JF: It is Friday, December 27th. We are sitting in Alexandria, Kentucky, on asunny day, a beautiful day, talking with Hall of Fame member and radio legend Gary Burbank. Hey Gary, how you doing?
GB: Thank you, Jack, doing fine.
JF: It is great to see you after all these years. It has been a while sincewe've seen each other, really.
GB: Have you noticed I'm shorter now---
JF: I know. (laughs)
GB: ---than I was before you--- (both laugh)
GB: ---my feet are getting bigger, however.
JF: O man, you are---
GB: I'm shrinking I'm turning into a puddle.
JF: You are well loved in Louisville radio, as you are--- we'll talk aboutCincinnati and other places you've been, too. But, this if for the University of Louisville Archives, and so we want to get as much on here as we can. Let's talk about you, first. Now you're not---I know you have a lot of Louisville connections. Your wife, Carol, is from there, and you've got a lot of ties there. But, you are not from Louisville originally.
GB: No, I'm not. However, I've if I think of hometown, I kind of thinkLouisville always I guess it was because it was the first good radio station that I worked. That was WAKY.
JF: WAKY radio. We'll talk about that.
GB: And that and just being a Card fan, and I have to be one because my wife,1:00Carol, will not stand for anything else, and it's been that way all these years. No, I've always been a, Louisville just has a very special place for me---
JF: Well, good.
GB: ---it's the topography or the people, or maybe it is a combination of the two.
JF: When you were a kid growing up in Memphis or wherever, did you always wantto be a disc jockey on the radio or you were a musician?
GB: I was a musician in Memphis. I played with a lot of Bill Black Combo, Ace Cannon.
JF: That was a hot spot for all that.
GB: Yeah, and I was with the Marquis for a while. I was the second drummer withthem, and uh, and but I did I did think radio. In fact, I played on a session at Stacks Records. One thing that got me back thinking about radio I was content to be a musician for a while, and I was, uh, I was paid fifty-two dollars for a session. And I got the check maybe two or three months after I did the session. 2:00The day I got the check, the great guitarist, Charlie Freeman, and most musicians, you know, from that era of Muscle Schoals and them talking about. Charlie called me from jail---
JF: Oh my God.
GB: ---and said, "Hey, Man, can you come get me out?" I said how much?
He says, "Fifty-two bucks."
GB: I said, "Isn't that a coincident?" I just got my check for this sessionknowing I'd never see it, again.
GB: And so I thought to myself you know, somebody is making some money off theserecords, and it's not the drummer. And uh, so, then I thought the radio school thing. I said you know, I'm going to try that, and I went to Keegan's Technical Institute---
JF: In Memphis?
GB: In Memphis, yeah.
JF: This was in the what---in the middle '50s, late '50s?
GB: Uh, it was uh, well my first inkling of radio was getting out of highschool. Uh, in the tenth grade. Being asked. I joined the Army---
JF: I'm sure there's a story there.
GB: Well, there's one, yeah. I joined that Army, and I told them I would havebeen in radio before I joined the Army, and I said uh, the guy said uh, "What do 3:00you want to do in the Army?"
I said, "I'd like to be in the Armed Forces Network." I'm seventeen years old,but I knew about that. I said maybe you'd become a disc jockey.
He said, "Oh, that's great. Sign right here where it says 'Regular Army'."
GB: And I did. And I'm thinking I'm on the way. And so I (both laugh) they takeme Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in Columbia, and uh, so we get on the bus in Columbia, uh, and we go to Fort Jackson, pull up, and they had been so nice, so very very nice to all of us. There's about eight or nine of us on the bus. I was the very last one in the back, and as they stop at the base, this sergeant gets on screaming and yelling, "You low-life maggots, this is what we have now, my God." And he starts bodily throwing people off. And I'm thinking, boy I'm glad I'm not with those guys.
GB: And he threw them, I mean, and he finally on the (??) side he sees me, and4:00he comes back and says, "What's your story?"
I said, "This isn't my stop. I'm a disc jockey." (both laugh) And this sergeantjust started laughing, all the other sergeants started laughing, but they had me up until three o'clock in the morning with a rake making radio waves underneath the barracks. And, uh, I learned my lesson. I kept my mouth shut. That was my first experience in radio. (both laugh)
GB: And then later on, of course, as I said I uh, went to Keegan's, graduated,they sent me to KLPL in Lake Providence, Louisiana, to do and I I immediately---remember I had been a musician so I wasn't accustomed to getting up at five o'clock in the morning. I was accustomed to going to bed at five o'clock in the morning. And I my very first day on the air after I had done a shift over the weekend to learn how to do the board and all that my very day on the air I think it was Sam the Sham the Pharaohs that I played, and uh, I'll use 5:00that as a and so I introduced I did the news cast like you do---
JF: Sure, yeah.
GB: ---little bitty market, day time station, and uh, when the news was over Ihit the record immediately sat back and went to sleep. I slept for forty-five minutes---
JF: And the record---
GB: Woke up---" shkk shkk shkk shkk" ---and I wake up and I'm ugh, this is it.I'm going to be fired my first day. So what will I do? So I just turned the microphone on and said, "That was Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs."
GB: And I went on, and no one ever said a word. And I thought there's no onelistening to this radio station. But that gave me a lot of confidence, because I knew I could do no wrong that early in the morning. I was doing characters early in the morning, and---
JF: So you started doing characters back---
GB: ---yeah, why I'd never done before. I just was looking for something to doto interest myself so I wouldn't go to sleep. (both laugh) So it kind of conned.
JF: And those characters continued throughout your career?
GB: Nah, nah, not really. You know----6:00
JF: Just staring out, yeah.
JF: So you went from there to where?
GB: I went from there to, uh, it was in West Monroe, Louisiana, KUZN, CousinRadio, and I worked there for about a year or two then moved to then moved to WWUN in Jackson. That was my first top forty station where I was a top forty jock. Put the slide in the glide, dippity hip, bump your rump, bless my ride on rock and roll soul, light my candle, make me hard to handle, one of those---
JF: And you loved it.
GB: Oh, yeah, I was my name then was Johnny Opollo, your blue-eyed soul brother---
GB: ---in the front row. (both laugh) Puttin' the wiggle in your walk and agiggle in your talk. (both laugh) And so I did that, and uh, then I went to Memphis and worked at WDIA---
JF: Big step up.
GB: ---yeah, I was a first I was a first white guy, white person to work on thesecond floor as a disc jockey, and uh, then I left there, went back to Jackson, 7:00then back to Memphis. I had a job at WMPS in Memphis, and uh,
GB: What are you laughing at?
JF: Carol, do you want to add to that? (laughs)
GB: Am I am I not right?
CB: What? Well, I'll talk to you.
GB: Okay. (laughs)
JF: We missed something there.
GB: (laughs) I've got a studio audience here.
