|If you've ever wondered what it was like to be a music director at a Top 40 radio station, this article by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Arnold Zeitlin from December, 1960, takes you through a typical music day for KQV's Music Director Larry Aiken.|
December 5, 1960
By ARNOLD ZEITLIN
| MONDAY IS
the day at KQV radio when the record merchantes drop by to peddle their
hottest wax. And the sounds of the station, which normally ebb and
flow with the relentless tribal beat of rock 'n' roll, takke on a startling
dimension with the addition of the insistent wail of salesmanship.
The effect can only be recaptured by imagining Dick Clark's "Bandstand"
running wild in a Persian marketplace.
"This record broke in Detroit ... large," implores the salesman on a typical Monday. He puts the disc on the record player and out comes the old favorite, "Cherokee." Those among the listeners can recognize it.
The pluggers ... Bob Murphy, Jack Shook, Fred Katz, Lou Walker, Nick Cenci, Lee Levine, Jack Armstrong ... make their obeisence before a table at which sits disc jockey Larry Aiken. He keeps a list of all the music, or better, the treatments, he hears. He also keeps two piles of records before him, one designated Possible, the other Impossible. It is difficult to tell one from the other.
* * *
And Aiken puts the record atop the Impossible file.
"... up until this instant."
"We brought this out a year and a half ago," the indefatigable plugger says between the pitch and sway of the treatment. "One Million Years." ... "It's starting to make it."
rests with the Impossibles.
* * *
that three weeks running." Aiken cries out in self defense at another
record drummer who waves "Celebrity Party at him and Sternly insists:
* * *
"It's starting to happen in Cleveland," another salesman implores. The lyrics seem to carry their own criticism. The discussion in the tiny lounge is whether the chorus really is repeating over and over, "Shovelitup, shovelitup, shovelitup ."
"Will you turn your head a minute, I think you got a bad banana ..."
lyrics, like the description of "The Gunslinger." another entry: "A gun
on his hip and a rose on his chest."