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Country Music Station
Changes Format to Spanish
You heard it right "Classic Country" WKCW in Warrington, VA just changed it's format to a Spanish speaking station.
WKCW was one of the nation's oldest country music stations, and had been broadcasting country music in Fauquier County since 1960. George Jones and Charlie Pride came by the station and performed their current hits live for Tom "Cat" Reeder my ole buddy, we worked together at WDON in Wash, D.C. in the late 60's and early 70's.
Also the ole Tom "Cat" would invite his good friend Willard Scott the nationally known TV weatherman down to the station and they would chat in the studio about the honky-tonks and country music they they both loved.
Well no more will they do any chatting and ole Tom "cat" won't be spinning any more of Hank Williams Jr's Live album from Cobo Hall in Detroit featuring Lamar Morris and The Cheating Hearts. If you've never heard that live album with Hank Jr and Lamar Morris you need you find it and give it a spin that was when country music was "damn" good and country. The Ole Tom "Cat" is in the country music Disc Jockey Hall Of Fame in Nashville as he should be he is one of the greatest country DJ's America has ever had.
WKCM was the last AM station in the Washington area playing country music it was known throughout the area as the Big K. Now when you tune into WKCW 1420 on the am dial you'll hear Mexican music. The odd thing about all this is there are very few Hispanics in Faquier county. As a matter of fact Faquier County has the fewest Hispanics in Northern Virginia.
WKCW was a community family oriented station people called in to talk about their aches and pains tell about the family dog or cat and what was going on in country music sounds like the America we all love and wished there were more towns like Warrington, VA plain and uncomplicated USA. Well they ain't gonna be calling in and talking to the Ole Tom "Cat" no more unless he learns to speak Spanish.
One thing is for sure country music on AM Radio will be missed in Warrington, VA. WKCW wasn't bringing in the needed revenue to keep from operating at a loss. If you like a station support the station by buying from the people who advertise on the station otherwise the advertisers will drop their sponsorship and that sure hit's the station in the pocket book.
No radio station can operate without sponsors unless that station has another means of revenue, and even if they do they still want the station to pull it's on weight. The amount of people tuning into the station begin to drop. Each the ARB takes a toll to see which station has the most listeners and at which time they tune in known in the business as drive time.
If your stations ARB is low then the big money sponsors who buy only stations with a high ARB won't advertise on your station. Then your station ends up with only mom and pop sponsors who usually have low budgets for radio. You need aggressive salesmen to keep a station going when the sales staff have a hard time selling air time the station is in Big Trouble, and good radio sales people are always looking for an opening at a bigger station no one ever said owning and operating a radio station was easy.
Metro Radio Inc who owned WKCW begin to look for someone to buy the station or lease the licence usually it will profit a station owner to lease the licence because there are no more broadcasting license left in the USA, either you lease a station's license or buy a radio station for sell. The FCC hasn't granted any new broadcasting license in in many years.
So Metro Radio was contacted a Spanish entrepreneur who leased the station at a price each month that pleased both parties and WKCW begin to broadcast in Spanish to an audience of Hispanics who support the station by buying from it's advertisers. There are now five Spanish AM radio stations in the Washington, D.C. area. Hispanics are growing in the Washington area each year their numbers increase. Falls Church, Va, in Prince William County now has 27,000 Hispanics just across the Potomac River from Wash,D.C. and growing each year.
Not only has Country Music changed to the Ultra Modern Sound of Punk Country it's being "TAKEN OFF THE AIR" and replaced by Mexican Music down south of the border is now USA BACK YARD.
Don't think it can't happen your Town it can and might sooner than you think all this took place Sunday January 18 2004. Support Country Music and it's sponsors let's keep it alive and on the airways forever. I'll bet there's not one Country Music Fan in Warrington, VA, who wouldn't give $100.00 to hear Tom "Cat" Reeder say " Folks my time has all come and gone for today but till me meet again let me leave you with this thought, May the good lord take a liking to you and may you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live, BYE, BYE, DARLING.
