‘Magic’ and KIXI Sold to California Radio Chain

radio notes_smTwo Seattle radio stations, KMGI(FM) and KIXI-AM, have been sold for $16 million. Noble Broadcast Group, an aggressive chain based in San Diego, is the new owner, taking control from Sunbelt Communications.
The sale is subject to approval from the Federal Communications Commission.
In 1985 Sunbelt introduced the adult-contemporary KMGI, promoted as “Magic 108,” on the 107.7 spot previously held by KRAB. [Related: New KMGI Features Favorites of the Past] The operating board of KRAB had sold the commercial frequency, expecting to find an alternate dial setting in the noncommercial part of the FM band. Purchase price for the FM station, with little more than a tower site, was $4 million. It took a year to get KMGI on the air.
Sunbelt acquired KIXI in October for $4.8 million. Both KIXI, with a nostalgia format, and KMGI are consistently in the top dozen radio stations in Seattle.
Noble Broadcast Group is a new chain that, with this purchase, becomes the largest radio-only owner in the country with 17 stations.
In the past month alone, Noble has acquired five radio stations and a Muzak franchise. The next largest broadcast chain owns 15 radio stations. Noble’s stations are in such cities as San Diego, Boston, New Haven, Denver, Kansas City and Houston.
John Lynch, a founder of the group, expects to expand to the full complement of 24 stations, with future cities of license including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Festival broadcast
Segments from the Folklife Festival will be broadcast each afternoon of the festival, on KUOW, 94.9 mHz.
Other radio stations sponsor some musical and stage events on the fairgrounds.

He’s up there
Bob B. Scott, afternoon disc jockey, plans to broadcast today from the top of Mount Rainier to listeners on KRPM-AM-FM, 770 and 106.1. Scott said he climbed the mountain last August as a personal challenge. This time he’s just like the big climbers – he has a sponsor, a sporting goods store – and in May expects to encounter more snow.
He is carrying a two-way radio, which the station will intercept. He was to be at Camp Muir level Saturday and the summit at noon Sunday.

Across the dial
— Another Sunday-morning mostly instrumental “environmental sound” program airs from 8-10 a.m. on KSEA, 100.7 mHz. Called “Over Easy,” it includes a modest amount of new-age music with the lighter jazz sounds already heard on the station.
— Famous names in Northwest rock will be on the KVI, 570 kHz, morning show beginning Monday. It’s part of a promotion culminating in “The History of Northwest Rock,” a marathon history lesson to be broadcast starting at 10 a.m. Memorial Day. “The History of Northwest Rock,” produced by Mike Webb and Peter Blecha, originally aired in 1987. Dick Curtis’ Monday program features Nancy Claire, singer with the Viceroys, Little Bill of the Bluenotes, and Jim Valley, who was Harpo with Paul Revere and the Raiders.
— A somewhat-public private-label ale was introduced this month, “Z Original Ale.” It is brewed by Hale’s Ale in Kirkland for Seattle’s KPLZ – “the Z.” The brew will be available only through the month at only a dozen outlets, including the Latona Tavern and FX McRory’s.
— KOMO is scouting sites for a series of remote broadcasts from the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London in June.
— Joe Abel, executive vice president and general manager of KIRO Newsradio 71, has added the duty of supervising Kansas City sister stations KMBZ and KMBR.
— “Sounds of Sinatra,” a two-hour weekly syndication program with Sid Mark, is now heard at 5 p.m. Sundays on KSEA. The series was heard only briefly in this area but has been presented in Philadelphia for 25 years or so. This Sunday’s program includes Columbia recordings from 1947 to 1953.
— “Music Weekends” begin running from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend on KLSY-AM-FM, 1540 and 92.5. The hours after 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays offer “highlights” (at least a song an hour) by different music groups.
— Susan Glass, formerly with KLTX, is the new weekend announcer at KLSY-AM-FM, 1540 and 92.5.

Advertising & Programming: G. Michael, David Field & Bob Rivers Opine

G Michael1996 – G. Michael Donovan, Regional VP for Entercom owned KMTT FM (The Mountain) “One thing we do is let prospective clients view our current client base. When they see banks, airlines, and art galleries, we are able to infer that this is a station that must represent their own psychographic targeting. Clients may not understand the nuances of the music, but they do understand the advertising company that they keep.”

Typically, the area of greatest concern for programmers during 1996 was whether group ownership consolidation would eliminate their jobs. Most group executives remained upbeat on the matter. “On the programming side, we see additional opportunities for our PDs,” Entercom COO /CFO David Field remarked “A lot of them had glass ceilings in the old paradigm. However, there is much greater opportunity for career expansion for individuals who are capable of climbing the ladder further in today’s world.”

KISW morning host Bob Rivers discussed how show prep works for his “Twisted Radio” show. “I’ve heard it said by others and it’s true for me, too. My whole life is show prep. Whether my dog is having puppies, I’m building a chicken
coop, or talking to my sons about rude song lyrics – it can all end up as observations in the next day’s show.”

