Dave Parks

Almost every original “boss jock” from WFIL, Philadelphia is now gone.

Frank Kingston Smith is still alive and using his considerable skills announcing airshows. Old pilots never retire.

Dave Parks succumbed to a short illness at his home in San Diego a few days ago.

Parks spent many years as a jock at WFIL and then went on to be a successful program director at KS103 San Diego.

He was funny.

Consistent.

A great guy to be around.

In fact his radio station WFIL was legendary.

Consultant Mike Joseph hired all the original jocks.

But Joseph’s M.O. was to install the format, give advice for about a year and install another program director.

WFIL had no shortage of good PDs not the least of which was the master himself, Jim Hilliard.

Jim was great with people.

He understood the format of the day – Drake.

And in my view had the ability to calm the feathers of ownership when the station went further than they were comfortable with.

An early slogan for WFIL was “Tune In, Turn On” from the “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out” LSD days of Timothy Leary.

How great was “Tune In, Turn On”?

Eventually they settled on “Tune In / Famous 56”.

But WFIL was owned by Walter Annenberg and Triangle Publications. The top management was, well – old and constipated.

I don’t know how they ever approved turning WFIL into a Top 40 station but they did it reluctantly and seemed to get bent out of shape a lot.

When Dave Parks was known for being “Dave Six Pack Parks” with a reference to a six-pack of beer (not his abs), ownership didn’t like the drinking imagery for the young target audience.

The Daver became “Dave The Rave” Parks with jock logo jingles and all.

Jimmy Hilliard found a way. Without him and the team he inherited of great radio communicators, WFIL would have just been another station.

I wished Dave happy birthday greetings recently on his last birthday, he said, “Still getting up in the morning so I guess I’m still OK”.

Jocks like Dave Parks were hard to find even back then.

Even harder to find today.

Not because they aren’t out there, but because radio is no longer about relationships.

Dave Parks and his fellow jocks spent a lot of their free time out in the community with the audience. They weren’t in a studio voice tracking or trying to do two shows simultaneously in real time the way Cumulus is doing content for Westwood One affiliates and their local stations to save money.

Dave and company took the market by storm and became a big revenue producer for Triangle and then LIN when they bought it.

They didn’t have to sell 5 second spots the way iHeart routinely does.

They limited commercials.

Charged the best rate they could get.

In other words, Jim Hilliard and his “Boss Jocks” attracted a large audience and the salespeople sold it – the old fashioned way.

If radio is ever looking for where it went wrong, yes, consolidation was one big mistake, but getting in the way of DJ/listener relationships was the other.

In fact, 95 million Millennials grew up without a relationship with radio and the industry is suffering now because of it.

Dave Parks will be missed along with what he stood for.

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Meltdown On Day One of the New Westwood One

INSIDE …

  • The documented Bush League programming screw-ups that the new Westwood passed off to format affiliates Monday.
  • The unsolvable “local” break problem.
  • The comical and sad first break for a new midday jock in one format.
  • Cumulus had trouble recruiting show hosts to do double duty with the network and their local show – here’s what they finally decided on.
  • The final blow for a lot of Westwood affiliates who have had professional talent on their air for upward of 15 years – and what they are going to do about it.
  • The first look at the Westwood severance agreement that was held out until the Eleventh Hour Friday – here’s why.
  • What to expect in the days ahead for Westwood format clients now that the wheels have come off their programming.

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Westwood One Bombshell Coming

INSIDE …

  • How Lew Dickey is being forced to stick it to Westwood One before the Cumulus board sticks it to him.
  • The new Westwood management shakeup coming.
  • How Cumulus is dealing with djs who are not volunteering to do simultaneous double duty on Westwood One formats in real time.
  • How they have reworked dj compensation.
  • The severance package fired Westwood employees will get.
  • And the conditions.
  • How Lew Dickey now plans to service thousands of Westwood client stations with no people and no shows. He’s really going to try this.
  • The kind of deal Lew Dickey could get to step down as CEO as the Westwood mishap may be the thing that brings him down. Compare it to what fired Westwood employees are getting.

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Hubbard Eying Large Purchase of CBS Radio Stations

INSIDE …

  • The scope of the pending deal between CBS and Hubbard revealed – which markets, how big a deal.
  • Will CBS retain some stations.
  • How close the parties are to finalizing an acquisition.
  • The pieces Hubbard has put into place to smooth a transition from CBS to Hubbard with as little disruption as possible.
  • The possibility of spinoffs addressed here.
  • What happens to CBS Radio now.

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Lew Dickey’s Replacement

INSIDE …

  • How about Dan Mason? Well, HOW ABOUT Dan Mason running Cumulus – what we know as of yesterday.
  • What will likely trigger the axe falling on Lew – watch this one thing and you can probably name the exact day.
  • What happens to a fired Lew Dickey – after all, Cumulus chief shareholder Jeff Marcus put him in the job. There is a plan.
  • Other Cumulus bigwigs will also go – here’s a sampling with some surprises.
  • Signs of discord between the Dickeys and their chief shareholder – it’s ugly as you’re about to find out. Can you say Scott Shannon?
  • The rock star Jeff Marcus is shooting to replace Lew Dickey.

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