There was a period of time when I worked day and night for a company, both as Media Relations Manager and also making “Nights with Alice Cooper” what it is today, a solid, successful and much listened-to internationally syndicated 25-hour-per-week radio program. Maybe one small reason I love Philadelphia so much is that when I go there, I can still hear the show live and existing in real-time long after my departure. Aside from developing and writing the show, I was also a character on the show alongside Alice, reading the news each night. The “celebrity dominatrix” who wanted to “be taken seriously as a broadcast journalist” by the name of Mistress Kitty was a real success: the show grew to be #1 in droves of markets in which it aired, and Kitty would receive hundreds if not thousands of fan letters each week. Even from people in prison.
In addition to delivering the “OffBEAT News”, I would also write special segments and songs when guests would come into the studio for interviews. Often times co-writer and producer Dave Bianchi and I would take big chances with the content by FCC standards but every time, every artist agreed to collaborate with us and create a small bit of “radio theater”, a concept that Alice remembered from the early Detroit radio stations he grew up listening to and I also believed in quite a bit.
Here are a few of those moments, preserved in history thanks to the Internet.
Kyle MacDonald of the One Red Paperclip project, Me, Alice Cooper
And talk about foreshadowing, here I am with Don Dahler of….ABC News, in Fargo, ND with Alice.
Alice had been offered to receive the key to Alice, North Dakokta. Population 58.
One of my favorite memories is when I worked with Children’s Wish Foundation on making the dreams of a little boy come true. Nights with Alice Cooper hosted a very special guest, 12-year-old Johnny Cross Jr. of Johnson City, Tennessee. Through a request made to Children’s Wish Foundation International Johnny Jr., who is a Classic Rock enthusiast with an amazing knack for rock trivia, will lived his wish: to meet Alice Cooper. The family’s visit to NYC was their first time leaving their county in Tennessee, their first time on an airplane and a day Johnny Jr. will cherish for the rest of his life. Known as “Johnny Jr.”, he was born with Cerebral Palsy and was diagnosed in 2004 with Chronic Kidney Disease which means that he is, essentially, experiencing kidney failure. His particular diagnosis does not allow dialysis to be an option for treatment, and the only hope that Johnny has for survival is waiting until his kidneys completely shut down and then undergo a transplant. At best, the survival rate for this type of illness is only 30%. Because Johnny cannot see well due to his kidney disease, he has devoted his life to listening to and creating music.
I write of Johnny Jr. in the present tense; due to his illnesses at the time this photo was taken in 2006, he was not expected to love past his early teenage years. I have not been able to locate an obituary.