The Heavy Hitter

radio notes_smJuly 18, 1976
The Nifty 50s are a hit so KUUU expanded them this week. From 10 PM until 2 AM the gold oldies station concentrates on the clink-clink-clink kind of rock and roll that conjures up sock hops, drive-in movies and malt shop meetings.
“It’s time for a little personality projection,” Al Vanik, program director, explained. That’s why KUUU listeners are now hearing The Heavy capture. Heavy Hitter is a devote of jive talk, the good old days, and, believe it or not, requests and dedications.
Yes, dedications. From Bob and Mary to Sue and Sally.
Vanik admits it’s a bit of a departure for Seattle radio. The Heavy Hitter may be bringing back something that never was in Seattle. During the birthing of rock, Seattle listeners got a sanitized, toned-down version compared to what New York, the Midwest and Southern California got. No 1950-ish Seattle disc jockey sounded like the Heavy Hitter.
Vanik said the late-night timing was planned to appeal to swing-shifters, an older audience then this kind of rock attracted way back in those good old days.

Ingenious beat for KVI’s basketball

radio notes_smJanuary 1970 / In anticipation of the tipoff, it might be easy to overlook the opening on KVI’s University of Washington basketball broadcasts.
Bob Hawkins, producer of sports broadcast for the station, wasn’t content with the music and crowd noise common to most sports broadcasts. With ingenuity and a whale of a lot of work, he created one of the most unusual “radio signatures” heard in a long time.
To the tempo of “Victory for Washington,” Hawkins painstakingly recorded and rerecorded the sound of a bouncing basketball. After a week of cutting and snipping, he got the pattern he wanted.
Then he toyed with the tape recorder, changing the size and speed of the capstan unit, to modify the pitch of each bounce.
Attention to such a project is typical of the dedication Hawkins devotes to radio.
He isn’t exactly a sports nut. Seems he would rather talk about theater, old-time radio or even Little Orphan Annie. Hawkins has appeared in bit parts in movies–“a long time ago”–once was a stage ventriloquist, and has been a commercial writer, disc jockey and program director. His present title is unbelievably cumbersome, director of station operations and executive sports director.
Hawkins still wasn’t finished after he got what he wanted out of the tape recorder. He prepared a second version the same way for closing the broadcasts.
Effort like that might make one willing to listen to a sports event even if you were not a sports fan.

Radio In Review
Nothing spectacular happened in radio in 1969–except maybe Lan Roberts moving to KOL, or KSND plunging into the talkshow business.
Irving Clark Jr. gave up talking on KING AM after five years.
The year might be remembered as the one in which KOL and KJR logged instructions in how to recover from tear gassing as news bulletins.
This was also the year that KOL FM logged offers from organizations offering free Thorazine “to come down from a bummer” and instructions on how to avoid the draft as public-service announcements.
It was the year that five radio stations in town referred to themselves as number one. The two noisiest contenders eventually announced they would no longer refer to themselves as number one–and now the disc jockeys are back doing it.

Who knew ??

Radio London, on the air from December ’64 to August ’67 was a pirate radio station was the brain child of a Texan. He originally thought of using KLIF radio, in Dallas as his model and was going to play tapes of KLIF on Radio London. But, realized programming need to be done live to suit the British audiences. RCA outfitted the the studio and probably the transmitter in the United States. They even used some PAMS jingles. So, what we called The KJR Concerto, was know there as the Sono Waltz, obviously named after the Sonovox and the unique sound it made. The Sonovox goes back to the 40’s. Most of us will remember many KJR PAMS jingles used the Sonovox.

Mr. Music Man
Duane Smart

Hawaii Calls

radio notes_lgNovember 1972 / As surely as the surf rolls on, Hawaii Calls continues. The weekly half-hour of “Hawaiian music and sounds of the surf” was begun in 1935 has a short-wave broadcast from Honolulu to the West Coast.
This week the Hawaii Corporation and Danny Kaleikini, entertainer, announced acquisition of the show from Webley Edwards, originator. Kaleikini has been a substitute for the ailing Edwards in the past months.
Now distributed by tape to 450 radio stations, including KBLE AM at 3 PM Fridays and KBLE-FM at 6:30 PM Sundays. The series is seldom sponsored. Thus, little effort is made to promote broadcast, except in attracting tourists visiting Hawaii who want to see something Hawaiian.

