RJ Remembers Inspirational DJs From His Early Days

Clay Cole

Alan Freed

Dick Biondi

Buddy Deane

Art LaBoe

Clay Cole

Clay Cole was an American TV host and DJ known for his TV dance show, The Clay Cole Show, which aired in New York City from 1959 to 1968. Born Albert Rucker, Jr. in Youngstown, Ohio he was a child actor on stage and radio. At age 15, he became host and producer of his own Saturday night teen music show on WKBN-TV, then on WFMJ. Arriving in Manhattan in 1957, he worked first as an NBC page, then as a production assistant on the troubled quiz show Twenty One. He continued his Saturday night TV gigs on WJAR-TV, Providence. In 1959 he changed his name to Clay Cole

Cole's show was picked up by WPIX-TV. By 1965 the show was known as Clay Cole's Discotek. In the 1960s rock acts coming from the UK often appeared on his show before doing network shows like The Ed Sullivan Show. The Rolling Stones and The Who were the first of those acts to appeared on Cole's TV show. Cole did not hesitate to join in on his show's dance floor. He was also more confident about booking lesser-known performers and comedians for his show.

Writing, producing and directing career In 1967, Clay became a TV writer/producer, involved in the production of over 3500 TV shows. His final professional assignment was as writer/producer/director of the 2002 Sanremo Music Festival televised in Italy, featuring Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Kylie Minogue and other international pop stars Cole died December 18, 2010 at the age of 72.

Alan Freed

Alan Freed was an American disc jockey known for promoting a mix of blues, country and R&B music that he called "rock and roll". His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the radio business in the early 1960s.

Freed's initial ambition was to be a bandleader; however, an ear infection put an end to this dream. Freed became interested in radio while in college. He landed radio jobs at small stations, including Akron's WAKR where he became a local favorite for playing hot jazz and pop records Cleveland record store owner Leo Mintz noticed Freed's interest in the R&B records at his store, and encouraged Freed to play them on the radio

Freed is often called the "father of rock'n'roll" for his promotion of the style of music, and his use of the phrase "rock and roll", in reference to describe the genre on mainstream radio in the early 1950s. He helped bridge the gap of segregation among young teenage Americans, presenting music by African-American artists instead of covers by white artists on his radio show and arranging live concerts attended by racially mixed audiences.

The Beatles claim to have been influenced by Black artists such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry, both of whom were promoted on Freed's radio shows. Freed appeared in several motion pictures that presented many of the big musical acts of his day. Freed's career ended when it was shown that he had accepted payola.

Freed's punishment from the payola scandal was not severe but the negative publicity kept big-name stations from employing him. He died in a Palm Springs in 1965 from uremia and cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism. He was 43 years old.

Art Laboe

Art Laboe was the first Disc Jockey to play Rock and Roll on the West Coast airwaves, one of the first DJs to play both black and white artists and the first DJ to have an hour on radio devoted to Elvis Presley. Art Laboe's Original Sound Entertainment represents songs by many big-name artists. Since the early 70's, OSE has placed thousands of songs in numerous films Art Laboe is currently heard on two radio shows in the Southwestern US. A permanent display of Art's contributions also resides in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. . .and he's still going strong

Dick Biondi

Dick Biondi an American Top 40 and Oldies disc jockey, was one of the first DJs known for his screaming delivery as well as his wild antics on the air and off. Biondi gained national attention in the 1950s and 1960s as a DJ on leading AM radio stations in Buffalo, NYC, Chicago and L.A. He was one of the first to play Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, and other early R&B artists. The early Rock and Roll era meant "record hops" where DJs made personal appearances at local schools and clubs. Dick Biondi's lifelong love of radio began at an early age, when he was allowed to read a commercial on WMBO, Auburn, New York. Since 1984, Biondi has been a mainstay on Oldies stations in the city where he first earned his reputation, Chicago. Dick's close-of-the-program line was, "God bless, bye, bye, Duke. Thanks a million for dialing our way."

The Buddy Deane Show

The Buddy Deane Show was an afternoon teen dance program that aired on Baltimore's WJZ-TV from 1957 to 1964 It was the inspiration for the John Waters movie Hairspray. Similar in format to American Bandstand, the Buddy Deane Show introduced Baltimore to the Madison, the mashed potato and the twist.

At one time, the Buddy Deane Show was more popular locally than Bandstand. It was taken off the air near the height of its popularity because the station, owned by Westinghouse, did not want to integrate the show. Like many live television programs of the era, the show was not recorded. Clips of the Buddy Deane Show are rare. Buddy Deane died in 2003 at age 78.

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