RIP Paul Drew


This is going to be a tough one.

I lost a mentor and friend yesterday with the death of Paul Drew. His passing has left me feeling mortal, melancholy and full of memories.

I first met Paul in the early ‘70s. I was programming KRIZ in Phoenix at the time and had accepted Buzz Bennet’s offer to put Y100 in Miami on the air. I had already packed my bags and the moving company was due to pick up my furniture in three days when Paul called. He asked that I fly to Los Angeles to talk with him about programming WRKO in Boston. For those who weren’t in radio at the time, it’s difficult to describe what it felt like to get a phone call from Paul Drew. It was every PD’s dream to program one of the powerful RKO stations. It was like hitting the lottery. I was no different. I explained my dilemma to him and he agreed to fly me out the next day.

I met him at KHJ. That was another chest-tightening moment. Here I was, a young boy not long out of a small town in Mississippi meeting one of the most famous programmers in the business at one of the most famous stations in history. Hollywood couldn’t have written that script. I can’t begin to describe the emotions that were running through me.

I was escorted into the program director’s office (KHJ was without a programmer at the time and Paul was acting as PD until he found someone) and told to wait. Five minutes later a short, bald gentleman wearing an American flag in the lapel of his suit walked in. I assumed it was the sales manager and didn’t get up.

“Hello, I’m Paul Drew,” the short man said.

Somehow, I managed to stand and shake his hand.

As we only had a couple of hours, we left immediately and walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner. He was peppering me with questions the entire time. Truthfully, I didn’t have any good answers. I wasn’t expecting such a detailed interview and the explanations of my programming philosophy rang shallow, hollow and self-serving. I felt out of my league.

As the meal drew to a close, I excused myself to go to the bathroom. I used the cover to call my wife back in Phoenix. I told her the trip was fun, it was great to see KHJ, but there was no way in hell this guy was going to hire me. Other than the fact that I thought I was fumbling the interview, I also had hair down to my waist. The comparisons between us weren’t complimentary. There was no way I would fit into his plans. I returned to the table, resolute and relaxed, glad I had Y100 to fall back on.

When we returned to KHJ, we talked some more in his office while I waited on the cab to take me to the airport. At one point, an uncomfortable silence filled the small room with tension as thick as soup. I didn’t know what to say and he seemed not to know either. He stared right through me for several long seconds, then stood and held out his hand. I did the same. The interview was over and I was headed back to Phoenix. I actually felt relieved.

Then he said the words that changed my life. “I would like to hire you to be the program director of WRKO in Boston,” he said. “If you would like to work for me.”

As if.

There began an odyssey that colored the fabric of my life.

Working with Paul Drew wasn’t always the most pleasant of tasks. But it wasn’t without rewards. His tenacious pursuit of excellence drove all of us who were in his army to achieve success unparalleled in radio history. With the RKO chain dominant in markets across the country, we ruled the business. At the height of our success, a record couldn’t make it in the top ten unless the chain was playing it.

At the risk of sounding egomaniacal (something I’ve never been accused of), you really couldn’t appreciate Paul Drew unless you worked for him as a program director. The special group that Paul nurtured, tutored and drove relentlessly is an elite club with a bond that exists past space and time. As disparate a group that ever was, we existed in a special world that few attained or understood. We hated him and loved him, but strove to please him in ways that made us better…even if we didn’t know it at the time. Through the ups and downs, there was an immense amount of respect that never wavered, whether we were being praised or penalized. Paul held us all to higher standards, thereby making each of us better than we dreamed we could be.

Paul didn’t make me who I am today, but he molded me into the person I became.

There were two kinds of programmers in those days: Those who worked for Drew and those who wished they did.

I was one of the lucky ones.


StraddleMy latest book, “Straddle,” will be published in June and available for purchase in your favorite outlets. If you want an early edition, I have a limited number of copies I will be happy to autograph and send to you now. $10 (checks only) to Crysis Management, 10061 Riverside Drive, Suite 859, Toluca Lake CA 91602. Hope you enjoy it!