Dick Curtis: Dylan [III]

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

After arriving at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport we moved through customs. Just outside customs area the place was packed with photographers and reporters. I went out to talk to them and told them there would be no interviews. One reporter hollered, “What if we try?” I said, “Good luck.” That wasn’t the smartest thing to say because some of the reporters decided to try and really push their luck. As one Sidney reporter wrote in the AGE publication, “cameras collided, a lens crashed to the floor, luggage trolleys capsized and inane questions – like “Mr. Dylan will you be singing your protest songs of the 60s?” – were hurled above the general racket, followed quickly by “Mr. Dylan why won’t you talk to the press?” The reporter went on to say that Dylan walked right past the chauffeur with the plum Mercedes who was hired by the promoter to pick up Bob only to board a bus along with the rest of the musicians. He said the chain-smoking driver missed the moment he’d been waiting for – driving Bob Dylan.

Now I know why our promoter Pat Condon was so nice to us. It was still “summertime” down under and we opened in an old, five-thousand seat building called Festival Hall in Brisbane, Australia. We were going to play four nights in stifling heat in this building that lacked air-conditioning. You know what. Those four nights in Brisbane were among the best performances in Australia.

Bob & me passing through the airport in Sydney
Bob & me passing through the airport in Sydney

The band was really coming together although we were now getting some criticism in the press about Dylan’s approach to this 1978 world tour; no acoustic numbers, background singers, upbeat rock arrangements to several of the Dylan classics. It didn’t seem to bother him at all. That was the approach Bob intended to take and the fans were flocking to see truly a legend in his own time. Craig McGregor, a columnist with the Sydney Herald, had a rare, lengthy interview with Bob. He was permitted to watch the sound check the afternoon of the first show in Brisbane. After watching the performance it was obvious that he was astonished at the different sounding Bob Dylan. McGregor wrote in his review titled, “Dylan: The Hurdy Gurdy Vagabond Magic Man.” The writer was at first taken aback by Dylan’s new approach then warmed up to it saying, “The turning point of the whole evening is “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.” It’s a classic early song of Dylan’s, both slow and bitchy. But he has rearranged it as a jaunty reggae number; and it is such a daring, disrespectful thing to do, so damn shocking, so irreverent, and it works so well. Dylan standing his own music on its head and making it funny and endearing and mocking at the same time, affectionately satirizing the man who wrote it, but suddenly I realized, HE’S BROUGHT IT OFF! He’s the Virtuoso, Mr. Maestro, utterly reworking his old material, making it not better but different and caring not a damn what he loses in the process, or gains, or what everyone thinks. It’s life, and life only…”

The thousands of fans, some very young but most in their twenties, overwhelmingly approved of the new arrangements. Following the show they roared and hollered and screamed. Finally Dylan returned for an encore, “The Times They Are A Changing.” Australian “performance number one” was in the books…or at least we thought it was. But the crowd wouldn’t leave. I ordered the hall lights turned on. The piped in classical music began and the roadies started packing equipment but the five-thousand people kept on stamping and shouting for more. Twenty minutes later, after all attempts to remove the people failed Dylan returned to sing “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” According to public relations man Paul Wasserman, the last time Dylan preformed TWO encores was in 1974 at Madison Square Garden.

The next three nights in Brisbane were just as rewarding. So far it was evident they loved Bob

Dylan in “Aussieland.” Another reporter, this one from Brisbane wrote,

”The elusive and reclusive singer/poet who inspired a whole generation with songs of peace and protest no longer sings at people, hunched over a stool. He sings with them and to them – in a faster more ‘rocked-up’ way than ever before, and last night’s two-and-a-half hour concert was a brilliant show of the result. The capacity audience was entranced.” It was obvious that Dylan was appreciative of the response. Rather than go back to Sidney for a couple of off days before an outdoor show in Adelaide Bob decided he’d rather just stay in Brisbane. To report on his first Australian tour in a dozen years, Melborne Age columnist, Helen Thomas told of the softer, friendlier Dylan around the Brisbane area. A Dylan who walked to the hall from the hotel for sound checks, talking to people in the hotel lobby, shopping in the heart of Brisbane and signing autographs. Following his final show in Brisbane Thomas wrote about Dylan’s stage persona. “Thank you, thank you” Dylan told the audience. “We hope it has touched you because it has really touched us.” Thomas went on to say, “Australia seems to be witnessing the warmer side of a hero so much has been heard about since his last visit here in 1966. I had to laugh when Thomas referring to me said, “and then there’s the ‘executive’ icing to the cake: Mr. Dick Curtis representing Dylan’s manager.” I’d never thought of myself as cake frosting but I guess sometimes my personality can turn icy depending what I have on my mind.

During our stay in Brisbane I got a call one afternoon from promoter Pat Condon. He told me our two shows were sold out in Melbourne. He wanted to add a third. I told Pat, “Only if you can guarantee me a sell-out.” He said he could and after talking to Bob a third show was added. The reserved seats portion of the Myer Music Bowl sold out in five minutes although there were some grass seats available for about an hour.

Adelaide was our next stop where Dylan played Westlake Stadium on March 18th. The Dylan patter toward the end of the show was nearly the same every night with a few exceptions. “On the keyboards tonight, Alan Pasqua. On the violin and the mandolin, David Mansfield. Tenor saxophone, Steve Douglas. On the rhythm guitar we have a man responsible for what we call that outlaw sound. From San Antonio, Texas, Steven Soles. On the drums, Ian Wallace. Bass guitar, Rob Stoner. On the background vocals tonight we have three beautiful young ladies from Shreveport, Louisiana. On the right is Debbie Dye. In the middle is my childhood sweetheart, Jo Ann Harris. On the left is my current girlfriend, Helena Springs. On the conga drums, Bobbye Hall. Lead guitar, Billy Cross. This one’s called, “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding.”

