Sunday, April 14, 2024

2023 Radio Hall of Fame Inductee Pat St. John

Pat St. John at the SXM control panel.

In Pat St. John’s senior year at Southfield High School, Pat began broadcasting from WSHJ, their ten-watt radio station. He was required by the Federal Communications Commission to get a broadcasting license. Upon graduation in 1968 at the age of seventeen, Pat was hired as an announcer on WWWW-FM in Detroit.

Young and ambitious, Pat made a demo tape and took it to CKLW-AM, a 50,000 watt station across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The station’s strong signal was a regional powerhouse reaching well beyond the Detroit/Windsor area to several adjoining states and Provinces.

CKLW-AM hired Pat in 1969 as a weekend personality and news reporter on the station’s 20/20 newscasts. He also worked as a booth announcer for CKLW TV-Channel 9. Pat left CKLW late in 1970 when he was hired at Detroit’s popular WKNR (Keener 13) until 1972, when he was lured away to join ABC’s WRIF-FM, 101.1.

Musical tastes had shifted from Top 40 pop music to album-oriented rock. In the early 1970s, FM radio began dominating AM stations because they broadcast in stereo and allowed for a wider range of music beyond the Top 40 playlists, staples of many AM stations.

Pat St. John’s ratings in the Motor City were noticed by ABC’s network brass in New York and they convinced him to leave his hometown Detroit, America’s fifth-largest media market at the time, and move to The Big Apple, the largest media market in the United States. Radio stations in New York reached 14% of American listeners. The more listeners a Dee-Jay could attract, the more money was at stake for the company’s advertising revenue.

St. John began his New York broadcasting career at WPLJ-FM in 1973 where he stayed almost fifteen years. Arbitron, radio’s consumer research service, ranked Pat the most listened-to afternoon radio personality in the country for most of the years he worked at WPLJ.

From 1987 through 1998, Pat worked at WNEW-FM in New York, both as a personality and the station’s program director for several years of his eleven year stay there. He left WNEW-FM when the station changed to a “talk radio” format. Pat was immediately approached by Sirius XM satellite radio to become their Director of Rock Programming, making him one of the first people hired by the company.

Now, Pat is one of the longest-serving employees at SXM, having worked on several of their channels from pop to rock to blues. Today, Pat can be heard live across the United States and Canada every weekday afternoon (3 pm Eastern/12 pm Pacific) and Saturday evenings (8 pm Eastern/5 pm Pacific) on Channel 73, 60’s Gold.

Pat continued working on New York (terrestrial) radio part-time for fun at WCBS-FM (2000-2015) while working full-time at Sirius XM. His final CBS-FM New York broadcast was on April 12, 2015, marking the end of Pat’s forty-two-year run in the New York broadcasting market, making him New York City’s longest-running on-air personality up to that time.

Pat and his wife Jan moved to San Diego, California in 2015 to be closer to their two daughters and grandchildren where he broadcasts from his home studio. Pat’s 60s Gold show begins with a six-note fanfare reminding Pat’s Great Lakes listeners of his CKLW radio roots. Then, comes his theme song “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” by Les Elgart and his Orchestra setting the stage for the show. Listeners always know from the opening that they are in for a good time.

Pat St. John’s on-air style is conversational and upbeat as he shares behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the music and performers between the music he plays. Pat has interviewed virtually everybody in the music business from Little Richard and Bo Diddley to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He has been called “a walking, music encyclopedia."

Pat St. John with his Radio Hall of Fame Award.

With over fifty-five years in broadcasting, Pat St. John was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2023 for his lifetime of service to the industry. Not bad for a high school kid from Southfield, Michigan.

Pat St. John SXM Compilation (Six minutes)

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne Namesake--"Mad" Anthony Wayne

Portrait of Anthony Wayne painted by Thomas Pauley
Throughout the Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan the name Mad Anthony Wayne resonates in communities far and wide. Scores of towns, cities, counties, schools, parks, hospitals, streets, and businesses have been named after this Revolutionary War general.

General Anthony Wayne led his soldiers in essentially rear guard actions harassing the British behind their lines. In several successful skirmishes with the enemy, he ordered surprise "bayonet only" attacks at night that inflicted many casualties. He was known as a courageous general--decisive and quick to act.

