The Connells First Big Single

Preview: “There’s Nothing Louder Than Dead Air”

Book signing Friday night December 21st at Lincoln Theatre

I had a soft spot in my heart for The Connells, back in the spring of 1987, before the release of their third LP, Boylan Heights, the band had come to WRDU in Raleigh for the day, and the program director, Michael Hughes, motioned me into his office. I walked in and found the band’s manager, Weed Mercer, as well as most of the band, sitting in chairs; some of the band sat on the floor. Mercer wanted our opinion of the first single from the album. You have to know what your local station thinks, because if you’re going to do the deal, you at least want your hometown station’s support—you gotta start somewhere, right?

doug mcmillan interview

Doug McMillan interview-The Hibernian summer of 2010
The song was “Over There,” and Mercer had brought two versions of the song—one had trumpets in it; the other didn’t. We all listened to both versions on a cassette, and clearly, I liked the trumpet version better as a single and told them so. They went with the trumpet version as the single, and Reece Jensen of the band later told me their decision was largely based on my opinion. As best as I can remember, that was the only time I ever influenced a single from any album, in any way. I am proud of that.

The Tom Petty Interview (Actually, Tom Petty’s daughter interview)

In a funny and unforgettable moment, as Tom was speaking with our cross-town rival KOME, his nine or ten-year-old daughter, AnnaKim, wandered up to our station stage and asked me if she could be on the radio with me.

“Who do you want to say hi to?” I asked, not knowing who she was.

“Well, that’s my dad over there. My name is AnnaKim Petty, and I just want to talk on the radio. He always does.”

“Okay, well come on over.”
“There’s Nothing Louder Than Dead Air”
available now at Authorhouse Publishing
She was so cute and so curious. We talked for about five minutes, and as Tom’s interview wrapped up on KOME, he spotted his daughter over with me.


“AnnaKim!” he snapped at her. “Come on, get over here!”

“Bye,” she said on the radio, and then she hustled off with Daddy.

He had his arm around her and was talking to her very sternly as they walked toward the backstage entrance.

“Don’t you ever just talk with guys like that on the radio. They can’t be trusted! They’re vermin and they’re no good!”

I am sure he didn’t say that, it just looked like he was saying that.

KOME talked with Tom Petty, and KSJO talked with his daughter; two of the four stations did a lot better than the other two. KRQR talked to nobody, and ditto for Live 105. Later in his life, Tom Petty had a son named Dylan. I love that because Tom’s singing style is a lot like Bob Dylan’s. Every rocker loves Bob Dylan. It is well documented, though, that Tom Petty was one of his biggest fans.

“Hallucinating in the flower freezer”

Steamboat Springs: Down and Out

There hasn’t been any snow in two years in Steamboat Springs or any of the ski resorts in the Rockies including Aspen, Breckenridge and Vail. Nobody has gone there to ski in a couple of years now and it is really eerie to see ski gondolas gliding and swinging up and down the slops with nobody in them.

Steamboat horizon from hillside

It’s a bigger problem for the white water rafting, fishing and canoeing-kayaking industry because there is no snow, so no runoff when it melts. The town is in really bad shape. Nobody there in the dead of ski season again.

Steamboat ski slopes-no snow

Steamboat ski slopes-this snow may even be man-made.

steamboat railroad tracks west

Railroad track heading through Yampa Valley in the Rockes

Yampa Valley farming contraption

Yampa Valley ranch outside Steamboat Springs

Who Lives Here

These here Rocky mountains are magnificent. I drove through the Rockies on my way to Steamboat Springs. Quiet and lonely.

Georgetown Mountain lake with vacation homes

Lake in Georgetown with a few homes.

It’s a three hour drive from Denver and there were probably six cars on 40 West.

Denver's homeless squad

Denver homeless squad.

Georgetown Lake

Some lake somewhere in the Rocks.

Denver Heat in December

65 degrees for a week in Denver…but it’s like that everywhere.

Denve downtown 3

Visiting Entercom at 1pm this Tuesday. There are a few universities downtown in Denver, so it seems like a young people’s downtown.

Staying in Westminster a few miles down the road. Denver people are kind of generic. They all sound the same. Exactly like me.

Denver 16th Ave peds

Your average pedestrians at 4pm downtown Denver

Hanging around in Denver all day before heading up to Steamboat Springs for a visit with a station there.

Denver University of Colo Denver

“There’s no money up there in Steamboat. It’s a lifestyle decision”-Bobby Irwin OM Cumulus Broadcasting.

Heading Into Denver

Monday I left Colorado Springs at 1:30 and headed north on I-25 for some peace and quiet on the vast property of the Air Force Academy in the foothills of the Rockies.

Denver 004
Air Force Academy northern entrance

Air Force Academy 2
The Cadet Chapel off in the distance.

At 1:30, I headed off to Denver where I will talk with Entercom on Tuesday afternoon.

Denver downtown
Denver traffic off I-25

Colorado Springs Revisited

Colorado wilderness between Denver and Colorado Spring off of I-25

I spent all of Sunday afternoon driving around Colorado Springs and revisiting the town that my family lived in for one year in 1970.

My fifth grade school still stands…built in 1948 and it hasn’t changed at all. Much of Colorado Springs hasn’t changed at all, although it has now almost half a million people. I’m serious, the town looks totally run down.

The home my family lived in is exactly the same. The Cherry Tree is still in front, it was so beautiful when the cherry's all appeared in spring, but were gone in one day when the birds ate them all. I was told we could enjoy that cherry tree for one day and they were right.

Home on Uintah Street

This is Monday morning December 3rd and I will visit Manitou Springs in the mountains where my father took us one Saturday, and also on the schedule, a trip to the Garden of the Gods where we visited often. I drove by and saw the Air Force Academy where my father took me to my first college football game, the Falcons of the United States Air Force Academy versus the Rams of Colorado State.

air force football stadium

At halftime, the young cadets would release their trained falcons into the air from their still perch on their forearms and to the entire stadiums amazement, the falcons would take flight and fly majestically and purposefully around the stadium and finally land gracefully and clasp their claws right back on the cadets padded forearms.

My father took all seven of us everywhere in the year we were in the Springs.

The Springs

What is next.
I am heading out west. I am flying out to the town where I threw my first one-hitter. The town where the legendary U2 performance occurred at Garden of the Gods. The town where I endured the coldest cold I have ever experienced. Colorado Springs, Colorado.

A similar view of Pikes Peak from our home on Meade Street
View from my old home on Meade Street.

The Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy

I was just a boy but even as a boy I remember how this part of the country was the most beautiful I had ever seen. While staying at the Air Force Academy in the Bachelor’s Officers Quarters for a week while my father found us a home in Colorado Springs, I woke up each morning in February and saw the deer standing magnificently in the three feet of snow at woods edge. The clearest blue sky I have ever seen. The coldest cold I have ever felt.

queen palmer
My elementary school still stands. Queen Palmer Elementary.

Each morning my mother would help me fold newspapers and I would head out in the sixteen degree mornings to deliver the Colorado Springs Gazette and after my last paper was delivered, I coasted on my bicycle down Uintah Street with Pikes Peak in full view. After being so tired, it was a welcome relief to coast downward home back into my warm bed.

I have a few scheduled stops at radio stations in the state which include the Springs, Denver and Steamboat Springs. To find a job in radio now would be pure luck.