Tuesday, March 10, 2015
He's a Music Man and he almost became a RADIO man!
....Back when I was a DJ (PD)at WIRL Peoria...I got a call from my big boss late one evening. We’ll call him just Bob, since my story and may not be kind to his memory.
He said he had some friends at his house and told me to get in the car and join them. One of his guests was famous...Meredith Willson...the “Music Man” in person.
I drove out and join the fray.
Willson was in rare form and as I entered he was doing one of his songs from the show...still on broadway then. He was singing and playing Bob’s piano and it was a hell of a scene.
After a couple of drinks Bob said he was going to make his “egg” specialty for all but he told me to chat with genial GM Fritz Fredrick about an idea Bob and Willson had cooked up.
Seems Willson was in a celebratory mood as he had just sold the movie rights for the “Music Man” to Hollywood and was loaded with dough.
Fritz said the idea was to immediately buy six or seven radio stations with that money. That was the limit at the time...now they don’t bother with those kind of restrictions.
I left later and never heard another word from Bob or Fritz about the big buy.
Some months later the rumor was Bob got scared...it was too big a deal for him and he settled for much smaller fry...some hamburger chains or something.
But for a few days in my life I faced one hell of a possibility. managing or at least programming with partial ownership that many radio stations at once.
And I wasn’t yet even 30 years old!
Again those awful words “what might have been.”