Mark Stevens

It’s been a very difficult day;  a constant media firestorm of questions and queries.    I’ve hardly had time to sit back and allow myself the time to soak in just what this loss means to the world of radio; to Groove Dogs….to me.  

So, when I finally got the chance to decompress long enough to write this post, the hardest part was coming up with the title.   What do you say about a man the caliber of talent that Mark was?   Where does one even begin and then once started, how does anyone truly do him justice?  I tried but I couldn’t think of anything more succinct.  Sorry.   I think in many ways the simplicity of it says it all.    Simple title perhaps,  but he was hardly a simple man.  

On the contrary;  Mark Stevens was bigger than life.  He was one of the biggest men I’ve ever met.  But that statement has nothing to do with his size, but rather his countenance.  Oh yes, Mark could loom large.  Depending on how secure you were, Mark could be damned imposing and intimidating.  He didn’t scare easy, though it was always heartening in many ways to see that vulnerability peek through his dogged “fuck you” attitude.  He had those moments.  Sure they were  few and far between, but they were there and when he let them exit that hard shell of his, it was extremely poignant.     It was dichotomous to realize that such an outright, hardened asshole (and he was and would approve of me calling him one even as I mourn his loss)  could ever be capable of expressing a true, human emotion.   It almost gives one hope for the most lost of causes; like someone finally being able to broker  peace in the Middle East…

I don’t think anyone really knew how old he was; he kept that very private.  Mark kept many things private such as that which lived in the recesses of his heart.  I got the feeling that sometimes, Mark was too different people in the same body.  And sometimes, there was a violent game of tug of war going on in there.  But when that ON AIR light came on, Mark Stevens the jock, the consummate radio man, took over. 

As for Mark Stevens the man?  Well, his clothing choices were always interesting–straight from the designer boutiques on Rodeo Drive.  I remember Gucci ankle boots….European jeans; designer shirts made from THEE BEST best textiles that man (and illegal Guatamalen child labor) could produce. He drove a black Porsche and always parked valet regardless of the distance to the front door of the establishment.   He smoked the best Cuban cigars and had taken (I think) at least five trips down the matrimonial aisle, though I feel certain his widow, Melissa was the love of his life. 

Mark had style and a defined sense of mystery around him.   He always wore sunglasses…even at night and that gave him a certain edginess.  He had Louis Vuitton luggage.  A full set, thank you.  Mark was blatant about his love of excess and pretense.   He’d come into the studio in the  morning and rave about having dinner with some well-known celebrity the night before.   Hakeem Olajuwan one night; Larry King the next. Now, make no mistake–Mark and his wife were movers and shakers and since she was/is a big Houston PR guru, they probably did have big names in their circle,  but Mark could also exaggerate.    It took us a while, but we finally figured out in true “Mark Speak”, that meant from time to time that he merely had dinner at the same restaurant at the same time as these celebs. 

He always claimed to be Italian, yet looked more Lithuanian.   He wore a silver bracelet that I think was worth two and half months of my current salary.  He loved being rich and looking the part.   He was vain.  Oh yes, he was vain which probably masked rampant insecurity.   And he could have, at times, a certain cheesiness to him.  You could always tell when he was trying too hard, but for those of us who knew him and loved him, we accepted that the occasional “Velveeta Factor” was just part of the Mark Stevens experience.

He was every bit my radio father.  

I learned from him;  went to him in times of trouble, looked up to him.  And like any insecure child,  I tap danced unmercifully to impress him; to make him laugh because if I did, that was a coup.   If you could make Mark Sevens laugh, you could seemingly move mountains.  He taught me how to perform and write and create for a male audience.  Do that and  you’ve got a gender inclusive audience. 

He was  every bit my mentor.  

And something else about Mark–he had a wonderfully loud, infectious laugh.   

I remember the entire radio station that was Rock 101 KLOL had day long event underway in Clear Lake at one of the now defunct beach clubs there.    Mark and Jim were hosting some “Miss Whatever” contest; one that I’m sure required audience response in order to select a winner from a slew of bikini clad women, most of which really shouldn’t be caught dead outside in the daylight, much less wearing a bikini in public.

This particular lake adjacent beach club was next to a restaurant with a lovely garden in the back and was often the scene of wedding and reception combos.  This particular Saturday afternoon was no exception.

Well., as fate would have it, a wedding ceremony was taking place JUST as the “Miss Big Boobs or Whatever” contest was getting underway.

Permit me to speed up a bit.   This DID NOT please the newlyweds–AT ALL and that was completely understandable.  Music and crowd noise were polluting their ceremony.   The wedding, which was videotaped, was brought before the City Council and a formal complaint was made.   I got a call from a Council Member a few days later who conveyed the story to me.  Seems the couple played the tape for the Council, angered that Stevens and Pruett had ruined their wedding.

