Lesson Learned Along The Way From Fame to Family

On The Air With Dick Clark


He was one of the nicest people I have ever met, and when I met him again decades later, he remembered me. And we talked about those days in radio that began with the contest where I had met Bob Crane, who was the young moderator, pre-Hogan’s Heroes.

When my parents, older brother and I were guests in New York City, as a result of the Radio Quiz Kid contest, we enjoyed being treated like royalty. I remember we had a large hotel suite right across the street from Central Park. That first night we went to see a play on Broadway. And I was so excited I had trouble sleeping, as the next day was going to be full of activities. I was 12 years old, going on 21…and headed into a day that would change my life. It was very early Spring in 1957.

I was taken around to meet local radio personalities and see the 98.7FM facility, which had changed from WBAM to WOR-FM about 8 years before. Like most early FM stations, WOR-FM initially simulcast AM sister station WOR-AM. Macy’s had sold the stations to the General Tire and Rubber Company in 1952 (Bamberger Broadcasting Service), and the company was in the midst of reorganizing its broadcast division into RKO General, to be completed later that same year. WOR had been the flagship station in their Mutual Broadcasting System, formed in 1934. That relationship was soon to end, as WOR became an independent station, but still carried Mutual’s “Top of the News” with Fulton Lewis. I was a fan of some of Mutual’s programming, an avid listener of The Shadow and The Lone Ranger, so the tour seemed fun to me, because of that.


Everyone I met was very polite and they even did a quick interview with me on the radio. I was most impressed with their news team which put together a very detailed, 15-minute news report at the top of every hour. I also was taken on a tour of their sister TV station WOR-TV on channel 9.

Many of these same station people came to the reception and dinner that was held on one of the top floors in the Radio City Music Hall late that afternoon, after we saw a special performance of the Rockettes. I had heard of Dorothy Kilgallen and meeting her and her husband Dick Kollmar was one of the highlights of that evening.

During the reception and dinner, there seemed to be a lot of men approaching my father, seemingly in deep discussions. Later he told me that they had been very impressed with the way I talked at the radio interview. And then he started talking about people who were apparently quite famous, like Howard Hughes (apparently General Tire also acquired RKO Radio Pictures from him, but had just recently closed the movie studio, and were in the midst of selling the Mutual Broadcasting business to a group led by someone called Dr. Armand Hammer).

All of this was way over my head, but my father seemed to understand everything about the conversations. My father was very intelligent and an astute businessman and was about to handle a deal with the radio people for a unique new radio show. All I knew at that time was that I seemed to be the center of attention, and I don’t mind telling you, it felt really good. This was something brand new for me, something that I soon would try to get used to, but never quite could. I liked the attention, but was anxious to get back home.

I slept very well that night in the hotel room, and was looking forward to going to our new home, in a new town we had recently moved to, and make new friends. Little did I know that negotiations were under way and I would be returning within a week with my father to meet many of these gentlemen again. And I would also meet someone that would have a strong influence in my life over the next few years.

On the drive down from Elmira that following week, my father explained everything. By the time we walked into a very ornate conference room, I was ready to discuss the offer. The network wanted to offer a Saturday late morning radio talk show, with me as host and call it Teen Talk (even though I wasn’t a teenager yet), and I would interview musicians and celebrities who were in the NYC area, who would be returning from appearing on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, and on occasion Dick Clark would join our phone conversation. American Bandstand had plans to go national and was looking for more exposure in the NYC area.DickClarkAmericanBandstand-238x300

And then, there he was, the 27 year old host of American Bandstand, entering the room, approaching me with his huge smile and warm eyes, making me instantly feel comfortable and welcome. He not only saved the day for me (because I wasn’t really that excited about the deal), but meeting him made me feel that maybe doing the show would be fun. And I think I was also experiencing my first huge crush!

Arrangements were completed and the show began about two months later, and Dick Clark and I talked often not just on the radio show, but by telephone. He took an interest in me, and for some reason, wanted to be a friend and mentor to me, something I shall be eternally grateful for. And the show WAS fun, lots of very cool musicians who were very interesting. Sometimes we did the show via phone interviews and I could do them from home, with the station patching everyone together.

RadioMikePicThe network changed hands again in the Fall of 1958, and the show was cancelled. At that time, too, many radio stations had begun to flounder, because TV was growing in popularity and pulling away most of the top advertisers.