Then the rains came. We were playing the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, the first of three nights. The facility is very much like Saratoga Springs in New York, the Garden State Arts Theater in New Jersey or so many other similar facilities with reserved seating then room for another four to five thousand on the lawn. The crowd was a little more subdued than in Brisbane but not much. John Hall, a reporter for the Herald newspaper in Melbourne wrote, “For most of the performance the audience seemed stunned; overawed by the depth and richness of the sound Dylan and his countrymen were producing. Too much of a good thing, perhaps. Dylan classic upon Dylan classic with only seconds separating them and then the man was gone and the audience really came alive.” Hall went on to say, “A five-minute standing ovation brought Dylan back on stage with “The Times They Are A-Changing.” The line “and accept that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone” brought a roar of amused approval. They were all drenched but wanted more. “Choruses of the encore were lost in the chanting from the crowd. Then Dylan was gone again. More standing ovation…three…four minutes. Back came the emaciated hero of folk-rock for his last encore. Two numbers. First the slow, dramatic “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” and then the beautiful “Knocking On Heavens Door.” He left the stage for the last time. He was spent and so was the audience. They had come, seen and heard…and Bob Dylan had conquered.” The weather let up some for the next night; for night three it was beautiful. I loved the city. Melbourne with over three-million people was very clean and metropolitan. It reminded me much of London. Now we were about to do some real traveling. The tour was heading for the most isolated city in the world, Perth, Australia on the other side of the outback. It’s also referred to as the “Gateway to Australia.” Perth was 3,438 kilometers or about 21-hundred miles away. The trip back to Sydney would be even longer, over 41-hundred kilometers.

The Perth Entertainment Center holds around nine-thousand people. According to the manager of the facility, Howard Lawrence, the center sold out in very little time. In fact Lawrence said, “Tickets sold faster in a shorter space of time than any other concert ever to visit Perth.” I liked the facility. Despite the size it was very “theater like.” We arrived in Perth the day before Good Friday. I had no idea things would be so “closed” on Good Friday. Everything was buttoned up for this national religious holiday, even some of the restaurants. But the sun was out and Perth felt to me like the beautiful vacation spot it was to so many Australians. We spent most of the day as guests of a prominent Australian who owned a string of television stations. For the life of me I can’t remember his name. He had quite a spread and some of us played a few games of tennis and drank Australian beer.

We opened on Saturday with shows scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. While the response wasn’t as wild as in Melbourne and Brisbane it was satisfactory. A Perth reporter, Seona Martin, perhaps upset that she hadn’t gotten a private interview, wrote a mean spirited review. It was obvious that Dylan wasn’t having too much of the press during a group interview prior to the concert. He was barefoot and told them that Viet Nam was Australia’s problem and we were just helping out. She wrote, although I didn’t hear it, that Dylan claimed he had made 75 billion dollars. Obviously that’s an absurd statement and any knowledgeable writer should have seen that Bob was just being flippant. She called his attitude arrogant and the review went downhill from there. It was apparent she had been expecting a 1963 Bob Dylan. She told how many fans walked out after the first set. I swear, I never saw that happen. She kept referring to the bead wearing, “folkies” that still gather in Perth. Martin closed her article by saying “Whether Dylan wanted to or not, Dylan was and is a folk hero and a prophet to folks who take their folk seriously.” It’s incredible how different reviewers can watch the same concert and come to startlingly different conclusions. Seona Martin needed to “loosen the knot.” Two more shows in Perth and it was time for that long plane flight to Sidney.

The concert was going to be held at the Sydney Showgrounds, a huge rugby, cricket and soccer stadium also used for other venues. Karen Hughes was a young journalist in the very beginning of her career who just happened to run into Dylan in Adelaide and to her astonishment found herself not only asking for an interview but getting promised one in Sydney. The forty-five minute interview was conducted on the afternoon of our final full day in Australia at the Boulevard Hotel where we were staying. It was originally printed in Rock Express and was reprinted in the unauthorized “Talkin’ Bob Dylan … 1978.”

Dylan Performing at the Sydney Showgrounds – April 1 1978
Dylan Performing at the Sydney Showgrounds – April 1, 1978

Bob played to about fifty-thousand people on that Saturday night, April fool’s day. The concert was upbeat and so were the reviews. The bootleggers got a 2-CD set out of the concert. We were heading home on our Pan Am flight, back to Los Angeles where the fun was just beginning. First there was an album to cut then Dylan would play a week, the first week of June, at the Universal Amphitheater. I would put my nose to the grindstone and place the finishing touches on a sixty-two city tour of America I’d nearly finalized before heading to Japan. So, all in all, it had been a successful tour – a different Bob Dylan. Polished, rockin’, upbeat; just what he had wanted to accomplish prior to setting off on this month-and-a-half of concerts. The only off stage problem I hadn’t anticipated happened in Sydney’s Boulevard Hotel during our final night in Australia. And it wasn’t that big of a deal and wouldn’t have even gotten any press but it just so happened that we upset the “Man From Atlantis.” Yup, who knew that Patrick Duffy was staying in that same hotel…one floor below us. Duffy would go on to achieve greater fame as Bobby Ewing in the long running television show, “Dallas.”

