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We come. We do. We go.

Claude Hall
1932-2017 R.I.P

July 10, 2017

by Rollye James

Claude Hall, who was born in Brady, TX on September 4, 1932, and attended high school in
nearby Winters, died of heart failure complicated by a recent fall shortly after midnight, Friday
morning, July 7, 2017 at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas.  The highlight of his career was
14 years with Billboard magazine.  Although he covered the news in music and radio, he was
mostly known for a column called Vox Jox that was widely read in the United States and
Canada and translated and read throughout Brazil.  It was even read behind the then Iron
Curtain and on islands in the South Pacific.
Hall entered The University of Texas shortly after being discharged from the U.S. Army.  He
had served in Germany shortly after World War II.  He graduated with a Bachelor of
Journalism degree in 1958.  His first newspaper job was with the El Paso Herald-Post, but he
quit after a few months and hitchhiked to New York City.  He spent two years on a trade
magazine, American Druggist, published by Hearst, then two years with Cavalier, then a man’s
adventure magazine published by Fawcett.  Married and with a young son, he and his wife
Barbara (she’d worked for Dr. Joyce Brothers at NBC) spent two years in New Orleans.  He
worked on the Times-Picayune, then considered one of America’s finest newspapers, and his
wife finished up her master’s degree from Columbia University. 

Later, he landed a position with Billboard magazine in New York where he was named
radio-TV editor and spent the next 14 years.  He also created and organized the International
Radio Programming Forum, a conference, for 10 years.  After Billboard, he earned a master’s
degree in education at a small Christian university in Oklahoma while serving as the school’s
director of public relations.  With his degree, he joined the State University of New York at
Brockport as a journalism and public relations professor where he taught the next eight years
before retiring.  He has since authored more than two dozen novels.  He and Barbara also
wrote “This Business of Radio Programming,” considered by many to be the best book on
radio programming ever written and once adopted as a textbook by 22 major universities.  His
books are available via Amazon and Kindle Books. [Links to all of them are on the sidebar to
your left.]

He leaves a wife and sons John, Darryl, and Andy.  Two brothers and a sister previously
passed on.

Rollye: “If that sounds eerily familiar, you were probably one of Claude Hall’s inner circle
who got quite a surprise last year when Claude, who briefly wrote obits for the El Paso
Herald-Post, wrote his own and inadvertently emailed it to a couple dozen friends.  In their
grief, none of them noticed that the date of death was not inserted, and all of them were happy
to learn his life was still a work in progress.  I was hoping it would be a good long while before
I had to fill in that blank.

“I knew Claude had been fiercely battling heart failure, and was delighted when he’d rally,
which he inevitably did.  I was aware the fight was taking its toll, but when I heard the news
from his son Andy, which I shared with you last Monday, that Claude had taken a tumble down
a casino escalator, I was concerned but hopeful that this would be yet another battle he’d
overcome.  He was pretty banged up, but fortunately nothing was broken and while the doctors
cautioned it would be a long road back, it was a journey they felt he could make.

“Hearing from Andy just a few days later that Claude had passed away brought forth a torrent
of emotions.  While Claude had been ill for quite some time, his death was sudden and
unanticipated. Quick passings are devasting for those of us left behind. The shock is numbing.
The loss, profound.  But for the departed, a swift transition is a blessing.   We all have our own
beliefs about what is or isn’t coming when the time comes, but no one (of which I’m aware,
anyway) has ever said, ‘Dear Lord, let me linger.’  From that perspective, hearing that Claude
is in a much better place (something I firmly believe)  is a relief.   Bill Randle and George
Wilson (and from our earthly perspective, far too many more) are probably showing him
around, preparing for the ultimate radio convention when we’re all there to join in the
celebration.  Until then, savor every moment while we’re here.  Claude Hall certainly did.”

Claude & Barbara

Rollye: “The news of Claude’s fall on Monday brought a flood of immediate responses loaded
with relief, well wishes and a good dose of humor from Marlin Taylor, Robert Weisbuch,
Tom Campbell, Jim LaBarbara, Art Wander, Rich Brother Robbin, Bob Sherwood, Mel
Phillips, Jerry Del Colliano, Mike Sakellarides, Randy West, Don Graham, Kipper
McGee, Jay Melnick and Don Goldberg.

