Rachel Riley

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Image result for rachel riley

Image result for rachel riley

Image result for rachel riley

Image result for rachel riley

Image result for rachel riley

Image result for rachel riley

Image result for rachel riley

Rachel Riley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rachel Riley
Rachel Riley 2011.JPG
Born Rachel Annabelle Riley
(1986-01-11) 11 January 1986 (age 31)
Rochford, Essex, England, United Kingdom[1]
Residence Thorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea
Nationality British
Alma mater Oriel College, Oxford
Occupation Television presenter
Employer Channel 4, Sky Sports
Spouse(s) Jamie Gilbert (m. 2012–13)

Rachel Annabelle Riley[2] (born 11 January 1986)[3] is an English television presenter and mathematician who currently co-presents the Channel 4 daytime puzzle show Countdown, its comedy spin-off 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Sky SportsFriday Night Football. A mathematics graduate, her television debut came when she joined Countdown at age 22; with a passion for popularising maths and the sciences she has gone on to co-present The Gadget Show on Channel 5 (2013–14) and It’s Not Rocket Science on ITV (2016). In 2013 she was a contestant on the BBC celebrity dance show, Strictly Come Dancing.

Early life[edit]

Born in Rochford, Essex,[4] to an accountant father Christopher [5] and Celia (she also has a younger brother, Alex),[6] Riley was brought up in the Thorpe Bay area of Southend-on-Sea and was educated at the independent Thorpe Hall School, and Southend High School for Girls, a grammar school, where she obtained four As at A-Level. She then studied mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford, gaining an upper second-class honours degree.[7][8]

Early career[edit]

During a university vacation, Riley considered a career in the financial sector, and completed an internship at Deutsche Bank in the City of London. The experience put her off: although already familiar with male-dominated environments in the field of mathematics, she found the extreme behaviour of city traders wearing, and not being a “morning person” she also disliked the early morning train commute.[9]

Her maths degree helped her get a job performing statistical analysis for a price comparison start-up company.[10] Riley also briefly considered doing a postgraduate degree, a master’s degree in concrete, being attracted by the intersection of mathematics and civil engineering.[9]


Riley’s television debut came in January 2009, when at the age of 22 she joined the Channel 4 letters and numbers game show Countdown.[11][12] Prior to this, Riley had received no training for working in television and had no other experience with the media industry, leading to descriptions of her landing this role as a baptism of fire, given its status as a “jewel in the broadcasting crown”, according to one media commentator. While occupying the niche role, she long believed she was not a television presenter, but she came to realise that the industry has changed, so that “I don’t think there’s such a thing as a TV presenter any more. There are just people who go on TV”.[13] As her popularity grew due to daily appearances on Countdown, she branched out into other roles, co-presenting 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and The Gadget Show, although her profile was significantly boosted by her appearance as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, which largely “catapulted [Riley] onto the A-list” and opened up the doors for new television roles, according to another commentator.[9] In 2014, two years before her role on It’s Not Rocket Science, she said, “I’d love to present a popular science programme because it’s something I feel very passionate about.”[9]


On Countdown, Riley replaced the long-serving Carol Vorderman. Like Vorderman, Riley’s role is to handle the placement of tiles on the board for the letters and numbers rounds and to find an exact solution in the numbers rounds if the contestants are unable to do so.[11][12]

Riley’s appointment to Countdown was announced at the same time as the announcement of a new main host, Jeff Stelling, replacing Des O’Connor; the duo of Stelling and Riley were in place for the new series beginning in January 2009.[11] Although she had no ambition to be a television presenter, she was encouraged to apply by her mother, and decided to do so because she was interested in the numbers part of the game.[14] Having beaten 1,000 applicants for the role, she commented “There’s only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it so I’m absolutely thrilled”.[11]

Riley takes the role of solving the numbers round so seriously that if she cannot solve it on the show, she takes it away with her to finish, commenting “I’m really OCD about it. I have to get it. I like puzzles – that’s what I do, that’s why I applied for the job, that’s why I used to watch Countdown when I was younger. I like solving stuff.” She has attributed this compulsion to a nervy and flustered start in the role which resulted in her making some errors, although she says she has since got the hang of it and the task is now a matter of routine. In contrast, on account of her “really immature sense of humour” she has some difficulty in maintaining her composure during the words round whenever rude words appear.[14]

Riley frequently encounters close media and public scrutiny of what she wears on the show, with her wardrobe choices attracting intense social media comment on Twitter and YouTube and even national headlines, particularly if they are deemed too revealing or tight.[14][15] Working with a wardrobe consultant, she obtains most of the clothes from High Street stores, although some are purchased from a small boutique near her home in Southend. While trying to please everybody with varied choices, she nonetheless takes a phlegmatic approach to the attention, commenting, “even with the same outfit you’ll get polar-opposite views, so you can’t win. You’ve just got to learn that you can’t please everyone all of the time”. The number of episodes means wearing some outfits more than once is inevitable – she donates items she no longer requires to charity, some being auctioned by her mother.[14]

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown[edit]

Since it was first broadcast on 2 January 2012, Riley has also performed her Countdown role on the comedy crossover spin-off version, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, alongside comedian Jimmy Carr as host. While Countdown is seen as a straight light entertainment show, in explaining the difference between the two, Riley sees Countdown as the role she is happy for her grandmother to see, while Cats Does Countdown is the more risqué, cheeky, role which she shows to her friends.[13] Some of the running gags used on the show are made by Carr at Riley’s expense, aimed at her lack of dancing ability and a supposed frosty relationship with Vorderman, while in return Riley is often given jokes which mock Carr’s supposed desires on herself. Due to scheduling conflicts with filming for It’s Not Rocket Science, Riley was replaced by Claudia Winkleman for two episodes in series nine (broadcast 3 and 10 March 2016).

