Sunday, October 12, 2014

It’s Wolfman Jack month!

Well, it’s really ROCK-tober … okay, if you’re not into cutesy month designations, you can’t deny it IS October … the month when leaves loosen and cascade softly from their tree limbs, creating a stark bareness at month’s end, perfect for spooky Halloween.
Of course, at BFYP we’re excited because October truly was Wolfman Jack’s favorite time of the year. He howled his way through numerous Halloween events and loved every second of them. As The Guess Who urged us (1974), “Clap for the Wolfman!”

Little known Wolfman Jack facts:
On the path to his radio career, Robert Weston Smith devised the Wolfman persona while chasing his nephews around the house at bedtime (much to the chagrin of his sister and her husband).
Before there was Wolfman Jack, “Bob” sold Collier’s Encyclopedias and Fuller Brushes door-to-door! Did your family living in Alexandria, Virginia, buy from him in the late 1950s?

Bob kept Wolfman Jack’s appearance under wraps through his early days, after a run-in with the Ku Klux Klan about his integrated dance club, in Shreveport, Louisiana, early 1960s. 

Wolfwoman, Lou, created Wolfman Jack’s original look, but they hired a Hollywood makeup guy to polish it for his first California gig as Wolfman, appearing with Little Richard in Santa Ana (late 1960s). “Getting out of the radio booth and onto a stage was a big leap. It was fantastic fun, but it also scared the hell out of me. That’s why I needed all my makeup, disguise, and outlandish trappings.” (Have Mercy! [1995]) 

Halloween is like Bob Smith bouncing around as Wolfman Jack. We get the opportunity to have loads of fun, without the pressure of being ourselves – if only for a day.

Be Safe ~ Have Fun ~ HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Coming soon – Blast from Your Past, Book 2 in the series, with lots of great Wolfman Jack tales! While you wait, check out Book 1, Rock& Roll Radio DJs: the First Five Years 1954-1959, at Amazon. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kevin Metheny “On the Air” Above … RIP

It’s always a great loss when one of our pioneering radio greats leaves us for Heavenly airwaves. 

At BFYP, by the very nature of its vintage roots, we often report loss due to age that claims one of our once-best and brightest in the radio industry.

With heavy heart, today we offer our condolences to BFYP DJ/PD, Terrell Metheny, for the loss of his son, Kevin Metheny, who went on the air in Heaven, Friday, October 3, 2014.

Kevin Metheny (60) followed in his dad’s industry footsteps to become a highly respected programmer, focusing on talk radio. Obviously, Terrell taught him well, and is immensely proud.

“He was first on the radio at six weeks old,” Terrell commented in a 2009 interview for the BFYP book. “Sitting in the back of the studio, he let out a yell while the mic was open.” The radio bug bit young Kevin when Terrell “put him on the radio in a commercial when he was about three.”

Kevin’s forty-four year radio career began in high school and included stints with the biggies like KJR/Seattle, WGH/Chicago, WNBC/New York on the Howard Stern Show, and most recently, as Operations Manager of Cumulus News-Talk KGO & KSFO/San Francisco. “He jumped over me real fast,” said Terrell.

Please join me in heartfelt prayers for Terrell and his family as Kevin leaves terrestrial radio to sign on in broadcasting’s heavenly realm. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blast from Your Past – Book 1, Excerpt 2: DJ Dr. Don Rose

Dr. Don Rose – Excerpt #2 from Blast from YourPast! Book 1 - Rock & Roll Radio DJs: the First Five Years 1954-1959 

BFYP-FM is helpin’ you rise ‘n’ shine! We see the big ol’ sun peeking over the hill, playing hide an’ seek with fluffy clouds … it’s so bea-u-ti-ful. But wait, wait … ‘Hey, hey you! Get offa my cloud!’
“This is your old fuddy-duddy buddy, Dr. Don at the yawn of a new day!” (A DDR oft-repeated wake-up greeting.)

Dr. Don Rose (a.k.a. Donald Rosenberg)
Best known at KFRC/San Francisco, California
1934 ~ 2005 (Interview with son, Jay Rosenberg.)

