We come. We Do. We Go.
Remembering Claude Hall
L-R: John Hall, Timmy Manocheo, Rollye James, Joey Reynolds, Tom Campbell, Bruce Miller Earle
August 14, 2017
by Rollye James
Rollye: “It was great to meet Barbara, John and Andy Hall last Saturday. Claude Hall’s
memorial at the Encore hotel embodied his essence— pure class. Attended by over 36 of his
friends and family, including a strong radio contingency of Joey Reynolds, Tom Campbell
and Bruce Miller Earle, the mood was bittersweet, as we all were gleefully thankful for
Claude’s impact on our lives but profoundly saddened by his passing. Jon Cornell (my kind
and generous husband whose only connection to radio is me) captured the mood. His videos
and stills are scattered throughout the column.”
Chuck Buell: “What years, what time frame, was Claude's tenure of his being ‘Editor for
Billboard's Vox Jox?’”
Rollye: “I’m so glad Chuck asked, or I would have surely forgotten to document that. Claude
joined Billboard effective with the May 15, 1965 issue. His byline at the end of a brief Vox Jox
was easy to miss, but the announcement of his appointment was prominent on page 4:
Rollye: “You’ll note the article doesn’t mention “Vox Jox” Neither does Vox Jox show up in
the prominently placed “Department & Features” contents box that appeared in every issue.
Vox Jox was already two decades running when Claude joined Billboard (written by a number
of people over the years including Jerry Wexler. Just before Claude joined, Gil Faggen was
handling it). Vox Jox was seen by management as just another column in another section of a
music magazine covering a wide range of associated topics— which, B.C. (Before Claude),
was exactly what it was. It’s a testament to what Claude built that most radio readers thought
Vox Jox was somehow in Claude’s title. It wasn’t— nor was it in mine, when I was Billboard’s
“Further evidence of Claude’s impact on Vox Jox was that several months after Claude began
writing the column, it earned a place in D&F, where it remained for more than two decades:
Rollye: “Claude’s 1978 firing (a bonehead, but wholly in character move by Lee Zhito) went
unmentioned. The last time Claude was on the masthead as Radio-TV editor was in the
January 28, 1978 issue. Claude Hall’s last Vox Jox ran the following week’s (February 4th).
The week after that was very interesting. Leading the Radio-TV column was an in-depth
article on Tom Campbell:
Rollye: “What do you want to bet that Claude was behind the Tom Campbell piece? Their
friendship lasted well beyond Claude Hall’s Billboard days. (Thanks to David Gleason, all
“Not only am I sure that Claude was behind the Tom Campbell piece that ran just after his
exit, but I’m equally certain you don’t remember the name bylining Vox Jox below it: Ray
Herbeck, Jr. I completely forgot him— but in fairness to my memory, he was only there for a
few weeks when Doug Hall replaced him. Doug was no relation to Claude, not by blood or by
impact. I don’t doubt he could write, and I’m certain he was a nice guy, but in his Billboard
role he was unable to maintain the radio bond that Claude cemented. I took over from Doug,
and despite Billboard’s lack of interest in rebuilding Vox Jox, I made it my primary mission.
The upside was that I succeeded beyond any expectations. The downside was that by the time
Vox Jox was back up to speed, the glitter of radio’s post-tv glory days was undeniably fading.
Little did I know how complete the decline would be, and looking back on my tenure, I
treasure the years I had. Claude’s passing is evidence that the magic of the medium that meant
everything to us is now firmly in the past tense.”
Michael O’Shea: “I’m so late in writing my comments about our beloved Claude Hall...I
hope you will forgive me.
“Your heart-felt and candid piece on Claude in today's (7/17) Voxjox.org posting was almost
spiritual in its love and sincerity. Recounting your years at Billboard (and I recall them well)
was wonderfully stated and re-created a time and place in history that was meaningful for me
and so many others..
“I recall as a young teen (perhaps 15-16), in Springfield, IL racing to a local "newsstand"
(remember them?) to grab up one of the few copies of Billboard that was ever available in my
small hometown. I would sit on the curb and thumb through to the 1 or 2 pages devoted to
"radio" and gobble up Vox Jox. "What a cool name for a radio column" I'd recall saying to
myself. I literally dreamed of someday seeing my own name in Vox Jox.
