Jack Mindy antique airchex

 



Jack's AirCheck Archive

Permission is granted to copy this material for any legal purpose providing credit is given to "www.JackMindy.com".

YOU: What's this all about, except maybe a little ego-massage?

ME: Welll...ever since the Internet became a part of everyone's life, every month or two I get an email from someone I worked with thirty years ago, or an air check collector who's missing a period of his favorite station, or something. So I figured I'd go through the boxes in the basement and use up a bunch of bandwidth and share the stuff with anyone who cares about the (oh, jeez, here it comes) GOOD OLD DAYS when radio was radio...blah blah, etc.

The website "440.com" is responsible for a lot of this. They have an incredible listing of individual jocks and line-ups of stations from days gone by. It's an amazing resource. The list they have for me includes most of the stations I've been on since the beginning, except for maybe half a dozen not in my list because I worked for them only a short time (as little as one day!). That group would include some fill-in at WTIC, KMOX, a non-comm in San Francisco (that's the one day - the movers came the next day to take my stuff to Syracuse), seven unpleasant weeks on Cape Cod in winter(!), etc.

 

What I'm putting up now is the result of people who asked me for certain things. I'll add more stuff as I find time to dig through my boxes of reels and cassettes.

As would be expected, most of it is...ME. The main purpose of air-checking was to get a better job somewhere, or having something in the can for when the GM's wife decides we should go "All Kenny & Dolly, All the Time". But there's also rare footage of WHEN's legendary Dick Burch, and the demo tape of the most riveting radio production ever to hit the AM waves of air.

I finally got rid of the old RealPlayer system. All the audio files are now MP3 so your browser should be able to access them without further ado.

 

* Reverse chronological order (bottom to top)

WJR
Detroit

1987 - WJR is radio's version of "died and gone to heaven". Not just the big gun in Detroit, but usually ranked in the top 3 in Flint, Lansing and Toledo. I started at JR working weekends while still living in Buffalo and working Monday-Friday at WWKB. Who knew working seven days a week could be such a treat. J.P.McCarthy, Jimmy Launce, Joel Alexander, Frank Beckman, Hal Youngblood, the folks at the Weather Center (located 70 miles away in Flint), the superb news department, and, of course, baseball's Ernie Harwell; you can't sound bad in those surroundings.
I shouldn't admit it, but I'm one of the few people who quit WJR not once, but twice. After six months of working both cities, KB said my job there was secure. So, family considerations in mind, I guit JR. Predictably, a month later KB dumped the entire staff! I called Gary Berkowitz at JR and found that the guy who had replaced me had just quit because he got a TV gig, so I was hired back as full-time weekend/fill-in. How's that for a way to get promoted?

 

Surprise, Alex Haley's on line two!

 

Jack takes on Howie Mandel, and Larry King's on line three.


WBEN
Buffalo



1978 - I finish the morning show at 'FBL one day and get a message to call Bob Wood at WBEN. A few weeks later the house in Syracuse (Jamesville, actually) is sold, we have one in Williamsville, and I'm again doing afternoons in my hometown. 'BEN is special for me, because my brother and I were forced to listen to Clint B. and those very un-hip Frederick Fennell / John Phillip Sousa marches on mornings when Dad drove us to school. Listening to "Your AM MC, CB" was good training for me, and I knew who Tommy Whelan was, too. Bob Wood was one of the best guys I ever worked for. What a privilege to be there for a ten-year period ('78-'87) with such a load of amazingly talented people.
This air check dates back to November, 1978, about half a year after I started there. Canada's own Dale R. Patterson let me know he had it in his possession and I could have it if he could put my 1967 WYSL air check on his site - www.rockradioscrapbook.com or www.rockradioscrapbook.ca. You think my WYSL check is old, he's got Alan Freed in Cleveland, John R. in Nashville, Hound Dog, and tons of other familiar voices from our childhood and our other good old days as well.

WFBL
Syracuse



1975 - One of those typical radio situations. I'd been working with an ol' Ithaca College friend at WHEN, Jim Ashbery, until he fired me one day. Before I had time to send out any tapes, Jim himself got fired, took the PD job at WFBL and hired me for the morning show there. What FBL lacked in resources it made up for with a roster of fine talent. Fridays meant a race to the bank to see whose check would bounce, but we persevered. (If you never had a paycheck bounce, you were never in radio. Similarly, if you've never been fired, you're not doing it right.) The voices on my show (in this case the Congressman, and the obvious take-off on "Carlton the Doorman" from the Rhoda TV show) were done by evening jock Terry "Coyote" O'Shea.

