Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Memories From the Soundtrack of Your Life

THE WXYZ ‘BROTHER JOHN’ MYSTERY VOICE IS SOLVED

September 23rd, 2017

THE WXYZ ‘BROTHER JOHN’ MYSTERY CLARIFIED

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Was ‘Brother John‘ actually the voice of Alan Almond?

 

That was the question Motor City Radio Flashbacks could not ascertain with an answer.

We had received word from a frequent visitor to the website who stated it was he (without any given 100% degree of certainty implied) after hearing our aircheck feature this website posted here on September 7, 2017.

In all due fairness, the voice does sound very much extraordinarily as similar — one may think that could be Alan Almond.

We received the final answer to this question.

Thank you, Jim Heddle, of Phoenix, Arizona, for your (September 11) email response.

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Hi Jim,

Brother John’s show was not local, it was syndicated nationally and was carried in Detroit by WXYZ-FM. Here is some information about him from allmusicguide.com:

Born February 14, 1932, John Rydgren (or Brother John, as he came to be known as an on-air DJ and radio personality) was an ordained minister in the American Lutheran Church, and for a time was a director of the American Lutheran Church’s radio and television films division. His claim to pop history fame came in the 1960s and early ’70s when his early syndicated FM radio shows, most notably the show called Silhouettes, which was broadcast across the U.S. (and in Vietnam) between 1966 and 1968, reached a wide-ranging audience. Positioning himself as a sort of “hip preacher” between Christianity on one hand and the emerging “Flower Power” generation on the other, Rydgren interspersed progressive and psychedelic rock tracks with his thoughts on spirituality, philosophy, and the changing times, all in a deep, sincere, and affecting baritone. He also released three LPs of his thoughts and musings laid over a backdrop of fuzz guitars, heavenly choirs, and sitar drones, Worlds of Youth (1966), Cantata for New Life (1967), and Silhouette Segments (1968), during this time period. He died on December 26, 1988, from a heart attack at the age of 56. Omni Records reissued remastered versions of Rydgren‘s three LPs, along with bonus tracks and an additional LP, They Say, in a two-disc set in 2012.

According to the Detroit News, Alan Almond died in 2015 at the age of 67. You might also be interested to know that before Alan landed his job at WNIC, he briefly did the morning show on WPAG in Ann Arbor.

 

Take care, Jim Heddle   

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We have our answer.

And a special thank you to Mike Landry and Andrew Wagonner for your added confirmations in regards (same as above) having shared as well.



MICHIGAN RADIO: A ‘JACK THOMAS’ WLEW MEMORY

September 23rd, 2017

WATH (Athens, OH) JACK THOMAS


WLEW (Bad Axe, MI) JACK THOMAS 1975


WLEW (Bad Axe, MI) JACK THOMAS 1993


WLEW * Jack Thomas * 1975


JACK THOMAS on WLEW REMEMBERED

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Motor City Radio Flashbacks would like to extend our thanks to Frederick Vobbe for sharing this Michigan broadcasting memory in behalf of his brother, Jack Thomas. Fred Vobbe was chief engineer for Detroit radio stations WHNE-FM, WMJC-FM and WHND-AM, Birmingham, Michigan, in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Today, Fred resides in Lima, Ohio, still doing what he does best as chief engineer for major media outlets (radio and TV) in the Buckeye state. We present Fred’s own words he shared of his brother’s broadcasting career, verbatim, below.  

Audio and photos courtesy of Fred Vobbe.

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My brother Jack Thomas started broadcasting in 1958 at McKinley School’s educational radio station, WTDS-FM, while a student. In his spare time he recorded radio shows with his friends in his parent’s basement, and collected the latest rock & roll 45s while imitating the sounds of WJBK AM and other stations in Detroit.

In high school he jocked “sock hops” for private and company parties. His first “big time” job in radio was with WATH AM/FM in Athens, Ohio, serving as a Staff Announcer and Chief Engineer. He took the name “Jack Thomas” when on the air. After a decade in Athens he moved to WLEW AM/FM in Bad Axe, Michigan, in 1973 in a similar role.

Being a small market station he set up remotes, assisted in news broadcasts, assembled music libraries, and repaired the station’s broadcast equipment. Jack was proud that he entertained his audience with clean humor, “On This Day in History“and “Jack’s Birthday Book” where he kept a list of area listener’s birthdays and mentioned them on the air while reading entertaining stories and trivia.

While at both stations he produced automation tapes, first for WATH-FM 105.5, and later for both WLEW AM and FM. After retiring from WLEW in 2006, Jack worked part-time briefly for WCPT-FM, and was on the air as “Brother Jack.”

Thomas’ career in broadcasting in the thumb area comprised well over thirty years in radio, where his name is still remembered today.

Jack Thomas passed away in February 2017 at the age of 76.

 

Frederick Vobbe,  August 19

 




BIG EIGHT CKLW! MOTOR CITY BIG 30 HITS: 09/20/1971

September 22nd, 2017

CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 20, 1971 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 20, 1971 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 20, 1971 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 20, 1971 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 20, 1971


46 YEARS AGO. SEPTEMBER 1971


A SPECIAL THANK YOU

In Memory of George Griggs

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Above CKLW music chart courtesy of Mrs. Patty Griggs and the George L. Griggs estate.



 

CLASSIC 1971 LP: ISAAC HAYES’ SCORES WITH ‘SHAFT’!

