First story from a forthcoming book of stories tentatively titled “When Rock Ruled: Behind-the-Scenes Tales of Rock Gods, Rock Radio and Rock Fans”
By Beau Phillips
KENSINGTON, MD — Pink Floyd was famous for their amazing live concerts. Their stage show was truly a spectacle, designed for stadiums. During their performances on The Wall tour, a massive brick wall was constructed between the band and the audience – and then demolished. Fighter planes crashed near the stage. But the centerpiece of Pink Floyd’s live shows was a 40 foot inflatable pig that hovered above the crowd.
Roger Waters, the band’s spiritual leader, designed the helium-filled pig and named it Algie.
Waters hoped to fly the pig over London to announce the release of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals. The pig did fly as planned on December 8, 1976. But its maiden voyage was cut short when strong winds snapped the lines, and Algie broke free. The runaway pig was soon spotted by airline pilots, floating 30,000 feet above the English Channel. On that day, Pink Floyd’s untethered pig caused all flights to be cancelled at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Algie was ultimately recovered and repaired.
Several years later, Pink Floyd’s pig took flight again. This time, making its American debut over the Seattle skyline. Once again, Algie the pig found trouble.
In 1987, Pink Floyd’s final tour performance was scheduled for the Kingdome in Seattle. As the manager of KISW, the city’s top rock station, I wanted to celebrate this event with something memorable. So, I called my friend John Bauer, who was the promoter of Pink Floyd’s concert. I recruited John to ask Pink Floyd if we could borrow their pig and fly it above our radio station. The plan was to anchor Algie on KISW’s roof and suspend it over our studios for the week leading up to the concert. After several pleas, the band finally said ‘yes’ — as long as I promised to deliver it 12 hours before show time.
BY Walter Sabo
NEW YORK – This past Friday (10/18) over 3000 people attended the College Music Journal Festival at New York University sponsored by CMJ. www.cmj.com/marathon
In my opinion, it is the best organized music/music radio conference, with a robust agenda covering radio, music and tech. Stunning performances by hundreds of bands including the powerful group Dismemberment.
LOS ANGELES — Use the word “creative” in a radio context and the first thing generally summoned up is a programmer spinning a different take on a music format, or as an application to that extremely rare, exceptional on-air personality who is capable of generating substantial buzz.
Infrequently though is it linked in a word-association game to commercials, which is not only distressing, but highly unfortunate since creative commercial content can be a strong attribute.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
KANSAS CITY — When you’re in radio and you lose your job, in almost all cases you begin looking for another job at another radio station, whether it’s in the same city or another market. For some, the intrigue of the internet brings them to the digital frontier. If the choice becomes the digital divide, then the question then becomes, “How can you make money?”
For that answer, you can ask “Radio George.”
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — Sometimes it is, as Mel Brooks commented in his movie “The History of the World, Part One,” good to be the king. But other times it is not. Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed (and not too far off) “King of All Media” took a hit last week when the dismissal of his lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio, Inc. in which he sought more than $300 million in stock awards was upheld by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NEW YORK — In the era of corporate music directors, it seems that not all decisions about what songs to play and when to play them are made in company board rooms hundreds of miles away from the radio stations. For some, it comes down to good old-fashioned intuition, trust of their disc jockeys, ideas from the record labels, and the age-old rule of listening to the very people who listen to you – your target audience.
“We all sit down and talk music.”
By Holland Cooke
Atop the escalator, more evidence of the “Metamorphosis” that is this year’s NAB Show theme: Publication bins stacked with hard copies are being replaced by a wall-o-magazine covers. Scan the QR code, and you get the digital version.
Fourth of a Five-Part Special
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — History is the nuanced dual-purpose theme of the fourth chapter of our AC special.
For the first phase, the coordinates of your time machine need to be set back 20 years to the pre-consolidation year of 1993, where you will discover (or perhaps re-discover) that the radio industry had a copious amount of group owners, many of which held the licenses of literally just a handful of stations.
Back then, for example, Viacom was considered an exceptionally strong player with 13 sticks in eight major markets.
There were 10 Malrite outlets in a half-dozen large markets. Seven cities had Booth-owned stations, and Atlantic Radio Corporation was all of a four-station empire.
At that time, as in present-day, Clear Channel and CBS Radio were among the big boys; however, Clear Channel topped CBS Radio’s ownership by a stunningly modest (by today’s standards) 28 to 21.
Its largest AC facility in terms of market size in 1993 was KQXT in its home market of San Antonio.
To borrow an insurance institution’s slogan, it was an era with many, “Quiet Companies.”