Monday, March 30, 2015

Making an idiot of myself on the radio... yet again

Back from the B100 radio reunion, held somewhere in Afghanistan I think.  It was at the Pala Resort and Casino -- a spectacular complex situated in the middle of nowhere.  B100 was a Top 40 station that took San Diego by storm in 1975 and stayed on top for close to 15 years.  I don't know what the format is today -- probably All Polka Music or All Obama Bashing.

As part of the festivities, which included a dinner, nostalgia, much drinking, a pool party (although no one was stupid enough to wear a bathing suit), and appearance from Shotgun Tom Kelly -- the local radio station graciously allowed us recreate B100 as it was.

Back in March of '75 the station signed on with "the B100 hours" -- a hundred insane hours of no commercials and the jocks all rotating shift.  Tapes of some of those broadcasts have been circulating among radio people for years.  I'm both proud and humiliated to be a part of it.

Anyway, in addition to replaying some of those tapes and the music from that era, I was invited to do a live show for an hour.  It's the first time I've done a disc jockey show in ten years and only the third DJ show I've done since 1982.  So don't expect anything great.  But what the hell?  You can't think any less of me than you already do.  Here it is (minus the songs so it's not an hour, it's like five minutes).

The weekend was great fun. As one of the jocks, Danny Wilde said, "The reason there's no more fun in radio is because we used it all up."   He's right.   Danny became a surgeon, by the way.  And I thought I did well.

What struck me most about the experience was how fond I am of all these people, even though I rarely see them anymore.  Yes, there's the bond we share in making fools of ourselves on the radio, but beyond that -- they're great folks and hold a special place in my heart.

So thanks to John Fox, Paul Palmer, Gary Kelley, Mark Gleason, and all my friends at B100 for organizing this soiree.   And a special thanks to Bobby Rich.   Not only was he the mastermind of the station, he was the best program director I ever worked for.  Not to mention the only program director who never fired me.  And you just heard my act.  He had cause every week.

29 comments:

The Curmudgeon said...

That was a lot of fun and (since I'm a Chicago boy) I never heard you on the radio back in the day. Still... a couple of times I thought I detected a quality or pitch in your voice similar to Bob Sirott.

By the way... even non-former-DJ's talk up songs while in the car. I mean, that's normal, right?

Aaron Hazouri said...

"This place used to be a sewage treatment plant... and it will be again!" Great stuff and it sounded like you were having a ton of fun. I was born in '79 so I came in on the tail end of the era when DJs were still allowed to have a good time on the radio (without it being an obnoxious Morning Zoo). I missed out!

Anonymous said...

Radio is a great place to pitch or market one's script, imo.

Would anyone know the cost of recording a professional radio teaser (eg. something like Dog Day Afternoon trailer, but on Radio).

Thanks.

Tom Parker said...

"... except I always wanted to follow him on KHJ!"

Another priceless inside radio bit from the Beave.

Loved the scope. Only radio twerps like us would cut out the songs and record the intros.

Mike Barer said...

Outstanding, you hit every post!

Anonymous said...

I've never heard you do it, so I thought this was gonna suck, but you did good!

I honestly thought it would suck!

Just goes to show, you can't always go by just looking at someone.

David Schwartz said...

It's like riding a bicycle. You never forget how to talk up records right to the start of the vocals! I worked in radio from 1976 - 1978 (I was 18 when I started and it paid about the same as working at McDonalds). Had a great time doing it and have a box of tapes in my garage I haven't listened to since 1978. You've inspired me to take them out and listen (hopefully I won't cringe too badly). Great soundcheck Ken!

Chris in Cowtown said...

Ken, I see your name mentioned in this article about how the Toledo Mud Hens got their name.

http://news.sportslogos.net/2015/03/14/mud-hens-mash-and-max-klinger-the-most-iconic-team-in-the-minors/

How accurate are the facts in the this article?

Tudor Queen said...

What fun! I'm old enough to remember the days when DJs and Program Directors actually had the freedom to make each station distinctive. It does seem as if you "used up" all the fun, or at least corporate synergy decided enough was enough. But is there ever too much buoyant, slightly anarchic craziness in the world?

I'm always thrilled when you mention Bobby Rich - IMHO he and his crew of charmers here in Tucson have the best morning show I've heard in years. (I've met Mrs. G and she's as lovely in reality as she is on the air)

Anonymous said...