Hotel Room Noise

Dick Curtis: Dylan [II]

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

The Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo was a building that primarily was used for Sumo wrestling. The backstage area consisted of a considerable amount of marble. It had a very cold feeling. The food service was entirely Japanese. Being one that doesn’t necessarily care for fish, except tuna or a rare barbequed salmon it was a tough way to go. Our gracious hosts and promoters, Tots and Udo treated Bob and me along with some of the others, to Kobe steaks following the shows. They also introduced a few of us to the “Bathhouse.” I graciously accepted their invitation to Bathhouse B, where a geisha applied oil and massaged the body. Bob was taken to Bathhouse A, where I believe he received more than an oil job. Bob’s liner notes on the “At Budokan” album include the words, “The more I think about it, the more I realized what I left behind in Japan – my soul, my music and that sweet girl in the geisha house – I wonder does she remember me?” The first set of three concerts at the Budokan went well but left us wondering if they really liked the show or not. While the audiences were very polite and appreciative, they also seemed terribly reserved. We were assured by the promoters that this is the normal reaction for Japanese music fans. We took their word for it. Then, following a day off, then we took the bullet train to Osaka. There Bob performed three shows at the Panasonic Gymnasium, which the Japanese call the Matsushita Denki Taiikukan, then back to Tokyo for five more shows at the Budokan Hall. About half-way to Osaka we stopped in Kyoto to view the temples. I was awestruck. It made one feel like you’d been swept back centuries. The beauty and overall feeling was breathtaking.

It was during those first few days in Tokyo that I began to know Patrick Stansfield. He was obviously a genius in his field of stage production but he was literally a mess. I walked into his room at the New Otani and there he was sprawled out on the bed. What looked like dozens of coke cans strewn around the place. You could cut through the smoke with a knife and he had a joint going at the time. He occasionally was snorting cocaine. People were coming and going constantly and Patrick was holding court – talking to his stage manager, his lighting director and sound man; sometimes all at the same time. Most of these people had worked with Patrick on Neil Diamond and were comfortable with his methods. Several of them had ties to Bill Graham. That’s how Patrick worked and who cared how he conducted himself on his own time. What was presented on stage is all that mattered and when it came to stage production, there was none better than Patrick Stansfield.

We hadn’t been in the city but a couple of days when we experienced one of those famous Japanese earthquakes. People were running out into the halls of the hotel seeing if everyone else was a scared as they were. I was alarmed when I looked out my window and saw the ground moving back and forth but what can you do. It felt like the building was bending. I sweated it out with the rest of the group. After what seemed like many minutes but was probably much shorter, everything subsided. I never did hear of any damage reports, with all the television news broadcast in Japanese, who knew. Dylan didn’t flinch. He maintained what he was doing, sitting on his bed playing his guitar.

Following the final show at the Budokan, CBS Sony Records hosted a party for Bob and the band at Maxim’s of Paris, of course in Tokyo. It was there that I met one of the most gracious men I’d ever come in contact with.

Invitation to party

Invitation to party hosted by CBS/Sony

The host of the party, Mr. Norio Ohga, went on to become President and CEO of the Sony Corporation in 1989 but that’s not the person I’m referring to. Akio Morita introduced himself to me. This unassuming man then proceeded to tell me that he and a friend founded Sony with five-hundred dollars of their mustering out pay from military service following World War II. He went on to say, “And now I employ twenty-thousand people.” The year was 1946 and the company that was to become such a giant in the electronics field was called Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation. The Japanese version of the name was Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. Morita and his partner Masaru Ibuka eventually had twenty people working for them. Ibuka was 38 years old and devoted his energies to technological research and product development. The much younger Morita at 25 was instrumental in leading Sony in the areas of marketing, globalization, finance and human resources. The company name was changed to Sony in 1958, a move that many resented in Japan but Morita felt that Sony would be much easier to pronounce and remember. He felt that would be very important if the company hoped to develop a global presence.

Akio Morita

Akio Morita – the founder of one of the world’s most successful companies – Sony

The name was further changed to the Sony Corporation and in 1960 Morita and Ibuka felt it was time to come to the United States where the Sony Corporation of America was formed. Soon after, in 1963 Morita moved his entire family to the United States, living in a large Fifth Avenue apartment in Manhattan. He felt in that way he would understand Americans; get to know their marketing practices, their customs and regulations, thereby increasing the chance of his company’s success. A few years later Mr. Morita wrote a book called “Never Mind School Records” and stressed that school records are not important in carrying out a job. Akio Morita passed away in 1999 in Tokyo, a victim of pneumonia. He was 78 years old.

The party at Maxim’s was like any good record company get-together in the United States with one exception. The Japanese are such a gracious and giving people. We were all presented with gifts to remember the occasion and our stay in Japan. Many received Video Cassette Recorders, which were a new item at the time. I was given a small seven-band Sony portable radio which I use to this day. CBS Sony was very happy that they had a new Bob Dylan album to promote; one recorded in their own country, Bob Dylan – “At Budokan.” When the album was released I was pleased to see I’d received album credits. Album credits on a Bob Dylan release…not too shabby.

