken idea that Mike REALLY did love us and didn't REALLY want us to piss off so we went over to his house and before we even got to the door he came charging out with a 30-06 pointed at us and some strong language about what he was gonna do if we didn't leave that second. Bye Bye. This time I was out and not for some binge I'd decided was timely... no it was over and CJJC which had been a hoot for a few years kind of died off and it's not there anymore. Dust

But I managed to resurface on various frequencies in the coming years. Oh yes....
Brian Lord
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Re: Part 31: Radio People, Etcetera

Postby Steve Sanderson » Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:50 am

"Oh yes..." Please continue!
While we are waiting for the next chapter...Brian, could you
please send me a picture of the "fashion model librarians" ??
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Re: Part 31: Radio People, Etcetera

Postby isthisthingon » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:32 am

Terrific stories. Keep 'em coming Brian.
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Re: Part 31: Radio People, Etcetera

Postby Laterider » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:22 pm

One of the great librarians was Melody Heavytune.
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Re: Part 31: Radio People, Etcetera

Postby freqfreak2 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:14 pm

Laterider wrote:One of the great librarians was Melody Heavytune.

Was she related to Gracie Heavy Hand?

see ref:
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