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A picture of
Young Bob Oakes.

A picture of
Bob Oakes & Dick Clark.

A picture of
Bob Oakes at WBZ production remix session.

A picture of
Bob Oakes today,
in a casual moment.

A picture of
Bob Oakes today,
ready for business.

The Bob Oakes Collection

It was the late 50's in Suburban Philadelphia. The days of American Bandstand and WIBG — "Wibbage 99". A teenage Bob Oakes works part time at two local radio stations, WNAR and WEEZ and listens to Philly radio. He knew there must be something better. One night after getting off the air, he tuned 1520 and there it was ... the Powerhouse, WKBW, Buffalo. It was tight, exciting, with great personalities and killer promotions. He drove all night to Buffalo to find out how they made their magic. This is one of those Schwab's Drug Store stories ... Bob was greeted at KB's door by Johnny Barrett, Assistant GM, he got the tour and weeks later WKBW called Bob and offered a gig. KB, with its 50,000 watt signal not only owned Buffalo it was America's highest rated radio station. Oakes was in radio heaven until the station was SOLD!!! Everyone was making plans to leave.

In the early 60's few radio stations had WKBW's creative capability. Recognizing a need, Bob Whitney, Stan Kaplan and Dan Ingram formed Mars Broadcasting to produce fun contests and killer formats. Like wildfire, Mars became the hottest radio syndicator. Mars "Funtests" were on the air everywhere from WABC, New York to KFWB, Hollywood, WLS Chicago, WQAM, Miami, WHK Cleveland and many more. Bob Oakes replaced Dan Ingram who was leaving Mars for a near three decade career at WABC. Bob was Mars Production Director and Program Producer of the two hour daily Dick Clark Radio Show. After a three year stint at Mars it was SOLD!! (sound familiar)?

Bob's next radio adventure was as Program Director at WWTC in Minneapolis/St. Paul. For those not familiar with the Twin Cities radio market, back in the 60's, one station, WCCO, pulled half the audience. Two top 40 stations combined for 25% of the listeners. That left 25% for sixteen other stations to share. Oakes had to create something truly different to grab and hold listeners. How about an adult music station that played nothing but familiar music formatted in a tight "Live From Studio City" feel. It sounded big and exciting, and it worked!!! Within three months WWTC owned #2. The station created a lot of excitement in the market and in some out of town broadcasting circles.

Oakes was recruited by Group W, Westinghouse Broadcasting, for their soon to be LA radio station ... KFWB. Six months later, in December '66, Westinghouse took over a sad degeneration of a once legendary radio station. Oakes surely had a challenge. Bob's proven forte is creating dynamic formats with strong production values. KFWB became one of the nation's first Adult Contemporary stations with a stellar line-up of personalities. In a year the station rose from 19th to Number Two in L.A. (Adults 25-49). In spite of the incredible ratings performance, Group W Corporate in New York decided to switch KFWB to the All News format in March of '68. Bob was transferred to Boston and the ailing WBZ. Here was a similar situation. A once dominant station had deteriorated and needed a strong injection of confidence, discipline and a show biz tune-up. Once 'BZ's on-air pride had been restored, the listeners returned to restore WBZ to it's Number One position (Adults 25-54). Bob stayed at WBZ for nine years. This period was marked by Bob's exceptional flair for promotion and production including his custom created jingle package, WBZ's Original Grease Weekends, WBZ's Big Broadcast, numerous other unique contests and special programs.

In 1976 Bob joined Susquehanna Broadcasting as their National Program Director. In 1979, ABC enlisted Bob to lead their WXYZ from a failing Rock format to the News/Talk format. In 1980 he returned to the Twin Cities to convert KSTP from Rock to News/Talk. For many years Bob had been encouraged to open his own studio/shop. In 1984 Bob formed Communicast, Inc. First clients included Group W Radio (Corporate), most of the Group W stations and a line-up of top stations that reads like a "Who's Who" of prominent broadcasters.

During Oakes' 40+ years in broadcasting his leadership has helped create some of the most destinctive and productive stations. He was considered the number one production person in the nation. But, you have to hear the results and judge for yourself. His REELRADIO Collection includes promotion, programming, and production examples.

The Repository thanks Bob Oakes for sharing!

[Descriptions by Uncle Ricky unless otherwise indicated]

G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (13 Khz)
PLAY Bob Oakes Beginnings - WKBW, Mars, Dick Clark, WWTC, KFWB - 1958-1967 (35:43)

. . . Whenever you want us, we'll sing you a song . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky from notes provided by Bob Oakes.]

Introduced by his daughter, this composite follows the creative genius of Bob Oakes through the early years of his career, beginning with WKBW in Buffalo and Mars Syndicated Productions (including The Dick Clark Show and early voice-over work by Dan Ingram.)

Particularly fascinating is an early '60's aircheck of WWTC Minneapolis-St. Paul, (starting at 04:52) an "adult standards" full-service station featuring the slick formatics and production techniques of Top 40 stations of the time. The aircheck features Jack Hayes (Haase) who later went to WNBC (New York.) WWTC engineers used eight cart machines and three turntables to present this tight, glittery format from the Big Independent. Please note Oake's masterful use of words, the magical musical time beds and the "triple plays" renamed "Starburst Clusters" for this sixties sound of showbiz in the Twin Cities.

The composite concludes with a series of promotional announcements for KFWB (Los Angeles), featuring Lohman & Barkley and B. Mitchel Reed, and a KFWB Concert starring Jefferson Airplane and The Doors.

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G2/5.0 compatible STEREO TOP STREAM 64 Kbps (13 Khz Simulated Stereo)
PLAY Bob Oakes Presents KFWB Los Angeles Custom Jingles, 1966 (26:38)

. . . Put some fun in your today . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky from notes provided by Bob Oakes.]