I'd like to thank my good friend Chet "Teeter" Cissel in Centreville, Md. for helping me in getting the information for this report.
Writing Songs That Became Legends
We lost another Great Talent on Nov 17th when 75 year old Don Gibson closed his song book and went home. I don't imagine Don considered himself a poet? But he was. His poems put to music were as good as Robert Frost. Henry W Longfellow or Walt Whitman.
Don Gibson was born in Shelby, N.C. on April 3rd 1928. He said he loved music from an early age and was influnced by Red Foley and Tennessee Ernie Ford. He formed a band in high school called the " Son's Of The Soil".
Now that's about as ground level as it gets. It seems to me if your band has a connection to the earth you might have an idea or two about what makes the world go around? And that could be a big help writing down to earth songs.
Don worked night clubs in and around Knoxville and at some point Wesley Rose caught one of Don's performance's and signed him to a writing contract. Rose brought Don to Chet Atkins who signed him to RCA Records.
As the world knows now Don Gibson had great writing ability and had wrttten "OH Lonesone Me". Don's writing ability was like no other artist. He wrote with a feeling that touch's people down deep inside making a person say to themselves, why didn't I think of that?
Don Gibson was always two days and three miles ahead of us and that included every song writer in Nashville. Don put poems to music so the rest of us " Folks " could get in touch with our feelings. He wrote we identified with the songs meaning. The song "Legend in my time" has a line that goes like this. If they gave gold statuettes for tears and regrets I'd be a Legend in my time. A statue is a three dimensional work of art as a representation of that person.
When Don wrote" Legend in my time " he wrote it in three dimension's putting the message across knowing he and every one of us had, had some regrets in our life, so much so we would all be "Famous" if for no other reason than for the the dump and stupid things we have done.
It's been said he wrote "Oh Lonesome Me" and I can't stop loving you" in Nashville and I've heard he wrote them Knoxville in a trailer park when he worked at WNOX. No matter where he wrote the songs no other country artist has written two hit songs in one day.
Many of Don Gibson's songs have been recorded by other artists. Faron Young and Patsy Cline both had hits on "Sweet Dreams". When Don recorded "Oh Lonesome Me". in 1957 it went to No. 1 and was the beginning of "The Nashville Sound".
He had other hits: "Blue Blue Day", "Sea Of Heartbreak", "Lonesome No. 1" and others. With Fame came problems, alcohol and drugs Don Gibson had his share with both.
With a sucessful second marrage he got back on track and turned his personal life into as much success as his writing.
In his Lifetime Don Gibson charted 82 songs, three went to No. 1: "Oh Lonesome Me", Blue Blue Day" and "Woman ( Sensuous Woman)". He was inducted into the Nashville song Writers Hall Of Fame in 1973 and inducted into The Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2001.
Over One Hundred and Fifty artist have recorded "I Can't Stop Loving You". including "Elvis" and Ray Charles. The most Famous being Ray Charles - the song became a smash hit for Charles. Both Ray Charles and Don Gibson received a Gold Record for "I Can't Stop Loving You". We will miss the talents of Don Gibson and the Heavens will be just a little dimmer because another Star is gone.
She Was the Best
Patsy Cline was born in Winchester VA on Sept 8 1932 and died on March 5, 1963 at the height of her career. She was 30. She married Jerald Cline in 1953 they were divorced in 1957. In the same year she married Charlie Dick who she had met while she was performing in Berryville, VA. They had Three Children and remained married until her death in 1963.
In her early years as a performer Patsy played in Frederick, MD and and in the Washington D.C. area. I saw her perform at the Rockville Volunteer Firemans Carnival in Rockville, MD in 1959. Till this day I have said I would have watched her performance more intently had I known I would never see her again.
Patsy Cline is probably the greatest singer country music has ever had. There is no doubt, she is the Greatest Female Country Singer of all time. "Walkin After Midnight" remains an all time Country Classic it was a top 20 hit on the country and pop charts in 1957.
