|There's Only One Rook
(This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the August 10, 2001 issue of Radio & Records, written by Bob Shannon. This portion picks up after John left KTLN in Denver)
... Ken Palmer was across town at KIMN. He couldn't hire Rook because of a KTLN non compete, but he let ABC's Hal Neal in on his find. In January 1964 Rook joined ABC at KQV / Pittsburgh, just in time to welcome the British Invasion.
KQV's GM was John Gibbs. The battle was between KQV and KDKA. Because of his experience with (Eddie) Cochran, Rook had an in with Beatles manager Brian Epstein and was determined that KQV present the group to Pittsburgh. "Brian wanted us to bring in The Rolling Stones first," says Rook.
The night after the Stones rolled into Pittsburgh, Gibbs summoned Rook to his office. "There was this picture in the paper and a terrible review," Rook recalls. America in '64 was about crew cuts, white socks and penny loafers. "And along came these guys who looked like they had snot dripping from their hair," Rook says.
Gibbs threw the newspaper down on his desk. "John," he said, "don't ever subject us to this type of thing again."
Uh, sure, boss. Rook remembers, "When we brought in The Beatles, Gibbs said, 'My God, do you know what this is going to do to us? We'll be dead, we'll be ruined."
Not so, KQV beat KDKA, and that's when consultant Mike Joseph tried to lure Rook to WFIL / Philadelphia.
ABC got wind of this. Hal Neal called Rook with instructions to get his tail to New York. "Neal took me into [ABC President] Leonard Goldenson's office and explained what a brilliant programmer I was," Rook says. "The next thing I know, I'm PD of WLS."
(the rest of this article is in the print edition of Radio & Records)
Information in this article and the
John Rook interview are copywrite
2001 by Radio & Records.
The complete interview is in the
August 10, 2001 issue of R & R.