[JPL] A John Rogers Story

lyohn at emich.edu lyohn at emich.edu
Sun Apr 17 09:58:17 EDT 2005

Good morning everyone,

When I received John's message about his dismissal from Fantasay, I 
responded to him right away by e-mail.  I should have picked up the 
phone like Steve Schwartz, because I now fear that I will never hear 
his voice on the phone.  I will hear him on the air, because I am on 
online listener to many of the stations in this group, including KCSM.  
That's good but it ain't the same as the phone.

Sometimes I think we have forgotten the power of the telephone with the 
ease of this communication tool.  I'm just as guilty as anyone else.  

Freddie Mancuso nailed the issue noting that "business is about 
relationships".  Well said, Freddie.

WEMU and I had a great professional relationship with John Rogers.  I 
got to know him when I was jazz/blues music director for WKSU in the 
early '80s.  Galaxy, Fantasy and Milestone were cranking out 
magnificent straight-ahead jazz in that decade.  Fantasy already knew 
that to keep their catalogue alive, that they should do re-issues.  
Fantasy knew that radio was a great tool in spreading the word about 
jazz treasures available in new forms.  Playing the best new stuff 
balanced with the best classics is the best way to program jazz.  
Fantasy (or John Rogers) knew that.

When I joined WEMU in 1987, we were not receiving Fantasy's reissues.  
I got on the phone to John Rogers right away.  He told me he couldn't 
make it happen for WEMU right away because re-issue service was 
limited.  But, he told me he would make it happen if he found out that 
any other station was not programming the reissues he sent them.  It 
took John about nine months to determine that a station was not playing 
the classic music any more, so that WEMU could get on the special 
reissue distribution list in place of that other station.  He did not 
have to do that type of research, but he did.

John's service from Fantasy made a huge difference for WEMU.  It raised 
our profile with listeners.  It improved our audio quality immensely to 
have scratch-free copies of LPs and CDs of the classics.  The service 
improved station morale to know that a national company cared that much 
about little WEMU to send us the reissues.  Good morale means good 
radio.  Good radio means more listeners.  More listeners means more 
money.  More listeners means more real jazz being heard by more people!!

John Rogers made it happen for WEMU because he believed me that we 
would play the records.  We did.  Even though the reissues weren't 
charting I'd report them so record companies would know the sound of 
the station.

We have all seen so many changes in this business in technology, 
demographic research, record and audio distribution, marketing and 
strategy.  One thing that hasn't changed is our need for people in the 
equation.  We still need real listeners with a relationship with on-air 
hosts.  Hosts still need to have good professional bonds with each 
other and people in the industry.  

I wish I had more time to call everyone to whom I owe a call, 
especially John Rogers.   

Here's to John's voice on KCSM.


Linda Yohn
WEMU Music Director
lyohn at emich.edu

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