On the Air at WLS - Click photos for larger views
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
Thanks so much to everyone for your feedback - and for joining us on our WLS 1960's recreation Friday September 15th on XM Satellite Radio's 60's on 6 Channel
It's been 40 some years since I was on "the big 89" and about 25 years since I did any music radio at all.
Gotta tell you I had my initial misgivings when they asked me to host it, but I actually suprised myself when I got behind the XM mike , put on the headphone - and suddenly it all came back. It was great fun reliving such a great radio station of the time - the the fabulous music of the 1960s. And beyond that - the knowledge that there were hundreds of thousands of people across the nation reliving that same period in their lives along with me. It was absolutely awsome!
So much of the credit goes to the professionals at XM - 60's on 6 Program Director Pat Clarke - personalities Phlash Phillips and Terry "Motor Mouth" Young. Terrific people dedicated to their art!
The old airchecks, the remastered jingles and "stuff" came from a variety of sources including Clark Weber, Don Phillips, Ray (Peter Fugitive) Van Steen, Rob Hummel in Wisconsin who has collected just about everything that could possibly be collected from WLS and shared it with me, and from Baltimore, Joe Evelius who a few years ago worked hard to improve many of those airchecks and then moved them from reel to reel to CD's Also a special thanks to Larry Shannon at the popular Radio Daily News www.radiodailynews.com for the nice mentions, and for the great write up on www.dcrtv.org the premier internet spot here in the WashingtonDC/Baltimore area that has all the media scoop all the time!
And a second thank you to Terry Young who conceived this Friday night feature on his show - produced the entire 5 hours in which I participated - and help keep me pumped up! He was "the man" who made it all fit together.
Finally - my thanks to the WLS fans of the 1960's for being there with me and my colleagues - not only in good old Chicagoland and the Midwest but 60's music fans from across the XM Nation.
Here's a note I received from Pat Clarke:
It’s official. We’ve NEVER gotten as much positive feedback as we have from our WLS salute last Friday!
HERE ARE A FEW EMAIL EXCERPTS FROM FORMER "RILEY REBEL RAIDERS"
DEAR RON. YOU WERE THE 60S TO ME. MY BASIC LINK TO THE BIG WORLD. ALL THOSE FUN THINGS FROM THE DAYS OF THE BEATLES. I REMEMBER YOU CONGRATULATING THE WLS FAN CLUB (WLS - WE LOVE STARR) AND THE CORNY CLARK WEBER JOKES. "WHY DID WEBER PUT A BANANA PEEL ON HIS HEAD? HE WANTED TO KNOW IF BLONDES REALLY HAD MORE FUN" GLAD I FOUND THIS WEBSITE. KITTY, TUSCALOOSA, AL
Wow, those were really some poor jokes weren't they Kitty. But, it was all fun lovin' stuff
Do you recall the "swimming pool" with all the "down with Weber" shouters in the background. Of course there were no real kids yelling or a swimming pool on the roof of our building - but I had quite a library of sound effect bites that we put together.
HEY RON. I'M A WASHINGTON DC AREA TRANSPLANT FROM "CORN COUNTRY USA". WHEN I FIRST SAW YOU DOING TV WEATHER OUT HERE SOMETHING TRIGGERED MY MEMORY CELLS - "THE VOICE IS FAMILIAR" THEN I WENT TO YOUR WEBSITE FOR A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE. WHAT A HOOT. IT BROUGHT BACK TONS OF MEMORIES. GUESS MY BIGGEST MEMORY WAS LISTENING THE NIGHT DICK BIONDI GOT KICKED OFF THE AIR. THANKS FOR GIVING US "BABY BOOMERS" A CHANCE OF RECREATE IN OUR MINDS SOME OF OUR COOLEST TIMES. MAKES ME FEEL I'M NOT REALLY OVER THE HILL! KIM, VIRGINIA
Kim, Thanks for the great email. You know, in all these years I don't really think I got a straight answer to just "why" Biondi got fired. I wasn't working there at the time, although I filled in a year before on the all night show "East of Midnight" which came on right after Dick's show ended. Later, our program director Gene Taylor said it was because Dick continued to complain about the number of commercials on his show and made a lot of comments about it on the air - which ticked off the sales department, the general manager, and our owners ABC - and so they eventually let him go. Other rumors had to do with some off color jokes, or whatever. I never did get a straight answer from Dick himself. (Of course anything seems to go on radio now days.) Anyway, when Biondi left his night time slot was filled by Art Roberts, and to my great fortune, I was hired to for the early evening slot that Art vacated. Who thought we'd still be talking about all of this so many years later?
