In the week that The Beatles were first introduced to American viewers in February of 1964, I began what was to become an extended relationship with Flint, MI joining the staff of WTAC radio as nighttime DJ.
I left the air after entering management in 1974, promoted up through the ranks to become station president in 1979. But for most of 1974, I was still “Peter C.” and all the kids at Flint Southwestern High listened regularly.
Little Lou Werbe was calling for requests and dedications all the time. I was amazed a few months ago when he contacted me anew. Lou is now the chief operating officer at a major general contracting firm in L.A. with a client list that includes dozens of America’s top companies.
He wondered what it would take to have “Peter C.” as guest DJ at the 40th High School Reunion of Flint Southwestern’s Class of 1974. I told him such an event would be my first time back in Flint as a disc jockey in 40 years, but if he’d send me the plane tickets, I’d be there.
He did and I was.
Friday night, October 10, I met with Lou and a number of the Southwestern “kids” at the Vet’s Club on S. Saginaw for a soul-satisfying, funk-flavored warm up to the reunion.
On Saturday night, the Flint Golf Club rocked way past midnight with hot music from Pete Flander’s Musical Memories turned way up loud as the Class of ‘74 celebrated the moment and each other with loving kindness, caring and affection. It was obvious … some things you just can’t fake. Special thanks go out to Angela Leach, Kathryn Koegel, Laura McKellar, Anna Wise and Cerese Simpson Pennington for outstanding organizational efforts.
Sunday offered a completely unexpected treat as I dropped by Scooter’s Bar & Grill for a couple of Classic Rock sets by Roxius, an astounding group of local musicians – many were Mt. Holly/Sherwood Forest players back in the day. With Denis Ikeler on keyboards and Richard Allen on drums, Rick Zeldes, Chris Marshall and Eric Bontekoe join forces to create an incendiary combination of explosive, high-energy Rock & Roll. I watched two Roxius sets simultaneously entertained by the enjoyable companionship of Joel Bye, founder and front man of Flint’s own Blue Hawaiians. Memories rolled in as the music rocked on.
Introduced by Mike Killbreath during Monday’s Flint Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at Foutch’s Pub in Flint Township, I spoke about the awesome power of relentless perseverance, encouraging entrepreneurial leadership and individual initiative – but most of all, thanked those in attendance for staying in Flint when so many others have left.
On Monday night, the “Informal, Unofficial Flint Radio Reunion” took place at the White Horse Tavern. The wall-to-wall crowd included dozens of familiar radio voices taking turns at the microphone to share their own thoughts and remembrances. There was Johnny Burke, Jeff Holbrook, Tim Siegrist, Bill Fortune, Tom Gerding, Pat Clawson, Michael J. Thorpe, Jim Baade, Tom Sumner, Becky Barnett, Randy Stephenson and Jeff Lamb, a.k.a. “Buffalo Dick.”
Behind the scenes figures finally had their chance to say a few words – folks such as Art Vuolo, Rob Namowicz, Ron Bearup, Annie Kozlowski, Max Kerner, Chris Frye, Dean Sherwood, Sandy Christensen, Randy Rosebush of “Starvation Lake” and My City Publisher, Vince Lorraine, whom I introduced into broadcast sales at WTAC in the late ‘70s.
It was a night of all nights that I’ll remember all days: a cosmic coming together.
Thank you, Flint. ♦
Photography by Mike Naddeo