“Fast forward 15 years and after tutelage from Gordon McLendon and 6 years at KLIF,
Dallas, I found myself as the new program director of Joe Amaturo's WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale in
'74. I actually think it was my time there that I actually "met" you...only on the phone, of
course. Talking radio, talking music, talking dreams...we (me and you) went on to become
phone-friends, sometimes spending hours gabbing on expensive "long distance" lines...having
not (at that point) really meeting face-to-face.
“I had a great and creative run at WFTL...owner Joe Amaturo, albeit his sales background,
was a real "product" guy and would give me encouragement and money to do creative things
in medium market radio that most other PD's had no chance to do. Up to and including a ten
day "cruise" on an 85 foot "motor-sailor", The Pez Estrada, through the then-notorious
Bermuda Triangle, with a couple of news reporters, a psychic, an astronomer, a few tin-foil hat
crazies and author Charles Berlitz, who had his Best Seller "The Bermuda Triangle" at #1 on
the NYT list. Doing LIVE "ship-to-shore" VHF radio updates every few hours to see if "we
“We did this right in the middle of the Spring '75 ARB, then a 4-week diary fed rating report.
“WFTL went from a 3.4 to an 8.6 in that book (Broward County)...sitting under Miami with
just 1000 watts day/250 watts night. We also did other innovative talk shows, a news
department with 5 live anchor/reporters, plus sports and financial people...and did a ton of
community service projects, while playing Perry Como and Frank Sinatra.
“You urged me to submit WFTL for Billboard's "radio station of the year" competition in '75. I
put together an entry-dossier of photos, ratings, promotions, etc...and sent it in to Billboard. We
were notified in mid summer that WFTL had been named a "finalist" for
radio-station-of-the-year (AC format, medium market)...so Joe Amaturo happily bought me a
plane ticket to San Francisco that fall for the annual Billboard Radio Convention. MY FIRST
EVER national platform radio event. A dozen years before I'd been a teen who would use my
brand new drivers license to race to the Springfield, IL news stand to get a dreamers copy of
“Well, I recall sitting at a dinner table in the banquet hall of San Francisco's famed Fairmont
Hotel nervously awaiting the judges decision. I was sitting at the "kids table" with a hand full
of non-distinguished geeky type attendees...not at the HIP Hot table with Paul Drew, Rick
Sklar, Ted Atkins, Hal Moore, Buzz Bennett, Jack McCoy or the other luminary PD's of
that era. Nope, me with some 3rd level FCC guy, a few other no-names...but I/we was/were a
real "nominee". Well, the First award in our category (AC, medium market) was Program
Director of The Year...and I distinctly recall on-stage host Gary Owens announcing...Program
Director of the Year: ‘Michael O'Shea’!!!
“‘Wait, that's me. THAT's ME!!’…holy crap...walking from the "kids table" to the stage,
embarrassed and shy and scared. I still remember Gary's irreverent JOKE when he pointed to
the huge chandelier over the Fairmont's Ballroom and stated: "Look! It's Kate Smith's IUD"!!
To thundering laughter. I stumbled onto the stage with the bright lights in my eyes but so
dearly remember being handed the 1975 award for AC program director of the year plaque
from THE MAN whose Vox Jox words I read as a teenager with a dream...the one and only
CLAUDE HALL. I shook his hand, and mumbled something that resembled "thanks"...did the
same with THE Gary Owens, then managed to get a few words of disbelief and gratitude out of
my mouth over the mic that filled the entire room. Whew! A defining moment in my life. At
that point perhaps THE defining moment in my life.
“I returned to "the kids table" without tripping and the FCC guy leaned over to me and said
"congrats...I have the whole thing on tape". Just like the FCC, huh to be rolling tape when you
least expect it. His name was "Don", that's all I can remember, but he handed me a little
cassette tape from his recorder...which is probably now buried in a box in my garage.
“A few minutes later "we" (WFTL) were announced as Billboard's AC medium market
radio-station-of-the-year...and I made the trek to the stage again, this time with a bit of swagger
and not as much fright.
“I can't recall too much more of that night...expect the part when after the banquet is over I
rush to a phone booth (remember them) and place a call "home" to let the station people and
my family know about "The Big News". A random recollection as vivid today as 42 years ago:
Famed Bartel National Programmer George Wilson saw me on the phone and stopped by to
personally shake my hand and say congrats. To THAT moment in time George Wilson had
ONLY been a name to me. A very famous name...one that I'd only read in Claude Hall's Vox
“Two years later, at the Billboard convention in Toronto I and "we" won the same two awards
for a second time...again presented by Claude Hall with so much grace and sincerity. Maybe
Rick Dees was the stage presenter then, I can't really recall.
