Posts Tagged ‘Paul Berlin’

In Search of Paul Berlin

February 1, 2011

Paul Berlin: King of Houston DeeJays, 1950-2003

Paul Berlin was our man over the airways when America made the biggest move in musical taste it has ever made. He came to Houston in 1950, taking over as a radio disk jockey at KNUZ-AM in time to transition our town from the sweet popular music sounds of the post-World War II Hit Parade music era through the change to those driving, pounding beats of rock and roll. And he did it with style and a taste for history. Paul didn’t kill the old; he simply helped us absorb the new as part of the kind of growth that makes American taste in music and the arts universally eclectic and strong.

Oh yeah, Paul Berlin was one of us young voices when he hit town. He was only 19 and raring to go. He hailed from Memphis and his first job at WHHM-AM. Paul described Memphis as “the only town in America built on a bluff and run on one too.” He thrived in Houston, a town built on level ground and an enormous appetite for growth and new ideas. Once he got here, there would be no further city-hopping for Paul Berlin. He was zeroed-in on his entertaining way to becoming a Houston icon of the airways.

After many years at AM’s KNUZ, Berlin moved into the growing FM market for significant time gigs at KQUE, KSEV, and KBME. At age 72, he finally retired in 2003 after 53 years on the air in Houston.

Some of us came of age listening to Paul Berlin. He wasn’t much older than our early to mid-1950s group and we identified tightly with his appreciation for a wide range of musical styles. Paul knew a little about everyone in music and he generously shared what he knew with the rest of us.

Now he needs to step up front and center, one more time, as master of ceremonies for the Jimmy Menutis August 6th bash in New Orleans.

Did we say “know people” somewhere back there? Paul Berlin earned a ton of honors for his work over the years, including recognition by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and induction into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He became a close friend to Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Little Richard, The Platters, a fellow in Houston named Jimmie Menutis, and just about any other giant from early Rock and Roll that comes to mind.

The problem now is this simple: Jimmie and Ruth Ann Menutis would love to ask Paul Berlin to emcee Jimmie’s 87th birthday celebration in New Orleans this coming August 6th, if he’s up to it, but we can’t find him, so far. Paul doesn’t respond to his Texas Radio Hall of Fame e-mail address nor are we able to get any help, so far, from other Houston media people who have better contact info. The Houston phone number for Paul and Inez Berlin is also unlisted.

Yep, Paul Berlin has done a great job of building retirement privacy into his life, but I have to think it would break his heart if the Menutis party unfolded without him because he couldn’t be contacted. – We just have to find him.

If you know how to reach Paul Berlin, or if you have any leads on how we may do it, please get in touch with me here through this Pecan Park Eagle column – or by my e-mail at at your earliest convenience.

Look. We found Jimmie Menutis here without trying. We should be able to find Paul Berlin in Houston with just a little bit of trying.

Thanks for the help.