1/22/98 - Behind-The-Scenes
Greasefanatics: We've been pulled off WTLK in Jacksonville. A real bite in the bag. WTLK Program Director Steve Fox is a great guy and BIG fan (a Doo-Wop nut), but he couldn't fight the "suits" who insisted on a new direction. We can only continue to do the best Show HERE in D.C. in hopes of returning to Jax..Atlanta..L.A...NYC, and all the other places that really would get a boost out of a hot morning show. 'TLK didn't have the stick, power or format to help in the cause.(see attached Times Union article) In other news...hope you caught Jim Cook (Mr. Samuel Adams) on today's Show. Thanks for the Sammie, Jim...GREAT GUEST. His best insight..they have Samuel Adams in stock at the White House and he thinks it may have "lubricated a few liasons!!!!". DC fans look for an announcement on the "Greatest Hits" available in a local music chain in the next week. And, plans are in the work for the 2nd Annual "Greaseman Trap and Skeet Fun Shoot" in May. Watch DIS space!! Bill Scanlan Producer ===================================== From the Florida Times Union: Thursday, January 22, 1998 Story last updated at 7:04 p.m. on Wednesday, January 21, 1998 Greaseman's off local radio dial once again By Charlie Patton Times-Union television writer As he had been doing every weekday for more than a year, Larry Alexander set his clock radio so he could wake up Monday morning to the ''basso profundo'' sounds of The Greaseman, who Alexander calls ''the eighth wonder of the world.'' Instead, the 48-year-old insurance salesman found himself listening to ''another classic rock station.'' Last Friday afternoon, WTLK (106.5 AM), switched formats, abandoning the programming known variously as ''adult talk'' or ''real radio'' for a classic rock format. The station is in the middle of an automated run that promises 10,000 songs in a row. It has dropped all its syndicated talk shows, including The Greaseman and Don and Mike. As a result, Alexander said, he's ''feeling a little depressed'' this week. Also feeling blue was Uncle Greasy himself, a one-time Jacksonville radio legend who is discovering the truth in the phrase ''you can't go home again.'' ''I'm feeling kind of sad,'' he said in a call from Washington, D.C., where his daily talk show originates. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, The Greaseman, the on-air persona adopted by Doug Tracht, was Jacksonville's dominant radio personality. Wild, outrageous and raunchy, the pioneering shock jock helped keep the now-defunct WAPE AM the dominant station in Jacksonville, even in the face of the rise of FM radio. Tracht took his act to Washington in 1982. But in the fall of 1996, he returned, sort of, to Jacksonville when WTLK, a new station, began simulcasting his show from 6 to 10 a.m. daily. Linda Byrd, general manager of a six-station group that includes WTLK, said the decision to drop The Greaseman and change formats was based strictly on ratings. WTLK simply hadn't caught on with listeners the way she had hoped, she said. She praised Tracht as ''a real nice guy,'' who worked hard to make his show successful in Jacksonville. Tracht admitted, ''The ratings never kicked in to the massive degree that we hoped.'' But he said the crowds that showed up for his Jacksonville appearances convinced him the problem was a lack of aggressive promotion. ''One of the most frustrating things would be that I'd be having a drink in some bar in Jacksonville and someone would recognize me and say, 'Hey, I used to listen to you,' '' Tracht said. ''And he'd have no idea I was back on the air in Jacksonville. ''There's got to be some broadcast genius in Jacksonville who can figure out a way to market The Grease.'' Mark Schwartz, general manager of six Jacksonville stations including WAPE (95.1 FM), where The Greaseman's one-time sidekick Hoyle Dempsey is part of the station's morning drive-time team, said he would consider picking up the Greaseman's show for one of his stations. ''Clearly the man has roots on WAPE,'' he said. But memories are short in radio, he noted, and being a legend in the 1970s doesn't necessarily translate into being a legend in the 1990s. ''When you've been out of the picture for over 10 years, it's tough,'' Schwartz said. Rooting for someone to give the legend one more try is Dick Melkerson, a 51-year-old schoolteacher who listened to The Greaseman while driving each morning from the Beaches to the Westside. ''He got me to work every morning,'' Melkerson said. ''He's just very funny, with a different kind of humor. He has a gift.'' ''I'll do whatever it takes,'' vowed Alexander. ''Grease needs to come to back . . . We're not going to go down without a fight.''