GB: Then I then I went back to Memphis and worked for Plough. And Plough, mostpeople who have worked for Plough, Incorporated, have the same opinion of them that I do. And it was this. I'd get off the air in the morning, and then I'd go, then I had to stay for two hours in case they needed me in the production room, and I would sit there and uh, they told me, they called me into the manager's office and said you can't sit in the lobby; we don't want anyone to know we have any disk jockeys. I don't know what---
GB: ---okay, I'll go sit in production room. So I went in the production room,8:00and I kept my mouth shut, but they say well you're distracting him. Okay, and so I ended up like for three months everyday getting off the air sitting in the bathroom.
GB: And if a sales person came in and squatted next to me, I would yell, "Do Icome in your office and do that?"
GB: And, uh, I was a disruptive force. I hated it, and I got an offer at WAKY in Louisville.
JF: That's how that happened.
GB: And I went there, fell in love with the city---
JF: That was a great place---
GB: ---and a great radio station---
JF: ----that was, what year was that. That was '70---
GB: ---that was '68 or '69---
JF: ---you had some great people there. We had---
GB: ---yeah, Duke of Louisville, Bill Bailey---
JF: ---yeah, was Johnny Randolph there?
GB: Johnny Randolph wasn't the PD, it was Bob Todd.
JF: Oh yeah, okay.
GB: Dude Walker was over---
JF: Oh yeah, relationships---
GB: Yeah, yeah, guys had, you know, they went on and did some really good things.
JF: Was Coyote there?
GB: Coyote was not there, yet, although we are best of friends now. But hewasn't there in those days.
JF: Huh. And what---you were doing mornings afternoons, you were (??)
GB: I went in to do afternoons. I did the afternoons, which I liked better9:00because my I was a little frenetic in my humor on the air probably worked a little better in the afternoons (both laugh) better than it did in the afternoons, however, I I left there to go to after four and a half years, I figured I needed to go out and branch out a little bit if I was going to get where I wanted to be in radio.
JF: Where where what did you envision that to be at that time?
GB: I just envisioned you know, making more money, getting to a bigger marketlike we all did in radio.
JF: Ambitions for New York or L. A. or Chicago or someplace like that?
GB: I had all those ambitions. That's what happened. I went to uh, New Orleans.I was there for almost a year.
JF: Was that after you left WAKY?
GB: After I left WAKY and WNOE and then I got a call from CKLW, which was maybethe biggest station in the country because uh, of uh, that this signal was amazing there. You could talk into the microphone. You could say (British 10:00accent) "Hello," and it would come out, (exaggerated disc jockey accent) "CKLW."
GB: And you're "Whoa," and it was I got a telephone call after being there forabout a year. To show you how big it was, from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And they said we'd like to do a story on you. And I said why, I mean Detroit? They said you guys are number two in morning drive in Cleveland.
JF: Oh my. Wow
GB: And that intimidates you, but it was a great radio station, and I was therefor a while until Carol and I both decided, and I had and I won an award a Major Market Air Personality of the Year. I was up against Don Imus, Robert W. Morgan, and I thought to myself, now mentally glory wise in radio in my brain my little disc jockey brain, I thought that's enough, you know, where do I want to be.
JF: So you didn't think New York, or L.A.?
GB: After that, no, no---
JF: You didn't need to, yeah.
GB: ---because I did this station was as good as any of those, you know. And uh,and made great friends. We still hang together to this day. But still, you know 11:00when Carol was ready to go back home I was ready to go back home.
JF: So all this came, now how did you that's when WHAS came into the picture,and how did that happen, and that must have been a surprise for you.
GB: Oh, that was when Jeff had---
JF: Jeff Douglas, yeah.
GB: ---had died.
GB: And they were looking for someone and---
JF: Who was who contacted you? Was it Hugh Barr, was he---
GB: ---Hugh Barr.
GB: Hugh Barr. In fact, I contacted them.
JF: Oh did you really?
GB: I did. Uh, I knew they'd be looking for someone, and I knew we wanted tocome back home, and uh---
JF: What were you what was your opinion of WHAS at that time?
GB: ---I thought it was pretty stoic, you know. I didn't know if I would fit in.But I knew that uh, I wanted to go back to Louisville.
JF: WAKY wasn't in the picture?
GB: WAKY was not. You know, WAKY I'd been there.
GB: And I'd done that kind of thing. I thought I could do better things at WHAS.
JF: More of an adult format.
GB: Even though they had all that reverb.
JF: Yeah. (laughs)
GB: And I was so happy when I when I first went on the air realized the reverb12:00button was right there on the board.
JF: On the board, yeah, yeah.
GB: I could turn it off. (laughs)
JF: So Hugh Barr contacted you?
GB: So when I contacted him they said how about sending me a tape? And I'mthinking, okay, you know, and that puts you in your place. It's okay. I'm fine with it. You know, I'm thinking I guess I should send a tape. I want to say I just beat Don Imus and (??), and you're pretty lucky, but no, no, you know in my little pea brain I'm thinking that, but you know, of course I understood, and so I sent him a tape. Yes, you got the job, come on down. I did---
JF: How long a period was this going on, and then this was probably by 1974somewhere along there.
GB: It was.
JF: Seventy-four, '73, '74.
CB: It was more like '76.
GB: Seventy-six, yeah.
CB: We moved to Detroit in '74.
JF: Oh is that right?
GB: Yeah, we were in Detroit in '74.
JF: Yeah, that's right, '76.
GB: So '76, yes.
JF: I was there, and I was I didn't leave until '76, the first time. I was there13:00and left and came back, so.
GB: You left I think---
JF: Right after you came.
GB: ---right after I got there.
JF: In July. You got there earlier.
JF: Now do you remember walking into the station. What was your impressionbecause it had this this was the thing was owned by the Binghams. They had their television, the radio, the newspaper down the street and radio and television in the same place, and this building with a fountain in the middle and everything.
GB: You know, I had been, you know, a rockin' DJ, okay, and walking into this,uh, very conservative place, I don't mean politically, I mean socially---
JF: Yeah, oh yeah, yeah.
GB: ---conservative place. (laughs) You know, you know I had hair down to mybutt just about.
JF: I want to tell you a story. I don't know if you remember this or not.
JF: But now, Wayne Perkey was on the air in the mornings, Jerry David Mulloy wason, and I was on, and we were going to fill the afternoon. Now up to this point we had been very stoic, but Hugh Barr was trying to make us the cuddly giant, you know getting us up, and so by this time we're all wearing jeans instead of coats and ties---
JF: ---and we've got little beads around our neck and open collar shirts. And we14:00knew you were coming, and so you'd been upstairs for an interview, and we are down in the announcers' lounge waiting for you to come down to meet us. I'll always remember you stepping off the elevator in a three-piece suit with a vest, and hair down to here.
GB: Yeah. (laughs)
JF: And you walked in and saw us and said, "Something's wrong with thispicture." (both laugh)
GB: Yeah. (both laugh) Yeah you're right. I do remember that now. I had to,yeah, but if you the suit was plaid. (both laugh)
JF: It was.
