Barry "Reazar" Richards
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Barry "Reazar" Richards and Debra "Reazett" Richards
|Also known as||The Reazar|
|Born||November 23, 1945|
Washington, D.C., United States
Barry Richards (born November 17, 1942) is an American radio/TV personality, concert promoter and music producer from Washington, D.C. He made an impact during the Late 1960s/early 1970s by introducing progressive rock to radio on the East coast.
Richards was born in Washington, D.C. on November 23. He lives in Beverly Hills with his wife Debra and has 3 sons: Stevie "Rocker" Richards (Deceased), Gary Richards (music executive) and Paul Richards. Gary married Anne Richards and raised 2 children (Riley and Stevie). Paul Richards married Sivan Vardi and is an entertainment lawyer.
As a teenager on WDON Washington, D.C., under the tutelage of Don Dillard and mentoring of Milt Grant (the Milt Grant Show).Because of Richards some performers of The Milt Grant Show were brought to WDON for further interviews and were approved "Spotlights on Teens" airing when he was 16. He stayed at the station as the janitor and occasionally got on air. He carried the Dillard's records for record hops. He stayed at WDON while he was at school, until the station went Country/Western.
By 1965 he found opportunities in radio stations such as:
- WDON (AM) Washington, DC
- WMID(AM) station in Atlantic City
- WYRE(AM) in Annapolis
- WITH/Tiger radio(AM) in Baltimore
- WUST(AM) in Washington D.C.
- WINX(AM) in Washington, D.C.
- WHMC(AM) Washington D.C. - Program director and afternoon drive making WHMC the first progressive Rock station on the east coast. It wasn't until radio station owner Nick Chaconas gave Barry the creative freedom to program album cuts and become the first underground radio station, which later morphed into Free-form radio. He became known as your heavy Head Leader. He would play Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane.
- WKTK(FM) in Baltimore, Maryland - Program director and afternoon drive
- WEEL(AM) Washington D.C. - Nighttime air personality
- WKYS(FM) in Washington D.C. - Station known as Disco 92 Nighttime air, making it the first all disco station in the country
- WMOD(FM) in Washington D.C. - Known now as WMZQ he was again nighttime air personality
- WEAM(AM) in Washington D.C. - Program director and afternoon drive - In 1976-1978, a time where African-American and white music didn’t mix, radio stations such as WEAM broke the mold by playing songs with no ethnic political or stylistic boundaries. Known as Urban Contemporary.
- WAIL 105.3 FM located in New Orleans Louisiana, it's a "Cinderella story" according to owner Ed Muniz, The station faced stylistic changes and needed to be successful in 1980 when he team up with experienced Barry Richards the station jump to number one.
- KGFJ(AM)/KUTE (FM) in Los Angeles - Program director and afternoon drive
- KBOS-FM/B95 in Fresno - Program director and afternoon drive
- National program director for Bresson-Hafler Media Group with stations in Philadelphia, Youngstown, Ohio, Columbia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
- WJLQ(FM)/WCOA(AM) Pensacola, Florida - Co-owner, program director and afternoon drive
- KQQB/KAZZ Spokane, Washington - Co-owner
- KVPW (FM)Fresno with Jerry Clifton
- On air Sirius XM Radio Strobe Channel- Last on air job
Richards became a music consultant to many record labels and was part of a team to help Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, Emerson Lake & Palmer, J Geils, Jethro Tull, Edgar Winter and Johnny Winter.
Free form TV
Richards has promoted many artists through several popular television shows including Turn-On, Barry Richards Rock and Soul at WDCA-TV 20 Washington D.C., Video Disco, Studio 78, WJLA/Ch.7/Washington D.C.,WMAR/Ch2/Baltimore, Video Trax on WWL/ch.4 and WDSU/Ch.6 New Orleans", Video Zoo on KDOC TV Los Angeles California, BTV(Fresno Ch. 57) and Fox Breakfast Club Movie WPMI-TV 15 mobile Alabama FOX NETWORK. Some times local comedians as Uncle Dirty a/k/a Robert Altman, Robert Klien, Richard Prior, Cheech and Chong will be on his shows. Richards also ran the Rhythm section of HitMakers Magazine called Reazar's Records.
On UHF Channel 20 he broadcast a rambling, chaotic blend of rock and camp mixing live acid-rock acts such as Steppenwolf and Dr. John with Flash Gordon serials, campy movies from the forties and fifties, Allan Freed rock musicals, interviews with Playboy bunnies, Buster Crabbe (The original Flash) and movie stars such as Charlton Heston, Robert Mitchum and Cornel Wilde. In one memorable set from 1973, Fats Domino was accompanied by Roger McGuinn and The Byrds and taught them how to perform his famous songs.
Richards called the format 'free-form television', emphasizing progressive rock acts playing live on TV for the first time. The show started at 11 o'clock on Saturday night and continued until the material was done, ending with the national anthem.
