I got to know Jim Lowe’s work with the song “Gambler’s Guitar,” which he wrote; “Close the Door (They’re Coming In the Window),” a novelty number that got a lot of play; and, of course, “Green Door,” which actually knocked ELVIS out of first place.
So it was a thrill to work with such a star when I got hired as a gofer at WNEW. A few years later, I worked briefly as the reporter on “Jim Lowe’s New York” and, still later, did newscasts on his shows. I’d toss it back to him after the news, and he’d do a time check, adding, “…later than it’s ever been.” At the end of his show, it was “straight ahead.”
In the days before Google and LexisNexis, it was standard procedure to “ask Jim Lowe” for an obscure song lyric or the cast of an almost-forgotten Broadway show. He was always the perfect gentleman, but without any pretensions. Nothing phony about Jim.
In the 1970s, as an uncertain music policy and the intrusions of play-by-play sports played havoc with the station’s personality, it was the air talent — Klavan, William B., Ted, Bob Jones, and, of course, Jim — who held things together until the American Songbook returned and the station flourished anew.
Jim was adept as program director, air talent, recording star, showbiz authority, and — most important to me — co-worker and friend. He made great contributions to the greatness of the greatest radio station.
If Jim Lowe wanted to call someone a rascal, he’d say, “You ol’ spotted dog!” When breaking for the news on the hour, he’d often say, “Lemonade in the lobby, booze in the basement.” I often repeat that to people now, and they just look at me funny. But they’re too young to have grown up listening to NEW. Their loss!
Jim had great fun with trivia questions, before that became a national hobby. And he recorded celebrity interviews with people as diverse as Gene Barry and Alfred Hitchcock.
I met him in a Manhattan restaurant in the mid-1980s, and he seemed genuinely flattered that I knew who he was. A kind, gentle soul.
Thanks, Jim, for all the cozy evenings you shared with us in “Jim Lowe’s New York!”
He *was* a charming man, and invaluable in providing advice and contacts when a bunch of 20-somethings were building WRCQ in Hartford into our version of WNEW back in the early ’80’s.
Thanks, Jim and every single one of you who created the soundtrack of my life. I had plans…..
Good by Jim. Thank you for both the music and for being the bright spot of my day. May you rest in peace. Adele Emirgil
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