Next stop New Zealand.

Dylan tour ad
Bob Dylan at Budokan

I was glad to have Japan behind us and now we were heading into New Zealand for a large outdoor show in Auckland – then on to Australia for a series of concerts. Remember now, I was getting my first taste of actual artist management; something totally new to me. I’d been a tour manager or road manager for several different acts but never this much responsibility. I did quickly come to learn that this was a whole lot easier than being a concert promoter. Why hadn’t I discovered this years earlier. So far the only problem that had cropped up, aside from the daily minor ones, was one involving the background singers. The members of this band had all been around for many years and were pros and nice people but Debi Dye was a “pain in the ass.” She was constantly complaining mostly about Helena Springs. That was a mistake on Debi’s part because you could see from the beginning that Springs, a very attractive African-American lady, had Dylan’s eye and ear. I figured, most likely other body parts too. In Fact Dylan and Springs went on to write many songs together while on this tour, most, if not all, went unreleased. Its true Helena wasn’t as accomplished as the other two singers. Jo Ann Harris, the third singer was smart and remained fairly quiet on the issue. Rob Stoner had also complained to Dylan about Springs quite often. He was just doing his job but in doing it Stoner wasn’t looking at the big picture, “job security.”

Following our tour of the Far-East and Australia, Dye was replaced by another African-American, Carolyn Dennis. Carolyn was one heck of a singer with quite a resume. Dennis had been a background vocalist with the Carpenters, another Weintraub act. Dennis had been one of the singers on the famous Stevie Wonder album, “Songs In The Key Of Life.” She would also appear throughout the eighties and nineties on Michael Jackson sessions, with Donna Summer, Olivia Newton-John, Harry Chapin, Gladys Knight and many others including Bob Dylan. Dennis would go on to become Dylan’s wife in 1986 only no one knew about it. The two remain secretly married for years. Their marriage was discovered by a biographer in the early nineties. The couple divorced in 1992 but she gave Bob a baby girl, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan. Rob Stoner was also released from his contract following the Australian dates.

Stoner was replaced by Jerry Scheff. Scheff had played with Billy Preston, 60’s Rock ‘n Roll drummer and producer Hal Blaine, the jazz guitarist Barney Kessel, had been on the “bubble gum” hits like Tommy Roe’s “Sweet Pea” session, the Bobby Sherman hits, the Archie’s and Tiny Tim. Scheff had recording sessions with Johnny Mathis, Johnny Rivers, Neil Diamond, The Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, Barbra Streisand, The Doors, Elvis Presley – well you get the picture.

Dylan newspaper

Dylan’s arrival in Auckland, New Zealand

We traveled to New Zealand through China, changing planes in Hong Kong. It was a different feeling in the heavily guarded airport. It seems there were an unusually large number of guards with guns patrolling the airport, especially where passengers deplaned or boarded. We were traveling through and to places I’d never been. I’d traveled to Europe and North Africa in my past but never to the Far East or Australia. It was evening when we pulled into New Zealand.

I’ll always remember Auckland. I thought I’d stepped back into the early fifties in the United States. That’s just the way it felt to me, don’t ask me why. It was there that I renewed acquaintances with a man who would be our promoter throughout Australia and New Zealand, Pat Condon. I’d spent some time with Pat in Los Angeles prior to the tour. He was a brilliant promoter and the managing director of AGC Parradine, the promotion company’s official name. Pat took the time to make lasting friends. Pat Condon was very good at what he did and didn’t miss a trick. Condon and about twenty young females he’d flown in from Australia met us at the hotel in Auckland. The troupe was invited to a party he had put together in our honor. This would set the mood for the next few weeks we would be spending together. I can’t remember her name now but I was paired up with a lady that had been actor George Peppard’s live-in girlfriend not so long ago in Los Angeles. This person was very intelligent and I enjoyed her company but I was married and told her so. I saw her a couple of times during the three days in Auckland but when we left for Australia I said goodbye. She did call me a year later in Los Angeles and I once again had to remind her I was married. I surmise she saw me as a way back to the states. I believe we played to something less than thirty-thousand people at an outdoor facility in the Western Springs area of Auckland and it was on to Australia where Dylan last appeared a dozen years ago.

FM KVI becomes K-PLUS

radio notes_smThere’s one more radio name to remember, but KVI FM is trying to make it easy as possible.
From now on, the Golden West Broadcasters first FM station is to be known as K-Plus. But the Federal Communications Commission makes ’em spell it KPLZ.
Since the station calls its 101.5 dial position “101 Plus” it’s easy to see where the name comes from.
Todd Bitts, KPLZ station manager, said he’s received some criticism.
“They say I’ve got to be crazy to give up the KVI call letters. But KVI and the FM KVI seemed to add to listener confusion.
“It was nice to have a big brother to help us at first, but now we are a competitor to KVI AM as much as any other station in town,” Bitts said.