She had a contract with 4 Star Records that she signed in 1957 that held her career back, but on it's expiration in 1960 she began to choose her own material and she was on her way to Stardom. She signed with Decca Records and her first single "I Fall To Pieces" written by Harlan Howard released in 1960 became a No. 1 country hit and reached No. 12 on the pop charts.
Owen Bradley produced the recording session using the Jordanaires as back up singers. Owen Bradley and Paul Cohen would produce all of Patsy Clines recording sessions.
In 1961 Patsy was seriously hurt in a auto accident that set her career back. However, she rebounded and came back with "Crazy" written by Willie Nelson who was a new song writer in Nashville at that time. When the song became a big hit in 1962 it boosted his career more than he could ever have imagined.
"Crazy," "Leavin On Your Mind" and "She's Got You," were smash hit's on the country and pop charts in 1962. "Sweet Dreams" written by Don Gibson, was on it's way to becoming a hit when Patsy was killed in a plane crash in 1963.
Many artist have tried to emulate Patsy Cline with no sucess. She is a Country Music Legend an absolute one of a kind that has no equal. Her influnce on Country Music is just as real today as it was when she was alive. Her material was romantic and makes your heart ache when she sings any of her recordings with her beautiful rich voice.
Patsy Cline was a star for a very short time but she left us with songs that will endure forever. There will never be another Patsy Cline. She Was The Best. Patsy Cline was inducted into The Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1973.
Shreveport In My Rearview Mirror . . .
I was standing there on Elvis Presley Blvd, looking up at Graceland thinking about what to write about Elvis that hadn't already been written. When the cowboy standing next to me said, I remember Elvis. I was to young to really know him as the generation of the 50's did, but he sure did kick up a fuss when he played the Louisiana Hayride. My uncle used to talk about being there for his first appearance. My uncle said Elvis really knocked everybody out. No one had ever seen a performance like his before. He just tore the place down. The girls went crazy. Uncle Justin said it was a show he would never forget.
You know our part of the country has had a lot of stars who started on the Hayride, Hank Williams in 1949, Webb Pierce in 1951, Faron Young in 1953, Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, Bob Luman, Dale Hawkins, James Burton, and many others got their start on the Hayride. The funny part about it is they all became famous. Mickey Gilley started his career with Paula Records in Shreveport. So, the Hayride in my mind was as big as the Grand Ole Opry. It seems like it was only yesterday, me and the cowboy talked for awhile about early Rock-a-billy music. I asked him if he would like to ride over to Sun Records. No he said, that's also a thing of the past their all gone now. Elvis, Carl Perkins, and everyone who recorded there has long left the building. It's just an empty studio now trying to relive those exciting days when Rock-a-billy music was being recorded there everyday. No, I am heading on back to Shreveport I've got a delivery there in the morning. David Akinson a professional truck driver reminiscing of those great musical days of the 50's, which will never pass our way again. Like all of us as we move into the 21st century, he to keeps looking down the road to a time when Rock-a-billy was young, times were simple, and there was truly a whole lot of shaking goin on.
What Changed Traditional Country Music
Country Music has gone through many changes down through the years.
At first it was just fiddles and accordions, not much to my liking, but people in the eighteen hundreds liked it played that way. After all, they had heard it played no other way. By the nineteen hundreds guitars, banjos, and mandolins had been added and for the most part made very good listening music. The words to the songs could stand some improvement from time to time, however, all in all it was great entertainment and some people made a full time living singing and playing.
By the 1930's country music had come into it's own. Radio was in full swing record companies had been formed and Jimmy Rogers was probably it's first big star and his records sold by the hundreds of thousands. By the way of WSM in Nashville The Grand Ole Orpy was on it's way to becoming country music's most listen to program which allowed no drums or electrified instruments of any kind just the purest of acoustic sounds. By the 1940's, we had western swing music from the west coast with Spade Cooley and Bob Wills from the Texas Oklahoma area. Did they use electrified instruments and drums? Yes they did. Did they play on the Grand Ole Opry? No they didn't. They had their own brand of music going and could have cared less about what was going on in Nashville. Be that what it may, they were both inducted into the country music Hall of Fame.