“As you know, Rollye, things started really breaking for me after that...I was recruited as PD at
one of the world's greatest radio stations, WLW, Cincinnati...by your dear friend Charlie
Murdock, GM...and a few years after that was hired by Gene Autry himself to become PD of
KMPC and National PD for his Golden West Broadcasters, perhaps in that era the most
nationally respected radio company in the nation. And Gary Owens then became "my"
afternoon jock at KMPC...along with Robert W. Morgan in mornings, Wink Martindale and
Geoff Edwards in Midday. AND, further as National PD I was overseeing the programming of
KSFO, San Francisco, whose studios were in the same Fairmont Hotel, where I'd first met
“In my mind there is no more powerful moment in my life and eventual 53 year radio career
than my first meeting with Claude Hall in SF in '75. My boyhood publishing "hero" and now
a man who's recognizing me for success and innovation...that has lasted me a literal lifetime.
“I would share a few meetings and a few emails with Claude in the ensuing decades and I was
so delighted when you and he resurrected the concept of Vox Jox just recently...and I dearly
hope that YOU will continue to publish, even if only occasionally the legacy of Claude and the
wonders of an industry that enchanted and entrapped so many of us in an exciting and
“God bless Claude Hall's soul and may he rest in eternal peace... ...and may God Bless you,
too, Rollye, for reminding us of his spirit and history. With Love, Michael.”
Don Sundeen: “Eye Lipson forwarded me this [above pic], and I thought some of the folks
reading Vox Jox might enjoy it.”
Bruce Miller Earle: “After years of Claude telling me about you it was good finally to meet
and put a face with a name. Attached are a couple of pictures from today's event.
Bruce Miller Earle: “It did my heart good to see the big huge smile while next to Barbara
holding her precious Lady. I truly get the deal from the bonds I have with my girls. If not for
unconditional love and the devotion my dog's have given me by now I would have twisted off
the face of the earth. Cosmic Capricorns need to stick together. As always there is strength in
numbers. Let's keep in touch. “
Rollye: “As much as we in radio loved Claude, our affection does begin to approach the love
story that was Claude and Barbara.
Barbara Hall at the podium
Table in the background: Bruce Miller Earle, Joey Reynolds to the left,
Tom Campbell to the right
“Any doubt that Claude was a hopeless romantic, particularly when it came to Barbara, was
put to rest with Sue Coladarci.”
“Sue’s late husband Paul Coladarci, like Claude, started life and a writer and loved music.
He ended up as president of the Las Vegas Jazz Society and host of a radio show on KUNV.
Barbara, John & Andy Hall
“A measure of a man’s success that is rarely included in business journals but is more
important than any professional achievement is what unfolds in his quiet moments. Ultimately
one’s home life outlasts any public recognition. As far as I know, no one on their death bed
laments not spending enough time at work. It’s the one-on-one deeply personal relationships
that matter. Radio is particularly cruel to family life. Broken homes, estranged kids, and
emotional problems are more the norm than the exception. But Claude Hall was exceptional.
There’s no better evidence of that than the respect and love of his sons:
“Attendees were asked to bring along mementos from Claude. There was no shortage of
responses, from pictures to belt buckles.
“Many of you have mentioned that Claude never asked for anything in return for his
kindness— and that’s almost true. As the above picture demonstrates, Claude was not shy in
asking for radio station belt buckles. And we were not stingy in delivering.
Claude Hall feeling right at home in this shot
“Regardless of format, Claude loved good radio…
and Waylon Jennings…”
“Claude threw a great convention…
“And wrote the definitive radio programming book. (The interviews toward the end of the
book stand the test of time. This Business of Radio Programing remains a must read.)
“But maybe most important of all, Claude Hall led a life well worth living post-Billboard.”
Claude receiving his Masters Degree
Chuck Chellman: “How are you doing?? I know it is shocking with the loss of Claude. Keep
the newsletter coming. We lost a radio great today.....Bill Bailey, Houston died today. He and
Arch Yancey, both in the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame, led 250 watt KIKK to # 1 in
Houston for several years. Fabulous guys on a mission on a low power station. Arch and his
wife spent the past couple of days here with us in Nashville, but packed and left when Bailey's
family called. What great people we had in radio when it was still.........radio.”