HEY RON, YOU AND JOHN "RECORDS" LANDECKER WERE MY 2 FAVORITES. USED TO LISTEN TO THE BIG 89 AS A KID AND WAS SUITABLY ENTERTAINED AND AMAZED AT YOUR STYLE AND HOW YOU "DAZZLED THEM WITH YOUR FOOTWORK" I'LL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU AND JOHN AS BEING THE BEST EVER. AL
Al, you put me in great company with Landecker. I only met him once at a WLS anniversary party in the 1980s. He was on the air a decade after I left WLS and an extremely good air personality. I was never a Fred Astaire, but have to admit doin' the stuff I did on the air really did keep me dancin'.
HELLO RON. I JUST CAME ACROSS YOUR WEBSITE - ANOTHER OF THOSE WLS LISTENERS WHO TUNED IN WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN HERE IN CHATTANOOGA.
I LISTENED TO WLS FROM 1961 TO THE MID 70S. THE BEST RADIO STATION OF THE TIMES. YOUR "FEUD WITH WEBER WAS HILARIOUS. RON, TN
Hi Ron. Yes, all the Sundown listeners around the nation were especially happy during the Winter months when the sun set very early and they could pick up WLS after 5pm instead of after 8pm as in the Summer. I used to get tons of mail - especially from the southern states; seems there were a lot of small town with even smaller radio stations that were required to sign off at sundown. That was about the same time we began blasting in on our clear channel frequency. It was great for all of us, believe me.
DEAR RON. I LIVED IN A SMALL MINNESOTA TOWN, POPULATION 7,000 BACK IN 1963. I WAS 13 AND LISTENED EVERY NIGHT. YOU WERE IN A RAGING BATTLE WITH "EMPEROR WEBER" WHO LIKED THE DAVE CLARK 5 BUT NOT THE BEATLES. OF COURSE, YOU WERE RIGHT AND HE WAS DEFINITELY WRONG. ONE SUMMER I GOT A COPY OF "I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND" SUNG IN GERMAN AND SENT IT TO YOU - MY DJ HERO. AFTER ABOUT A WEEK I BECAME DISCOURAGED AS I WAS HOPING YOU'D PLAY IT AND MENTION MY NAME. THEN CAME THE NIGHT WHEN SURE ENOUGH YOU PLAYED IT AND SAID "THANKS TO CHUCK IN MINNESOTA FOR SENDING IT "KOMM, GIB MIR DEINE HAND." YOU ALSO SENT ME A LETTER AND AN AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO. I WAS IN HEAVEN. CHUCK, MN
Gotta tell you Chuck, I was thrilled to get that Odeon label single at the time. It had a photo cover and as I recall Sie Liebt Dich (She Loves You) was on the other side. I had a very large collection - of which that record was one of them - and after many years of carting them around, along with some gold record awards, t-shirts, autographed photos and record promotional "stuff" I finally sold most of it all to a guy who has an big 60's nostalgia store in the LA area. I'm sure it will all make some collectors very happy.
|See Ron Riley. One of the personalities on News Channel 8 in DC, Maryland VA||Hear
Ron Riley - WLS Chicago 1967
Ron Riley - WLS-The Music Radio Years
|WLSHistory.com||Jeff Roteman's WLS Tribute||WLS Radio|
Ron Riley today on NewsChannel 8
Book excerpt on Ron Riley
|Free Audio/Video Players|
here to hear Ron Riley and interviews with the Beatles!