|Terry Dailey remembers KXOK...|
If the movie "American Graffiti" had taken place in the St. Louis
area rather than southern California, they could very well have filmed in and around the Parkmoor Restaurant at Lindbergh and Manchester. There were curbhops, there were greasers in hotrods, there were "Richie Cunningham" looking high school kids, fights, necking, sounds of "laying rubber" from about every third car out of the packed lot, and even the sound track. But in 1962 in Kirkwood, it was KXOK instead of Wolfman Jack from Del Rio, Texas, although we knew about him and could occasionally pick him up. KXOK was on...oh...95% of the teenage car radios. We also spent some time on KXLW and KATZ for our soul fix, but 630 on the dial was OURS! They were speaking directly to us in the Parkmoor lot.
Those KXOK guys were other-worldly, (I suppose that echo chamber crap had a lot to with that image). I remember all of the personalities on the station, but Johnny Rabbitt was by far the superstar. (In hindsight, I don't know if he was that great, or just had the evening airshift, working when we were all pumped full of testosterone and ill-gotten beer...only on the weekends of course).|
We frequented a place called Sunset Teen Town on the weekends to hear people like Ike and Tina Turner and Bennie Sharp and the Sharptones. It was located where Sunset Ford is now. I remember heading down Rott
Rd. or south on Lindbergh with the ever-present KXOX blasting from a cheap little, standard issue car speaker. It wasn't much sound, but who knew what was to come. My dad couldn't have known why I ruined his
radio with the likes of "Runaway", "Do You Love Me" or "Shake A Tailfeather". He couldn't have imagined how much I loved "You Can't Judge A Book" or "Tossin and Turnin". It was a great time to be a teenager in a great town with a great radio station.
KXOK was the right thing, run by the right people, at the right time. It was Americana.|
Terry Dailey, The Large Morning Show in the Afternoon, AM550KTRS
|Frank O. Pinion remembers KXOK...|
In the mid 1960s, I, like almost every other teenager I knew, listened to nothing but KXOK on the radio. To this day, I can remember most of the names that rode with me to school every morning, went on my dates, and drove my parents nuts when they would get in the car and I hadn't remembered to put it back on the "old folks" station. Mort Crowley,
Keith Morris, Nick Charles, Richard Ward Fatherly, Stephen B. Stephens, Ray Otis, Robert R. Lynn, Bob Shea, Bruno, The Rabbit, Delcia...why couldn't our parents be as cool as these people? These were actually adults who liked our music, spoke our language and seemed to relate to everything from pimples to sock hops to what the latest fashions were out of London.
In 1969 a friend of mine had to make a delivery to the studios of KXOK and asked if I wanted to go along. Was he kidding? I remember entering the building thinking it was some sort of dream. I actually had dreamed many nights that I was hanging out with Mort and The Rabbit. But here I was. I was only in the building maybe 15 minutes. I met the general manager, but didn't care at the time. After all, he wasn't "on the air." And even though I didn't meet one single DJ, I did watch a couple of them work their magic through the studio glass. What a great day! The was the next best thing to looking in on a recording session with Elvis or the Beatles.|
|Years later, I had the chance to do voice work on commercials with Mort, Robert R., Bob Shea, Nick Charles and others. And even though I
realized after being around them a while that they were just people, like all of us, with families, divorces, weird habits, car payments, employer problems, etc., I always wondered if they ever really realized how huge they were in our lives. And though some of them have left us, they never really will. All I have to do is hear a song from one of the old Silver Dollar Surveys and they're right there in my car again.|
Frank O. Pinion, The Large Morning Show in the Afternoon, AM550KTRS
|Tom Calhoun remembers KXOK...|
When I first realized there was this great radio station called KXOK that played the popular music of the day, it was a magical time. It pretty much coincided with my realization that the opposite sex was on this earth for more than annoyance. I think the first batch of testosterone began flowing through my veins at about the same time I first heard Freddy Cannon's "Palisades Park". It meant something to me that I'm still not sure I understand, but it brought to mind a "certain young lady" every time I heard it. So, from then on, I was hooked on the station with the jingle that sang…. Kay-ee-ay-X-O-Kay-ay Saint LOOOO-is---Radio 6-3-OH.
|It's difficult to put into words the impact the station had on young people back then. But, I think you could easily say it was a major part of life for most of us. If something was said on the station that was "racy"…and you weren't aware of it…you just weren't cool. If you hadn't yet heard "Dawn", that new Four Seasons song, you would listen constantly until you did. If the station was running a promotion, you most likely were totally into it and knew all the rules and details. If you missed the morning episode of "Chicken Man", you were totally out of the loop for most of the conversation at school. The songs, the jingles, the disc jockeys, the "Silver Dollar Survey", even the commercials, (I didn't know where Mid America Raceway was…but I sure knew they raced on Sunday..SUNDAY) everything they did seemed to be important, and provided the soundtrack for our lives. And when Beatles music came onto the scene in '64, of course that changed everything. And KXOK was the only place to listen to the "Fab Four". What a great time it was to be alive.|
|When I first started listening to KXOK, WIL (at 1430) was also a top-40 station. It seemed that you were either a KXOK fan, or a WIL fan. Most of the people I hung around with were KXOKers. It might have had something to do with the signal strength of KXOK being better on the Illinois side of the river where I grew up. But, for whatever reason we were totally into William A. Hopkins, Robert R. Lynn with the news, Johnny Rabbit, Bruno J. Grunion, Bob Shea, Ray Otis, Lou Cooley and all the rest.|
|When I got a job doing sports at KXOK in the 80's, I remember going there for the interview and getting off the elevator to stare at the big double front doors that had KXOK call letters in gold on either side. I thought I was entering a shrine. After being hired, I remember feeling honored to work in the same building, and have my voice carried on the same frequency, as my many childhood heroes. Of course the station's format had changed by then but I did have a chance to work with the late Mort Crowley for a time. I could only imagine how exciting and wonderful it would have been to work with him and the rest of the gang during that "golden age" twenty years earlier.|
Tom Calhoun (WIBV, WIL, KXOK, KMOX, KTRS) and now running his own business
Finally combed his hair