Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


If you like good words, you will love this one: “Schadenfreude.” It was the Word of the Day on Wednesday May 10, 2000.

Pronounced “SHOD-n-froy-duh,” it means a malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others. Know anyone who has had a schadenfreude experience?

I thought of the word on Monday September 25, 2006 as I was listening to the return of Los Angeles DJ Rick Dees to morning drive time radio. Two years ago he was at the helm of KIIS radio and after a couple of decades of #1 morning radio, he was fired.

Now there isn’t a job in radio, TV or movies that one can honestly consider secure. Many times it is a revolving door and we’ve all experienced that truism, “What’s hot is hot and what’s not is not.” What always surprises me is the fact that there are so many people in show business who are schadenfreudests. Sorry to say, there were some radio people who truly took “malicious satisfaction” when Rick Dees (in the morning) got fired. If you don’t think that is true, think about how many DJs keep harking about Howard Stern’s sinking audience.

I, for one, was thrilled to see (and hear) that Rick Dees is back. I also want Howard to make it. I’m excited whenever I see anyone make a comeback or just hang in there.

The other reason I mention Rick Dees is because of something he said on his first day back. He was about to play a song and he took the time to explain who was singing and gave a little background. Then he said “I’ve been listening to a lot of radio during my hiatus. What disturbed me was that no one talks about the music they are playing. If you're going to play music … TALK ABOUT IT.”

GO RICK DEES !!!!!!!!!!


On my previous posting I asked the Mouse Clique to come up with a new category name to replace “Oldies” radio with something less … eh … you know … less … hem … OLD sounding! As always they came through with flying cliquers (you can scroll down and read the comments).

My favorite was a simple “O.” So from now on, as far as I am concerned, “Oldies” is now “O.” The top O station in town should be called, “The Big O.”

I got the impression from some of the Mouse Clique comments that many thought I was knocking the short list of songs that the big O was choosing. I have no beef with O radio’s choice of music or their play lists. I surely think their list should be a lot wider so they don’t repeat as much as they do, but they don't have the same luxury internet radio stations have.

Commercial radio’s biggest and most loyal audience is during drive time. They have only about a half-hour or so to reach the driver before he/she arrives at their destination, turns off the radio and goes to work (or school). They have determined, right or wrong, that the driving audience wants to hear certain songs when they tune in during that short attention span, and if they don’t, they will tune out and change the dial. The O station’s motto could be, “Give us 20 minutes and we’ll give you the music you want to hear … every time.” The News stations have been doing this for years. Every twenty minutes they repeat the same news, up-dating as the morning progresses. No one complains about that. Most of their audience is also changing every thirty minutes or so.

That is not what I feel is the real problem with O radio. The problem, as I hear it, is that the O DJs just don’t seem to relate to the music being played. There’s all that nostalgia and hundreds of interesting stories behind each song. However, what they talk about during their airtime mostly has nothing to do with any of that stuff. It almost seems as if the music was just another commercial: Sort of a 2+minute break so they can either plan the next segment of go to the bathroom. That’s why I was thrilled to hear Rick Dees back me up on his first day with “If you’re going to play music, talk about it.”

Top 40 Radio and Boss Radio of the 60s also had to keep grabbing the audience. But they used the music as the engine and the DJs were the ones who kept the motor revved up. The Real Don Steel, Sam Riddle, Wink Martindale, Wolf Man Jack, (the list goes on and on) loved that music and let everyone know about it.

Didn’t you appreciate Casey Kasem when he told you a little story behind each song before he played it?

I’ve got kind of a nutty idea. I’ve suggested it before but I don’t know if anybody else got it. How about “Talk Music Radio?” The DJ not only plays the music, he/she talks about the music. This takes a little research on the part of the program producer, but it would be worth it. Then, like a talk radio station, the DJ opens up the phone lines for a little discussion. Listeners talk about the music. They offer music opinions just like Talk Radio offers political opinions.

Think about it.

A good DJT (Disc Jockey Talker), could move it along, be funny and clever and still get all the commercials in and still have real time for the music.

Talk-Music Radio!

I know. I know. Surveys show that listeners want less talk and more music. Bull. Anyone who wants more music can just plug up his ears with an iPod and listen to 7,000 in a row WITHOUT INTERRUPTION! Is that what you want radio to turn into? If you really think so, than you know JACK (pun intended)!

Now get this: According to another recent survey, more, not less, people are watching more, not less, TV. That’s despite the fact that they have all those other life-diversion appliances available (IPods, Cell Phones, Blackberries, you name it, they’ve got it).

Why is this so? Because TV is entertaining and life can be really boring. Well, two-hour commutes can be pretty boring and commuters are also looking for entertainment. They also want to be involved. Getting involved makes it that much more … eh … entertaining.

Think of it this way. Radio is TV you can watch with your eyes closed. Give the audience a little background on the music and the artists and the audience will actually visualize that artist. When I was doing my show, I lip-synced so many hit records that people told me that when they heard the same record on radio, they visualized me instead of the artist. That is what makes radio so great. It’s very visual. The DJ becomes the visualator. The audience, the visualatee (add those good words to your vocabulary).

You know who is one of the most entertaining and involving people on radio? Rush Limbaugh. I don’t always agree with his political stance but he sure knows how to entertain. Imagine a Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Larry Elder or a Bill Handel with his own Talk-Music show. John and Ken? Talk about stuff happening. This would not be “O” no matter what music you were playing.

Think about it. Talk Music Radio. Out with the old - In with the new.


Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


LARP (Los Angeles Radio People), not to be confused with AARP, is one of my favorite sites on the web. Written by radio historian Don Barrett (, it’s a must-read for present and past radio professionals who want to keep up to date on what is going on in their industry.

One of the services of subscription-only LARP is the eagerly awaited release of the Arbitron Radio Ratings. To be number one, even by one-tenth of a percentage point ahead of your closest rival, is reason for great celebration and on-the-air crowing.

My focus whenever I peruse each rating result centers obviously on the oldies station category. I am always disappointed that my local LA oldies station just can’t seem to rise above 15th place in the overall ratings, or as Don Barrett so aptly put it, “has stayed largely status quo so far” despite programming changes. No matter what they have done in the recent past to boost their ratings, they can’t seem to break into the coveted top 10.

Why do I care? I worry about the station possibly going out of the “oldies” business altogether. Recently Los Angeles’s one and only country music station went off the air. Can you believe it? 10,000,000 people in LA and NOT ONE COUNTRY MUSIC STATION?

Could “Oldies” be next?

It’s obvious that something drastic must be done to keep stuff like this from happening to our premier oldies station. So, in order to prevent such a catastrophic and malefical event from ever occurring, I am offering my services as a non-paid oldies radio consultant. I opt to be “non-paid” because the solution is just too, too obvious.

Here is my solution:


NEVER … EVER … use the word OLDIES again!!!!

I told you it was obvious.

One comment that was going around about LA’s top oldies station before they decided to change its program line-up, was that the station was beginning to sound OLD. Are you kidding me? How can you not sound old, if you keep calling yourself an “Oldies station?”

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “Middle age is a non-specific state in life when one is neither young nor old, but somewhere in between. Middle age is between 40 and 65.”

What intelligent 45 year old hip, and up and coming person would ever admit in a radio ratings diary that their favorite radio station plays oldies? Most 45 year olds won’t even admit that they are 45! Let alone use the word “Old” in any form when referring to themselves.

The 60s was a big time young and happening event anyway you look at it. The Beatles? Old? The Beach Boys? Old? The Rolling Stones? What is the oldies radio station trying to tell their audience? That 60s music is only for the old. No one was old in the 60s and they still aren’t today. The Baby Boomers will never grow old.

There is a huge, even newer and younger audience waiting out there in radio land. To them 60s music is new. However, they will never come if stations keep building up their broadcast as an oldies experience. Psychologically it will permeate everything that is done on the air. And, yes, it WILL sound old.

So … as Cher would say as she slaps a little face … “Get over it!” (Cher’s from the 60s you know and she never grows old).

Tell you what I am going to do. I’m going to throw the problem out to all the Lloyd Thaxton Mouse Cliquers and have them kick it around. Their goal? Come up with a new format name to replace “Oldies.”

