THE SHACK & T.D.
Bob Burnham

The last time I wrote about local Detroit radio, there were good things happening.  Unfortunately, some of those good things turned sour.  Nobody ever said things were easy for anyone, no matter what business they’re in.  But I do tend to always twist things around to try to find a positive side, or at least a humorous side.

 When I was 12, I build a 2-story “Shack” in my parents backyard, complete with heating and cooling, lights, built-in-the-wall radio, intercom system and fully carpeted and cozy.  It had a “back-up” power system consisting of a bank of 6 dry cell batteries in case some one accidently on purpose pulled the main power plug.  

 I called this structure “The Shack” because that’s what it was!!

Once upon a time, between radio jobs, I briefly worked for Radio Shack (really!).   We called it Radio Shack.  Now Radio Shack is changing their name to “The Shack.”
 
“Our friends know us as ‘THE SHACK’ says their website.
NONSENSE.  

It's like PINE KNOB MUSIC THEATER...how many people call it DTE MUSIC ENERGY THEATER?


MY SHACK really WAS literally a SHACK filled with radio, where I listened to all the great talent who were on the air back them.  Some still are:  Dick Purtan, Warren Pierce and a host of others.

“THE SHACK” of today (the store that is) is a retail outlet that sells whatever electronic gadgets seem popular.  To their credit, they sold the first affordable home computer – the TRS-80-- that used a cheap audio cassette player to store data.  Floppy discs and hard drives still had not been invented.  

But for the store of today, what a dumb idea – taking the RADIO out of the SHACK. 

Radio can’t be THAT dead, can it? 

What would happen if Burger King became known as ‘THE KING’ (reminds me of their TV commercial character that creeps everyone out).  Well, I wouldn’t eat there, that’s for sure.

Sometimes management gets some quirky marketing ideas that don’t quite make sense.  On the plus side, it DOES get attention and any kind of attention is better than being totally ignored.  But when it causes forced lay-offs, it’s obviously a bad thing.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to our friends at THE SHACK.

Maybe I’m wrong about THE SHACK, but I still wish them the best.  There has been many times they saved my day (in real radio) by having some odd-ball part in stock.  Even if they don’t sell HD radios and their employees don’t have a clue as to what HD is, they remain one of the few survivors of the electronic and appliance stores that used to be around.  R.I.P. Lafayette Radio Electronics, Allied, Burstein-Applebee, Highland Appliance, Ollie Fretter and most recently, Adray Appliance.  It’s been fun, but at least we still have THE SHACK.

SPEAKING OF RESTING IN PEACE….  A shout out to a long lost pal in radio, Tom Patterson, A.K.A. Tom Donovan, A.K.A. Tom Deyh.  We knew him best simply as “T.D.”    Tom and I worked at a few stations together, and he was quite a character. He was a Specs Howard graduate of the 1970s, and worked in radio in Traverse City, Flint and to a lesser degree, in the Detroit area at stations including WTCM and Southfield’s WSHJ. 

Apparently, during the past few years, he became quite ill.  He passed away August 2nd at the young age of 53. Tom’s “Uncle Louie” was Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson.   Tom and I had been out of touch for 20 years.  I have a tape of Tom then at age 22, hosting a live talk show.  I know this because Tom was flirting with a young female caller on the air and they compared stats as they quizzed each other.  What a character, but a character in a good way looking back on those years.

“T.D.” was actually pretty good on the radio, at times emulating WCSX’s John O’Leary (whose show he was a fan of in O’Leary’s WABX days).  

Thanks for the memories, Tom. 
Your promo for the Car’s first album on your infamous “Weekend Feature Segment” will never be forgotten.
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