By now you know that Dick Clark passed away at the age of 82 yesterday. My goal, when I got into radio was to be the next Dick Clark. I wanted to influence what young people listened to and be their "trusted adult" friend. This was important to me growing up here in the Ozarks, where adults don't respect young people or their music. I was surprised to find that Dick Clark was only a year older than my parents.
I think President Obama pinpointed what made Dick Clark so popular with the younger audience. He said in a statement, "But more important than his groundbreaking achievements was the way he made us feel -- as young and vibrant and optimistic as he was." Dick Clark seemed young because he acted young, positive and having fun.The problem I have with most local radio in the Ozarks is the negativity. As far back as I can remember Springfield radio announcers seem to say things like "We ain't gonna like what them thar folks out in Californy like. That thar is stoopid!" Part of the problem is every thing in this part of the world is geared toward old white people with too much money and guys who own large pickup trucks with Confederate flags in the back window. For some reason, nobody in the radio industry in this area was interested in helping me to become the "next Dick Clark." For some stupid reason they are more interested in the next Rush Limbaugh.
While many Baby Boomers associate Chubby Checker, Fabian and Connie Francis with American Bandstand, my generation remembers the regular appearances of the glam/prog/new wave act Sparks. It was always fun when Dick Clark got around to talking to the keyboard player Ronald, who looked like a cross between Adolph Hitler and Darla Hood's cranky father in the Little Rascals.
As Dick always said at the end of American Bandstand, "So Long!"