Time to talk turkey
The morning disc jockey at KMO Tacoma has undertaken the task of teaching a turkey to talk.
By Thursday, one or two they get the ax.

Rambling about radio
The 10″ x 14″ poster being distributed by KVI to Theater of the Mind listeners was drawn by Gene Larson, a weekend disc jockey at KAYO. Poster includes references to just about any Golden Age radio program one could think of, from the Lone Ranger to Beulah.
Bob Ryan, moderator of KTW FM’s nightly talkshow describes his FM competition as wall-two-wall music… Simulated music… Elevator music. “We might stand out,” Ryan says, referring to his three and half-hour talkshow which begins at 6:30 PM weeknights.
Tracy Smith, former KOMO nighttime announcer, returned to the station this week after a three-year absence. His job now is in productio

Odds & Ends [3]

Sinatra I Sinatra II Sinatra III Dylan I Dylan II Dylan III Dylan IV Dylan V Dylan VI The Eagles Leon & Jackson Led Zeppelin Beginnings Odds & Ends [1] Odds & Ends [2] Odds & Ends [3]

Copyright © 2006 by Dick Curtis

My Atlanta years were wonderful. The personal life wasn’t any great shakes but much to my surprise I loved the city and the area in general. It was just Jay and me and a receptionist I’d hired of German descent. She was somewhat attractive and tried to be efficient but spoke broken English. It wasn’t a good choice for someone whose basic job was talking on the telephone. Jay and I were mostly on the road. When we were in the office we were always busy, routing a tour, planning an event or just buying advertising or checking ticket sales on upcoming concerts. At one point I was out on several Bad Company dates. They were considered the sister group of Led Zeppelin and Steve Weiss was also their attorney. These guys were for the most part rowdy. Concerts West rented the large arena at the Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas for a week for the group’s rehearsal. It was the same thing that the company had done for Led Zeppelin. Being so close to Dallas the Fort Worth building was frequently vacant and securing the facility was relatively simple. A large building like this allowed the group to install all their staging equipment. Sound checks would be the same as they would experience in concert halls once they got out on the road. These guys got in serious trouble before they even hit Fort Worth. Seems on the airplane flight from New York to Dallas one member of the band thought it would be a good idea to put a camera on the floor next to his aisle seat of the airplane. As the flight attendant walked by he would snap her picture, up under her skirt. Busted! When the plane landed in Dallas he was immediately handcuffed and taken to jail. It wasn’t long before Steve Weiss had paid the necessary amount of bail money and the culprit was freed in just a matter of hours.

That brings to mind an incident with Led Zeppelin, also in the Dallas area. Concerts West had rented the arena in Fort Worth for them to conduct a week’s worth of rehearsal time. The company had also secured a “Dude Ranch” as living quarters while they were in Texas. The owner of the place and his wife had gone to Hawaii to vacation for a couple of weeks. Everything was going as expected; the band was being their rowdy selves hosting many guests and participating in several types of intoxicants. Only problem was the guy that owned the place came back a week early. When he arrived he found over a dozen people in his swimming pool as well as his horse. Most everyone was high and as the story goes, some on acid. The owner of the place immediately went to his bedroom, hauled out a shotgun and began shooting towards his pool. No one was hit because he wasn’t aiming at anyone but someone could have been killed. You won’t believe what happened next. The group blamed Concerts West for the problem. How could they have rented a place for the band to stay from someone who would do something like this? It was a perfect example of the ”rock n’ roll” mentality of the seventies.