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

From September 2013, Riley appeared in the eleventh series of the BBC One ballroom dancing programme Strictly Come Dancing with professional dancing partner Pasha Kovalev. She was eliminated in Week 6 of the show, on 3 November, after losing out in the dance-off against Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Škorjanec.

According to Riley she lacked a natural talent for performing, so instead sought to frame each dance as that of a character.[9] For the first five weeks, Riley suffered from stage fright, commenting that “As soon as the music would start, I would have a fuzzy brain and it was like an out-of-body experience”; after seeing a cognitive behavioural therapist she was able to control her breathing, and so was only able to truly enjoy the show for what proved to be her final appearance.[16]

The Gadget Show[edit]

From 2013 until 2014, Riley co-presented on the Channel 5 programme The Gadget Show with Jason Bradbury.[17] She presented three series of the show and was later replaced by Amy Williams.[18]

It’s Not Rocket Science[edit]

In 2016, Riley was part of the three-person presenting team for ITV‘s six-part series, It’s Not Rocket Science, billed by the network as an entertainment series celebrating science.[19] Her co-presenters, Ben Miller and Romesh Ranganathan, similarly had a background in science and maths. Explaining the purpose of the show as popularising science and making it seem less intimidating, she said “It’s showing that you can’t separate the world of science from the world we live in”. She added that while her background is in maths, “You can’t separate them either. Maths is the language of science.”[13] A key part of the show was a weekly challenge where one of the presenters “risked their lives” to prove a scientific theory – in Riley’s case she cycled on a tightrope and zip-lined through a ring of fire.[13]

Sky Sports[edit]

In August 2016, it was announced that Riley would join Sky Sports to present Friday Night Football alongside her former Countdown co-presenter Jeff Stelling and Fantasy Football Club with Max Rushden and Paul Merson.[20]

Other work[edit]

On 26 June 2009, it was reported that Riley had been recruited by Royal Mail to employ her mathematical skills to help advise holidaymakers on how to make the most of their holiday currency, after a report by the Post Office revealed that a significant number of holidaymakers fail to calculate the actual cost of goods and services when travelling abroad and often overspend their holiday budgets.[21]

Her mathematics background and love of football has seen Riley assist bookmakers in preparing betting odds for football tournaments; based on her analysis she predicted Chile would win the 2014 FIFA World Cup, despite appreciating fans would see it as an unlikely outcome (Chile were ultimately knocked out in the Round of 16).[9]

Personal life[edit]

Riley was married for 15 months to Jamie Gilbert, whom she met while they were both studying at the University of Oxford. After four and a half years together, the couple split at the end of 2009,[22] before reconciling. Gilbert then proposed on her 25th birthday on 11 January 2011.[23] They married on 11 August 2012,[24] but it was announced in November 2013 that they were separating.[25][26][27] Responding to suggestions she had been the latest victim of the so-called Strictly curse, where the relationships of contestants on the show break down soon after it, she stated “I don’t think there’s a Strictly curse, but it does serve as a magnifying glass that shows up pre-existing fault lines. Jamie and I had been with one another since I was 19, and we are still good friends, it was all amicable and he’s been brilliant.”[9] As of September 2016, Riley is dating previous Strictly partner Pasha Kovalev.[28]

In response to speculation that she ‘ran off’ with her dance partner, Riley has said that her marriage was breaking down before Strictly, and that the relationship with Kovalev didn’t start during the show, only emerging once their professional relationship ended, by which time she felt the marriage was over. She attributes the time spent apart during Strictly and other filming commitments around that time as what allowed her to realise her marriage was likely going to end. While insisting it was not a mistake getting married and she felt happy, on reflection she feels her life up to the point of Strictly was being constrained by convention and expectation, something she sees as a problem, particularly for high achieving girls.[13] Her time on the show changed her view on the direction of her life, prompting her to note in particular that she was a perfectionist and highly self-critical.[13][16] After the show, she has said she now feels more relaxed and confident, lives more in the moment, having no particular long term plans such as marriage or children with Kovalev.[13]

Riley describes herself as a “non-religious Jew” and “pretty atheist”, having been married in a civil ceremony.[29] She has from time to time assisted in the pronunciation and spelling of Yiddish words on Countdown.[30] She is learning Russian, the first language of her boyfriend Kovalev, largely so she can better communicate with his family, who live in Siberia, and his friends.[13]

In May 2014, Riley revealed that she had been a victim of an eight-month campaign of threatening abuse from a stalker. The accused, a 31-year-old man with paranoid schizophrenia, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and placed under a restraining order preventing him from contacting Riley.[31]

Riley is a keen supporter of Manchester United, like her father (who was originally from Salford, Lancashire),[32][33] In October 2010, Riley presented a programme on the club’s television channel, MUTV, featuring a tour of their Trafford Training Centre in Carrington. She has also hosted episodes of An Audience with… on the channel. To mark her 1,000th episode of Countdown (aired on 25 June 2013), United player Ryan Giggs presented her with a signed team shirt, Giggs himself having celebrated his 1,000th game for the club the same year.[33][34] In her appearance as a contestant on the BBC quiz show Celebrity Mastermind, broadcast on 4 January 2012, her specialist subject was the history of the club; she eventually finished in joint second place.[15][35]

Educational advocacy[edit]

In an effort to put her public profile to work for the common good, Riley strives to be an advocate for the so-called “geeky” subjects of mathematics and science, and has visited schools to enthuse pupils on the “joys of applied maths, quantum mechanics and time travel and so on”.[9][16] A blog, written by Surrey University academic Julia Percival and hosted by The Guardian, which argued that Riley’s looks and figure would work against any aim to increase female participation in the sciences, was described by The Daily Telegraph as unfair and a case of Riley being damned if she did and damned if she didn’t.[9][36]


