Las Vegas Sun

October 25, 2014

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ENTERTAINMENT:

AM station revives ‘Radio Game Show’

Program has callers compete against one another in formats other than simple quizzing

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STEVE MARCUS / LAS VEGAS SUN FILE

Mark Richards is the host of “The Radio Game Show,” whose listeners call in and compete for prizes. Richards has run similar shows on the radio for parts of the past 25 years since leaving his job as contestant coordinator for “Jeopardy.”

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While cleaning out his garage a few weeks back Mark Richards ran across bits of nostalgia — old air check tapes of a radio game show he created and hosted some years ago.

“I listened to them and thought, ‘Boy, these are pretty good. I should go back on the radio,’ ” Richards says.

The result of his spring cleaning chore is “The Radio Game Show,” which will premiere on KNUU 970-AM at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.

Richards is the show’s host, creator and producer.

The weekly two-hour show is essentially the show Richards has produced for radio stations across the country, off and on, for the past 25 years.

“Nobody in the country is doing a game show on radio,” says Richards, who has a video production company. “Some stations are doing contests for tickets to shows, but not a game show like this one.”

“Game Show” is a collection of other game shows — including mini-versions of “Jeopardy,” “Wheel of Fortune” and “Family Feud,” and several game shows Richards has created over the years.

Each game lasts about three minutes, with callers competing against one another for prizes, at this point mostly restaurant dinners.

“What I do is fun,” Richards says. “We have the bells and buzzers and the applause, just like a regular game show on TV.”

If it is successful, he plans to syndicate the show across the country.

He has succeeded with the show in the past. It ran in San Diego, Los Angeles and other cities in the 1980s.

He brought the show to Las Vegas in 1990. It aired for about two weeks on KVEG 97.5-FM and then on KENO 1460-AM for three years.

Richards has been around game and quiz shows for much of his career in broadcasting.

He says he ended his “Game Show” in San Diego in 1984 to join the staff of “Jeopardy” as contestant coordinator when Alex Trebek took over as host. Richards stayed 10 months.

“I was bored,” he says. “It’s not a fun show to work on. There are game shows and quiz shows. Game shows are like ‘The Price is Right’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ — people having fun playing games. ‘Jeopardy’ is a quiz show, where they quiz your knowledge. It isn’t a fun show. Everyone is tense.”

Huck Daniels resurfaces with ‘Jam Session’ at El Cortez

Fans of Huck Daniels may have been wondering what happened to the local R&B legend.

The wondering is over.

For seven years Daniels hosted “Celebrity Jam Session” at the Stratosphere. He left the gig in July.

On April 27 the “Jam Session” will be reborn at El Cortez, where Daniels and his celebrity jammers will perform from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays.

Daniels has been an integral part of the Las Vegas music scene for almost 50 years.

The Reno native began playing in school bands in fifth grade and continued through high school. After graduating from high school in 1962 he moved to Las Vegas. Even though Reno was a bigger city at that time, it seemed all the job opportunities in music were down south. He and high school bandmate Rick Stevens made the trip.

“We got a job playing with Good Rockin’ Brown, a tenor saxophone player, at the Louisiana Club over on Jackson and F streets,” Daniels says. “But then he left and went to Alaska and I formed a band and stayed here.”

Stevens eventually moved to San Francisco and became the first lead singer for Tower of Power. After he left the group, he was convicted of a double homicide, for which he is serving two terms of seven years to life.

In the mid-’60s Daniels spent a couple of years performing in San Francisco with some big names.

“I was with the house band at the Long Island Club, which was the biggest R&B club on the West Coast at the time,” Daniels said. “I played with T. Bone Walker — the ‘Stormy Monday’ guy — and (Willie Mae) ‘Big Mama’ Thornton, who did ‘Hound Dog’ before Elvis.”

Eventually he decided to leave San Francisco and return to Vegas.

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