Highlights: 1981

20-20 NewsJanuary 1981 – Michael O’Shea named GM at KBLE FM. O’Shea previously was group PD for Golden West Broadcasters…
February 1981 – Ken Kohl is appointed Program Manager for KOMO, coming from Denver where he headed his own consultancy, replacing Larry Nelson, who concentrates on his morning show…
KZOK hires Larry Snider away from KGON Portland as Asst. PD, and Michael Knight from KKSN Portland as MD, while KZOK MD Brad Hoffman steps down…
KZAM AM switches format from Modern Music to Soft AOR…
March – KZOM Beaumont PD Dave Scott exits for middays at KZAM Seattle..
April 1981 – Former KJR morning man Charlie Brown to program First Media’s KBLE- FM ..
KTAC PD Tom Jeffries and air staffer Kirk Russell walk Washington state coastline for March of Dimes…
May 1981 – KYYX MD Sean Lynch promoted to Special Projects Assistant and is replaced by Elvin Ichiyama…
Tom Jeffries out as KTAC PD replaced by Bruce Cannon …
June 1981 – Bonneville Broadcast Consultants and the newly-created Satellite Music Network team with plans to take Bonneville’s Beautiful Music format nationwide via satellite…
KMPS-AM & FM GM Jim McGovern adds VP responsibilities at Affiliated Broadasting…
July 1981 – . Ivan Braiker named VP /GM for the Satellite Music Network, coming from his previous post as GM at WIRE Indianapolis…
KZAM -AM switches from Soft AOR to Jazz…
KZAM PD Paul Sullivan exits and MD Marion Seymour drops MD title…
Bob Sharon takes on the VP /GM duties, which include supervising KZAM -AM & FM, at Bellevue Radio Inc. ..
Former KAYO News Director Jay Johnson returns to rival KVI as AM news anchor…
August 1981 – Ric Hansen, formerly Station Manager at KTAC, forms Champion Broadcasting Management Services and purchases KMED Medford, OR …
Peyton Mays exits as PD of KZEL Eugene for PD post at KEZX Seattle…
KZAM -AM switches call letters to KJZZ…
Joe Martell exits PDship of KVI; he is replaced by Jack London, most recently PD of KDWN Las Vegas…
September 1981 – Monty Grau promoted to VP /GM for KOMO from his previous post as Station Manager there …
October 1981 – Edie Hilliard takes the GM post at KING, coming from her GSM position at KJR ….
Tim Williams is promoted to Operations Manager for KEZX. Williams had held the position on an interim basis for the past four months ..
Dave Scott takes on MD post at KZAM …
Tom Mann moves from middays at KAYO to all-nights at KVI
November 1981 – Gale Johnson becomes GM at KZOK from GSM at KING …

Dick Curtis: Dylan [I]

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

I guess I never fully realized the genius that was Bob Dylan until I came to work with him. For weeks I sat in a chair facing Bob and the band as they rehearsed for what would be well over 100 concerts in 1978. When I was introduced to Bob he was very friendly and cordial. Jerry Weintraub told me that Dylan was impressed that I’d been Frank Sinatra’s road manager. That was important to Jerry. In my assignment with Dylan I would act more as a personal management representative rather than a road manager. In this capacity I eventually hired a road manager named Mike Crowley. I referred earlier to Joe Crowley in connection with Led Zeppelin; they were brothers. Both of them possessed an incredible work ethic and a rare dedication to detail. I enjoyed working with Mike mostly because he made my life much easier. Did I fail to mention, he was also a great guy!