And Dick Clark did indeed become a mentor and friend for several years, giving me great advice. When we saw each other almost 30 years later, he was the same, kind, warm and full of hugs and smiles. When I walked through the door to his suite, I wasn’t sure what to expect, since it had been so long, and our lives had taken so many different turns away from where we had started. And we had also lost touch when I went off to college. But, no, he heard my voice, saw my face, and came straight over to me (dragging his wife along who was trying to sew a button on his blazer, see to the right).DClark&Me

We got a chance to talk undisturbed for a couple of hours (we were at a radio convention at the time). He had followed my entire career, which is kind of cool, since I had followed his too. When we parted, we promised to stay in touch. We did try, but, it was off and on via letters (no emails in those days). Later, when he had his stroke, I sent him flowers and prayed for his recovery. I cried when I first saw him on television after his stroke. It broke my heart to see such a vital man so limited. But I applauded his strength to carry on. And I cried again when he died. As I write these blogs, he will be mentioned on occasion, because he was very instrumental in helped me make some of my future choices.

If I had ever met another man like him, I would still be happily married today. But I didn’t. And so I’m not. I think a part of my heart belonged to this wonderful, intelligent, caring soul.

But, let’s return back to 1957. When Kate Smith returned in 1958 to Mutual Network for her final radio series (I was such a fan), I felt like I had missed a huge chance to meet her, since WOR was no longer a part of that Network. And when my show was cancelled, I simply looked forward to doing something else.

I was already busy doing that something else, which would continue for a few years, keeping me very busy, every spare moment when I wasn’t being a teenager or a student.

That new opportunity had came up shortly after the radio show began. I was approached by several people who had an interest in training me to be a TV star, perhaps doing a show on their TV station. That didn’t work out for a variety of reasons one being I didn’t want to move to the big city because I really wanted a fairly normal life in Elmira.

Instead, I ended up being signed to be a fashion model with an agency based in Chicago, and the jobs began almost immediately. But, that’s another story…another blog.

Discussion208 Comments

  1. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  2. I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thank you, I¦ll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

    • Unfortunately, I don’t get the time to do frequent updates to this particular website/blog. I try to do one every month or so, which is not frequent enough, but my tv show and marketing business keep me pretty busy. Thank you for the wonderful comments.

  3. Whats up very cool web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds alsoKI’m satisfied to seek out so many useful info right here within the submit, we want work out extra strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  4. Attractive portion of content. I simply stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to say that I get actually loved account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds or even I achievement you get admission to consistently quickly.

  5. Thanks, I’ve just been looking for information approximately this topic for ages and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now. However, what concerning the conclusion? Are you sure in regards to the source?

  6. Spot on with this write-up, I really suppose this web site wants much more consideration. I’ll in all probability be again to learn far more, thanks for that info.

  7. “Hello there. I discovered your web site by way of Google while looking for a related matter, your website came up. It looks good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.”

  8. I just couldnt depart your site prior to suggesting that I incredibly enjoyed the standard information an individual supply for your visitors? Is gonna be back often so that you can inspect new posts

  9. “I have been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area. Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this web site. Reading this information So i am happy to convey that I’ve a very good uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to don’t forget this web site and give it a look on a constant basis.”

  10. “My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!”

  11. “Awesome post. I’m a normal visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I’ll be a regular visitor for a long time.”

    • Thank you for the nice comments. No, I write all of the content for this blog, stories based on my own life. If there are any similarities with others, then we were on similar journeys. Many thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

  12. “I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers”

    • This blog didn’t cost that much to set up, design and get going. I purchased a design for my blog from ThemeForest.net, then designed it to fit my own style, used GoDaddy for the host (as they now have WP available), and up it went. Costs are very reasonable. My only real expense was to use my technie coder team member to get my redesign up, and now I maintain on my own. Good luck!

  13. “Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to return the favor.I am trying to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!”

    • Yes, you can use some of my ideas, but please list me as a source of them. Because these are all original stories from my own life, they are mine. But if my blog gives you ideas, I am thrilled! Many thanks for visiting my blog.

  14. Howdy very nice blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally? I am glad to find so many helpful information right here in the post, we want develop more techniques on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .|

  15. I was extremely pleased to uncover this site. I need to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and I have you saved to fav to see new stuff in your site.

  16. Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I love the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, excellent site!|

  17. I’m no longer sure where you are getting your information, however great topic. I must spend a while studying much more or figuring out more. Thanks for wonderful info I used to be searching for this info for my mission.|

  18. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I found this during my hunt for something concerning this.|

  19. Awesome write-up. I am a regular visitor of your blog and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I’ll be a regular visitor for a really long time.

  20. Greetings there, just got mindful of your blog through yahoo, and realized that it is very beneficial. I will truly appreciate if you decide to retain these.

