The Great Elusive “Get Back” Radio Search: Part VII
The WBCN Branch, Chapter 3: Final Contact
A month and a half passes — nothing from Joe Rogers. All leads have gone cold, the hunt stalled.
Then, the evening of February 2, I got an IM from Charles. He’d like me to check out how accessible something is in his web site. I obliged, then mentioned to him that Joe had never returned my e-mails. Charles wrote that he’ll “nudge” Joe a bit.
Sure enough, four days later, Joe finally wrote back and asked me to elaborate what I’m looking for. At last! Direct contact with the one person everyone else had claimed as the source, the keymaster, if you will (sorry — one too many Matrix allusions, or maybe that was Ghostbusters).
By now I’d acquired enough background information from all of the parties previously located and contacted — Andy, Charles, and Sam from the East and Ted from the West — that I now began to appreciate the processes involved. So I fed all this to Joe, finally putting him at some ease that he wasn’t dealing with a fish completely out of water.
He responded the following day (Feb. 7):
– “By golly you do seem to be in earnest. I don’t believe I can really help, but I will give you what few clues that I can.
“I don’t remember the [9/22/69] broadcast, but Steven [Segal] was a well connected dj at the time and might have gotten the material from a wide range of sources. Yes it might have come from KPPC, but he also knew nearly everyone in radio on the west coast including Tom Donahue.
[This was the second reference of Steve’s association with Tom. Sam Kopper had mentioned this in December.]
“Could it be relevant that Steven was from Buffalo and traveled there regularly?
[subsequent answer to this possibility: not all that much]
“We will have to find Steven.
“I have tried before and failed, but I will try again. The last time was a lengthy process that began with tracking down his brother and then his ex wife to get a phone number for Steven that he never answered.
“Maybe you can track down a person named Rob Barnett who (within the last two years) was a pretty big shot at VH1 making music videos and a music documentaries. He and Steven had many plans and projects for working together that never quite happened, but Rob may know where Steven is.”
Joe then gave me the last address and phone number he had for Steve, but he said that this was long ago and may not be valid now. He then ended his e-mail with this:
– “I will do what looking that I can. I would dearly love to find him.”
I called the number Joe gave me. Got an automated operator message that told me that the number had changed to another. Hmm. So I called the new number. Got an answering machine from someone who addressed himself only as “Steve,” that he wasn’t in but left his cell phone number. So I called the cell phone number. A man answered.
I ask, “Is this Steve?”
He says, “Yes.” I continue, “Steve Segal?”
I apologized for the evident wrong phone number and explained how I had gotten it, then asked if he knew of a Joe Rogers or a “Steve Segal.” Again, “Sorry, no.”
Ooh, so close and yet so far away. The door cracked open, then slammed shut.
So I tried the other route: who was this Rob Barnett and where could I find him? Googling an answer came quickly this time — Rob is presently Senior Vice President of Original Programming at Infinity Broadcasting, whose offices are right here in NYC.
The next morning I called the main office line at Infinity and asked to be connected with Rob. Immediate transfer. Phone rings. No answer. Get an answering machine. Left a message
mentioning only that Joe Rogers had suggested I contact him regarding the possible present whereabouts of Steve Segal. Gave him my phone number and hung up.
Two minutes later Rob called back. I’m finding that name-dropping helps in ways I never appreciated before. We talked as old friends, relating our non-shared experience with all of the folks with whom I had recently communicated. Rob even mentioned Norm Winer, with whom I had e-mailed only briefly (see Part V). When the neurons begin to interact with each other, the world is indeed a small one.
Rob leafed through his personal pocket phone booklet and found the last phone and e-mail address he had of Steve’s but warned me that this information was 2 to 3 years old. Most
encouragingly, the phone number he had was different from the one Joe had. Rob also warned me that even if I _did_ find Steve, he might not remember a thing. I thanked him and we said our goodbyes after I promised I’d e-mail him with any new developments.
So I called the number Rob gave me. Man picked up the receiver: “Hello?”
“Hi; is this Steve Segal?”
“Yes; yes it is.”
The concluding Part VIII is next.*