Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"...there are no accidents in his business at all. Accidents are just from where you're looking. To the ego, it looks like it's miracles and accidents. No miracles. No accidents. It's just your vantage point that you're sort of.....stuck in." Baba Ram Dass

Sad to hear Dan Kieley has passed. Dan did good work, cared enough to fuss over things until they hit just the right note. During his successful run at KIIS FM he was DK-LA; on his watch he lived LA deeply, he imagined then developed Wango Tango, and he left the station in better shape than he first found it. Along the way Dan collected his share of honors in well-deserved industry hardware (Gavin, R&R, Billboard, FMQB). He loved programming.

Over dinner in Minneapolis, the night before his job interview at KDWB, we discussed what was and what was not happening in radio. We talked about programming and living in the moment...the true essence of top 40. We came to discuss Ram Dass..."Remember...Be Here Now". Dan had made the drive to Minne from Omaha and he brought his A game. Dan Kieley got it, he understood the moment, he filled every moment of his life, packed every moment of his radio stations with a unique charge, a very local electric magic. Dan made a difference in his short life - he will be missed.

Still playing catch up on emails - please standby. For those wanting to know why comments are moderated...had to go that way to keep the spam off. Your comments are welcome.

Closed circuit to those who have emailed me or attempted to post comments regarding Steve Dahl v Howard Stern (no doubt the result of some posting on one or more of the Howard fan boards)...hold up

Howard was, in fact, not ahead of Steve in doing a stream of conscience act involving his friends, family, career and personal life. Steve remains, in my opinion, a major figure in personality radio. That Howard enjoyed distribution via a network while Steve has remained a major star in a single market has no weight in any discussion of style or original contribution. My sense is Steve's contribution to radio can be compared with Frank Gehry's contribution to space. Both, in my view, are iconoclastic architects - postmodern expressionists. For the Howard fans...I have elected not to post your comments because I did not want to edit the profanity; let me suggest you re-post without the language and I'll clear it. I certainly recognize Howard's contribution but the record is clear on the timeline issues here.

Get me re-write! - Department of Media History. Got a few emails related to "WICV-FM" and George J Weinbarg said to be "the youngest major market ND in the country" while serving at Chicago's WICV, a General Cinema station. First, I am not aware of any such station in Chicago radio history. The General Cinema station was WEFM, a storied station, a one-time famous classical station that came to be top 40 under the guidance of Jerry Clifton and later Kevin Metheny. WEFM was also one of the first to broadcast in stereo along with WKFM (the later WFYR). The nation's first 24 hour FM news initiative - on an FM music station - debuted on RKO's WFYR in Chicago. Thanks to our truly exceptional sales leadership (Lee Simonson and later Drew Horowitz) and the full support of corporate (Paul Drew, Jerry Lyman & Dwight Case) we did what no FM music station had done before, make those investments required to create and sustain a news shop competitive with the big kids on AM. Perhaps General Cinema did use the WICV call letter at one time and they did feature a ground-breaking news effort but I am not able to find any evidence that it actually happened. Please get in touch with me if you have any such recollection. Thanks. I do have a clipping from the Chicago Tribune wherein Gary Deeb wrote "WFYR...is one of the glittering jewels of Chicago radio. It's not only the city's finest FM station by far; it also could be the best and most responsible FMer in America."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

With regard to WICV...having grown up in suburban Deerfield, I do recall WICV...it was on 99.5...but was short-lived, if it actually got on the air at all. Shortly after acquisition by General Cinema, the WICV call letters were approved...but (the following pasted from a Google search of WEFM WICV)(although there appears to be some confusion on the part of the writer about dates and company names, but the information is pretty much correct otherwise):

Zenith decided
> to sell the station, as there were now plenty of things for its
> customers to listen to, and the people at Multimedia (?) bought it
> with the distinct plan of turning it into a top hit format.

To be exact it was General Cinema Corporation, who bought the station in 1972.

> The FCC approved the sale, however there was a tremendous stink
> by listeners, via a group called 'Friends of WEFM' who protested
> the proposed format change. So the FCC put a temporary kibosh on
> the whole thing, since the Friends were protesting so much. But
> Zenith had already packed up and left by that point, so Multimedia
> was stuck operating a strictly classical music station for the next
> two years, like it or not.

Since GCC took over in 1972, it turned out to be six years. The call letters in 1972 were about to be flipped to WICV and the library was packed to go over to WNIB when a court injunction was issued stopping the format change. There was even an ad in the Chicago Tribune the next day and billboards up for WICV that couldn't be stopped. They then had to fire the new DJ staff.

> Finally, two years later, in 1978, after numerous court orders,
> petitions, legal actions, FCC orders, etc, the new owners of WEFM were
> permitted to change the format subject to a few conditions:
> (1) the entire recorded archives of classical WEFM which consisted of
> about ten thousand albums had to be given to a very small (at the
> time) classical station in Chicago called WNIB which was run by Sonia
> and Bill Florian. I have commented on them here in the past.

The pre-1972 library went to WNIB. The post-1972 library went to WBEZ, the Board of Education-owned NPR station -- along with the rights to some syndicated programs and announcer Dick Noble.

> (2) they had to retain existing on-air people of classical WEFM for a
> period of a year or give them that much in severance pay, if those
> people wished to announce and play the type of music which would be
> aired (I do not think any of them stayed around). They had, you see,
> proposed to toss all the recorded music in the dumpster and kick all
> the employees out on the street.

-Dan Kelley
Lansing, MI

Anonymous said...

oh and btw...WFYR...

"The Music You Want & The Information You Need"...

a great radio station it was!

-dan kelley
lansing, mi