Archive for the ‘Rick Ward Hollywood’ Category

By Rick Ward   Hollywood

rickward

Long long ago and far far away……I had a dream. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear radio like you did when you were home. Familiar sounds, Popular programs, voices you depended on for news, entertainment, laughs and information.
When many of us first began to drive, it was the 50’s & 60’s. Radio was your world. It was fun & exciting. As we grew older, families and jobs took us away from those oh so familiar voices on the air.
As we got into trucking we discovered new voices. Voices like Dale Sommers the Truckin’ Bozo out of  700 WLW in Cincinnati, Bill Mack, The Midnight Cowboy from 820 WBAP Ft. Worth, Dave Nemo &  Charlie Douglas on 870 WWL New Orleans. These 50,000 watt power house stations entertained, informed and flat out keep us awake & alert on many a night. As their voices faded in and out we had our presets on the radio set to punch up another station that carried our favorite show louder & Clearer.
Than it all changed almost over night. August 30, 2001 at the GATS in Dallas came the most important improvement since the C.B. to truckers, traveling salesmen and anyone else who made their living traveling across the U.S.A. & Canada. Satellite radio was born.
I hadn’t fully realized the importance of this breakthrough until about 10 days after I had purchased my satellite radio at the truck show & traveled to Reno, Nevada. The morning was September 11, 2001. I was on the way to New Jersey with a load and followed every moment of the terrible events as they unfolded listening to my satellite radio. Nevada, Utah, Wyoming  made no difference. Before Satellite you straggled  to find a radio signal during the day that wouldn’t fade away after 30 miles.
Here it is 2009. Eight years and 2 satellite companies later & nearly every truck or new car on the road has satellite radio. Bill Mack is now the “Satellite Cowboy”, Bozo & Dave Nemo are still with us but their voices no longer fade in & fade out. And talk about choice! News, sports, ball games, comedy, finance, right wing/left wing politics, old radio shows and loads of music channels full the cab of my truck and car.
We have made and lost a number of our “new” friends from satellite radio already. Matt The Cat from the 50’s on 5, Pat Clark from the 60’s channel, “country” Dan Dixon Country channel 10 among other disappeared after the merger of Sirius & XM. Sad. Matt the Cat was the primary reason I kept my XM radio. Great talent & he never faded out ONCE!
The AM power houses of old don’t seem so powerful after all. The Midnight Truckin (sic) Network remains on a number of AM stations though I wonder why they call it “truckin” since neither of the hosts of show knows anything about trucking. Steve Sommers took over the overnight spot on 700 WLW after his dad, Dale Sommers retired from AM radio. Gone is the AM network called the “Truckin’ Bozo Radio Network” to be replaced by “America’s Trucking Network” Steve’s only on one AM station and on XM/Sirius so I can’t quite figure out The “Network” part.
Satellite radio has yet to find it’s full potential both as a programming service or in it’s advertising base. AM radio on the other hand has long ago out lived it’s heyday in both entertainment and as a revenue generator.
I feel kind of sorry for the CB manufactures. Since the advent of satellite radio, the CB in my truck seldom was even turned on. I get my “rumors” from the aforementioned “kings of Trucking radio” or from Land line Now heard daily on the trucking channels, Top of the hour trucking news breaks. In other words from “reliable” sources, not Billy big rig on the CB.
I foresee the end of AM/FM or as satellite radio prefers to call them, Terrestrial radio, as a force in trucking if it hasn’t already begun to fade. Sales revenues for non satellite trucking shows have continually dropped as has the listenership to non-satellite radio. 
GPS, Satellite HD Television, Satellite Radio……boy how trucking entertainment has changed since I first learned to drive way back when and long long ago…..
Rick Ward aka “Hollywood”
Rick spent from 1960 through 1993 as a disc jockey, concert & record manufacturer, broadcast executive and CEO of XPRS/XERB from 1972-1981 as friend/partner with The late Wolfman Jack. Rick’s love of driving truck become a fulltime profession in 1993 through 2007 and he hounded Dale Sommers for many years. Dale Sommers "the Truckin’ Bozo" is, in fact, Hollywood’s daddy. (or so he says?)

Hey Rusty,
    On Ebay and Amazon the store name is the same  MandMMusicRemembers. The Radio show which is Judy & I & Lots of 50’s & 60’s Music is The Rick Ward show, one of 16 programs that play ON DEMAND at www.rockitradio.net The shows change about every 10 days.