“My thanks to Andy Hall for reaching out and keeping me informed.  More thanks to Barbara
Hall, who let me know that a memorial luncheon for Claude is in the works.  I will keep you
posted.  My deepest condolences to Barbara, Andy and the entire Hall family.   I’m sure it
comes as no surprise to any of us that the Vox Jox inbox is overloaded with email this week.  
Your heartfelt response to Claude’s passing graphically displays the integral part that Claude
Hall played in the magical mix that made radio so compelling to all of us:”

Rich Brother Robbin:  “My sincerest sympathies to you and his family ... poor devil’s gonna be
up there just shakin’ hands w/old friends for the next year or more!  <ggg>”

Shadoe Stevens:  “I’m so sorry to hear this. I was a fan of his throughout my radio career,
starting when I was very young. He was the “go to” writer for lovers of radio and he became a
good friend. My heart goes out to you and his whole family, and all those radio guys out there,
like me, who will miss his kindness, wit, passion, and humor. Please let us know about the

Erica Farber:  “Oh my goodness, I like so many am broken hearted. Claude was such a
champion for radio and as you so aptly said, he loved us all (even when the news he had to
report on wasn't so good). I have so many fond memories of him especially from my days back
at RKO Radio. He constantly rooted us on.  Loved a good poker game.  And I will always
remember how kind he was to me when I experienced a ruptured appendix during a Billboard
Convention back in the 70's.   He has left this crazy world of ours a much better place and I
have no doubt he has already reconnected with some of our other great radio family members -
I can only imagine the stories being told.  Sending my very best wishes to his family and may
they find some comfort in their many wonderful memories and experiences.   We thank them
for sharing their Claude will his huge radio family and may God bless them.  

“Just received this lovely note below and wanted to share it with you.”

“Erica, I heard just a short time ago that our industry lost a wonderful caring man who so loved
broadcasting. Claude Hall sadly has passed away. I for one am devastated. May God bless his
soul.”  Mark Driscoll

Bob Sherwood:  “Oh, man......you didn't want to write it and I'm just one of many who didn't
want to receive it. We'll all go on but when you look a certain direction, there's just a big, ol'
empty spot.

“There's a plethora of words to describe Claude Hall---especially including Vox Jox---but the
three that'll always ring loudest for me are  :

“Claude was PASSIONATE about radio, music and writing---his and everybody else's. And
especially about people. He collected some of the most brilliant, creative, straightforward  and
zaniest characters on the planet. And more than a few scallywags among 'em. But if you were a
friend of Claude's you were a friend through the fires of Hades.

“One of his great qualities was his INTEREST in almost anything : ingredients of a
Kaola-flavored strawberry dacquiri; how Imus managed to survive himself and remain relevant
and extremely entertaining after nearly six decades of broadcasting; the workings of a Tesla;
Ted Williams' perfect stroke with a bat or a fishing rod; why Monks have those funny haircuts,
and...is there intelligent life on Mars (or in West Hollywood) ?

“He was always INTERESTING in that he frequently came out of left-field with topics you'd
never previously considered---at least I hadn't !---and you couldn't have a conversation with
him without learning something you never knew or thought and a twist on what you thought
you knew....previously with absolute certainty !

In closing, somebody needs to notify St. Peter that he had best advise George Wilson, Bill
Young, Jack Carney, Robert W. Morgan, Lee "Baby" Simms and other broadcasting
notables that Claude's on the way and the station had better be up to it !

“Oh, and call the Monsignor at St. Mary's in Ridgefield (Conn.) and warn him that when I
show up for Mass tomorrow morning in knee-pads, with a fistful of matches and head toward
the candles near the Altar he'd best call the Ridgefield Fire Dep't. and have them send a
tanker---otherwise the whole place could come down !

“Love you Claude and---thank you for once telling me that I was your friend.”

Ann Drew:  “I am so sorry to hear this. My prayers are with Claude's family, and you.”

Chuck Blore:  “Claude is gone but his memories linger on. Such a beloved man, one who was
esteemed and respected by everyone who knew, or knew of him. I've known him for more than
50 years, wonderful years which began when someone from Billboard magazine called,
introduced himself and said he wanted to do a column about me and my radio station. That was
the beginning of a wonderful relationship. We often met at a local tavern which was populated
mostly my radio and record people.  One night we as were having a snack and a couple of
drinks I drew a portrait of Claude on the table-cloth, he liked it so much that he bought the
table-cloth and used the portrait as the header on his weekly column.  We loved and admired
each other for many, many years and my heart is aching now that he is gone.”

Mel Phillips:  “What a shock. Claude was one of the few people you meet in your life that you
believed would live forever. He was "Mr. Radio" for his love of the medium even though (I
don't believe) he ever worked a day in radio. My earliest remembrance of Claude was, of
course, from his Billboard days. Oh, how I wanted Claude to mention my name. And when he
did, I was on cloud 9. I made lots of copies of that mention for my friends and family...

“The second phase in my relationship with Claude was when I met him at one of the
conferences. My third phase in that relationship was when he actually knew who I was and we
were on a first-name basis...

“What a loss for radio and for our friendship. I don't think I ever knew anyone who professed
his love for radio and radio people as much as Claude...

