Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Morning Odds & Sods

71° - clear at 12:18pm

The radio project. Still ripping, trimming and normalizing tracks for my soon-to-come internet radio project.

Takes me back to putting a new station on the air and dubbing all the music to cart; this time I'm doing it all by my lonesome!

Last night: I was half-asleep with the TV on; waking up this morning, I wasn't sure if what I remembered was real or just a (bad) dream. But was real:

Whatever it takes to pay the Back to radio:

The Radio Gypsies. Jay (J.) Blackburn's new novel. I mentioned here the other day that I did read it all in a night. Great stuff. Jay's stories of traveling from market to market as a "fix it" expert is fascinating.

Nearly everything written actually happened (but it is a novel); most names/locations/call letters have been changed to protect...well...Jay.

One set of call letters in the book that are real: WLUP/Chicago; and Jay devotes a number of chapters in the book describing the switch from the former jazz station (WSDM) to The Loop in 1976-1977; and that alone sells the book.

The station was launched on a bare-bones budget; and the descriptions of the setup and what was happening behind the scenes is fantastic.
The role engineering played to make the station a female-friendly AOR is well-described in the book.

One promotion WLUP did - which I thought was brilliant at the time (still do) - was the Beatles Guide promo. All a listener had to do was pick up a Loop Beatles Guide at a White Hen Pantry store (a better 7-11 back then) and log every Beatles song played on the station between 6am and Midnight.

Jay notes that the quarter hour maintenance was incredible and the recycling through dayparts awesome.

I don't remember this in the book; but Jay mentioned to me years ago that there was more than one competitior crying "foul" with Arbitron. But the promo was OK then under the ARB guidelines at the time. I remember having my own Beatles Guide - picking it up at the White Hen Pantry downtown on McClurg Court. I was working next door at WBBM/Newsradio 78 at the time.

Again, names were changed; but those in the know will recognize who's who. Chicago radio vets will remember some guy in the mid-late 70s programming NBC's Chicago properties. In the book, he's known as "Spittman". And that rhymes with

Jay's website is up: The site includes book excerpts. Jay welcomes comments and mail at:

The Radio Gypsies is a great read for any radio programmer or radio geek. I do recommend.

Steve Downes. I got to know the name Steve Downes years ago when he was the host of Westwood One's (syndicated) Superstar Concert Series. Steve currently does morning drive on Chicago's WDRV...and his voice is also heard in the current smash video game "Halo".

Steve also one-time host of "Rockline"; and has been hosting the syndicated show "The Classics" for a number of years now.

Rick Kaempfer's Chicago Radio Spotlight interviews Steve this week. Read here.

Have a great Sunday.

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