As it happened, and according to the Councilman who saw the tape, just as the preacher asked if there was anyone present who has just cause why this couple should not be united, let them speak now or forever hold their peace,  Mark in that loud, inimitable bellicose voice of his could be heard prompting a contestant , on a very live microphone, “Show us your tits, Honey!  That’s right!  Yank ’em out now!!!”.

And then I’m told, that was followed by that famous laugh of his.

The timing was perfect.   Or imperfect if you were the couple.    No legal action was taken that I know of…other than it took every ounce of restraint for the council members (all of which were Groove Dogs) not to laugh.  

I’m sorry for this couple’s experience, but hey, getting Mark Stevens to officiate (even unwittingly) at your wedding is quite a coup!!!

Today,  a million thoughts and memories like that one have flowed through my gray matter.   I’ve been asked a million questions and I’ve given a million answers. 

“What were your years like with Mark and Jim?”

My years with The Stevens and Pruett Show were Dickensian…the best of times; the worst of times.  Bad because I lost a bit of myself during the show’s duration;  good because I was able to find myself again.   

And today, I find myself reflecting back on the illustrious 28 year career I’ve had in this crazy, F’d up biz.    In that time, I have been unduly influenced by two men professionally; one of them was Mark Stevens.  He believed in me; bullied me, harassed and harangued me; encouraged me; made me laugh then cry, hugged me, rebuffed me; made me deliriously happy; infuriated me, made me crazy then helped bring me back around to sanity once again.    Working with Mark always brought one fill circle emotionally.   Round and round and round you’d go.   He was like this crazy pack mule with you as human cargo and one hoof nailed to the floor.   Round and round and round you’d go, but you always enjoyed the ride…even in its non-circuitous monotony.  

This only makes grappling with the fact that this brilliant man died from Alzheimer’s even more difficult. 

When we worked together briefly during my days as News Director for FM News Channel 97.5, we were both on the air, interviewing Timothy Bottoms one Saturday afternoon.   Mark was asking the actor a question and I looked down on the desk, and saw his hand shaking in this palsy-esque tremor.   I went home and cried.  It was like seeing a beloved  parent as old for the first time.   It was a difficult reality.  I knew I was witnessing the beginning of the end.

I’;ve spoken with Jim Pruett, too.  The morning we learned that Mark died, Jimmy was very distraught.  Every day, it gets a little easier but I would still imagine this is a very painful time for him.   Jim is refusing to speak to the media and I completely understand that.   I’m sure Mark’s passing also has him thinking about his own mortality.   Jimmy has had two heart attacks, but that’s what the death of someone close always does;  it creates two reactions: fear-fueled self-awareness and sadness.   Mark was his partner for decades.   It was no different from a marriage really.  So yes, Jimmy is devastated by the news.   This was family.   Jimmy is an only child and sadly, he’s just lost the only brother he’s ever known.    For Jimmy, this has to feel like he’s lost Mark a second time.

Like Jim, I will miss him forever and I’m hardly the only one.  Here are a few things my friends and other former KLOL colleagues are saying about the man, the myth, the legendary Mark Stevens:

Dr Betty Halpern, Internist To The Stars. who appeared on the Stevens and Pruett Show almost every week to field general health questions from listeners:

Iwas stricken to hear of the loss of Mark Stevens.  I had heard of his illness and wish heartfelt sympathies to the lovely Melissa for being his sunshine for many years. I wish the last ones had been better.

Mark was nothing if not a difficult man. His exterior of barbs, thorns, and thick brick hid this amazing interior of marshmallow and caramel goo. Diagnosed as a dyslexic in the military, he did not realize his genius. I found it took me a few years to get through the thorns. He reached out to my kids when he heard they were dyslexic. He was kind to my elderly mom. He loved dogs. He cared for his dad lovingly, and bore the unexpected and premature death of his lovely daughter, Kim several years ago.

 The end of his career went out like a lamb. I was honored to cohost on a last-minute basis for one his last programs, but was dismayed to find it had to do with food and wine. My kids would laugh to know this. Fortunately I thought quickly and simply asked him to explain to me the difference between virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. This carried the next hour as he was also a wonderful chef. I learned that first press olive oil is the good stuff.

While he and I sparred on and off the air, I respected his work. I once asked him to what he attributed the longevity of his  long, enduring marriage to Jim when he  had not succeeded as well in his own marital endeavors.   His answer was without delay, “It’s simple…I don’t screw Jim!”

Then the On Air light lit up and the show resumed with he, Jim and Brian in rare form.

Such an interesting, irascible and  complex man. Such a huge loss.   I pray he knew how much he was loved. 

