In a simpler time, before the Internet, mp3s, and bit torrents, kids found out about new music primarily two different ways: on television, and on the radio. If you were a rock and roll fan in Seattle in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, Dick Clark and Pat O'Day were your hosts.
"Those were days when, in the afternoon, after school, you came home and you could turn on ABC and see the one-hour dance show with all the current acts," O'Day told me this morning. "They found out about the acts by the Dick Clark show and by radio."
Clark, who passed away this week at the age of 82, was, of course the host of the hugely popular and influential after-school special, American Bandstand. O'Day was the king of rock radio at KJR, and the only Seattle-based DJ in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Both men capitalized on the musical know-how and entertainment experienced gained as influential DJs by launching successful promotions companies at a time when the touring business was "rugged and unpredictable." O'Day and Clark were innovators in the field, and brought order to the chaos.
"If you can understand this: We were all creating at the time," O'Day says. "We were all doing our own thing. Dick Clark was a promoter. He had things like The Osmonds and so on. And I, of course had Concerts West, which was the [country's] biggest promotions firm at the time."
"Here and there there were individuals that a. Had the belief; b. Had the looks; c. Had the charisma; d. had the will power to go ahead; and e. Had the education and so on. So that was where Dick Clark came from. He had all those things in abundance, and that's what it took."
Although they met several times, O'Day says his meetings with Clark were professional, mostly forgettable affairs.
"We pretty much met as equals and peers," O'Day says. "I was very impressed by him. He was impressed by me. We were just two business guys who were meeting."