ELLIOT POLLOCK, 1959-2013
One of many memories In Memory of Elliot Pollock
I graduated from high school in 1977 with Elliot Pollock, who by then was already an experienced radio DJ. He had a classic on-air voice, his delivery big and bold, with quick flashes of humor tucked into his radio patter. By the time he got to Grinnell College and signed on to the campus’s Iowa airwaves, his radio name was already “Doc” Elliot. I also did a radio show at my college’s station. Badly. And compared to Elliot, very badly. Elliot was already a pro, and he could be hilarious.
I drove Elliot back to Grinnell after his spring break a couple of times. One year, we got to campus close to midnight the day before classes were to resume, and after we had unloaded the car, Elliot grabbed his key to KDIC, the college’s radio station. “Let’s go do some radio!”
KDIC, which Elliot would refer to on-air as “The Dick,” was still off the air for the break, so Elliot flipped a few switches and fired up the transmitter and began an impromptu radio show, spinning records and announcing them with his usual flair. He wanted us to do it together, and I obliged, but after a few minutes, our duo show was reduced to Elliot doing his thing while I tried in vain to keep from cracking up.
At about 2:00 AM, the station manager – a Senior undergrad – walked in demanding to know who gave Elliot permission to commandeer the station. It was clear they didn’t particularly like one another, and Elliot managed to talk him into a few more minutes so the show could be properly concluded. But the manager had one condition. He didn’t think much of Elliot’s top-40 musical format, and demanded that he play a track from a Tony Bennett LP. This was years before Bennett had become hip again to the youngsters. The thought of injecting an old-school crooner into ‘Doc’s’ show was so absurd, Elliot simply ignored the “request” and kept spinning what he wanted, until the manager went over to the transmitter controls and threatened to hit the switch and shut everything down unless he heard Tony Bennett. So, Elliot relented.
“And now,” said Elliot in his finest ‘Doc’ mode, “the Chipmunks sing ‘Lonely Girl,” as the record began and Bennett’s voice squeaked out of the speakers, the turntable set, not at the LP speed of thirty three and a third, but at 78 RPM.
The manager bolted toward the transmitter controls, pointing at Elliot through the glass, so Elliot relented again, switching the turntable down to the correct speed. The manager didn’t thank him, instead telling us the show would be concluding with Tony Bennett.
As the cut ended, Elliot went back on the air to wrap things up with, not ‘Good Night,’ but:
“Elevator music ‘til dawn, on -- The Dick.”
I exploded with laughter as a very pissed off station manager hit the switch.