Year Title Channel Role Notes
2009— Countdown Channel 4 Co-presenter With Jeff Stelling (2009–2011) and Nick Hewer (2012–present)
2012— 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Co-presenter With Jimmy Carr
2013–2014 The Gadget Show Channel 5 Co-presenter With Jason Bradbury
2013 Strictly Come Dancing BBC One Participant 5th celebrity to be eliminated
2016 It’s Not Rocket Science ITV Co-presenter With Ben Miller and Romesh Ranganathan
2016— Friday Night Football Sky Sports Co-presenter With Jeff Stelling
Fantasy Football Club Co-presenter With Max Rushden and Paul Merson
Guest appearances

She has also made brief appearances in such shows as The IT Crowd, Dispatches, Britain’s Brightest and 1001 Things You


Martha Quinn

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Martha Quinn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Martha Quinn
Born (1959-05-11) May 11, 1959 (age 58)
Albany, New York
Occupation Cable television and radio personality from the 1980s
Spouse(s) Jordan Tarlow

Martha Quinn (born May 11, 1959) is best known as one of the original video jockeys on MTV (along with Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and J.J. Jackson).


Quinn was born in Albany, New York, the daughter of Nina Pattison, a retirement counselor, and David Quinn, an attorney.[1] She is the stepdaughter of personal finance columnist Jane Bryant Quinn, and has two older brothers and a younger half-brother.[2] Prior to joining MTV, Quinn graduated from Ossining High School in 1977, and NYU in 1981.

Quinn is a vegetarian.[3] In 1992, she married musician Jordan Tarlow (ex-Fuzztones); they have two children and live in Malibu, California.


On July 13, 1981, Quinn was working at NYU‘s Weinstein Dormitory where she answered phones and gave students their toilet paper, mail, and lightbulbs. At the end of her day she decided to stop at WNBC Music Radio, where she’d just finished up interning for her senior year.

Coincidentally, California record company executive, Burt Stein, also was visiting WNBC. He asked out loud if anyone knew what Bob Pittman was doing. Pittman had been the program director of WNBC a year or so earlier, but had left to start a new venture: a cable channel called MTV (Music Television).

WNBC assistant program director Buzz Brindle overheard Stein’s question and remembered the new venture. He turned to Quinn and suggested that she should try out for a role at the new network as a VJ.

Brindle called Pittman and told him about his former intern, Quinn. Pittman told him to get her to the MTV studios immediately, as it was the last day of auditions. Quinn immediately took a cab to Hell’s Kitchen for her audition.

Brindle’s idea had some merit. Quinn had spent much of her time at New York University doing two things: performing in TV commercials (McDonald’s first Chicken McNuggets girl, Country Time Lemonade, Clearasil, Campbell’s Soup) and working at WNYU, the college radio station. Quinn would later lament that her father and stepmother, financial columnist Jane Bryant Quinn, had spent their money for Martha to spin Peter, Paul, and Mary vinyl as the host of Just Plain Folk.

Quinn entered into the studio knowing nothing about MTV or what its producers expected of her. She did a four-minute audition where she talked about Earth, Wind, and Fire; MTV executives immediately surrounded her, asking, “Who are you? Where did you come from? How old are you?” Quinn was stunned, realizing she had just found the perfect job for her talents. Two days later Quinn got the news she was an MTV VJ.[4]

Quinn joined Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter and JJ Jackson as original faces and voices of MTV. Being hosts of the nation’s first music television network provided them with an in-depth and up-close perspective on the most popular rock/pop music and artists of the 1980s.

In 1986, Quinn took part in the then World Wrestling Federation WWE Slammy Awards conducting interviews backstage.


Quinn’s presence on MTV through 1991 was noted by Rolling Stone magazine readers, who voted her “MTV’s Best-Ever VJ,” and by Allure Magazine, which referred to the ’80s decade as “the Martha Quinn years.” Quinn’s petite, girl next door personality made her extremely popular among viewers.

Indeed, in a 2011 review of “I Want My MTV” by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum,[5] Dwight Garner recalled: “Every sentient straight male in the country developed a schoolboy crush on Martha Quinn, one of the first V.J.’s, fresh out of New York University and so cute she could make your cranium detonate.”

Musicians Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper recorded a song in 1986 titled “Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin”.

In the early ‘90s, she also hosted the MTV programs Martha’s Greatest Hits, MTV Prime with Martha Quinn, and Rockline. Critics have dubbed Quinn’s departure from MTV as “the day the video music died.” She was also the MTV host at Knebworth 1990.

Acting roles[edit]

In 1984, Quinn appeared as herself in an episode of the short-lived sitcom E/R. Quinn played Tympani Charles in Dangerous Curves in 1988. In 1990, she appeared on the short-lived Brady Bunch sequel The Bradys. Quinn played Tracy, who married Bobby Brady (played by Mike Lookinland). She joined Ed McMahon as a co-host for Star Search in 1994. She was a bi-weekly correspondent on The Early Show in 1999. She also appeared in the 1988 film Tapeheads, the 1989 film sequel Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!, 1991’s Problem Child 2 as Emily, a hot date that received a shocking introduction from John Ritter’s problematic son, Junior, in the 1992 low budget horror film Bad Channels and had a recurring role on Full House. She was also featured in a series of commercials for Neutrogena in the mid-1990s.

Career in the 21st Century[edit]

In 2005, Quinn joined Sirius Satellite Radio network, hosting a one-hour weekly show from her home in Malibu called Martha Quinn Presents: Gods of the Big ’80s for the Big ’80s channel. After Sirius merged with XM Radio, the channel was rebranded as The 80s on 8, and the show was simply titled “Martha Quinn Presents.” Quinn joins the other surviving original MTV VJs in hosting programs for The 80s on 8 (10:00 am – 1:00 pm).

