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Lisa Miller - "How I Got Into Radio"

John Records Landecker

6-7-2013

I first met John in 1977 when my husband went to work at WLS. John was the night jock and the hot young guy on the station. All the girls loved him and at every appearance he had a huge following of dedicated and loyal fans. John was a great ambassador for WLS and, for the 18-34 demographic, John was the hippest, coolest, edgiest guy in radio. As a fellow family member of the WLS team, we all spent a lot of time together at events, appearances, ball games, charity events, concerts, dinners, and pretty much anything happening in Chicago. Every weekend the WLS basketball and baseball teams played rock bands, celebrities, and other pro ball players all in an effort to raise money for a charity or someone in need. Besides being a talented on-air jock, John was an equally proficient jock on the basketball court and the baseball field. But Johns great love was rock and roll. He didnt just love the music, he also enjoyed playing the music on stage.  

So whether it was Boogie Check on the radio or as the lead singer with his band Landecker and the Legends, or his cameo appearance as part of the band The Kind, John was willing to donate his talents for the good of others. But the day he stood up in the WLS conference room in front of all his colleagues and management and announced he would volunteer his talent to be the fifth member of The Knack in order to make the band's Chicago debut a promotional blowout, was the coolest idea that never happened. It was always Johns style to give of himself so unselfishly. John is truly an icon in Chicago, and you cant help but love him. But its his years of hard work and dedication that makes you respect him above all else.

Now, in his own words, WLS-FM Evening Host John Records Landecker tells us how he got into radio

I was born in Ann Arbor Michigan. My father was a German Jew who fled his home because of the Nazis, and my mother was an Indiana farm girl. They met at the University of Indiana, married, and relocated to the University of Michigan where she was a grad student and he was a sociology professor. Because my father was blind, he had a dictaphone which he gave me to play with. The first time I heard my voice I was infatuated, and after reading This is your Announcer, Ted Lane Breaks into Radio, a fictional story written in 1945, I set my sights on a career in radio. I built a pretend radio station and convinced my high school teachers to let me do my projects on audio rather than written papers.

My girlfriends aunt was the womens editor at a local radio station where I finagled my way into a tour and met the afternoon announcer and program director. The PD gave me the news copy from the AP or UPI and had me reading wire copy and doing the news breaks on the station. On the air, I was introduced as a local high school student. I continued to hang around the station doing anything I could do just to be there. Eventually, I was hired as the janitor at the rate of $1.15 per hour and weaseled my way into doing the news breaks on WIOA, the rock station, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturdays.

While attending the University of Michigan, I continued with the midday show on Saturdays. I met a former jock from WTRX who helped me get a summer job doing fill-ins at WERX in Wyoming, Michigan. The next year, I transferred to Michigan State so I could major in Communication Arts. While working for the campus station, WMSN, I applied for a job at WILS in Lansing, Michigan. At last my first real job in radio: I had my own show from Monday to Friday 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Two radio geeks, who also attended Michigan State, recorded my show and sent it to Mike Rivers at CKLW. Mike then sent my tape to WIBG in Philly and the famous Paul Drew. Paul flew me to Philly and offered me a job. I immediately dropped out of college and moved to Philly and became Scott Walker on WIBG. A year into the job, Buckley Broadcasting bought the station, brought in Joey Reynolds for mornings, and I went back to being John Records Landecker.

Three years later, WLS called.

John recently published his Autobiography Records Truly Is My Middle Name." The book is available in paperback at johnlandecker.com and as an e-Book at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and I-Tunes. Email John at jlandecker@aol.com

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at Lisa@millerbroadcast.com or 312-454-1111.
So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.




(11/17/2013 6:12:34 PM)
BSn1DI Hey, thanks for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

- NY
(10/23/2013 10:07:21 PM)
whD93R Great post.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

- NY

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