Saturday, August 16, 2014

smoking IKE's Cuban Cigars!

From Vegas to Washington D.C.                                                                     repost

what’s that saying about “out of the frying pan into the fire???

Mac Richmond...triple radio station owner from Boston...was a loose cannon with staff at times and had fired a jock in DC whom he didn’t like and vice versa.  He made the mistake of giving him a week’s notice and the fellow decided he’d get even by taking a contest promo we had running on the station and doing a little tape cutting job which became a classic Mac Richmond story in broadcasting.
     We had a guy roaming the streets of DC and burbs as a promotion for the station...called “Mr. PG...our station call letters were WPGC....and our logo was “color radio” which I never figured out.
     The promotion was tied in with the foundation to support the the on the air announcement said:
Mr. PG...color walking the streets for retarded children.
        If you spot him say “hi” and he’ll give you $100 and donate $100 to the retarded children's fund on your behalf.”
       Well...the fired personality...using his tape and scissors...
spliced a couple of words and switched them on the promotion which ran most the the day before someone caught it. 

       “Mr. PG...retarded walking the streets for color children”!!!
 A great story...especially on a big, popular station in Washington DC where the FCC could monitor easily.

        A fellow named Jerry Kearns worked at the station and his Grandmother ran Blair House... the big house across the street from the White House where visiting dignitaries stayed.  Harry Truman had moved into the Blair House for a couple of years while the White house was refurbished.
      This was during the final year of Eisenhower’s presidency and when it wasn’t occupied we had the run of the place.  We used to wash our cars in the back parking ourselves to anything in the frig...including the big dark Cuban cigars Ike kept in the freezer for guests.
      I even stayed overnight...way upstairs in the maid’s bedroom in the most comfortable feather bed I’ve ever been in.  Then the next morning I took a bath in the main guest bathroom where they had installed a gold plated bathtub for Queen Elizabeth's earlier visit.
     Jerry was actually in the military at one of the closed mouth agencies that are to be found (or not found) around DC and he worked at the station part time.  I commented to him one day about something we did on the air and he smiled and whispered that “they” probably heard it.  I said what do you mean?
    “Oh...everything is monitored... they hear everything.”
 It was my first glance into the secret world of evesdropping...knowing that all the radio stations in the area were probably being taped and listened too.  Kind of scary for a democracy like ours....more like something you’d expect in Russia.

       My friend Mac took me to dinner one evening...and all through the meal he was bemoaning the fact that his FM station...WPGC-FM...was doing nothing but costing him a bundle of money because of the power it used. It just carried our AM programs. 
       Nobody listened to FM radio in fact...nobody could because few had FM capability on their radios.
We fired up both stations at 6AM each day and the FM just carried what the AM was running. then, because the AM was limited to daytime hours only...we shut both down at sunset and so...he was correct in feeling the FM was a useless entity
    “Why don’t I sell the FM to you?” he said over dessert and coffee.  “I’ll sell it to you for $30, me a couple thousand down and we’ll work out the rest.”
     I replied that i didn’t have the kind of money
  “Call your Dad...tell him you want to buy a radio station in DC!”
  “Dad still doesn’t like me being in this business...beside...what the hell would I do with it...nobody can hear FM.” 
    Well...I know that you know where this is going.
    Now...of one listens to AM any more (hardly) and WPGC-FM in the 70’s,  80’s and later became the most valuable FM property in the entire DC area.  It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s worth about $100 million on today’s market...give or take a few millions.
   So much for my crystal ball in the broadcasting business!


Hi Stan,
Thanks so much for letting me know about your blog!  I read the whole thing through and enjoyed it greatly, especially the stories about Mac at WPGC and WMEX.  The bit about him turning off KBMI and not telling the FCC is classic! 
Seriously, I think you have the makings of a book here.  Your writing style is easy and personable and the anecdotes often hilarious!  Have you given any thought to publishing your memoirs formally?  It's a great read!

Lee Chambers...WPGC pages

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