Martha Martinez, The News Muchacha:

I first met Mark in 1968 when I was a mere toddler and was visiting a wildly extravagant  and wonderfully stylish boutique on Camp Bowie in Fort Worth called Mark Sebastian.  Sebastian was my friend, the wildly extravagant, hip/rich/hippie clothes designer and manager of Love Street Light Circus and Feel Good Machine who went by the name “Sebastian”.    The Mark portion was of course, Mark Stevens. 

“Holy crap!  That guy’s looking over the doors into the dressing rooms!” 

Little did I know that the impish actions of this stylish man were a tiny glimpse of sorts into my future.

Flash forward fifteen years or so  and thanks to the Fates and the faith of Program Director, Randy Brown, I found myself in the KEGL-FM control room in Arlington, Texas…working with the  bawdy, bombastic, Stevens and Pruett.  My life was forever changed.
 
Yes, it was changed in more ways than I could have imagined.  Changed, in the fact that my somewhat questioning view of the S&P brand of radio entertainment was changed…to a question… of “How do they DO that?!”  My mind was opened to the brilliance of balancing “bad boy” bawdiness with intellectual word play;  of offsetting seemingly simplistic schoolyard naughtiness with a worldly wink and nod to societal ills in need of healing and of turning plain old promotion into projects of compassion and care and dare I say, even awe.   Stevens and Pruett were, indeed naughty but nice.  Very nice. 
 
Mark and Jim opened my life to new worlds of thought.  They gave me new eternities of friendships I might never have otherwise known.  They took me travelling to the other sides of oceans;  introduced me to heroes I’ll never forget and included me in something that will never be forgotten.
   
THANK YOU, MARK,  you cruelly brilliant, vain, hilarious, handsome, impeccably stylish,  wonderful, mysterious man.

You are and always will be loved.

Lanny Griffith, The Traffic Master:

It’s a shame  everyone couldn’t know Mark  off the air.  The  Mark  Stevens off the air was  almost entirely different than   the one  the public got  to see.  Off the air, he was  calm,  quite,  extremely  reserved, and private.  On the air, he was  bombastic, demanding, demeaning and funny as hell,  in that  funny sort off grouchy-ass  way that made us all l worship him.  

He truly was  focused on ” funny. ”   I have never seen anyone so dead serious  about  joke telling.  He massaged  a joke  as if it were  a  new-born baby.   Mark left nothing to the imagination to his  stories.  Once he told the story with the  punch line,  you got it!  

He was brilliant like George Carlin,  but he kept his  humor  at a  blue-collar level.  He wanted  everyone to  enjoy  his stories,  and they did.  No PhD needed to love the laugh that Mark Stevens  produced.   Surgeons,  rocket scientist, engineers, even  accountants  loved his  schtick!     

How lucky I was  to sit  across from him  for  so many years  and see both sides of  Mark Stevens.

Craig Roberts, Sports: 

I got a call from Mark in 1996. He said they were looking for a sports guy who “got the show”. I was their man. little did I know what I was in for…day one..Jim and Mark said I had to go through the S & P procedure. Mark proceeded to put duct tape on my bare chest and ripped off 30 or 40 years of chest hair. I knew I was in the big time. Between strippers and free breakfasts I learned how much fun it was to ‘HAVE FUN”. I also knew how special it  was since none of the staff members were amateurs. They were screwballs, but not rookies.

Additionally, Mark decided that I needed a theme song.   Several of the show members sang my name to the tine of the old Gillette Blue Blade commercial.   My God, it’s amazing…people still sing that song to me ten years later.  That was something.

So was Mark Stevens.

I never missed a day of work on that show and never left it without seeing 3 naked babes, and wolfing down free morning steaks and tequila.

I’ll miss Stevens for a lot of reasons.  I’ll always miss broadcasting and the way it should be.

Exactly. 

The way radio was.   The way it used to be.   Past tense.    

The way it will never be again.

There is a tremendous amount of pain and sadness in that statement.  

And I’ll say this while I’ve got the forum:  forced retirement is a killer.  I agree with former show producer, Bobby W. when he said in my comments section that Mark would probably still be alive today and in better mental and physical health had he not been let go, in the way he was let go from KLOL ten years ago.  It was egregious and internal and NEVER should have happened.  How in God’s name do you tell a man, who made millions for a radio entity, that suddenly because of corporate greed,  he’s no longer viable?   What does a 66-year-old man do with his life when his whole life was spent on the air making  laughter; making memories and making a lot of money for a lot of people???   One minute he’s a Radio God who spent decades as the driving force behind one of the most succesful mornig radio shows in the history of broadcasting.; one ten minute post-show meeting with the station’s General Manager/slash executioner and he’s leaving the building just another jobless statistic.

