here for "Rock Jocks" video clip
It was January
3rd, 1968 when Pat went "ON THE AIR" for the very first time. It was
right after the Christmas break, half-way through his Senior year at Southfield
High School in Michigan just north of Detroit. During the first half of the school
year he'd be peering through the glass to the studio of the school's brand new
10-Watt Radio Station, always saying to himself, "I can do that!" After
inquiring how he could get involved, the teacher/station manager had Pat make
a tape, which led to Pat having to obtain his 3rd-class FCC license (required
by the government to be a broadcaster), which led to a show right after school.
Pat was 16.
Pat had always
collected records (well, since he was around 6), his first being "Great Balls
of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis. Around the
time Pat turned 9, his cousin went into the Marines, and gave Pat his collection
of some 1,500 "45's", which was quite a boost to his collection. Pat
had always "played DJ" at home, but having the school start up WSHJ
was just an incredible break for Pat, as it was his way to break-in to radio.
One of the
coolest things that the radio station had done was somehow book The
Who to play the High School's gymnasium. The big Detroit venues hadn't
been able to get them, but The Who had been told this radio station was really
going to "push the show" so they took the gig (not realizing it's 10
watts of power gave it about a five mile reach!) Pat remembers going to the show,
and for his $3, got to see local bands The Unrelated
Segments, followed by The Amboy Dukes,
with headliners The Who, who did their full
show, destroying their instruments and all. What a show! Here's a cool news story
about it from the December 8, 1967 edition of Go Magazine. The article
was written by former Detroit disc jockey and at the time leader of his own group
Terry Knight and The Pack. Terry would later
go on to produce acts like Grand Funk Railroad
and many more.
the article guest columnist Terry Knight wrote for Go Magazine on December
Eve was a night to remember for the Motor City music fans. Without leaving the
comfort of your own living room you could enjoy performances by Martha and The
Vandellas, Mitch Ryder, and Smokey Robinson and The Miracles on D.J. Tom Shannon's
"Happening" televised together with two great classic films of the early
sixties, "Don't Knock The Twist" and "Rock Around The Clock".
In-person concerts were given by The Association, Spanky & Our Gang, and,
of course, my new show was at The Chessmate. But the real crowd pleaser proved
to be The Who! Coming in for a special appearance, The Who set a new precedent
in Detroit by being the first rock group to give a high school concert with the
Board of Education's approval. Actually it wasn't that easy for Southfield High
School's private FM radio station, WSHJ, to prove that students are capable of
behaving like responsible young people and sit through a pop-music concert without
destroying everything in sight - as a citizen's committee stated when they tried
to stop the show at the last minute. But the audience, numbering over 3,000 listened
attentively to every chord, and cheered and applauded The Who after, and many
times during each number. Congratulations to Southfield High School for showing
them where it's at!
the day the school photographer had taken a picture of Keith
Moon's drum kit that had been assembled in the afternoon. The photo
wound up in the yearbook. Some 10 years later Pat brought in that yearbook (we're
at WPLJ now) to show Pete & Keith who Pat knew were
coming in. They seemed to remember the gig, and as you can see in the photo below,
they both autographed it for Pat. (About two weeks later, Keith was gone forever).
So now comes
June and Pat graduates. No more radio gig. What was he going to do? As it happened,
Pat was dating a girl whose father happened to know the general manager of Detroit's
classical station (not exactly Pat's kind of music, but it looked like an "in"),
so an appointment was set up. With suit and tie, Pat walked in to the station
ready for his interview. The GM's secretary asked Pat if he had a 1st-class FCC
license (required by the government to be able to fix ANY technical equipment
problem that might arise). When Pat said no, she informed Pat that all their announcers
had to have that piece of paper, and there was no point in going any further.
Pat never even got to meet the guy!
As he was driving
home though, Pat passed radio station WWWW, known as W4, which was a "beautiful
music" station (as they were called then). Since he was dressed for a radio
station interview, Pat made a quick left & just walked right in. He asked
if the station needed any announcers, and this secretary had Pat take a seat as
she called the Program Director, who came down, gave Pat a tour of the station
which was "automated", meaning weather forecasts, news headlines, station
ID's and such were all pre-recorded, then played by a wall of reel-to-reel machines.
Anyway, this PD gave Pat some copy and was told to "make a tape". Pat
borrowed a friend's recorder, delivered the tape the next day, and was "ON
THE AIR" that weekend. 12MIDNIGHT to 8AM, $2.50 an hour. Cool!
nine months or so Pat was there he'd spend the first few hours and the last few
hours of his shift really pre-recording. The four hours in the middle Pat just
kept making audition tapes and sending them to CKLW, the
50,000-Watt Powerhouse Station just across the Detroit River in Windsor, which
played Top40 hits, reaching 4 Provinces and 28 States. Pat kept making the tapes
and calling, and they always seemed to say "nothing now", but they never
said "no", or "don't ever call here again", so Pat kept at
it. One day, Pat got a call from the new Program Director there, who'd found one
of Pat's tapes, and said "Come on over, let's talk". Pat got the gig;
he had just turned 18.
There are no
tapes of Pat on W4, and no pictures, as he was just really an "announcer"
there, but it was sure a lucky thing Pat took that "quick left" when
he did. When CKLW hired him, grateful as he was to WWWW,
he "quickly left"!
our WSHJ broadcast day here on PatStJohn.net so now, please move on to your next
location. Do not stay hear any longer, as you may be tempted
to listen to an aircheck of Pat from back then. Don't do it, don't
click here. Really, Pat'll appreciate it if you just kindly move on. Thank