On the September 22, 2005 episode of Comedy Central‘s new series The Showbiz Show with David Spade, Quinn appeared as herself in mock archival footage (dating back to 1983) from her MTV days. In two separate bumper skits, Quinn sarcastically foretold considerably bizarre behavior from stars Michael Jackson and Sting. Subsequent episodes took shots at Whitney Houston and Tommy Lee.

In 2007, Quinn lent her name, face and voice to The ’80s Game with Martha Quinn, a PC trivia game developed by Funkitron. The game featured multiple-choice questions about 1980s culture in categories including music, politics, television, sports, movies and celebrities.[6]

In addition to her SiriusXM duties, Quinn hosts the morning show for KOSF in San Francisco, owned by Bob Pittman’s iHeartMedia.[7]

Richard Neer

Richard Neer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the professor of art history, see Richard T. Neer.

Richard Neer (born c. 1949 in Syracuse, New York) is an Americandisc jockey and sports radio personality who has been involved in, and has chronicled, key changes in both music and sports radio.


Neer began his radio career as a student at Adelphi University, from which he graduated in 1970.[1] He worked at Long Island, New York station WLIR, where he was one of the early adopters of the freeform or progressive rockradio format.[2]

In 1971, he joined the airstaff of progressive rock radio powerhouse WNEW-FM in New York City, where he worked as a disc jockey, doing mornings for eight years over three different eras. He was also program director for five years. For a while, Neer had a friendly relationship with Bruce Springsteen, who would call in to his late-night show,[3] and played a part in bringing Springsteen’s music to a wider audience.[4] He witnessed the growth of the format and then its gradual shift into a more rigid, programmed, classic rock-driven product, a transformation he described in his 2001 book FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio.[5]

Concurrently, Neer began working as a sports radio talk show host at New York station WNEW-AM in 1987 and then at WFAN in 1988. WFAN was the first and most visible of the successful all-sports format radio stations. Neer broadcast on the last day of music at WNEW-FM in 1999, then returned to that station for a bit after its switch to a “hot talk” format replacing the Sports Guys sports talk show hosting “Sports in the Morning—powered by the FAN” up until the time the station started stunting CHR before its flip to Blink.

Neer remains at WFAN doing sports talk, working Saturday mornings and some nights. His call-in show was where Mets fans registered disapproval of the team’s decision to run ads targeted at Latinos.[6] He hosted New York GiantsNFL broadcasts for several years.

Neer’s unemotional style of speaking has prompted Bob Raissman, sports media reporter for the New York Daily News, to refer to Neer as “Sir Sominex,” suggesting that his delivery is soporific.[7][8]

Neer’s brother Dan Neer is also a disc jockey, and currently works at XM Radio.

In 2014 Neer published his first novel, entitled Something of the Night.

Pat St. John


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Pat St. John (born February 12, 1951) is an American radio personality and voice-over artist. He began his radio career on Windsor, Ontario’s CKLW (800 AM) in 1969 and 1970, followed by WKNR (1300 AM) in late 1970 to early 1972, followed by WRIF FM (101.1) to April 1973. Pat is best known for the 42 years he spent in the New York City market working for WPLJ, the former WNEW-FM (now WWFS), WAXQ and WCBS FM. He can now be heard on Sirius XM Radio 60’s on 6 afternoons from 1:00PM to 5PM (Eastern). Pat has done television voiceover work, including announcing for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve from 2000 to 2010.

St. John is known for his conversational on-air style interspersed with bits of music trivia, along with “Collectible Cuts” from his extensive record library. Pat has been called a “walking encyclopedia” when it comes to his knowledge of music. Pat has interviewed many musicians.

Early years in Detroit[edit]

St. John was born in Detroit and was raised on the music of Motown. In early 1969, at the age of 18, he landed his first gig as a radio personality on Windsor’s CKLW, where he also worked for CKLW’s 20/20 news doing newscasts one day a week, and part-time booth announcing on CKLW-TV Channel 9. In late 1970 he moved across the border to WKNR and was then hired in early 1972 at the ABC-owned album-oriented rock (AOR) station WRIF until 1973.

WPLJ and WNEW years[edit]

In April 1973, St. John began an almost 15-year stint at New York’s WPLJ. For most of his years at WPLJ he was rated by Arbitron as the most listened to afternoon radio personality in America (source: ARB’s “Drive-Time Dominators”). He survived the station’s transition from AOR to top 40 in 1983, and during that era, continued his Arbitron ratings success with that same ranking.

He left WPLJ in 1987, and returned to his rock roots on WNEW-FM, which had been WPLJ’s rival during its AOR years. He became the station’s program director in the early 1990s while continuing his mid-day show until being asked to do morning-drive (which he did from 1994 through 1996) and then moved to afternoons where then followed Scott Muni who moved to mid-days). Pat remained with the station until it switched to a hot talk format in 1998.

Recent career[edit]

After the demise of WNEW’s rock format, St. John was one of the first programmers hired by CD Radio in October 1998 as the Director of Rock Programming). CD Radio would later change its name to Sirius Satellite Radio, and then after acquiring XM Satellite Radio become known as SiriusXM, where he remains today as one of their most popular personalities. He also joined WCBS FM in 2002, followed by moving to WAXQ in 2004 where he stayed until late 2006. In July 2007, he returned to the re-incarnated WCBS FM following the station’s short-lived detour to “Jack FM”. In February 2008, St. John actually replaced Howard Cogan as the pre-recorded voice of the Jack character on WCBS-FM-HD2 and its web stream at ilikejack.com until it became ToNY (meaning “To New York” but pronounced “Tony” until later simulcasting WCBS News Radio 880 in December 2012. For the first decade of the new century Pat was the announcer for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. He continues to do voiceover work for radio and TV commercials as well as station imaging for radio and television as well as narration. He can be contacted through his web site http://www.PatStJohn.com.