Make no mistake; I’m devastated and heart-broken about his  physical death, but God help me, I’m still very angry at the premature death of his radio career.  Corporate greed and misplaced ego plunged the knife in deeper.  Therefore, this professional death wasn’t due to natural causes at all; it was, as far as I’m concerned, murder and there is metaphoric blood on the hands of a lot of people tonight–and I still believe that all these years later.

The morning he was fired, I watched him leave the building that housed KLOL for the very last time.  A sad, dejected man who’d given so much of himself to a station…an industry, simply walked to his car and drove away.  There was no fanfare; no words, no send off, no nothing.  It was incredibly cruel.   As I sat there, I knew this was the end of a magical era for radio and beginning of a very sad one for everyone on both sides of the radio speakers.   Turns out, I was right.  But it is indeed an homage to Mark , that nothing…NOTHING was ever the same after that dismal February day in 2000. 

As far as I’m concerned, with Mark Stevens’ passing, terrestrial radio has just died a second death.

He was a beloved figure; hardly the easiest man to get along with but he knew radio and he knew what made good radio.  He was very generous and never threatened by anyone elses talent or comedic chops.   In fact, he applauded genuine talent.    He afforded so many their chance at the mike and the spotlight that accompanied it.  All you had to do was give your best; and you got it in return.  The show’s equation was just that simple.

In closing, the outpouring of love for him has been extraordinarily touching.  I think he would have scoffed at the attention, but a I think that soft, fluffy nougat part of  Mark’s ego would have loved to have known he was this loved.    And he was.  He always will be.   I was lucky–I got to tell him that I loved him.  And I did.    I loved him like a father.  I proudly say that this is no sentiment uttered for the first time upon hearing news of his death.  I couldn’t be that calloused or that petty.  My feelings for him are real and have never wavered. 

In fact, I am who I am today, largely because of his tutelage and a part of me will never be the same.  In many ways, I don’t want it to be.   

Mark Stevens is dead. 

Long Live The Radio God. 

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For more on the history of the Stevens and Pruett Show, its lengthy run on the legendary rock station, KLOL-FM and of course, its incredible cast of characters, click here.

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29 comments

  1. This was excellent Laurie.

    Mark was the reason I got into radio many years ago. We ended working against each other a couple of times. In Fort Worth he was doing afternoons at KFJZ and I was doing afternoons at KXOL. I then came to Houston to do mornings at KRLY and before I knew it, Mark was doing mornings at KILT.

    Your right, he wasn’t always fun to be around, but he was one hell of a jock.

    We will miss him.

  2. Beautifully put, Laurie…

    For me, Mark was like yoda. I joined the show in ’96 as an over confident 21 year old. To be in the studio with he and Jimmy and all that craziness seemed like heaven. For reasons I’ll never know, he took me under his wing, and taught me everything in his tough love manner you described so well. It gave me a career, and I wish I’d listened more. Seems like everyday since there’s been some universal rule he had shown me that applied to the show I was working on at the time. I tried to thank him over the years, but he never wanted to hear it….I hope he knew how much it meant to me.

    It’s not fair that he’s gone. Radio needed him…..I needed him.

    I have no idea how many times I called him for advice in the years after KLOL….first for radio stuff….then life. He went from being Mr. Stevens, to Mark.
    He was, by far, the most talented person I’ve ever worked with…and the smartest friend I’ve ever had.

    Thanks for everything Mark….you’ll be forever missed.

    Tito

  3. I did not know Mark Stevens nor the cast and crew of the Stevens and Pruett show personally, but they all hold a special place in my heart.

    I was first introduced to the show in 1992 by my uncle. We were on our way to visit my grandmother (his mother) who was dying of breast cancer. We were both sad and depressed and needed a pick-me-up. So he flipped on ROCK 101, said “don’t tell your mom I let you listen to this”, and the rest was history. I knew at that moment, at 14 years old, that I wanted to be in radio. I wanted to work with the Radio Gawds. Even though I lived in Oklahoma I made sure I always brought plenty of cassette tapes when we visited so that I could tape all four hours of their show and I always made sure my friends sent me copies of their “best of” cds. They were my idols. Mark’s laugh was infectious.

    I started my radio career in 1996 and found myself working in the Houston market in 1998. I so wanted to meet them, to see if I was good enough to work with them, but I never had the balls to do it. That and the fact that I was employed by another station. I remember feeling a sense of heartbreak when I heard that Mark had been let go and the show was no more, like a part of my youth was gone. It sucked.

    The funny thing is, I haven’t thought of the Stevens and Pruett show in ten years and then I hear the news about Mark’s passing and it all comes flooding back. I’ve lost them all over again.