GB: You're right. I remember that suit. Oh, yeah, but---
CB: Probably the last time you wore it.
CB: Probably the last time you ever wore it.
JF: Yeah, probably so. You didn't need it.
GB: I never needed it, again. No, I do remember you guys surprising me likethat, and I expected everyone to wear suit and ties, however, Bill Britton didn't have on---
JF: No, no that's right.
GB: ---and that was one of my favorite things when I came in there, I had my own announcer.
JF: That was a cross-over period, still a cross-over period.
GB: Where they had announcers come in on the hour and the half hour. BillBritton, who I loved, I mean, I mean the nicest man in the world, and I had so 15:00much respect for him, and you talk about round, pear-shaped tones.
JF: Oh Yeah, he had it, didn't he?
GB: He came in and, "This is WHAS, Louisville." And I'd think, whoa, yes, that'swant I want to sound like.
GB: You know, and uh, so in right off my biggest problem was I hated cuddly giant.
JF: Yeah, right.
GB: I mean I I just didn't like, but you know, but I've always been very docilein radio. You can ask any program director I've had. I will follow the format to a degree, you know, but if it gets in the way of something good I'm not going to mess with it, you know. But I always had that liberty usually every station I would be hired that I'd let them know, you know, if you want me to do what you're hiring me for you've got to stay away from me. At CKLW the very first morning, that's back when I was crazy, very first morning on the air, Bill, uh, uh, Hennis, called me, hot-lined me to tell me something that I'd broken the 16:00format. I yanked the phone out of the wall so he couldn't call me, again.
GB: And you know what? He never did. (both laugh)
GB: And, I, instead of him jumping me I jumped him. I said how do you expectme---I mean, when you see someone on tv doing a variety show or any kind of a show, do you have somebody behind the curtain yelling at him all the time. Wait until he's done, and he always says to this day, you were exactly right, and I never did that to another guy.
JF: How about that? Well, you taught him a lesson.
JF: Well, you want to get back to Louisville. Carol is from Louisville, and sothat helped establish some roots you know.
GB: And and I had so many friends in Louisville---
JF: Yeah, yeah.
GB: ---and in fact, when I got to Louisville, I, one of the first things I didwas get Bob Moody from CKLW a job at WAKY.
JF: Yeah, yeah.
GB: And uh, and so.
JF: What were your expectations going into WHAS? What did you---
GB: It was I wanted to go to WHAS, and I wanted to stay there the rest of mycareer. I wanted to be there for, you know, you know---
JF: ---it was home.
GB: ---I was home. I think I could have made enough money to live very very17:00comfortably, and, uh, but I couldn't at WAKY. You see what I'm saying? I was in a better position to, I think, sell myself.
JF: Um-hm. And that was important to you at this time in your career (??).
GB: It was, and I had if anybody had ever I will tell you something else, I usedto get when I was working at WAKY or even New Orleans, oh yeah, you know, big fish little pond. I never liked that, and one reason I went to CKLW, let me go to the big pond, because I heard you, I heard Jerry David Mulloy, I heard you guys and how good you sounded, and I heard these other guys, too. I knew you guys could go anywhere you wanted to go, but the guys in those markets tended to think they were a little better than us. I went up there, kicked their butts, and then came back home.
JF: That's good, that's good. I'm glad you did. I'm glad you did. Uh, well now,Hugh Barr must have left not too long after that. Did he, uh, he was there for a 18:00little while.
GB: Yeah, he was, maybe maybe I was really liked that man. I thought he was avery very good program director. He seemed to putting things together great. He was the kind of person you wanted to work for.
JF: He could put the pieces together, and let the pieces do their thing.
GB: Yes he did. And he never that's that's what I think that's when I reallycame of age, really because Hugh Barr didn't bother me. He, you know, if I did something really funny he'd let me know. But it's something stupid he'd you know; he didn't say a word. He knows I knew it was stupid.
JF: (laughs) That's a good point.
GB: Yeah, and I mean he directed me, but in a good way. Jerry David was the sameway. I think Jerry David was the Program Director.
JF: Yeah, I think so.
GB: And Jerry David was exactly the same way. And uh, would come in just shakinghis head laughing about something, and that, and Johnny Randolph at WAKY always said I know how to handle, you know, you. He said you have like a puppy ego. He said you'll come in the back. You'll do something, you know, on the air. You come in the back; you be looking at me- if I say that was really good, you 19:00(makes panting noise), and you run back in and try to do something, you know, better. Anyhow, and so it was just a wonderful situation for me working at WHAS.
JF: Well now, the characters that you---we'll talk about your character. I wantyou to run through some of the characters.
JF: Were were any of those invented there, or had you had most of thosethroughout the years?
GB: No, they they most characters come from just the opportunity. Uh uh, ifsomething is happening in the news, and I'm not really an impressionist, but I can come close on some people.
JF: Oh yeah, oh yeah.
GB: I'll give you a good example of how a character comes to life. There was alady named Fern Stone, who lived in Paris, Kentucky. And she used to call me every couple of days, and uh, she was so funny. She was a big shot in the Democratic Party, and she'd call me, and crack on things, and I'd put her on the air now and then, and uh, one day her and a friend called. Her friend was on the 20:00extension, and they were talking at the same time. Saying the same words.
JF: Yeah, yeah.
GB: And, uh, I had the biggest kick out of it. They'd both had been in the ginquite obviously. And I uh, the next day I put together these two characters called Eunice and Bernice, the Siamese twins joined together at the telephone.
JF: (laughs) Mister Metz? That's--- (laughs)
GB: And it got Mr. Metz, and what that is really one voice, and the other voiceis a harmony. It's the second above the first voice, right? And so I would do the harmony part---I'd do the regular voice first, then do the harmony part second. And then I'd play it back and talk to myself as them live on the air.
JF: ---how long did it take you---
GB: Let me tell you the end of this. This is so funny. And then right after Idid it, you know, I'd go to news, phone rings, you know, I'm always working those phones.
"Hello, you think I don't know what's you're doing?" It's Fern.
I said, "Are you up set?"21:00
She goes, "No, I thought it was funnier than hell."
(both laugh). And she was great. So that's how a character would come up with me.
JF: On thing I always appreciate you, Gary, you always you could let otherpeople, you got humor from other people, too, and you'd appreciated other people.
GB: Oh sure.
JF: You could incorporate them, and let them be funny, too.
JF: That was great, and uh---
GB: And then I---
JF: ---that you recognized them.
GB: But then I had, but but but, then and and there were many people, you know,in the station, that, you know, would come in, and help me out with stuff, and do voices with me if I needed an extra---
JF: Do you remember who was helping you with any of that?
