Did Mike Fleming Get the Ax and Covering the Swine/Bird Flu Outbreak

I was chatting with a friend of mine who asked me if I had heard the news about Mike Fleming of WREC radio.  I, of course said I had not and the person said MF had gotten the ax and that fellow conservative Ben Ferguson would be taking his place.  I was told it was a cost cutting move.  Now I’ve met Mike (I’m sure he doesn’t know me from Adam) and our paths have crossed over the years and I know he is really popular with the talk radio crowd in the Memphis area.  So for those who’ve come to rely on MF for their dose of conservative commentary, I think you’ll have to start looking elsewhere.  I’m not sure if he is even going to be on the air on this Tuesday.  Letting a fired on-air person have air time after the ax has fallen is always a dangerous thing.  Of course, there is always the chance that what was shared with me is not true but the person who told me has the hook-up so unless I hear otherwise, I’m going with what my friend shared with me.  I will say this about MF.  He is well known.  I remember back in the early 90s when a huge riot broke out at the Shelby County jail in downtown Memphis.  Some of the prisoners wanted Mike Fleming to come in and meet with them.  They trusted him and no one else.  He did go in and eventually the inmates calmed down and order was restored.  I just hope that the conservatives don’t go on the warpath…. Moving on

This whole flu pandemic/not pandemic thing sure has people talking.  And not knowing really what to believe has me feeling a little uneasy as I’m doing a bit more traveling for business.  I’m trying to decide if I need to wear a surgical mask during my next ride on a commercial airliner.  Which brings me to my point about news coverage.  I’m sure that this is NOT going to be high on the list of things that some reporters will want to cover.  Afterall, covering this story has the potential (and I stress the word potential) to leave the news crew rather dead.  Unlike covering AIDS stories where one has to be exposed to bodily fluids  to become infected, this is potentially more dangerous.  Imagine this:  somebody hacking and coughing on their hand before you arrived and then shaking your hand.  After wards you clear your throat and put your hand to your mouth to cover it and you may have just exposed yourself to the virus.  Wow.  Does that sound alarmist?  Probably, but then it all depends on who you listen to for your source of news.  Again, at this point, I’m not sure who to believe or what to believe.  So if you see me around the airport, just wave and ask, “Kimosabee, who is THAT masked man”

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25 Comments on “Did Mike Fleming Get the Ax and Covering the Swine/Bird Flu Outbreak”

  1. The GM Says:

    No knowledge of Mike Fleming but I’m told Clear Channel eliminated 500 positions nationwide today.

    The GM

  2. joelarkins Says:

    That could very well be the impetus for letting MF go if he has indeed been pushed by the wayside. I’m sure he would be available for some sort of daily/weekly commentary such as that offered by Norm Brewer of WREG and Lee Meredith on WMC.
    By the way “The GM”, your knowledge of Memphis radio and TV appears to be pretty deep. I had an email from someone asking me about the “Johnny Scott” show on WREG. I know someone posting here made a reference to it but I have no working knowledge of it. Can you give me the 4-1-1 on the J-S show, when it ran and what it was about. Thanks in advance.

  3. The GM Says:

    No idea on “Johnny Scott”. Perhaps they’re thinking of Johnny Dark who used to do weather on WREG and was a DJ in the ’60s. I believe he was one of two Memphis jocks who introduced the Beatles when they played in the River City.

    The GM

  4. ready camera one, take two Says:

    Joe, what would be so wrong with conservatives going on the warpath?

  5. joelarkins Says:

    No, this was Johnny Scott. I googled the name and only came up with a couple of references. This may have been back in the 50s or early 60s. As for Johnny Dark aka John W.Dude Walker aka Johnny Dougherty (not sure of spelling on his real last name), I worked with JD during my days at WREG. I’ve got a pretty good knowledge of his background.

