Longtime Oklahoma City disc jockey Ronnie Kaye remembers television host and tireless entrepreneur Dick Clark as “a pro, never ever at a loss for words, smooth as silk on the air and just one of the top-flight people personally and professionally” in the entertainment industry.
From 1966 to 1974, Kaye hosted “The Scene,” a local rock 'n' roll dance show on the former WKY-TV (now KFOR-4), modeling it after Clark's nationally-aired “American Bandstand,” which had a large role in ushering rock music into the mainstream culture.
“I go back with him personally to about '67 because we both had the same sponsor, which was Dr Pepper,” Kaye said Wednesday. “So that tied us together pretty closely actually, because he came to town, stayed a whole 24 hours with us, went out to the state fair for my TV show, ‘The Scene.' Of course, it was all about Dr Pepper.
“We sent three different couples out to Los Angeles to be on his show, ‘Bandstand.'”
Kaye recalls having a lengthy conversation with Clark about his experiences in the entertainment business as they drove for several hours around Oklahoma City.
“I got to observe him close-up,” Kaye said. “We really talked personally about the business and what his feelings were and what my feelings were, and what I was trying to learn from such a pro as he was, and, boy, was he a pro.”
Kaye said Clark's rigorous dedication to his work was partially to blame for the stroke Clark suffered in 2004.
“The morning he got up with the symptoms of the stroke and some numbness, his wife wanted to take him right to the hospital,” Kaye said. “His response was, ‘I can't, because I've got an interview on the phone with a disc jockey.' So, he waited around too long to go to the doctor and see about his stroke. The severity of it probably could have been much less, had he have gone on.
“But that's just the kind of guy he was. He was totally dedicated to the business. His work ethic was unbelievable.”