Everyone from the publisher on down to the copy boy is getting ready for the milestone 100th Anniversary Edition of Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout, the longest-running award-winning rock 'n' roll column in the history of Metro Times. Indeed, hardly a week goes by when someone doesn't ask me how this payola-fueled publicist's wet dream began. Well, with only two weeks left until the big event, this seems as good a time as any for the true inside story to finally be told.
It all began back in 1957 when I joined the staff of a small co-op trade publication called Detroit Area Jukebox Auto Monthly. DA-JAM provided local salesmen with advice on how to best service the needs of local teenagers who spent their time listening to rock 'n' roll while cruising in their cars or slouching in malt shops.
By working long hours for no pay, I soon rose up through the ranks to become DA-JAM's advertising manager. Every day I'd make the rounds of all the car dealerships and restaurants, slipping the owners a fin here or a sawbuck there to make sure our advertisers received preferential treatment.
Before long, I was having regular meetings with local record labels and disc jockeys who wanted to ensure that certain pop songs would be heard in our advertisers' cars and on their jukeboxes. After the Senate hearings cleared me of all charges, DA-JAM founder John "Hammer" Henry retired and made me publisher.
In the mid-'60s, I split Detroit Area Jukebox Auto Monthly into two new trades: Michigan Muscle Machine Music and Detroit Times Underground. By the time I made our final amalgamated name change to Metro Times, it was my time to step aside after loyally serving the company for 25 years.
However, I remained on staff for another quarter century as a contributing writer, earning the well-deserved soubriquet "The Publicist's Friend." Now, in honor of my 50th anniversary working for the Metro Times family, I've decided to give something back. Therefore, beginning with my 100th column, I will be donating a full 100 percent of my weekly column salary to establish a new Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout Scholarship Fund for superior rock criticism.
Trust me, it's the least I can do.Jeffrey Morgan is a freelance writer. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org