DJs: The Original “Tweeters” – Highlights from the 2/27 Rock and Roll Revisited

DJ Charlie Tuna

We’re initiating a new feature this week: Aircheck Wednesday, where we spotlight Top 40 Radio between 1963 and 1980. Part of a DJ’s resume back in the day was a five minute slice of his or her work on the air, with the music and commercials truncated so you could get a sense for personality and execution. These “scooped” recordings reveal that the announcers had to cram their jokes, promotional messages and insights into the brief musical ramps the preceded the vocals on the hit records of the era. Listen and you’ll get a sense for how DJ’s were the “Tweeters” of their era. The best practitioners made it look easy. Just like creating compelling content on social media, it isn’t.

Charlie Tuna, who we feature in our first Aircheck Tuesday, had a long career on the air and perfected his art to become one of the most notable personalities of his time. At his peak, he did an air shift, announced for a television show, subbed for Casey Kasem on American Top 40 and hosted his own weekly syndicated program.

The lesson that resonates beyond broadcasting is how each of us determines our life’s purpose and expresses a brand to add value in that space. Job security is tied directly to how well you do it. The smart ones among us find multiple ways to perform and promote. If one opportunity no longer suits us, we can move on to the next with relative ease.

As I was writing today’s message, my daily inspiration from Jacobs Media came across the wire. It’s particularly timely. Check out Fred Jacobs’ blog. It’s a cookbook for creating a loyal fan base.

Whatever you do, efficiency, character and results are keys to longevity. And whether it’s a tweet, a talk-up or a contribution to your company. “Be brief, be brilliant and be gone.”

Quick Takes: 

A way cool Classic Motown website, chock full of insights and much more music.

From our “lets not take life to seriously” file: 10 Tricks to Appear Smarter During Meetings.

Does laziness really exist? A Psych Prof’s opinion. And… How “Workism” is making Americans miserable.

Today’s Time Waster: Many of us radio people remember the short lived 60’s sitcom “Good Morning World“. It’s short lifespan made one TV exec comment that, “this is a business that is better heard and not seen.” Here’s an episode featuring Goldie Hawn right before she became a star on #LaughIn.

Today In History:

1964, At EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London, the Beatles recorded two John Lennon compositions, “If I Fell” and “Tell Me Why.”

1966, Petula Clark, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Nancy Sinatra and Richard Pryor performed on CBS-TV’s “The Ed Sullivan Show.

1968, Singer (Why Do Fools Fall In Love?) Frankie Lymon, lead vocalist of Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, died of a drug overdose at the age of 25.

1970, Officials in Oklahoma City fined Jefferson Airplane $1,000 for using profanity during an October 1969 concert in the city.

1972, Actor (The Roy Rogers Show, Bells of Coronado, Trigger, Jr., Down Dakota Way, South of the Caliente) Pat Brady, Roy Rogers’ movie and television show sidekick, died in a traffic accident at age 57. Here he is with Roy in a commercial for “Tang”. (Video)

1974, People magazine made its debut.

Happy Birthday To:
(1913) Irwin Shaw (d. 1984)
(1930) Joanne Woodward
(1932) Elizabeth Taylor (d. 2011)
(1934) Ralph Nader
(1940) Howard Hesseman
(1954) Neal Schon

Much More Music:

Tunes climbing the charts this week in 1969:

“Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” – Neil Diamond – When Neil Diamond released his 4th studio album and the eponymous single that opened the collection, some southerners thought that it denigrated the evangelical movement. Neil explained that the tune he wrote was in fact a celebration of Gospel music and the evangelical style of preaching and worship. That calmed things down. The LP  also yielded his most often played recording, the sing-along fave, “Sweet Caroline“. (Video)

“Things I’d Like to Say” – New Colony Six – The Chicago based New Colony Six placed ten singles on the Hot 100 between 1966 and 1971. “Things I’d Like to Say” was their highest chart success. Chicago’s WLS were early supporters of the band, giving them significant airplay in advance of their national success.  (Video)

“My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” – David Ruffin – The Temptations front man was dismissed from the group in June 1968 for a pattern of “increasingly unprofessional behavior”. “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” was originally intended to be sung by the Temps. It became Ruffin’s solo debut when he finally agreed to a contract with Motown later that same year. (Video)

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting:You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish.” – Richard Feynman – Very accomplished physicist and polymath (1918-1988)

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One for the road from our classic aircheck file: Take 5 with Charlie Tuna on KHJ from today in 1970, celebrating his 5th wedding anniversary with a scoped playlist that includes CCR, Bobby Sherman, Burger King comes to LA, Simon & Gar, Dean Martin, The Jackson 5, Elvis, Merrilee Rush, Edison Lighthouse, Jr. Walker, Pérez Prado, 3 Dog Night and Friends of Distinction. Lots of live commercial reads and a commercial break after almost every song (We cut em out). Enjoy!