Remembering Claude Hall

Claude Hall made disc jockeys, program directors, managers and record industry people stars.

His Vox Jox column in Billboard for many years was like a soap opera.

Even if you didn’t know the personalities that he was writing about, somehow you felt like you did after reading Claude.

Claude Hall died late last week from complications of a fall.  Until the very end, Claude’s love affair with radio and music and the people who made it was as strong as ever.

Longtime talk show host and now station owner Rollye James helped Claude resurrect Vox Jox online to continue the narration and spread the love.

Claude Hall was unique.

True, he was a pioneer in the radio and music trade publication field.  But he also distinguished himself by what he did after his Billboard days were over.

Claude, the teacher.

Claude, the writer of books and novels.

It was as if he was showing his beloved radio people that even though our hearts will always be with our audience and co-workers, there is life after radio.

And that life is better because we spent some of it in radio.

All this takes on greater relevancy today because venture capital-run conglomerates have taken the fun out of radio.

The respect that Claude innately showed for on and off air talent was somehow lost on these big corporations that suddenly separated personalities from their audiences in the name of business and dumbed down the radio stations audiences loved to listen to.

Respect for their talent.

And quirks.

Their ability to bond with audiences in countless different ways.

All this made Claude Hall even more relevant in his final days on this earth.

Because Claude was reminding us to honor the unique skills of radio personalities.

To look for creative individuals who programmed stations not just oversee playlists and voice tracking.

And to appreciate managers who had the skills to attract and employ the nutty people we tend to be in this industry and make it a viable business concern as well.

To Claude, everybody was a star.

To be in Vox Jox was always an honor.

To be considered a friend by the man who seemed to love all radio and music people without boundaries forged close friendships that lasted in many cases for a lifetime.

If you were a fan of Claude Hall and want to keep his memory alive, there is a way.

Show respect for talent, encourage programming geniuses and support managers who lead their teams to serve audiences not just people in suits who own a financial position in a radio company.

I have come to know many people over the years who have had to leave radio for one reason or the other and here again Claude Hall shows us the way.

As it was with him, there is always a future for talent beyond radio, but never forget your radio roots.

A life well lived often consists of making a meaningful impact and leaving a legacy for the future.

Claude Hall did both and will be missed by all who loved him.

Condolences to his family from an industry he touched in so many personal ways that he will be remembered forever.

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