GB: ---uh, Claude Folkerson, Claude Lane, you know, used to work with me some. Iknow that he wanted to go out to L. A., and he went out to L. A. and was working with Rick Dees, I, you know, I got him in, I think, with that, or at least my name did, and he said Dees was a tyrant, and he said, and I said what happened, and he said I had to leave because I said to him one time when he was throwing a fit, I said, "Terry Burbank never acted like this." (both laugh) 22:00
JF: That was it. You're out of here.
GB: But, I, yeah, and Claude is still around. He still does---
JF: Yeah, yeah.
GB: ---he does great voices.
JF: Yeah. He's good.
GB: So, I'm trying to remember exactly about, you know, how these things cameup, and they were just---it was all just opportunistic; anything, you know---
JF: You've done that your whole career.
GB: ---yeah, I mean---
JF: We'll talk more about that in a minute. Cincinnati, yeah.
GB: ---to what's going on.
JF: How long would it take you to to produce something like a Eunice and Berniceor any of those characters?
GB: It had to be fast, and that was my problem. I think when I left there when Ileft there there was a hole in the wall. And, but I had more than one hole in the wall. When I get mad about, I can't I couldn't think of a punch line. One was caused by my head. You know, slamming my head into a (head slamming noise).
GB: Because it was so---
JF: So you were writing this and producing this and everything?
GB: ---immediate. I had to get that done by the time I went on the air. If I don't---
JF: When did you go on to the studio to begin to do that? It got to have beenthe next day or the next day?
GB: Oh, ten o'clock in the morning.
JF: Is that right?
GB: Yeah, if I was working at two in the afternoon, ten was not even enoughtime. I should have been there at six, trying to do all I, you know, you know. 23:00If I'd had a producer at the time, I'd have been much better off.
JF: Well, you were great working with people like Van Vance, who---
GB: Van Vance, school of dance, high finance, Bert Lance, Van Vance, school, yeah---
JF: Everybody still goes by that. Everybody still calls him Van Vance, VV andthe School of Dance.
GB: And the school of dance. (both laugh)
GB: And Van and I are just good friends, and it was easy on the air with him.
GB: And Paul, and everybody else. And you know Glen Bastion and---
JF: Milton Metz he was---
GB: Oh, Metzo was one of my favorite people of all time. Still is. And uh, yeah,I used to call him the Master Broadcaster.
GB: And, now, I meant that sincerely, you know.
JF: Yeah. Let's see. I am trying to think of the other characters, the ReverendDeuteronomy Skaggs.
GB: Reverend Deuteronomy Skaggs.
JF: How'd that come about?
GB: That came about actually in West Monroe, Louisiana. That was one I broughtin with me. Uh, I used to you know, if you've been in small markets, and you have---
JF: Oh, yeah.
GB: ___and you know how they bring the preachers in on Saturday and Sunday.
I had one come in and the manager told me, he said, "Uh, make sure you get the24:00money. It was a dollar a minute. "Make sure you get his money because he didn't pay us last week before he goes on the air.
" I said, "Okay." And so I saw him.
I said, "You got to give me 30 bucks before you go on the air."
"And then you got to give me 30 bucks for today."
So he goes to his---all our preachers had mail boxes, and he goes and gets hislove offerings, and he tore into it, and it's cash. And so he puts 60 bucks together.
"There you go."
So I took the money, and he's on the air. And he's talking (speaking inevangelical tones), "How you feel that purple radius." He's one of these guys like this, and I always was amazed by, and my name was Johnny Opollo at the time, and uh, he was about twenty-five minutes past the hour, and it didn't sound like he was wrapping anything up. And what we did, if they went long or short, we made it up with music, whatever; it was no big deal. And (laughs) so it's twenty-eight after. He's still not wrapping it up. And it's twenty-nine 25:00after. He's got a minute to go, but you know, he paid for thirty minutes, and if he goes longer it's going to cost him. (Speaking in evangelical tones) And he's preaching and (making loud sounds to thought of as words) Johnny if you give me another minute, and I'll give you another dollar. (both laugh)
And I said, "That's a character."
JF: That's the one.
GB: That's it, so I started doing the Reverend Deuteronomy Skaggs, which I justmade the name up of the Little Radio Church of the White Winged Gospel Truth.
JF: Yeah, yeah.
GB: And which reminded me of all those guys, and I've been doing him I did himthe whole time, you know. Don't make me holler, don't make me shout, turn them pockets inside out I'm talkin' that green salad of salvation.
GB: Because that what the guy was all about. And you know the funny thing isalmost any preacher I ran into, that would be their favorite character.
JF: Yeah, yeah.
GB: They thought it used to worry me that they might think it was sacrilegious,but it was not. It was to me it was I was just doing my typical little satirical 26:00look at the charlatan.
JF: Well, I shared before we started the recorder back when one of my favoritestories you did with him about about uh, Oral Roberts. Oral had said if the Lord didn't send, if you didn't send so much money the Lord was going to call him home, and you had Deuteronomy say you killed two birds with one stone.
JF: Get rid of Oral, and I promise you won't hear from me, again. (both laugh)That was a great one. Uh, I remember you had, uh, was it a truck driver named Porky Chadwin.
GB: Porky Chadwin was actually a disc Jockey in Pittsburg.
JF: Disc jockey in Pittsburg.
GB: And I was doing that voice, you know, but he became later he became when Imoved here he became My period, B period, Ludlow period, Bromley period period.
GB: And his brother Eugene, and uh, that was just, you know, just a voice. Youknow, I don't know. I guess everybody said, people asked me, "You know, that was a black guy, how do you get away with that?"
I said, "I don't do color, I just do voices."27:00
GB: And, uh, Trumpy said that's a copout. I said well, it worked.
JF: Well, who else I was thinking of, uh, oh, um, we have Captain Gorgeous for a while.
GB: Captain Gorgeous, yeah, Captain Gorgeous was just a gay character.
JF: Yeah, had Captain Gorgeous.
GB: That was back in my formidable, yeah, I I was working up to doing good satire.
JF: Did you do Gilbert Gnarly, you did Gilbert Gnarly?
GB: No, I never did Gilbert Gnarly there.
GB: Yeah, I did that here. In fact, that came about, that's a character that uh,that came up when I was doing uh, oh yeah, I saw the back of a magazine what kind of man drinks Dewars Scotch, and I was going to play on our morning guy. And uh, I had to do something because the week before I'd called I'd called the FCC to complain on the air to complain about our morning guy calling people and putting them on the air and not telling them they're on the air. (both laugh)
And Randy Michaels, it was, "You can't do that."28:00
I said, "You always told me it's better to do it and ask later for permission.I'm asking now."
He said, "No."
GB: So I'll do it better. So I called, and said I was Jim Scott, but I did thevoice of Gilbert Gnarly (speaking in character) who is more like a, and then I said this could be a funny, long-running character if he wasn't drunk, and besides, who did the great drunk character?
JF: Foster Brooks.
GB: Foster Brooks.
JF: Foster Books from Louisville, from WHAS.
GB: I know his name like I know mine, but I'm I'm old, now.
JF: No, no.