  21. You are so cool! I don’t believe I have read through anything like this before. So nice to discover somebody with genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!|

  22. Hey there. I discovered your blog by means of Google even as looking for a related topic, your site came up. It appears to be good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

  23. I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…|

  24. Awesome post. I am a regular visitor of your website and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I will be a regular visitor for a really long time.

  25. Excellent post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired! Very useful information specially the closing part :) I take care of such information much. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck. |

  26. First off I would like to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Many thanks!|

    • Hi there. Thanks for reading my blog. Yes, writing can be tough. First of all you need to be in the ‘right mood’, and you really need to know your subject. What I always do, since creative writing is one of the tools of my business trade, is to set down an outline, do any research if needed. And I make sure that there is a pattern to what I’ll be writing about that will make sense to the reader. Generally, follow PAR…Problem/Challenge, Action, followed by Result.
      With this blog, though, the words just come…that is because these blogs are written based on my actual life. That is different, because i just open up to my memories, and it just flows. I don’t always proof read or anything, I just let it flow, pick out a few pictures, and post. Because this blog comes from my heart…it is lessons/experiences from my life.
      If it will help, perhaps doing an online creative writing course? Once you have the basics down, write a list of your subject matter, put them in an order that makes sense, and go for it!
      I wish you the best of luck!

  27. Hi there. I found your web site by the use of Google even as searching for a comparable matter, your website came up. It appears to be good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

  28. Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!|

  29. I really want to advise you that I am new to blog posting and thoroughly adored your work. Probably I am probably to store your blog post . You certainly have wonderful article materials. Be Grateful For it for expressing with us your favorite url document

  30. Hello there. I discovered your website by means of Google even as searching for a related matter, your website got here up. It looks good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

  31. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Many thanks!|

    • Hi there. Thanks for liking my blog! If you would like to share any of my stories, please do! If my life lessons can help someone, all the better. And yes, please do ‘source me’, with my name and blog URL. Thanks again for your interest.

  32. Howdy would you mind letting me know which web host you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you recommend a good web hosting provider at a honest price? Thank you, I appreciate it!|

    • Hi there. Thanks for reading my blog! Here is what I did, if it helps answer your questions. I signed up for a blog through GoDaddy.com now that they accept WordPress. I found a template similar to what I wanted to do with ThemeForest.net, and the coder that I work with set it up to my redesign. Then, I started to post. Easy and very inexpensive. And as you see, it loads quickly. So, we are all happy. Thanks again.

  33. Hi this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    • Hi there. Thanks for reading my blog! Because I also do NOT code, I designed my blog using ideas from other templates from ThemeForest.net, and then had my coding expert build it for me. And I maintain it myself. It is a WordPress site, hosted on GoDaddy.com. Very inexpensive. And the themes from that website (ThemeForest.net) are wonderful! You can have a coder redesign one to your own style. But, yes, you would need someone to set it up with code for you. Best of luck!

  34. It can be practically unattainable to encounter well-educated viewers on this niche, although you seem like you comprehend the things you’re writing about! Regards

  35. Gday there, just started to be conscious of your wordpress bog through Search engine, and found that it’s genuinely interesting. I will truly appreciate if you maintain such.

  36. Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back yet again since i have bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.|

  37. I merely have to inform you that I am new to putting up a blog and genuinely enjoyed your article. Very possible I am prone to bookmark your blog post . You undoubtedly have stunning article material. Love it for swapping with us your main url report

  38. Just desire to say your article is as surprising. The clarity on your post is just cool and that i can assume you are a professional on this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to take hold of your RSS feed to stay updated with imminent post. Thank you one million and please continue the gratifying work.|

  39. Hello there. I found your website by means of Google while looking for a comparable subject, your web site came up. It seems to be good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

  40. That is really interesting, You’re an excessively professional blogger. I have joined your feed and stay up for seeking extra of your great post. Additionally, I have shared your web site in my social networks|

  41. Hello there I am so delighted I found your site, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Yahoo for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a tremendous post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the excellent work.|

  42. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossip and web stuff and this is really annoying. A good blog with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for making this web site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  43. Awesome post. I am a normal visitor of your website and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I will be a regular visitor for a long time.

  44. Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any points for first-time blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.|

    • My next blog will be about ‘blogging’, because so many of the comments I receive are how do I do what I am doing through/with the blog. So, stay tuned for my next blog, coming soon.

  45. H2mTNL I’а†ve learn some just right stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you set to make the sort of great informative website.

Leave A Reply