The Ron Jacobs Collection

Ron Jacobs on KPOI, Honolulu, February 6, 1964 (49:49)

K-POI "Weekly Programming & Record Buyer's Guide."

RJ REMEMBERS 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."

"Uncle" Tom Moffatt, Colonel Tom Parker and Ron Jacobs in K-POI studios, 1962.
My oldest friend in radio (and as of April 1998 my morning drive competition here on Oahu, he with Oldies, me doing Talk), Tom Moffatt, handled 9a - noon, and 6 -9pm. Tom went on to become Hawaii's top concert promoter as well. The only holdover from the previous staff (call letters, KHON) was an older guy, a pro we called Bob "The Beard" Lowrie. He did 9pm to midnight and pulled a news shift.

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.

The original "Poi Boy" graphic logo, circa 1959.
At K-POI, in a smaller town and slower times, the Poi Boys specialized in what I think of as "Circus Radio." (I never make a move without thinking of what Colonel Parker would do in a given situation. His hand can be seen in everything from the KHJ Big Kahuna to the KGB Chicken.)

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.

RCA person, Elvis Presley
and Ron Jacobs.
This air check was made in February 1964, two months before I was sent to Hong Kong to check out the possibilities of a pirate station broadcasting from Macao into the then-British colony. Landing back in Honolulu, I was arrested for possession of THREE MILLIGRAMS of "marihuana." But on this "hauoli kakahiaka" (happy morning) of the air check I had no idea I would be, within a year: busted, married, living in Hong Kong for a year, spending 30 days in Halawa Jail (listening to Fred Kiemel do MY show), hired as PD of KHJ, driving a new Caddy and living in Beverly Hills.

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?"
HOT, baby, take a listen.

Ron Jacobs
Kaneohe, Hawaii
April 23, 1998

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