GB: Can't remember everybody's, and uh, if I do Gilbert Gnarly as a different,just kind of a confused person where I would call a place and call in sick with all these different ailments, and they are trying to tell me I don't work there. And uh, and this is the first time I'd heard this, I mean, Gilbert Gnarly has been ripped off more anybody, but uh, I'd call (people) about the uh, you are here at the mall. 29:00
(In Gilbert Gnarly voice) "How did it look? I was---crossed the mall---it isthere, again, how does it look?"
And the people would try to explain, and people would ask me, "How do you getpeople to stay on the phone?"
JF: Yeah, yeah.
GB: I would say, it's no trouble at all because people are basically nice, andhere's this confused old guy that you know, he saw that this machine over here he thought, you know, it was you know the hole was---
GB: ---he didn't know it was his finger he was supposed to stick in there, and(both laugh), but it was always clean, you know, sort of. (both laugh)
JF: Did you ever get any any feedback from some of that; obviously, there weresome people who were upset with that?
GB: Yeah, I did I did get very rarely---
JF: Because you seemed to pull it off well.
GB: ---because people say, I hate for people to say Gilbert is a crank call,because he's not a prank call in the least. Gilbert is not pranking any one. I mean, I needed a straight man. So, I'm calling to find a straight man, and 30:00rarely did I ever have to call twice on a bit. If I was calling, what's the one everyone talks about, and I can't think of it now. That's my trouble, you were talking earlier about bits, and I am looking at you like did I do that?
JF: Right. (both laugh) Got a bunch of them.
GB: You do too many, and they just all run together. But what's the one whereeveryone talks about, Carol, that I, uh, when I, oh, it's Kentucky Jelly. I called KY Jelly. "I love your Kentucky Jelly."
GB: And she's going, "Uh, no."
"Yes." And I was going on about how wonderful the jelly is.
"But, I have one---it has a rather neutral taste on toast."
GB: And so, of course when she finds out I was (GB makes a noise).
GB: Well, I entertained the people. I'll give you an example. For a while,Gilbert decided that Ed on 60 Minutes, Ed Bradley, was the smartest man in the 31:00world. So he always wanted to call. If he couldn't talk to Ed, he's happy to talk to his secretary because she must be almost as smart as him. Whenever I would call, I could always I could always hear her put the speaker phone on. I know they were gathering around to hear this call from Gilbert.
GB: I'd call for three or four months, maybe every week almost, maybe every twoweeks. Anyway, called numerous times, and she, finally one day I called, and she said, "I know who this is." Oh really. (both laugh)
She said, "You know I could sue you."
And I said, "Yeah, I suppose."
And she said, "But you made us laugh, and I don't want to sue you. We're justsad that he's not real".
I said, "Well, if it makes you feel any better I'm getting more like that everyday". (both laugh) And uh, then in but it kind of personified the whole thing for me as far as---understood as long as I didn't hurt I didn't call and say I'm 32:00going to kick your ass. I mean, you know.
JF: Yeah right.
GB: It wasn't like that. Gilbert called, (GB yelling) "I cannot deal with thisfour head VCR because my neck isn't strong enough." And then they'd have to explain to me what--- (both laugh)
JF: That was genius; it really was.
GB: ---I called ugh ugh called Sears. "I don't need a hot water heater; I need acold water heater." (both laugh) And so these two would get on and say let me explain how this works---
JF: (laughs) They are really believing you.
GB: I had them so confused. And I didn't know what I was doing, either, so it worked.
JF: So, that would start and then you would have an idea, and then it would just flow.
GB: Yeah, yeah, no no, well, I outlined everything I was doing. Mean, when I goton the air there was always I won't call it a script because no one could read my hand writing, including me. And, uh, but I I'd have an outline of where I was going.
JF: Oh really, uh?
GB: And so but normally I'd go off, and if it wasn't going anywhere I'd comeback to the---
JF: Is that a to a place to start with, yeah.
GB: ---and to the next thing in case I couldn't think of something. And so uh,but I never had a problem with Gilbert, as far as or any of the other call outs 33:00that I made, because I wasn't playing a practical joke on someone. Yeah, they were on the telephone; they didn't know they were on the telephone---
JF: You didn't let them look stupid, though, you no, you never made them---
GB: ---I never told them. No. I only had one problem one time. It was a ArthurOlson, who used to work at WAKY, who was always a dufuss. (laughs) Pardon me. Arthur called I called Sprite, and they had this contest. You'd take this cap off the bottle, and it said please play, again.
So, of course, I'm calling going like, "I see I got a defective cap here. I beta hundred times it keeps saying please play, again." And she's trying to explain to me that you gotta go buy another. So I thought it was good. I was going to play it, and I played it on the air da da da. Well, I didn't know it was right there in Indiana, and he called them, and told them, and so the woman called me and said, uh, she was going to call her attorney, that she was on the air, and I 34:00said, "Now wait a minute, you are not on the air.
" She said, "I wasn't?"
I said, "No. I have a lady here who is an actress, an impressionist. She listensto me make the phone calls, and she does a reasonable facsimile of you, and it probably sounded a little like you. And so she did, you know, the other call. That is not your voice; so, therefore you have nothing to say to me."
"Oh, well okay." Click.
GB: I lying like a dog.
JF: Go for it, again. (both laugh)
GB: So, I escaped another one.
JF: Oh man. Well, what about Earl Pitts American? Did Earl start---where didthat start?
GB: Well, Earl, I did Earl, but I didn't call him that. I may have called himEarl at WHAS, in fact, back as far, that was one of the first characters I ever did---
JF: It that right?
GB: ---on the radio. But, never in the uh form of uh of a commentary.
GB: I started doing him in commentary, you know, here.
JF: Oh, I thought you had done him at WHAS. You didn't, though.
GB: No, but I didn't call him, "Hey, you know what makes me sick."35:00
JF: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
GB: He'd call me and and basically the same thing, and uh, that's anothercharacter, you know you have to be careful with these. I had back in, let me see, I guess it was early about 2003, I got a letter from an attorney guy in Nashville was going to sue me for doing Earl Pitts because that was his character. Now it was probably about 2006, and so we said when did you, you know, start doing this? I said I don't remember hearing anybody else do it.
He said, "Oh, I started this in 1998."
I said, "Really. So we sent him one of our CD's from 1982---
JF: Yeah, right.
GB: ---and then his attorney says lets it mutual discovery. I said my ass we'regoing to call it mutual discovery.
JF: Right (laughs)
GB: I said, if the guy had called me, and said I do a character kind of likethat, we could have worked it out to where I'd never said a word, so man, go for it.
JF: I like that, yeah.
GB: But since you hired an attorney, and I hired mine, I'm going to use him. So,don't do it, again. Cease and desist. 36:00
JF: I hear that.
GB: I don't know if he did. (both laugh) He probably didn't.
JF: You're still doing some Earl Pitt stuff.