During St. John’s years with Satellite Radio he has been heard on such channels as “60s Vibrations”, “The Vault”, Deep Tracks, and “Sirius Blues” (where he was also the channel’s Format Manager/Program Director). Since Sirius’ merger with former rival XM in 2008, he can now be heard on The 50s on 5, Classic Rewind, and Bluesville. Pat has also been the voice of Metropolitan Opera Radio on the service, further showing his versatility. Pat is probably the only person who has actually been heard on every single channel (including news, sports, literally every channel), as Pat was chosen to announce system-wide that Howard Stern would be joining Sirius.

Pat’s association with Motown has continued throughout the years as he has been asked for his input on several Motown projects. You’ll see him “thanked” in the liner notes of albums by Marvin Gaye and Jr. Walker and The All-Stars, as well as the box-sets of Stevie Wonder and The Temptations. Pat is the narrator (along with Smokey Robinson and Lionel Richie) of the two-CD set “The Motown Story Volume 1: The 1960s”. Pat can also be heard on Motown’s web site narrating several Motown stories.

Pat has been recognized by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland by being added to their permanent display of America’s Greatest Rock Air Personalities.

April 9, 2013 marked Pat’s 40th anniversary on New York Radio, making him New York’s longest running air personality.

In March of 2015, St. John announced that he was leaving WCBS-FM and that he and his wife were moving to California to be closer to their grandson. He aired his final show on April 12, 2015 marking the end to a legendary career in New York City radio.

Personal life[edit]

St. John and his wife live in San Diego where he broadcasts his 60s on 6 show from a barn on their property.

Scott Muni

Scott Muni

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scott Muni

Scott Muni (May 10, 1930 – September 28, 2004, aged 74) was an American disc jockey, who worked at the heyday of the AM Top 40 format and then was a pioneer of FM progressive rock radio. Rolling Stone magazine termed him “legendary”.[1]


Born Donald Allen Muñoz in Wichita, Kansas, Muni grew up in New Orleans. He joined the United States Marine Corps and began broadcasting there in 1950, reading “Dear John” letters over Radio Guam. After leaving the Corps and having considered acting as a career, he began working as a disc jockey; in 1953 he began working at WSMB in New Orleans. His mentor was Marshall Pearce. In 1955 he began broadcasting at station WAKR in Akron, Ohio, and after that worked in Kankakee, Illinois.


Muni then spent almost 50 years at stations in New York City. He became a Top 40 broadcaster at 570 WMCA in the late 1950s, just before the start of their “Good Guys” era, and did a number of record hops in the New York area. In 1960, he moved to rival Top 40 station 770 WABC. There he did an early evening show called “Scotland’s Yard” and was among the first WABC DJs to capture the attention of the teenage audience for which the station would become famous. He also participated in the competition to cover The Beatles on their first visits to the United States, and thus began a long association with them.

In 1965, Muni left WABC and ran the Rolling Stone Night Club while doing occasional fill-in work for WMCA. Muni had explored some opportunities beyond radio: for a short time he co-hosted a local weekly television show on WABC-TV 7 with Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow, and he would go on to record the spoken single “Letter to an Unborn Child”, about a soldier with a premonition, which was released in 1967 to little acclaim.

Muni decided to return to radio, and in 1966, he joined 98.7 WOR-FM, one of the earliest stations in the country to program free-form Progressive Rock music. The progressive format did not last at that station. In 1967 Muni moved to 102.7 WNEW-FM, which had been running a format of pop hits and show tunes, hosted by an all-woman staff. This time, the Progressive Rock format really took hold, with WNEW-FM becoming a legendary rock station. Muni stayed there for three decades as the afternoon DJ and sometimes program director. Muni was described by fellow WNEW-FM DJ Dennis Elsas as “the heart and soul of the place”. Under assorted management changes during the 1990s WNEW-FM lost its way, and in 1998 Muni ended up hosting a one-hour noontime classic rock program at WAXQ “Q104.3”, where he worked until suffering a stroke in early 2004.

Muni’s low, gravelly voice was instantly recognizable and often lampooned, both by other disc jockeys and by impressionists such as on Imus in the Morning. He was often known to his listeners by the nicknames “Scottso” or “The Professor”, the latter to emphasize both his rock expertise and his age difference with most of his audience. While he sometimes spoke in roundabout phrases and succumbed to progressive rock radio clichés such as “That was a tasty cut from …”, he also conveyed on the air and in his professional relationships a gruff immediacy that was a by-product of both his time in the Marines and his earlier Top 40 skills.

A bizarre exchange occurred in August 1972 when a hostage-holding bank robber called Muni on the air and engaged him in a long, often nonsensical conversation; the two peppered their post-hippie speech with discussions of Bob Dylan music and requests to hear the Grateful Dead.

Muni specialized in playing records from up-and-coming, or sometimes just-plain-obscure, acts from the United Kingdom on his weekly Friday “Things from England” segment. He also hosted the syndicated radio programs Ticket to Ride and Scott Muni’s World of Rock.

Muni often referred to “we interviewed so and so,” making reference to himself and either “Black” Earl Douglas or another producer. Indeed, Muni was friendly with many of the musicians whom he played, and they would often stop by the studio to visit on-air. He played poker in the studio with the Grateful Dead, and he would let Emerson, Lake & Palmer browse the station’s huge record library and put on whatever they liked. An oft-related story tells that he was interviewing Jimmy Page when the guitarist suddenly passed out from the aftereffects of the Led Zeppelin lifestyle. Muni calmly put on a record, revived Page, and completed the interview on the studio floor.

