By Jack Allen
August 22nd, 2015
Here’s one for you “young” radio types who were spoiled with interns. 🙂
I inherited “Loveline” from Peter B. (Boam) upon arrival at KVI in ’74.
It was kind of a “Dating Game” of radio where single listeners called in with the hope of meeting other single people. Some looking for a serious relationship, some looking for compatibility, some just looking for fun. There were all kinds of people and I think it worked because there was a kind of secure feeling of anonymity among the participants due to the way it was structured. First names only and we never gave out the phone numbers of the women participants. But that’s just the beginning. The real purpose of this post is to explain what it was like before radio interns and board operators came on the scene. It was a one person show baby, no help, just make it happen. And we’re talkin’ 45’s, albums and a million carts in the world’s largest carousel. Here’s how it worked.
Early on the show was one hour long from 11:00pm to 12:00 midnight with four listener participants (Loveliners) each night. I determined it would be easier to take nightly reservations at 10:30 so there was opportunity for a short private chat to screen and get a feel for the person. That was very helpful.
The elements of the show: Conversations of five to eleven or twelve minutes with each Loveliner. 14-16 minutes of 60, 30 and 15 second commercials 50% of which were live, music, answering the 6 phone lines & taking down names and phone numbers of those interested in talking with the Loveliners. Phone numbers were never given on the air and the phone numbers of women were not given to the male responders. Women participants were called back after the show and given the first name, location (city) and age of the first five men who responded. It was always up to the woman to make the contact if they chose to. It was a bit easier with women who called for male Loveliners. I simply gave the first 5-6 women callers the male Loveliners phone number right after the conversation. Again, women made the initial contact. Figured the guys could handle the heat.
After about a year I received permission to extend the show to two hours, 10:00pm – midnight mostly because it was working so well and was really on a roll.
Now an inside look at making an extremely busy show flow smoothly with a one man band.
I edited key lines of “Lonely People” (America) with a 30 second bed to open the show. (Open vocal & bed).. “Welcome to the Tuesday night Loveline. Tonight we will be talking with Elaine in Renton, Jeff in Snohomish, Sally in Olympia and Tom in Port Orchard in our first hour.” (Vocal close.) After the Open we go right to the first Loveliner who I called during News and was on hold. We talk about likes and dislikes, work, recreation, activities, what they look like, the kinds of things they are looking for in another person, yada yada. Background music fades in near the end of the conversation, music up for ten seconds and fade to a 30-40 re-cap of conversation highlights. Go to music (hopefully something over 3 minutes, lol). During music answer phones, write down caller info, prep for next break. I’m an octopus.
Come out of music, recap caller response to previous Loveliner, promote who’s up next and go to commercial break both recorded and live. Call next Loveliner sometime during the break and put on hold. Then do it again.
I guess I never really thought about how busy it was behind the scenes until one night when Seattle Times radio writer Vic Stredicke asked if he could sit in and watch me do the show. After the show he shook his head and said, “holy crap, how do you do all that and still look and sound calm and collected?” Told him I really never thought about it. I just enjoy talking with people on a one-on-one personal level. Especially the shy or nervous ones. I try to dig out the best in people and make them feel good about themselves. There is no pressure. It’s all very natural. The trick is to guide the caller through the initial fear/nervousness of what they are doing and lead them into what feels like a personal conversation only between them and me. Truth and conviction then emerge and it’s real life. From the listener perspective the draw is two-fold. Some are listening for the prospect of meeting someone and others are doing what everyone loves to do … eavesdrop on a private conversation. And that’s when theater of the mind really kicks in. It’s kind of a “Dating Game” I guess but the stars are everyday people. (With no due respect to Reality TV, barf) I always asked Loveliners to let me know if anything good happens. Those who did and got married as a result numbered about 350 over my five years with the show. Divorces? Dunno. Don’t want to know. So far, no lawsuits….:)
The whole point of this is (tongue firmly in cheek) Who needs a friggin’ intern? Earn your keep. Right Peter?
Say goodnight Gracie…
Jack Allen, a Seattle, Washington Broadcaster. (KVI 570 AM – Feb. ’74 – Aug ’79)
Jack’s Facebook page HERE