Here’s my favorite “air name” story:
Back in about 1960, there was a DJ in Minneapolis, very popular, who went by “Ole Olson”. When he was casting about for a new job, the folks at KSJB, in Jamestown, North Dakota, offered him a whole potful of money, to come and be their prime mid-day man. They’d just gotten a power increase from 1K to 5K, and they wanted to take full advantage of the increased coverage area.
Although he was reluctant to head out to the sticks, the money was just too good to pass up, so he agreed. The station management was elated, and for about six weeks before his debut, plastered the airwaves, and all the other available media, with “Ole Olson Is Coming!” spots and promos.
Then disaster struck! The Friday afternoon before his new announcer was supposed to start, the station manager gets a call from Ole. He’s sorry, but he’s had a last-minute matching offer from a station in Duluth, and after all, North Dakota IS the middle of nowhere, he hopes you’ll understand, blah, blah blah.
The station management is beside itself; by coincidence however, the station also had another new announcer starting that same week: a new overnight guy, in his first actual radio job, fresh out of Brown Radio Institute in Minneapolis. In the blink of an eye, he was re-christened “Ole Olson”, told to deepen his voice so he sounded a little older, and put on the air!
He’s still there. He’s a leading citizen of the community, and the broadcaster emeritus of the station, having just celebrated his 50th anniversary with them!