While Jeff Prescott’s dad, Norm [coming up in another excerpt], carved out his platter-spinning niche in Boston, another kid in Philly cocked his head quizzically at his dad’s voice coaxing him awake.
“My earliest memory was of listening to him from a clock radio next to my bed,” said Jay Rosenberg, “and wondering how he got inside the box. My mom kind of explained how it worked. But I don’t think I got it.”
Jay recalls this fond memory of his dad, Donald Rosenberg. Before all was said and done, Donald became endeared to thousands of fans on both sides of the country as “Dr. Don Rose.”
Don Rose’s radio star was already on the rise before Jay, the second youngest of five Rosenberg siblings, marveled at his dad’s voice bouncing out from the radio.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blast from Your Past - Book 1, Excerpt 1: DJ Ron Riley

Beginning with this article I'll periodically post excerpts from Book 1 (1954-1959) of the Blast from Your Past series. I'm hoping this will inspire me (more) to finish Book 2 and inspire you to read and relive the best days of Rock & Roll Radio. ~ Enjoy the moment ... again! LR 

Chapter 1 excerpt from Blast from Your Past! Book 1

Oh, my papa, to me he was so wonderful
Oh, my papa, to me he was so good
                “Oh, My Pa-Pa,” Eddie Fisher’s #1 hit, January 1954
Not quite Rockin’ & Rollin’ yet!

(Read this fast and loud!) I’m Rockin’ Rochelle coming to you from BFYP-FM (Blast from Your Past-Full Moon), broadcasting to the world from sunny Cal-i-forn-i-A!
We’re spreading music and mayhem throughout the land, with lively behind-the-mic tales of your favorite Rock & Roll Radio DJs from yesteryear!
Poodle skirts, saddle shoes, bobby sox and ducktail hair, hiphuggers and peace signswe’re ready to ROCK!
Let’s go trippin’ down mem’ry lane and check out those wild-n-crazy guys and gals who kissed your ears with Rock & Roll music for the souuulllll!
First up for your platter-spinning pleasure … a real Midwest Rock & Roll DJ treasure.

Best known at WLS/Chicago, Illinois

Ron Riley … or did you know him as “Ron ‘Ringo’ Riley”? How about “Smiley Riley”? With stints at WLS-Chicago, Milwaukee’s WOKY (pronounced “walky”), and even his own Bowling for Dollars TV show, Ron never wanted to be anything other than a deejay.
Come on-a My House,” Rosie Clooney crooned to the impressionable, adolescent teen. It was the early 1950s and Ron Riley headed to downtown Chicago often, eager to watch the guys in the fishbowl radio studios spin Rosie’s platters.
“I just knew that was what I wanted to do,” Riley said, reminiscing. A child of the ‘40s, “there wasn’t a lot … well, not really any, Rock & Roll music then, so I grew up appreciating all types of music – big band, mostly. When not selling insurance, dad’s greatest fun was playing sax and clarinet with local dance bands on weekends. There was always music in our house.”
Young Ron realized that even the disc jockeys didn’t know what to do with Rock & Roll. How do you introduce something so feisty and unpredictable to a radio world previously ruled by big bands, boozy ballads and smooth talkin’ gentleman announcers?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Casey Kasem's "Soul Train" No Quiet Ride

Care to comment? Leave your remarks below - what do you think of Casey's suspended burial?

Young DJ Casey at KEWB
San Francisco 02/24/1962
With a heavy heart, I post an update to Casey Kasem’s rise to Rock& Roll Heaven. His family simply will not allow him to take a peaceful journey on the “Soul Train.”

Recent reports raise the question of the whereabouts of his remains. Seriously?! The "Father" of American Top 40 spirited away on Father's Day (06/15/14). Let the poor man Rest In Peace, for cryin' out loud.

We cannot judge his wife without firsthand knowledge. However, she has apparently defied what his children claim are “his wishes” – and who can argue that none of us would want our bodies to linger in limbo.

While my personal belief is that the soul moves on when our Earthly bodies expire, few of us would deny it is simply unethical not to care for our "released" bodies in a humane way.

We can only hope that this ridiculous travesty will soon be remedied and Mr. Kasem can ultimately, truly, Rest In Peace.

You don't have to hurry | On a soul train ride | You don't have to worry | Let your troubles slide
(1968, Classics IV)

Rock On, Casey!