HELLO AMERICA!—When we got word that Barry Pope one of the best radio hosts in the business was preparing for a return to radio, our year 2017 was suddenly re-energized. He is one of those hard working guys who helmed some of the most powerful radio outlets in the country: St. Louis – KATZ, Kansas City-KPRS-FM, Memphis – WDIA, New Orleans– WBOK, Pittsburgh –WAMO, Philadelphia – POWER97, Baltimore – 14ZYQ, Atlanta –WAOK, Los Angeles–The BEAT92.3, Oakland/San Francisco–KDIA, KRE, KSOL, Stanford University–KZSU.
I first met Barry when he was helming a daily show in Atlanta. I was on tour promoting three of my national entertainment publications and was booked for his show. It was the best experience I’ve ever had in front of a microphone, Pope made it so easy I totally forgot I was speaking to millions of people. It was as though we were sitting in a bar having a helluva time exchanging news, rumors and of course juicy scandals.
A few years later, I received a call from him telling me that he had signed a great deal at radio station KDIA in San Francisco and he would like for me to be one of his co-hosts, dealing with entertainment interviews and news. The timing was perfect because I had just ended my contract with NBC as Director. Therefore, anxious to reconnect with another network or studio to produce the musical I had written for Louis Armstrong, a legend who encouraged me before I went off to college from Philadelphia.
However, receiving Barry Pope’s offer changed everything. The idea of San Francisco and everything it offers had me packing my bags and off I was to the city by the Bay. Oh, by the way, my friend actor Philip Michael Thomas needed a ride to visit family there, so, we were off to new adventures and challenges. For Philip, within a few months, he was signed to the Don Johnson series, “Miami Vice” and I joined Barry Pope at KDIA and our teaming was an instant smash!
Appearing on the Barry Pope Show for 4 hours daily, five days a week served as a Master Class in communication. The continual chatter between us, the tons of calls from people who listened to us daily as well as interviews I had to set up with celebrities from New York to Hollywood who were appearing in the Bay area somewhere. Barry and I were like one, it wasn’t long before I could sense how he might respond to one of my comments and I could read him easily by simply listening to the emotion in his voice. We became brothers in a sense and it felt good and safe.
Our radio partnership lasted for over 20 years no matter where I was in the country; even if I was doing a film or show in New York or Hollywood, he always depended on my getting up in time to open our KDIA radio morning show. Then we eventually learned very quickly that every good thing has an ending. We received news that the Walt Disney Company purchased KDIA and planned to introduce a completely different programming for the station.
We, of course, were surprised but it also forced us to face a certain kind of reality and quickly moved to consider other entertainment possibilities. Now, hearing about Pope’s return to radio is the best bit of news I could possibly hear. Welcome back partner and remember, all it takes is a call and I’ll be ready.