Muni was close to John Lennon and his family, and after Lennon’s murder he vowed to always open his show with a Lennon or Beatles record, a pledge that he kept for the balance of his career.

In addition to radio broadcasting, Muni also did voice-over work for radio and television; the most known were a commercial for Rolaids antacid (“How do you spell relief?”) and promos for Monday Night Football. His voice is also heard giving the introduction on the 1971 live albums Chicago at Carnegie Hall and Melanie at Carnegie Hall.

Muni also voiced many Radio & TV commercials such as Rolaids, JCPenney, Ricoh, etc. He also voiced episodes of NBC’s Friday Night Videos during 1985-86 and also voiced promos for ABC Sports which included boxing events on Wide World of Sports as well as Monday Night Football, the USFL on ABC, the Pro Bowlers Tour, the Sugar Bowl, the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs & Auto Racing including the Indy 500.

Personal life[edit]

Muni had three children with his first wife and two with his second wife, to whom he was married from 1966 until his death in 2004.

Death and legacy[edit]

He died on September 28, 2004 at the age of 74 in New York City and is buried in St. Gertrude’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in Colonia, New Jersey. Muni is included in an exhibit display of important disc jockeys at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The DJs at Q104.3 keep Muni’s promise to New York listeners and still start their noon hour with the “12 o’clock Beatles Block”.

Muni was inducted into the Rock Radio Hall of Fame in the Legends of Rock Radio-Programming” category for his work at WNEW in 2014.

Wolfman Jack

Wolfman Jack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wolfman Jack
Wolfman Jack in 1979.jpg

Wolfman Jack in 1979
Born Robert Weston Smith
(1938-01-21)January 21, 1938
Brooklyn, New York, US
Died July 1, 1995(1995-07-01) (aged 57)
Belvidere, North Carolina, US
Cause of death Heart attack
Occupation Radio personality
Spouse(s) Lucy “Lou” Lamb Smith
Children Joy Rene Smith (deceased)
Tod Weston Smith
Parent(s) Anson Weston Smith and Rosamund Small

Robert Weston Smith, known as Wolfman Jack (January 21, 1938 – July 1, 1995) was an American disc jockey.[1] Famous for his gravelly voice, he credited it for his success, saying, “It’s kept meat and potatoes on the table for years for Wolfman and Wolfwoman. A couple of shots of whiskey helps it. I’ve got that nice raspy sound.”[2]

Early career[edit]

Smith was born in Brooklyn on January 21, 1938, the younger of two children of Anson Weston Smith, an Episcopal Sunday school teacher, writer, editor, and executive vice president of the Financial World, and his wife Rosamond Small. His parents divorced while he was a child. To help keep him out of trouble, his father bought him a large Trans-Oceanic radio, and Smith became an avid fan of R&B music and the disc jockeys who played it, including “Jocko” Henderson of Philadelphia, New York’s “Dr. Jive” (Tommy Smalls), the “Moon Dog” from Cleveland, Alan Freed, and Nashville’s “John R.” Richbourg, who later became his mentor. After selling encyclopedias and Fuller brushes door-to-door, Smith attended the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington, D.C. Graduating in 1960, he began working as “Daddy Jules” at WYOU in Newport News, Virginia. When the station format changed to “beautiful music”, Smith became known as “Roger Gordon and Music in Good Taste”. In 1962, he moved to country music station KCIJ/1050 in Shreveport, Louisiana as the station manager and morning disc jockey, “Big Smith with the Records”. He married Lucy “Lou” Lamb in 1961, and they had two children.[3]

Disc jockey Alan Freed had played a role in the transformation of black rhythm and blues into rock and roll music, and originally called himself the “Moon Dog” after New York City street musician Moondog. Freed both adopted this name and used a recorded howl to give his early broadcasts a unique character. Smith’s adaptation of the Moondog theme was to call himself Wolfman Jack and add his own sound effects. The character was based in part on the manner and style of bluesman Howlin’ Wolf. It was at KCIJ in Shreveport, Louisiana that he first began to develop his famous alter ego Wolfman Jack. According to author Philip A. Lieberman, Smith’s “Wolfman” persona “derived from Smith’s love of horror flicks and his shenanigans as a ‘wolfman’ with his two young nephews. The ‘Jack’ was added as a part of the ‘hipster’ lingo of the 1950s, as in ‘take a page from my book, Jack,’ or the more popular, ‘hit the road, Jack.'”[4]

In 1963, Smith took his act to the border when the Inter-American Radio Advertising’s Ramon Bosquez hired him and sent him to the studio and transmitter site of XERF-AM at Ciudad Acuña in Mexico, a station whose high-powered border blaster signal could be picked up across much of the United States. In an interview with writer Tom Miller, Smith described the reach of the XERF signal: “We had the most powerful signal in North America. Birds dropped dead when they flew too close to the tower. A car driving from New York to L.A. would never lose the station.”[5] Most of the border stations broadcast at 250,000 watts, five times the U.S. limit, meaning that their signals were picked up all over North America, and at night as far away as Europe and the Soviet Union. It was at XERF that Smith developed his signature style (with phrases like “Who’s this on the Wolfman telephone?”) and widespread fame. The border stations made money by renting time to Pentecostal preachers and psychics, and by taking 50 percent of the profit from anything sold by mail order. The Wolfman did pitches for dog food, weight-loss pills, weight-gain pills, rose bushes, and baby chicks. There was even a pill called Florex, which was supposed to enhance one’s sex drive. “Some zing for your ling nuts,” the Wolfman would say.[6]

That sales pitch was typical of Wolfman Jack’s growling, exuberant on-air style. In the spirit of his character name, he would punctuate his banter with howls, while urging his listeners to “get naked” or “lay your hands on the radio and squeeze my knobs”. Part of the persona was his nocturnal anonymity; listeners from coast to coast had no idea how to recognize the face behind the voice that said things like “Wolfman plays the best records in the business, and then he eats ’em!”

