80s Radio

THIS JUST IN: The fight between Dish Network and Virginia-based Tegna, Inc. [KING 5 & KONG 16 Seattle] heated up this week as Tegna rejected Dish’s contract extension offer, which included ‘true-up’ for new rates, and moved to black out Dish customers in 38 Markets. The move comes as part of what Dish characterizes as a plan to double Dish Network’s current rate. The extension would have spared customers a service interruption while negotiations between the two companies continues…but, there is always RADIO…

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Dick Curtis: Odds & Ends [4]

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] Odds & Ends [4]

Copyright © 2006 by Dick Curtis

As I discussed early in this memoir, in 1963 Pat received a call from Jerry Weintraub, the manager of the Four Seasons, The Young Rascals and a female singer named Jane Morgan whom he’d married. Weintraub’s brilliant scheme was to call all the program directors in the major markets and make them partners in a Four Seasons show. Since I was the only disc jockey at KJR that chose to participate, Pat O’Day and Dick Curtis Presents was formed. It was just a few months later that I proposed to Pat that I do most of the grunt work for his dances; advertising, accounting and the like. I asked to receive a percentage of the profits. Our partnership was becoming solid. On that first 1963 show we added Little Stevie Wonder, he was twelve at the time and April Steven and Nino Tempo, who had the hit Deep Purple along with several local acts. We sold out two shows at the Seattle Center Opera House. Several other shows followed, all in the Opera House until we moved into the Seattle Center Coliseum with the Beach Boys in 1965. The only clunker we had was The Rolling Stones in 1965. Ticket sales were slow on a school night in the coliseum. We were doing everything in our power to sell tickets. When the Stones arrived at one in the morning from Vancouver where they’d just performed, Pat and I hired customs from Sea-Tac Airport to come over to Boeing Field to check them in. We had managed to get camera crews from three different television stations to cover it. Mind you this was one o’clock in the morning and the Stones weren’t that big yet. Everything was going well until customs wanted to inspect Mick Jagger’s luggage. He started kicking it around the airport screaming, “F–k You, F–k you!” The disgusted camera crews packed up and left. We never did get that television coverage that we so badly needed. None the less we sold about eleven thousand seats that night. It could have been much worse. There was one other episode the night the group arrived from Vancouver. Pat received a call at his home from Mick Jagger around four in the morning. He was demanding some broasted chicken and gin. Pat was aware of a joint that advertised broasted chicken. It was a twenty-four hour place out on Highway Ninety-Nine near Sea-Tac airport that sold it. He called a cab company and told them his needs. Cabbies can always get liquor and the company managed to secure both and deliver it to Jagger at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle. Because of what Mick Jagger had put us through, our company, even when it became Concerts West and was the biggest concert promotion company in the country, never made an effort to promote The Rolling Stones. In the meantime, Bill Graham got rich doing their national tours in the United States.

Terry Bassett joined us that year, in 1965 and the company name was changed to Pat O’Day and Associates. Terry would become responsible for our dances; I was in charge of the shows. This is the reason for Terry joining us. Pat and I were promoting all-city dances at the Exhibition Hall on the Seattle Center grounds. Terry Bassett would promote dances opposite us with groups like, the phony Drifters or the phony Coasters or the phony somebody. We figured best to make this guy a partner than to go on splitting things up.


One other piece of concert trivia and I promise to get back to radio. In 1966 when the groups the Mamas and Papas, the Lovin’ Spoonful and the Shangri La’s were breaking out big-time we hired them for three dates; Seattle, Portland and Salem, Oregon. The Mamas and Papas were riding high on their first top five hit, “California Dreamin’” and”Monday, Monday” was starting to break. It would eventually peak at number one. Meantime, the Lovin’ Spoonful had a huge hit a year earlier, “Do You Believe In Magic?,” followed that up with two more smash hits, ”Daydream”and ”Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” The Shangri-Las were a girl group made up of two pair of sisters from Queens in New York City. In 1964 the group had two huge hits, “Leader Of the Pack,” a song about motorcycles and death, and “Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand).” There was a third hit that same year but it never caught on in the Pacific Northwest. By the time the girls came to do our shows in 1966 the four had become a group of three. They could almost be considered a punk-rock group in this day and age; dark song lyrics and haunting melodies. On stage, wearing tight black leather pants, they performed their dance steps like so many groups from the East. They were very nice and agreeable to work with. We were all meeting in Seattle and our first date would be in Salem, Oregon. Our company rented a Greyhound bus and it was to be the three groups and me on this bus. However, before we pulled out of Seattle, the Lovin’ Spoonful’s manager decided to rent them a limousine for the trip so it was just me, the Mamas and Papas and the Shangri-Las heading out of town. A few hours later as we pulled into Salem, Mama Cass insisted we find a pet store. We finally did discover one in the downtown area and there she departed the bus. I had no idea what this was about but fifteen or twenty minutes went by and Mama Cass still hadn’t returned. The rest of the musicians on the bus were getting disgruntled. I left the bus and went into the pet store but Cass was nowhere around. I asked the owner if a very large woman had been in. He said, “Oh yes, she was here. She bought a six-pack of frogs and left.” I got back on and we started driving this Greyhound bus around the streets looking for Mama Cass. About three blocks away we spotted the singer and stopped, ushering Mama Cass and her “froggie” six-pack back onto the bus. I never did know what she did with the frogs but I don’t think I want to know. No one asked.

