Skip McCloskey Remembers:
THE GREASE WAS COMING BACK TO D.C. AGAIN
It was the early ‘70s and I was just hired by NBC to work at The Great 98.
The station was unique in the fact that the jocks only had control of their mics
while NABET engineers did the rest. I was to become one of those
engineers...playing cue burnt 45s on rumblemaster QRK turntables while
shoving Fidelpac carts into RCA cart machines.
After a couple of months it was decided that I would settle into the 10pm-2am
shift. I would be running the board for a new DJ that was hired from New York...his
Back then The Grease image was that of a mid-50ish, balding, under-shirt wearing derelict
just killing time playing the hits for a paycheck to spend on that next bottle.
The character was amazing considering that Grease (aka Doug Tracht) was a thin,
sandy haired, sheepish 150 pound talent that most likely got beat up everyday at recess.
Leaving the station at 2am every morning would see fans, usually female,
hanging around waiting to see The Grease. The NBC security guard would ask us if The
Greaseman was around. That was Doug’s cue to reveal himself if he so desired...he
Grease’s next gig was in Florida at WAPE. I used to get air checks in the mail...then the news broke:
I met Doug at a DC hotel and we had dinner and talked about his return to DC. The act had changed!
Doug Tracht and The Greaseman had become one. Quicker paced, more topical and perhaps
a little more risqué. I still remember when he greeted me in his room. The thin, shy young jock I knew gave
way to a muscular, self assured individual who was ready to unleash the new Grease.
It was also time for Greaseman to appear in public.
Even though the on air voice has changed since that first night we worked together, the man hasn't. He'll do
anything for you and I'll bet if I played him old Greaseman airchecks, his eyes would still water.
Doug- What are you doing July 4th? I have this firecracker here.........
FAQ: Why The Name Greaseman?
In Doug’s early radio days he’d use the term, “I’m cooking with grease.”
A station employee then coined the term Greaseman
The rest is history!
The Grease’s ‘Ring Dang Doo’ can be heard on Web Radio Classics (WRC)
Monday thru Friday 6-10pm Eastern
Listen thru the website at www.webradioclassics.com
or on your mobile device thru SHOUTcast or iTunes
Firecracker Update: On 9/22/01, The above mentioned explosive (or what's left of it) was
handed back to Doug for his safe keeping. I felt that with the construction of his Grease
Palace studio, a new era was ushered in and it was time for him to carry the memento for the
next few years.
When last seen, the firecracker was nestled between the feet of Ragnad, a blow up alien doll
that symbolizes the alien baby of Greaseman of which he does bits about on the air.
On the air bits were delivered with split second timing. Working with Doug was amazing!
During a song he would gaze at his feet deep in thought. Just before the record would end,
he’d open the intercom and in his normal voice say, “ah Skipper can we do T-3 into record 14?”
As headphones were slid onto his head, the on air sign would light and this booming voice
would penetrate the control room with another story or wild fantasy that always left you wanting more.
A memorable night was July 4th 1973. Both of us worked missing all the celebrations. I picked up
some sparklers and rockets and at 2am we had our own celebration behind NBC. There was one
rocket that was never shot off. Doug kept it in his possession until he left the area. He gave it to me as
a remembrance of that night.
I kept it for many years and have since returned it...how stable is gun powder after 40 years?
After leaving The Great 98, The Greaseman was brought back to NBC. This time on WKYS as a try out
for a two man morning show with Jack Harris. For whatever reason after Thursday’s show the PD,
Gordon Peil, wanted Doug to drop The Greaseman persona and
use his real name. Doug wasn’t sure what to do. That night he came over to my apartment. We heated
up some Franco-American spaghetti and listened to Greaseman airchecks from his previous
employment at The Great 98. I’ll never forget that night. After about 45 minutes of air checks, Doug
looked at me with his eys misty and said, “Skip, I’ve put too much into Grease to give him up now.”
With that he picked up the phone and called Gordon. He never did that last Friday show.
Vintage WRC Air Check
Placing A Double Cash Call
1st DC101 Bit
Recording Hornet Spot
Great 98 Final Sign Off
With Jack Harris
Web Radio Classics Promo
Early Greaseman On WRC