GB: Yeah, Earl is still--- he's been the longest running syndication, countysyndication short form, in radio ever.
JF: Is that right?
GB: Twenty-six years.
GB: And he's, "You know what makes me sick. You know what makes me so mad I'mgoing to drop my pants, take a butter knife, spread Alpo over my butt cheeks, super glue my tongue to a fire hydrant, wait for a pack of wild, pit bulls to come along and lick it up."
GB: You going to some diatribe, and it's so, that's the most misunderstood thatI do.
GB: Because most people don't get it. Most people think that that's me justdoing a red neck, but Earl is a really, he's a very smart guy. He's just got a whacked way of getting to the position that you believe, and when you hear him, the best Earl that's written is as if you're driving along in your car and you say well, he's right. Then you think, wait a minute, I don't agree with this idiot. (both laugh) Earl is total satire, and uh, but it is there's so many 37:00people that believe it, that I really mean this stuff, too. But, I first moved to Dunnellon, Florida, uh, I played golf with this guy one day that owned this joint. I went in and had a hamburger.
I was sitting there with a friend of mine having a hamburger, and this ladywalked up, and she said, "J.R. told me you was Earl Pitts."
I said, "Yeah."
And she said, "Well that's about time someone had the nerve to say the thingsyou do."
And I am going yes mam. And before it is over with this about seven or eightpeople standing around our table, you know, and I'm trying to enjoy my greasy hamburger because (??) (both laugh) and they are all telling me yeah, and they walk off and I'm like, my buddy says welcome to Dunnellon. (both laugh) (??) And there was another guy came up and said by the way I saw all that going on over there, he said I get it. (both laugh) I said thank you. One guy in Dunnellon gets it.
JF: That's great. Well, I can't, uh, leave Louisville without a guy at HAS asked38:00me about snow sharks. People still talk about snow sharks. How did that come about?
GB: You know of all you know I've done a billion bits. I don't know, uh, I nevercounted. I've done so many things that by a long shot has been the most uh, I guess, lasted longer, had the most---
JF: It was just on Face Book a couple of weeks ago.
GB: Yeah, I see it all the time. Other disc jockeys call me and say, "I tried todo that, and it didn't work." I said you know why? Because it wasn't me; it was the circumstances; it was right after---when did Jaws come out? Jaws hadn't come out very long, maybe a year or two, something like that, maybe that year, and it was the huge snow fall of '78---
GB: ---seventy-eight? That's where uh, and this it was just and we were justsocked in; everyone had cabin fever. I was driving to work one day, and there 39:00was a big piece of chuck of ice sticking up out of the snow, and it looked like it had teeth, and I thought, God it looks like a snow shark.
JF: (laughs) And that's where that started.
GB: That's all it was, and I got on the air, and I said, "I saw a snow shark onthe way in," and the phones lit up with people reporting snow sharks.
JF: Isn't that something. Wow.
GB: And I'd had nothing to do with it. I mean, except just to say snow shark,and it was no streak of genius on my part because I said hey look at this, and I'd go along with it. Pretty soon I got pictures of snow shark patrols. What got it going was the Courier Journal. I think about a day or two later they showed these three thoroughbreds running through a pasture of snow with three fins behind.
GB: And then in another unrelated story-it's a weather story, they had the threeweather men in town at a, I think it was at a bus stop, and there was fin 40:00behind. And they did this for a month, you know just throwing little fins in everywhere. I think the Courier Journal had more to do with it than I did. I just kind of got it going, and everybody just caught on, and to this very day, I, when people see me in Louisville, if anybody ever does remember me there, they uh, of course my demographic there you better be over fifty to remember me, and they'll look at me and say, "Snow shark." I say, yeah, snow shark.
JF: I can promise you I can say Gary Burbank, and someone will say snow shark,(??) along with everything else, but they really---
GB: But, you know, the one thing, I did get in trouble over something.
GB: Uh, at that same time it that was the also the winter that people weretrying to walk across the Ohio River---
JF: It froze.
GB: ---because it froze, and so I told people on the air that I had tapped intothe police lines, and you could hear them talking.
I was saying, "Now you stop doing this. The police are not allowing (??)(gunshot sound), I got one."
All right see, then people actually thought that the police were taking potshots at people they told not to cross the river, and that the cops were really going to shoot them.
GB: And to save their lives.
JF: Oh, gosh.
GB: And then we got in, I think it was, I don't know if Jerry King or somebodyfrom the news probably, came in, and said we got a phone call, you got to let people know what you're doing here.
JF: Did you ever have other situations like that where, you know, it was a goodidea, but it didn't quite come across or didn't---
GB: Oh, well, I had I had, in fact most of my situations were good ideas thatdidn't come across.
JF: ---oh, I can't imagine.
GB: The ones you heard of or remember the ones that did. (both laugh)
JF: But, there were a lot---
GB: But, there were thousands of others that just laid there. But, you know,that's just kind of how it works in comedy, I think.
JF: You uh, were on with the Binghams at that time. Did you ever have anycontact with the Bingham family at all?
GB: No, the only thing--- I'd like to say this since it's in theArchives---Barry Bingham Jr., could have owned MTV. It was my idea.
JF: Oh, yeah, is that right?
GB: But, I didn't do enough. I got a friend of mine in Detroit that I got C.K.42:00to send me some video, and I had this idea, and I put this little cheap thing together, like music television. This would work. And I took it to, uh, one of the big executives, whose name, they say the number two guy in the whole company he told me that'll never work get out of here, basically.
JF: Is that right? Wow. I'll be darn. That was the only contact. How long wereyou at HAS? You came in---
GB: About five years, was it.
JF: ---about '76, okay.
GB: Seventy-six to, no, four years. So both of my stints in Louisville wereabout four years. That was the longest people could handle me was four years.
JF: You went on---
GB: But, I came up here and stayed for a long time.
JF: ---thirty years or so?
GB: Thirty years, almost, yeah.
JF: At WLW.
JF: You had a great run there.
GB: Yeah, and this is close to home, and Carol liked that idea. We we when wecame here, we, I mean all intents and purposes I was looking for a place to live, and I understood at that point I don't have to go to New York, and I'd had 43:00plenty of opportunity, uh, Hal Smith---
JF: Oh, yeah, I'm sure you did.
GB: ---come to L.A., and uh, or Chicago, something like that. I thought no, Iwant to, you know, and so since Cincinnati was close enough, and uh, so then I, you know, settled here, and thought if I can stay here I will. I wasn't sure I was going to because it wasn't long after I was here, maybe five years, four or five years, that Randy Michaels and J-Kor came and bought the station, took it over, and---
JF: There was an atmosphere.
GB: ---and then you're thinking, well, you know, they are going to come in andwant to clean house. So that's when I was really thinking about, and I told my daughter, Tracey, I said if I could if I could stay I will.
And she said, "Dad, I love my friends. I've been to five different schools, fivedifferent years, and I want to stay here if we can."
