Monday Memo: Summertime, Summertime, Sum-Sum-Summertime

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Quentin Tarantino reportedly listened to 14 hours of 50-year-old KHJ airchecks, to cull excerpts for “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood,” and rekindle the vibe of 1969 Los Angeles where he grew up. And it sure worked. One of the more memorable clips was the late Robert W. Morgan ad-libbing a spot for Tanya, whose sassy jingle boasted that, “from Malibu to Miami, you’ll tan like you’re in Waikiki.”

Summer officially begins tomorrow, but listeners are already there emotionally

Most were quarantining two summers ago, and many were still in stay-cation mode last year (porch-and-patio guys and landscapers who advertise on my client stations were working overtime then, and are less-busy now). This year, cabin fever collides with pain at the pump and sky-high airfares and inflation generally; and stations that sound all-about-it will be conspicuous.

  • Yesterday I passed a gas station charging 30 cents less than one two miles away. Be known for information like that, easily found on com and elsewhere.
  • And be known for “fun-formation,” a sponsored segment on stations I work with. Think family day trips, discount days at nearby attractions, farmers’ markets, etc.
  • “There’s a reason they call them ‘scam ARTISTS,” attorney and author Steve Weisman quips. Among dirty tricks this time of year: fake vacation rental offers. Victims who browse authentic-looking websites and pay a deposit show-up at someone’s home at the shore only then learn that the house wasn’t for rent. Poke-around Steve’s com for more summer scams, and hit on Steve for an on-air interview which listeners WILL quote to friends.

Play this song tomorrow — the whole thing – yes, even if you’re a talk station

In my Casey Kasem voice: This novelty hit made it to #2 on the Billboard chart for three weeks in 1963, when many of today’s news/talk AMs were Top 40 stations – kept from #1 by “Fingertips” by Stevie Wonder and “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels.

Give up? It’s “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter from Camp),” by comedian Allan Sherman.

  • In 2020, the song was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
  • The song mentions “Leonard Skinner” — a boy at summer camp who “got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner” – inspiring the name of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd (and Classic Rock aficionados will be quick to add that a Leonard Skinner had also been a band member’s gym teacher).
  • Sherman performed the song on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” and said he based the lyrics on letters of complaint he received from his son who was attending Camp Champlain in Westport, New York.
  • Baby Boomers listening will chuckle, sitting in parked cars with the key on Accessories.

Talk hosts: Bump with titles such as these, dear anthems to the format’s demographic core:

  • “Summer in the City,” The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • “Dancing in the Street,” Martha & The Vandellas
  • “Beach Baby,” First Class
  • “Summer Breeze,” Seals & Crofts
  • “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” Sly & the Family Stone
  • “In The Summertime,” Mungo Jerry
  • “Walkin’ on Sunshine,” Katrina & The Waves

And don’t just start at the beginning then dump-out mid-first-lyric.  Let ‘em hear a full hook.  And you can make cool instrumental loops from several of the above.

Holland Cooke ( is author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download here. HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke