Jim LaBarbara, dubbed "The Music Professor," a name given to him when he worked in Cincinnati with WLW, WCKY, WSAI, and WGRR FM, among others. The moniker became prophetic as he earned a master's degree in broadcasting and taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati. A respected musicologist on early rock and roll, he was named one of the "Top 40 Radio Personalities of All Time," is listed in the Rock Jock Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Radio/Television/Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. Working throughout the years under the names of Jimmy Holiday in Meadville, Titusville, and DuBois, Pennsylvania, and J. Bentley Starr in Erie, Pennsylvania, he began using his real name on WKYC and WIXY in Cleveland and Denver.
Jim shares his honest firsthand account of his experience during a dynamic and sometimes turbulent life on and off the radio. He was there when the controversy of playing music performed by black artists was coming to an end, and was later innocently thrust in the middle of the payola scandals. When Jim LaBarbara did his first radio show in 1959 he couldn't have imagined it would lead to a Hall of Fame career that spanned more than fifty years; one where he would work on some of the country's most powerful stations. There have been a couple of "Guardian Angels" in his life and a "Hell's Angel" who saved his life.
For those who grew up in the '50s and the baby boomer generation, along with others interested in pop culture, this story will transport you back to the beginning of rock music. Jim was with the Supremes, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. He interviewed hundreds of entertainers including Bill Haley, Jackie Wilson, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, James Brown, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Neil Diamond, John Denver, and others. It is with the help of these interviews that he tells his own story and in so doing gives a unique perspective of the history of rock 'n' roll.
When Ed Mechenbier retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve in June 2004, he held the distinction of being the oldest former Vietnamese POW and Air Force general still in uniform on flying status.
One of eight children made attending college financially difficult. When his father bet him $5 that he could get an appointment to the Air Force Academy, Ed accepted the challenge. That decision set the course for a career that lasted forty years.
During those years, Ed went from being a high-spirited fighter pilot full of hopes and dreams to a prisoner of war, held in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. He lived through hell at the merciless hands of prison guards and tortuous interrogators, but never lost his sense of humor or duty to his country. Life on a $5 Bet tells how he survived those dark days and went on to become a general officer by holding to values learned at the Academy: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.
Ed gives the reader a glimpse into his zany life as a test pilot, lobbyist, squadron commander, spy, member of the Reserve Forces Policy Board, golfer, syndicated television air show commentator, sales engineer with major aircraft companies, devoted family man, and pilot of the C-141, dubbed the Hanoi Taxi on a repatriation flight to Vietnam in 2004.
And, oh yes, he is still the world's greatest fighter pilot.