Bad Company was preparing to begin their first U-S Tour in 1974. Concerts West was the promoter for all the dates and had hired the group Kansas as the opening act. Before Bad Company was formed the band members had been successful with other groups. Vocalist Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke had been members of Free. Bass player Boz Burrell had left Mott the Hoople and lead guitarist Mick Ralphs was formerly with King Crimson. Their music, like Zeppelin, was hard rock dominated by the husky vocals of Rogers. The tour went well with my responsibility confined to the Southeastern United States, with the exception of New Orleans. Fortunately I wasn’t with the band on that particular date and had returned to Atlanta. It was there I got the phone call from Tom Hulett in Seattle. Seems the band had been partying in a New Orleans bar and it was five o’clock in the morning. The bar manager wanted to close the joint. The boys didn’t want to leave. So the bodyguard for the band slugged the bouncer of the nightclub in the eye. The club employee immediately couldn’t see and the smash in the face had apparently caused the man to lose sight of his eye. Steve Weiss had paid off the guy with five-thousand dollars out of his own pocket. Hulett then wanted me to steal five-thousand dollars from the group’s next settlement so Weiss could get his money back. Tom also said to make it look good so Weiss wouldn’t know it was that easy to steal money from the group. It was a simple task and everyone was happy. You see the band wouldn’t have wanted to pay off the guy. “Hey it’s his fault for trying to kick us out of the club,” would be their way of thinking. With that mentality they deserve to have the money stolen from them. It didn’t faze me one bit. See, there is no honor among the many thieves in the business of “rock ‘n roll.”

While I was back in Atlanta I decided one Saturday to go by the office. When I arrived I found the normally locked door, very unlocked. Inside, rolling around on the floor, was my German receptionist with some strange guy. I forgot to mention that she was married. I told her to get herself together, go home and come back Monday for her paycheck; her short history in the concert business had come to an end. It wasn’t so much what was going on that bothered me but the fact that a stranger had been brought into our offices. He could have been free to rummage around while she went to the ladies room. Not a way to run a business. My next receptionist was a Jewish girl from New York. She was also quite attractive, very sure of herself, and I felt, perfect for the job. If anything Susan Franks may have been over qualified. She was on the job just a short time when I discovered that Susan wasn’t only over qualified but “over sexed.” Remember when I told you about the first Led Zeppelin appearance in Tampa Stadium. There was one other person in the group I forgot to mention. When they arrived at the stadium, there was the band, manager Peter Grant, road manager Richard Coles, Tom Hulett, Steve Weiss AND my receptionist. I can’t tell you how pissed off I was. First of all she was privy to conversations we’d had in our office about all the personnel she was now in the company of. It would be very easy for her to let slip something to Weiss that might put Hulett in a bad light or vice versa. I’m sure both were having their share of this New York delight. I didn’t have to fire her she left with the group and never returned to Atlanta. Most likely she landed back in New York where she belonged.

In the meantime, Jay and I were constantly touring. Grand Funk Railroad, Chicago, a few Elton John dates plus the single concerts we put together and promoted in our southern territory. Speaking of Elton John, it was at the Hollywood Sportatorium north of Miami where I was promoting Elton and lost my ability to talk. Elton’s manager was an ex-Seattle guy named Howard Rose. Rose could be a real ball-buster. Tom Hulett had developed a great relationship with Rose and as a result Concerts West captured a large number of Elton’s concert dates. I believe I had only worked one other Elton John date prior to this one in Miami. It was hot, no walls on the building like so many in the area and we’re talking PRESSURE! The doors had just opened, I was standing on stage and suddenly I couldn’t talk. People were already pushing up against the stage and I witnessed a girl losing her balance. I’m trying to tell security, “the girl fainted.” They can’t understand a word I’m saying. I write “fainted” in the dust on the piano and point to the girl. She was okay; I wasn’t. I was about to become acquainted with Bell’s Palsy, a condition quite often brought on by stress. After flying back to Atlanta I immediately went to the doctor and found out all about the facial nerve disorder. See the nerve travels from the brain through the ear bone to its destination on one’s face. Somehow this nerve gets irritated and tries to expand but it can’t; the ear bone is restricting it. That side of your face becomes somewhat paralyzed and your eye droops which makes it extremely difficult for a single guy to meet anyone in a relatively new city like Atlanta. Besides, you can’t really talk anyway so why bother. What a great date I’d make. If you’re lucky you return to normal in about seven months as a new nerve grows back. I was fortunate. You’d hardly know I ever had it. Some aren’t so lucky like piano player Floyd Cramer. He always played with the good side of his face towards the audience.

