An Appreciation of Jess Cain

Bill O'Neill
Mon Feb 18 14:45:34 EST 2008

Eli Polonsky wrote:
> I'm sure that the soft
> Top 40 format in WHDH's later years had been tailored to
> (hopefully) hold on to some of their older listeners from
> their MOR heritage, or at least not make them grimace and
> want to change the station due to rockin' guitar breaks.

No, the HDH Cashcall Jackpot kept the seasoned demo close to the 'radio 
set'.  One of the few times I had a cashcall on HDH, the first time I 
call this guy, I think he was in Dedham. Instead of just letting him 
know that it was the "'HDH Cashcall calling..." I asked him if he 
listened to 'HDH or something like that.  In a classic 
tough-guy-uphill-both-ways in a blizzard voice the guy said, "What's the 
matter wit' you, kid?" I had insulted him! Then he mimicked me with a 
'Do you listen to 'HDH?' I let him keep piling on (it was working) and 
then said asked him to get to the dollar amount (he was off by about 60 

Mr. Igo shared a great Jess recollection here a couple of days ago.  I 
may have recounted this before (aging = repetition. cough.) While 
waiting for a show to start one early morning from the mobile studio 
(Boston Marathon day that I was called in to tech), Jess showed up - 
early. Then he proceeded to hand out donuts and coffee. I left him to 
his prep time but he would ask me how things were going, how the suits 
were treating me, did I have a tape, etc.  I complimented him on how he 
worked well with a perennial caller who went by 'the Red Sox Cynic' and 
Jess went on at great length talking about how much he appreciated the 
caller's 'talent' and 'contribution to the show.' He spoke of the show 
as making sure it was clicking, working, hitting a mark he had set for 
it all.  At the time, I think Jess was the highest paid radio talent in 
the market but clearly one of the nicest guys within a field that has 
its share of, well, you know, it's a family show.

Bill O'Neill

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