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Joey Reynolds, Barbara Hall, Claude Hall - January 2015
(photo courtesy of Ray Glasser)
July 17, 2017
by Rollye James
Andy Hall: “Claude Hall will have a memorial service luncheon from 12-3 on Saturday,
August 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Please RSVP with amount of attendees by August 1st
minutes during the memorial. Details and Location will be given after RSVP. In lieu of
flowers, please donate to NAMI (www.nami.org), the National Alliance on Mental Illness.”
Gerry Cagle: “My heartfelt condolences. Claude made unimportant people important. I was
certainly one of them. RIP”
Jim Gabbert: “I am so saddened. Claude and I had a special relationship going back to FM
stereo, NRBA, and used to spend a lot of time together at conventions...He was one of a kind!
Always treated me well in Vox Jox and I considered him a true friend.”
Chuck Chellman: “The passing of Claude Hall leaves a great empty hole in the music
industry, not just radio. Claude was loved on Music Row in Nashville. While at Billboard, he
would visit with publisher Hal Cook. What a wonderful team they made. We were lucky if we
could schedule a lunch or dinner with these two legends. They were booked solidly. I got lucky
a few times.
“I would get to see Claude mostly on a Saturday night when we would visit the Ernest Tubb
Record Shop together. The WSM broadcast came immediately after the curtain fell at the
Grand Ol' Opry. Claude loved Ernest Tubb and vice-versa. These two Texans were 'joined at
the hip.' Claude never passed on the opportunity to have a handshake and words with the
country stars....too many to mention. Now when I am driving around, I'll put on an Ernest
Tubb album, but my thoughts and prayers will be with Claude Hall.”
Bobby Ocean: “The Yellow Rose sheds a tear. This news of Claude's
passing hits me all the way back into the days I was Just beginning in
broadcasting. From the start his name was one associated with
validity, his columns contained info we could use and the names who
were making it happen and he was amazingly approachable. Every
great PD I have worked with - and I have worked with many of the
best - knew, respected and read Claude. I owe him a lot. At least I
owe him a cartoon…”
: “I knew Claude for many years and although we knew each other we
only met in person once at th NAB in Las Vegas in 1975. Claude and I talked by phone many
times when I was with Drake Chenault and almost weekly he'd invite me to come out on
Sunday and play basketball at a Jr High in the Valley somewhere. Claude, his humor and his
personality will be missed. May Claude rest in Peace.”
Adam White: “Tributes worthy of the man. Good to see the photos, too. He'll appreciate it, up
there in the programming conference in the sky. (Must be getting crowded, though.) One of
my favorite trade shots… “
Rollye: “As soon as I saw the picture (and the Motown article Adam White sent with it,
below), I was motivated to look at the whole issue. (Fortunately David Gleason has all the
back issues of Billboard, and pretty much everything else radio-related at
us spellbound. As Radio-TV Editor, he most likely wrote the Motown piece, and much, if not
all, of the content of the Radio-TV section.
“The typo in KEWB’s call letters in above headline brought back cringeworthy memories that
I know Claude Hall shared. Billboard editors didn’t see the results of their work until it was in
print. Headlines were written by someone else— something readers often failed to understand.
The scenario has me laughing now, but back then, I’m sure it traumatized Claude to read.
“Claude was best known for Vox Jox but his writing duties extended much further. I suspect he
was also the author of the NARA article that jumped from page 3 to the lead page of the
Radio-TV section that week. (NARA, the National Association of Radio Announcers that
focused on African American jocks, held a meeting in New York. Of course Claude was there.
So was Berry Gordy, Don Robey, Wally Amos (‘Famous Amos’ of cookie fame, who was
then an agent with William Morris), and a couple dozen other luminaries. Most of NARA's
plans did not materialize— which is an understatement, but the meeting was held just after
their successful convention in Houston with entertainment including The Royalettes.)
