Man From Mars Productions
Parker's son, Steve, is compiling a collection of stories involving
his Dad, the longtime program director of WDRC. If you'd like
to participate, please drop Steve an e-mail.
Kathy & Steve Parker's memories of Growing Up Parker, here.
have to share something more about Charlie Parker with you - I know
everyone at DRC thought he was good. I thought so too - only on
a very special level. Charlie Parker was, as far as I am concerned,
THE God of all Program Directors, past, present or future.
I've had PD's
who've stomped their feet and yelled and actually said "watch my
lips!" (that guy now drives a rig I am told and chews tobaccy).
I had to have a PD restrained for six months by the GM so a morning
partner and I could just do our show. I've had people tell me they
expect me to write a topical show a week in advance so there are
no surprises to them - BUT BE TOPICAL AND CURRENT!
worked for Plenty 'o P.D. Assholes but I'm privileged and honored
to have been able to have worked WITH Charlie Parker. Charlie
Parker never yelled at me, never berated me, never went over
an aircheck with me, never wrote me nasty notes. In fact never
wrote me any notes. He did however, stay real late a couple
times a month and because I was always there by eleven we'd
get together for chats in his office. We had conversations.
We became friends. I asked him about the good ole days and he'd
tell me about the Turkey Giveaway where they actually dropped
frozen Turkeys over Hartford from Helicopters and how badly
that went over cause they just smashed on the ground. We talked
about the weather and my life and his kids. We'd talk concerts
and records, about things going on, promotions in the works.
He'd tell me about what DRC was all about and he would often
tell me about its unique place in radio history.
had me believing that he actually felt I had a unique spot
to play at DRC cause I spun several formats intertwined within
one shift on the overnights which had a huge combined am/fm
audience and he'd just tell me that.
would call me up sometimes too at three or four in the morning
and let me know he dug a segue, enjoyed the news and the goofy
kicker I found, or he'd just call to say hello and let me
know he was listening and paying attention to what I was doing
in-office conversations Charlie'd just suggest I consider
stuff - "turn down your cans" - "be aware of your different
audiences" - the factory people, the hamburger stands, the
nurses and party animals, those who got up real early..etc
etc. and he challenged me to make the flow invisible. I would
start at midnight bringing two dynamically opposite stations
together then blaze along as some sort of weird hybrid rockin
out with AC/DC and Robin Trower till about 4 am yet by morning
I'd have Paul McCartney singing love ballads...and I enjoyed
thing he ever got stern with me about was after about the
eighth and last time that George Schiebner of WPLR and I had
played the same hour of music almost simultaneously between
3 and 4 am
1968 - Charlie Parker and WDRC Music
Director Bertha Porter look on as midday host
John Rode reads a piece of copy.
- and I mean with 1 or 2 seconds difference between our two
programs - so that if you switched back and forth between
the stations you'd be in the same line of the song. We did
this just for fun and because we could and we'd always been
great friends and we figured that it would be fun and no one
would ever catch on. Well Charlie did. And the night he called
me about it he let me know very simply that I "should not
do that anymore" but that he had enjoyed the first five or
six times he'd heard it.
too, I do remember the first time that I finally figured out
how Charlie worked. He planted seeds in conversations. These
seeds would lie dormant for a week or so and then suddenly
take root, grow and blossom all at once.
up with something! or I'd think of some way to change my delivery!
I'd come up with a bit...and... Oh - No! - I'd realize all
of a sudden that Charlie had prodded me to this idea a couple
weeks back. Charlie's seed had blossomed. And often it was
one of those "Duh" kind of things.
was a good guy. I remember years later talking with Lee Michaels
(of the Lee Abrahms bunch - he's now deceased also - hit by
another car while backing out of his own driveway...) about
Charlie. Lee admired Charlie tremendously and credits a couple
conversations he'd had with him at NAB conventions with pointing
him in certain directions.
when I first got the offer to come out to Hawai`i and I went
to talk to him about it. I was very nervous and a little ashamed.
5, 1972 - Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy meets
I was leaving BIG D on my own accord. But Charlie, he was
thrilled for me. I remember him grabbing my hand to shake
it furiously while beaming from ear to ear with that Charlie
Parker Cheshire Cat Grin. He thanked me for all my hard work
and told me on the Q.T. that the FM format wouldn't be around
too much longer and that my leaving was quite fortuitous cause
all us rockers (including yours truly) were practically scheduled
to be fired somewhere in the next four or five months.