My radio hero “Diamond Jim”

Jim and Marvin, Dec. 05, 2006

I cannot believe how fast time goes. I will always remember however, December 5th, 2006 when I met for the first time my radio hero, Jim Nettleton, so-called “Diamond Jim”.

He had a 50-year career in radio working for WFIL and WOGL (Philadelphia), WABC (New York) and many other stations and just started a 50’s/60’s Oldies Internet station.

My interest in possible  involvement with something similar for new music, like my program at WPRB, prompted me to search the Internet.

In 2006, on the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, I found his email address on the Internet and wrote to him with questions about Internet radio, not expecting much.

Within hours I received a response and an invitation for lunch.

Since he lived not far away we met for lunch at a local restaurant. I was very nervous and remember standing near the restaurant’s entrance wondering if I would recognize him. When he walked in, I knew immediately and said to myself “Oh my God, that’s him!! That’s Jim Nettleton.”

From the first moments of our meeting I felt that I knew him in person for years. We talked about Internet radio and his career as well as music. We talked about not only popular music, but also jazz, bluegrass and to my surprise – classical. Like me, he hated to categorize music.

The lack of creativity on many homogeneous  radio stations disturbed him. He said something to me I will always remember,  “Unpredictability is entertainment.”

How true it is, regardless of what radio format one listens to.  His vision for rock and roll stations was the same as mine for classical.

After that meeting we kept in touch by e-mails and occasional lunches.  The last time I communicated with him was in 2009, only a little over a month before his death.  At that time he was going through a number of tests while being optimistic, we were planning meet again soon. I was hoping that he would be the DJ for my recent high school reunion.

His death hit me very hard. I do miss  his voice on the radio and am very sorry that I didn’t contact him sooner. I guess I was just afraid that he would ignore me.

When I presented Jim’s memorial tribute on Classical Discoveries, I had a hard time controlling my voice.

Since Jim also did Voiceovers, I still occasionally hear his voice on television.

You can read more about Jim and his incredible career and listen to his glorious  reading  of “Yes, Virginia”.  Just perfect nostalgia for the upcoming holidays.

“Yesterday” – In Memory of Jim Nettleton on Classical Discoveries

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