LEGENDARY RADIO PERSONALITY VIC SCELSA TO RETIRE
THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G. H. HARDING
SCELSA EXITS --- Legendary air-personality Vin Scelsa is hanging up the headphones. A true pioneer of free form FM radio and a New York icon for five decades, Vin announced on Saturday night during his Idiot’s Delight, his weekly program on NY’s WFUV (Fordham University), that he will retire and do his final show on May 2, 2015, from 8-10 p.m. - ironically right before Letterman’s final take.
His final satellite radio program on SiriusXM's The Loft channel will be on Thursday, April 30. Additionally scheduled is Vin Scelsa's Fare Thee Well Concert, with several musical and non-musical guests; which will take place on Monday, June 8 at City Winery, as a public final goodbye.
"I am incredibly lucky to have spent my entire radio career doing exactly what I've wanted," says Scelsa. "The kind of programming autonomy I've enjoyed, on both commercial and public radio over all these years, is unique. I am grateful to my listeners for their support and their indulgence as we shared this journey together. It's hard to let go, of course, but I always promised myself and my audience that when the time was right I would stop.”
Q104.3’s Ken Dashow, who worked with Scelsa at the legendary WNEW FM for 17 years paid tribute to him yesterday by playing The Beatles' “The Long and Winding Road” and delivering a nice monologue about him (and, interesting still is that this April 1 will notch 16 years at the Q for Ken).
His guests have included Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, Tim Robbins, Steve Buscemi, Norah Jones , Lou Reed (many times), Sheryl Crow, Joey Ramone, Emmylou Harris, John Sayles, Allen Ginsberg, Joseph Heller, Yo La Tengo, Eddie Izzard, Paul Auster, Jeff Buckley, Laurie Anderson, and countless others.
In 2007 Vin received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Radio Broadcast Award for his work.
His motto was always: Respect the Elders. Embrace the New. Encourage the Impractical and Improbable, without bias.
With Scelsa exiting it will definitely leave a huge void on terrestrial radio. So-called Classic Rock Radio is nothing more than Classic-Hit Rock Radio; with only the classic tunes being aired over and over. No one listening wants to hear the latest new song by The Moody Blues … just “Nights In White Satin” over and over.
To my mind, no one even comes close to what he was able to accomplish other than Jonathan Clarke on the Q. His Out Of The Box program each Sunday is a huge supporter of new music.
SAKS RIP --- Gene Saks, an actor-turned-director whose long friendship with playwright Neil Simon led to the film versions of two of the most successful comedies of their time, Barefoot in The Park (1967) and The Odd Couple (1970) and whose screen performances include playing Chuckles The Clown host Leo in the Jason Robards film A Thousand Clowns, died Saturday of pneumonia at his home in East Hampton, Long Island. He’s survived by his wife, Keren Saks, whom he married in 1980.
Saks, who was formerly married to the late Broadway and Maude star Bea Arthur, staged Simon’s autobiographical trilogy (Brighton Beach Memoirs ,Biloxi Blues, and Broadway Bound), as well as Simon’s Lost in Yonkers, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1991.
Along with Mike Nichols, who had staged the Broadway debuts of The Odd Couple and Barefoot, Saks was Simon’s favored choice for staging his shows, which for more than two decades generally were turned out once-a-season.
“Gene was serious about funny,” Manny Azenberg, the Broadway producer of Simon’s plays beginning in 1974 with The Sunshine Boys, said last week,“He actually knew what would be funny. Physical humor he understood — the look, here, a pause there.”
RIP Gene and thanks!
SHINER DEBUTS --- Vocalist Frank Shiner’s debut last week at The Cutting Room was such a success that an encore is being immediately planned for early-summer.
Inside Chappaqua in their review said it appreciated “Frank’s repertoire of some of the best songs from the 70’s and 80’s; including Leonard Cohen’s ‘I'm Your Man’ and Van Morrison’s ‘Brand New Day’.”
Cutting Room owner Steve Walter said that he was immediately impressed when Frank launched into his opening number “(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night,” and said Shiner would be welcomed back anytime. “He drew a crowd of fans who whole hearted embraced his performance. His band was stellar.”
Also in attendance was producer Gary (Steely Dan) Katz who said the room was a perfect fit for the vocalist. “The sound in the room was pitch perfect,” said Katz.
Shiner’s next date is Friday, May 15, as headliner of the Fine Arts Fiesta Festival in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
SIGHTINGS --- Dina Lohan hovering dangerously close to the bar last Thursday at Zuma Sushi ... PR-pasha David Salidor at Shiksa in Billy Burg Saturday night ... Micky Dolenz and wife Donna at last night's iHeart Music Awards in L. A. ..