Following the show in Salem, the manager of the Mamas and Papas, Lou Adler called Pat O’Day and told him that since the group had one huge hit, another one breaking and because he’d given them to us for a great price, it would only be right if we flew them from Portland to Seattle, which we did. On the return bus trip it was just the Shangri-Las and me and an entire Greyhound bus. In Seattle the groups were joined by Merrilee Rush of “Angel of the Morning” fame, although that hit hadn’t yet been released, Dino, Desi and Billy, Don and the Goodtime and The Sonics; all appearing at the 1966 Spring Spectacular. They all performed on the famed revolving stage at the Seattle Center Coliseum where Mama Cass Elliott became ill. Maybe it wasn’t the revolving stage at all…maybe it was one of the frogs she ate.


The Mamas and Papas

The Lovin’ Spoonful

The Shangri-Las

Back to radio!

In 1965 it was decided that I needed to spend more time in the office so I gave up my six to nine show in the evening and moved to the nine am ‘til noon slot. I would arrive in the morning at six and perform as a newsman for the Lan Roberts show until nine and then do my own show. I was coming in from the east side of Bellevue, about 20 miles and I usually arrived at Lan’s show about one minute before the six fifty-five news. I would run into the newsroom…glance at the AP teletype and see what the top story was, read a quick headline and then say, “That story and more coming up on KJR News following this word from Pennzoil.” Then during that sixty second Pennzoil commercial I would edit the five minute newscast. After the news I would check out to the Blew Eagle restaurant, eight or nine blocks away and eat breakfast. I would return to the station at about seven forty-five for the seven fifty-five news. Do you get the idea that radio was not receiving top priority at this point in my life? I remained at the station through the noon hour and then left for my job as a concert promoter. There I would remain sometimes until late into the evening hours. The days were long but we were making great money and my disc jockey job was now only contributing a small portion to my overall income.

As I mentioned earlier, things went south when the music changed in 1967. It was during this time that the manager of KOL Radio came to both Pat and me with an offer. I can’t remember Pat’s but I was offered twenty-five thousand dollars a year to perform on the station from four to eight pm, Monday through Friday. That’s was it! That was very good money for the time and compared to the hours I had been putting in it was like a gravy train. Because I had built this large home on the Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Bellevue I had money obligations. I do remember though that the payments on the home were only three-hundred twenty-five dollars a month, if you can believe it. I thought about the job move for nearly two weeks. Pat, Terry and I had meetings daily trying to talk me out of it. In the end I decided to leave the company and go to KOL. That was some of the poorest timing in my life. Pat and Terry remained and six months later, Lester Smith who owned KJR and other stations along with his partner, entertainer Danny Kaye, stepped in and bought fifty percent of the concert company. Smith and Kaye would go on to become the first owners of the Seattle Mariners. The name of Pat O’Day and Associates was changed to Concerts West with Tom Hulett being named president. Now armed with all the money in the world to cut deals, Tom Hulett and Terry Bassett became millionaires. Leaving the concert company was the worst business decision of my entire life.

Chris Legeros

Legeros C KIRO TV news reporter, Chris Legeros, passed away this morning. Legeros had been battling pancreatic cancer. —
Chris was on the air at KIRO 7 from February 1983 until August 2014. …Chris landed an internship at WTCN TV and WWTC radio before his 1974 graduation. He moved from there to KCMT-TV, a station serving west-central Minnesota, and battled equipment that sometimes failed in the 20-below-zero temperatures.
Chris was there for two years before moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he reported and anchored as Chris George for KGAN-TV. …
Less than two years later, a friend told him about a reporting job at KIRO 7 in Seattle, a place he and Julie had never been. In January 1983, he called with the good news: He’d been offered a job and could start the next month.
In his 31 years reporting at KIRO, Chis received some the highest broadcasting honors, including awards from The Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, Best of the West and the Washington Education Association. He also won three Emmy awards and was an honorary member of the Army Reserve’s 50th General Hospital unit after reporting on it during the Persian Gulf War…

Rare sightings

zombiestickerIt is not unusual to be stuck in traffic behind a Volvo that has Obama, PETA, and breast cancer survivor bumper stickers on it. Or a family-sized van with a sticker that proclaims “Our daughter an honor student at …” [fill in the school of choice].

But, it is rare, these days, to see any radio station window or bumper stickers.

If you are ever stuck in traffic behind a car that has a KTAC Star Sticker on the window, go around the car. It is totaled and will probably need a tow.
knhc bumper sticker

Tim Shook posted this on Facebook. KNHC Nathan Hale High School’s student radio station.

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