By 1946 Ernest Tubb was setting the standard in country music with "Rainbow At Midnight" and "Filipino Baby." Tubb joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1943 and brought his electric guitar with him. The Opry management had to give in. Tubb was a major country music star and had starred in several Hollywood movies and his brand of honky tonk songs was setting the trend for country music artist of the future. In the early 50's Hank Locklin, Ray Price, and The king of country music Hank Willaims set the pace and trend of country music. That trend lasted until the Nashville sound took over in 1958 bringing Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and the ageless Eddy Arnold back to the charts. The Nashville sound left out fiddles and banjos and was a move away from country music's hillbilly roots. The majority of the records produced in that time frame leaned toward pop music and many did cross over to become pop hits. Jerry Lee Lewis came along next with his contemporary style of country, which produced number one hits with "Another Place Another Time" and "What Made Milwaukee Famous Made A Loser Out of Me." From 1968 through 1972, Lewis had sixteen top ten singles and four #1 hits.
By 1973 the tend had changed again this time it was the outlaw movement with Willie Nelson leading the parade. Willie's Atlantic Recording of "Shotgun Willie" and "Phases and Stages" brought on the outlaw movement. Then Willie moved to Columbia and released the "Red Headed Stranger." Then RCA his former record company released "Wanted The Outlaws" with Willie, Waylon Jennings, Jessie Coulter and Tompall Glazier, which became the first country music album to go platinum. Country music by 1977 was in it's country rock mode. Hank Williams, Jr. came on with his brand of country rock with producer Jimmy Bowen who also produced records for Conway Twitty, George Strait, Reba McEntire, and a host of other artist. Bowen established The Nashville Entertainment Association, a group dedicated to stimulating music city's non country side. He wanted to up grade the sound of country music to compete with pop records. Bowen then moved to Liberty Records and took over production of Garth Brooks making him into a super star with the release of "No Fences" and "Roping The Wind." The two biggest selling albums in country music history.
The rise of Garth Brooks to super stardom definitely changed the sound and the style of country music bringing country music to the rock level of entertainment. Country music had now moved into an equal level of hype and outrageous ticket prices equal to the likes of rock stars Janet Jackson, Ricky Martin, and Tina Turner. Country music stations now play only top 40 country music. All the country stars of the past never get their records played and it is though they never existed. At one time you could identify every country music entertainer by their unique sound, now all the records sound the same. Country music has changed. Nashville now wants to reach the upper class of our society. The blue collar worker is not a part of country music anymore. The words to most songs don't make since and the CD's'' are $14.00. Jimmy Bowen was right Nashville wanted to reach the non country side and it has done a great job doing so.
Well folks country music used to be our music, that good ole traditional country music. Bring back the honky tonkin cheating love songs, trucking songs, bluegrass songs, I got tiger by the tail songs, I wanna hear old dogs, children and water melon wine, red necks, white socks, and blue ribbon beer, and heartaches by the number. Webb Pierce singing "I'm walking The Dog" and Faron Young's "I Wanna Live Fast, Love Hard, and Die," listening to good ole traditional country music. Good night Hank Williams wherever you are.
The Younger Brothers
The Younger Brothers were a country band out of Falls Church, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC, and next door to Maryland. From 1967, until 1969, they were the road band for Jimmy Case, who was located in Falls Church also. They were an exceptionally good group of musicians who not only played country music, but played rock-n-roll, rhythm and blues, jazz, and rock-a-billy. Tony Cornell was the lead singer and played acoustic guitar. Tony was blessed with the ability to sing anything and do it well.