“Even though Claude wasn't that active in Vox Jox anymore, every time he did write, it was
worthy of reading. Claude made a difference. My thoughts and best wishes to Barbara and his
family for the loss of one of the greatest friends of radio and the people who perhaps loved the
medium as much as Claude but were never able to express it like he did. I will miss his
friendship and his love for radio. No one will ever replace him in that regard.”

Robert Weisbuch, (rechristened by Lee Baby and Claude as Doctor Bob):  “Claude Hall first
wrote to me when he learned I was attempting to locate Woody Roberts, as I had begun a
book ( just now completed) on the great Hartford radio war that took place when Lee Baby
Simms and Woody faced off against Joey Reynolds and the great Charlie Parker/Bertha
Porter led WDRC .  With his usual humility, Claude began his warm message to a stranger by
writing, "You will not know who I am but....". I replied, Not know who you are?  Every
Thursday evening as a teenager I would anxiously await my dad's arrival, because he would
have stopped first at the newsstand to pick up a copy of Billboard.  Lovely father that he was,
he did not protest when I would nearly rip the paper from his hand and turn immediately to the
radio section and Vox Jox.  I can't believe my fortune in hearing from you."  And having led me
to Woody was just the first of hundreds of favors, as he read different drafts of my book and as
Lee, Woody, Claude and I later forged an email bond as, in Lee Baby's naming, The Four
Mesquiteers.  I am glad only in that, two weeks ago, I wrote to ask Claude's permission to
dedicate this book Hitbound to Claude Hall, Top 40's Essential Historian.  Now, so sadly, it
will be dedicated to his memory, who brought a radio community into being, once in his prime
and then again in his age.  

“There are individuals who make the world cold and alien, others who have no effect, and rare
ones who bring us closer to one another and make us all better and more fully human.  Claude
did that by the rare quality he possessed, of seeing the best in each person he encountered. He
was multi-talented, the best ever at radio journalism. But more importantly, no more generous
person ever has been or will be.”

Ken Dowe:  Claude's death is a devastating blow.  He was my friend for more than 50 years.
 While I knew of his serious health issues, no one ever anticipates the blunt reality that, as
Claude so often said, ‘We come. We do. We go.’   It's just that none of us were ready for the
music to stop, nor for you to go, Claude.   God's blessings to your family, and to your countless
friends, each of whom loves you dearly.”

Jack Gale:  We all have to go sometime, but not Claude. I figured he would be here forever and
a day. He was such a friend and mentor to me as he was to many other radio vets. I will use his
phrase that he used whenever one of the old guys left us. “We come..we do..we go” Peace be
with you my friend…where you’re going, you’ll be among hundreds of your friends. My
thoughts and prayers to Barbara and family.”

Scott Paton: “Oh, damn, Rollye.  Claude had been cheating the hangman for so long, I had
allowed myself to believe he could keep it up.  I didn't know him the way you and so much of
the Vox Jox readership did, so the sense of loss I feel is certainly not as personal and acute, but
it is nevertheless profound.

“About a decade ago, while on a binge to collect vintage issues of Billboard and other early
music trades, I started reading old Vox Jox columns and loved reading contemporaneous
accounts of the behind-the-scenes events from radio's glory days.  Many of the programmers
and jocks mentioned throughout were unknown to me, but others were now legends or simply
talented individuals with whom I had the good fortune to work with as a writer/producer of
syndicated programming in the '70s, '80s and '90s.  I began my career as a writer/researcher for
American Top 40, so finding early commentary on the show's origins were especially

“Anyway, amidst this reverie, I wondered if Claude was still among us.  I had heard nothing
about him in years.  So I launched a Google search that led me to Claude's blog and was
pleased to see that the most recent posts were indeed current.  Many of his posts back then
were political in nature --this was during the George W. administration-- and was pleased to
find that our political sensibilities were very similar.  Made me like him even more.

“So I sent him an email and told him how much I had enjoyed his work over the years, whether
I was reading his columns as they were published or as fascinating time capsules of radio
history.  He, of course, responded almost immediately, graciously thanking me for the
compliments, but was certainly far more interested in hearing about my career path in
broadcasting and the elbows that I had rubbed along the way.  We exchanged the occasional
email, especially when I felt I had a radio story that might be worthy of his interest...or when
some politico had done something to raise our mutual ire.

“Of course, his blog morphed back into a largely exclusive radio-oriented column as it found
new homes on the web.  A few years ago, he did an interview with Tom Rounds of KFRC,
Watermark and Radio Express fame.  TR was my first boss, mentor and, ultimately, dear
friend.  So I wrote Claude and thanked him for the piece he had written and shared some
thoughts and stories about TR.  He responded by saying, "This is great stuff.  Is it okay if I use
it in the column?"  I said yes, and I will be eternally grateful to Claude because, a year later,
TR died unexpectedly.  Claude had provided me a way to express my respect and gratitude to
TR (which he surely read) in a way that he never allowed me to do personally.  TR would
squirm and dodge at the hint of any overt praise or sentimentality.