XERB was the original call sign for the border blaster station in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, which was branded as The Mighty 1090 in Hollywood, California. The station boasted “50,000 watts of Boss Soul Power”. That station continues to broadcast today with the call sign XEPRS-AM. XERB also had an office in the rear of a small strip mall on Third Avenue in Chula Vista, California. It was not unlike the small broadcast studio depicted in the film American Graffiti (which was filmed at KRE in Berkeley). It was located only 10 minutes from the TijuanaSan Diego border crossing. It was rumored that the Wolfman actually broadcast from this location during the early-to-mid-1960s. Smith left Mexico after eight months and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to run station KUXL. Even though Smith was managing a Minneapolis radio station, he was still broadcasting as Wolfman Jack on XERF via taped shows that he sent to the station. Missing the excitement, however, he returned to border radio to run XERB, and opened an office on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles area in January 1966. The Wolfman would record his shows in Los Angeles and ship his tapes across the border into Mexico, where they would then be beamed across the U.S.[7] It was during his time broadcasting on XERB that Smith met Don Kelley, who would become his personal manager and business partner over a period of over twenty years. It was Kelley who saw the potential for Wolfman Jack to become more than a radio personality. Kelley started to work on a strategy to transform Smith from a cult figure to a mainstream entertainer in film, recordings, and television. He promoted Smith to the major media and formed enduring relationships with key journalists.

In 1971, the Mexican government decided that its overwhelmingly Roman Catholic citizens should not be subjected to proselytizing and banned the Pentecostal preachers from the radio, taking away 80 percent of XERB’s revenue. He then moved to station KDAY 1580 in Los Angeles, which could only pay him a fraction of his former XERB income. However, Smith capitalized on his fame by editing his old XERB tapes and selling them to radio stations everywhere, inventing rock and roll radio syndication. He also appeared on Armed Forces Radio from 1970 to 1986. At his peak, Wolfman Jack was heard on more than 2,000 radio stations in fifty-three countries.[8] He was heard as far off as the Wild Coast, Transkei, on a station based there, Capital Radio 604.[9] In a deal promoted by Don Kelley, The Wolfman was paid handsomely to join WNBC in New York in August 1973, the same month that American Graffiti premiered, and the station did a huge advertising campaign in local newspapers that the Wolfman would propel their ratings over that of their main competitor, WABC, which had “Cousin Brucie” (Bruce Morrow). The ads would proclaim, “Cousin Brucie’s Days Are Numbered”, and they issued thousands of small tombstone-shaped paperweights which said, “Cousin Brucie is going to be buried by Wolfman Jack”.[10] After less than a year, WNBC hired Cousin Brucie, and Wolfman Jack went back to California to concentrate on his syndicated radio show, which was carried on KRLA-Pasadena (Los Angeles) from 1984-1987. He moved to Belvidere, North Carolina, in 1989, to be closer to his extended family.[11] In the 80s, he did a brief stint at XeROK 80, another border blaster that was leased by Dallas investors Robet Hanna, Grady Sanders, and John Ryman. Ryman then moved Smith to Scott Ginsburg-owned Y95 in Dallas, Texas. Ryman and legendary programmer Buzz Bennet rocketed the station to fame.

Film, television, and music career[edit]

In the early days, Wolfman Jack made sporadic public appearances, usually as a Master of Ceremonies (an “MC”) for rock bands at local Los Angeles clubs. At each appearance he looked a little different because Smith hadn’t decided on what the Wolfman should look like. Early pictures show him with a goatee; however, sometimes he combed his straight hair forward and added dark makeup to look somewhat “ethnic”. Other times he had a big afro wig and large sunglasses. The ambiguity of his race contributed to the controversy of his program. It wasn’t until he appeared in the 1969 film, A Session with the Committee (a montage of skits by the seminal comedy troupe The Committee), that mainstream America got a good look at Wolfman Jack.

Wolfman Jack released two albums on the Wooden Nickel label: Wolfman Jack (1972) and Through the Ages (1973).[12] His 1972 single “I Ain’t Never Seen a White Man” hit #106 on the Billboard Singles Charts.

In 1973, he appeared in director George Lucas‘ second feature film, American Graffiti, as himself. His broadcasts tie the film together, and Richard Dreyfuss‘s character catches a glimpse of the mysterious Wolfman in a pivotal scene. In gratitude for Wolfman Jack’s participation, Lucas gave him a fraction of a “point” — the division of the profits from a film — and the extreme financial success of American Graffiti provided him with a regular income for life. He also appeared in the film’s 1979 sequel, More American Graffiti, though only through voice-overs.

Subsequently, Smith appeared in several television shows as Wolfman Jack. They included The Odd Couple; What’s Happening!!; Vega$; Wonder Woman; Hollywood Squares; Married… with Children; Emergency!; and Galactica 1980. He was the regular announcer and occasional host for The Midnight Special on NBC from 1973 to 1981. He was also the host of his self-titled variety series, The Wolfman Jack Show, which was produced in Canada by CBC Television in 1976, and syndicated to stations in the US.

He promoted Clearasil and Olympia beer in radio and TV commercials in the 1970s. In the 1980s he promoted the “Rebel” Honda motorcycle in television commercials.

