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Man From Mars Productions

Stephen Kane
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My overview of the late 60s is that WDRC FM was something of a mystery to management. Since mid 1967 the FCC had required separate programming 50% of the time (10A-8P). Did you and John Scott offer input about a direction the FM could/should head to make it distinct from AM? A stereo signal was still a year away (Sept. 1969).

I definitely thought the FM should play an expanded library since it started to appear that that's where radio was going. Bertha didn't like the idea because it would have meant double the work for her. She didn't have any help when I started there, no Jim English.

During your stay at Big D the FM jocks ran their own board, while AM jocks worked through an engineer. Did that cause resentment or was it an opportunity to better control your own destiny?

I'd never had a board op. It was a pretty big deal to me and almost strange. I was used to running several different machines, rapid fire, so it sort of left me twiddling my thumbs. Then too, you had to adjust to having an audience in the person of the tech staring at you, and he wasn't very responsive (sorry, George), as some were, then you were left in a kind of suspension, at times wondering how a bit came off.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but a lot of fresh bodies rode the elevator at 750 Main Street in 1968 - John Rode, Jim Jeffrey, John Scott, Walt Dibble, Bob Walker, you, and finally Dick McDonough. Most were gone in a year or less. Was it DRC in particular, or the radio industry that was in flux?

audio: October 19, 1968 Big D was going through its own growing pains, talent was bailing here and there, and overall changes in the business were running rampant as well. But it was culture-wide, in retrospect. One day Charlie asked me into his office to vent, flabbergasted, expressing astonishment at the violent events of the day. There were riots going on in Hartford's North End, and a curfew was imposed on the city. A good part of the upheaval in the 60s was about race -- no secret there -- so when you listened to Sly & The Family Stone it took on some new and relevant meaning. But the pleas in "Everyday People" were definitely, seemingly all of a sudden, out the window. All of this was new to us and we had to wonder just exactly how dangerous it was going to get. To a good-natured guy like Charlie, it was confounding and pretty intimidating.

 
  audio: December 25, 1968 You drew the short straw on Christmas Day '68. During your FM shift, John Rode came down the hall several times and appeared in brief cameos as Santa Claus. How much were the AM jocks competing with their FM counterparts?

Santa Rode

 
 

It was no secret that FM was Triple A ball to AM's majors. It was a new entity and to move from FM to AM, as Field did, was a very big deal. Rode was an original. We were best of friends, hung out a lot along with Walt Pinto at some lizard lounge. When John started getting into trouble as a no-show - this, after Korsen had arrived with the big axe -- he started looking elsewhere. I suspect he, like me, like Lee Babi, like a lot of DJs, got bored quickly and moved on to the next station. So John suspected he was going to be 86'd, started looking, and landed the promise of a gig at WIBG in Philadelphia, another heavy hitter 'cause this guy had pipes second to none. A short time before he was ready to jump, he got the word that the Philly station had been sold - to Buckley-Jaeger! What kind of luck is that?

How much of a factor was WPOP? During your stint at DRC, they were disciples of the Drake philosophy and attracted some of their highest ratings of the 1960s.

They gave WDRC a good run, even beat us here and there. The thing was, Big D FM's numbers added to AM's provided an edge. But it was definitely neck and neck.

audio:  March 26, 1969 It's June 1969 and suddenly Stephen Kane is no longer on Big D. What happened?

I was fired, but I never knew why. It's possible Korsen just decided I wasn't talented enough, God rest the bastard's soul. But I'd tested their patience on a few occasions, too. Those activities I mentioned earlier that filled time? Rode and I decided we'd have a contest one day to see who could get away with the bluest comment. Back and forth we went, Paul Gregory, our board tech, overseeing it, one upping each other. Well, it's obvious I didn't know where the line was, and when it came back to me, I introduced "Mony Mony" by Tommy James & The Dildos - which, for that time, was pretty risqué. I got called on the carpet by the GM, Mike Boudreau, a big lovable tough guy, who demanded to know why I'd done that, and was completely flummoxed when I told him I didn't even know what the word meant. Truth? I'm not sure I did. Anyway, I can't recall, but that may have been the first of numerous suspensions I got hit with over the years.

 
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