Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Gary Shannon on the telephone. Gary is one of the Pacific Northwest’s best known homegrown radio DJs. Before becoming a KJR jock himself, Gary grew up listening to Channel 95 back in the ’50s and ’60s.
Gary told me that a big influence on his decision to enter radio was the late Larry Lujack. Superjock, a title synonymous with Lujack, spent two years at KJR (1964-1966). Since Gary Shannon was one of three people who encouraged me to get into radio, it was interesting to hear his story of the events that led to his career choice.
Gary did more than passively groove to KJR’s music and Lujack’s antics. As a teen, he contacted superjock, arranged a meeting, and got to know the man personally. They stayed in touch for many years, even though radio jobs kept them both moving about the country. This fact will make former jocks jealous: Gary Shannon’s letter of reference, it helped him land his first radio job, was penned by Larry Lujack.
From my perspective, Gary’s recollections of KJR and Lujack were fascinating. The idea of writing an article that focused on Lujack’s years in Seattle appealed to me. I asked Gary to help flesh out such a story. He said “yes” so that project will begin shortly.
Gary told me of a Lujack aircheck that he has retained all these years: KJR in the summer of 1966. The recording is great — nostalgic Top-40 radio northwest style. In listening to it, what immediately caught my ear was the dirt cheap price of attending concerts back in ’66. Granted, paychecks were smaller in those days, so we had less jingle in our pockets, but prices were really inexpensive. You could get into a concert for as little as two bucks! Below are photos of a few of the performers who were booked for this August ’66 concert. It’s an impressive lineup. Don’t overlook the brief audio clip of Lujack, it’s under the photos.
Larry Lujack concert promotion: KJR, July 1966
All that entertainment for just two bucks! Wow. That was a deal, even if two bucks was worth more 50 years ago than it is today.
Gary Shannon and I have yet to begin composing the article about Larry Lujack. However, the project is in the queue, so keep an eye out for it here at Puget Sound Media.
….by Steven L. Smith