Three Dog Night was another experience. From 1969 to 1974, nobody had more top 10 hits, moved more records, or sold more concert tickets than Three Dog Night. The band was very easy to work with but their manager Burt Jacobs was another story. This man snorted more cocaine in any given hour than the average “coke” user would inhale in days. It was constant. The only thing he loved nearly as much as cocaine was hookers. It was fortunate for Burt that he was a popular “rock ‘n roll” band manager. That made all things possible. Jacobs was in his mid-fifties with the worst toupee you have ever seen; a terrible toupee with an ungodly comb over. I always thought, if you’re going to invest in a wig, get one that looks decent for goodness sakes. Why one that requires a comb over? Jacobs was an eccentric guy always wound way too tight. He liked working with Concerts West and the company handled nearly all the band’s performances. My first stadium experience with Three Dog Night was at the Dallas Cotton Bowl in the early seventies. Joe Crowley out of Seattle came down to work the show along with me. Charles Stone and Terry Bassett were there from the Dallas office. What a show, Rod Stewart and Faces with Three Dog Night. It was an incredible night. Three Dog Night concluded the show with “Celebrate.” When the band started to sing, “Celebrate, Celebrate, dance to the music,” that was the cue for fireworks to begin and the skies to light up. It was very effective visually and the crowd left feeling they got their money’s worth. Four nights later we would do it all over again in Birmingham, Alabama’s Legion Field. This time Rod Stewart added a new song for the group to sing. Near the end of their performance they launched into, yup, “Celebrate.” Hearing the song, the fireworks foreman gave the signal and the skies lit up. Three Dog Night members were livid. Rod Stewart was smirking. He’d pulled it off. This had been on his mind ever since the concert in Dallas. Of course when Three Dog Night closed the show, yes they played “Celebrate”but to darken skies. There were no more fireworks left to ignite. The company that handled the display had blown its wad an hour earlier on Rod Stewart and Faces. I’m very lucky that it was Terry Bassett that had to face Burt Jacobs on that particular night.

Charles Stone – Joe Crowley (hidden) – me & Terry Basset at the Cotton Bowl

To promote the Birmingham show I was flown in early to accompany Jerry Quarry, the prize fighter, to do radio interviews. Burt Jacobs had paid Jerry a lot of money to help promote Three Dog Night. There were three interviews lined up in Birmingham when at the last minute I got the dreaded word that Jerry’s not going to make it into town. I ended up doing the radio interviews myself. They wanted to talk boxing of which I knew little about other than I liked to watch it. So we talked some about Jerry Quarry; a little about my radio life in the Northwest and a lot about Three Dog Night. I wasn’t as bad off as my partner, Jay Hagerman. He was forced to run around town for two days dressed as “Jeremiah the Bullfrog” from the Three Dog Night song, “Joy To the World.” I’m sure you remember, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog; He was a good friend of mine. I never understood a single word he said but I helped him drink his wine; And he always had some mighty fine wine.” I think we all drank a few bottles following a hectic four days that seemed like at least a dozen, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, Cory Wells & drummer Floyd Sneed with the other original members of Three Dog Night

The only other stadium gig I ever did with the group was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the baseball stadium where the Pirates use to play. I arrived about nine in the morning and nothing was up. The stage was being built and sound towers hadn’t even begun to be erected. At ten o’clock as I was walking to the outfield area I noticed all of the workers coming toward me. I said, “What’s going on?” The foreman said, “Its cleanup before coffee break.” Seriously, way behind schedule and these union workers had a fifteen minute period to cleanup before their fifteen minute coffee break. It was the same thing in the afternoon plus a cleanup before their noon lunchtime. We didn’t really get the entire stadium set up but we did get the show on and no one knew the difference.

The hardest date I ever worked with Three Dog Night was a Sunday night in Jackson, Mississippi. There were eighteen-hundred people in a building that seated ten-thousand. The group had never experienced a crowd this sparse since they’d made the big-time. I lied to them and told them there were five-thousand fans out there but they knew better. There was some talk of canceling the show but I was able to convince them that would only create negative publicity. The show went on and to their credit it was a fine performance but if you knew Three Dog Night well, you’d soon recognize their heart wasn’t in it.

