Friday, June 11, 2010
There are a few things to tidy up.
First, and most exciting, WAKV, The Memory Station is now on Facebook. Okay, maybe it’s not that exciting, but it does give us an opportunity to interact with a growing number of folks who use the social networking site… and I thinks it’s a better choice than Twitter. Somehow, I just can’t imagine “tweeting” anything.
Next, in an early post I described my search for information about my great-great grandmother, “Five-Time” Fanny Magee. Well, this is good news! It appears that she was only “Four-Time” Fannie. New information available on-line disproved one of her supposed marriages. In fact, she may have been only “Three-Time” Fannie. It’s possible that she was just “living in sin” with her alleged last husband. (Well, see it was about that military pension from husband number three that she would have had to relinquish if she married again.)
Third, in my “Driveway Songs” post back in April of 2008, I mentioned that I was looking for a certain Jimmie Rodgers song (“Two-ten, Six-eighteen.”) Well, we got a copy and you’ll hear it occasionally.
That’s all for now. Keep watching this space for, hopefully, more frequent posts.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Charles Timothy Marsh died early this morning. He was about 72 years old, and for almost 60 of those years was involved in broadcasting, in one form or another. Using a variety of names including Casey Jones and more recently, his own, Chuck Marsh, he worked as a jock, a program director, a news director, a newsman, manager of an early rock and roll star, and a bit actor in TV. His adventures took him all across the country. He worked at more radio stations than most of us can name in markets from Hillsdale and Battle Creek to Tucson, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo. And in his prime, he had a voice that was at least three times bigger than his five-foot frame. (Why do the biggest voices always come from the smallest guys???)
It was in Battle Creek that Chuck met Del Shannon and became his first manager. There are those, including Chuck, that claim he helped Shannon write the huge hit, “Runaway,” but never got any writer’s credit. I heard Del Shannon himself, shortly before he died in 1990, confirm that Chuck Marsh was his first manager.
Chuck was an early program director at Top 40 WLAV in the early ‘60’s, worked with and remained friends with Shadoe Stevens out west, and came back to Michigan where he bounced from market to market.
Chuck was a highly talented and intelligent man with some significant weaknesses, which he freely admitted. He battled Demon Rum most of his adult life, not unlike many in our business during those days. That was a battle that he won about a dozen years ago. He never was able to kick the smokes, though, even near the end when an oxygen bottle was his constant companion. He had significant successes and notable failures. He was one of the most creative and truly funny people I have ever known… and one of the most irreverent!
Chuck Marsh was a hard living, hard drinking late Twentieth Century radio guy who mostly loved every minute of his 70-plus years. Underneath that rough exterior, there was also a tender spirit. I hired him, and fired him, and hired him again. Our association began at WKMI in the 70’s. It ended with his death today. I shall miss him.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Tom and I grew up together. Our parents were friends. Our families did things together. He and I did things together. We went through school together and graduated in the same high school class. My radio career began in 1962 and his the following year, at the same station: this one! (Back then it was WDMC.)
We worked together at WHTC in Holland. Tom went to WKMI in Kalamazoo in 1966. I followed him in ’67. A couple of years later, he was the Program Director there when he gave that up to move to our sister station in Charleston, West Virginia. I took over his job as P.D.
Soon after that our careers took different tracks. Tom left radio and I kept on. From that point on Tom did a lot of things, most of them successfully. He drove a beer delivery truck, bought and ran a popular tavern in Plainwell (Somers Place,”) raised and raced horses, bought and sold cars, and finally, when he was about 50, took off (literally) in a totally new direction. He became a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines!
Now retired from all of those endeavours, he has returned to radio. And I, for one, am going to enjoy hearing him again. I hope you will too.
Welcome back, my friend.
(A word about Ralph Grant: For about a dozen years Ralph lent his considerable talents to our afternoon show. Now Ralph has retired and he and his wife have moved from Kalamazoo into a condo somewhere in West Michigan. Our thanks to him for his many years entertaining us, both at WAKV and earlier at WKZO. Relax, Ralph, and enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it!)
