Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Castro's Miami invasion...

 “Will the last real American leaving Miami please bring the flag!”
circa 1980

That was the slogan going around mainly among white citizens in south Florida.
Neil Rogers and I took to the airwaves to scream our dissent and demanded that President Carter or somebody...anybody in charge of protecting our shores put an end to it.
Despite of protestations in many circles...especially when it was discovered Castro was emptying his jails and mental institutions...the boatlift went on and on and on for about SEVEN MONTHS!
I was dubbed “the Joseph Gobbels” of Miami for my views...by the Mayor of Miami and we had squad cars in our parking lot when we were on the air to ward off any crazies who might want silence our free speech rights (something they didn’t have in their homeland of Cuba of course).
I remember Neil being so upset that he dug out an inside number at the White House and sitting in our office he started a rotation dialing...changing the last number each time.
“I’m going get Carter on the phone and ask him why he’s allowing this crap” was basically what Neil was saying.  
He kept at it for the better part of an hour...saying he was getting some weird answers...lot’s of military types...and I warned him that the Secret Service would be knocking on our door any minute.
He never reached Carter or anyone of substance but he had fun trying.
Meantime the drug dealers were busy using the boatlift as a cover...and the Feds were busy busting the biggest shipments of cocaine in history coming up highway 1 from Key West.
Dade County was not prepared for this invasion....and the whole thing was just one big mess.
In the midst of all the the goings on we received many death threats and inside the building our station manager, Dick Casper, a programming genius (famous for “Zeta” the top rock station) and I were battling over producers and, of course, all that didn’t help my head any either.

Finally...I had had it....and called WINZ in Ft. Lauderdale and accepted an early evening talk slot from them.
I made that move quickly...getting out of Miami and Dade County but it wasn’t enough of a move north...so after about six months there I contacted my old friend from Boston and Chicago, Jerry Williams, who was host and program director for a new Philadelphia FM talk station...WWDB. 
     Jerry had an early evening slot for me and I gratefully left... headed north for the relative “safe” confines of Philadelphia where I would remain for about five years...my longest stay on the radio merry-go-round.
My WINZ slot, by the way, was a lead in to the Alan Burke talk show.  Burke had made it big in New York City and had basically retired to south Florida. 
        I mention this in passing as Neil Rogers...my big “buddy” was displeased by my move and we didn’t speak again for years.  I thought that was weird but that was Neil.  If you were not with him you apparently (in his mind) were against him.  My friendship never faltered and of course we would make radio history in the late 80’s...when I joined him at WINZ Miami.
Neil was very insecure which was strange and if his phone lines weren’t filled with callers he got downright morose.  Even later when he was making millions of dollars a year and in top form he was uptight....and his famous “ripping” of station management on his show was only half in jest.


No comments:

Post a Comment