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Birthday Girl...Bob Kingsley Memory...Cool National Anthem

Jul 3 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

It’s a Red White and Blue Weekend.  4th of July has arrived. 



An off day of writing led to a long walk and running errands.  Picking up groceries and a couple things the house needed with masks on.  I picked up a plumbing supply at a small door that highly suggested one wear a mask in their store.  I did…the owners and help?  They didn’t.  Things that make you scratch your head. 


As much my wife and I can we try to do delivery or pickup where one doesn’t have to get out of a car.  Never thought I’d live in a day where I wore plastic gloves at a gas station and carried hand sanitizer…much less use it so much. 



To my bride Kathy who celebrates today.  We’ll have a little low key celebration since we can’t go out to a movie and neither of us are really comfortable yet going inside a restaurant when we don’t have to.  So, we’ll celebrate with our daughter Heather who’s coming down from Clarksville today to watch “Hamilton” with us on the couch that’s streaming right now on…



With the virus spiking in Nashville we are rolling back to phase 2 again.  Bars are being closed; restaurants back to 50% capacity and no big fireworks show on the 4th.  And certainly we are not the only city doing so.  And the big question this weekend will be, how many folks will stay home over the holiday weekend instead of gathering with groups of friends to celebrate? 


A restaurant in England is thinking about having a sterilizing pod out front.  Before your allowed in you step into this pod where you get disinfected.  You get sprayed with a mist.  Wonder if I can choose the shoe polish option while I’m in one?


The mortgage rate just hit a new low again at 3.07%.  So out of all the bad things…like unemployment because of the virus…if one has cash lying around?  Good time to buy. Although, I don’t think the stimulus money and unemployment checks will be enough to let one but a house on the beach.



Two players for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team tested positive at the outbreak of camp yesterday as Major League Baseball has started to prepare for a shortened season.  The challenge of playing and keeping a healthy roster for that many games?  Gonna be a challenge for sure.



The car radio is 90 years old this year.  That’s how long there’s been in around while we’ve been driving.  90 years!  My first one was an AM radio in an old green Chevy with an antenna fully raised outside the passenger window…that you ROLLED down. I can remember pulling in WSM here in Nashville through the static driving late at night back home in Missouri after band gigs and listening to the all night show with Ralph Emery or Charlie Douglas.  It’s the same radio I found KPCR AM in Bowling Green while driving and then drove the car 30 minutes north to that little town and walked in a little one bedroom trailer radio station and ask to be a disc jockey.  That’s how my radio career started.  So I have radio to thank for my radio career.  Thank you Mr. Marconi.



The Casey Kasem Countdown that most of us have heard or know about started on this date in history 50 years ago today!  50!  And yes…I have a Casey Kasem sorta kinda story to share…that I’ve never shared here before.


I got to do the Bob Kingsley Country Countdown I think 4 times during my career and I think that’s more than anyone who’s ever filled in for the late Bob Kingsley.  They fly you into Dallas, pick you up and you drive north to the town of Weatherford, Texas where Bob built this beautiful studio to record his show each week.  He was into cutting horses so when he was selected to do the show in LA…he had a choice as to where he wanted it to originate.  He chose Texas.


The staff made my job so easy.  The script was given to me and I went into the vocal booth with the local engineer-producer across the glass from where I was seated and in my ear.  Also in my ear…and here’s the Casey Kasem connection…was Kasey Casem’s producer from Los Angeles helping to guide me through.  Kasey’s Countdown and Bob’s Countdown were both tied to the same national syndication company.  Pretty cool experience to be talking to a nationwide audience.


The last time they had me out after the show was done Bob’s wife Nan asked to see me.  I’d not met her…and she really ran the nuts and bolts of the operation.  Long story short she told me how much the staff enjoyed my work and that they were thinking of giving Bob more time off and would look for another host to do the main work with Bob retaining his presence with some recorded inserts.  She asked if I’d be interested?  Who wouldn’t?!  I was in Cincinnati at the time and they would have set me up to record it there with the producers in my ear from both Texas and California.  It wasn’t a done deal, but they were thinking about it seriously.


Then things changed.  Bob’s contract with the syndication company he’d been with for years was coming up and they decided to not renew Bob and added Kix Brooks as their Countdown host.  Bob landed quickly with a new syndication company but now he had competition…and could not afford to be gone that much from his show.  So the shot at going national went away for me.  I was THIS close. 


The night I was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame Bob Kingsley was there and received a lifetime achievement award.  I got a chance to thank him for allowing me to be part of his great show so many times.  And although I would have loved to have done it…nobody could replace Bob’s iconic voice that was heard for so long on radio stations all across the country.  Some things aren’t meant to be.


This VIDEO will give you a great view of Bob's studio and workplace where I worked.  RIP Bob.



Celebrates the 4th with a new version of his patriotic song God Bless the USA.  In this VERSION you’ll see Lee sing this song (that he must have sung a million times by now) with a bunch of US Air Force singers.  Pretty cool.  I remember being on the air in Cincinnati when the MCA 45 RPM record came in of that song.  Nobody had any idea what a lasting gigantic hit it would turn out to be.  That was 1984.



I want to share this new VIDEO that my friend Brent Burns just put on his Facebook Page.  We rolled the iPhone camera last year when Brent was up here working on songs and what you see here is Brent singing the National Anthem with our session leader Dave Francis playing acoustic guitar beside him.  But, you’ll also see patriotic pictures.  And if you look hard enough you’ll see a still picture of my friend in is combat uniform before he was shot twice and laid in hospital beds for years recovering from his wounds.  Before he received the Purple Heart Award.  IHappy 4th…and God Bless those who serve and made Independence Day possible.



My daughter Heather will join us to celebrate my wife’s birthday quietly and the plan is to watch the just released “Hamilton” Broadway Show smash that’s on Disney+.  And I’m sure I’ll be watching some of the Indy Race tomorrow and then the NASCAR race on Sunday both coming from the famed “Brickyard” in Indianapolis.


Happy 4th of July weekend to you and yours.



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