My job at WYNY was so indicative of how much money one doesn't make in the business. AFTRA scale in New York at WYNY was around two hundred bucks a shift. Like you could really live in New York on that. I have a house on the water about an hour and a half from the city and prefer to drive in. Fortunately, I did that on weekends as a lark. During the week my video/TV production business enabled me to make a living. I figured that by adding all the hours it took me to prep for the show (there was a lot of prep because they let me do whatever I wanted - they had to I had the highest ratings of the station and was there for fifteen years), and added up the hours of travel and the time I arrived before the show on Saturday nights, I figured the kids flipping the burgers at McDonalds were making more than this big major-market radio personality. I guess I cashed in fame and ego gratification for bucks. I think I did the right thing.
My actual catharsis came when I was dating my wife and we were driving down A1A in Fort Lauderdale in a rent a car and I turned the radio on to 660 AM and heard my voice on the produced ID being transmitted from New York at 4:00 in the afternoon. It's a classic in New York. It sounded like... "Fifty Thousand Watts Clear Channel, This is the Flagship station of the National Broadcasting Company, WNBC, New York."
By the way, I got to do that live about four minutes before WNBC went off the air forever. I was working for Dick Clark and was in the city. I knew it was the last day of WNBC so I decided I'd drop in. Well, it was like a party. Alan Combs , who I knew from New Haven, was on the air and welcomed me in to join with the rest of the people in the studio. There was Rob Bartlette, Cousin Brucie, Joe McCoy, Charles McCord and a whole bunch of other people. Alan asked me to do the ID one last time, live.
(I wasn't kidding when I said there were just too many stories.) I've got Imus stories, I made a career out of filling in for him -- not to mention I was HIS pd at WNBC in 1977.
One Imus story: Shortly after I arrived at WNBC Imus asked me, the production manager, to listen to his album "This Honky's Nuts!", write, voice and produce a 'national' radio spot to sell it, and he'd pay me whatever I wanted because he liked my work. (Actually I did pretty good in that department.) A few years later, at a roast for him on his 40th birthday, he referred to me as, "The guy who made more on the commercals then he made on royalties from the album."
There's Wolfman, Larry King, Cousin Brucie, Stern stories, it goes on and on. I even conducted the last interview with Martin Block before he died, when I was in college working as a summer relief engineer at WOR and producing radio documentaries at my college station. (By the way, this past year on their 50th anniversary, they inducted me into the WSOU Seton Hall University Hall of Fame).
Speaking of WOR, I read comments (on 440: Satisfaction) by Murray the K's son. I emailed him because I engineered for Murray when he was at WOR-FM.
I also emailed a guy who said he was listening to Roby Yung when he was talking about Paul McCartney suposedly being dead. I was working in a small market as a night jock that night and called Roby and put him on the air. About ten years later, I hired Roby when I was vice president of programming for Insilco Broadcasting to do afternoons at our Miami property. Now there's some stories...
When I was programming WTRY in Albany in 1972, I was out driving around lunch time when I decided to monitor WRPI. That's the radio station of Rensilear Poly Teck Institute. After a (what today we would call Classic Rock) record began to fade there was some dead air. That was followed by a sudden opening of the mic and a college kid with a mouth full of food saying, "SHIT!" He then paused, realized what he had done and proceeded with this next sentence, "OH Fuck I just said shit on the air!" I wish I had been taping it. Considering the language restrictions of the time, you can imagine my reaction. I laughed my ass off for about five minutes straight.
When I worked for Unistar hosting a syndicated show called Motor City Beat, Denise Oliver was my boss (she discovered Stern and hired him in Washington). We were having lunch one day and she told me about this young and innocent girl she had hired to do weekends. This girl I guess was rather naive because while ad libbing about a special at a unisex beauty salon where you could get your hair washed, and blown dry for a special sale price of twelve dollars if you mention the station, she said "wow, just think what a great deal. You can get a hair cut and blow job all for just 12 bucks"
June 2013 Update:
After 48 years in broadcasting, Iím still as involved as ever. This year marks my 18th year as a prominent announcer on the NBC Television Network. My voice is heard throughout the day throughout the world on NBC on many prime time shows. This is also my 12th year doing the commercial billboards for Saturday Night Live. Previously I was the promotional voice for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Meet the Press with Tim Russert ,Stone Phillips announcer on Weekend Magazine plus announcer for numerous other news and special events .
Iím in my 12th year on Sirius XM and can be heard on Elvis Radio Channel 19 on Saturday Nights. I was the first voice ever on that station on July 2nd 2004 and Iím the longest running DJ on the channel.
Recently I produced a video depicting the 65 year history of my college radio station WSOU of which I was inducted into its Hall of Fame.
This marks my 44th year my voice has been heard on air in New York beginning back in 1970. This four plus decade period includes WWDJ, WNBC, WNWS, WYNY, WCBS-FM, WOR Sirius XM ( numerous channels), NBC. MSNBC, CNBC, United Stations hosting Motor City Beat for Dick Clark, NPTV, Unistar, Excelsior Radio networks , SFX, SJS, Winstar, Westwood One Radio Networks, ESPN, Discovery and others.
This is also my 34th year as president of Bill Rock Productions Inc, producer of radio and televisions, shows plus radio / TV commercials and imaging.
Bill Rock Bill Rock Productions,
NBC Television Network