“Our exchanges after that were too frequently prompted by a message of condolence regarding
an industry vet who had passed away.  They were all friends of Claude's.  But he was also so
good at putting me together with others who might have a shared a similar interest or who had
criss-crossed me on some ancient professional path.  He loved to broker introductions, but as
evident to all, he also loved discovering something new that entertained or intrigued him.  He
was so excited when I turned him on to Rich Brother Robbin's fabulous richbroradio.com
many years ago.  Boy, was I pleased on the far fewer occasions when I turned him on to

Claude Hall was the living, breathing embodiment of kindness and good fellowship.  And
what are we living for, right?  Claude was fortunate to have learned that early in life, and he
practiced it until the end.  I know that there's not a soul who knew him or simply read his
columns that didn't know this about him.  In selecting you, Rollye, to continue operating this
vital meeting place of old colleagues and friends, I believe, was very much a sacred trust.  And
I'm certain it gave him great comfort to know and see that he could not have designated a
better successor.  I'm sure that was more important to him than anything decreed in his will.

“Claude's own practical take on mortality was, ‘We come, we do, we go.’  He might blanche at
the outpouring of tributes that will surely follow, but he truly was one of the great people of
our industry.  My deepest condolences to his family and friends.  I know how much I will miss
his voice.”

Tom Campbell:  “Thank you Rollye, for sharing this very sad news. He will be dearly missed.  
Claude has given so much of himself for us and our industry.  He'll be in our hearts and
memory forever.”

'Last Contest' creator Jack McCoy & Claude Hall

Kevin Gershan:  “So sorry to hear about Claude.  He was one of a kind.”

Marcia Winters:  “Oh, noooo.... You didn't want to write that email, and I didn't want to read
it.... So sad and so very sorry.”

Burt Sherwood: “I was just writing you…Bill Hennes told me.  We were friends for a lot of
years….we married ladies that lived block away from each other  (and did not know each
other…but that is NYC)and took them on our magical ride.;  I am deeply saddened as is
Anne…I sent a note to Barbara via his email a moment ago….give her a hug…and please stay
well and try to continue your good works in his and all of our behalf’s.  I am always here (this
far) and do not hesitate to write or call…Claude will be missed by us all.”

Jim LaBarbara:  “I’m sure Claude is sitting with our good friend Bill Randle & Bill is talking
Claude into getting another Master's Degree. Randle convinced both of us to continue
education & we got Master Degrees. In the mid 70's I was doing afternoon drive on WLW &
one memorable day I chauffered Claude & Bill around Cincinnati. Claude gave me great
advice in 1972. I was leaving Denver radio after 9 months & I had 3 offers. I could do morning
drive in St Louis, work in Detroit or go back to WLW. I took Claude's advice & returned to
WLW & I've remained on the air in Cinti to this day. In recent years he gave my memoir a
wonderful review. It is so true every one in radio looked forward to Billboard & the 1st thing
we read, Claude's Vox Jox. If you saw your name in Vox Jox you made it in radio. He & his
family are in my Prayers. I don't know if he realized what an important role he played in radio
& the impact he had on so many. Claude won't be forgotten. Rollye I hope you continue Vox

Don Whittemore: “You may rely on and count on all of his friends to assist you in writing this
week’s column.  Claude started and saved many careers during his Billboard years.  We are his
legacy forever.  We loved his work and he loved his work…What a double down!  Claude was
always Proud of his friends’ achievements, but always humble about his personal successes in
radio. the record biz and post-Billboard.

“Claude loved all his favorite characters in the business because he had so much character that
he could spot a phony quickly and that person just disappeared from Vox Jox never to be in his
printed pages again.  When Claude liked a record or an artist you could count on getting a
boost from him because we only promoted winners to him and I know he appreciated not being
hyped on a stiff or a mid-charter.  A tall Texan—that was Claude Hall.
We come.
We do.
We go.

George Jay:  “Claude Hall was J Paul Emerson's hero. J Paul was mine. And although I
never met Claude in person he wrote many stories about my exploits over the last 50 years in
broadcasting. I got a friend to write Claude's Wikipedia page but couldn't possibly say
everything about how much he meant to us all and to radio. I'm trembling and testy as I write
this having just received Rollye's email moments ago. But didn't want to procrastinate.  I
remember when Claude and J Paul put out a little magazine called Bulldog Drummond's Radio
Aces Magazine when Claude was in LA, just before J Paul got the morning show at Hot 97.
They were both Bulldogs! Claude used to write about how J Paul (Jimmy Coleman) lived in
Carlsbad, New Mexico and would go back there in between big market radio gigs and work at
KCCC and help his family of the family bicycle shop there in Carlsbad. I think more than
anybody else Claude kept J Paul's radio career alive from Carlsbad all the way to KSFO – and
in turn, mine, from Cheyenne to Chicago to LA to New York.   I'm going to have to go back
and edit that Wikipedia page. You all can too, you know. Just document anything you add.
Condolences to Barbara and everybody, and to each of you. May God's peace be with all of

T. Michael Jordan:  So very sad, I can't stop the tears.  He did so much for the industry he
loved, and helped so many individuals. HE was very much LOVED.  With sorrow.