Jimmy Edwards played bass and was a music major, who could read, write, and compose music. He played bass as good as any studio musician in Nashville. Jimmy Case, Myself, and Hank Henry had a booking agency in Rockville, Maryland. At the same time we booked military officer, NCO, and CPO Clubs from Maine to Texas. Jimmy Case had been playing country music forever. He had worked with at one time or another with just about every act in Nashville and The Wheeling West Virginia Jamboree. Jimmy knew Patsy Cline and worked shows with her and Dale Turner back in the early 50's. Jimmy met the Younger Brothers when they were first getting started in 1960, when they were teenagers. Buddy Badgett, who played drums with the group got his trade honestly. His dad Buddy Badgett, Sr. had played professionally in the Washington DC area for years and wound up his career with the String Dusters, one of the best bands the Washington, DC area ever had. They had a recording studio in a night club in Falls Church, Virginia called Hunters Lodge. There probably wasn't a country band in Nashville that hadn't played Hunter's Lodge, in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. If your picture wasn't on the wall in Hunter's Lodge and you were considered a name country band, you had better throw away your guitar pick and go back to your day job.
Doug Palmer, who played steel guitar, lead guitar, and saxophone, grew up around Hunters Lodge and was a big fan of the String Dusters. The four young musicians met in high school and formed the band Young and Country when they graduated, they began to play around the DC area. Earl Dixon who owned Hillbilly Heaven Records in Fairfax, Virginia heard them playing one night and signed them to his label. Earl released one record "You" b/w "Lots Of Time To Kill" written by Tony Cornell and Doug Palmer. The record went no where and the decided to change the name from Young and Country to The Younger Brothers then they went on the road with Jimmy Case for several years. When Jimmy, Hank, and Myself went into business together both Jimmy and Hank had their own booking agency. We decided to combine all three agencies and us my company's name Promotions Unlimited.
I was working as a disc jockey for WDON a country music station in the Washington DC area. Jimmy decided he wanted to do nothing but country music. The Younger Brothers wanted to do rock-a-billy, so Jimmy hired Ed Spicher's band out of Ohio. Ed is the brother of Buddy Spicher. The fiddle player who has played on so many recording sessions in Nashville.
I became the manager of the Younger Brothers. I liked rock-a-billy and at that time country rock was coming into it's own. I can remember playing "Honey Don't" by Mac Curtic at WDON. It was a jumped up version of Carl Perkin's "Honey Don't" on Sun. Tony came up with an idea to do Elvis' early stuff. He worked it all out and told me to come over to the Pizza Hut where they were playing in Fall Church, Virginia. When I got there, they had done one set. Tony said, "I want you to meet Danny Gatton." "He helped me work this thing out." I had not met Danny, but I had heard he was one good guitar player. They did this Elvis deal. They started off with "Mystery Train" with Danny on lead. The hair started standing up on the back of my neck and I got chills up my spine, hearing Danny play. I thought I was hearing Scotty Moore. Danny had every lick down perfect. They went from "Mystery Train" into "My Baby Left Me," right into "That's Alright Mama." I Couldn't believe it. Boy! Had they come up with some kinda knock you out show. They stayed at the Pizza Hut about two weeks and I went over several times to see the show it was beyond belief. Tony tried to get Danny to go on the road with them, but Danny would have no part of it. I never saw Danny after that. He went on to become famous in his own right as I knew he had to.
The Younger Brothers wanted to relocate to Nashville. They did some shows with Narvel Felts and he wanted them as his back up band, but it never worked out. Later Billy "Crash" Craddock wanted them and I worked out a deal with him and The Younger Brothers became his band, and he changed the name to the Dream Lovers. I'll say this when Billy Crash took the Youngers as his back band they were as good as any rock-a-billy band anywhere. Wonder what they would have been like if Danny Gatton had stayed with them? That was many years ago and the last time I saw Tony or Crash Craddock was when I was watching Nashville Now one night and Ralph Emory introduced them as his guest. Many things have changed since those thrilling days of yesteryear. I know I'm not the first one to say this and I know I won't be the last, so here goes ... At one time I managed one of the best little country bands in the business.
