Memories of John Garabedian and V-66...

Doug Drown
Fri Jun 15 17:30:54 EDT 2007

I loved WRKO in its earliest days, but that changed after the Drake format
was introduced.  I always thought it was formulaic, even though it got
tweaked a little from time to time.  There was a day-to-day, month-to-month
sameness to it.  Great jocks, but I would imagine they probably did feel
like they were on a leash.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Roger Kirk" <>
To: "Donald A." <>
Cc: <>; "Dan Strassberg"
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 3:10 PM
Subject: Re: Memories of John Garabedian and V-66...

> Donald A. wrote:
> > Roger, what was the mood inside the WRKO building when WMEX was
challenging (and sometimes beating) WRKO's dominance.
> >
> >
> It's hard to remember the chronology after all these years, but
> management and the jocks talked a lot about it behind closed doors.  Of
> course, the jocks let us techs know a lot of the "juicy" stuff.  There
> were a lot of changes in the on-air stuff and I can't be sure what was
> the direct result of competition and what was just evolution of the
> Drake format.
> It was around this time that they changed from single songs and short
> stop sets to two (or more) in a row with slightly longer stop sets.
> Also, the concept of adding LP cuts to the play list found favor.  A
> nod, no doubt, to some of the LP cuts being played by WMEX as well as a
> realization that the FM stations were starting to encroach on AM's
> dominance.  At first it started off conservatively with just 2 or three
> cuts added for spice.  Then, it escalated to the point where the jocks
> were bringing in huge stacks of LP's from their collections so that
> certain cuts could be carted and added to the on-air rotation.  The
> biggest add was In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - which I edited down to 9:40 from
> the original15+ minutes. We were congratulating ourselves on being TOO
> HIP FOR THE ROOM.  The most hilarious point was when WRKO was accused
> (in a newspaper article) of adding LP cuts as a response to
> competition.  Their official response was "Nonsense, we've always played
> LP cuts that merited airplay, blah blah, blah..."
> The news wars were funny.  They streamlined the news and went to a
> "secret, hush-hush" two-day rotation, so that outside of drive time, the
> news was not always in the same hour e.g. if it were at 7:40, 9:40 and
> 11:40 on one day, the next day it would be at 6:40, 8:40 and 10:40 the
> next.  It was intimated that letting this cat out of the bag was
> tantamount to treason and subject to instant excommunication.
> Without mentioning names, it was the subject of much discussion,
> snickering and ribbing after one of the evening jocks had a rendezvous
> with a female staffer from WMEX who applied "persuasion" in a vain
> attempt to extract 'secrets' fom him.  'Nuff said.
> Still, the on-air sound was constantly monitored, compared to WMEX and
> tweaked incessantly.  The jocks groused among themselves that they were
> on too tight a leash and given the opportunity, they could be WAY more
> hip in their delivery and choice of music - if only given a chance.
> Three of the jocks all lived in the same apartment/condo complex in
> Framingham and gathering at one of their abodes to "discuss what's
> happenin'" was almost a daily ritual.  Of course, the grousing
> continued.  They all talked about  how "I could do it SO much better"
> One Saturday night, it happened:  One of the jocks decided it was time
> for the revolution.  He "broke format".  He decided what songs and  in
> what order they would be played.  He discarded the one-liners in favor
> of his own words.  Of course, the "Bat Phone" rang.  He answered it and
> hung up on the PD.  It rang again and he repeated.  After that, he
> refused to answer.  As you might imagine, the engineering supervisor of
> the whole plant (AM, FM & TV) came upstairs and quietly explained to him
> that the police (who were literally next door) were coming and if he
> didn't leave quietly and quickly, things would get ugly.  He left and
> guess which the board op was left to pick up the pieces.  I ran the
> station jockless and following format until they could find a jock that
> was home and answering the phone.  Turns out that nobody was at home
> then and the closest they could come up with was the Music Director who
> had been a Jock years ago. He lived about a mile away.  You can imagine
> how nervous he was sitting in the BIG SEAT.  I helped him through it
> until the midnight jock came in and relieved him.

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