|Little Surfer Girl |
Boston name dropping...(Part 1) (repost)
Joan Crawford....Paula Prentiss...(phone sex later...just kidding)...Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg...talker Jerry Williams... Jack Kennedy and....
....The Boston Strangler!
How’s that for a lineup to talk about!
WMEX Radio in Boston was big. I mean huge in ratings and making money....and making hit records. We’ll have a firm example coming up. Stay tuned.
Arnie Ginsburg may have invented “payola”...that is a DJ taking money to play records on his show.
In 1962-63 there were no federal laws prohibiting this so “hands all out” as they say. Mac Richmond, the owner was probably getting his share as I was pressured by Mac while at his station WPGC in DC to play the hell out of certain records. Mac was “sound deaf” so why else would he do that!
I never got any cash for playing records but I did get two tickets to any Broadway play...sixth row center..and I saw a bunch. My free tickets from the record folks were so good that one time I was seated in front of Gwen Verdon! I think that was for Jackie Gleason in “Take Me Away”.
In Boston, Mac handed me a ticket for a show having it’s pre-broadway opening. It was called “Funny Girl” and featured an unknown singer named Barbra Streisand. She sang the song “People” for the very first time publicly that night and it knocked me out. I knew it would be a huge hit song and make her and the show famous. The only problem was the third act which “sucked” and they knew it so they closed down for a few days and rewrote it. Of course I was right about the song and the show...one of the biggest Broadway hits in a long time. And about the star...of course.
WMEX had an afternoon DJ named Melvin X. Melvin (really a station name used by any jocks in that time slot).
The guy’s real name was Jim MacKrell and he would go on to Hollywood as an actor and later appeared in things like
“Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death”
But he did make his mark in 1970-74 hosting the successful gameshow “Celebrity Sweepstakes”.
But here’s my point. To show you how hot that show and that station(WMEX) was in Boston...Jimmy had a Hooper share of 52%.
Hooper was the radio audience measurement outfit popular at that time.
Now the 52% meant that HALF of ALL radio listeners were tuned to Melvin X Melvin’s show. That is just unbelievable and incredible but true. As good share might be a 10 or 12 but Jim had a 52. In my 50 years in broadcasting I never saw that again. It was very unusual to say the least.
Let me give you another example of the power of that show and the station.
I was doing the news on Jim’s show each day.
The Beach Boys were hot and had just released new new single called “Little Duce Coup” which we played and played and played until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I got a copy of the 45 and just for the hell of it it flipped it over on audition in the newsroom and guess what...I heard the next number one record in the country. It was called “Little Surfer Girl” and Nobody was playing that side.
I rushed into the control room and off the air I challenged Jim to flip the record and play it.
He did and we never played what the record company had called the “A” side...the Coup thing again! So we broke that record on Jim’s show and stations in New York City and up and down the eastern seaboard that could hear WMEX also flipped the record and in about six to ten weeks yep, you guessed it... “Little Surfer Girl” WAS number one in the country! I took all the credit!
end Boston (Part 1)