Straight From the Mouth
The Morning Mouth's March interview with John Records Landecker
(Reprinted by permission; Copyright © 2013 Talentmasters Inc.)
So Records really is your middle name. Seemed like the perfect title for a book. Who came up with that? Is that a question you've been asked frequently during your life?
Records is my middle name. Its my mothers maiden name. When I first thought of using as a bit I never thought it would have this kind of shelf life. I thought "Its cute and when they find out its real that will be it." Wrong. I have two daughters. Records is not their middle name. Y'know if you did it now it would make no sense...what's a record?
What finally prompted you to write a book?
I was out of work and my former producer Rick Kaempher kept after me. I thought "look this is just like a big radio show. Its just not on the air" That helped me get going. You'll see on the book cover Rick is listed as "producer" not co-author or "with."
How long did it take to write?
I guess it took about three years. it was an on again off again thing.
In the book you detail a lot of behind the scenes info on your personal life and career. Which part was toughest to share? In hindsight, Is there anything you wrote that you wished you had left out?
If there was something that was difficult to share it didn't make the book. No there is nothing in the book I wish I had left out.
Tell us something you purposely left out? Did anyone ask you to not print something?
No... no one asked me not to put something in the book......there were identities I wanted to protect and ass holes who didn't deserve the
like contraceptive foam.
Speaking of legendary, WLS AM circa 70's. From afar, it was viewed as some kind of radio panacea. What would most people be most surprised to have known about the internal goings on at WLS back then?
I don't know if its a surprise but for a time in the 70's WLS really was a radio family. I don't mean the way "family" is used today. I mean everybody liked each other. From the front office to engineering we were all in it together.
Have you always done your show solo? Ever do mornings?
I've worked every shift there is. the longest run I've had was 10 years doing mornings in Chicago from 1993-2003.
Just for fun, how many PDs do you suppose you've worked with in your career? Who would rate as the top 5? Why? What made them stand out?
Ok I'm not going to rate PD's but there are some that made my career. Ted Heusel at WOIA in Ann Arbor. Eric Furseth at WILS in Lansing Michigan. Paul Drew and the Rick Buckley and Jack Reynolds at WIBG and Mike McCormick at WLS. I have been around a while and there are just a few people I would never work with again. I'm not going to list them because they don't deserve the publicity.
Best/worst advice u ever got about doing a show.
Well the most ironic piece of advice I received came from my first pd at WIBG in Philadelphia Paul Drew. He had changed my name to Scott Walker but the station was sold and he was on the way out. He asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to go back to being John Records Landecker. He said....opps you will have to read the book to find out!
When you run into a young jock looking for advice what do you usually tell them?
I tell young people interested in radio what I would tell anyone for any
matter what you hear. Be willing to do anything to break in. Be willing to go anywhere. Learn everything you can from tech to internet to running the board to sales ad management. I just talked to a college student who wanted to go into broadcasting. She liked improv and talking to people. I told her to work on those skills. Will it be radio? Who knows? But sending media out for people to consume is not going to end.
What's your take on the whole syndication vs live and local approach?
Syndication... consolidation ...the downfall of radio.
You're now back on WLS-FM and have returned to a PPM world. What's that transition been like?
Being back on 947 WLS-FM full time is something I really wanted. You will read in the book that I was on the 94.7 frequency when it was the "True Oldies Channel". That lasted a year. If felt my departure was a sham. The reason I was given for non-renewal were concocted to fill the desire of someone who wanted me out. " John we are not renewing your contract because you don't work well with the sales department". What? The day they let me go they signed up to be an affiliate on a syndicated show I was doing callled "Into The 70's" .What a bunch of bullshit. When I saw Citadel would sell to Cumulus I called Jan Jeffries and here I am.