My next hire in Atlanta was a great help for Jay and me. His name was Sims Hinds. Sims was quite young but very sharp. He was born to be in the promotion business and I felt fortunate to have him. In fact these days he’s one of those in charge of promotion for the NASCAR circuit. Sims was from the south, North Carolina if I remember correctly. Because of that he knew the ins and outs of our competitors. Sims turned me on to a person that I hired as a receptionist. She was perfect. Karen Griggs had been a former girlfriend of Ronnie Van Zandt, lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd. She was very close to the group. You would of thought she was a groupie but Karen was smart and all business. Because of those two new hires the Concerts West office in Atlanta was much more aware of our competition. We had connections to learn of their future concert plans and advertising ideas. I hadn’t realized how two outsiders, such as Jay and me, had been floundering. Oh, we’d gotten our job done but not with the efficiency we could now deliver. It was time to promote a show in Atlanta Braves Stadium.

Pink Floyd had been breaking attendance records all around the U-S but mostly at indoor arenas. The English band had been around since the mid-sixties but their album release in 1973 of “Dark Side of The Moon” had been huge. The album remains one of the largest selling pop albums EVER. It became the album that every rock fan had to have. In fact today it still sells to a new generation of fans who’ve discovered Pink Floyd. If there was ever a group that reeked of “get yourself high and go see our concert” it was Pink Floyd. There were many visual effects to compliment the psychedelic sound. Long, loud compositions that bordered on classical with touches of blues and hard rock. In fact, in the late sixties, one original member of the group, Roger “Syd” Barrett, entered a hospital and went into seclusion. Some allegedly say it came about as a result of an excessive use of LSD. Barrett had appeared on only one track of their album “A Saucerful of Secrets,” which was released during this time. The track was “Jugband Blues,” in which songwriter Barrett declared, “I’m most obliged to you for making it clear; That I’m not really here.” He never returned to the group but around nineteen-seventy released a couple of solo albums that were described as both brilliant and chaotic. The lack of acceptance of both of those works was hard for Barrett to accept. Roger “Syd” Barrett, the same man who’s responsible for writing most of the material for Pink Floyd in their early years, went on to live in near isolation and no longer performed or spoke in public. Barrett died at his home in Cambridge, England in 2006 at age 60 of complications arising from his diabetes.

Pink Floyd was presented at Atlanta Braves Stadium and attracted over thirty-thousand fans…thirty-thousand dripping fans. It rained most of the time the group was performing on their roof-covered stage. One of the special effects that Pink Floyd utilizes during their performance is the “raising roof.” The roof would actually lift several feet in the air and then settle back down. Not on this day. With the water that had collect on top of it, the roof this day rose only a few “inches” in the air before settling back down…and down…and down. With the weight of the water on top of it, the roof nearly came down over the group but roadies were able to keep it from collapsing entirely. While all this was going on, I was settling out the show with their road manager in the stadium offices. Our arrangement was eighty-twenty of net, meaning after all expenses the band would take eighty percent, Concert West would take twenty. Jerry Weintraub was a silent partner on the show. Since Pink Floyd wasn’t a regular Concerts West act, I was told by Tom Hulett to steal as much as I could from the group. You do this by inflating costs in the settlement. Yes, this was stealing but the band was also stealing from promoters with inflated costs for sound, the staging and the like. It all evened out in the end. I’m sorry to say but this was the way the rock business operated. I stole seventy-thousand dollars that day. Hulett wanted me to lie to Weintraub and tell him I only stole forty-thousand. You see, then Hulett and Concerts West would have an extra thirty-thousand as well as half of the other forty. Keep in mind, this is just gravy money, there’s still the actual twenty-percent profits from the show. I told Weintraub of my forty grand take on the side and he was incredibly proud of me. He insisted that Concerts West increase my salary by thirty-thousand dollars a year, which they did. I always wondered how much more I would have gotten if he’d known I really had scammed seventy-thousand. I don’t imagine Weintraub would have been very excited to know that Hulett had stolen fifteen-thousand extra dollars from him. And you thought“The Sopranos” were crooks!