    You were a great talent, Mr. Stevens. I wish I could’ve told you to your face how much you guys meant to me.

    Rest in peace, Radio Gawd.

  4. As the person that originally coined the phrase “radio gawdz”, I was able to also know the personal side of Mark. I was just a young kid new to the city of Houston and would listen and worship the morning show at KLOL. I was lucky enough to become an honorary member of the show in years to come and participated whenever I could. Mark would always make me feel right at home.

    Time came that I opened my own business in Houston and Mark was there to give me support not only with business but just the caring side of things. He always would ask me how things were? kids? family? This from a man I barely knew.

    I missed him the last couple years as I hadnt heard from him, but hopefully now he’s in a better place. All of our prayers are with Melissa and the whole KLOL family.

    Mark you will truly be missed.

    Bernie.

  5. Nice job, Laurie….The Stevens and Pruett Show was the absolute best. Mark’s laugh was the best I have ever heard. A huge loss. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you.

    George

  6. I don’t know if anyone will remember me or not, doesn’t matter, I remember all of you and Stevens, I was closer with Jim of course,but, I can not express how much Laurie’s story of him effected me, she is one of the people I remember most when I did my little bit on the show(one of the original PRUETTE’S)the one Mark always gave a hard time to for not wanting to take my top off..

    I really loved working on the show and with the Ranch, and my deepest condolences to everyone that loved and knew him and will surely miss him.. I hope Jim is doing well and his family and I know he is taking this incredibly hard..

    I really hope Jim knows how much he helped me. He and his wife were the best and most special people I ever met..

    Thanks again Laurie for such a great and honest reflection on one half of the most awesome Radio personalities ever to grace our radio waves..

    Thanks,
    Stacie Smith

    ***************************************************************************

    Of course I remember you, Stacie. I have a photo of us together at some event. And yes, we were paryting and OUR TOPS ARE ON!!

    Your sentiments are sweet and I appreciate them very much. Mark would just die (pun intended) if he ever really knew the impact he had on so many people.

    The world is as others have said, far less funny today. We’ve lost a giant in the industry. But we were all better for having known him.

    You take care and let me hear from you.

    Best,
    LK

  7. “All you had to do was give your best; and you got it in return. The equation was just that simple.” – that bled through to me as a listener of the show in the 80’s.

    Great article. I was there as a teenage listener. The names above are all a part of my childhood.

    I just deleted a rant I typed on the state of radio because that takes away from what this article is about: a man that gave all to be a part of a great team that entertained and informed me during my most formative years. So, thanks to the team.

    And thanks to Mark Stevens.

  8. Great job. This really got to me. I grew up with theses guys, and it was a sad, sad day when I first heard KLOL without them. A piece of Houstons heritage has gone the way of the dodo, and its terrible that we aren’t hearing more about it. Clear Channel should be ashamed of themselves for what they have done…

  9. Mark was great to me through the years, he was a very funny person. I loved his characters and sense of humor.

    This was a great story Laurie, thanks so much!

    I really appreciated that I was able to be on the show, and the support you all gave my band over the years!

    I vaguely remember this one:

    LMAO Ingredients: Mark Stevens + Jim Pruett, Locke + Eddie the Boner Sanchez + A Professional Boxer + My Band + A Houston Astro, vigorously Add Sponsor: +Condoms Galore ..Stir in various “Models” = A hell of a lot of laughs.

    The most fun I ever had On Air!
    A lot of memories each and every day of my life from that time!

    Salute Mark, and all of the gang from those great years!

  10. Thanks for triggering such great memories of growing up in Houston and listening to local radio when local radiouse to mean something.

    Great morning teams like Jolly and Jay, Barretta and Charlie, and Stevens and Pruett aren’t around anymore. Sadly, our current generation of kids growing up don’t share our passion for listening to great morning radio. Those morning teams got me through high school, college, and beyond. I can remember sitting in the parking lots of school sometimes, and being late to class while listening to Uncle Waldo.

    My fondest memories of the Stevens and Pruett show were the times they had the late great Sam Kinison on the show. I doubt the FCC would let a show like Stevens and Pruett exist in todays PC climate of not OFFENDING anyone.

    Thank you for honoring Mark’s memory, and for celebrating the impact their show made on so many of our lives growing up.

  11. Well done Laurie. You are such an amazing writer, and Mark would be proud of you for “telling it like it is.”

    Well, it’s another sad day for radio. I loved Mark’s passion for the business. . He was a real radio guy, and I feel honored to have known him, occasionally made him laugh and pissed him off a time or two. He deserved the title Radio God. He had a “tell it like it is” approach to the air product, and in my opinion, that’s one of many things missing in today’s media. He had no problem digging up dirt on certain broadcasters, or local celebrities and talking about it on the air, even to the chagrin of the PD or GM, back when guys like that actually cared about programming.

