KOL retrieves S. F. disc jockey


May 24, 1970
Vic Stredicke

San Francisco (to paraphrase a song he’ll never play on KOMO) lifted up its Golden Gate to Don Clark. But it looks like Clark left his head in Seattle.
The dynamic disc jockey jumped from KIRO AM to KNBR, an NBC owned radio station, a year ago.
In 1968, up against the name-competition of Irving Clark, Dave Clark and Al Clarke, Don Clark made a name for himself with a series of zany antics, flippant phone calls and an occasional earnest crusade.
He tried to buy the London Bridge, praised Snoopy the dog’s efforts to enter the Petaluma arm wrestling championships, and pressured “name” performers to entertain prisoners at the federal penitentiary MacNeil Island.
By the time San Francisco called, Clark had sold comedy material to national entertainers and was getting up enough nerve to write a nightclub act.
He eventually tackled stand-of-routine stints at the Hungry I, a San Francisco entertainment restaurant while working the afternoon shift at KNBR.
“I was scared stiff every night for two weeks,” Clark said. “And frankly, I bombed. Two weeks later the club closed down.”
Clark worked at KIRO. One of its first ventures into “hit tune” music. Even then, the format for him was timid.
“If you’re going to rock, then ROCK!” He would moan off-air. Clark did not enjoy playing Tony Bennett’s “cover” records–except when Tony Bennett stopped by, of course (as he and a number of visiting entertainers did while Clark was at KIRO.)
His move to San Francisco took him to another middle-of-the-road music format.
At KOL, Clark will follow the stations top-40 playlist. But he is expecting to get quite a bit of leeway from the program director. Clark said he will use the telephone again.
“Actually,” he confided, “I don’t really do very much for a month or so when I come to a new job. I’ll ration out my good stuff.”
Clark said his return to Seattle was both a pleasure and a triumpht.
“We are really pleased to be coming back to Seattle, Joanne and I. I was getting a little bored with San Francisco.”
He said the financial renumeration was commensurate… Well, what he really said was more like “KOL came up with some bread.”

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Victor Stredicke

Author: Victor Stredicke

Former radio columnist for the Seattle Times.

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