His Memory Will Never Die
Martin David Robbins: 1925-1982
I remember Bob Luman in his recording of "Let's Think about Living.", singing the line "We Lost 'Ole Marty Robbins in El Paso a little while back." That was in l959. Marty, however, stayed on with us a little longer, giving us many memories. Then on Wednesday, December 8, l982, we all had a "Blue Christmas."
Marty Robbins contributions to the music industry are endless. Born September 26, 1925, in Glendale Arizona. He was influenced early in life by Gene Autry and after three years in the Navy, Marty started following his dream"Country Music." Jimmy Dickens heard Marty singing over Phoenix Station KPHO, and was so impressed, he contacted Columbia Records who immediately signed him. Marty went on to become a superstar and a legend in the world of traditional country music from l956 to l982. Marty had fourteen number one hit records. Marty Robbins, a real down-to-earth person, who gave us his best.
Questions Down Through the Years
I wrote a country music column for several newspapers in the past. Here are some of the questions that people would write in and want answers to. I will share some of them with you from time to time.
Q. How many musicians played on A Whole Lot of Shakin Goin On?
A. Three. Jerry Lee Lewis on piano, Roland James on guitar, Jimmy Vanton on drums.
Q. Who played lead guitar on Dale Hawkins La-Do-Da-Da?
A. Joe Osborne.
Q. How many records has "Rock Around The Clock sold?"
A. Two hundred million.
Q: What it the favorite sport of country singer Jerry Reed?
A: Jerry's favorite sport is fishing.
Q: Can you tell me where Steve Warner is from and what were some of his early influences?
A: Dottie West, Bob Luman, and Chet Atkins
Q: What is TG Sheppard's real name, and did he at one time record for Motown Records?
A: He real name is Bill Browder. He had a hit with the "Devil In The Bottle" on Motown records.
Q: Gene Sheppard was one of he early female singers in traditional country music to make it big can you tell me who discovered her and when did she become a regular on the Grand Ole Opry?
A: Hank Thompson got Gene a contract with Capitol Records in 1953. She became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry in l956.
Q: This question isn't exactly country, but since the Jolly Green Giant does seem SOMEWHAT country. Can you tell me who was the voice of the Jolly Green Giant?
A: The big HO! HO! HO! was the voice of Len Bresslar of Kansas City. He also did the voice of Kellogg's Tony The Tiger and Dig-um the frog for Sugar Smacks.
Q: What can you tell me about country singer Charlie Pride?
A: Charlie Pride was born in Sledge, Mississippi on March 8, l938, the same hometown of Harold Dorman. He played professional baseball for the Memphis Red Sox in l954 until he was injured, then he took up country music. He was discovered by Red Sovine, who was doing a show in Montana. Red brought Charlie to the attention of RCA Records the rest is history.
Q: Did Jerry Lee Lewis play piano on Carl Perkins recording of "Matchbox" and did he also play piano on Billy Lee Riley's recording of Red Hot, recorded at Sun Records in l957?
A: Yes to both questions.
Tom "Cat" Reeder
Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame 1997
I haven't seen Tom Reeder in years, or heard from him; but I can tell you this, Tom "Cat" Reeder never was and never will be anything, but traditional country. I met Tom Reeder in 1969, when we were disc jockeys at WDON in Wheaton, Maryland. Before Tom came to WDON, he was a disc jockey in Abbyville and Mobile Alabama. Tom then joined the Air Force and was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington, DC.
Tom made friends with Jimmy Dean who was also stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. They both got out of the Air Force around the same time. Jimmy Dean formed the Texas Wild Cats and played around the Washington area and you know the rest of the story, sausage and all.
Tom went to work at WARL in Arlington, Virginia and became very good friends with Don Owens who had the biggest name in the Washington, Virginia, Maryland area. Matter-of fact Don Owens was known as Mr. Country Music until he was killed in a car accident. The crown was then passed to Tom Reeder, who moved to WDON to take over the early morning drive time Tom Reeder Show. Tom audiences was big thousand tuned in to hear the Tom Cat. They especially loved the closing of his show when he used a song called Tom Cattin recorded especially for him by Buck Owens. Tom closed his show everyday by saying: May the good Lord take a liking to you; May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live. Bye-bye darlin.
I met Tom while I was attending The National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington, DC. I would come by the station early in the morning many times before he began his show and talk with Tom. It was a thrill and a privilege to be able to watch the biggest name DJ in the Washington, area go about his work. The phone never stopped ringing. I remember a time the phone rang and Tom said, "Hi, Buck how's everything in Bakersfield?" Tom and Buck Owens were very good friends. Tom had a big sponsor, who was a big fan of Buck Owens and Buck did the advertisement for the car dealer. Tom was also good friends with Jerry Lee Lewis. Whenever Jerry Lee played in the DC area, Tom was always the MC. I recall a time when Jerry Lee Lewis was playing at a club called the Dairyland. I was still in broadcasting school and Tom had gotten me tickets to the show. Jerry Lee had played a set or two when Tom spotted me sitting at a table. He came over and asked me would I like to meet Jerry Lee Lewis? Naturally, I said I would. Tom took me up to Jerry's dressing room. There must have been fifty or sixty people in there; big money people from the DC area, hanger's on back stage sues, other DJs. What a mixed crowd! Tom spotted Jerry Lee standing and talking with a bunch of them and walked up to Jerry who I remember as having one of those small cigars in one hand and a glass of bourbon in the other. When he saw Tom, he put his arm around him and said, "How are you doing "Killer"?" Tom said, "I'd like for you to meet Bobby Morris."
He wants to be a disc jockey." Jerry Lee looked at me and said, "You gonna play the "Killer's"records?" I stuttered and said," Sure, I'll play everyone of them." They both laughed and we all sat down and I listen as they talked then it was time for Jerry Lee to do another set.
How was I to know that I was sitting with two future hall of famers. Jerry Lee to the rock-n-roll hall of fame and Tom "Cat" to the country music disc jockey hall of fame. Jerry Lee has also been inducted into the rock-a-billy hall of fame in Burns, Tennessee.
Tom Reeder was a very nice thoughtful kind man. He was always helping someone. On another occasion, I came by the radio station late one morning and Margaret Corburn who was the station secretary was in her office. You had to go by her office to get to the studio, as I passed by she asked where did I think I was going? I said to see Tom. She said not today your not. No one is allowed back there except people on official business. About that time, Tom came down the hallway and said come on back Bobby. Margaret did not like me for a long time after that. I believe Tom Reeder knew about every country music artist in Nashville. He had a hand in helping many of them with their career. When Tom was a DJ in Abbyville, he played Jerry Lee Lewis's records when nobody else would.
I remember Tom had a Ford dealership on the air "Big Henry Woodfield" in Damascus, Maryland. One day a car and trailer pulled up to the station. It had a race car on it. It was the race car of Elmo Langley. We all got to meet him. As you all know, Elmo later became the pace car driver for NASCAR. Tom also helped Rick Nelson when he decided he wanted to do country music. He came by the station one day and tied up all the traffic both ways on Georgia Avenue, to the point that the county police had to be called to straighten out the traffic jam. The door to the station had to be locked as Rick Nelson was stuck with us inside. He was a big draw long after his TV show was over. Tom helped me get my job at WDON and was always helpful to me while I worked there. Tom had his own record and publishing company and managed several country music artist in Nashville. Tom later became station manager at WKCW in Warrington, Virginia. No one deserves to be in the country music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame more than Tom "Cat" Reeder. Tom where ever you are, Bye-bye darlin.
More to come soon!
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Widmarc's Rock-a-billy Saturday Nite
1617 Pine Lane Drive
Cantonment, FL 32533