    Thank you to Mark for making generations laugh. I understood the show. These milquetoast morning shows today couldn’t hold a candle to S&P…..

  12. Moving post. Sad state of affairs.

    Laurie, you’re an excellent writer and this begs for a part-two deluge of more anecdotes- and please write us a worthy, rockin’ KLOL book.

    …and people still yell the damn theme song to me ten years later, too. genius.

  13. Lump in throat, tears in eyes. Your words have brought us closer to knowing Mark Stevens, the whole enchilada. Thank you.

  14. I agree with Lanny about the two sides of Mark. At one moment he would be shooting the bird at my camera yelling “get this Effen’ camera guy outta my face” and next, while on the following radio break, we might be talking cooking or recipes.

    Mark and I shared a love for cooking. I find it ironic that the last two times I ran into him was at Central Market in Houston a few years back. Although I was known as Jesus With A Camera on air, he always called me by name when off air. I remember the second time I ran into him at Central Market. As my wife and I walked thought the parking lot I noticed an alarm going off in a black Porsche. The top was off and on the passenger seat was a package from a Galleria store. I kind of had a feeling it was Mark’s car as we walked in. I quickly spotted him after entering the store. I walked up to him, we said hi, and then I asked him if he was in his Porsche. He said “yes, why”? I told him his alarm was going off and he had left a package on the passenger seat. He walked out of the store leaving his shopping cart in the aisle. That was the last time I saw him.

    Perhaps he felt it safe to leave the package seated there in his open car, or perhaps it was the beginning of his bout with what would ultimately take him from us. Having experienced my mother-in-law suffer the same illness, seeing her erratic behavior at the beginning, its progression from denial to acceptance, and then her eventual demise, I think it was the latter—Mark might have been at the beginning of his battle with Alzheimer’s.

    Although I wasn’t an official member of Mother’s Family, I do feel lucky to have met and formed friendships with many members of Houston’s Legendary Real Radio Station KLOL—Mark included.

    I’m betting Heavens air waves are tonight being bombarded by an assault of humor as Stevens, Kinison, Schramek and Dorsey are surely entertaining the masses.

    Rest peacefully Mark—you will be missed.

  15. Laurie, that was an outstanding piece of work. You cover a lot of ground here, managing to pay the ultimate tribute to a man who meant so much not only to you, but obviously many others as well. The emotions you put on display are genuine; they are raw and tender, not always comfortable. It paints a compelling picture, and really adds perspective to the depth of pain you and many others must be feeling. As an outsider who didn’t know Mark Stevens before, I now feel a sad sense of loss, based entirely on your heartfelt and painfully insightful narrative. Well done Laurie. I’m sure Mark is somewhere smiling with a small tear in his eye that he is trying to suppress.

    ****

    You made me cry, Phil. That was very sweet and touching. Thank you.

    Mark was an amazing man. An asshole and a tool at times, but he was our asshole and tool.

    I learned a great deal from him, as did so many of my colleagues. He was like a professional father figure for me. I loved him and was indeed loved. He will be missed. The radio industry has lost a giant and a man who played a pivotal role in shaping FM Morning radio shows.

    Wish you would’ve known the show. It was tremendous. Brilliant, even if I say so myself. I know your personality and love for and respect for witty, urbane humor—-you would have been hooked. Even though the subject matter was often sexual in nature and sometimes low brown, there was an underlying sense that it was complex. I loved being a part of that show and I’m only really beginning to fully understand what it meant to so many people.

    Thank you again. The loss is only made easier for the entire Stevens and Pruett family knowing that Mark is getting the respect and accolades he deserves.

    Best,
    LK

  16. What a loss we have had.

    I had been listening to Mark and Jim since the ’80’s. Those guy’s and the whole crew made it worth getting up in the morning. I loved commenting on the Waldo’s.

    I was fortunate to have been to the studio several times. I will never forget it!
    Mark would laugh and it would make me laugh. He will be sorely missed.

    R.I.P. Mark.

    Thank you Laurie…

  17. I moved to Houston in 1977 and the Stevens & Pruitt show found it’s way to my ears almost upon my entry to the city. I listened to the gawds every day up untill that dreadful day in Feb. of 2000. I still have my runaway radio t-shirt. I have met most everyone who has ever been on the airwaves of 101.1 except for Mark but feel like i’ve known him all my life.