Frank Boyle: “Tough letter for you to write.  But it was well written. In the years 1960 thru
80--Claude was one of precious few whose Encyclopedic knowledge, great insight and
endearing Wit permitted him to cut across the varied cultures of DJs , PD,, Record Promoters,
Station GMs and Group Heads, owners, Ad Agency folks, and Radio Reps. Every one was
quick to admit that they knew Claude.     
“Claude put on the most outrageous, memorable and fun New York conferences. No one's ego
or reputation was safe. WE all loved the cow boy  hat and boots. Couldn't wait to read his
columns-to see who got complimented or skewered. We were all damn lucky to enjoy Claude
in our times. The Romans said it best-- Sui Generis-- One of a Kind.”

Warren Cosford: “I only met Claude briefly at the Billboard Convention held in Toronto in
1977, but for years, his column was the first 'must read' when Billboard Magazine arrived at
the station.  To me Claude was one of the "Founders" of Music Radio, yet he worked in a
Music Industry Publication.  As I came to understand The Music Industry better, I appreciated
Claude's column even more for the integrity of its content.   Vaya Con Dios Mr. Hall.”

Dale Parsons:  “I am so sorry to hear this. Claude was a friend to all of us in the business. He
will be dearly missed.”

Dave Anthony: “Rollye, it's difficult to lose someone who played such a large role in my
professional radio career. And I selfishly hope that what you and he built in your weekly Vox
Jox columns will survive and continue for a long time ... not just to keep alive the history of
our beloved industry, but to maintain Claude's many contributions to it. (Not to mention your
own.) Thank you for your spectacular work each week. Please add my name to those who are
suddenly sad this week.”

Bill Hennes:  “I am so sorry to learn of the passing of Claude Hall this morning. When I was
coming up as a DJ in the early 60's....Everybody read Claude Hall's Vox Jox in Billboard.
Anybody who was anybody or thought they were anybody...always check his column. And
who could forget his fabulous radio conventions. He was also a writer of many books on radio
and he also loved to write about the wild west days! All of the Hall family are in my prayers. ...
Like you always said... ‘we come, we do, and we go.’ R.I.P. Claude!”

John Long The Georgia Radio Museum and Hall of Fame:  “A salute to the man who gave this
young  announcer a glimpse into the radio business far away from a small station in LaGrange
Georgia. His column helped form goals for my career.”   

Gary Smith:  “I saw Andrew's post on Facebook this morning.I can hardly believe that Claude
is gone.  My first radio job was in 1956, and I retired in 2006.  For a very long time Vox Jox
was the first thing to read each week in Billboard.   Claude was an integral part of the radio
business we like to remember. RIP, my friend.”

Bob Levinson:  “Sad, sad news, Rollye...Claude was the total pro, who had the respect of
everyone in the business who had the opportunity and pleasure of dealing with him over the
years, myself included...My condolences to his family.”

Morris Diamond:  “Lunch with Claude & Barbara in one of my trips to vegas with Alice
Harnell a couple of years ago [picture below] - I had most of my fun years in the record
business spending time in his Billboard office. He was a fan of mine and I"m sad to see him go
like this.”

Martin Grove:  “Like everyone else, I was hoping to see an email update about Claude
recovering well — and, sadly, this wasn’t the news we wanted to hear. Please send my
condolences to Barbara and their entire family.

“I hadn’t been in touch with Claude for a while, but we went way back to the mid-60s when I
was a very young publicity director for WMCA, promoting the Good Guys, and he was a
young columnist who’d just started writing Vox Jox in NY. He was kind enough to run some of
the items and bad jokes I was trying to plant about the Good Guys. We bonded quickly and got
together for lunches and at conventions and events. When I moved to ABC in 1966 to do TV
trade press publicity, we still stayed in touch — especially when I had the great fun of filling in
for Cousin Brucie and Charlie Greer as ABC management (led by my friend Rick Sklar)
kept WABC on the air during two strikes in 1967. In 1972, I wound up following Claude from
NY to L.A. and we reconnected. By then, I was at 20th Century Fox running corporate
marketing/publicity (and trying, unsuccessfully, to get Fox to buy radio stations).

