Monday, June 29, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2976, June 29th, 2015

The late Jay Daniels (Photo:
D&W at a remote. (Photo: Times Tribune).
D & W welcoming one of thousands of interesting visitors to their daily broadcasts through the years. (Photo: Times Tribune)
If you were alive in the 80s, 90s and into the new century, the radio duo of Daniels and Webster was a major part of your life. Jay Daniels and John Webster were on WEZX FM, 107.9 during the rise of the FM frequency here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Their show, a mix of local satire, rock and roll music as well as ironic commentary was a departure from the happy chatter radio listeners here in NEPA were used to. In many ways Rock 107 and the team of Daniels and Webster broke a few molds.
The team did it without being dirty. But there were many local politicos who were not immune from their sarcasm. Even the Scranton police Department took some shots. Daniels and Webster also stood the test of the unpredictability of radio as a career. The brass at Shamrock Communications, mainly Bill Lynett stood by the two as they maintained a core audience that was the cornerstone of the 107 Classic Rock station. There were many stations that tried to imitate and copy their successful nuances but they failed while D&W just rolled on like old man river.
I first met Jay Daniels on my second interview at Rock 107 for a sales position. He was friendly and wished me well. But I got the impression that it was quite perfunctory on his part because he had seen many sales people come and go (although at that time the 107 staff was pretty stable with a lot of experienced veterans) as well as changes in General Managers.
Working with clients I had the opportunity to do some remotes with Daniels and Webster. Jay played the straight man to Webster but the two played well off of each other. He was a consummate professional and could get very testy if the copy was not correct and if the client was not happy. One time 107 landed a national pasta account and Daniels followed the sales rep (not me thank God) around the building until he could get the correct pronunciation of some item related to the copy.
At 107 on the fifth floor of the Times building there used to be a bench that was up against the wall in the bowels of the building. To the right or if you were sitting on the bench, to the left, there was the doorway to the roof where the Times tower stood. Daniels would sometimes take a break and just sit there with a cold drink. I don’t remember if he was a smoker or not. As I would head down the hall to the Sales office, there would be a booming voice saying, “There’s Dave Yonki!” It was like an introduction in his best radio voice. Talk about a morale booster.
Jay also introduced me to The Liederkranz a Scranton hideaway on Lackawanna Avenue. After every St. Patrick’s Day parade Jay either hosted or held court at the bar and you could not leave unless you had a bite of ham and cabbage. Beer was readily available but if you were a non drinker like me, hey there were no judgments.
Jay also was one of the first voices on WKRZ AM 1340 which was the old WBRE AM frequency sold to the first group that owned KRZ. Through the years Jay was the voice of Fox 56 TV doing voice over works as well as doing many projects for his dear friend Susan Kolesar from The Artemis Media Group. At a staff party he was fun but not over the top. Plus he was the type of person who readily welcomed non broadcast people in his presence. At one Christmas event, my wife asked where the stage names Jeff and John came from Jay explained that it was a derivation of Daniel Webster. He must have been asked that question a million times but told it again as if it was the very first time.
Jay Daniels passed away Sunday at the age of 62 succumbing to cancer. Newswatch 16 opened up its story on his passing by saying it was a sad day for the radio community in our area. That was an understatement. He will be missed but fondly remembered.


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