    I met you, Laurie and a host of others at a KLOL reunion in 2004 at a place called Barracudas in Baytown and i asked all of you where Mark was and no one knew why he didn’t attend that night. I did speak with him on the phone one time though. The show was having a contest and giving plane tickets to people at Christmas time for sending in a good reason that you needed them. I sent in my reason was to go see my daughter from my first marrige as I hadn’t seen her for years. Then one morning they red my letter and said for me to call into the station as I did and spoke to both Mark and Jim live on the air.

    I’m with you Laurie, radio was and never will be the same again, those other guys that moved in there slot didn’t come close to the gawds.

    R.I.P Markie baby it was truly a wonderful ride.

  18. Laurie:

    You are a wonderful writer and have a special way of putting what many of us are feeling into words.

    Your posts have brought a flood of memories – Kevin’s offbeat commentary, Lannie’s bondage sisters singing ‘treat it as a 4 way stop’. I used to catch an hour or two of the show most every day, more when I got the chance. At the time, I was just trying to get by, keep my job, provide for my family, etc., and the show helped me put up with traffic and get some laughs before another crappy day at the job.

    Now I realize it was much more than that, and how much I miss the show and all the characters. That Uncle Waldo video really captures the essance – the comedic timing, the switching between real voice and character, Brian’s quips. I keep watching it and laugh every time.

    I think the first time I heard you on the show you were just filling in, doing the news for Martha I guess. You were still on KTRH at the time. I could tell right away that Mark liked you by the way he bantered back and forth with you, and you always had a comeback. It’s crazy the things that stick in my head – I recall another time when you were doing a news or traffic report and traffic was backed up in downtown, but instead of saying it was backed up to the convention center, you said it was backed up ‘to the G R B’ – emphasizing each letter. Mark loved it and I remember him repeating it several times that day and the days that followed. To this day whenever I’m on 59 driving through downtown, it’s not the convention center, instead I hear your voice saying it’s the G R B.

    My sympathy and thanks to you and please pass that on to the rest of the crew when you see them.

    ***

    How very kind, Robert…thank you. I remember the convention center bit, I think I tried to say it like Flava Flave. Something like (here it is phonetically), “The Jay Ah Bay”.

    Mark was something else. I love that everyone is expressing this sentiment as well. I’m only beginning to fully grasp what the show meant to so many people. I’m learning it was more than a show and wordsmith that I’d like to believe I am, even I can’t come up with the adjectives or the superlatives to give it justice.

    Thank you for sharing your memories. You’re right—it was a special show that was on during a special time and it consisted of some very special people. I remember all of it fondly.

    Yes…my years with S&P will invaribaly be one of the highlights of my upcoming “E! True Hollywood Story”

    CORRECT!!!!!

    Best,
    LK

  19. I lived in Houston from 1978 to 1995 and when I first heard S&P I thought they were THE most creative daily radio team ever. My opinion never changed as I moved from many major radio markets in my career. I think of them fondly whenever I “Go to Tulsa”.

  20. Very well put Laurie, very well put, great job. It brought back alot of memories, you are a fantastic talented writer.

  21. Long Time No Laurie…for me anyway, and It’s sad to be contacting you under these circumstances. You were the perfect person to write this amazing tribute to Mark and the show. You were one of my and my former partner Rob’s favorite parts of the show in the mid to late 90’s during my time at KLOL and in H-Town. You were the rare drop of Estrogen in a sea of Testosterone fueled funny chaos that Me and my gay brethren could latch onto and find a link to the show. You were a tough broad and savior to me on that fateful morning that I sat in as news man for the legend Chuck Schramek.

    As I sat quivering in the booth next to you, Jim set a stripper upon me to try and distract me from my news cast – knowing full well I’m sure – that a meat purse could not carry my lipstick of love. (I have no Idea what that means). I could have seen that as harassment, but a light went on inside and I realized that Mark and Jim were telling me to be myself. Never be fake! I had been trying to pretend I was straight. Once I made the decision to drop the facade not long after that morning my on air and off air life improved. Mark and Jim were a big part of my self realization.

    After the show had so sadly gone off the air, Mark and I became friends and he embraced me and Rob and who were were as people. Mark always looked past labels and if you could bring something to the table you were always welcome. I am a more honest person because of Mark.

    Thank you Mark. I will miss you.

    Carl Bishop

    ****

    It’s the Bishop. Bless me father.

    Good to hear from you. I know you did some extra work for Mark in the waning years, when he was with Cleverley, I think. You did great work.

    Yes, you are correct—Mark embraced anyone who was willing to embrace themselves. He chided me at first, too…encouraging me to find my “show legs”. I’d never worked in entertainment radio and this was new to me, but MEDIA WHORE THAN I AM (I’m a blond Reverend Al) I took to it like shit to a colon.

    Huh????