“Reading Claude’s take, I wanted to be at that NARA meeting. Likewise for the stories on Bay
Area radio— the KFRC, KEWB switch you can see on the clip above, but if you look through
the whole section you’ll also see a nice piece on Johnny Holliday’s ratings success— 'once
out-Pulsed a baseball game'. Holliday also led the 'Billboard Radio Response Rating Survey,
however that was taken. While I question the validity of those surveys today (but not Johnny
Holliday’s success), in 1966, if Claude said it, I believed it. And Claude said a lot in that
issue alone. After spending a good hour reading when I had a dozen other things to do, it hit
me that I was reliving precisely what made Claude Hall precious to all of us: we couldn't stop
reading what he had to say.
“Coincidentally, I was thinking about KYA's success when I opened an email from Timmy
Monocheo this week with something else that brought back memories...
“Complete with a stamp from Alcade's Radio Center in Hayward (which proudly sold
Kelvinator and Norge) and a warning not to duplicate it without KYA's permission. Oh how I
wish there was anyone left to ask. Only two of the personalities are still with us, both doing
well in retirement from what I know: Tommy Saunders in the Bay Area and Johnny Hayes
in Los Angeles.”
Chuck Blore: “The drawing you used at the head of your
column [last week] was the one I mentioned in my note
to you on Saturday. Seeing it there this morning touched
me more than you could know, And I know that Claude
knows and I thank you sincerely.”
Rollye: “Claude cherished Chuck Blore’s sketch and used it often. It was fitting to see so
many of the press accounts from last week use it too.
“It’s a lot of fun to share thoughts with like minded radio folks. That’s what has kept this
column alive. But this is not your only opportunity for repartee. If you’re Canadian, you’re
probably aware of Warren Cosford’s lists, but no matter where you are, they’re mighty
interesting reading. Maybe you’re not aware of his lists, or even of Warren...
“Before Warren Cosford retired from radio and TV and became a long haul truck driver (I am
not making that up— I gotta ask him sometime what he thinks of the American radio trucking
shows of days gone by), he spent over 35 years as a singer, announcer and nanager in Canada
and the U.S. To American radio he may be best known as the Production Manager of
CHUM's syndicated documentaries on The Beatles, Elvis Presley and The Evolution of Rock
(voiced by one of my closests compatriots, the late great Chuck Riley). Recently, Canada's
FYI Music wrote about what Warren has been up on the internet over the past 18 years.........
For those who subscribe to Warren Cosford’s ‘Lists,’ the free e-mail service containing reader
correspondence, facts, conspiracy theories, perceived outrages, and pop culture musings, you
will probably agree with me that these dispatches can, at various times, be fascinating,
infuriating and informative reads. Sometimes all in one read. In a fashion, he has developed a
readership that is as passionate as that cultivated by Bob Lefsetz, only Cosford’s style is to
aggregate ideas of interest, comment and then print reader generated responses. His recent
musing on Larry 'Gagman' MacInnis’s comments on Facebook teasing his upcoming memoir
inspired a bookshelf of anecdotes from readers. About the good, the bad and ‘truths’ about an
era long ago when CHUM Radio was king of the castle, in Toronto, and one of the best hit
parade AM stations in North America.
Warren’s network started as Radiopro in 1999. At the time, Warren Cosford had been in radio
for about 35 years and had made many friends with similar interests, so he started exchanging
Information...mostly about Radio and Music. Following 9/11, he added 'The War Interest List'
which, since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, has become The Political List. Over the years, The List
has morphed into a broad range of topics and a membership of “more people I've never met
than ones I have,” he amusingly admits in a recent e-mail. “We've even, occasionally, become
a Search Engine.”
When The Audiovisual Preservation Trust of Canada, the Producer of MasterWorks, a
non-profit organization whose mandate is the preservation of our Canadian cultural heritage,
wanted to track down the family of guitarist Lenny Breau they contacted The List.
When The Hockey Hall of Fame was trying to identify a member of The Media in a photo from
1967, they contacted The List. “We tracked both down in less than a day,” he tells. “Also,
following the Lac-Mégantic Train Derailment, we made a presentation before Windsor
Ontario City Council (where Cosford resides) which resulted in new Legislation requiring
more transparency by Railroads.”
There are actually 5 "Lists".....The Radio List, The Political List, The Music List, The Pop
...and let him know any or all of The 'Lists' you'd like to subscribe to.