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both.

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence;

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


Edna St. Vincent Millay


Two times now I’ve seen you cry…

            Once in anger…once in love…

                        Both at I.


It occurred to me that our sight is misaligned.

            We’re searching for something that’s easy to find.

                        If we look ahead and not behind.


So, on those tears I make this vow,

            To forge forward and love you in the now…



Enough with tears…let’s have more fun

            Fewer clouds and much more sun.

                        We’ve just got started, we’re not done.


I love you through the good times and bad,

            Happy and sad,

                        Even when you’re mad.


So if you’ll follow, I will lead

            Just one more line for you to read.

                        Remember the weed.


I love you.



One pure love went searching for a mate

And found it, not by careful planning,

Nor diligent unearthing…simply fate.

To Captain and maintain control and chart a steady climb

Is what we ‘ere and swear to, but is it

Simply Time?

And perfect love was made by this

And was not ready long before;

Through adolescence, prepubescence,

Puppy love and so much more.

And Time.

Instead of wedded bliss and perfect happiness

And all things bright and nothing blue,

It quickly turned to traps and nooses,

Little lies and more excuses,

Absent plot, no fault to find,

No blame to claim, none due.

It Wasn’t Time.

And now the circle’s come to full and he can look askance

And claim it was a perfect plan and not by idle chance.

The truth is somewhere in between,

Of luck and fate and God’s will deemed.

The perfect love, found, lost, then found again

Without a single sound is mimed

And starts afresh with explanation

Needed not, nor exclamation

 It Is Just Time.

The Goat


There was a man, now please take note,

There was a man, who had a goat.

He loved that goat, indeed he did,

He loved that goat, just like a kid.

One day that goat felt frisk and fine,

Ate three red shirts from off the line.

The man he grabbed him by the back,

And tied him to a railroad track.

But when the train hove into sight,

That goat grew pale and green with fright.

He heaved a sigh, as if in pain,

Coughed up those shirts and flagged the train.

Robert Frost


Cagle’s Cajun Gumbo




10 pounds peeled and deveined medium shrimp

2 cans fresh lump crab (or 5 pounds lump crab meat)

1 ½ tbls cayenne ground red pepper

1 ½ tbls paprika

1 tbls salt

½ tbls white pepper

½ tbls black pepper

½ tbls dried thyme leaves

½ tbls dried oregano leaves

1 ½ cups margarine

5 cups chopped onions

5 cups chopped celery

5 cups chopped green peppers

2 containers gumbo filet powder

6 tbls (or more) Tabasco sauce

1 tbls minced garlic

4-6 cans tomato sauce

4-6 cans water (use tomato sauce cans to measure)


*Note: Make sure the onions, celery and green peppers are chopped similar in size, otherwise, the flavors will not be consistent. All should be small.


Melt margarine over medium heat. Turn to high and stir in gumbo file, Tabasco, garlic and seasoning mix. Stir carefully until spices marry. Add onions, celery and bell peppers. Cook six minutes while constantly stirring. Make sure to scrape pot bottom well with a spoon as the mixture will begin sticking. This adds to the gumbo’s flavor. Add tomato sauce and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.


While the gumbo is cooking, make a black or red roux. The proportion of oil to flour is 50-50. Heat oil to smoking. Stir in flour gradually, about 1/3 at a time, whisking constantly to avoid burning. When the roux reaches the desired color, toss in some celery, onions and green peppers and remove it from the heat. Stir another 3-5 minutes, then add to gumbo. This will thicken the gumbo noticeably and add to the flavor. Simple rule: If more thickening is needed, add more roux…or tomato paste if you’re lazy. The finished product should be thicker than soup, but not as thick as gravy.


After an hour, add the shrimp and crab, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 30-60 minutes. Serve over Cajun or regular rice with crackers or French bread.


Gumbo is actually better the following day. Store covered in refrigerator. Heat, adding water if mixture is too thick. Serve the same way