Monday, August 14, 2006

WARM'S TERRY McNULTY, MEMBER OF WARM SENSATIONAL SEVEN/VETERAN NEWSMAN AND DRUMMER EXTRAORDINAIRE DIES....Terry McNulty died on August 11th and left a legion of fans who grew up with him through the years. I began listening to McNulty as a boy when I'd sneak the battery operated transistor under the covers to hear him play the top hits. My wife also was a fan of his and thoroughly enjoyed his sense of humor. We have had the opportunity to travel and meet many newsmakers and celebrities but the only person she ever wanted her picture taken with was Terry McNulty. My interactions with McNulty as an adult came when I worked in a variety of public relations positions. In 1987, McNulty was broadcasting live on WARM from the Cherry Blossom Festival (when it was a real festival) and my wife had this picture taken with him. It has hung in her office for many years. From left to right, Mary Ann Yonki, the ubiquitous pineapple, "The Big Fella" and Mary Carrano, my wife's best friend. In 2004 we both saw Terry at the Stadium and he heard I was writing a novel on broadcasting. I told him I'd put him in it. He collapsed into a seat and said, "Oh Lord, don't put me in there, we'll both get run out of town!!" I did anyway and we didn't. AN EXCERPT FROM "A RADIO STORY/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors". Out of work for 4 months, she accepted an interview with Fortress Broadcasting to do a live call in talk show. The time started to drag on and she looked at herself in a mirror that was part of the front desk scenery. Her milk white skin had few wrinkles and her auburn hair had no hints of gray. She wondered to herself if, at the age of 48 she could still turn a head. Just then she heard a loud commotion and saw a short man with a large pompadour hairdo entering the front office lugging a watermelon and being trailed by a chimp dressed as a soda jerk. She silently thanked God she never took drugs because if she had, she might see things like this every day.“ Well hello there” said the man bouncing back and forth on his heels to make himself appear taller to her. “I’m Johnny Walker, the greatest radio sales rep in the country. I used to be Little Johnny Walker, the greatest nighttime personality in the history of radio. Perhaps you’ve heard of me”, he continued. “No” she simply said. “Oh come on, I had Little Jonathan’s House of Music, the Johnny Walker fifth of great liquefying and electrifying music” he proudly told her. “I’m sorry, I didn’t grow up here………I came from” Before she could finish, Little Johnny Walker had an epiphany. “Hold it, you’re Coral Rock, how can I miss that. You were here for four tours and we never met?” he asked. “I worked nights “she told him. “Well. If there is anything I can do to help you, after all, I’ve been here 36 years, I know where all the bodies are buried and can be of immeasurable help” he said in a low, sexy, radio voice that she imagined drove the teenyboppers wild in a bygone day. In a former time and place, she would have crushed someone like Little Johnny Walker but she found him oddly charming and somewhat sincere in a clumsy sort of way. “I do have a question Johnny, what’s with the watermelon and the chimp?” she asked. “It’s Wednesday and on Wednesday, Tommy McMurtry passes the watermelon around the studio for the guests. He cuts the watermelon in half and has each person in the studio pull out a piece with an ice cream scoop. It lasts about 5 minutes, a lot of local dignitaries come and go to be on the Watermelon feature”, said Johnny. “Where are they?” she wanted to know. “Oh, they’re here” he intoned seriously. “And the chimp?” she asked. “The chimp is part of a sponsor promotion we’re doing with Goodness Golden Ice Cream. We are going to have the chimp pass out ice cream and the flavor is unique. This is a heavily Polish area and the sponsor is calling the new pieroagie ice cream, HUNKY MONKEY ice cream and Tommy is going to interview the chimp” Johnny said with excitement. “I’m thinking there are all kinds of health issues, ethnic slurs and animal rights questions all wrapped up into this promotion, don’t you think?”Coral said voicing her concern. “Nah,” said Johnny, “This will be smooth as glass…… ……with class”. Just then Tommy McMurtry stepped out of the studio belting out the opening lines to musical “West Side Story.” The booming singing voice did not fit with the slight, handsome older man with red hair and a mustache. “Hello” he said and beckoned Little Johnny into the studio. Coral walked over to the speaker and tuned in 1050 Radio to hear this deal. Whether she got the job or not, at least she’d have a story to dine out on. A Salsa version of “Tea for Two” began to play as the distinctive voice of Tommy McMurtry began to boom through the speaker. A much respected radio newsman in his day, McMurtry’s reputation in the business was solid. He had been the first radio voice to report on the death of John Kennedy in this part of the world and was offered a position as a network night time newscaster but turned it down to be with his wife and kids. For the last 10 years he hosted the morning show, a show she would most likely follow if she were hired. Losing herself in thought, she didn’t notice Hugh Hammerstock, the tall, handsome Kevin Costner look-a-like Nebraska transplant who oversaw the Fortress stations on the east coast. . “Coral, hi, I see you’re tuning in to Tommy’s show, great stuff. Hey are we keeping a lid on this or what, sneaking you in early in the AM, getting a jump on the competition. If you accept our terms, we’ll surprise the crap out of everyone in the market bringing you back” he said with a smile that reeked of insincerity. “Well, let’s hear what you have to say to me”, she replied. “Cool, but let’s finish listening to McMurtry, this is a gas” he said as he turned up the speaker. McMurtry was going through the watermelon distribution, naming state senators, a hot dog vendor, a judge and a local Mayor. It was a typical McMurtry bit. Then it happened. “Oh yes folksie wolksies, here we are passing the watermelon and going in for a big piece of the red stuff without the pits, putting her hand around the watermelon rind is none other than the former tennis pro, former newscaster, who was taking a load off in our lobby this morning, Ms. Coral Rock. Go ahead Coral, grab that piece without the pits and just let that cool fruit touch that beautiful mouth” McMurtry broadcast. “Those fucking idiots” yelled Hammerstock loping down the hall. “They blew your cover, all my secrecy, all my hard work” he continued. Just then Little Johnny Walker was exiting the men’s room with the chimp in tow. “You, it was you, you little shit ass, get the fuck out of here with that chimp, you and McMutry blew our cover” yelled Hugh, veins popping in his neck. “We didn’t blow anyone yet” said JohnnyWalker “but the day is still new and we are after all in sales!” Hammerstock then reared back and began chasing radio legend Little Johnny Walker and the chimp down the hall around the “u” shaped offices. Dressed in her signature white tee shirt that accentuated her still perky breasts, light blue jeans weathered boots and navy blazer she she wondered aloud what other interesting characters there would be. Looking up, she saw Jake Yanick’s broad shoulders as he entered the radio station. “How’s it going?” nodded Jake who smiled and winked. “Okay, and you?” she asked. Walking down the hall, Jake called after her, “My father used to say that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, then there’s absolutely nothing to complain about, do you agree?” Coral laughing out loud said, “Uh huh, I agree”. Jake stopped in his tracks, turned around and said, “From what I heard about you, this is going to be the last time that will happen”. Coral Rock responded to him by doing something she hadn’t done in years, giggle like a schoolgirl.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006