Rollye: “I am so sorry to hear about Bill, but delighted to know Arch Yancey is still alive and
well. I have fond memories of him singing at Gilley’s. I also recall he’s the only guy I knew
with two completely different sized feet— an accident early on led to one being about half the
size of the other. Caused him to need custom made boots, which always looked wonderful.
He’ll never remember me, but he was so gracious during my Charlie Rich promotion days
when he was PD at KNUZ, that he’ll always be in my heart. Please give him my best.
“I wish I could say that the news of Bill’s passing was the only death of late. Undoubtedly
you’re aware of Glen Cambell leaving us. I was pleased that many of the obits included his
amazing guitar-work, which I believe is his real musical legacy. Johnny Hyde may not be
familiar to you, but if you lived in Sacramento in the ’60s, you couldn’t miss him…”
Bob Sherwood: “Hope you’re near the end of initial mourning for dear friend Claude and will
be getting back to leading all the interested parties in the re-newed and much missed Vox Jox.
In the meantime, I wanted you to see the following I directed the guys who handle the
1240KROY website to send out.
“‘Please officially advise our KROY associates and other interested parties of the passing at
77 of one of our most treasured friends, mentors and ultimate professionals---Johnny Hyde.
He died as a result of aggressive cancers but we can take some solace in that after many years
of difficult and painful maladies he died in his home, in his sleep in the company of the Angel
Maxine and his daughter. A private family Memorial is being planned. Further information
will be provided as soon as we know more.’
“In the meantime, candles and prayers from those who believe in such things are most
appropriate. Johnny was one of the most innovative and successful programmers and on-air
talents of the early 1960s through the mid-70s. His Gear Hour and subsequent activities in the
early 60s featuring music and info on British rockers---much pre-dating The Beatles---was an
enormous success and he then turned KROY into one of the most dominant Top 40 stations of
that era. Thought you’d want to know. Kindest regards and continued prayers in Claude’s
Randy West: As the fat man sang - Fats Domino, not Tom Shovan - I fear this will be a Blue
Monday as Vox Jox may be retired - I hope not, but know it's a lot of work. In the spirit in
which Claude had us all anticipating the magazine each week, I've come to look forward to
yours and Claude's redux. But I understand if all good things must end, at least temporarily.
Just a shout to keep your ears open to CBS "Big Brother" on Wednesday night for some big
over-the-top voice work I'm doing for them. It's funny stuff!”
Ann Drew: “I hope this finds you well. Are you going to be continuing with the column? We
all hope so. We looked forward to it every week. You are so good with it.”
Peter McLane: “Is this goodbye? I still think you are one of the best
radio-appreciators-historians in the business! Please keep me in your email list and write me
any time you have anything to say. I now refer to 1954-1974 as the Golden Age of Radio.
Thanks to Todd and Gordon for saving radio from television, and you for the documentation.
Recordially Yours .....and the hits just keep on coming!”
Rollye: “I’m humbled by your thoughts and appreciative of your sharing them. If this were
another point in time, I’d be honored to continue this column. I’m stopping it with much
frustration over having no other choice. If I were retired, it would be the perfect pastime, and
I’d embrace it wholeheartedly. But I own a couple radio stations and run a few corporations.
Fortunately nothing I do is physically intensive, but all of it is tremendously time consuming.
My ongoing fantasy is that I will find a Time Shop where I can buy a few hours, or a weekend,
or an extra Sunday. But as technologically advanced as society is now, we’re not there yet.
“I’m so glad I didn’t know what was coming when Claude asked if I could find an online home
for him after Jack Roberts passed away and Hollywood Hills Group ceased. Had I known
that the effort involved would soon go from less than the two hours it took to format and
upload Claude’s content with a few words from me— to an entire day of writing and
compiling the column each week, I would have demurred. But by the time Claude confided he
wasn’t up to continuing, it was unconscionable to say no. Barbara told me it kept him alive. I
had no idea. But I was well aware it kept his rarified group of readers together. So, even when
I felt awful and faced hours of unrelated work, it was still a thrill to put this column together
each week knowing the calibre of people wanting to read it.
“But logistically, the trick to accomplishing it was to shift more and more tasks to the back
burner, knowing it was only for a finite amount of time. I promised Jon and myself that once
Claude went on to the ultimate better place that I would stop. That thought alone let me carry
on— because having to do this meant Claude was still with us. And then he wasn’t. I’ve been
asked if I’m enjoying the free time. Apart from my sadness that Claude is gone, is that there is
no free time— yet. I face months of catch up with all I left undone. If it weren’t for that, I’d
probably find a way to continue. As I said, I’m not happily stopping.”
Jerry DelColliano: “I was afraid of this, too! Losing you and your considerable ability to
bring people together around the topics they love most — radio and records. I think so much
of you as a person for the work you did out of love for Claude and his merry band of followers.
You are indeed a fitting curator to this cause but not if it adversely affects your health so I
understand your reluctance to continue. You’ve been gracious to me and a lot of our fellow
radio brethren for which I am personally so grateful. I will miss looking for Vox Jox in my
Monday morning email. What a great way for a publisher and writer to sit back and enjoy the
work of others. At any point along the way if I can be of help to you — I don’t know how, but
I mean it with all sincerity — do not hesitate to contact me. All my gratitude and warm
Burt Sherwood: “Sorry to see it all go ….I knew Claude quite well…and have many friends
that also knew him…he will me missed and I am sure there will nothing to fill the void. Good
luck to you,…and best wishes..”
Mel Phillips: “Knowing that we've seen the passing of a legend and that the torch that was
passed to you will soon be extinguished, you deserve so much credit for your devotion and
dedication to keeping us informed and connected. Tell me there's ever been a longer run-on
sentence than that! Writing a weekly post, I totally understand the demands on you, no less the
time you need to carry out your other responsibilities. Then there's the health issue. Needless to
say your weekly post will be missed, as will your presence. I will continue to copy you on all
my 'Radio Views' posts and hope to contact you from time to time so we can maintain our
friendship. I wish you nothing but the best. You deserve it…”
Ken Dowe: “Golly, Rollye! Reading that you will not be in my mailbox every Monday,
depressed me greatly! Certainly, I understand. Having a temperature and all those jobs up in
the air puts a new spin on working "feverishly." Just 101 degrees while toiling at the necessary
and what is mundane can cause one to feel awful. And, a column a week is not a small
“Please keep my email address handy and I hope I will hear occasionally of exciting
adventures that have come your way. It has been my intention for too long to drop by Phoenix
in hopes of maybe a quick hello to my friends Charlie Van Dyke, Gary Edens, Todd
Wallace, and Jerry Del Colliano. I enjoy and respect each greatly, and I miss seeing each.
“I had always intended to ask your permission for a drive by to see you for a few minutes and
say, "Hi!" How can it be that we've never met in person? You've been a remarkable friend to
Claude and so many others who are now scarcely remembered, but as a small band of brothers
and sisters, who once played the radio from the other side of the dial.
“Much love to you, Rollye. I adore you, and all that you give to our grateful few.”
Rollye: “Thank you doesn’t seem sufficient for sentiments like those. I consider all of you
friends, and though I can’t continue the weekly grind, I’ll never be too busy to stop what I’m
doing to interact with you— every one of you. I’m the last person on earth without a cell
phone, but I do have a laptop— and a phone number which delivers messages to it. File this:
610-640-6400. Call it anytime, 24 hours a day. I’ll keep firstname.lastname@example.org
alive (amazingly it
has less spam than my other addresses), and I’ll check it regularly.
“I don’t fly anymore, but I still drive a lot. So Ken, Jerry, or anyone within a day of Globe,
Arizona, let me know and I’ll be there, where ever it is. Or you can come here (though I don’t
advise it— anyone who has been to Globe understands the wisdom in that). I don’t do
mornings, but I’m available any other time. Most of you will not take me up on that. But I’m
hoping some of you will, before it’s too late. It seems like every week we’ve mourned the
passing of another one of us, so please don’t wait. I’ll keep the site online indefinitely for all
the links and archives, and I’ll keep the mailing list alive, though I don’t expect to use it unless
I run across something important to share. But know that you’re on my mind and I’d welcome
hearing from you.”
Chuck Buell: “And with that, yet another valuable and cherished Oasis in Broadcasting dries
up. Monday Mornings Are Just Not the Same. With a Nod and a Wink to Claude himself . . .
‘It came, it did, it went.’ Thank you, Claude. And thank you, Rollye.”