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Right Vibes. Born in Pittsburgh, Bennett jockeyed his first disc at the age of 16 and has worked for 35 stations in his 16 years in the business. "I've never had a family," he says. "My home is where the radio towers are." Bennett's success is not entirely the result of his wily stunts, of course. He haunts record stores and pop concerts, and studiously keeps one hip ahead of ever-changing adolescent argot. He is also, as one client station's program manager notes, a "maniac" about listening to his listeners. At Bennett's current home tower at Minneapolis station KDWB, for instance, he has installed 12 telephone lines on which two staffers take up to 5,000 calls a day. Bennett contends that he has turned more than a score of obscure songs into gold hitsamong them Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl, Seals and Crofts' Summer Breeze and Deep Purple's Smoke on the Waterbecause listeners told him that those were the songs the public wanted to hear.
"Buzz has got the right vibes," says Disc Jockey Wolfman Jack. "Why, even his employees listen to his station when they are off duty." That is quite a tribute, especially when station employees can hardly be taken in by one of Bennett's simplest but highly effective ploys, which is to ever so slightly increase the speed of selected pop songs. This device makes other stations sound slow while Bennett's pace seems distinctly upbeat.