Meat Loaf Meets William S. Paley

By Ken Foote, Director of Programming for CBS 11

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When you are a really big star bringing in lots of money, you have a really good chance of meeting the top business executives of a large media company like CBS. And a guy from Dallas did just that in the 70’s!

Meat Loaf (born Marvin Lee Aday) is still a successful recording artist and theatrical film and TV actor.After a troubled childhood, he left for California and formed his first band. Recording contracts and acting gigs followed. He was in the stage presentation of Hair and starred in the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Today he is known for his trilogy of albums under the Bat Out Of Hell. If you like Meat Loaf’s work, you have a good chance of hearing it on 98.7 K-LUV (KLUV-FM) or 100.3 JACK-FM (KJKK-FM). His songs are also heard a lot on Sirius XM 70’s On 7 like “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” and “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”. The Bat Out Of Hell album still sells an estimated 200,000 copies annually with over 43 million sold in total.

In the early 1970’s, CBS Records’ Clive Davis and Walter Yetnikoff signed Meat Loaf to a contract under the Epic recording label. Due to his popularity, Davis and Yetnikoff took Meat Loaf one day to meet CBS Chairman and CEO William S. Paley.Unless you were a close personal friend of Paley or maybe Frank Stanton, he was always addressed as Mr. Paley or Mr. Chairman, never as “Bill”. CBS Broadcast Group President Gene Jankowski did the introductions and as the story goes Jankowski says, “Mr. Chairman, I’d like for you to meet CBS Records’ newest artist….Meat Loaf.” Meat Loaf extended his hand to Paley and says, “Yo Bill!!”  Needless to say that sent shockwaves to Jankowski, Davis, and Yetnikoff. But Paley had been dealing directly with creative talent for over 40 years by that time and CBS Records had been a part of the company since 1937, so he knew how they were. At that moment, Paley just gave a big laugh! And the CBS execs just gave a big sigh of relief! Like most successful media executives then and now, Paley knew that “content is king”.  At CBS, we too know that regardless of the mode of distribution, if content is “king”, people will do anything to seek it out.

See you next time

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