September 22nd, 2017

SHAFT! MUSIC FROM THE MGM SOUNDTRACK LP * (ENTIRE DOUBLE ALBUM) 1971

ABOUT THIS ALBUM

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‘Shaft,’ the soundtrack score (click highlight for tracks listing link) to the movie of the same name, was written, produced, and sung by Isaac Hayes in 1971. The album was released in August that year, becoming the first double-album “of original studio material released by a R&B artist.”

The album peaked at number one on The Billboard 200 chart, and spent sixty weeks on the chart. It took the top position on the Top R&B Albums chart for 14 weeks. Both “Theme from Shaft” and “Do Your Thing” became Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with the former peaking at number one.

At the 1972 Grammy Awards, “Theme from Shaft” won the awards for Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical and Best Instrumental Arrangement. The film score as a whole won for Best Instrumental Composition Written Specifically For A Motion Picture or for Television. The National Association of Television and Radio Announcers gave Shaft its Album of the Year award. At the Academy Awards that year, Hayes became the first African-American to win an Oscar for a non-acting category when “Theme from Shaft” won the award for Best Original Song. Isaac Hayes was nominated for Original Dramatic Score as well, losing to Michel Legrand for the score to Summer of ’42.

A commercial and critical success, Shaft is Hayes’ best-known work and the best-selling LP ever released on a Stax label. In 2014, the album was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” (Source: Wikipedia)

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A MCRFB Note: This week, ‘Theme from Shaft,’ the single, began its ascent on the Detroit radio dial. The single charted on the CKLW Big 30 survey at #25, September 21, 1971. The single debuted at #29 on the WKNR Music Guide, September 20, 1971.


SHAFT‘ 1971



 

A DETROIT ‘WAY-BACK’ RADIO PROGRAM: 09/22/1951

September 22nd, 2017

Saturday, September 22, 1951

THE DETROIT FREE PRESS: DETROIT RADIO STATIONS GUIDE

(Above radio guide courtesy freep.com newspapers archives. Copyright 2017; Newspapers.com).

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BIG EIGHT CKLW! MOTOR CITY BIG 30 HITS: 09/21/1970

September 21st, 2017

CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 21, 1970 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 21, 1970 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 21, 1970 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 21, 1970 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 21, 1970


47 YEARS AGO. SEPTEMBER 1970


A SPECIAL THANK YOU

In Memory of George Griggs

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Above CKLW music chart courtesy of Mrs. Patty Griggs and the George L. Griggs estate.



 

WJR BACK ON THE RADIO: THE ‘DINNER DATE’ SHOW

September 21st, 2017

WJR RECALLED ON MOTOR CITY RADIO FLASHBACKS

WJR-AM 760 * JAN WYNN (‘DINNER DATE) w/THE JIMMY CLARK QUARTET

WJR aircheck date: ‘DINNER DATE’ (segments) 1958-1960


DETROIT FREE PRESS Sunday, January 2, 1955


WJR (‘DINNER DATE‘) JAN WYNN 1959 (Press Photo)


JAN WYNN on WJR

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Jan Wynn’s real name was Janet Marie Winkler Iagulli (1935-2008).

In the 1950s and in the early 1960s, Jan Wynn was a local Detroit vocalist/singer who was the prime feature on WJR’s evening programming called ‘Dinner Date,’ a 15 minute daily show accompanied by WJR’s house band The Jimmy Clark Quartet (see above ad). The program was aired live, from 6:15 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday on the “Goodwill Station.” Wynn’s vocal talents also was heard on other WJR programming. She also made frequent appearances on WJR’s day-timer, “Open House,” hosted by Jack Harris.

In the post-war era, WJR was known as a prestigious radio station which featured local musicians, vocalists, talents, and personalities throughout their regular scheduled daily programming at the time, in most cases performing live musical shows in the studio while on the air.

In this special WJR aircheck, the performances by Jan Wynn presented here date from 1958-1960 and actually this audio is a compilation from more than one ‘Dinner Date’ broadcast which was recorded during that time.


WJR (‘DINNER DATE‘) JAN WYNN 1965 (Press Photo)



BIG EIGHT CKLW! MOTOR CITY BIG 30 HITS: 09/16/1969

September 20th, 2017

CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 16, 1969 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 16, 1969 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 16, 1969 (Click on chart image 2x for largest view)


CKLW BIG 30 RECORDS September 16, 1969


48 YEARS AGO. SEPTEMBER 1969


A SPECIAL THANK YOU

In Memory of George Griggs

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Above CKLW music chart courtesy of Mrs. Patty Griggs and the George L. Griggs estate.



 

MICKEY SHORR WXYZ SHOW THEME: ‘NIGHT TRAIN,’ ’57

September 20th, 2017

WXYZ 1270 MICKEY SHORR circa 1957 (Photos courtesy Greg Innis; Greg Innis Collection)


NIGHT TRAIN * Jimmy Forrest (1952) * MICKEY SHORR’S RADIO SHOW THEME (1957)

DETROIT FREE PRESS Friday, March 8, 1957



 

THE ESSENCE OF ‘SOUL’ 60S GENERATION: ’67 DEFINED!

September 20th, 2017


AL KENT * 1967

— BILLBOARD: Peaked #49; September 30, 1967 —



 

Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Memories From the Soundtrack of Your Life