Pat O'Neill's Blog



Magic 98 Fourth of July Concert

The June 17th Capital Times profiled the 48 year old Dane County Coliseum and pointed out the building hosted five concerts last year. It hosted that many in one month of 1977, and what variety: Todd Rundgren, Thin Lizzy, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Johnny Cash and America.

My friend and Madison radio legend Jonathan Little was probably at those shows, either in the audience or introducing them on stage. Not only does he love concerts, Jonathan was the guy deciding what songs we'd hear on WISM, so visiting musicians treated him like a V.I.P.

Among Jonathan's experiences: a backstage chat with Roger Daltrey before introducing "The Who." Trying to converse with a tipsy Janis Joplin. Introducing John Denver to a group of excited WISM listeners. Being called to the stage by Harry Chapin for a duet.

I've invited Jonathan to share some of his stories on Magic 98 on July 4th, when we'll stage an all day "live in concert" Saturday at the 70s from 9AM until 9PM.
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You Never Forget Your First ... Job

My friend Lisa hosts the morning show for Duluth Public Radio. We went to high school together and got our first radio jobs at a small Minnesota station. Lisa recalls having an accident with some equipment and hurting herself. When she called the General Manager he said "Sorry, we don't have anyone to come in. Good luck." I recall more goofy things during three years at that station than in all the years since. Off the top of my head:
  • At 15 and thinking DJs dress casually, I showed up for the job interview wearing cut-off jeans and a t-shirt. My parents were not pleased.
  • The owner was a tightwad. The station was in a rundown old building atop a drug store. Rather than spend $10 for a new studio clock, he offered the drug store free commercials for it.
  • My starting wage was $2.10 per hour. One day the manager said I would be raised to $2.30. I remember the words "There'll be more where that came from." Later I learned that the minimum wage had increased.
  • Each Saturday night the station broadcast "The Wolfman Jack Show." One week the Wolfman tapes didn't arrive. I was told to fill in. I asked "What do I say?" Somewhere between Earth and the edge of the universe exists the radio waves of a squeaky-voiced 16 year old saying "This is Pat O'Neill filling in for Wolfman Jack."
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