Listening to Wolfman Jack’s broadcasting influenced Jim Morrison‘s lyrics for The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat) song. He is also mentioned in the Grateful Dead song, “Ramble On Rose”: “Just like Crazy Otto/Just like Wolfman Jack/Sittin’ plush with a royal flush/Aces back to back.”[13]

He also furnished his voice in The Guess Who‘s 1974 tribute, the top 40 hit single, “Clap for the Wolfman“. A few years earlier, Todd Rundgren recorded a similar tribute, “Wolfman Jack”, on the album Something/Anything?; the single version of the track includes a shouted talk-over intro by the Wolfman but on the album version Rundgren performs that part himself. Canadian band The Stampeders also released a cover of “Hit the Road Jack” in 1975 featuring Wolfman Jack; the storyline of the song involved a man named “Cornelius” calling Jack on the phone, telling him the story of how his girlfriend had thrown him out of the house, and trying to persuade Jack to let him come and stay with him (at this point, Jack ended the call). His voice is also featured in the song “Did You Boogie (With Your Baby)” by Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids (Billboard HOT 100 peak #29 in October 1976) and an imitation of him is featured as a cameo in “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” by Sugarloaf (Billboard HOT 100 peak #9 in March 1975). In September 1975, Wolfman Jack appeared on stage with the Stampeders (singing “Hit the Road Jack”) as a warm-up act for the Beach Boys at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, Canada and that same year he also performed “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” with Sugarloaf on The Midnight Special.

A clip of a 1970s radio advertisement featuring Wolfman Jack urging registration with the United States Selective Service (aka “the draft”) is incorporated into the Depeche Mode cover of the song “Route 66“. Those radio advertisements were extracted from half-hour radio programs that were distributed to radio stations across the country. His syndicated music radio series was sponsored by the United States Air Force, designed as a weekly program-length public service infomercial to promote the benefits of joining the Air Force. The series ran from 1971 until 1977.

In July 1974, Wolfman Jack was the MC for the Ozark Music Festival at the Missouri State Fair grounds, a huge three-day rock festival with an estimated attendance of 350,000 people, making it one of the largest music events in history.

In 1975-80, Wolfman Jack hosted Halloween Haunt at Knott’s Berry Farm, which transforms itself into Knott’s Scary Farm each year for Halloween. It is the most successful special event of any theme park in the country, and has often sold out.[14][15][16]

In 1980, he took the small role of Reverend Billy in the cult horror comedy film Motel Hell. From 1980 to 1982, Wolfman Jack voiced the intro to the cartoon The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang airing Saturday mornings on ABC. In 1984, Wolfman Jack voiced a cartoon version of himself for the short-lived DIC Entertainment cartoon Wolf Rock TV (aka Wolf Rock Power Hour) airing Saturday mornings on ABC.[17] In 1985, Wolfman Jack’s voice is heard several times in the ABC made for TV Halloween movie, The Midnight Hour. Jack recorded several bits for the movie and is seen at the beginning of the movie as an extra. The song “Clap for the Wolfman” is heard during the movie as well. In 1986, Wolfman Jack appeared as the “High Rama Lama” in the CBS animated special Garfield in Paradise In 1987, Wolfman Jack appeared as himself in the music video for Joe Walsh‘s hit single, “The Radio Song“, which was featured on his eighth studio solo album, Got Any Gum?.

In 1988, he was the host “Little Darlin’s Rock and Roll Palace”, a rock and roll show on The Nashville Network, 2 seasons recorded in Kissimee, Florida at little Darlin’s Rock and Roll Palace. Third season recorded in Nashville and Baltimore. The shows featured house band Rockin Robin backing the greatest artists of the ’50s and ’60s including The Coasters, Shirelles, Lou Christie Tommy Roe, Del Shannon, and Roger McGuinn.

In 1989, he provided the narration for the US version of the arcade game DJ Boy. His voice was not used in the home version of the game due to memory limitations. In 1991, “Little Darlin’s Rock and Roll Palace” in Kissimmee, Florida renamed the club as “Wolfman Jack’s Rock and Roll Palace”. The New Year’s Eve grand opening featured, Joe Walsh, Melaine, Lester Chambers, The Impressions and Rockin Robin. Wolfman Jack played himself in an episode of Married… with Children (“Ship Happens: Part 1”) that first aired in February 1995.

Have Mercy: Confessions of the Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal, Wolfman’s autobiography, was published in 1995 to stellar reviews in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Kirkus Reviews, which said it “Reads like a collaboration between Mark Twain and Sergio Leone…” His co-author was Byron Laursen.

Radio Caroline[edit]

When the one surviving ship in what had originally been a pirate radio network of Radio Caroline North and Radio Caroline South sank in 1980, a search began to find a replacement. Because of the laws passed in the UK in 1967, it became necessary for the sales operation to be situated in the US. For a time, Don Kelley, Wolfman Jack’s business partner and personal manager, acted as the West Coast agent for the planned new Radio Caroline, but the deal eventually fell apart.

As a part of this process, Wolfman Jack was set to deliver the morning shows on the new station. To that end, Wolfman Jack recorded a number of programs that never aired, because the station didn’t come on air according to schedule. (It eventually returned from a new ship in 1983 which remained at sea until 1990.) Today those tapes are traded among collectors of his work.


Robert Smith died of a heart attack in Belvidere, North Carolina, on July 1, 1995.

Smith had finished broadcasting what would be his last Wolfman Jack radio broadcast, a weekly program nationally syndicated from The Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Washington, D.C. originating on XTRA 104.1 FM (WXTR-FM). That night he said, “I can’t wait to get home and give Lou a hug, I haven’t missed her this much in years,” referring to the concluded promotional tour for his new autobiography. “He walked up the driveway, went in to hug his wife and then just fell over,” said Lonnie Napier, vice president of Wolfman Jack Entertainment.[2][18]