Posts Tagged ‘Kipper McGee’

Pounding The Pavement

April 13, 2013

Friday April 12th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI/Rosemont, IL

   I’ve got places to be, baby! It might not be New York or L.A., but that’s fine by me. Chicago is a gargantuan city and Milwaukee is my home town, so that will do for today. Milwaukee was the first place I needed to be to meet with some radio friends for lunch. That’s always worth the trip.

   Pat Martin has been a mentor to all kinds of radio people, and he was to me too. He helped me get my first job in Lansing, MI and I don’t know whether to hug him or punch him for that. He’s a great guy though, and deserves much respect and gratitude. He’s always been a big supporter.

   Kipper McGee is another radio icon I love and respect, and he was there too. Kipper and Pat’s influence have been shining beacons in my radio experience, which has been a lumpy ride at the very least. When I’ve really needed a friend, both those guys have been there and I’m grateful.

   Mitch Morgan is a very talented radio name I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting, and he was in the mix too. He’s what radio people call ‘on the beach’, which is between gigs. He got blown out by those fine humanitarians at Clear Channel who are always known for their extreme warmth to talented people who have sacrificed their lives to attain a high level of professional competence.

    Also part of the group was Mark Helaniak. Mark is president of the Milwaukee Broadcaster’s Club, and also someone I’m hiring to put sound effects together for ‘Schlitz Happened!’ shows. I want to get old radio and TV jingles and commercials to play before shows as people walk in the theatre so it takes them back in time and puts them in the right mood before the show even starts.

   Mark was the one who did the final mix on my most recent CD ‘Hard Luck Jollies’, and he’s a pro that’s been around the area for decades. I’d never actually met him in person before, but he’s a very nice guy and we all had a blast at lunch exchanging radio stories. We are all ‘radio lifers’.

   Unfortunately, Mark’s computer system has been giving him fits of late, and we were not able to finish the original job. He asked if I could come back tomorrow, and I’m fine with that but I’m hoping we can get it done in time for the shows. I was looking forward to adding it for this week.

   There’s nothing I can do about it, so I left Mark’s house and headed to Zanies in Rosemont, IL for two more shows. I would have loved to take some time to relax, but that’s just not in the plan right now. I have to keep showing up where I’m expected, and I barely had time to make it there by show time. By the time I get gas for the car and stop for a quick meal it’s time to work again.

   I kept up what I started yesterday and worked on my act both shows. The first show was a full house, and I used that opportunity to go through my ‘A’ set. I closed with the closer I usually do, which I did early in the set last night. I haven’t been doing it of late, and I don’t do it at all in the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show so I wanted to give it a run through in front of a full house to polish it.

   I have also used these last few shows to work on my offstage business as well. James Gregory was kind enough to give me an afternoon of his time when I was in Atlanta, and he explained to me how important it is to have a nice display of merchandise and an onstage sales pitch to sell it.

   I respect him unconditionally, and made it a point to do all of what he said every show. It was a conscious effort, and I sold out of all my merchandise by the end of tonight’s first show. I’ve not been the greatest at merchandising, but this week I showed major improvement. Thanks James!

Kipper And Kidders

June 23, 2010

Tuesday June 22nd, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

Jerry’s Kidders are back together…even if it was only for a single lunch at the Brat Stop in Kenosha, WI. We hadn’t seen each other in way too long, and even though Jerry Agar wasn’t able to join us, it was still great to see the Kidders. We still have a solid chemistry.

The reason we chose the Brat Stop is because it’s in between Milwaukee where Kipper McGee lives and the far south side of Chicago where Ken Sevara and Tim Slagle happen to live. I’m right in the middle so I had the shortest drive of all, and of course I was late.

The guys started busting my chops before I even got a chance to sit at the table, and that reminded us all of why we had so much fun for two years. We enjoyed being on the radio but the lunches and hanging out were always a huge part of the deal. It was our own little tree house, and everyone felt welcome. We all knew immediately how much we miss it.

Kipper McGee was our program director at WLS, and I told the guys then we’d never have such a supportive situation as far as radio goes. Kipper was in our corner and still is. He gave us the chance to grow as a team on the air, and he never squelched the creativity like way too many other clueless control freak program directors love to do. He got us.

It’s such a shame that radio is so trigger happy to fire competent people and allows the goof balls to remain employed. Kipper McGee is a brilliant radio programmer with a soul to boot, and he gets blown out the door of WLS while the corporate honcho named Farid or Farouk or Farout or Feng Shui or whatever his name is continues to ruin the company.

That story is WAY too common in radio, and I’m sick of it as are Kipper and the other Kidders as well. We got booted off the station when Jerry did, and there’s no reason that he shouldn’t still be there. Now he’s had to split up his family and go work in Toronto.

We didn’t dwell too much on the negative though. We knew we don’t get the chance to see each other in one place much anymore so we spent most of our lunch looking back at the fun times we had and laughing uproariously. There were some real moments with us.

We also talked about how we can keep the project going. It’s a lot of fun to sit around a studio and fire off lines about news stories of the week, and when we were on our game it was pure electricity. None of us want it to end like this, but what do we do to reignite it?

Jerry is going to be in Toronto for the foreseeable future, and that’s just how it is. We’re not angry, we all know he needs to turn a buck. We all do. How can we do it with a show that does current events jokes for an hour each week? That’s a tall order and we know it.

Still, there’s no reason we can’t reinvent ourselves and that’s what we bounced around the table. Kipper knows a lot of people in radio, and he still believes in us as a team. He’s of the opinion we should try to stay on in Chicago, and we all agree. But where? WGN is the logical choice, but Jerry hasn’t been on so neither have we. Still, it was a fun lunch.