Chuck Buell: “It was so impressive, and not really surprising at all, to read all the fine tributes
to and memories of Claude from so many in our Radio community. No wonder you couldn’t
send all of us your VoxJox email notice until almost 2 AM this Monday morning! Thank you
for all that and for all you have done to assist Claude with the weekly online editions of Vox
Jox lately. I, among many, appreciate you and your yeoman ( or “yeowoman!” ) efforts!”
Erica Farber: “This was such an amazing tribute to an amazing guy. Can only imagine the
strength it took to put this piece together. Thank you for all of your hard work and passion.
You are a wonderful spirit and just know how much you are appreciated and respected.”
Rollye: “I’m humbled by Erica Farber’s touching thoughts and grateful to her and every one
of you who has taken time to write. It has been my pleasure to do this column for Claude. I’m
not sure how many of you know the back story, but here’s what happened. In the latter ’70s,
Lee Zhito fired Claude Hall at Billboard. (Having worked for Lee Zhito, I can assure you
Claude’s exit had absolutely nothing to do with a lacking on his part.) I’m not sure Claude
ever got over it, and for a while it looked like the magazine wouldn’t get over it either—
though few in charge had any inkling of the void left by Claude’s exit.
“In 1981, at some industry convention, I ran into Jerry Wood who was then Billboard’s editor
in chief. I had known him in Nashville from his days at ASCAP and he was aware I knew
something about radio. Jerry asked me point blank about my impressions of Billboard. My
response was likely the same as many of yours— once Claude was gone, I stopped reading the
magazine. That sounds harsh, but by then there were numerous other choices more targeted to
my interests, Radio & Records leading the pack.
“That was somewhat of a revelation to Jerry as circulation numbers had not fallen, a fact that
didn’t surprise me. The change came in how the mail was handled. When Claude was in his
prime, PDs, MDs and jocks would see Billboard come in and they’d fight over who would read
Vox Jox first. By 1981, when Billboard was delivered, it was placed on the reception area
table. Jerry wanted more advice, and he paid me for it. Ultimately he asked if I’d contribute.
“I never considered myself to be a writer, let alone a journalist, but the notion of taking over
Vox Jox was too heady to pass up. In short order, I became radio editor and learned what
Claude probably knew well. A publication like Billboard was big time. Radio coverage was
just another element in a large mix. Decisions that were made in the best interest of the
magazine, might turn out to be in the worst interest of its radio readership.
“If that sounds abstract, here’s a concrete example: My goal in bringing back Billboard’s radio
coverage was not only being different, but often, simply being first. It mattered a lot if a trade
broke a story. There were many ways to do it, but sometimes it simply came down to the luck
of deadline timing. R&R closed a day before we did. Usually it wouldn’t matter, but when a
slew of Arbitron results from the largest markets were released just after R&R’s deadline, it
was nirvana. I stayed up around the clock tabulating the numbers and getting them where they
needed to go. Billboard was delivered to the Los Angeles office on Sunday and I practically
ran down there to see the fruits of my labor. As I scanned the pages, I couldn’t find anything. I
reread each one, finally facing the realization that my scoop was missing. By Monday
morning, my wailing turned to whimpering as I called the New York office, convinced I’d
screwed something up— only to be told that the material was received on time, but was held
back a week so staffers could do an appealing graphic layout. It was completely lost on them
that by that time, it wouldn’t matter if we ran the piece or not, since everyone else would have
had it in print days before us.
“Few of you were aware that Claude faced those problems, or had a boss in Lee Zhito who
was an impediment rather than an ally. I had to deal with Zhito, but I was lucky. As I became
radio editor, Adam White became managing editor. He was the best buffer I could have had.
He saved me from myself on several occasions when he probably should have fired me. But
even with Adam’s help, after about three years, I’d had my fill and left voluntarily. Claude
made it through 14 years without support and would probably have been there another 14, or
even 28 years if it weren’t for his firing. For Claude, the pay was bad, the working conditions
difficult, but the love he developed for radio and the players in it made it a bargain.
