In September of 1969, Tom McEntee came to me with the idea to present a Country Music Seminar for record promoters and radio programmers, which would be held in March of 1970. I loved his idea and would later follow up in 1973 with a Pop Music Seminar and Convention of my own. Tom McEntee got Country Music Hall of Famer Tex Ritter as Keynote Speaker. Country Music Seminar #1 (now known as Country Radio Seminar) was a huge success and it looked like Country Music Survey would be a successful operation.
Then in May of 1970, two Black men came to my office in Georgetown while my staff was at lunch. I thought they were record promoters. One man said to me, "We are here to sell you insurance." I said, "I don't need any insurance." He proceeded to rip my shirt off of me. Then he handed me a business card and told me to send $1,000 per week to a P.O. Box in Queens, New York. I was shaken, but with what had happened in 1968 and the person behind that incident dead, I thought it must have been a joke. Ten days later two men again came to my office at lunch time with the staff out. The only one in the office was my partner, Mitch Corday. They asked to see me. Mitch told them I was out of town, but he was my partner, could he help them. They proceeded to break both of Mitch's legs with tire irons and left him passed out from agony. When the staff returned from lunch, they had him rushed to a hospital. It was nine months before he could walk again.
Mitch Corday left D.C. suddenly one night after his ordeal and I never saw him again. He had had enough of the show business and had - not without good reason - become extremely paranoid. After almost 35 years of looking over his shoulder, Mitch passed away in 2003.
Having been in the Black entertainment business for two years, I had met a couple of Black "Wise Guys" who were connected. I called one of these gentlemen and asked for his help in finding out who was behind the extortion attempt and if the brutal attack on Mitch was actually meant for me. He said he would check it out. It took three days of me sitting on pins and needles before he got back to me. He told me the only way to get off the hook was to pay $1,000 weekly or to give them Soul Music Survey. I told him I was not going to pay them, and if I was going to lose the publication anyway, I wondered if he would be interested in taking over Soul Music Survey himself. After a slight hesitation, he said he'd be happy to take it off my hands. I asked him where this would leave me with the people who were trying to extort me. He said he would take care of it and I need no longer worry about it. In 37 years this problem never surfaced again. However, it was disheartening that I had one of the first known integrated Rock 'n' Roll bands and also published Soul Music Survey, which was one of the first Rhythm & Blues music reports, yet now I was a victim of racism myself and was forced out of the Black Music industry. In any event, the violence continued in Washington D.C. with the unsolved murders of two top R&B radio programmers. I was relieved that I walked away unharmed.
Also at the time of the Soul Music Survey mess, I had to make one of the worst phone calls of my life when I called Tom McEntee and told him to close down Country Music Survey. Without my cash cow Soul Music Survey, I could not afford to keep his office in Nashville open. Tom had worked so hard to build the Survey and Seminar. Again, I came out the big loser, as today the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville every March is a home run. With an annual attendance of over 3,000 radio/record people, the Nashville music community decided in 1970 to present the yearly Seminar themselves. Tom was the founder of Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. and the organization will have their 39th Annual Country Radio Seminar in March of 2008! I give full credit to Tom for keeping the Country Radio Seminar alive through his persistence and diligence. Today Ed Salamon continues the tradition...