Broadcast History - October 9

Broadcast History - October 9

Postby jon » Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:05 pm

Today is a quiet one in Western Canada broadcast history, so it gives me a chance to talk about "the greatest program director of our time or any other time", according to Superjock Larry Lujack. John Rook was born October 9, 1937, in Chillicothe, Ohio. Former ABC executive Bob Henabery: "Rook understood the importance of doing everything right. He was a masterful Top 40 programmer."

John is best known for the sound, and ratings that followed, of WLS Chicago in the late 1960s. #1 with an 18 share, compared to perpetual leader WGN's 12, translated into 4.2 million listeners a week. After a brief period at Drake-Chenault and Draper-Blore, Rook returned to Chicago in 1972 to do it all over again, but this time at WCFL, the station where Chickenman was hatched in the 1960s. And he did it yet again, at 1-A Clear Channel KFI in Los Angeles in the late '70s and early '80s.

John Rook began as an actor at The Pasadena Playhouse, then to television on Wild Bill Hickcock and My Man Godfrey. But his close friend Eddie Cochran talked John into going into Top 40 Radio, first in Wyoming and South Dakota, then Salt Lake City and Denver, where he was recommended to ABC Radio, joining KQV Pittsburgh in January 1964. He filled in at WABC in 1966 during the AFTRA strike as morning man Johnny Rowe. His move from KQV to WLS occurred in 1967 as Program Director. By mid-1968, WLS was #1.

In the early '80s at KFI, John longed to own his own radio station, and purchased an FM in Spokane in 1983. He added more stations, but sold them all in 1997, retiring to a horse ranch south of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. John passed away on March 1, 2016, but his web site lives on at

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