  •  10/20/13 - At my 50th Reunion at Ithaca College last week, I had the great pleasure of actually running in to Jim Ashbery and his wife, Rosalie. The first time in about 35 years! Jim mentioned that the paragraph above has a major inaccuracy: Jim didn't fire me from WHEN - he was already otta there. Neither of us could recall who was PD at WHEN after Jim. Regardless, Jim hired me for WFBL's morning show before I had a chance to file for unemployment.


WHEN
Syracuse



1974 - Just another typical day at WHEN. And perhaps some proof that sensibilities have changed over the years.


WHEN
Syracuse



1972 - If there ever was a job where I enjoyed EVERY day between hiring and firing, it was my three years at WHEN, under the management team of GM John Patton and PD Deane Parkhurst and, later, Jim Ashbery. In my entire career I never saw the level of support we all got from Patton. And it paid off: it was only Syracuse, but we owned it! "We" refers to the entire staff of terrific people, including my good friend Jay "Trachman" Stone, who left one day for the west coast, and supplied me with more material than I'm willing to admit, through his long-running "One to One" service. If any person singluarly improved the performance of thousaands of jocks in this country, it was Jay. Another benefit of my years at WHEN...I get to tell people I knew Al Roker when he was just a local weather guy.
(Important - If you have old reel-to-reel tapes lying around, don't wait much longer to make copies. After only one playing, this one ended up as a nice pile of iron oxide on the desk.)


WHEN
Syracuse



1972 - And now, for your dining and dancing pleasure, a rare recording of WHEN's other morning legend (besides Phil Markert): "Sweet" Dick Burch. Stick around for Billy Sol Hargis at the end.


WHEN
Syracuse



1972 - Here's more of "Sweet" Dick Burch. But this tape shows “Sweet” was ahead of his time.

The movie "Deep Throat" was a national sensation, bringing on a wave of what the New York Times labeled "Porn Chic". Dick talked WHEN's "teen-age General Manager" John Patton into a contest: tell WHEN why you should win a pair of tickets to get on a chartered bus to go to the Franklin Art Theatre to see "Deep Throat". Masks were passed out to winners who wanted to hide their identity. No one bothered. Everyone took it all in the spirit of fun and discovery; no one was offended. If you can find the Syracuse New Times "Syracuse Guidebook '76", an inch-thick tabloid-size compilation of all that was Syracuse in the mid-70s, you'll be able to read all about it.
For the 70s, this tape is a bit risque. (The moans were provided by Dick's lovely wife; he knew how to use it – not all that raunchy, just funny.


KNEW
Oakland/San Francisco


1971 - Metromedia had WNEW's west-coast sister station in Jack London Square in Oakland. Lovely location, sailboats passing by the studio window. After KCBS-FM changed format, I picked up the 10 PM to 2 AM slot. You can tell it's early 70s - two live spots and a sponsorship in one break!

KCBS-FM
San Francisco


1971 I was offered a job in San Francisco doing non-radio production. Having never lived on the west coast, I left a great job to join half a dozen other people who worked for a month, then another month, and never got paid. Fortunately, KCBS's FM was looking for some jocks to try a new kind of format. It was "wild-tracking". Shows were programmed with prehistoric IBM keycards. We'd record our song ins and outs with engineer and without benefit of any music. "Theatre of the mind" in reverse. A room full of cart decks and reel-to-reels would put it all together. You might notice something different about the tracking we did back then: time checks, actual references to the music and actually getting "into" the music. Not just "that was...now here's". As evidenced by the lack of commercials, the experiment only lasted a few months.

KXOK
St. Louis


1970 - Two weeks after WIXZ dumped everybody including me, I snatched a terrific gig at KXOK in St. Louis. Through the 1960s, KXOK was reputed to be among the Top Five Billing Stations in the country. Morning man & PD was Chicago's legendary Mort Crowley (his voice on the anti-littering PSA). Radio in StL was (is?) highly unionized. KXOK jocks (AFTRA) were allowed only a cough button. We had to signal the engineer (NABET) to turn the mike on, off, start the record, etc. Across town, KSD had three-man shows: air talent, board engineer and American Federation of Musicians record spinner!


