Bob James at WHLO, Akron Ohio Bob James at WHLO, Akron Ohio, 1973

The WNBC Control Room, 1988 The WNBC Control Room, 1988

Bob James at WNBC, 1988 Bob at WNBC, 1988

Dan Haber's Bob James Collection

By Dan Haber Everyone in radio grows up with an idol. If you're lucky, that jock stays in the market long enough for you to hear his work. If you're luckier still, someday you get to meet him. And if you're really fortunate, you discover he's even nicer and more intelligent than you could have hoped. Such is the case with The Real Bob James. I first discovered him doing evenings on WGAR Cleveland in 1976. He first discovered me thanks to the Reel Top 40 Radio Repository.

In 1977, I taped part of his show off-air. Some twenty years later, I sent that aircheck into the Repository, where Bob heard about it. He wrote me some e-mail, grateful for 'my kind words'. At first I didn't believe it. One of my favorite radio people thanking ME! But if anyone has to be thanked, it's Bob himself. Because about 2 weeks later, a package arrived via courier, filled with dozens of cassettes, C.D.s, books, pictures, & 10" master reels--all from "The Real's" two decades plus in radio. Not only had he graciously agreed to share these classic artifacts, he even sent his master audition tapes to a person who, in effect, he barely knew. I hope this collection does them justice.

Bob began his career at WNIO in Niles, Ohio, and quickly moved up the radio food chain, with stops as P.D. or morning man in markets as diverse as Washington D.C., Hartford and Orlando--as well as a stint at The Voice Of America. But his original break came with a sense of humor that reached all his listeners--and a signal that reached half of the continent at WGAR Cleveland. He's also worked on TV (most notably the early days of "Entertainment Tonight"), the stage and even in movies. Not to mention being one of the head creative clowns at the American Comedy Network. Or the time he ran for Representative in Connecticut's 12th District--while still doing mornings in another part of the state!


B.J. The (now ex-) D.J. has officially completed his Ph.D. work at the University Of Wisconsin at Madison, and in radio parlance, has gone from "The Real" Bob James to Dr. Bob James. Only this title isn't honorary! He's currently a professor of broadcast journalism at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where's he married to a wonderful lady, and has a step-son.

Playing these tapes may be the best education his future students will ever get. A lesson on how to do radio with style and class--and above all, a sense of fun. If Disc Jockeys were a deck of cards, Bob would be an ace. But as you'll hear on these blasts from his past, he's also a joker. And thanks to him, we're the ones holding a winning hand.

The Dan Haber Collection

[Descriptions by Dan Haber]

PLAY The History of PAMS (24:15)

... I cut as many as 56 jingles a day. I was too stupid to know I was overworking ...

This is all about the world's most beloved jingle company, PAMS. This mini-documentary includes interviews with the company's founder, the late Bill Meeks. Also featured: Terry Lee, the distinctive voice heard on many PAMS classics; some background on Sonovox, and samples of some of the best Top 40 radio jingles ever made.

Thanks to Jon Wolfert for the background on this bootleg.

Back in my PAMS days, I thought it would make a good promotional give-away to do an album (there were no CDs in 1972) containing the history of PAMS. See, even then I was trying to do what we finally accomplished with "The Magic of PAMS" set in 1999! Anyway, I started to research and write the thing, and put together a few of the sections in a very rough form. I didn't use real announcers, and it wasn't a final mix, but I was trying to get them to commit some bucks to the project by showing them what it would sound like. PAMS being the way it was, nothing ever happened.

I did do a "good" mix of the "rough draft" for my own collection (which I still have), but no copies were ever sent out. My mistake was that I didn't take home or erase the 16-track multi-track master where I had assembled it. Years later, after the PAMS tapes were sold and auctioned off to different people, someone came across that multi-track. They thought it was cool, made their own (HORRIBLE) mix, and made copies. To make matters worse, they often attached my name to it.

Well, not only was that production not in a finished form, it wasn't even in contiguous pieces. In other words, I had assembled a piece here and there but there were large sections missing in between. This person just edited the pieces together as if they WERE continous. Argh! Some of the information wasn't even correct.

I think that "The Magic of PAMS" CDs and the 36-page booklet tell a much more complete and accurate history of PAMS than that earlier tape... I'd rather that it disappear completely... Could you please post some explanation and some of these disclaimers? Or at least use a better copy?

[ Curator's Notes :]
Fidelity apology: This feature was always a "bootleg", consequently, the fidelity is very poor.

"This is the history of a company called PAMS - the Creator of the Jingle.." Beginning in 1947 when Bill Meeks left WFAA for KLIF and The Circle 5 Ranchhands, we hear Series 1 - touted as the first radio ID series; a rare sample of Series 7 for R&B station KNOK in Dallas; comments from Terry Lee, who sang Series 8 for 400 stations; Series 14 in 1960, marking the introduction of "the variable logo"; Series 16, "The Sound of the City", featuring "record-length" jingles; Series 18, the introduction of the Sonovox, with comments from long-time PAMS performer Dan Alexander; the 1962 move to 4141 Office Parkway; Series 23; Series 25, "The Happy Difference" (1963); Series 26, the first package created specifically for WABC in 1964; Series 27, "Jet Set", featuring Glennie Rutherford; 1965, Series' 29 and 30, and 1966, Series 31, "Music Explosion".

It's incomplete where it ends - and that's all there is.