And I thought to myself, if I can do it, I will. And I walked into RandyMichael's office expecting him to say well how much do you want?" And I was going to tell him, and he could say, Thanks very much. And so I told him, and he 44:00goes, "That's not enough."
I said, "Really?"
GB: Yeah, he said, "Yeah I'm going to pay you this."
I said, "Okay, I need a ten-year contract."
He goes, "That's fine
"It's my attorney draws it up. No outs for anybody. If I am going to stay forten years."
He says, "Great, you got it."
I said, "Okay." I knew then that I had a home, yeah.
JF: Wow, I hadn't heard about this. That was unheard of.
GB: And at the time it was unheard of. Nobody, you know---
JF: Well, certainly, today it's unheard of now.
GB: ---oh yeah, with Clear Channel and those guys a five-minute contract is got---
GB: ---unless you're willing to pay them (laughs)
JF: Yeah, that's right. Well, you developed some character here, too, that youdidn't have in Louisville. What was the guy with the carpet salesman, what was his name, short something---?
GB: That was actually a person.
JF: Is that right?
GB: Buddy"s Carpet, (in falsetto)" I'm tellin' ya." Oh, you're talking aboutbig, fat, balding guy with a stubby cigar in his mouth and his pants half zipped.
JF: Yeah, that's the one, yeah.
GB: That was actually Hilean George from Lebanon, Kentucky. You remember Club 68?
JF: Yeah, yeah.
GB: And that was another thing. I started doing this character. "(in a twang)45:00Hello there, I'm a big, fat, balding guy with a stubby cigar in his mouth and his pants half zipped, and this time I'm being honest with you when I say." You know and he would go on and try to sell something, then he'd then we'd have some music, and he'd interrupt the music. Well, it was Hilean all over, and uh, so I get the lawyer copy and the blue sheets. Oh my God, "What's this?" So they were suing me for and until I got further into the law suit I saw how ridiculous it was, and finally I saw the signature. And it was my attorney in Louisville. (both laugh)
GB: Who was also Hileen's attorney. They got me good, and I---
JF: They pulled a Gilbert Gnarley on you.
GB: ---they did. And I think it is someone told me once, I used to sell FullerBrushes before I got into radio, and the best salesman is the person most apt to 46:00buy from you is another salesman. And so I bought that from them hook, line, and sinker. Scared me to death.
JF: Yeah, that's great. I used to enjoy you when you were here, I would listento your sports consequences.
GB: Yeah, that was a break. That was just break time.
JF: That involved a lot of people with that.
GB: Oh, yeah, Bob Trumpy, Chris Collingsworth, and all of them. They'd come inthere everyday. Boomer Esiason was coming in, and a lot of the athletes and stuff were into it.
JF: Who was your guy, Doc?
GB: Doctor Kevin Wolf.
JF: Yeah. And he had a tie to Louisville, I think. I think he had family in Louisville.
GB: Well, I think, he had some folks from there. He's from here. When I got herethey had me teamed up with someone else as a producer because that is the first thing I said, "I gotta have a producer. I can't do all that by myself." And sure enough, uh, I remembered him. He used to send me funny Christmas cards. I knew he was in radio, so and he'd been fired the week before, WSAI. I said, "You looking for a job?"
He said, "Yes."
"You got one."
JF: Well, that was a great team.
And he turned out to be the finest, competent comedy writer I've ever known.
GB: I mean, he he could write circles around me.47:00
JF: You guys did great stuff, yeah.
GB: And he also anticipated everything that I needed or did or whatever, and heplayed the straight man as well as Bud Abbot. (laughs)
JF: Do you still do anything with him, today?
GB: Yeah, we're still great friends. Yeah, he comes---
JF: Do you do any work or whatever?
GB: No, we don't do any work. He's working at an ad agency. He's producing anddoing commercials and stuff.
JF: Are you still are you I know you are doing some things do you have a website with Earl or are you---
GB: Yeah, pittsoff.com. We just started that. I've had one for a long time.
JF: Are you doing the characters on there or is it all Earl?
GB: No, no, it's got I think it's got seventy Gilberts on there. I've got aboutthree or four hundred Gilberts, and Earls. I've go, you know, a thousand Earls.
JF: Is it Earlpitts.com is that what it is?
GB: No, it's pittsoff.com, and then I've got on Facebook there's anEarlpitts.American. The reason I have to get that straight with you is because I've had so many people take those websites, uh, it was Earlpitts.com and the 48:00guy wanted three thousand dollars. I called my attorney. I said, "This guy wants three thousand dollars."
He said, "Oh, you'll win that."
"Good, How much?"
He goes, "It's going to cost you about five." (laughs)
I said, "Wait a minute."
They know what they are doing.
JF: Yeah, right.
GB: I said I'm not going to pay anybody squatting on my name that didn't think it.
JF: Yeah, right.
GB: But, then again there's a lot of sites out there which kind of hurts us, butI don't care. You know. I'm good. I'm retired now.
JF: You're having a good time. You're playing some music; you're playing some music.
GB: Yeah, back to playing music, again. I got my dobro out and playing with aguy name Nathan Witt a lot. Nathan is the Mayor of Dunnellon. He's a young guy, though, you know. And so he's forty, right?
JF: Kid. Just a kid.
GB: He's a child. Mere slip of a child. But, what I do is wear clothes pins onmy face so I look a lot younger. I swear I do. (??) "What's you wearing clothes pins for?" I said it's just a gimmick. They never ask you why after that. 49:00
JF: I don't know if this makes any sense that people on the Archive, butsomebody asked me about your Facebook picture today. What's that picture on Facebook you've got? You've got a Facebook picture with a hat on or something?
GB: I don't know.
JF: Oh, you don't know. Oh, okay.
GB: Facebook picture.
Carol Burbank: The one that blended with the--probably.
GB: Oh yeah yeah. My buddy Len King is uh, he's very strange. He, uh, photochops stuff.
JF: Oh, yeah, okay.
GB: And so I ended up on Facebook. Someone sent me uh, someone said do you knowthis person? It was someone that I knew. And a friend or deny or whatever I said sure. Next thing I know, wham, I got a Facebook page. You know, two weeks later I've got 5,000 friends.
JF: Yeah yeah, right.
GB: I think I'm going, sure sure I don't care. What's that name there? Uh, see,I'm thinking it didn't matter who it was. I think I have a couple of murderers, and people like that. It was just because I didn't want to say no. 50:00
JF: I can't end this interview without, if you don't mind of telling the storyof why you eventually left WHAS, how that (??) heard several versions of that. I want to hear your version of how it came about.
GB: My version of it is (laughs)---my version is the one that is embellished the most.
JF: Well, let's hear it. I want to hear it.
GB: That Greg Hord wrote a book about me up here, and that was my idea. Call itThe Great Embellisher.