To all my Mouse Cliquers: Don’t let LA down. Come up with some names. My favorite would be “Boss Radio.” But that is taken. However, it sure sounds new to me?

While you’re trying to come up with ideas, keep saying this:

“Out with the Oldie. In with the New.”

Stay tuned

Monday, September 11, 2006


OK, the list of songs for The 2006 Baby Boomer Top Forty are in. We had a great turnout for this. The Mouse Cliquers came through with songs that REALLY relate to Baby Boomers today. Thank you, you can all go back to your day jobs now. I've listed the songs as they would appear today. Just in case you are not really that hip to the sounds of the 60s, I put the 60's version of the lyrics in parenthesis.

I wanted to pay tribute to my friend and one of the best radio DJs in the world, The Real Don Steele. If The Lloyd Thaxton Rock & Roll Road Show Time Machine could go back and bring Don into the future, he would be the one I would ask to make this announcement. Even though Boss Radio at the time featured The Top 30, I know Don would gladly add the next ten to complete THE 2006 BABY BOOMER TOP FORTY

40. The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Cane (hand)

39. The Turtles – Guide For The Divorced Man (married man)

38. Bobby Daren – Splish Splash, I Was Having A Flash (a bath)

37. The Yardbirds – Heart Full Of Burn (full of soul)

36, Jonathan King – Everyone’s Gone To The Bathroom (to the moon)

35. The Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend The Nap Together (the night)

34. The Electric Prunes – I Had Too Much Metamucil To Drink Last Night (too much to drink)

33. Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapenuts (grapevine

32. Ray Charles – Geritol On My Mind (Georgia on my mind)

31. Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Close-up Seein’ (lovin’ feelin’)

30. Helen Ready – I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore (hear me roar)

29. Nancy Sinatra – This Walker Was Made For Bootin’ (boots made for walkin')

28. Johnny Nash – I Can’t See Clearly Now (I can see clearly)

27. Bobby Fuller Four – I Fought The Mother-In-Law (fought the law)

26. Commodores – Once, Twice, Three Times To The Bathroom (three times a lady)

25. The Animals - We Gotta Get Outta This Old Folks Home (out of this place)

24. Young Rascals – I Ain’t Gonna Eat Without My Dentures Anymore (eat out my heart)

23. The Marvelettes – Don’t Mess With My Medicare Bill (my Bill)

22. Roberta Flack – The First Time I Ever Forgot Your Face (Saw your face)

21. Manfred Mann – The Mighty Squint (Quinn)

20. Jackie Wilson – Fiber And Fiber (higher and higher)

19. Paul Revere And The Raiders – Vicks (kicks)

18. Paul Simon – 50 Ways To Lose Your Liver (lover)

17. Tony Orlando – Knock Three Times On The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall (if you want me)

16. Peter Frampton – Baby, I Love Your Toupee (love your way)

15. Otis Redding – Sitting At The Docs With My Pay (on the dock with my pay)

14. Leo Sayer – You Make Me Feel Like Napping (dancing)

13. The Stones – 19th Hip Replacement (19th nervous breakdown)

12. The Jam – Jam Up And Poli-Grip Tight (jelly tight)

11. The Bee Gees – How Can You Mend A Broken Hip (broken heart)

10. Simon And Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Dentures (waters)

9. Donny Osmond – Go Away, Middle-Aged Girl (little girl)

8. Mamas And The Papas – Leisure World Dreamin’ (California dreaming)

7. Marty Robins – El Pepto (El Paso)

6. Ringo Starr – I Get By With A Little Help From Depends (from my friends)

5. Beach Boys – Calistoga Girls (California girls)

4. Bobby Darin – Artificial Hearts (flowers)

3. Herman’s Hermits – Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Walker (lovely daughter)

2. Leslie Gore – I Don’t Wanna Be A Snoozer (loser)

1. Willy Nelson – On The Throne Again (road again)

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


In 1961 I started building a Time Machine. This will answer your question about what I did during all those commercial breaks.

