KJR Radio: Those Golden Years (Mid-’60s)

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A youthful Gary Shannon, sixties photo

Back in the sixties, kids and young at heart adults loved KJR radio.  Only a few aspiring teens of the era were able to live the dream and end up on-air at legendary Channel 95. Gary Shannon is one of those exceptions. He faithfully listened to KJR in his youth and, by the end of the sixties, he was a KJR deejay. (Read more about Gary here.)

Gary Shannon was a connoisseur of Channel 95. The first time I met him, back in ’66 when he was at KPUG in Bellingham, Gary talked about his admiration for the KJR air staff — especially so Larry Lujack. Gary considers himself to be part of the “second generation” of KJR jocks. In his view, the Golden Years at KJR were in the mid-sixties. That fantasy line up of deejays consisted of Lan Roberts, Dick Curtis, Tom Larson, Pat O’Day, Larry Lujack, Tom Murphy, Jerry Kaye, Big Jim Martin and newsmen Charles C. Bolland and Les Parsons. Those classic earworm image liners, by Pat O’Day’s buddy Joe Long from Dallas, are well-represented here. Gary is not the only person to feel that these years were the best ever at KJR:  Future “Superjock,” Larry Lujack, said that mid-sixties KJR was “the best rock ‘n’ roll radio station that has ever existed.” A radio station’s popularity is ultimately determined by whether or not listeners are attracted to the programming. At that time, KJR jocks dominated the ratings book with a 30% audience share. Here’s a page from a 1965 issue of Billboard Magazine.

We all know that memories are funny things — they vary among individuals. The Golden Years at KJR are often defined as 1965 & ’66. But, to many fans, those Golden Years extended into the late ’60s or the early 1970s. This composite aircheck/video montage is based on Gary Shannon’s memories and what he personally considers to be KJR’s Golden Years. The audio cuts date from the years 1965 – 1967.  These photos and the recorded sound files, being more than 50-years old, are not in pristine condition. However,  as Charles C. Bolland would say: “That’s the way the ball bounces!” Please click on the video to start up our old Sony reel to reel aircheck machine.

 

 

*Credits — Reel to reel tape recorder: Classic HiFi Reviews; Spinning records: John Manship and WABC Radio 77; Cart machine: Gearmod, AP teletype: Bill Buzbee. Visit these sites at youtube. Also, thanks to Gary Burleigh, Pat O’Day and Ron DeHart for research and archival assistance.

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Author: Steven Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with Puget Sound Media in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions.

2 thoughts on “KJR Radio: Those Golden Years (Mid-’60s)

  1. What was the name of the young lady who drove around Seattle stopping cars to give away items and ask for song requests in the middle to late sixty’s? Maybe Suzy something…

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