Copyright 2009 by Rick Ward all rights reserved

by Rick Ward   Hollywood

wolf

Have you ever realized that hide sight is 20/20. Truly it is. I have had a blessed life. I wonder why sometimes I am still here. All that fun (?) in the 60’s & 70’s would surely have killed anyone else but here I am.
I have meet a lot of people in my lifetime, some you wold know by name, others just your average person. Wolfman was far from average.
Our studios in the late 60’s were on the Sunset Strip at 8228 Sunset Blvd. XERB/XPRS occupied the entire first floor.  Here was a 50,000 3 tower north directional radio station (150kw straight north) run by 7 people!  Seems impossible but we didn’t know it at the time & no one told us it wasn’t possible so here we were. Next store to us was a 20 foot tall rotating statue of Bullwinkle J. Moose. I tell you this just to give you an idea of the “Circus” that was the Sunset Strip in the late 60’s.
All of our programming was recorded 24 hours in advance on big hour long tape & shipped to the Mexican border by Greyhound. The Wolfman was on the air like 12 hours a day at that time. He really didn’t do 12 hours of taping per day . All his material was put together by the engineers in Mexico.
So depending on how he felt that day, would depend on what he recorded that day.  We would h ang out in the studio & answer phone calls for 6 or 8 hours which would give his enough material for a months shows.
Mail order was a big business. Since Xerb/Xprs covered 17 states, 3 counties and all ships at sea at nighttime you could sell anything. Wolfman had a great idea. He had a drug company in Mexico make up a “male enhancement”  pill. We sold thousand of bottles of them every week until the FDA put a stop to that. You see all they were was sugar pills. Nothing that would harm you but people were reordering them like crazy. Seems the mind is stronger than any pill & guys were buying up like candy long before any of us heard of Viagra.
I got the chance to meet and rub elbows, so to speak, with the who’s who of the music world at that time too. They all came by when in town to promote their latest project. Keep in mind the Hyatt on Sunset, a music hangout hotel, was only 3 blocks west of us on The Sunset strip. James Brown, Joe Hinton, Aretha Franklin and tons more made my days (and nights) very interesting. Wolfman was a pied piper. He had the kind of personality that everyone just seemed to feel comfortable with.
We did a huge concert with Richard Nader and his Rock & Roll reveille show at the Forum in Inglewood. Many of the artists were staying in Hollywood before the show. One group of ladies from New York Called the Chantels were poolside, It was a rather hot day even for L.A. Wolfman mentio ned to the ladies “better take it easy on the sun. This ain’t New York. You can burn easily here”. There response was something to the effect “not to worry, God gave us a natural tan” Next day the 4 ladies couldn’t seat, stand or lay down. Burned from head to toe.
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that hide sight is 20/20. At the time all this was going on I never bothered to get pictures, interviews, nothing. How foolish.  Now that Wolfman is gone as are many of the people from my life during that era I only wish I had had the foresight to save something other than just my memories…
Rick Ward aka “Hollywood”
Rick spent from 1960 through 1993 as a disc jockey, concert & record manufacturer, broadcast executive and CEO of XPRS/XERB from 1972-1981 as friend/partner with The late Wolfman Jack. Rick’s love of driving truck become a fulltime profession in 1993 through 2007.

Hey Rusty,
    On Ebay and Amazon the store name is the same  MandMMusicRemembers. The Radio show which is Judy & I & Lots of 50’s & 60’s Music is The Rick Ward show, one of 16 programs that play ON DEMAND at www.rockitradio.net The shows change about every 10 days.

Copyright 2009 by Rick Ward All rights reserved

 

By Rick Ward   Hollywood

wolf

2009 is a very smart year. Well compared to 1965 it sure is. Boy did we
think we knew it all in 1965? Darn right we did. Heck, everything that
could possibly be invented had been. Or so we thought and since the
world revolved around us, who was gonna argue the point.
Amazing how 44 years can make a difference. I was 19 years old in 1965.
I was invincible as were most 19 year olds (even today)
Let’s look at a few of the "stupid, unnecessary" changes since 1964.
Satellite Radio, ATM machines, the Internet, PC’s, Space travel, Cell
phones, GPS….need I go on.
How did we live without some or all of the above?
If we knew we were gonna live this long we’d taken better care of
ourselves (maybe). Looking back on the 60’s I am amazed I am still
alive. Some of the things we did. No need to list them. YOU did them
too. We all did our share. But wasn’t it exciting at the time!
I sometimes jokingly tell my wife of 5 years "I’m mad at you. Why
didn’t you come along 30 years ago & save me from all the fun I thought
I was having?"
It is rear in any walk of life to stay with one partner for most of
your life. Many of our parents and most of our grand parents did but
times were simpler than. We didn’t live in a disposable society than.
Today we use & throw out most everything either by design or need. I
look at the present & Past and am amazed. Dale Sommers "the Truckin’
Bozo" on Sirius XM married for 40 some years to the SAME woman. My late
pal Wolfman Jack (Bob Smith) married over 40 years to ONE woman, 60’s
rock & Roller Freddy Cannon married to Jeanette over 50 years.
Outrageous!
I know I’ve been rambling this column but it’s just on my mind and it
should be on years. We tend to focus on the bad things in our lives
both past & present but if you really sit down, stop & reflect, what a
amazing life you’ve had and it really wasn’t so bad after all……was
it?

