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Monday, May 19, 2014
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The Essence of Radio Blew By Friday Night


Murray Saul passed on yesterday. The following is for those who are not aware of the contribution to radio made by this man. The irony: It was written exactly 6 years ago, today. RIP Murray.


Monday, May 19, 2008

There are so many awards ceremonies in the radio industry; honoring executives is just one more chicken dinner with the managers. You can read about every one of them in the major trades. Here we'll go down a different road to showcase one of the players in early FM, one of the people whose talent execs used - to line their own pockets.

If you have tenure as a radio professional, to where Springsteen was a new kid you heard in addition to the talented staff which shook up the airwaves in Cleveland, Ohio on an FM station dubbed The Buzzard, you may also remember hearing about a "GetDown Man," who pulled a sixty share every Friday at 6pm.

"Radio didn't acknowledge someone who truly reflected its audience's feelings and - in this case - still brings a smile with the thought of "GOTTAGOTTAGOTTA - GET DOWN," but this community did." WMMS was the radio station. Murray Saul was the codger, mid-40 years young at the time, grabbing the microphone at the end of another long week.* He would shake Cleveland into a party time weekend, and (this is not an exaggeration) the whole of this city's 18-40 population would tune in to make it official.

"…BECAUSE IT'S FRIDAY! FRIDAY! FRIDAY! FRIDAY!" The chant was contagious. "…BECAUSE IT'S FRIDAY! FRIDAY! FRIDAY!" You'd even hear people yelling it from their cars. "YAYZA! YOWZA! BOWZA! WOWZA!" Cleveland wrapped its weekend around Murray Saul, and a generation was stamped with a memory of the GetDown Man.

I'll offer a little more background later. First, the purpose of this prose: Murray Saul turned 80 years old last week without recognition from the industry. So, let us take the time to honor someone who was an honest-to-goodness reason why radio connected to the community.

Radio, at one time, spoke the common, local language: "SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAUUUGGGHHHT!"

Honestly, don't you often feel that way?

John Gorman was leading a youthful charge into Cleveland then. He had one of the best lineups of talent this country's ever heard (a point not easily contested).

While Smulyan, Smyth, and Hogan get black tie affairs, one would think that radio, built on talent like Murray's, would give a nod in the industry press to this once bright star turning 80. Not.

So, John Gorman went about putting together a birthday bash for Murray Saul, at a club like the ones local radio stations used to connect with - and the town turned out!

Radio didn't acknowledge someone who truly reflected its audience's feelings and - in this case - still brings a smile with the thought of "GOTTAGOTTAGOTTA - GET DOWN," but this community did. Many Clevelanders came and cheered. Thirty-some years after Murray Saul left the air, he packed a local club and had everyone thanking him for being part of their lives.

Can you think of any air personality in your town today with this type of impact?

Now come some details, featuring true theater-of-the-mind. (Hear a selection of Murray's GetDowns, archived at Fordham University. To get the quickest serving of what this man was about, fastfoward to the 7-minute mark and pick it up where the GetDown Man talks about the WMMS Christmas Party.)

Below is a clip from Murray's final GetDown on Friday, May 16, 2008. You may want to listen to his style first, just to give yourself the pacing for how the following was delivered:

IT IS SOOO GOOD TURNING 80 AND HAVING A RELAPSE OF MY
MID LIFE CRISIS!

AND REMEMBERING A SHARED BOWL OR TWO AND ALL THAT WENT WITH THAT!
HONOR THY HYDROPONIC AND THY HOMEGROWN!

I'M INTRIGUIED BY THE 21ST CENTURY!
SO FAR, THE U.S. HAS BEEN OLD LINE BLACKSMITHS,
YELLING OUT TO THE RAPIDLY FLATTENING WORLD…

…"GET A HORSE!" - AND SHOOTING THE TIRES OUT OF A BRAND NEW AUTOMOBILE!
JOBS ARE BEING SWALLOWED UP BY COMPUTERS OR SENT OFF TO INDIA AND CHINA!
THIS ADMINISTRATION SHRUGS AND PRETENDS WE CAN AFFORD ALL THE NONSENSE AND ALIENATES HALF THE WORLD AND BUYS OFF THE REST STARTING WITH BUSH BUDDIES - THE SAUDI ROYAL FAMILY!

I BELIEVE BARACK OBAMA IS A REMARKABLE FELLOW! BARACK IS THE SMARTEST PERSON IN ALMOST ANY ROOM AND COMFORTABLE ALMOST ANYWHERE EXCEPT A BOWLING ALLEY!

HILLARY JUST SEES THE WORLD THROUGH 20TH CENTURY CRINKLY EYES! BOTOX ANYONE?

WE OUGHT TO BE A BIT MIFFED THAT HILLARY IS GOING AFTER OBAMA BY PLAYING TO THE ARCHIE BUNKER CROWD AND SAYING HIS NECK ISN'T RED ENOUGH!

BARACK'S FRESHNESS HARKS BACK TO THE GLOW JFK BROUGHT TO THE WHITE HOUSE AFTER THE DRABNESS OF THE EISENHOWER YEARS!

AND CAN WE ALL AGREE THAT GEORGE W. BUSH IS THE WORST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES - EVER???

I'M BLOWN AWAY BY ALL THE ATTENTION THIS EVENT HAS BROUGHT LOCAL MEDIA WISE!

...

IT IS THE ALMIGHTY, MIGHTY, MIGHTY WEEKEND….
……AND WE'VE GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA
GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA
GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA
GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA GOT-TA
GOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTA
GOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTAGOTTA
GOTTAGOTTAGOTTA - GET DOWN, DAMMIT!


Amen, Murray. You made it to 80!

* I asked John Gorman to capsulate Murray Saul's career: Average Get Down length: five minutes weekly, though Murray also did two public affairs shows on WMMS (the serious side of Murray) - Jabberwocky, Sunday mornings at 8 and We, the People, Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 3:25 PM. (How about that? an afternoon drive pub affairs program). He took over the public affairs shows in mid-1975.

Murray was not a "drop in" personality. He wasn't part of the morning show nor did he show up as a cameo in other dayparts. We kept the mystique alive.





Murray Saul at 80 years old, doing it with a thirty-year-old's rhthym.
That's John Gorman in the background.




The GetDown Man with three of the WMMS Buzzard's Nuclear Army.
These ladies worked behind the scenes. (L-R: Irene Dardis, Traffic Director;
Judy Goldberg, Business Manager; and Jo Dorado, Continuity Director.





Read about "The Get Down never heard with Murray Saul and Dennis Wilson" at BuzzardBook.wordpress.com.

















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