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The tail of Two Rabbitts...
Note: both Ron Elz and Don Pietromonaco are members of the STLRadio Hall Of Fame
Wear the ears proudly, Ron
Probably not the Rabbitt you remember.
Ron Elz was initially given the show on KXOK but left before the character amounted to anything for one important reason: station management didn't think he was the right Rabbitt.

Don Pietromonaco was Johnny Rabbitt '64-'69
Probably was the Rabbitt you remember.
Don Pietromonaco's KXOK gig was the result of a national talent search. He was a DJ in Phoenix when he got the phone call that would elevate him and his buddy Bruno to star status from 1964-69...
Mike Anderson writes:
Not that there's anything wrong with that...back then (as now) radio people were shuffled about for no apparent reason save the fact that the station was "changing direction". (Happened to me, at least a time or two).

After working at KXOK, Ron moved on to WIL-AM (Jack Carney worked there) as they challenged KXOK and tried to use the Johnny Rabbitt name along with a sidekick he called Harvey the Hare; Storz sued to protect their trademark and won. Ron subsequently changed his airname to Johnny B. Goode.

After his stint at WIL-AM, Elz worked at KSHE, as a record promoter and as a columnist for the Globe-Democrat before returning to radio when he took over the Johnny Rabbitt name after Storz relinquished the copyright.

He's used it on the air since then. Occasionally he has used Chuck Connors (the voice of NBC5) to recreate the Bruno J. Grunion character at personal appearances.

Our hope is that Ron wears the Ears proudly and offers at least a small, occasional tribute to the other guy who was the Rabbitt.

I've been after Ron for a long time to contribute his memories of his time at KXOK and in STL Radio, but he has not responded. When (and if) he does, I'll present them here.

Richard Ward Fatherley writes:
During the mid-'60's, early evening animated network TV sitcoms like Flintstones and Jetsons threatened to cramp KXOK's youth market ratings.

Ron Elz was a great disc jockey, a real radio talent, but we all felt that the air shift had to be extended miles more, with more entertainment and more youth-oriented content.

Ray Otis and Bud Connell hatched a Top Secret plan to scout an entertainer to host The Johnny Rabbitt Show and create a Top40 Radio sitcom.

Management felt that we were just finding "another DJ" but we felt it was part of a larger strategy, to find a talent to dampen the impact of TV's animated sitcoms.

We found Don Pietromonaco and his falsetto-voiced alter-ego Bruno J. Grunion at a radio station in Phoenix AZ and around him we crafted a show with laugh-tracks, sound effects, gags, cash and prizes, listen-to-win contests and games, requests and dedications.

It was a fully staffed 7PM-12M production that proved irresistable to pre-teens, teens and young adults.

The Johnny Rabbitt Show on KXOK dominated evening radio ratings from late '64 through 1969.


Don Pietromonaco died in California in 1997 at the age of 61 from complications of emphysema. His son is an attorney in California and his two daughters live in St. Louis.

Relevant Rabbitt reading/listening...
Runnin' With The Rabbitt -- by STL DJ Jonnie King
ReelRadio Tribute
Johnny Rabbitt belongs to KXOK, Judge Declares -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 12, 1964
Post Stories Make Rabbitts Hopping Mad -- STL Journalism Review, September 1996
Radio Legend Don Pietromonaco Dies -- STL Journalism Review, May 1997
KXOK Was St. Louis' "American Graffiti" -- STL Journalism Review, May 2001
Rabbitt stew (Ron Elz responds)-- STL Journalism Review, June 2001
Hasenpfeffer (responses to the response)-- STL Journalism Review, July/August 2001