  6. joelarkins Says:

    Ready Camera One,
    Man, I walked into that one. What I meant was I just wanted to be out of the way when they hit the warpath. I was out of pocket when they started tea-bagging although I heard about what all went on in Memphis and elsewhere around the country.
    As for me, I just want world peace and for everybody to get along. That’s my line and I’m sticking to it.
    Regards


  7. Joe, Mike is not on the air and he has been scrubbed from the WREC website. I think he’s been sacked.

  8. joelarkins Says:

    LeftWing Cracker,
    When I posted this around 2pm Tuesday, Mike’s bio and other information was still on the webpage. Thanks for bringing me up to speed on the latest. I hate to see it happen but the fact of the matter is that it does happen.
    Regards

  9. ready camera one, take two Says:

    Just to correct a term perpetuated by the MSM…
    That’s “tea party”…I think “tea-bagging” is what Anderson Cooper and Keith Olbermann are all about.

  10. joelarkins Says:

    I’ll let you be the expert on that one….
    Regards

  11. Miss J Says:

    Fleming is gone along with two personalities from WHRK and few internal staff members. Whether you agree with his politics or not, it’s tough for anyone to lose their job like that.

    Joe, where is Johnny Dark now?

  12. joelarkins Says:

    Thanks for the update on Fleming and Company.
    I’m not sure but I believe old JD is still hanging around the Memphis area. I ran across Johnny and his wife a few years ago at a gathering in Collierville. Johnny looked the same as when we last worked together at WREG. He had dark hair, was brown as a biscuit and was probably still smoking those Winstons (or was it Marlboro Reds). The only differences appeared to be that he was using a cane and he had what appeared to be a diamond stud in his ear. He still had/has one of the deepest voices of anyone I ever worked with and his laugh was still resonating across the room. And by the way, anyone who ever worked with JD will tell you he has more stories than you could shake a golf club at. My favorite one:”I could have been Jethro!” But that is a story for another time.
    Regards

  13. Brian Craig Says:

    Several years ago, I acquired the 1967-1980 run of both the Memphis edition and Nashville edition of TV Guide in bound volumes. TV Guide had apparently at one time bound every issue of all 150+ local editions, but were now getting rid of them.

    Johnny Scott starts being listed in early 1970 and came on at Midnight or after The Late Movie on Friday on channel 3. It was still on in late 1972.

    There is no description listed in TV Guide, just says Johnny Scott–Jazz.
    At the same time, Channel 5 on Fridays at Midnight had a show called Swing Shift, don’t know if that was local or syndicated.

    Next time I’m at the library, I’ll check the CA microfilm for the date, Johnny Scott premiered and see if there is any more of a description in the paper.

  14. joelarkins Says:

    Brian,
    Thanks for the info you’ve shared. The reason Mr. Scott’s name even came up, I received an email from someone who said her mother appeared on the show and she was trying to find a videotape of that performance. I told her that she might try contacting WREG but I was pretty sure that any recording of that show (if it ever existed) had long been tossed. Of course I have been wrong before (once when I thought I was wrong) but I doubt if WREG would have kept a copy. This is the same station that tossed out ALL of their old news footage on film when they converted to videotape. Go figure. But as I said, I could be wrong.

  15. The GM Says:

    Wow, bound editions of TV Guide. How can anyone compete with that? Where’s George Costanza’s dad when you need an old TV Guide?

  16. JD Says:

    Hi Joe!
    A side bar if you will:
    I recall your discussion about “OMB” reporting etc. Did you notice that Marc Perrusquia took his own photos for his article in the Commercial Appeal this morning?

    Also, how is your airplane’s recovery coming along?

  17. Jimmy Smith Says:

    This is a sad day for radio and for America. What happened to fair speech and the right to opposing views? Only a communist or a fool would celebrate the loss of a view point that is not their own.

    Companies like Clear Channel that bought more than they can handle can effect hundreds of thousands. If they disappear and all of the people lose their only source of income where does that leave the economy. Wake up people. Wake up before it happens to you. I am not a fan of monopoly but I am a fan of putting America to work – a fair days wage for a fair days pay.

    Are these people the same fools and idiots that are applauding the loss of GM, Ford and Chrysler? Are they applauding the additional 100,000 plus jobs that will be lost as a result of their plants shutting down? Remember it is not just the factory job it is the supplier, their supplier and so on. Is this the America you want? Is Mike Flemming merely a pawn in the bigger picture that are your liberties slipping away? Are you too stupid to see it? Socialism?