When this feature first went online in September of 1999, we did not know who created it. (Some of the COMMENTS on this exhibit may reflect that.) We learned in January of 2000 that the original concept, interviews, writing and production was created by Jon Wolfert of JAM Creative Productions who worked at PAMS in 1972. Jon did not, however, create this mix, never released his own, and this is a genuine "bootleg" that was passed around for many years. Jon says that what he was trying to do with this was finally achieved in 1999 with The Magic of PAMS.

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TOP STREAM 32.1Kbps (13Khz)
PLAY Bob James, WGAR Cleveland, July 4th, 1976 (45:18)

... I've got a real 4th of July look about me - red nose, white face, and blue breath ...

It's the U.S. Bi-Centennial, and the "Real" Bob James is on WGAR celebrating with the top 100 American and British artists of all time — picking up here at #25. When Bob calls this the "collector's edition", he had no idea how right he was. Preserved on C.D., this classic illustrates everything that was great about WGAR: extensive jingle packages, superb production, talented personalities and imaginative programming. It's a great American weekend on a great American radio station.

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PLAY Bob James, WGAR Cleveland, September 14, 1976 (20:08)

... farmer plays a Wurlitzer organ in his cornfield. He says it's music to his ears ...

More classic rock, classic jingles, and a class act! WGAR and The Real Bob James, including a 'commercial' for the Know Your Hoochie Handbook, and the DXers' dream, Parade of States.

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TOP STREAM 32.1Kbps (16Khz)
PLAY 'Supersplice' Michael Neff Jingle Compilation June 1978 (7:57)

... This could be the last one we're gonna do of these things, so let's make it a good one...

They did it every year, and 1978 was no exception. "It" was a jingle compilation for an industry convention, an annual rite of radio put together by production guru Michael Neff. The man known as "Supersplice" was production chief at various stations, including KDKA Pittsburgh and WIND Chicago, as well as P.D. at WMAL Washington. This dynamic dub contains jingles new and old from all over North America--including a special do-it-yourself 'in-the-clear-cut' which any station is invited to steal. This guy was something of a legend. He must have been. As you'll hear off the top, he's got his own package!

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PLAY The "Real" Bob James, WNBC Summer 1988 (28:51)

...For folks in radio, Bob is now placing the cartridge in the machine...

CLICK FOR CLOSE-UP OF TIME MACHINE FORMAT CLOCK Bob used this as one of his audition tapes, and it's small wonder. Because it's one of the funniest airchecks I've ever heard. It's full of dynamic drop-ins, rockin' reverb, jivin' jingles,and perfect production pace. A pace so furious, in fact, Bob says he sometimes lost a few pounds during the average weekend air-shift. Listening to this, it's not hard to understand why.

This was recorded towards the end of WNBC's existence and features jabs at sponsors and sports formats, a reference to Cousin Brucie — and even a special appearance by "Imus". This is everything great Top 40 radio was meant to be, but isn't anymore.

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G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM IS 20.7Kbps (10Khz)
PLAY The "Real" Bob James, WNBC NY, June 18, 1988 (11:07)

... I have a sense that girl in the movie 'Jaws' had a real dandruff problem. She left her head and shoulders on the beach....

Surrounded by great production, nostalgic jingles and hilarious drop-ins, (with a guest appearance by 'Al Roker'), The "Real" Bob James spends a weekend on WNBC's "Time Machine". But that "Time Machine" almost took him somewhere else. In the late 1970s, after having won 5 Emmy Awards for his work in Cleveland television, Bob moved to L.A. While there, he heard about a syndicated game show that was looking for a new host, and managed to get three separate auditions. They played a phony game, with Phony contestants and a phony audience. Only the result was real--or maybe that should be "Real", as Bob aced the tryout.

It came down to our intrepid hero and one other guy. It was close, but that 'other guy' won. You may have heard of him. His name is Pat Sajak. And the show is "Wheel Of Fortune". But as this aircheck proves, Bob's loss was our gain. Because anyone can turn a letter. But it takes something far more to turn a phrase. And as you'll hear here, not even Vanna White can beat The "Real" at that game.

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PLAY History of Rock - The Real Story, 1990 (40:44)REELRADIO EXCLUSIVE!

... It wouldn't be possible to pay homage to all of them in a retrospective as brief and poorly produced as this one ...

This hilarious "mockumentary" on the real story behind the origin of rock & roll was produced by The American Comedy Network, for use on Top 40 subscriber stations. Hosted by "Scott St. Scott" (aka Bob James,) it includes the "truth" behind such classic rock moments as:

  • How the Beach Boys actually originated in Idaho
  • Where rockers go to learn how to scream
  • Where Led Zeppelin stole the legendary anthem Stairway to Heaven
But the stand-outs are truly amazing: The Four Seasons perform the original version of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit; the endless intro for Hotel California; and U2's Bono finally finds what he's looking for.

Produced by Bob James, ©1990 Unistar Radio Network. All rights reserved.

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G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32.1Kbps (20Khz)
PLAY Outrageous Radio, Part One (28:48)REELRADIO EXCLUSIVE!

... Bartles and James Brown Wine Coolers ...

Ever wonder where D.J.s get those heavily produced commercial parodies and bizarre comedy bits? It may be from a service like the American Comedy Network.

This wildly uneven collection of shticks and stones from that outfit is introduced by jocks from the various stations that used them on air — just in case you thought it was your local folks doing all the work.

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G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 44Kbps (20Khz)
PLAY Outrageous Radio, Part Two (28:48)REELRADIO EXCLUSIVE!

... These two men are suffering from pre-minstrel syndrome ...

More pre-produced bits and morning mayhem from The American Comedy Network.

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Dan Haber's Bob James Collection has been part of REELRADIO since August 23, 1998

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