The next show at Braves Stadium was June 1st, 1974. I know the exact date because I have a picture of the crowd of 61,232 people declaring it, “Record Attendence for a Southern Musical Event,” even though they did misspell “Attendance.”

What a lineup for a show in Atlanta. Grinderswitch was a southern band out of Atlanta that was starting to generate a big following. Next some good ol’ boys from Spartanburg, South Carolina that had released their first LP a year earlier. They were creating a lot of talk, especially in the south, The Marshall Tucker Band. Lynyrd Skynyrd, led by the late Ronnie Van Zant from Jacksonville, Florida and their hammering three guitar attack. Closing the show was a group that had already become southern legends, the Allman Brothers Band. I had wanted to call the show, “Georgia Jam,”which was popular at the time. There’d recently been an “L-A Jam” that attracted huge crowds and several other “Jams” in other parts of the country. I felt that Georgia and Jam flowed together. My idea ended right there. Egos won out when the Allman Brothers management and booking agency in Macon, Georgia insisted it had to be called, “The Allman Brothers Band with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker and Grinderswitch.” Didn’t matter anyway, it was huge.

The Allman Brothers Band

There was a delay for a time when it was discovered that bass player Lamar Williams had dropped acid (LSD) and couldn’t perform. I couldn’t believe it. A crowd of over sixty-thousand, the biggest they had ever played to, and a band member can’t keep it together for an hour or so. I went scurrying through the audience for a bass player. We found one and I can’t recall who it was but the show went on and there were no complaints from the customers. Most of them were as high as Williams anyway. When I first moved to Atlanta I thought I was heading to the “straight” South. Little did I know that marijuana and Quaaludes were more prevalent there than anyplace else I’d ever been. Maybe that’s why they called it “Sleepy Time down South.”

KIRO Weather Man leaves for new venture

Sam ArgierI have some personal news to share with all of you. Next Friday, October 9th, will be my last day at KIRO 7 News. I have made the decision to leave the TV news business right now and move closer to family in the Southwest.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had at KIRO over the past seven years. Thank you so much for welcoming me into your homes on television and for interacting with me here on social media. I wouldn’t have been able to do this job if it wasn’t for all of you. Thank you!
Western Washington will always hold a special place in my family’s heart. Both of our children were born here and we have met some amazing friends along the way. I will certainly miss my other family at KIRO; I have had the privilege to work with some of the best people in the business during my time here. Not only are they great journalists, but incredible people.
For the next chapter in my life, I’m jumping into the world of commercial real estate in my hometown of Las Vegas. It will be a change from tracking cold fronts, but it’s a great career that will give me normal working hours. With two young kids and a wonderful wife, I can’t wait to have dinner with them each night.
I couldn’t be happier to announce that my friend and colleague Morgan Palmer will be taking over the evening weather duties. He is a fantastic meteorologist, and I wish him nothing but the best in the new position.

September PPM Ratings

Vintage stereo receiver tuning scale KJR is #1. Not something you hear too often these days. But, the latest survey says it is so. The Classic Hits channel at 95.7 [6.5] tops previous #1 CHR KQMV [6.3] No surprise that KIRO remains in the Top 10, but moves up mightily to #3 [6.2] What is KJR doing that KZOK is NOT doing? KZOK slips from #1 to #4 [5.6] playing a heavier format of Classic Rock. KZOK has some top talent, Danny Bonaduce in the morning and Gary Crow mid-days. This is a good book for Marty Riemer and Jodi Brothers-Blau. KUOW rounds out the Top 10. The complete list, with 1090 KFNQ at rock bottom, can be viewed at PUGETSOUNDRADIO

The Young Men – Charlie Browning

The football season is underway and this Seafair-Bolo 45, “Charlie Browning” by The Young Men debuted on KJR’s Fabulous Fifty at Number One. I recall KJR playing it several times an hour when it was first released. Based on the Coaster’s recording of Charlie Brown, Charlie Browning was a Husky football player and this disc came out in late 1963. The Huskies played Illinois in the 1964 Rose Bowl. Jim Owens coached. The Huskies lost to Illinois 17-7. I believe this recording was made at the late Kearney Barton’s studio.

Mr. Music Man
Duane Smart

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