I was worried that in 40 years the teen-agers of the 60s would find it impossible to relate to popular music and could possibly succumb to mass states of depression created by an extreme lack of musical identification. I envisioned all kinds of somewhat disturbing new musical genres, two of which I labeled “Rap” and “Hip Hop.” Needless to say, I had a rather vivid imagination. And, I also had a plan.

By the year 1966, I had built the very first “Lloyd Thaxton Rock & Roll Road Show Time Machine.”

My mission: To travel 40 years into the future and gather a new top-40 hit list exclusively for, and relative to, the Baby Boomer generation (I also invented the word “Baby Boomers”).

On July 29th, 1966, I was ready to begin my momentous mission. Entering The Lloyd Thaxton Rock & Roll Road Show Time Machine, I set the dial to July 29th, 2006, exactly 40 years in the future and started the countdown at the number 40 (a totally symbolic gesture).

I held my breath as I pushed the “Go Go” button. With a loud roar, the Lloyd Thaxton Rock & Roll Road Show Time Machine dropped onto it’s specially designed turntable and started spinning at 33 revolutions a minute. After a few seconds it suddenly bumped up to 45 revolutions. When it shifted to 78 revolutions, I became quite concerned. Something was wrong. 33 to 78? I seemed to be going BACK in time instead of forward.

Then I heard a voice, ” Scotty. Beam him up.” I had never heard this expression before. Star Trek didn’t make its TV debut until September 1966. This turned out to be my first indication I was heading in the right direction. What I wasn’t sure of was landing in the right location.

Now “location, location, location,” is the most important part of this story. The Lloyd Thaxton Rock & Roll Road Show Time Machine landed smack dab in the middle of THE CANOGA PARK HIGH SCHOOL 1966 40 YEAR CLASS REUNION. Canoga Park High is in the Los Angeles San Fernando Valley. Because the school was close to the LT show’s studios, most of the 1966 class not only watched my show, but also had actually danced ON it. It was a perfect landing. NASA, eat your heart out.

I was stunned. As was the entire class of 1966 who were just sitting, starring with mouths agape. I knew they were asking themselves, “Who is this short white haired guy? Where did he come from?" “Hi,” I said. “I’m Lloyd Thaxton.” There was a long moment of silence and then everyone yelled, “SO WHAT!” I smiled. I knew I was truly in the right place at the right time.

I explained how I happened to be there and the purpose of my mission to establish a new Top-40 song list relative to Baby Boomers. “I’m going to start you off with five songs.” I said, "Come up with the remaining 35. There is only one rule. All Baby Boomer Top Forty Hits must relate to your way of life today. Though many of you still feel like it, you are not teen-agers anymore. So, absolutely no Rap or Hip Hop allowed."

And then I introduced my start-off list:

Number one: “Herman’s Hermits: Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely WALKER.”


Number two: “Helen Reddy: I Am Woman, Hear me SNORE.”


Number three: “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken HIP?”


Number four: “Leo Sayer: You Make Me Feel Like NAPPING.”

“One more,” I announced, “and you’re on your own.”

Number five: Roberta Flack: The first Time Ever I FORGOT Your Face.”

At that point the whole room started to spin. I realized that it wasn’t the room. It was The Lloyd Thaxton Rock & Roll Road Show Time Machine warning me it was time to go back to 1966.

During the pandemonium that followed, I yelled out “The rest is up to you Baby Boomers. Come up with at least thirty-five more.”

And then, to the tune of the Lloyd Thaxton theme, The Lloyd Thaxton Rock & Roll Road Show Time Machine was gone.

I hope my Baby Boomer fans will not disappoint me and always remember the date July 29th, 2006. I’m going to leave the comment section on this blog up and running for a while so you can post your suggestions for …


P.S. I know a lot of you might find it hard to believe any part of the above. If so, you would be so wrong. I most certainly did “appear” at the Canoga Park High School 1966 40-year reunion and I did read my list of songs. As for the Time Machine: well, it certainly felt like I had traveled forward in time. And thanks to my wonderful Canoga Park High School fans, it was a grand experience.

Now get going on that list.

And look for The Lloyd Thaxton Rock & Roll Road Show Time Machine coming soon to your neighborhood.

Stay tuned.