    He wanted realism….with all his motley cast of characters, that’s what he got. Divergent personalities that came together in this broadcast melange that because the stars aligned just right and God in all Her mercy looked down and smiled, it all worked.

    We were all lucky to have known him, on and off the mike.

    Thank you for your kind words. As for me being tough, I think I was actually more naive and ignorant and if that one/two punch can be mistaken for toughness, then groovy.

    Take care, Brother.
    LK

  22. followed s&p for years even e-mailed Mr Stevens one time not long after show ended and to my surprise got a response but i should not have been surprised he always was bigger than life to me but also the everyday guy on the street thats what he was to me. Radio will never be the same again R.I.P. Mark

  23. Mark Stevens was a wonderful guy . He and Jim always made me feel at home whether I was dropping by the station or doing a call in bit .

    I had just gotten off of twitter this morning , and I googled his name to ascertain his whereabouts . I was shocked to hear of his passing .

    I first met , Mark , when he was doing the Hudson and Harrigan Show , and still remember the studio stint trying to launch ” Grand ole Crockery” – a failed attempt to create a sort of Hehaw on Meth .

    One of his funniest stories described the time he hooked up Martha Martinez , with Freddie Fender , on a date . Of course , This paled in comparrison , to the time my date and I showed up at one of his after wedding parties , more herbed-up than Letterman’s annual Lone Ranger Christmas story .

    I never got a chance , for a frim hug , and the opportunity to tell Mark just how much I loved him as a man and as an entertainer . Once in a lifetime , We chance to meet someone , who lingers in our thoughts and captures our heart .

    Wyomi , Michael , Allen Parkway , and the rest of my cast of characters will never forget the time we all shared with this geat radio legend . R.I.P Mark Stevens , for in this heart , you’ll always be ON THE AIR .

    David in Phoenix

  24. Laurie, I was thinking of Mark Stevens today (July 9, 2014) and found your wonderful tribute. I have not read this before today and even though it has been some 4 years, I cried as I read all the tributes. Born in 1956, I listened to Mark and “Jimmy Poo” when they were H & H at Kilt-AM. In those days, AM radio had the DJ’s talking and cutting up, and FM just played music. My cousin Maxine Mesinger, who passed in 2001 were many times the butt of their jokes. My favorite routines were “Out and about” with fill in the name, i.e Maxine Mesinger. The other gag I loved was : ”Tripod, the 3 legged coyote, road on and in by Buffalo Bob Speedway. And Buff Bob would say to coyote, shut up before “I kick you with these Mexican spurs.” From my car, I could see the image of this old guy, riding a coyote into the studio. This cracked me up every time, the skit was unimportant, just the opening of the bit cracked me up.
    Two questions I have for you:
    1.) If I went to Jim’s gun shop, would he talk about the old radio days with me ????
    2.) I remember that KLOL hired Moby at some point when he left a Houston radio station, and they hired him for their morning drive time. I believe Moby left the state, and then KLOL brought him back to town. Moby did mornings and S&P did afternoons. This lasted a short time, S&P went back to mornings and Moby left. Can you help me with my facts, do I some of this right. ??????

  25. Laurie,
    Just like the previous poster, it’s been four years but I just read your writings. There is still deep sorrow and anger in my heart how the S&P show ended. This show brings back floods of wonderful memories. It was a major part of my young days in middle and high school.

    My questions come from inside me, trying to get some indications of what happened from folks on the inside like you.

    1. This is my main question. In1992, I moved to San Antonio for school. I missed the show a great deal. But, I did become a loyal lisle and Hahn listener. (You probably know about them and incidentally, their 25 yr show was canned a few years ago which brought back lots of bad memories). Anyway, I remember lisle taking a call and the subject of S&P came up. Lisle was telling the caller that Stevens and Pruitt had become mortal enemies. This floored me. I listened to jimmy and boner for a short time on that news talk station, I believe. I got no sense of anger at all. (I remember that terrible morning after the firing and boner reading that written statement many times that morning. It was very painful to listen to. I can’t imagine the pain that jimmy, boner, and you guys felt). If you can’t talk about it here, is there any where that you could tell us folks this along with lots of other inside info. PLEASE believe me that I am not trying to be ugly. I still have such sadness about the demise of the show and thirst for stories about it.

    2. What do jimmy and boner say today. Is there any book or article(s) out there that they talk about the show in detail.

    Thank you in advance for any info.

    P.S. I guess I was one of the few who listened to and enjoyed “GP and the B”. Of course, it wasn’t S&P, but it was something. Everyone talks about remembering where they were when 9/11 happened. I was in the shower getting ready for work listening to GP and the B. Grego’s loud and boisterous reaction rings in my ears even now.

    I hope so much you can respond because I mourn the loss because it was so such a prominent part of my formative years.

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