Learning to talk to the phone company. #NeilRogers #WIOD
In 2016 Neil Rogers was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. The acceptance speech was delivered by his long time producer Jorge Rodriguez.
Thank you thank you Scott Shannon. Neil used to say never trust anybody with two first names. OK, boy it’s tough tough crowd. Don’t worry I’m not going to talk for a long time so don’t freak out. I’m not going to read Neil’s Wikipedia entry you can and the literature that you have there is all pretty accurate for the most part. Not everything but nevertheless.
I just want to say that you know Neil would have been 74 the 5th of this month and on the 4th which was a Friday I do my internet humble little internet radio show what you can hear on sofloradio.com. And around his birthday we like to celebrate and wax nostalgic about the good old days and on this particular show I was joined by Joe Castello, my backup producer, who produced Neil’s show if I was not available and produced my show if I sat in for Neil under the Beasley regime at WQAM. We were also joined by Brit Somers formerly known as Boca Brian soundsmith extraordinaire – who assembled the audio clip that we’re about to hear – and as we’re listening to it and it was very poignant nostalgic for us we agreed that many of the people in the room probably wouldn’t get it because not something Neil…the Neil show is not something that you can get in three or four minutes.
Indeed it took me the better part of a month as his producer before I figured out what was going on. It sounded like just mean man insulting everything and everyone. Callers calling up and kissing his butt. Neil would insult them for doing so and then they would call back. So it didn’t sound like a radio show. To me it sounded like madness but people say it’s oh it’s an acquired taste. I’ve heard people say that it’s an acquired taste but I think that more accurately describes something that you get used to like Limburger or something as opposed to a joke that you’re not getting or that you’re not in on, until you are, until you do, and then you get it and then you’re hooked
It was vaudeville. It was live spontaneous vaudeville complete with slapstick and pratfalls, pies in your face and Neil was the one throwing pies and throwing banana peels out there and it was very spontaneous. As matter of fact I’ve never worked on a show that had less planning. I can’t imagine a show that has less planning because we didn’t plan the show at all and the hour or so before the show Neil and I would discuss all the things that we wouldn’t be able to discuss on the show because when you’re doing stream-of-consciousness you never know what’s gonna come falling out of your mouth and get you in trouble. So I would tell people if you like Neil show you think that Neil is brave and acerbic and you know a lot of balls during his show, you should hear that the pre-show – that’s the real show, but it was it was brave.
He was a very brave man we didn’t screen the calls at all or very little. If I did answer the phones it was just to ask what city they were calling from so that they would have a point of reference. I’ve worked on other shows where the call screening was was so intense that it was practically an orchestrated situation.
Neil didn’t fear what a caller would say. He didn’t care. He was going to get the best of them. They weren’t going to get the best of him. He was that quick and everything was a setup he had to come back for everything and if you did set him up intentionally in vaudeville fashion it was magical. It was very flattering when he would set me up and allow me to deliver the punch line. I was very honored when he would do that.
South Florida is a mixed bag of nuts. A great big bag of mixed nuts. Those of us who live there, we live there on purpose. We’re free to leave and and yet there we are. So obviously we like something about it, but there’s a lot about South Florida frustrates us and Neil would take those sources of frustration and like straw spin it into comedy gold. It made it less bad because it gave us the ability to laugh at the things that were bothering us. When it was the bridges being stuck in the up position or anything else that was very unique to South Florida. If you’ve ever lived in South Florida or visited South Florida you might know what I’m talking about.
It was a magical time. For over 30 years Neil emceed what was going on there. It was a giant roundtable discussion that included everybody who had the nerve and was brave enough or crazy enough to call in and enter the atmosphere that Neil maintained and presided over. It was an atmosphere of quality. He had very high standards for what went on on his show and I was honored to be up to those standards. He was already very popular by the time I joined the show for the last 19 years of it and I’m just happy that Neil felt that I was worthy enough to stay there with him to the end.
The clip that you’re about to hear was assembled by Boca Brit formerly Boca Brian and if you enjoy it half as much as I do that means that I’ll be enjoying it twice as much as you. Roll it!
After the video played, Scott Shannon and Jorge Rodriguez complete the Neil Rogers portion of the ceremony.
(Scott Shannon) Ladies and gentlemen into the National Radio Hall of Fame: Mr. Neil Rogers and accepting Jorge Rodriguez.
(Jorge Rodriguez) Thank you. On behalf of Neil I want to thank the South Florida audience, the people who contributed to the show, producers like Joe Castello, Miguel Escobar and people that were responsible for a lot of the audio production on the show KJ, Adam “Guitar Man” Austin, Mitch Lewis and of course the world’s greatest parodist and songsmith Boca Brian who now lives abroad as Boca Brit Sommers. Thank you very much and Boca you deserve a piece of this. I’m gonna put it in my studio and so when you come over next time I might let you touch it and the award too.
By Guitar Man from GM Master 2, track 18