Thursday, April 15, 2010

JC responds to Great Contest, Sad Result story below ...

JC Corcoran writes:

In the fall of 1984 I was called to a late-afternoon meeting one Thursday in John Beck's office. There I found Beck, Balis, Rick Cummings and Jeff Smulyan. The gist of the thing was that a decision had been made to "broaden" KSHE's audience. The new singles by Prince and Madonna were being added to the playlist and I was being asked to lead the on-air campaign, if you will, to try and get what would certainly be a reticent segment of the KSHE crowd to become accepting of the move. Keep in mind the programming department had already dabbled in this effort by adding "What's Love Got to Do With It" by Tina Turner and, incredibly, "Walking On Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves. Both were met with might be described as heavy resistance. In fact, I flat out refused to play the Katrina and the Waves song ever again.

What transpired in Beck's office that afternoon amounted to a ninety-minute shouting match with KSHE's management and programming team. I told them our listeners would turn our cars over in the parking lot if they did this. They told me I wasn't being a team player and that the move was required if KSHE was to build its fan base.

I left that office assuming I would be fired. Instead, to their absolute credit, particularly in reference to Rick Cummings who had come up with the plan, the idea was scrapped and KSHE continued on-course.

The reason I bring this up in response to today's item on your website? I parted ways with KSHE and Emmis a little more than two years later, in the late fall of 1986. I did not see Cummings again until sixteen years later as the newly-installed host of the K-HITS morning show. He walked right up to me at an Emmis party he'd flown in for, informed me that he had read my book and that I had been...."right." "WMMS played those artists and it killed their image. They still haven't recovered," he told me. "It would have killed KSHE. You were right."

My detractors, some current Emmis staffers, as well as others who weren't there for all of it in the 80s and don't even know what they're talking about may balk at this, but as far as I'm concerned, JC Corcoran saved KSHE twice. The first time was when I took over the flailing morning show that was being beaten by KWK, as well as others. In less than a year John Ulett and I had tripled the ratings, registering a #1 18-34 finish, a #2 25-54 ranking, as well as an astonishing eighty-two share in teens and a never-to-be-repeated fourteen share twelve-plus, second only to KMOX. But the second time I saved KSHE was on that September afternoon in 1984.

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