Feb 7, 2011
James A stories
When I found out James A. Dick
passed last night I instantly remembered
the first time I met the man.
It was in the 70s and I was afternoon
news anchor at WKGN. In those days both
WKGN and radio news in-general were highly
respected. The adage was if something made an
earth shaking boom, the radio instantly told you
where, that night the TV news had a picture of the
hole and the next day the newspaper had the name of the owner of the
still (today it would most likely be a meth lab)that
got everyones attention the day before.
In a nutshell, radio news was a big deal.
Norman Majors was Mr. Dick's News Director at
WIVK and we had gotten to know each other
by covering some of the same stories. Norman was and
still is a great guy who could get facts out of
anyone by just talking to them over the phone for a few
minutes, a trait vital to radio news folks in those days.
More importantly he had my trust. So when he called to
tell me he was leaving IVK and suggested I would make
a good News Director for James A. Dick I believed him.
Norman set up the interview at the station on the hill
on Kingston Pike, told me I would like Mr. Dick and
added that those who worked for the man just about never
The meeting was easy and I thought I did fine. One point
Mr. Dick kept asking my opinion on was the idea of putting
someone in a helicopter to report on traffic. I told him
that traffic was a big part of what we did at WKGN and
there was no need at all for a "flying" reporter because
our news department was required to monitor all the police scanners
and the instant a wreck came over in drive time we had the
power to break into programming and report it. When we were
finished talking I asked him if he needed a tape of me
and he said he had been listening for a very long time and
enjoyed my delivery and voice. Yep, walked out of WIVK
with the job in hand..or so I thought.
Turned out Mr. Dick had
already bought into the idea of
a flying reporter
and although the man dearly loved the idea
of saving money,
my idea was not going to fly.
Up side was a
few months later a part time guy
at WKGN told me he was going
to send a tape over to WETE
because their afternoon DJ (Mike Beach)
was leaving to come to WKGN.
Because I so wanted to get back into
jocking and also because I flat learned
the art of throat cutting
at the first station I worked for,
I hand delivered my tape to the Program Director
Don Patrick was both the PD and a very talented news guy,
He liked my sound and hired me
without listening to the tape. Less
than two years later, WETE was sold to
Basic Media out of Asheville and Curtis Parham (the WETE morning DJ)
suggested they keep both himself and me and do a team show in the morning.
That worked out rather well!
As for Mr. James A. Dick, his station did
better than great and the only ratings problem
they had was with those two new guys on WRJZ
(CP and Walker) in the morning.
The next time I met with James A. was when WRJZ was sold and everyone
was trying to find a new job.
Word was WRJZ was going country and the worst manager any of us had ever
experienced was going to remain at the station to run it.
My thought was CP and Walker could still work on AM if we could find
a place to land.
Mr. Dick thought that putting us on his AM along with
a format similar to the one we did at RJZ just might be the answer to
reviving the AM station.
I will never forget being in his office after the deal was cut
and someone knocking at his door
with a big bottle of champaign.
The card said it was from Rick Kirk a friend and a Jock at the now sinking
WRJZ. Mr. Dick read the card and
broke out in a giant laugh as he passed it around.
Rick's card said..
"I would so much rather work for a Dick than a Prick,
talk about it?" Rick Kirk.
Posted by walker at Monday, February 07, 2011