Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bye Bye Johnny

Johnny Helm left K/men January 1971, and in his own words:

Johnny Helm said...
"Christmas 1970 was not a very merry one for me. Dave McCormick, one of the best PD's ever, was let go the week before. "Scooter" Seagraves was named the new program director. I gave my two weeks notice, and left K/MEN the first week in January. I loved the station and the people that worked there. New management came in and totally wrecked a great radio station. "Scooter" had no clue how to program the station. He added a bunch of album cuts that turned listeners off in groves. "
This brought up a question from one of your listeners, Johnny.
"Interesting bit from the Helmsman. So where did JH go afer KMEN and thereafter? Quit radio??By the way, I do enjoy listening to you on KFXM.com. It's the tidbits I enjoy also."
My comment...
I know off and on during the 1970's Johnny returned to K/men, what did he do after he left K/men in 1971?


Johnny Helm said...

I'll try to answer the question as briefly as I can. While working my full time shift at K/MEN I was moonlighting at KEZY in Anaheim, doing Sunday's from 6 to 10pm. Arnie McClatchy, the station's PD, promised me the next full time opening when it became available. I took a vacation to Hawaii in January of '71. While on vacation, Arnie called me for the job and unfortunately, my parents were also on vacation. In those days there were no "answer machines" for phones. I missed the call. Arnie was pressed to get someone and Paul Freeman was hired. My heart was broken when I learned of the news. I decided to go in a different direction and leased a service station.
In 1975 Bruce Chandler told me about a weekend opening at KFXM. I did weekends there until late 1976 and moved over to K/MEN again from '76 until late '78. My wife and I split up and I gave up radio....until I got my little gig at the "new" KFXM. I just do a three hour a week show on Saturday's from noon to 3pm. It's "tracked" in Pasadena, and I'm having a great time doing it. Thanks for listening!!

Anonymous said...

That fills the question I had.

Except JH fails to mention we
almost lost him a few years ago.
Personal maybe but part of the

Bruce Johnson said...

Johnny also failed to tell us that he did jock for a very short time (a few years ago) at KDES playing Oldies in Palm Springs. I was told that KDES management was surprised that Johnny didn't sound as "youthful" as they remember him from the 1970s (well, WHO DOES?) and that Helm had difficulty running the computer driven "board." They wanted Johnny to be part of KDES, but sadly he just didn't give management what they wanted.

Anonymous said...

OK, JH what else are you "hiding"??
Just kidding. I'm sure H didn't
intend to make this a "tell all"

But some interesting tidbits about
KFXM and KMEN would be good.
Maybe some gossip.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if he does not sound like he’s 24 anymore? It’s great to hear the Helmsman every Saturday from noon to 3. I listen every week and have turned on a bunch of friends to it. Between the music, jingles, and JH, I almost feel like a teenager crusin E St again, even though I live 1000 miles away. Keep up the good work Johnny. Now, if we could just get Dirty Don to start his I hate women club again…………

Harley Davidson said...

I'd love to have Johnny track some stuff for K/men. There's no money in it though and my studios are far away from the cow pasture in Berdoo. I too enjoy listening to the Helmsman on KFXM.

Bill Earl said...

I actually DROVE Johnny Helm to his first "tracking session" at KFXM-FM, and I watched him reconstruct his "Helms Man" jingle, and his first KFXM-FM voice tracks. On the way home, Johnny and I listened to them on CD in the car. I can assure you Johnny sounded better than I ever did on my best day, his timing was perfect, and in my book, he's da man! When I resigned from my Noon-3pm shift last July, Helm was moved into my old shift, and in all honesty, he was SUPERB! I actually watched Johnny thru the glass in 1967 at the old Holiday Inn. Johnny is a TOTAL PRO and has still got the chops he always had.
BIG PRAISE for Johnny Helm from this ex-KFXM-FMer who was lucky to be his driver to and from that tracking session. He's a gentleman, a pro, and the MASTER of his craft.

Gary Green said...

Bruce Johnson said...
"Johnny also failed to tell us that he did jock for a very short time (a few years ago) at KDES playing Oldies in Palm Springs."

Really? Any sour grapes here?

Do you work for RR?

Did you work the same time slot at KFXM when Johnny was at KMEN? (and got you’re ratings butt kicked)

Anything in your background you “failed to tell us”?

If I turn your name around why do I get John (son) (nie?) Bruce?

Bill Earl said...

Can I chime in again?

I consider Jonny Bruce a personal friend of mine....

I "special guested" on Jonny's op/ed talk show on KPTR-AM in Cathedral City (Palm Springs) FIVE different times last year.

(Thanks, Jonny..let's do it again for 2012!)

Jonny once told me that when Johnny Helm left KFXM for KMEN, it was Helm who helped Jonny Bruce get hired on KFXM!

Jonny owes his start on KFXM to Johnny Helm.

Jonny Bruce might have been instrumental in Helm's gig at KDES, too.

Knowing Jonny Bruce as I do, there is much admiration and warm vibes between those two legendary jocks.

(P.S. When I saw "Bruce Johnson" I thought of the Beach Boys "Bruce Johnson.")

THe bottom line is that Johnny Helm, who was very sick a few years ago, against all odds CAME BACK and is now heard on a terrestrial FM in the vast Antelope Valley.