During the Summer of 1966, Bob Oakes created the concept for a new KFWB custom ID package.

He wanted a contemporary package with orchestration and vocals reflecting current music. Two vocal groups would be used: The Blossoms and "a group sounding like The Fifth Dimension." Oakes also wanted instrumental logos with changes of mood and tempo, ending with sustained notes.

The long cuts heard at the end of this exhibit were improvised by L.A.'s top studio musicians to fill session time. Yes, improvised!

[A shorter composite featuring some of these jingles was published in August, 2000.]

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G2/5.0 compatible STEREO TOP STREAM 64 Kbps (13 Khz Simulated Stereo)
PLAY KFWB Los Angeles March 1968: Bob Oakes Presents Flight 98 (33:11)

. . . In California, the sun is always, the people — the greatest, and the show — it will go on . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky from notes provided by Bob Oakes.]

The All News format bombshell was dropped by Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporate in January, 1968.

Flight 98 was written by Bob Oakes and included all the KFWB on-air personalities.

It ran as the last half-hour of each air personalities program on the weekend before the change. This recording from the station's master is followed by the beginning of the KFWB All-News format.

[An aircheck featuring this program preceded by Lohman & Barkley was published in May, 2004.]

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G2/5.0 compatible STEREO TOP STREAM 64 Kbps (13 Khz Stereo)
Bob Oakes WBZ Boston Production & Jingles Demo (29:28)

. . . You are listening to the world's first perfect radio station . . .

This selection of WBZ jingles and promos from the Bob Oakes era is delightful! Polished and personal, they are the building blocks of the heart and soul of Boston's great Westinghouse station.

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G2 5.0 compatible  TOP STREAM 32.0Kbps (16KHz)
PLAYWBZ Boston Second Annual Grease Weekend, 1973 (34:41)

. . . work that neuralgia out of your nostalgia . . .

[Description by Bob Oakes]

In July of 1973, WBZ flew in top personalities from all over the country to re-create their original performances on the "Mighty 10-30" for The Second Annual Grease Weekend.

Complete with all the bells, whistles, early WBZ jingles, an echo chamber and a live audience, this was a 54-hour broadcast event never to be duplicated.

This composite includes (in order of appearance): Dick Clark, Dick Biondi, Wolfman Jack, Ed Heider (as Fenway), Larry Justice, Rockin' Joe Smith (taking the weekend off from his Warner Brothers executive responsibilities,) J.J. Jeffrey, B. Mitchell Reed, Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsburg, Murray The K and Robert W. Morgan.

Click any PLAY button on the right to start playback from the selected personality and play to the end of the exhibit.
PLAY Dick Clark (Introduction)
PLAY Dick Biondi
PLAY Wolfman Jack
PLAY Ed Heider
PLAY Larry Justice
PLAY Joe Smith
PLAY J.J. Jeffrey
PLAY B. Mitchel Reed
PLAY Arnie Ginsburg
PLAY Murray The K
PLAY Robert W. Morgan
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G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 44.1Kbps (15 KHz)
PLAY BZ's Big Broadcast of 1975, WBZ Boston (11:23)

. . . This is BZ's Big Broadcast of 1975. From the entertainment capitals of the world, performers have assembled for a star-studded radio first! . . .

[Description by Bob Oakes.]

These are excerpts from BZ's Big Broadcast. This event probably holds the record for the biggest ever remote broadcast ever staged by a single radio station. We flew in the original actors, actresses, announcers, musicians, sound effects people, etc. that performed old time radio in the 30's and 40's, and did it again - live.

All the shows were performed in front of live audiences at Dunfey's Hyannis Resort on Cape Cod. Rolls Royce provided the chauffeured limos, Altec Lansing provided truckloads of specialized audio gear, Gillette staged and sponsored the Friday Night Fights, etc., etc.

It was more than an event. It was work of love for all involved, and all for the benefit of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. We raised a hundred grand ($100,000) (1975 dollars!) during the 54 hours of this event. This, I might add, without a lot of radiothon type hype.

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G2/5.0 compatible STEREO TOP STREAM 64 Kbps (13 Khz Stereo)
WBZ Boston 1972: Drugs, The Flesh Is Weak (27:28)

. . . It all comes down to the same thing — it's dope . . .

As one part of a multi-faceted campaign, WBZ, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Teachers Association, produced five programs to be heard by all Middle School students. Knowing that we faced a credibility problem (WBZ was their parent's station) we decided to employ the students music and their words. Student interns from Boston University were challenged with obtaining the recorded candid comments used.

Bob Oakes is proud of the student intern program at WBZ. It grew quite a few talented broadcasters including Rick Leibert, Dave Graves and Ned Foster.

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G2/5.0 compatible width=125 height=12 border= TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (13 Khz)
Dear Jack ... WBZ Boston Remembers J.F.K. 1973 (26:45)

. . . Be strong and of good courage . . .

As you probably know, Boston was Jack Kennedy's home town.

As a matter of fact, as a kid, he probably listened to WBZ for winter storm closings.

In November 1973, on the 10th anniversary of his assassination, WBZ broadcast Dear Jack — 24 hours without commercial interruption, dedicated to the memory of J.F.K. — proceeds to the Kennedy Hospital for Children.

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G2/5.0 compatible STEREO TOP STREAM 64 Kbps (13 Khz Stereo)
Bob Oakes Communicast Demo (27:57)

. . . Time passes, Events unfold . . .

This Communicast demo opens with a variety of image-building promos for WIND, Chicago.

Part Two features first-class, major-market imaging customized for a number of news-talk stations. Included: KYW, KFWB, WMCA, KTRH, WWJ, KMOX, KDKA, KOB, KTAR, WBAL, and WISN.

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The Bob Oakes Collection was established June 14, 2009.
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