    Mike Flemming you will be missed, not because I always agreed with you, but because you had an opposing view and enjoyed the freedom to share it. I appreciate the effort and feel for the day you are no longer on the radio expressing your views – even those contrary to my own.

  18. Doug Johnson Says:

    Another 6 months, and all we’ll hear on the radio is Rush Limbaugh and continuous repeats of Drake & Zeke in the Morning. This clear-cutting of people is deplorable. The government is going to have to bring back the WPA at this rate.

    And even though the swine flu has claimed its first U.S. victim, it’s still overblown as epidemics go. Unfortunately, I number of people are killed by the flu every season, and even though this falls outside of regular flu, it will probably be no more serious… It just shows the media habit of slipping into crisis mode when there’s coverage that can sustain a title and a dramatic music pop. I talked a bit about this on my own blog (http://wdjohnson.wordpress.com/). Yes, that’s a shameless plug. Whaddya want, I was in the news business!!

  19. Doc Pepper Says:

    I can’t believe no one has heard of Johnny Scott and the Men.

    Anyway, The Johnny Scott Show was a local 30 minute Blues/R&B show that played on Channel 3. His band, Johnny Scott and the Men fronted the show.

    WMC also had a similar R&B show in counter programming, but the name of the WMC show escaped my memory. Was it Swing Shift?????


    • Dear Sir,

      In reference to the Johnny Scott Show. It was aired on Friday nights on WREG-TV starting at midnight in the late sixties and early seventies. The show usually ran for thirty minutes but would occasionally run over,,,,much over.
      The show featured local talent such as Marvell Thomas and other local musicians. The show was sponsored by Stag Beer Company. In fact Mr. Scott would sing a jingle at the beginning of each show about the “dry cool” taste of Stag.
      There was from time to time a female singer with him on the show and she and Johnny would joke around as to who was going to get the quart bottle to take home. Her name was Juanita. She didn’t have a very good voice as I remember. The commercial breaks almost always were about Stag beer. Johnny himself would plug the beer incessantly during the show.
      I would give anything to see an old tape of the show. And whatever happened to Johnny Scott anyway?

      Sincerely,

      A.J.

  20. The GM Says:

    All I remember is George Klein’s “Dance Party” on WHBQ

    The GM

  21. ready camera one, take two Says:

    According to the all-knowing oracle of Union Avenue (ret.)–Swing Shift was hosted by Harry Winfield.

  22. Doc Pepper Says:

    Its funny, I remember seeing Joe Larkins introduce a happy birthday moment on WREG sung by the late Big Lucky Carter. This was when WREG was totally into musical jingles. They had musical singing Hello Memphis or Happy Birthday Memphis cut-ins (Channel 3 loves you). I had never heard of Big Lucky and posted on a Blues internet mail discussion group asking about him. A reply came from Denmark that proceeded to tell me anything and everything known about Levester ‘Big Lucky’ Carter, a Memphis Blues musician. Even in those dawning ‘early’ years of internet, a person on the other side of the world knew more than a home grown Memphis guy. I guess we “locals” know less about our music than anybody.

    The same is true about Johnny Scott. He had a show in the 70’s, and for WREC-G it was innovative to have any urban programming at that time. It was so successful that WMC created a show to match it called Swing Shift. Harry Winfield dabbled in just about everything (Band Teacher, WDIA, WMC, Swing Shift). He was an able opposite to Johnny Scott. One show was on Fridays at Midnight and the other was on Saturdays at Midnight.

    Here is a link to a music show that Scott was a judge last year. http://www.rocksoulandblues.com/judges.html that link lists him as having a record label.

  23. beverly Says:

    As a former Memphian, I had listened to Mike Fleming and loved it. He pulled no punches, if you did not want an honest answer, then don’t ask him the question. I now live in Michigan (west side of the state) and USE TO listen via my computer to Mike’s show (and only that show). In Michigan, I listen to WOOD 1300. But since Mike (the Man) is no longer on I have taken WREC600 from my list of favorites. Wrong decision Clear Channel.

  24. Peggy Says:

    I know this has been a long time ago but I wanted to know how we can contact Mike Fleming? Is he on the air anywhere?


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