Over the years I had played Dylan’s music as a disk jockey and also at home but I never considered myself what you would call a die-hard fan. That was about to change. As I sat there day after day in Dylan’s rehearsal studio in Santa Monica, California, less than twenty feet from the band, I listened intently to the words. It was the beginning of my understanding of Bob Dylan. I quietly began to intimately know the personalities of the incredible group of musicians that was being assembled. The weeks slipped by and I felt a bond developing between Bob and myself. I always shot straight with him, never tried to bull shit. I believe he appreciated this. Dylan, with an uncanny knack of being able to sort out truth from fiction, had the amazing ability to look right through someone. I wasn’t about to test those waters and besides lying to an act wasn’t my style. That’s probably why I wasn’t making the big bucks.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the scene I was looking at was an unusual method of showcasing the artist. It would have been normal for anyone else but not Dylan. He was using Neil Diamond’s raked stage. Neil was another Weintraub client. Diamond’s Production Manager Patrick Stansfield had been brought on board. Stansfield was responsible the staging of huge Neil Diamond shows including London’s Wembley Stadium. He knew the secrets of touring Europe, where we would eventually be heading, which made him invaluable. Stansfield had also been the production manager for Bill Graham Presents when they promoted the Rolling Stones U-S tours in the seventies. When it came to staging a rock and roll show, he was experience personified. He went on to stage shows for Barbra Streisand and other elite clientele. There’s something else about Patrick that you should know. Stansfield had the ability to drink more Coke-Cola, snort more cocaine and smoke more joints in a day than anyone I’d ever met before; doing them all at once, non-stop. He was amazing. I never could figure out how he kept it together but strangers would never have any idea he was stoned. The only give away was his constant nose sniffing to stop the runs. Like I say, the raked stage, which means it’s higher in the back and sloped down to the front, a large eight-piece band behind him and three background singers was an entirely new look for Bob Dylan. At the time I didn’t know if it was his idea or Weintraub’s. There was a lot of speculation floating around but no one really knew the answer. It was sometime quite later I heard that Dylan had become upset driving through the Hollywood area and seeing numerous Neil Diamond billboards. “Why?” He had more album releases for Columbia Records than Diamond. There were no billboards for Dylan. I don’t know this for a fact but, like I say, something I had heard. Diamond a year earlier had a very successful week at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles that had the town buzzing. Columbia had released the album, “Love at the Greek” in 1977 recorded live during that magical week. The album had been produced by Robbie Robertson, a member of The Band, Dylan’s earlier back-up group. Then Bob traveled to Las Vegas and watched a Neil Diamond performance. He was impressed with the showmanship; Neil’s connection to the crowd. Bob had no desires to be a Las Vegas act but he liked the money Vegas performers were getting and felt maybe things should be spruced up a bit. The first thing Dylan did was hire the same personal manager as Neil Diamond, Jerry Weintraub. It was then that the other pieces fell into place. Neil’s production manager Stansfield, sound contractor Stan Miller and monitor mixer Tim Charles and numerous other personnel came on board. Miller’s company also provided sound for John Denver, another Weintraub client. If you ever get the chance, compare the stage personnel on the “Love at the Greek” album with the personnel on the “Bob Dylan at Budokan” album, released a year later, you’ll find many of the same names. At the time no one anticipated how controversial this new approach was to become. Meanwhile, I was getting to know the main players. The lady in charge of the rehearsal studio was another former Bill Graham employee, Ava Magna who also worked for Stansfield with Neil Diamond. They called the rehearsal place in Santa Monica, “Rundown Studios.” Ava was the boss of the studio and she let you know it. I got along well with Ava, never got in her way and she treated me likewise. Bob’s personal assistant was a nice, disorganized guy named Gary Shafner. Gary was referred to as Dylan’s Road Manager but that really wasn’t the case. A real road manager, the best I ever worked with, Mike Crowley, would join us in a matter of weeks. Marty Feldman was Dylan’s accountant not to be confused with the comedic actor. This Marty Feldman was all business. Paul Wasserman, a real heavyweight in the PR field handled Dylan’s public relations. Last but not least was Bob’s live-in girlfriend at the time, Mary Alice Artes, a black actress and a religious influence who would later help bring Dylan to Christianity. Lou Kemp was Dylan’s boyhood friend from Duluth, Minnesota and was always around. I also liked Kemp a lot. He never flaunted the friendship he enjoyed with Bob. Kemp had huge bucks and was the owner of Kemp Fisheries which was renamed in the eighties, the Louis Kemp Seafood Company. His father and uncle had founded the company in 1930 in Duluth; Louie had become president in the late sixties. In the eighties Kemp would hit it big by introducing surimi-based seafood products.


Bob Dylan’s best friend from Duluth – Lou Kemp

Many of the musicians being assembled for this tour were refugees from the 1975 Dylan “Rolling Thunder Revue” tour like Rob Stoner. Rob played bass and handled some vocals. Stoner was the one most responsible for putting together this new band and was hired by Dylan as more or less, the musical contractor. Stoner has played with Link Wray, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, Roger McGuinn and others. His most famous work is his performance on the Don McLean monster hit, “American Pie.” He had a brief solo career with Epic Records.

Because of that Rolling Thunder connection some of Stoner’s earlier choices were musicians like Steven Soles who was also on the Thunder tour. Soles played rhythm guitar and sang background vocals. Soles is also an accomplished songwriter, and a devout Christian. One year later he would support Dylan in his own religious conversion telling Bob that he was so glad that he didn’t have to place his faith in man any longer. The musical credentials for Soles are many. He recorded with Elvis Costello, Roger McGuinn, Don McLean, The Monkees, Olivia Newton-John, Roy Orbison and many others. Soles had been a member of the Alpha Band which was formed in 1976 with high expectations. How high were those expectations? The Alpha Band, after only being formed for a matter of weeks, would be signed by Clive Davis and Arista Records for a reported six-million dollars. Davis referred to them as one of the most important acts to come along in years. The Alpha Band also included a couple of other Rolling Thunder survivors, T-Bone Burnett and multi-instrumentalist, David Mansfield, also born-again Christians. Arista released three albums by the Alpha Band and the venture was ended with the band breaking up in 1979.

David Mansfield was also a member of Dylan’s newest assemblage. He looked angelic playing his violin and appeared to be very young. David was extremely talented. If you look at Mansfield’s web site you’ll find he’s worked with well over a hundred artists; everyone from Tanya Tucker to Ringo Starr. Roger McGuinn, Lindsay Buckingham, The Chambers Brothers, John Denver and Melissa Manchester to name just a few. Mansfield has written the musical score for nearly a dozen movies as of this writing. He was the musical conductor and wrote the score for the highly acclaimed movie, “Transamerica.”

The keyboards were handled by Alan Pasqua who went on to join Santana. Pasqua has performed with Pat Benatar, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin, John Forgerty, Sammy Hagar, Elton John, Dionne Warwick, Rod Stewart and Phil Spector to name just some of his credits.