GB: No, no it was it was a real simple thing, and it was my fault to a degree.Mostly it was, I mean I was trying to do the kind of radio show that I do now when I involve one or maybe two or three people. And, uh, I couldn't work the phones---I couldn't do all the things that I---
JF: Well, you had to operate the equipment and everything.
GB: ---yeah, and everything, operate the board, do the whole thing, get readyfor this, time that out.
JF: In that day we had to do a log that we had to physically write in all thecommercials, the times, everything.
GB: Right, so what I would do is I would stack up my cartridges, and we had four51:00or five cart machines. They were not sequential queue I don't think.
JF: No, that's right.
GB: And so, and then I would have to, you know, hit those, and then I'm talkingon the phone doing all that stuff, well I would leave them in there for the next break and play one commercial and play them twice, because I'm not listening to that I'm trying to get my show together here, and so or I would put them all in there and then I would take them all out and put them over here, (laughs) and then I (??) those four, and I thought I did.
JF: They'd come up, again.
GB: And so twice they called me in about it, and uh, Bill Campbell said, youknow and so finally I said to him, I said, "Look, how about getting me a producer."
He said, "Oh, we can't do that."
I said, "How about if I pay for it."
He said, "Oh, no we can't do that."
I said, "If I pay for it what's the problem?"
He said, "Well, Perkey will want one."
JF: Perkey is doing more.
I said, "Well, tell him to pay for it like I'm doing." (both laugh)
GB: And he never quite got the concept, and uh, sure enough, and then I messedup, again, and so I said, you know I'm not going through this anymore. I sat in 52:00his office and said, I knew this guy, I don't know if he was gunning for me ---I don't know why he would have---uh, but I knew I was never going to get through to him, and this was going to be the way it happened. I'm going to end up in jail, you know. That's what can happen to you if you falsify a law. And I'm not falsifying on purpose. I'm doing it because I'm doing my show, which meant everything to me at the time, and so I just said, well, I guess, I guess I better go. I thought if I said that he would say we'll get you a producer, he goes, yeah, see you later.
JF: Is that right.
GB: That was it basically, you know you know, I mean he didn't ask me to stay.He didn't look, he did not look for any kind of solution, but that's his call; he's the manager. If he felt he could do better without me, in fact I read in one of the trade magazines that he did a lot better without me, although his ratings went way down. I don't know how they figured that.
GB: But, I am sure they've got other ways of doing that. I'm not, I don't53:00dislike the guy. I don't even hardly know the guy, but I never really understood why he didn't try to help me. But, I would have been there today. (laughs)
JF: Well, Louisville's loss but Cincinnati's gain. I'm saying that for everybody.
GB: Well, thank you for saying that.
JF: Well, you've had a good thirty years for you here, I know.
GB: Well, I had some good people down there, too. But, then again, you ended upwith the same thing we ended up with, angry, white guys on the radio.
JF: It's a different atmosphere.
GB: Yeah, it's a totally---I mean I learned to ride a motorcycle in the hallwayat WAKY. Do you think I could do that today?
GB: We were WAKY crazy DJs having a great time, and entertaining people, and,you know, when we went on the air that was our major task to entertain people, and that is what compelled people to listen to radio. And today, they are walking around wondering how can we compel them to listen. Let's fire a whole bunch, and I don't think they quite understand the concept of that I talked to you about Powell Crosley, Jr., understood.
GB: I'm going to have people listening after he invented this, you know, not54:00Marconi invented the radio, but he down sized it so you could actually listen to it in the kitchen on the counter.
JF: Yeah, right. Crosley radios, yeah.
GB: And he so he built a radio station, and he hired people, you know, likeRosemary Clooney; he hired people like, you know, Fats Waller; people that would compel people to listen. And then t.v. came in. So radio, again, came around and said, okay what do we do? Disc Jockeys. You know, forget Arthur Godfrey. That was great the first time, but now it's time to compel people to listen to the music we're playing. And then when now computers have come in, and they just threw their hands up and said angry white guys. Well, that's only a small portion. Now, they do great ratings wise, and they'll tell you that, but you know as well as I do when Rush Limbaugh says I've got twenty million listeners, when you listen to a radio, every fifteen minutes you count as one person. People who are, I won't say politically wrong or whatever, people who tend to 55:00listen to that tend to listen for the entire three hours. They count as twelve people. Now you put them in a stadium, they don't look as nearly as big as they do on that rating board.
JF: Yeah, right. Big difference.
GB: Yeah, especially with an advertiser the same way.
JF: Well, I don't know if you might share this with me quickly before we turnthe tape on you. You talked to about doing an introduction you were introduced you were introduced you were inducted into the Hall of Fame,
GB: Friday. And to the National Hall of Fame in Chicago.
JF: And then, uh, this last the last year they asked you to come up---
GB: ---and induct Powell Crosley, Jr., And in doing the research for the speechI just absolutely and I'd worked that for all these years. I knew a little about him. I knew he fired Fats Waller; I didn't like that. (both laugh)
GB: But, Fats had played jazz on Powell Crosley, Jr.,'s mother's organ.
JF: Oh, wow.
GB: (laughs) That's a true story, I've heard, I'm told.
JF: That will get you every time, yeah. And so what was your introduction to uh,
GB: Oh, basically talking about uh, Powell Crosley, Jr., his son in 1921 asked56:00Powell Crosley Jr., for a radio. Powell Crosley, Jr., said, "You don't want a big console in your room like that. Let me build you a radio." He went out, and he bought a book, How to Build a Radio, and he bought one. When he got the radio built it fit on the kitchen counter, and so he thought well, I've got this, now I need a radio station, WLW. And he hires Rosemary Clooney, and he says to Rosemary Clooney he said, "I'm going to pay you $80.00 a week, you and your sister."
"What? How can you possibly do that?"
He said, "At WLW we spare no expense for talent." I said at that point in time,the owners of Clear Channel and Cumulus both wanted to have him fired, except they weren't born, yet. However, they did love the idea of talent for $80.00 a week. 57:00
GB: And that's basically what's happening now is they they can't think of anyway to compel people to listen. They got to admit that bottom line; that's why radio stations are becoming ghost towns.
GB: Not like it was. On that unhappy note. (both laugh) But, then again, we madeit through.
JF: Yeah, we made it through and had some great times. Well, thanks for takingthe time on a sunny afternoon, couple of days after Christmas to share this for the ages here.
GB: Well, it was great to see you and Lou, again. It's been been way too long.
JF: Yeah, it's been awhile.
GB: And, uh, you know you tend to get stuck in your little place. I'll be overnext weekend. We'll drive you crazy, now. Carol, you want want, pack them up, Carol. (all laugh) We'll bring all the kids, too, the grand kids you saw screaming in the, yelling kids, all girls.
JF: Well, enjoy Florida and enjoy golf.
GB: And if you guys ever find yourself in the neighborhood, let me know.
JF: Will do it.
GB: I, yeah, we'll stay in touch for now on. We should do that, just to you know.58:00
JF: All right, I'm going to shut this off, now.