“It was always a pleasure to spend time with Claude and to read his columns and, more
recently, his recollections (and yours) about radio’s great days. I’m one of many who are
missing Claude and hope he’s tuning in now from up above.”

Randy West:  “(Sigh)  Claude took a whole era of radio with him. He championed, celebrated,
honored and escalated the business. It just got easier to believe that radio may actually be
dying, as well.”

Don Sundeen:  “When I was discharged from the USAF at a SAC Base in Grand Forks, ND, in
the early 60’s, one of my first stops was a newsstand where I bought a copy of Billboard. I was
hungry to catch up what was going on in the radio business, and turned immediately to read
Claude Hall’s Vox Jox. In the days before the internet, Claude was the connection between
disc jockeys around the country, just keeping up with everybody’s moving station to station
was a challenge. Never met Claude in person, but I remember every time I was at a new place,
Claude would include it, no matter how small, and his column was like the Rock and Roll
Telegraph. A bright, talented and gentle man, may his soul rest in the Cosmic Peace.” 

Bill Gardner: “Heart felt sad news over the weekend with the loss of Claude Hall.   On
Saturday, a former respected program director of mine, (still working with clients
nationally), said to me, ‘Be glad you're not in radio anymore.  No one is having fun.’  Claude
Hall's presence gone fits that overall feeling.  In the big picture, the loss of Claude Hall is
sadly another piece of erosion of the industry we all once loved and really enjoyed. 
“I’m SO glad that Joey Reynolds, "Shotgun Tom" Kelly, and I were able to visit with Claude
at his home earlier this year, enjoy his graciousness and hospitality, and feel the genuine love
Claude had for radio and radio people.  I've been told that my picture of the four of us I've
posted  on my web site is one of, or maybe THE most current photo of him out there.
And please keep Vox Jox in motion Rollye.  You KNOW that's what Claude would have

Bill Gardner, Joey Reynolds, Claude Hall, Shotgun Tom Kelly

Shotgun Tom:  “It was such a pleasure to finally meet Claude Hall in Las Vegas last year. He
loved my mic collection so much, he wanted me to send it to you to put it on Voxjox.  You did
a wonderful job with making it look great on line.  Thank you, so much.   Please keep us up to
date about the memorial.”

Chuck Buell: “What an Icon Claude Hall was in our Broadcasting World for so many years.
“When he was the Radio-TV Editor of Billboard Magazine, there wasn’t a Radio Station I
worked with then that on the day Billboard came all of us, as soon as we arrived at the studios,
would immediately be asking one another who had the magazine so we could turn first to the
Radio page to read what Claude had to say in that week’s ‘Vox Jox.’
“In addition to reading the latest about what our Brothers and Sisters in radio across the
country had done, were doing or were going to do, it was always a thrill for me on those rare
occasions when I found myself mentioned in his column as well. He made me feel respected
and that I was truly an equal member of the business which I loved so much.
“We’re fortunate that Rollye James, in association with Claude, has been assisting lately in
continuing to present the stories and updates of the unique Personalities of Radio and Records
today in an online version of Vox Jox.  Here’s hoping that she can continue to now helm this
on-going tribute to the paper column that he created and wrote for many more years to come.
“As Claude was want to say in a time such as this, ‘We come, we do, we go.’ 

“And July 7th, 2017 was his day to go.”

Claude in Brazil, wowing international Vox Jox fans.

Jerry Hartley: “Sorry to hear about Claude. Maybe one Friday night down the road you could
do a tribute show for him if some of the many individuals that knew Claude could call in.
What a summer so far….”

Rollye:  “Speaking of radio shows, while I was compiling this column, I had the honor of
joining Joey Reynolds on his Sunday Night Live show for a few minutes.  The topic, as you
might guess, was Claude Hall.  Claude’s passing hit Joey very hard.  The two were kindred
spirits on many levels, which goes far to explain the coincidence of Claude’s death coming on
Joey’s birthday Friday.   If you missed the Late Joey Reynolds Show (which will be on earlier
next week) last night, you can catch it all here. (Scroll to 11:21 for the start of the show.) It’ll
remind you why you used to like late night radio.”

Gary Allyn:  “It's hard sometimes. Yes, it's hard for many of us of the spoken word world, to
always capture in print, our feelings regarding the passing of a dear friend...a long time friend
such as Claude Hall. It was Claude and his literary prowess who gave those of us in the Radio
and Recording industry a voice and heartfelt recognition in his columns and Billboard's Vox
Jox.  I often described Claude as the wriiten "voice" of Radio. In a transient ego driven
business, Claude Hall was the one constant you could depend on.

