80 Friday, August 10, 1984
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Once the doyen of Detroit rock and roll
radio, former disc jockey Robin Seymour
has opted for the art scene.
BY HEIDI PRESS
Local News Editor
Robin Seymour in his radio days.
Voted by Billboard magazine,
the music industry's Bible of sorts, as
one of the country's top 10 disc joc-
keys in the 1950s, Robin Seymour is
only mildly interested' in listening to
radio :today = about 20 minutes a
day, going to work.
"I'm really not that excited about
listening -to music on radio today,"
SeyMour said, but added that in
punching the radio buttons in the car
he switches between his buddy,
WCZY-FM's morning funnyman,
Dick Ptirtan, with whom he worked
on the former WKNR-AM ("Keener
13," now WNIC-AM and FM), and
WJR's J.P. McCarthy.
A native Detroiter who came
into the world as Seymour Altman,
the former disc jockey attended
Brady Elementary, Hutchins Junior'
High, Central High School and
Wayne State. University, where he
majored in history and minored in
speech. At WSU, he was a member of
the Broadcasting Guild, where he
met former d.j. Mickey Shorr, and in
theater groups. With Shorr he ap-
peared at the Contemporary Theater
at the former Jericho Temple in the
In 1948, he and Shorr were
WKMH notables. (WKMH was the
WKNR-WNIC forerunner.) Seymour
had the afternoon shift, while Shorr
was the all-night man. Shorr recalled
that the two were competitors in the
, 1950s, but adds, "he (Seymour) was
the established d.j."
"He was damn good as a d.j. --
tough' competition," Shorr said. "He
had the nose to smell out a hit record.,
. Boy; he was tough."
Shorr also had 8eefi on the air at
WJBK and at WXYZ.-.Today, he is
the operator of a chain of car audio
Shorr felt no sour grapes about
Seymour's popularity as a top jock.
."He is the first contemporary perion-
ality jock. .He •was well respected in
our (broadcast) community."
Speaking with Seymour at his
San- Marco Galerie II, a company that
presents private home art shows of
what he calls "quality original oil
paintings," the same exuberance
that emanated from our Aiwa trans-
istors as a teenagers came out in con-
versation. The man has an ebullience
that knocks your socks off and if
you're a native Detroiter you know it
is not just of recent vintage.
Is an interview, he talked about
his career as well as changes in the
HEBREW UN ION COLLEGE
WAL TER ROTHMAN • LIBRARIAN
CTIMITINAT1, 01110 457'10
pop music scene and contemporary
The father of two grown daugh-
-ters; Seymour recalls getting the per-
forming bug,at about age 9 when he
appeared in schools plays. He par-
ticularly recalls playing the giant in
"Jack and the. Beanstalk" in grade
school. It was a puppet show and
needed one live character. Since he
was the shortest and could fit on the
. stage, he won the part.
"That began my notorious
career," he laughs.
- Notorious, hardly. Seymour offi-
cially. began romancing the mica._
rophone in 1947 at WKMH and offi-
cially left radio in 1965. During his
radio stint, he also got into TV in the
1960s as the host in 1963 of "Teen
Town" on Channel 9 in Windsor-The
show started as a Saturday-only pro-
position, but according to Seymour it
was so successful, that the station
gave him a sir-day-a-week schedule.
The, name changed to "Swingin'
Time,' and it became the showcase
for up-and-coming Motown artists.
"Swinging' Time" left the air in 1908.
After "Swingierime," SeyniOar
started his• own company, producing
commercials. and managing bands.
But the success he found in radio was
not to be found here.
"It was a total disaster. I lost ev-
erything," he recalls.
From there, he went into direct
sales, boUght a cosmetics distributor;
ship and started consulting for othei
hi the early 1970s he traveled all
over the U.S., working with direct-
sales coMpanies, but the lure. Of hig
hometown brought him back in 1973.
He briefly dealt in jewelry and in
1974 went to - California to set up a
company.' He remained a consultant;
until 1976, when he headed another ,
direct-sales company in California.
But Detroit beckoned again and,
having the urge to start his own cont.:
,pany, Seymotit returned. Today,
Seymour is based in Royal Oak with
what seems to be a successful
enterprise. Just try getting him on
Dealing in art is a long way from
the days when "Bobbin' with Rain,"
the theme song written for tiinf, by
Bennie Benjamin and George"Weiss
and recorded by the Four Lads, gave
listeners a clue that fun things were
about to begin.
But his listeners and "Swingin'
Time" viewers weren't the only ones
having a good timer Sernour recalls
some highlights. The Billbard polls,
listing him among the country's 10
best certainly marked a high'point.
"Those were naturally very flat-
tering and very thrilling moments in
my early days." And another? "I had
a big kick, was thrilled and
meeting recording artists:"
And meet the artists he did.
With Detroit then the home base' for
Mowtown Records ((Motown, Tainla,
Gordy; Soul, Rare Earth labels),
Seymour's "Swingin' time" silo* was
the starting piont for many of the re-
cord company's artists. .
"Every Motown recording artist
in their stable" appeared .one the
show, he says. "The first TV shoW any
of therh ever did was our show. That's
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