When I got to the radio station at 5, the hallways were curiously (or predictably) deserted. I went into my brother's tiny office and as I sat down, he looked perplexed. He said, "Well, Dan. We can go on like this. Every day where you come in and take feedback and get upset, or....." He let his voice trail off.
I said, "What are you trying to tell me?"
He said, "I'm saying you can continue to be miserable or....." Again, letting his voice trail off.
I was finally so upset by his lack of courage, consideration or empathy that I said to him, "If you're trying to tell me I'm fired, that's fine, Richard. Go ahead."
Just then, there was a knock on the door. It was Mike Kakoyiannis. "Oh, am I interrupting something?"
Richard then said, "No. No. It's fine, Mike. Danny says it's o.k."
I was flabbergasted. I knew my brother had problems relating to people emotionally, but I never envisioned him being this cowardly to his own brother. A heart to heart might have gone a long way here. Anyway, I was taken off mornings. I was put on weekends and fill-ins. My brother and Mark McKuen took over mornings. I had been given all of almost 11 months to follow in the footsteps of a morning legend. Thanks for "the most support ever given a morning show in the history of the station."
At the time, my syndication was still doing well, but the problems I spoke about earlier were just beginning.
I was given Friday nights 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday mornings 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Sundays 2 p.m - 6 p.m. I also was the first weekend person called off the bench to fill in for Scott or Pete or Richard. I also threw myself into trying to save "Retro-Rock" by calling program directors of radio stations to get them to carry the show. I was successful at convincing about a dozen major markets to pick up the show. I proposed in April of 1983 to a woman I had dated for a few months when we both attended Syracuse University, Rosemary. She was so beautiful and I was in love with her at first sight. We dated a few months and then she broke up with me WAY back in 1973. I had bumped into her a few times through the years. She was with her boyfriend at the time and I was with my girlfriend once and the second time, someone was obviously breaking up with her at the same restaurant I was eating. She was in tears and I was glad she never saw me. The third time I ran into her was while I was still doing mornings. My college buddy Stuart Layne was visiting home, and had decided to spend a weekend in the Hamptons. He called me on a Thursday morning to see if I'd come out to join him. After my show the next morning, I hopped the Hampton Jitney (bus) and he picked me up. The next day, we decided to go to brunch in Southhampton. He drove while I looked for a place. I pointed one out to him, and he said, "No. I know a place around the corner." When I walked in the door of the cafe, I heard "Oh, there's Dan Neer." I first thought, "Wow. Some radio fan knows what I look like." Looking over, there was Rosemary, sitting with a girlfriend of hers. My friend Stu & I went over and talked for a while. Stu asked if they would like to come with him while he looked at some clothes at a shop across the street. They both agreed. Stu shopped, and I asked Rosemary out for that night. She said she had a commitment. I asked her what about the next night. She said, "Same commitment." I thought that was the end of it, but I woke up the next morning in my New York City apartment to the phone ringing. It was Rosemary and she said, "I blew off my commitment. What do you want to do?"
I took her to Angelo's in Little Italy and we wound up marrying a couple of years later and we have stayed together for 32 years and counting. We've had some rough times, but we've gotten through them and it made us stronger and more appreciative of being with someone you love. We've also had 2 beautiful children and enjoyed the incredible roller coaster ride that brings to every person who brings people into this world. The incredible highs and incredible lows of life. Again, getting through them all creates an enormous sense of gratitude.
Anyway, Rosemary was always supportive of the change in my radio career. She was quite a big deal in the world of fashion, picking colors and fabrics for one of the largest retailing organizations in the world, who advised Bloomingdales, Harrod's of London & Lafayette Gallerie in Paris among others. She would at times travel the world, going to the fashion shows in Paris, Milan and then jetting off to India and China to bring the fabrics and colors for the next season's lines to them and get them working on the clothes. She was immensely talented and to this day, I would never pick a color for anything...I just say to Rosemary, "That looks beautiful, honey." And it does.
A new program director took over WNEW-FM in 1985 by the name of Charlie Kendall to "allow Richard to concentrate on his morning show." Charlie at the time had a bunch of success in Philadelphia for our sister station WMMR-FM. He installed more rigid formats and had a brusque style but understood how important Scott Muni was to the station, so he always made sure Scott knew how much Charlie admired him. He also was notorious at the time for doing copious amounts of cocaine and drinking Jack Daniels on the side. It would lead to a few days when Charlie was "not in a good mood." I am happy to say that Charlie got himself sober several years later and has remained so and has become a wonderful human being.
Sometime that year, WPLJ-FM began to "head in a different direction," and they began to let go some of their long time jocks. As I may have mentioned earlier, as a music lover, I found it very difficult to listen to that station that repeated songs in tight rotation and didn't play any unknown music. They also "sped up" the songs to "get more music in." The jocks were liner-readers and didn't say much of any substance. A couple of them were o.k, another were others who had large egos and I had a hard time listening to them because I didn't like the way they sounded on the air. One of the latter was Carol Miller. She was among the first djs on WPLJ to get let go as a result of "the direction change." She had a good agent and solid numbers, so someone high up the food chain at WNEW-FM (read: GM or above) was convinced by Carol's agent of her "name value" and they wanted to hire her. I became the victim to WNEW-FM's need to get her an air shift as they were afraid she would wind up at one of our competitors (Morta Della!) while other full-time djs on WNEW-FM were under contract. On my Friday night show, I took to taking requests and playing some a couple of comedy bits every hour. Listeners and I were having a lot of fun. One Friday night in December of 1985, I played a Monty Python song, "Sit on My Face." The audience loved it. I got a call saying I had to come in and see Charlie Kendall on Monday at 5 p.m. Damn, another dreadful 5 p.m. meeting with the program director. Here we go again!