“It was always ego inflating to see your name or station call letters in BOLD black type. You
see, this genuine, kind human being from Texas, grew up listening and loving broadcasting and
music. Over time, he found it more interesting to focus his writings on the individual people in
the Radio and Record business than just these entities as a whole. He didn't care if you worked
in Montana or The Big Apple-New York City. Claude was a small town guy at heart, so he
identified with the "little guy" doing his best wherever  he or she was located.

“Over the decades, Claude managed to cull from the broadcast ranks those who he believed
could keep Radio and/or Records, alive and well...mediums that needed to survive into the
future. This man who wore thick glasses to improve his sight, always had the perfect INsight
about others. I was honored to be one who Claude let into his "inner circle". A rare phone call
or email especially for my eyes or ears was "special" to me. His many caring words he said of
me will always be treasured. I still don't know which is mightier-the pen or the spoken
word-but they both found a common bond of equality in Claude Hall.

“Claude, ever the journalistic writer, believed in brevity of words and sentences, thus, his use
of the phrase: "We come, we do, we go" when he noted the passing of a person in our business. 
Well, Claude....you came, you did, and went.  But between the coming and the going, you left
your mark...on so many. Thank you. Would that any of us could attain that heavenly status. 
When I first heard of Claude's passing, the first song that popped into my head (don't know
why) was Roy Rogers singing: "Happy trails to you..until we meet again...".  Happy trails
indeed. Rest and write in Peace my good man.”

Mike Sakellarides:  “This hurts. As a newcomer to Los Angeles Radio in the 70’s and early
‘80s this widely circulated and hugely respected radio writer wrote complimentary things
about me and/or the stations for which I worked.

“Publicly, I was humbled.  Personally, I was exhilarated.  And his observations helped to keep
me focused wherever I’ve worked in whatever format ever since those halcyon years.  In this
sense I owe whatever success I’ve enjoyed in a large way to Claude Hall.

“My appreciation goes to my former KZLA colleague, Rollye James, for the partnership and
support you have given to Claude and this radio community as well.  Thank you, Claude. God
bless you, Claude. 

“May your family find some comfort and peace in your giving spirit, too.”

Adam White (former Editor in Chief, Billboard):  “This is sad news. I forwarded the info to a
friend at Billboard, Thom Duffy, to pass to the relevant editor to note Claude's passing in the
mag.  Given what he did for Billboard, I hope the current crew makes space for something.
Claude deserves it.  I was in touch with him by e-mail in 2013, and his memory then was
damned sharp.”

Rollye:  “The respect and gratitude all of you have for Claude Hall was returned exponentially. 
We in the radio industry readily understood what made him a standout and made Vox Jox a
legend. The memory we all share was the exhilarating high we got when we saw our names in
that column.  Being in a national trade was part of it, but most of our joy came from being
recognized as part of the fraternity Claude fostered.   Even when our bosses berated us, we
knew we mattered. Claude Hall said so. 

“What was less obvious to us readers is what Claude faced at work.  I know all about that first
hand.  A publication such as Billboard is much more than a radio journal.  It’s set up more like
a newspaper.  And many of the things that made Claude a treasure to us, went completely by
Claude’s superiors over the years who had very different priorities by necessity, if not choice. 
(Adam White is a big exception to that— he's exactly what you’d expect form someone
whose first love was Motown.  Check out Adam’s website here.  He’s amazing.)   Not casting
aspersions here, just relating that what got Claude through the utter lack of support he
sometimes felt, particularly in regard to the dynasty he was building with Vox Jox, was that it
mattered to you.  The radio industry embraced his efforts and that payoff was worth it all.   The
friendships he forged and the fun he had, made even the worst days at work bearable. 

Claude Hall, like many who preceded him was essentially a trade journalist.  He was equally
adept at writing for American Druggist as he would have been for any niche publication.  I
suspect had it been a paper named “Asparagus Today” that came calling instead of Billboard,
grocers across the country would have been enthralled over fresh vegetables.   Fortunately for
us, radio became his passion.  Claude unwittingly laid  out a blueprint.  I was going to say a
blueprint for future writers to follow.  But Claude was so good at becoming one of us, that
today’s successful trade publishers must not only be able to write, they must able be equipped
to do it from the perspective of someone who has spent time in the trenches on the front lines
of radio.  I’m trying to think of an exception, and I can’t come up with one.  What pleases me
most, is hearing from many of the front runners writing today, letting me know how much
Claude meant to them.

Joel Denver, President/Publisher AllAccess.com:  “Long ago and far away there was a
journalist committed to the excitement of radio and the mission of sharing that with everyone. 
That man was Claude Hall who wrote Vox Jox in Billboard for many many many years. He
taught all of us who followed in his trail at Gavin, Hitmakers, Pop Music Survey, Radio &
Records and AllAccess.com how to do it.  Claude … Thanks for the great lessons … your
contributions will never be forgotten.” 