Recording at WDCA-TV, 20 River Road, Washington, D.C. took place Friday nights at 1:00 am and Saturday mornings at 10:00 am; later the show moved to 8:00 pm Saturday night. This live show included young people dancing to the hits of the day and in-person performances by such artists as The Commodores, Eddie Kendricks, Kool & the Gang, The O'Jays, War, Billy Preston, Earth Wind and Fire, Joe Simon, B.T. Express and James Brown.
This 1970s TV show, featured Disco Music, Disco fashion and Disco dancing. The show had a budget of $150,000, backed by Indian born entrepreneur Surinder Dhillon.
On July 27, 1978 WJLA began airing "Studio 78" featuring disco dancing and celebrity interviews. Sponsors were HECHT Co./ May Company, Channel 2 and Channel 7. Acts included Gloria Gaynor, Village People, Donna Summer, Andy Gibb, Evelyn King and BT Express.
In the 1980s Richards became known as Reazar. He joined efforts with Rod Carter a program director at channel 6 to create Video Trax, a dance show. It ran from September 1982 to May 1983, before gaining the financial and promotional support of Pepsi Cola and moving the show to WWL channel 4 in New Orleans, LA.
As a concert promoter Richards brought such progressive rock acts as Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, Emerson Lake & Palmer, J Geils, Jethro Tull, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Joe Cocker and Steppenwolf to a roller rink in Alexandria, Virginia.
Other concerts included most of the 1970s rock and R&B shows in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. He did several discos with superstar DJ Wolfman Jack from the Midnight Special NBC TV Show. He promoted the 1977 Brute Music Festival, a three-day weekend that headlined Earth, Wind & Fire, Commodores, Kool and the gang, Emotions, The Sylvers, Bohannon, Tyrone Davis, Michael Henderson, Johnnie Taylor, Gil Scott-Heron, Jimmy Castor, Shotgun, Walter Jackson, Les McCann, Juju, Brute, Brothers Johnson and Slave. Almost every R&B Soul artist performed, it was live acts from 12 noon to 3 am, after that was continuous Disco.
Carefree Sugarfree Gum
In 1980 Richards hosted a yearlong tour as promotion director for Carefree Sugarfree Gum owned by the Squib Company in New York, they were tied in with a radio station in every city with the local big DJ. Part of the promotion was to increase awareness of Carefree Sugarless gum, which had just come out, through a series of shows taking place in preselected high schools visiting 30 cities. One school in each city that collected the most gum wrappers won a free concert with Hall & Oates, a visit from the local DJ, prizes and $1000 cash.
In the 1990s, he became editor of the Rhythm section in Hitmaker's Magazine from January 1995 to January 2004. In 2000 he started his own promotion company, Reazar Record Promotions.
He hosted California Championship Wrestling Live at the Olympic in Los Angeles as well as the San Bernardino Arena in San Bernardino. He also hosted a Latin Top 40 show, produced and hosted live music videos shows such as: a dance show called Wing Ding WDCA Washington, DC 1967, Grove In WTTG Washington, DC 1969 Barry Richards Turn On (1970–1972) WDCA TV Washington, DC, Barry Richards Rock Show WMAR TV Baltimore, MD (1972–1973), Barry Richards presents Rock Movies WTOP in Washington DC (1973–1974), Barry Richards Rock and Soul WDCA Washington, DC (1975–1977), Video Disc WDCA Washington, DC TV 1977, Studio 78 WJLA TV Washington, DC and WMAR TV Baltimore, MD 1978, Live at the Famous with Barry Richards WDSU New Orleans, LA 1980, Video Tracks WDSU New Orleans, LA (1981–1983), Video Tracks WWL TV New Orleans, LA (1983–1985), Video ZOO KDOC Los Angeles, CATV there is a clip Los Angeles times magazine (1986–1988).
He has been featured in magazines as the Rolling Stone, Billboard, Radio & Records, and newspapers such as The Washington Post, The Merriweather Post Magazine, The Washington Star, The Arlington News and Time Herald.
- Washington City Paper ArtDesk The Barry Richards TV Collection, Vol. 1 at the AFI Posted by Steve Kiviat on Oct. 8, 2009 at 9:36 am
- Dee, Dorothy. "Wheelchair doesn't stop local STUDIO 78 backer" The Arlington News, Vol 31, Number 30, July 27, 1978
- The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973); Rock vs. Crashers By Tom Zito, March 18, 1971;
- D.C. DJ's old TV show tapes make for a groovy project, John Kelly's Washington, metro columnist Thursday, January 14, 2010
- Where Are They Now?, LARadio.com, Los Angeles Radio People, R, Compiled by Don Barrett
- Barry Richards is a 'natural survivor' By Lawrence Laurent; The Washington Post (1974–Current file); Jul 16, 1978; TV5;
- Hall & Oates The Merriweather Post Vol 1 Issue 3 1980
- The Ear at the Stones, The Washington star Friday, June 16, 1978
- "Wheelchair doesn't stop Local Studio 78 backer, by Dorothy Dee, The Arlington News, Vol. 31 Number 30 July 27, 1978
- Rock vs. Crashers By Tom Zito The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973); Mar 18, 1971; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1996) pg. C1