Hey Rusty,
    On Ebay and Amazon the store name is the same  MandMMusicRemembers. The Radio show which is Judy & I & Lots of 50’s & 60’s Music is The Rick Ward show, one of 16 programs that play ON DEMAND at www.rockitradio.net The shows change about every 10 days.

Copyright 2009 by Rick Ward All rights reserved

 

By Rick Ward     Hollywood

wolf

Have you ever had a quiet moment to sit back & reflect on your life. Course you have. Sometimes you wonder how you made it to this point because of some of things you did! Other memories are warm & fuzzy and full of fond regards to those people and events that made life fun.
Wolfman Jack. Just the name conjures up a memory even if you never saw him on T.V. or Listened to him on the radio or played one of his records. He made my life fun with a capital F!
I had the time of my life from roughly 1967 through 1995 to be involved with The Wolf. The Wolf was born in Brooklyn NY as Bob Smith. Nobody, even his wife called him Robert. I meet the Wolf when he was howlin’ on 100,000 watt XERB in Via Acuna Mexico, directly across the border from Del Rio, Texas. To show how much influence the Wolf  had on Del Rio can be best answered by the statue of him & the monument dedicated to him by the city of Del Rio. Wolf’s wife Lou Lamb Smith was present for the dedication.
The Wolf (every one who knew him called him “Wolf” except in public when he was Bob) was the greatest radio hustler I have ever or will ever meet. I mean this with the utmost kindness & reverence. The man could sell cactus to Indians. He sold everything from “live baby Chicks” delivered to your home for just 3.98 to day glow pictures of “Him” and we all know who “him” was.
800 hits on 10 albums just 3.00,  plastic holy table clothes & matching napkins,  Super “manpower” pills to put the Pazzzz back in your sex life…..All this and more. Actually the Manpower pills were nothing more than sugar pills that Wolf had bottled in Mexico & sold for 5.00 a bottle, cash, check or money order. The first week over 5,000 orders piled into the little post office in Del Rio. Guys were getting their pills in the mail, downing the whole bottle and going out on the town. The pills didn’t do anything. It was all psychological but boy did they work.
I was in the Army Monday through Thursday at Fort Ord when Bob & the Wolf woman, as he called her, moved to Los Angeles. It had gotten too scary in Via Acuna with the federal troops fighting with the Mexican labor unions & the Wolf  handing out 100 dollar bills to try & control the craziness, so when XERB 1090 in Rosarito Beach Baja California became available the Wolf  went for it. Transmitting with 50,000 watts beaming due North it covered from downtown San Diego to Downtown Fairbanks Alaska at night.
Our studios were located on the Sunset Strip at 8228 Sunset Blvd, right next to a rotating statue of Bullwinkle J. Moose since Jay Ward Productions was our neighbor.  By day Bob Smith was the general manager, doing business, selling ads, and keeping the curious away from the Wolfman. No one knew until almost a year after Wolf signed on XERB the Bob Smith & The Wolfman were one & the same. This is where the problem arose.
We were doing small in person gigs to try out the Wolf on stage to see the response. Remember the Wolf didn’t dance, sing or tell jokes. He was a D.J. He was booked in the Kern County Fairgrounds one Friday night. Bob Price, Wolf’s manager, myself & the Wolfman drove the hour & one half from L.A. to Bakersfield. We pulled up to the Kern county fairground office and told them Wolfman was here for his appearance that night……and promptly we were all three arrested by the Kern county sheriffs who had been waiting for the wolfman to show. We were arrested for fraud and identity thief since THE REAL Wolfman had been at the fairgrounds two weeks earlier wearing a rubber mask.
It took 3 hours of phones calls to Jorge Wilkins, Our station manager in Tijuana to finally convince the Sherriff’s that Bob Smith was the one & only Wolfman Jack. We realized there was no way to prove that bit of info so in the future documents were carried just in case, but they were never needed again.

Hey Rusty,
    On Ebay and Amazon the store name is the same  MandMMusicRemembers. The Radio show which is Judy & I & Lots of 50’s & 60’s Music is The Rick Ward show, one of 16 programs that play ON DEMAND at www.rockitradio.net The shows change about every 10 days.

copyright 2009 by Rick Ward All rights reserved