Great post.
Having some stress in LA.
I went to Starbucks and everyone is writing a script. What the hell. 80% of them were writing a script. Why? I told one lady to keep writing and careful of the readers you use.

Norm said...

If you don't know what is on that frequency now, then you don't know "JACK."

http://www.sandiegojack.com/

Diane D. said...

Tudor Queen is so right, "there is never too much buoyant, slightly anarchic craziness in the world." Why on earth is this kind of thing no longer a part of our world. I lived through it and had no idea what a treasure it was.

You did great, Ken Levine, especially considering you haven't done anything like that for 10 years. It was great fun listening to it.

Curmudgeon: No worries, it is perfectly normal, even healthy. Enjoy!

Doug said...

The last time I tuned the station in, while in San Diego, they were running the Jack FM format.

MARK GLEASON said...

It was an honor and an extreme pleasure to be your board-op. Hope to see you again soon.

Oat Willie said...

So you were one of those DJs who used to talk all the way through a song intro!

Ken Levine said...

Yes I was. And I'd do it again.

Dan Wolfe said...

Absolutely wonderful! Well done! As an old radio guy myself, I totally loved the sound and way radio was done back then. Really sounds like you had a lot of fun!

Mister Charlie said...

Thought I was listening to Barney Pip in Chicago in the 60s, lol. Yeah, that's the old AM schtik alright, happily I never had to do that sort of show. I did do oldies and pitched my voice up a tad from normal, otherwise I always had a smooth, FM sensuous voice.

Anywho, this is about you, not me, nice aircheck, it sounds like it was from a time capsule.

Oh, and I rarely talked over an intro though I could do it easily enough; as a listeneer I hated hearing some great intros buried by screaming jocks (like Long Cool Woman; California Girls; etc.).

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

:)

Rob Sisco said...

Ken aka BEAVER!

I could listen to this all day! It was so much fun to hear and see you at the Pala Palace.

As the legendary Paul E. Palmer said, "you think funny"!

Courtney said...

Tight, bright and happy! Of course, every PD I worked with back in the Seventies would have insisted on time and temperature in every break...

Jim Fike said...

Ken...or as I used to call you...Mr. Cleaver. I enjoyed listening to you during the B100 live show Friday. You sounded just as good as ever...even better! Brought back some very good memories of when we worked at KSEA. Proud to say I worked with you! Boogie on Beav!

B.B. Callow said...

Nicely done, Ken.

You don't sound as if you've been away from the disc jockey's chair for more than a day. Man, and you were tight with some of those intros!! Not an easy trick.

I remember fast-talker Jackson Armstrong's signature move was to talk up until the very micro-second of the lyrics being sung.

When "Stay with Me" by The Faces began getting airplay back in the early 70s, it was a hoot listening to what he could throw in before In the morning/don't say you love me... kicked in. (I believe it was a 51 second intro!) He had jokes, the weather forecast, a traffic update, and probably the local news... but he never missed getting it right on the nose. Beautiful.

As teens, my friends and I would be in awe... and, of course, it spawned the habit of ALL of us trying to replicate his style in ever record we listened to.

What a gas. Thank you, Jackson! And thank you, Ken, for this nice flashback.

Anonymous said...

It must be like riding a bicycle: you never forget how. Nice job and thanks for the post.

Your funniest line was in referring to yourself as "a middle-aged man."

-30-

estiv said...

Aw, man, you're making me nostalgic and sad, just because you're so good and it really makes me miss those days. Glad you had such a good time, because, as with most creative endeavors, the creator finding satisfaction in the work is what makes it come alive.

YEKIMI said...

"This place used to be a sewage treatment plant... and it will be again!"

Well...at least you didn't sound shitty!

Artie in Sin City said...

Gawd, just shed a tear for the demise of Radio as we all knew it...PLUS a listen to your air check...

Keep on writing my man...

George Junak said...

I noticed that you played a lot of the songs from the 70's that you played as currents back then (and made you want to put a gun to your head) (like Billy Don't Be A Hero and Boogie Fever)- who picked the music for your hour, Ken? You (playing the crap as a goof) or was the station screwing with you?

Leslie Lim said...
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