WIXZ
Pittsburgh



1969 - My old friend and Ithaca College roommate, George (Buzz Beers) Brewer, offered me the mid-day/Prod. Director job at WIXZ-1360, Pittsburgh. WIXZ was the sister station to the legendary WIXY-1260 in Cleveland. Dick "Wild Childe" Kemp came over to do afternoons. But we didn't make a dent in KQV's numbers so WIXZ went country within a year, and we were all out on the street. Forcing myself to listen to the few WIXZ airchecks I've found makes me wonder how I ever landed the KXOK job. Or was the entire station just dull?
Oh yeah, about the name. The G.M., one of the three guys who owned both WIX-EEE's, didn't like my name. He wanted me to use "Joe Magarac" (sp?) - that's a Pittsburgh steel mill legend akin to Paul Bunyon. Lucky for me George didn't go for that, so he named me for the street he lived on: Glen Shannon Drive.


WIXZ
prodo



Here's some production I did at WIXZ, putting to use what I had learned in NYC. If you listened to the FLP track you'll notice the blatant steal from their "Scalphunters" spot. Email me if you don't get the joke.

Floyd L. Peterson
NYC


1968 - I left WYSL to work as a Commercial Producer in NYC. Former WOLF, Syracuse, jock Windy Craig (more recently the voice of much of Nickelodeon) asked me to work with him and a guy named Don LaFontaine at the Floyd L. Peterson Company. This is back when they advertised movies on RADIO! This is production!
At FLP we'd spend weeks creating ONE 60-second spot; what a treat to be able to craft a finely-tuned piece of audio art. Or, in my case, just make an attempt. This was their "demo tape" when I started there. Listen for the voices of Dan Ingram, Windy Craig, Don LaF., Fred Foy, and a bunch of "local talent". These aren't announcers, they're "voice artists." Eventually I'll post some of the productions I was involved with (they're here somewhere). FLP got into a financial bind shortly after I got there, due to the movie they were making: Putney Swope. Don and I shortly moved to a competitor creative-house, Kaleidoscope Films, where we did Yellow Submarine, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, etc. Although living and working in The Apple was all it's cracked up to be, I didn't really enjoy dealing with the egos in film industry management and was gone the next year.

WYSL
Buffalo


1967 - Khan Hamon hired me for afternoons in my old hometown. Mom & Dad always listened, at least on days when WYSL's signal could make it to Cheektowaga. That's Jack "Sean Grabowski - Seanski" Kelly on the Spanky & Our Gang spot.>
WYSL wasn't my first announcing gig in Bflo. Long before WYSL, I was Thursday evening booth announcer at WNED-TV from their studios in the penthouse of the Lafayette Hotel ("Stay tuned next for Japanese Ricepaper Painting...."). That was quite a step up from my days announcing the "Fifteen Minute Specials" at Sattler's.


WTRX
Flint


early 1967 - I had forgotten that I ended up using my own name at TRX. Apparently, the Jonesville experiment finally died and some semblence of reality set in.

One of my summers at TRX, I had to do gas station remotes EVERY damn Friday afternoon, complete with free hotdogs and Mountain Dew (I haven't looked at a Dew since then). Because I was sitting twenty feet in the air, atop the price sign, for the four hours, the refreshments were handled by a very bright intern, a short kid whose family lived next door to the Eastmans out on Long Island. In more recent years, he was Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich.

WTRX
Flint


1964 - WTRX was owned by Robert Eastman, of the station rep firm of the same name. He bought this station to use as a "radio laboratory" to try ideas. The first and only idea was as bad they could get: name all the jocks "Jones" (Tom Jones, John Paul Jones, Casey Jones, etc.) and name our fictional town "Jonesville" - even worse, there IS a Jonesville, Mich. on the western side of the state. Mid-day's Tom Jones was Terry Knight, later the driving force behind Grand Funk Railroad. He was stabbed to death a few years ago by his daughter's husband. Morning man John Paul Jones was Larry Morrow long a fixture in Cleveland radio. As dopey as the "Home of the Jones Boys" was, I was young and wanted to get out of Ithaca (WTKO), and my old roommate George "Buzz Beers" Brewer had just taken the PD job and invited me, so I went. George's boss was a guy named Art Wander, later to become a sports icon in Buffalo. It was a long three years in Flint (cf. Michael Moore), but eventually I got out.

Some will recognize the voice on the first spot as belonging to Wild Willie, later known as consultant Bill Hennes. Bill was Casey Jones, before moving across town to WTAC.

 

 

 

I could go back even further, to WWGO in Erie, WTKO in Ithaca and even WGVA in Geneva (my first paying gig, thanks to my dear friend Bob Green of WKNR, KULF fame) but this is embarrassing enough.
Happily, I don't have tape of my first regular radio appearances as a high school dj at WBUZ, Fredonia, NY, in 1957.