The legend behind the sobriquet "Mad" Anthony Wayne owes little to the general's military achievements. It has more to do with a drunk and disorderly colonist--known as Jemmy, the Rover--who the general sometimes used as a spy. A constable arrested the man who began to drop the general's name. When the general heard this, he threatened Jemmy with "twenty-nine lashes well-laid-on if this happens again."

In disbelief, the now sober Jemmy replied, "He must be mad or else he would help me. Mad Anthony, that's what he is. Mad Anthony Wayne." The story made its way around town and became a favorite among the troops. The general's nickname had a rhythm and bravado that was repeated in the ranks until it stuck.

President George Washington called Major-General Wayne out of retirement to command the newly formed Legion of the United States. Wayne established the first basic training facility to prepare  regular army recruits into professional soldiers.

Wayne mustered and trained a fighting force of 1,350 American soldiers and led them to the Northwest Territory (Ohio and Michigan) where they won a decisive victory against British forces and the Indian Confederacy at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, just south of modern-day Toledo, Ohio. The war ended and Major-General Wayne negotiated the Treaty of Greenville between the tribal confederacy and the United States signed on August 3, 1795.

While returning to Pennsylvania after the conflict, Wayne died from complications of gout on December 15, 1796. He was buried at Fort Presque Isle. His body was disinterred in 1809 at the request of his family to be buried in a family plot. His bones make the journey to Radnor, Pennsylvania in saddlebags. For that grisly bit of history, consult the link below.


Aerial View of Old Fort Wayne.

The star-shaped fort in Detroit, Michigan--which bears Anthony Wayne's name--began construction in 1842 at the Detroit River's narrowest point with Canada. Fear of a territorial war with British Canada prompted the fort's building. It was named to honor Major-General Wayne's defeat of the British at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The victory resulted in the United States occupation of the Northwest Territories. Diplomats were able to settle territorial disputes, and the war with Canada never materialized. The new fort never fired a shot.


Fort Wayne was first used by Michigan troops in 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War. It became the primary induction center for Michigan troops for every field of American combat from the Civil War through Vietnam.

During World War II, every truck, Jeep, tank, tire, spare part, or war ordinance manufactured in Detroit went through the docks of Fort Wayne to the battlefronts. Also, Italian prisoners of war from the North Africa Campaign were housed at the fort. After Italy's surrender, Italian POWs were given the chance to return home. Many chose to settle in Detroit where there was an established Italian-American community and greater opportunities awaiting them.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Fort Wayne's grounds were open to assist and house homeless families. During the Cold War of the 1950s, Nike-Ajax missiles were installed to prepare for a nuclear war that never came. And during the Detroit riots in 1967, the fort was again used to house displaced families, the last families leaving the fort in 1971.

Today, the Detroit Recreation Department operates the fort with the help of the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition, the Friends of Fort Wayne, and the Detroit Historical Society. The grounds are the home of the Tuskegee Airmen Museum, the Great Lakes Indian Museum, and historic Civil War reenactments. Special events are held throughout the year.

Fort Wayne was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1958 and entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. The State of Michigan wants to upgrade the property into a multi-use facility while maintaining the fort's historical significance. Once the new International Transport Bridge is built in old Delray, the United States customs plaza will be located near the historic site. More information on restoration plans can be found in the Detroit News link below.


Bruce Wayne--Millionaire Industrialist
While researching, I discovered that Batman's alter ego--Bruce Wayne--was named after Scottish patriot Robert Bruce and Mad Anthony Wayne. In DC Comics, Bruce Wayne is said to be General Wayne's direct descendant, and stately Wayne Manor is built on ground given to General Wayne for his Revolutionary War service.

Another little known fact is that in 1930, stunt man and young actor Marion Michael Morrison was originally given the stage name of Anthony Wayne by director Raoul Walsh. Major-General Anthony Wayne was Walsh's favorite Revolutionary War general. Fox Studios decided to change his name to John Wayne because Anthony sounded too Italian.


For more information on preservation plans for Historic Fort Wayne:
The story of General Anthony Wayne's exhumation may be more noteworthy than his military achievements. For more details, check out this link: