Monday, January 27, 2014

Life and Times of The Trashman...Barry Hodge~

For those curious here's what happened after 15Q.

First a story from my very first station WRBR Rock 104 South Bend. Our newsman (Jay Stoner) was leaving to join Senator Birch Bayh in some capacity. So I asked my PD Bob Payton about giving Jay a going away present. Like a girl to get naked while he read the news on his last morning. Bob was game so I had a friend come in and strip. All was fine until the GM heard about what happened. So as Bob is firing me he gave me these words of radio wisdom. "If you're not getting fired, you're not doing anything right in radio." So I thought I was batting a 1000 after getting canned at 15Q as that made the fifth station to fire me!

My next gig was at some small station on St. Simon Island GA. I got fired there for playing Janis Joplin's Ball and Chain in the middle of the night. Still batting 1000!

Next up was WCLS in Columbus GA...I'm not sure what happened but this place was smokin' hot for years. Scott Shannon was there in the late 60's. I think it was the new FM which popped up with a Q format, WCGQ which brought "The Rock of Columbus" down. Even thou I'm there after their after the stations heyday, the PD was still Bill Lenke. He left their to go on to WTIC and many other great gigs. I sent along a pic from my time there from a promotion which gave me a chance to play table-tennis with Bobby Riggs. I don't remember if I got fired or not...

My next stop was at WRBQ Q105 in Tampa...I was the unofficial asst. PD to Bob McNeil as Scott Shannon had just left for NYC. I was production director and did three weekend shifts. Uncle Johnny and Dave Saint were on the air. I even gave Mason Dixon the guided tour when he arrived. After a year or so there the morning guy from the Columbus station, Kemosabe Joe asked me to join him and do afternoon drive.

So off I went to Z104 in Fredrick MD which was just 30 miles outside of Washington and Baltimore. I don't remember the guys name but if there was a poster for a weasel GM it was this guy. He had us speeding up the Music Director I hated that...Three Times a Lady sped up just didn't sound right. I'm pretty sure that's what got me canned there...Still batting close to 1000% After reading the 101 pages and some searching I did to remember a few names...Hahaha this would be the third station Chuck Boo Boo Baron and I would have in common as he showed up to do nights while I was there.

Next up was a stop at WEEO Waynesboro PA doing afternoon drive. At the time they were a well respected small market RR reporting station. I don't remember much from there...I just remember being tired of batting 1000!

I don't remember my poker playing coming up in Knoxville but I'd been a player since I was 16. So I headed home and played poker, ran blackjack games twice a week and was a bookmaker with my road partner. After a couple of years, I moved to Las Vegas in 1980. While in LV I had a career in the Race and Sports book business working for various Casinos. And worked for the company that 'made' the betting lines for bookmakers in NV and around the world for a few years.

But I had my hand in radio too...One day I called into win some prize on a small AM station. The PD (one of the many Jack Daniels) and I started talking and the next thing you know, I'm back in radio!

I'm sure you guys know, once ya got the radio bug it's hard to ignore it...In around 1986 a new FM was popping up in town so I went over and applied. They had just filled all of the shifts but hired me part time. That didn't last long as the 'rookie' owner thought the morning show should be a team. So I got the gig being the partner with PD Ken Copper (many CA stations) as KC and The Coach were formed. That's me The Coach! This is when it hit me, I'm better suited as a sidekick and setting up Ken...The station didn't have any money for promotions but WE were the hip station in Vegas to listen to. We did the WKRP booze show...Double shots beginning at 6am! I got Boxing legend Don King to come by and doing an hour one morning. (still have the tape). When Steve Dahl and Gary Meier came to do a week of WLS from Las Vegas I got them to come over and do an hour with us. (I've sent a pic which ran in the trades) So what does a TOP 40 station do whose format is music when Steve and Gary show up...We stopped playing songs and just talked for an hour. Ok, We might have played three songs that hour. But the dance ended there as the rookie owner decided to sell and the new owners fired everybody...

Again I was late for the dance as a new FM was popping up. OLDIES 108...I think it was Clear Channel which came to town but after 30 minutes of googling, I gave up. So I got in doing weekends...Next thing I knew they wanted me to do the news...well ok...I sucked at the news but oh well. The best part of this gig was I got to use a name I'd always wanted to use on the air in Las Vegas...John T. Chance. (All of you remember whose name it was originally, right? Lightning strikes here again, whoever owned the joint decided to sell out as we were number one within a year...and yep, the new owners blew out the entire staff.

While doing the news at that station, I was also part of the longest running sports talk show in town, The Stardust Line. This show had a run of around 30 years each weekend. I was happy to be part of it for over three of those years beginning in 1989. We originated from the Race and Sports book at the Stardust Hotel. So me as Barry and Arne Lang were partners for this...I was literally on the air seven days a week for a long time doing the news at one station and the sports show on the weekends. Even thou the show was primarily about sports betting we had many guys from the sporting world on the show. At this time Colin Cowherd was a local sports anchor who'd be on the show...I got Don King to come over. Along with George Foreman, Macho Camacho, Burt Sugar of Ring Magazine, Ferguson Jenkins of the Cubbies, Bob Lilly from the Cowboys, Dr.Voy who was in charge of medicine for our Olympic team. Ahhhh the Fabulous Moolah made an appearance as did Nick Charles from CNN.... and many more which I can't remember....and lightning hit a third time as the guy who hired me for this gig got blown out...and then so did I as the new boss of the sports book wanted his own guys on the show.

Sharing...being in the media in Las Vegas was great!!! I ate for free for yearsssssssssss!! Went to all of the show openings on the Strip. I was at the last show Sammy Davis did in Vegas (with Jerry Lewis). I was court side for the UNLV Runnin' Rebels National Championship season...I got to attend roasts for Harry Caray and Tommy Lasorda. Attended all of the big fights with Tyson, Holyfield, Hagler, Hearns, Julio César Chávez, Sugar Ray Leonard... Everybody....

And that's a wrap on my radio career:)