Rollye:  “The All Access story is here.  Claude’s passing was the lead in Michael Harrison’s
Talkers.com on Friday. There's an expanded July 10th story on the homepage now including
many quotes that you won’t even read here.   We’re grateful for Michael's friendship, as we are
for Jerry Del Colliano's.

Jerry Del Colliano:  “I am miserable.  I just can’t believe this.  I was convinced Claude had
dodged the bullet so your email came as quite a shock.  I am running an appreciation of Claude
Monday and thought you might like to have a copy of it in advance.  As always, you may do
with it whatever you want.  In preparing the piece (as you’ll see) I was struck by the stark
comparisons of how Claude respected and honored talent (on-air, programming, management,
music) compared to the way the same talent is treated today.  

“You go back a long time with Claude and I know of your great affection for him.  I am sorry
for your loss as well.    Thank you for handling all of this and keeping his spirit alive.”

Rollye: “While I think everyone should subscribe to Jerry’s InsideMusicMedia.com, I know
that several of you don't.  I was about to reprint Jerry's thoughts, as I think you'll strongly
relate, but I just checked and the article is not behind the paywall. The July 10th story is just a
mouse click away on the homepage here.

Ian Wright:  “Hi Rollye and like the radio world over, I’m so very sad to hear of Claude’s
passing.  Thank you for conveying the news of his passing and the great work you continue to
do with passion, through Claude’s Vox Jox online. Here’s a link to my posting on the
Australian Facebook site of ‘The Radio Green Room’. I hope I’ve done justice, in a small way,
to a big man who we loved.” 
Rollye:  “Thank you, Ian, and thanks to everyone who took the time to write these past few
days, including, in addition to the above,  Jim Ramsburg, Bob WillisRichard Mamches,
Ron Tatar, Jay Melnick, and Ron Brandon who is another former trade publisher in the
Claude Hall tradition.  Thanks also to Ron and the rest of you who shared your pictures. 

“Just as I was wrapping this column I heard from Woody Roberts.  He told me he started to
write his note about a hundred times.  I’m glad he went for 101, as I think his last line
eloquently conveys Claude’s essence to us:  ‘The man was never behind the mic, yet a great
radio voice has been silenced.’”

Woody Roberts:  “Since the departure of Claude Hall my thoughts and prayers have all gone to
Barbara Hall.  Claude loved her so.  It’s all through his books.  Not only was he in love with
Barbara, he knew how lucky he was to find her and then to win her.  For him it was love at first
sight.  Now after decades together, she is without him. 

“I met Claude in the 1960s through Vox Jox and his Billboard radio conferences.  Favorite
memory?  Age thirty-one I said goodbye to my somewhat meteoric radio career and to clean
my head out, set off with backpack to hitchhike around the U.S..  Stayed with Lee Baby
Simms in Laurel Canyon and he drove me to the north end of San Bernardino for my trip up
what he called “the wonderful 1.”  Hours later my thumb was out and a car pulled over, a head
appeared from the driver’s window: ‘Woody!  Is that you?’  It was Claude and Barbara on
vacation.  We three camped out under the stars among the redwoods in Big Sur.  A most
beautiful night.  We never saw each other again.

“Forty years later Robert Weisbuch, whom Lee Baby dubbed 'Doctor Bob', asked Claude if
he could find me because he was going to write a book about our ratings battle in Hartford. 
Lee Baby vs Joey Reynolds and myself vs Charlie Parker and Bertha Porter. Claude found
me. Our friendship resumed. And then it went to a new depth. After Lee shot himself Claude
and I drew close. And I got to know the real Claude Hall and found that he really was a real
nice guy, a good man --and a writing machine. 

“He wrote his weekly commentaries, kept up email correspondence with several people and
still found enough time for a novel or two, or three, or four….  His favorite pop fiction authors
were Edger Rice Burroughs with his Tarzan series, Jack London, and Max Brand for
Westerns.  Leigh Bracket for sci-fi. 

“Claude has published eighteen --18-- Kindle novels on Amazon!  I’ve read twelve of them.  A
book not there is Popsie with its very nifty cover art by Chuck Blore. [You can read an
excerpt here.] Claude is all through his books as a character and so is Barbara, although not
under their own names.  He was starting another novel, a Western set in Nevada among the
petroglyphs and he titled it, Anasazi

“I very much encourage anyone who earned their living in the pop music radio records whirl of
1955 – 1980 to buy and peruse I Love Radio and Radio Wars.  If you don’t, you’re missing out
on some entertaining top-notch flashbacks.  The ebooks are 99c each and the memories
contained are priceless.

Claude Hall was a genuine Texan, born of Texas seed in the geographic center of Texas and a
graduate of the University of Texas. A lifelong Longhorns fan. The man was never behind the
mic, yet a great radio voice has been silenced. “

Hometown of Claude Hall