The percussionist was Bobbye Hall. She was playing Detroit jazz joints when she was too young to order a drink. You heard Bobbye on Stevie Wonder’s famous “Songs In the Key Of Life” album and with a vast majority of Motown artists including, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Mary Wells, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Patti La Belle and the list goes on. After moving to Los Angeles she performed with Barbara Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Johnny Mathis. She appeared on Janis Joplin’s final album; at Carnegie Hall with James Taylor; toured the U-S and Europe with Stevie Nicks. Hall has numerous movie sound tracks to her credit.

On Tenor and Soprano Sax was Steve Douglas. Steve was the most “in demand” session sax player in Los Angeles. Douglas’s musical roots go back to the fifties. Remember the honkin’ saxophone on Duane Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser” and “Forty Miles of Bad Road?” …Steve Douglas. His recording credits are far too numerous to mention but they include, The Beachboys, Glen Campbell, Billy Preston, and Jan and Dean. Douglas was blowing the wailin’ sax you hear on the Crystals “He’s a Rebel” and most other Phil Spector produced hits of the sixties. That number one hit, by the way, was credited to the Crystals but was actually was sung by The Blossoms. Producer Phil Spector used the Blossoms once again to record the next Crystals hit, “He’s Sure the Boy I Love” which went to number eleven. Whoa, I’m getting way off track here. Anyway, the sax that stood out in those Spector sessions belongs to Steve Douglas. He’s appeared on hundreds of commercial jingles, several movie sound tracks, including “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and even owned his own record company. You’re getting an idea of the type of talent Dylan was putting together for his newest band.

Ian Wallace was on drums. Don Henley, himself a drummer, hired Wallace for three of his solo tours. Wallace was a member of King Crimson. He’s performed with Bonnie Raitt, Lonnie Mack, Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, Keith Emerson, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Roy Orbison and Jackson Browne. He toured and recorded with Procol Harum along with the super group, The Traveling Wilburys and the Wallace list also goes on and on.

Billy Cross handled the lead guitar chores and one of the nicest musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Billy is a very talented guitar player who’s performed on sessions with Dr. Hook, Link Wray, Robert Gordon and several other mostly European bands. In fact Billy currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark.

On background vocals in the beginning of 1978 was, Debi Dye, Helena Springs and Jo Ann Harris. Much work had gone into putting this band together. Bob Dylan was quoted as saying, “A lot of blood has gone into this band. They understand my songs. It doesn’t matter if they understand me, or not.”

The Dylan rehearsals continued until it was time to depart for our first concerts in Tokyo, Japan. I’d never been to the Far East before and here I was, traveling as the manager of an act I’d never worked with before; on the road with a cast and crew of about sixty people. Prior to leaving I’d insisted that Jerry Weintraub buy me some clothes. I wore nothing but jeans as a rock promoter but acting as manager in a country where so much is measured by appearance, I floated myself a couple of suits. Some slacks and sport coats. Funny, all the years I worked for Sinatra I mostly wore jeans. Here I was working for Bob Dylan and I was dressing up, go figure. Anyway, after getting shots and a passport, we all met at the L-A Airport about to take a thirteen hour Pan Am flight to Tokyo. Thirteen hours in economy class. I’d had an agreement with Concerts West when I went to work for them. Since I was flying, quite often on a daily basis, I insisted on flying first class. They went along with my plan. Now things were different. It was all for one and one for all. No first class for anyone. Forget about limos. Bob, the band members and me would travel in a chartered bus from the airport to the hotel and on to the gig and back. So we packed on to the airplane where Bob and his personal assistant Gary Shafner played Backgammon nearly the whole trip. I snoozed, watched part of a movie, read a book and whatever to try to pass the time. It’s amazing how long thirteen hours can be when you’re counting nearly every minute.

PR man Paul Wasserman had warned me what to expect when we arrived in Tokyo. I thought to myself he must be exaggerating just a little bit. How wrong I was. It was a madhouse! The members of the press are allowed right out on the tarmac which was a surprise to me. I don’t believe Bob was really ready for it either. Pushing and shoving reporters all trying for that close-up shot of Bob Dylan. After fighting our way through the frenzied paparazzi we were ushered to a large hotel ballroom across from the Tokyo International Airport, called Haneda Airport. It was there that reporters wanted to be the first to uncover the meaning of life from Dylan. Keep in mind that we’d just completed a thirteen hour-long flight plus the time in preparation for the journey. The first question from a reporter, “What do you believe will be the next age?” Bob in his sarcastic but very believable way answered, “Zen” and they all wrote it down. It was downhill from there. The best part about the day was my opportunity to meet two gentlemen I’d heard so much about. Tats Nagashima and Seijiro Udo who handled nearly all of the rock n’ roll promotions in Japan. They were referred to as Tats (pronounced Tots) and Udo. There wasn’t anything they couldn’t or wouldn’t do for you. Dylan was to perform three days at Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo beginning February 20th, three days in Osaka and then return to Tokyo for five more concerts at “The Budokan” as it was called. The date was February 17th. I needed to rest for the next twenty-four hours and then take in some of Tokyo. But right now a bed was foremost in my mind and we couldn’t get to the New Otani Hotel quickly enough.

Dylan Tokyo

Bob Dylan’s 1978 Arrival In Tokyo

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