As Ted Quillin once said, "You can't make a comeback unless you've been somewhere."

Helm has BEEN "there", and unlike many many others, HE CAME BACK.

And IS back.

Saturday after Saturday.

(MY old KFXM-FM shift)

Long live Johnny Helm!

The Helmsman said...

WOW! Thanks for all the positive comments! Yes, I did work at KDES for a few short months and was let go. Not to make excuses, but I'd been completely out of radio for 25 years, and for much the time at KDES I had a horrible throat infection. In May of 2005 I had an abdominal aortic aneurysm and nearly died. I thank God for all the prayers and healing that occured. I'm doing the "new" KFXM because I still love radio, and if I got a job offer, I'd give it a lot of consideration.

Gary Green said...

Bill Earl said...

“(P.S. When I saw "Bruce Johnson" I thought of the Beach Boys "Bruce Johnson.")”

Thanks for the impute Big Bad Earl.
Incidentally, it’s Bruce JOHNSTON, not Johnson, who is touring in the band with Mike Love who are renting the name The Beach Boys. I fall on the side of Brian Wilson and Al Jardine in that whole messy dispute.

I do miss listening to you on KFXM-FM. The Helmsman along with yourself made the weekend go much faster.

I hope you are right that it was not Jonny Bruce that made that pissy little post as Bruce Johnson.

Circumstantial evidence can be improperly damning at times. As our old friend Mr. Arreger once claimed.

Bill Earl said...

dear gary

i can ASSURE you that knowing jonny bruce as i do, he is one gentle man who has spoken very kindly of Johnny Helm.

He, nor I, would only have praises for the Helms Man.

But being a jock myself, we have to realize that we are FAIR GAME and that those who don't like us, for whatever reason, are out there.

As long as there are MORE that DO like us is what we hope for :)

I saw "The Beach Boys" in Ventura last August...very sad it is just Mike and Bruce (JOHNSTON)...

sadly, the audience (hopped up on watered-down fairgrounds beer) didn't care...enough of the hits were there to keep the crowd happy

i've seen the Beach Boys going back to the "Surf's Up" LP era in concert

mike and bruce are NOT the "real" Beach Boys as lomg as Al Jardine, David Marks, and Brian Wilson are NOT on the same stage.

I want a "Beach Boys" concert with Brian, Al, Mike, Bruce,and David....all still alive and kicking.

Until then, it's NOT the REAL Beach Boys.

Anonymous said...

who is Gary Green? Never heard of you. Were you ever on the air?

Greg Mitchell said...

Here's my favorite Johnny Helm Story - I don't recall if I told you this one at the KMEN Reunion in the mid 90's, Johnny -

In that 1975-76 period that the Helmsman was doing weekends at KFXM. I followed him on the air one Sunday, doing something like the 3-7PM shift. I had production to finish up so I came in an hour or two early to take care of that. I walked into the control room about 2:58PM and found it empty - the 45 playing on the air had about 1 minute left on it, there nothing else cued up, and the Helmsman was long gone...

Harley Davidson said...

The Greg Mitchell story makes me think that what happened to him is an Inland Empire radio "thing". Jeff Dean did something similar when I was following him on Saturday at KGGI(the studios were in the same building at KMEN in the famous "cow pasture"). I was running a little late, I had to be on the air at 10am, I'm pulling into the parking lot at 9:58 or so, and Jeff passes me IN HIS CAR, leaving the station. He started the last song and left! At least Johnny knew you were in the building.

Gary Green said...

Bill Earl said...
"i've seen the Beach Boys going back to the "Surf's Up" LP era in concert
I want a "Beach Boys" concert with Brian, Al, Mike, Bruce,and David....all still alive and kicking."

How about Ricky Fataar, Blondie Chaplin, Daryl Dragon and Glen Campbell as backup?

Keep an eye out for “A Postcard from California”, Al’s new release with Brian, David, Glen, John Stamos, and Al’s boys.

Were you at the 1972 Long Beach Arena concert where “It’s a Beautiful Day” played warm-up? They hauled Brian up on stage and played until 2:30 in the morning (until the cops cut the power to the band) Best Beach Boys concert ever.

Anonymous said...
“who is Gary Green? Never heard of you.”

In all honesty, I have never heard of you either.


Were you ever a victim of the famous female poolside “flasher” at the Holiday Inn?

Bill Earl said...

I've been to quite a few Beach Boys concerts, but my favorite was in late 1971 at the Long Beach Arena.
Mike wore his "Surfer Girl"-cover Pendleton and Brian came on stage at the end and I believe he did "Surf's Up" as that LP was their latest.

Anonymous said...

Hi Boys and Girls...I've known Johnny since 1968. He was an evening "legend" when he was at K/men in the 8-Midnight slot...he had an Arbitron rating of something like 21.5% of total audience during one "book" in the late 60's. Dave McCormick promoted him to afteroon drive because Dave said "he DESERVED it!" When the new PD came in, HE took afternoons. One can't blame Johnny for leaving the station. A deejay wants to continue to grow and make gains in his/her career. It was a good thing that John could afford to quit. Most would just have to grin and bear it, even if it was a very UNFAIR circumstance. Johnny sounds great on KFXM.COM....he loves what he does and it shows.

Anonymous said...

No I am not Bruce Johnson ! I miss Johnny Helm being here at KDES. Jonny Bruce