It was a typical weekday afternoon in the Quad-Cities, summertime 1969. Everyone alive at the time had their radios tuned to 1170 KSTT, or so I thought.
Could be that’s why the station was so good. Everybody on the air was taught to perform as if our station was the only show in town. Of course, it wasn’t. I was doing the usual. Read the weather, play a record, play more records and try to squeeze in eighteen minutes of commercials per hour. I was near the end of a commercial break when I heard the studio door open behind me. The commercials ended, and without yet having turned to see who had entered the studio, I started the turntable. I actually remember introducing that next record, “Here’s Johnny Tillotson on KSTT. . .with Poetry in Motion… ” That song wasn’t a big hit for Tillotson, but then we played a lot of songs that never became hits. When you’re the “only show in town” you can get away with that.
“Hi, I’m Dick Clark,” I heard as I took off my headphones, turned down the studio monitor, and looked to see who’d come in. Wow. Dick Clark. I had known he was in town for a show, from hearing the radio ads, but I had no idea he would be stopping by the station. Anyway, we chatted for another record and a few more commercials, Dick told me how excited he was to be staying around for an hour to co-host Bobby Rich’s show, which followed mine.
Then he turned to leave the studio. I will never forget his parting words, which showed how closely he was paying attention to my show.
“You know,” Dick Clark said, “We might possibly be related, I have a distant cousin named Tillotson.
Originally published on Dec. 17, 2015