It’s the People, Stupid

An advanced broadcasting class at UCLA asked if I would come to Westwood (West Los Angeles campus) to be their Guest Lecturer. (‡1)  I was warmly received by a class of students ranging in age from 19 to late 50’s. And they were hungry for any small bits of knowledge (‡2) that I might share. I was impressed with the eagerness and interest apparent in this group. [**SEE Footnotes below marked with ‡]

I spoke about my years of experience as a DJ, Program Director and Manager beginning as a fifth grader walking into the hometown radio station and claiming to be writing a story “for my school paper.” Of course, there was no school paper but it demonstrated that a young dreamer had already chosen his area of career passion (‡3). From there I was doing anything I could to soak it in. I emptied trash (‡4), sat on the floor in the on-air studio for hours to watch and ask silly questions; (‡5) carried equipment and power cables and microphone wires to remote broadcast locations (‡6) and finally got to be on the air doing a weekly High School News feature (‡7).

When Q&A time arrived nearly every hand in the room shot up (‡8). They especially wanted to know “secrets” and insider information. I was told the other guest experts refused to reveal that kind of information. I immediately began drawing a format clock (‡9) in great detail. The students gasped and made copious notes. I explained my frankness, “Look, any pro could figure most of this out just by monitoring the station for several days. The REAL secret is the PEOPLE on the team. Competitors could duplicate all the BUSINESS, but only my group could create the SHOW.”

That’s why sharing the successes and credit with the people who make it happen is essential.

B100 Boogie Brothers and Sister circa 1977-ish. L-R top: Kevin, Cherie, Danny W.; middle: Gene, Bobby; bottom: Shotgun, J.R., Glen M.

With that in mind, my gratitude goes out to those who have been part of the Digital B100.FM project. Behind the scenes: Gregg 4G Garcia, Howard Hoffman, Rob Sisco, Ron Erickson, Debbie Sisco Rich, Bill Vancil, Joe Fazio and HERC. AND the marvelous talent you HEAR now on John Fox, Danny Wilde, Gene Knight, Gary Kelley, Kathy Aunan, Shotgun Tom Kelly, Kevin Boomer Anderson, Cherie, J.R. Rogers, Rob/Bob Landree, Frank Anthony, Pat Gaffey, Ellen K, Willie Bee, Ken Beaver Cleaver Levine, Tony Pepper, Rob Actis and me, Bobby Rich. ALL of them were part of the Original B100 San Diego. (“The Original Cast,” HERE) Inspiration Department: Scott Kenyon and Paul Palmer.

Music Clock shows which category of songs goes where in the hour. Each slice represents a category the DJ would choose from. A separate “elements clock” showed where recorded and live content should go, including promotional items and commercials.

‡1 It should be noted that I thought they wanted me as a “guest letcher“;
‡2 My “Small bits of knowledge” got me, and kept me, in this biz since I was 14;
‡3 .. also my father’s Bowling Center business was a major sponsor. Yeah, that might have helped;
‡4 I dug out news teletype copy, commercial scripts, trade publications to keep, the beginning of my pseudo-hoarder behavior;
‡5 Like when the Saturday morning DJ was playing sad, slow, lengthy blues songs and crying;
‡6 Biggest thrill a “live on tape” broadcast from the livestock arena at the County Fair;
‡7 To collect content I had all 5 schools in the listening area send me their school papers, Sure it was really old news but it also wasn’t very interesting;
‡8 I thought they were practicing The Wave;
‡9 A hand-drawn circle made into pie sections. Music is broken into categories and sub-categories to control music flow (Power/most popular songs, Newer up and coming, Brand New, Older hits, Older flavor/image songs, etc.) The music clock told the DJ what should happen at what time in the hour. Some of the DJ’s actually FOLLOWED it! The best ones knew how to make it work better by occasionally choosing from a different category.

I will attempt to answer all questions posted in the comment section. Keep them brief and easy, OK?

4 responses to It’s the People, Stupid

  1. Rob Sisco says:

    Bobby Rich taught us all that the real soul of a radio station was not only what was BETWEEN the records but more importantly, the spirit and enthusiasm that was in the hallways – far from the microphone.
    That’s why a Bobby Rich radio station may have been often imitated but NEVER duplicated.

  2. Gary Kelley says:

    The students at UCLA were given a treat they hopefully will never forget. For the 41 years I’ve known you, I didn’t stop and think about this:
    >>>I explained my frankness, “Look, any pro could figure most of this out just by monitoring the station for several days. The REAL secret is the PEOPLE on the team. Competitors could duplicate all the BUSINESS, but only my group could create the SHOW.”

    When a former jock of yours from over a decade ago sees you and starts to cry with joy, there is the proof of how you have touched people. I hope the fortunate students hang on to your words.

    Gary Kelley

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