Upstairs at the V.F.W. Hall

In the early ’60s, I was working at powerhouse radio station KSTT in the Quad-Cities. In addition to being a disc jockey, I also did commercial production. One day during my air shift, the receptionist buzzed me on the intercom. “Ulysses is here,” she announced with a twinkle in her voice. I asked her to send him back to the studio. Ulysses Walker was a local promoter who from time-to-time would bring acts to town for a one night show. They were always up-and-coming R & B artists who were not well known. Whenever he had another show, he would come and ask me to write and produce the commercials for the event. He refused to talk with our sales reps about his advertising. He said I was the only one he wanted to work with.

“Not many have heard of these two artists,” Ulysses told me. “But, Bill, they are excellent, got a great band, and with a good spot on the radio I think we could maybe fill the upstairs room at the V.F.W. hall. It holds about five or six hundred people. I gotta load up the place to make any money.VFW 02

I told Ulysses I’d give it my best shot. He handed me a 45 rpm record on some obscure label and described the group – a duo, with a band, from Tennessee. I had never heard of them. A couple days later he came back and listened to the commercial I had created, liked it, and handed me cash to pay for the ad schedule (he did everything by cash.) We started running the spot a few days later. It was a small schedule, Ulysses could only afford about twelve radio ads.

Well, it turns out the show did fill the V.F.W. hall to standing room only capacity! Ulysses credited my commercial for the success, but as I told him, “It wasn’t me. It was those two and their band. What a show!” Either the commercial did work, or more people than we realized had already heard about this new group… (scroll down)
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___IkeTinaRevue

Originally published on Brainshowers.net in October, 2015

billvancil@gmail.com