Though my FCC ticket is dated December 23, 1953 (when I was 16), I really didn't get into full-time Top 40 until 1959, at KPOI, in my hometown of Honolulu. Of course, meeting and becoming friends with Colonel Tom Parker in 1957, working as a 19-year-old PD with the first music format consultant, Mike Joseph, in our "chain" of three (!) stations; and handling the daily set up of a show called "Lucky Lager Dance Time," the records for which were carefully chosen by a San Francisco advertising agency man, Bill Gavin -- well, I knew some stuff by '59.
K-POI became Honolulu's first full-time rocker in May of 1959. (That is from 6am 'til midnight; after a few ratings we went 24 hours.) The ratings then were Hoopers. K-POI rocketed to #1 -- with shares in the high teens and sometimes 20's -- by October. Originally, I did 6-9am, spent the time as PD until 3pm, when I did afternoon drive, then did production and crashed on a couch in my "office."
From noon to 3pm was Jumpin' George West, who also did news. West was the only person I fired from three stations: K-POI, K/MEN and KHJ. At the latter two he was Andy West. His is the voice you hear on "official" broadcasts of Robert Kennedy's Assassination.
In its first few years, K-POI jocks were featured in "Thons" that reaped much newspaper publicity. The first, and greatest, was when Tom Rounds, our News Director, stayed awake in a funky department store's window for 8 1/2 days (!!!) thus breaking the record in the Guinness Book when few people even knew of that volume. This was done to make TR an instant personality and to get my butt off afternoon drive, which he took over, after being on the front page of the morning paper for a week. (In 1964, Rounds, Moffatt and I started Arena Associates, which evolved into Watermark six years later.)
K-POI jocks hung from cars suspended from cranes, broadcast underwater from a glamorous Waikiki pool, and competed in Drum-A-Thons, Pool-A-Thons, Insult-A-Thons, donkey basketball games and endless stuff that caught the fancy of the kids turning on to Elvis, Frankie, Ricky, Fabian, etc.
So, this is Jacobs the jock, a few years after K-POI was a solid #1. By then, Drake's approach had convinced me to move the logos to the front of records. We ran our own board, answered the phones, filled out two logs, flipped two-minute records, watched the news wire and made our own coffee. There was no such thing as a "post" to "hit," children. You just felt it man.
The Donn Tyler mentioned on the tape and heard voicing some spots is now my colleague at KCCN. Tom Rounds is the voice on the commercial that begins, "Concentrate on what you are doing..." The newsman is Don Robbs, head of Hawaii Public Television and the Voice of the Rainbows baseball team for 20-plus years. The program was done without the assistance of any stimulants or illegal substances.
And an inside P.S. to anyone who has ever worked with me: "How were the phones?"
© 1997-2007 Ronald H. Jacobs