John Mason: A Detroit radio legend

masonWhen the subject is icons of Detroit radio, certain names immediately come to mind, such as the Electrifying Mojo, Martha Jean “the Queen” Steinberg, Donnie Simpson…and John Mason.

Heard now on 107.5 WGPR, John Mason is firmly entrenched on the Motor City airwaves with a dedicated following that others would love to have. He, of course, advanced to “Detroit legend” status by virtue of his nearly two decades of heading the “Mason in the Morning” show on FM 98 WJLB.

Following that, there was a stint on 105.9 KISS-FM, in addition to serving as a popular PA announcer for the Detroit Pistons and other sports events. He also was voted “Detroit’s Favorite Deejay” in a Michigan Chronicle write-in survey. Kudos to John Mason for longevity and an affinity for Detroit.
He might not remember this, but in his early days on Detroit radio, Mason would periodically come to LaGreen’s Records in downtown Detroit — where I was manager in addition to writing for the Chronicle — and rent vintage black and white movies.
IT WAS amazing to hear about a company selling a line of clothes under the name “Feyonce” — and no surprise that Beyoncé filed a lawsuit in New York to bring this blatant exploitation to the halt. The company was also marketing a coffee mug emblazoned with the words, “He put a ring on it.”
Is this a matter of gall, stupidity, or both?
This brings to mind the time when the Prince pasta company had a TV commercial featuring a purple spotlight on a box of Prince pasta. The announcer said, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, Prince!” followed by the sound of a roaring crowd. Prince said the commercial was clever and “cute,” but took immediately legal action to have it taken off the air.

THE NEW EDITION miniseries, being developed by BET, should be interesting (no airdate has been given). Among those portraying the six New Edition members are Evan Ross, son of Diana Ross and brother of Tracee Ellis Ross, and Bryshere Gray, famous as Hakeem Lyon on “Empire.”
New Edition certainly has a story to tell, including having a long string of major hit records and highly successful concert tours — and yet making little or no money. They were ripped off big time.
Same thing happened to Detroit’s own Enchantment. From 1976 to 1978 they had three national Top 10 hits — “Gloria,” “Sunshine” and “It’s You That I Need” — plus a Top 20 hit, “If You’re Ready (Here it Comes),” but didn’t receive one penny in royalties. However, a certain person did.
ASSUMING it is true that Janet Jackson postponed her “Unbreakable” concert tour because she wants to start a family with husband Wissam Al Mana, then it’s understandable why she said, “It’s important that I do this now.”
Next month, Jackson will be 50 years old, so if not now, when? Just think, if she had a baby this year, when the child reached age 20, she would be into her seventies.
Speaking of age, Duke Fakir of the Four Tops said when he turned 80, he would be leaving the group for reasons of logic. But he changed his mind, evidently, because in December he will be 81.
On April 24, at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, Scherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of their group, the Former Ladies of the Supremes. The third member was Jean Terrell, who replaced Diana Ross, but now it’s Joyce Vincent, formerly of Tony Orlando & Dawn. Payne and Vincent are both from Detroit.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that Al Roker of “The Today Show” and black rock star Lenny Kravitz are related. Same grandfather.
MEMORIES: “Call Me (Come Back Home)” (Al Green), “Never Knew Love Like This Before” (Stephanie Mills), “Say You, Say Me” (Lionel Richie), “Don’t Stop the Music” (Yarbrough & Peoples), “You + Me = Love” (the Undisputed Truth), “If You Really Love Me” (Stevie Wonder), “Be My Girl” (the Dramatics), “Danger, Heartbreak Dead Ahead” (the Marvelettes), “Don’t Change on Me” (Ray Charles), “Let’s Groove” (Archie Bell & the Drells).
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Peter McWilliams: “Fear is something to be moved through, not something to be turned from.”
Let the music play!
Steve Holsey can be reached at and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.



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