Broadcast History - September 25

Broadcast History - September 25

Postby jon » Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:10 pm

A quiet day in Western Canadian radio and television history today, so we dedicate this space to one of the Pacific Northwest's greatest DJs of all time, Jerry Kay, who passed away on this day in 2005 in Seaside, Oregon, at the age of 67. Ironically, back in the '60s, he would often refer to himself as "The Late Great Jerry Kay" whenever he was assigned an all-night shift.

Radiofan has prepared two airchecks of Jerry from his collection especially for today. Both recorded off air from Vancouver, so there is some noise: - KHIT-FM January 1985 - one of four Top 40 FMs battling it out for Seattle listeners at the time; KHIT was actually licensed to Bremerton. Jerry is doing mid-days. - KJR-AM Seattle May 31, 1991 - Oldies, or "The Way Back Machine" as Jerry calls it, with the original KJR-AM jingles.

Jerry Kay's real name was Jerry King, but that last name was a non-starter in Seattle radio, given the call letters of KING AM, FM and TV. So, he became Kay, sometimes Kaye, as many DJs did, spelling out phonetically the first letter of his last name.

Controversy also surrounds his beginnings in Radio. Many sources got their information from the former site which list Jerry beginning at KOL Seattle in 1960, moving to KJR in 1961. Pat O'Day has said that he hired Jerry in Yakima in 1957, where he was Jerry King on the air, and brought him to KJR in 1961, changing his name to Jerry Kay. Some of the "KJR Years" were actually spent at KNEW Spokane, later renamed KJRB to reflect the fact KJR owned them, although the call letters were changed because of a large cash incentive from KEWB Oakland, who desperately wanted the KNEW call letters for themselves.

Both Jerry Kay and Larry Lujack, good friends at KJR, moved to WLS Chicago in 1967, Larry by way of WMEX in Boston, where he called himself Johnny Lujack. Both would later move to WCFL, Chicago's other Top 40 giant of the period. While Larry remained to become the icon of Top 40 radio in Chicago, Jerry came back to Seattle, and KJR, in 1971, with later stops at KBSG, KYYX, KHIT, KSPL and KJR-FM. He retired in the 1990s and was somewhat of a recluse at the time of his death.

1969 WLS

Reelradio has an aircheck of Jerry from WCFL Chicago from 1971. As well as the audio, there is a nice description, picture and a link to comments, which begin with one by Doc Harris:

To settle a controversy that raged about Jerry just after his death: he is not the Jerry Kaye who was a popular DJ at WING in Dayton, Ohio, in the mid-1960s. See the comments associated with his WING aircheck for more details

And, finally, to see and hear Burl Barer explain how Jerry Kay first got him on the air at KJR, click here:


L-R: Big Jim Martin & Jerry Kay circa 2003

Pictures from and radiofan
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