Monday, August 4, 2008
OK. So it’s been a long time since I added anything to this site. But, I’ve been busy. Among other things I have been working to make some changes at WAKV. One of those changes has brought an old friend back to the radio.
Bill Anthony is our new midday host (10 a.m. ‘til 2 p.m.) Bill and I have worked together at a couple of other stations. First, at WKMI in Kalamazoo back in the 70’s. That was when that station was at the top of the heap, not only in Kalamazoo, but as one of the highest rated radio stations in the country. Back then AM music formatted stations dominated listening, and thanks to guys like Bill, WKMI was one of the most dominant.
Later we worked together at WQXC in Otsego in the 1980’s. But, Bill Anthony has a long resume, which also includes stops at 50-thousand watt, clear-channel WHAM in Rochester, N.Y., in Allentown, Pa., and in Battle Creek. Bill has an easy, friendly style, and a great voice which will be fondly remembered by former listeners and welcomed by new listeners. I hope you’ll give him a try.
Meanwhile, Ron Turner, who has hosted the midday show on The Memory Station for the past 12 years, will be cutting back on his schedule and moving to the Sunday afternoon show. Longtime Sunday guy, Lee Dershem, whose history in the Kalamazoo market goes back about 50 years, will be leaving the air, with our thanks for a dozen or so years here at WAKV. We will miss him.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I was in the house the other day, with all doors and windows closed, when I heard the unmistakable sound of a thumping bass coming from a car radio. One of those dang kids going by with some god-awful rap music turned up full blast? No, it was obviously not moving. The sound was constant, and it was coming from my own driveway. Suzanne had come home and was sitting in the van with the car radio volume set at a painful level. She was “groovin’” to a “Driveway Song!!!”
So what is a “Driveway Song,” you ask. Well, that’s the name I’ve given to those tunes that you like so much that you’ll sit in the driveway and listen until they’re over. There aren’t that many of them, but everyone has a few. Songs that you are so emotionally attached to that you can’t bear the idea of shutting it off in the middle.
My own list of Driveway Songs is probably longer than most just because I’ve spent nearly 46 years of my life playing songs on the radio. And, my list includes a variety of styles, too. I won’t attempt to rank them, because their position on the list may fluctuate, depending on my mood any given day. But they include:
Diana Ross, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” long version only! Just about the most exciting six minutes ever put on vinyl (back when records were still records.)
Bob Seger, “Against The Wind” and “Night Moves” (yes, I know the latter has been overplayed but it still gets me.)
Eddie Fisher, “Oh My Papa.” Okay, I know I know it doesn’t exactly fit with Diana Ross and Bob Seger, but we’re talking about emotional attachment to the tune. This is the first record I ever bought, on a 78, and I bought it three times. (I accidentally broke two of them.”
Anything by the Everly Brothers. These guys had 38 singles hit the charts between 1957 and 1984, and many more that should have. Not to mention numerous album tracks. No better harmonies—ever—in pop music.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” I’m not crazy about the first six minutes, but that last minute and a half still sends chills up my back, even after almost 40 years.
Glenn Miller, “In The Mood” (not that you’re likely to hear it on very many car radios these days, unless you’re listening to The Memory Station, WAKV.) Of all of the great big band swing instrumentals, this one set the standard, and few others even came close, except maybe Miller’s own “String Of Pearls” with the Bobby Hackett cornet solo.
Ray Price, “Night Life.” Haunting, exquisite, beautiful.
Jimmie Rodgers, “Two-ten, Six-eighteen.” (This is by the 50’s-60’s pop Rodgers, not the 1920’s country singer. One of those great songs that came out late in his career that didn’t chart nearly as well as it should have, and which is now nearly impossible to find. Even I don’t have a copy.
Nancy Wilson, “Satin Doll.” Great Song, great singer, great arrangement. And, my favorite female singer of all time.
And, many more.How about you. What are your Driveway Songs? What tunes would you want to hear all the way to the end when you pull into the driveway and are faced with the choice of shutting off the car or listening to the conclusion?