“Like many of you, my first interaction with Claude came when I was a nobody and he was a
god. He treated me with respect and interest when Bill Taylor brought me along to Claude’s
hotel room at a NARM convention . I didn’t see him again until years later when I brought a
couple unknown recording acts to his Billboard office on the Sunset Strip in 1975. He treated
them with respect and interest too. Shortly thereafter I attended the Billboard Convention
Claude put on in San Francisco to pick up an embarrassing amount of awards for Charlie
Rich. He treated me as if I were as famous as Charlie. When I went back to radio, Claude
would mention my on air moves in Vox Jox more often than I deserved. I never took his
kindness for granted. Being in a column with the likes of Joey Reynolds or Don Imus was an
“We stayed in touch over the years, and I was delighted when Jack Roberts put the Hollywood
Hills Group together. It was a natural home for Claude’s column, surrounded with compatible
features of interest. When Jack lost his fight with cancer, Claude was once again without an
anchor. The email column he sent out was well received, but he wanted something where
archives could be stored, and pictures could be used. That’s when he started the conversation
“My first reaction was that I didn’t have time time to help, but in thinking further, it wouldn’t
take that much time to create, upload and maintain a basic website. I had done dozens of
others, had plenty of bandwidth and probably could make it happen for Claude in about an
hour a week. How could I possibly say no? Never mind that I wasn’t sure where I’d get an
hour, as this was over two years ago and I was in a learning curve as a new owner of radio
stations (teaching an old dog like me a bunch of new technical tricks is not pretty). And
Mediatrix, my consultancy, still had paying clients And even though it was only one night a
week, I continued to do my long running talk show. Oh, and I wasn’t feeling too well, myself.
But it was only an hour…. until it wasn’t.
“Sadly, after a few months, Claude let me know that he wasn’t feeling up to generating the
column any longer. He pledged to contribute when he felt up to it, but let me know the time
had come for me to take over. Take over?! I didn’t know my assignment included anything
but uploading, coding and adding the occasional comment. I heard from folks in my inner
circle that a sane person would have politely declined. But my inbox talked louder. It was
loaded with messages every week from fans and friends of Claude. Here was a guy with an
unstoppable love for radio reaching out to like minds who had nowhere else to turn for that
kind of camaraderie and I was going to bail? All manner of bad stuff would certainly befall
me, if I did that.
“What was one hour turned into more than 12 every week. I didn’t have 12 free hours to do
anything, so I carved the time out of projects that were less pressing (like adding ISRC codes
to every song we play for Sound Exchange— though they didn’t consider it less pressing). I
made a promise to Claude that I would continue this as long as he had a breath to take, and a
silent promise to myself, that once the inevitable happened, which, even though this was a lot
of work, I hoped would be a long long time off, I would hang it up. It felt like the right thing
to do all the way around. While many of you have been gracious and kind to me over the past
two years, I have never lost sight that this is the community Claude built. The bonds that were
formed go back over 50 years for many of you and while I’ve been helpful in holding it
together for Claude, I’m no substitute even if I wanted to be.
“I’m going to keep the site online with all its archives for the foreseeable future, and I’ll keep
my inbox at email@example.com
open as well. (Likewise for the mailing list, though I don’t
expect to use it unless there’s something of great significance to share with you.) I hope to see
many of you at Claude’s memorial, which I plan to attend. (Details at the start of this column.
The only thing that could possibly keep me away is my health, nothing acute or fatal, just
chronic and debilitating, easy to pull off behind a column, more difficult in person. My
temperature is 101.3 while typing-- fine for dial position but not so great for a human, and
here after midnight, I just got a phone call from my morning guy telling me he couldn't come
in for a few days-- guess who is the fill in.)
“I hope you can make it to the memorial, but I know that’s not possible for the majority of
readers. Claude would understand. You meant the world to him, and by staying in touch with
him, you made a tangible difference in the quality of his life. In the blink of an eye, we’ll all
be together on the other side, and I’m confident that Claude Hall will be waiting there to say
thank you, as I do now. Even though there won’t be another formal column, I’d be delighted if
you’d stay in touch from time to time. Like Claude did, I consider you to be my friends, and
I’d love to know what’s new in your lives. Thank you for letting me be a part of your
excitement. Each of you made radio better along the way, and I’m eternally indebted to you