Best PDX Air Talent

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    The DJs I miss the most of all?
    Kent and Allen, who used to do the mornings at the old Magic 107 (KMJK 107.5) for more than 10 years on the FM Dial in Portland.
    Allen Budwill and Kent Phillips were the best that I have ever heard in the 47 years of listening to morning radio, and I still miss them terribly today.
    No one has taken their place in PDX since they left.
    Sadly, K-Plus in Seattle more than DOUBLED their Salaries to move from KMJK to Seattle in 1986, and they’ve been there for the last 32 years.

    Andy Brown

    Alan (not Allen) occasionally posts here.

    I’ve seen a lot of air talent come and go on both ends of the country. Alan took his job seriously. The slightest deviation from what was expected to go down on the Magic in the Morning show could drive him (and all of us around him) totally bonkers.

    Kent had a more accessible sense of humor, not that Alan wouldn’t laugh at the mark of a prank, but it was difficult to get him to go in on it before hand.

    One day at Magic, in the autumn of 1983 (before Alan and Kent were hosting the morning show), Kevin Ross and Brian Thomas were the hosts and their usual M.O. involved schmoozing the receptionist during songs and then watching for the warning light outside the control room door and then rushing back into the control room to do their breaks. Out by the receptionist, since it was October, was a straw man in jeans and a shirt.

    Normally, any work I had to do (as engineer) in the control room was done away from morning or afternoon drive time so as to not be a distraction to the jocks. Jon (Cosmic Jon) wanted something done stat, so I asked Kevin and Brian if it was OK if I worked behind the console during their morning show. Above the console was an equipment rack, so the only annoyance to them was my presence behind the rack, most of which (except for part of my shirt and top of my jeans) was out of their view. So I brought in my soldering station and a few connectors I needed, and set up shop. Then when they finished one of their breaks and ran out to continue their dialogue with the receptionist, and with the pre-arranged help of Kent, we put my shirt and my belt/belt buckle on the straw man, and put the straw man in the control room behind the console/rack. Looking in from outside the control room, it looked perfect. Thomas and Ross came rushing in for their break, did their thing, and then kicked back for a moment to catch their breath. From the workshop, I couldn’t see any of this, but Kent in the newsroom right next to the control room, was watching the whole scene go down. Kevin spoke to the straw man thinking of course that it was me. He got no answer, so he asked his question again thinking I couldn’t hear him. Again no reply. He got insulted. He then told me off for ignoring him. Then Brian chimed in. When I didn’t answer still, Brian got out of his chair and decided to hassle me face to face. He walked around the table housing the console and came face to face with straw man, and totally lost it. Kevin was still sitting in his chair and didn’t realize Brian had come face to face with not me. He motioned Kevin to get up and look. At that point, half the station personnel were watching through the glass window at the back of the control room.

    True story. I’ve got lots of Thomas and Ross stories. They were both crazy. Alan and Kent were mostly normal guys. It was tough to prank them.


    It seems to me that Brian Thomas was English(or at least had an English accent)and came over from KKSN, when it was Classical.

    Steve Naganuma

    Semoochie, Brian Thomas had a British accent and I don’t believe Thomas and Ross worked as a team before KMJK. So Brian Thomas probably came from KKSN.

    Andy, great story. Here is a picture of the KMJK control room so people can get a better visual on how it could be hard to see someone standing behind the console equipment rack.


    Steve…I am 99% you are correct Thomas & Ross had not worked together before KMJK… And beside you in the picture (In the middle).. Eric Worden seated (He just started doing a morning gig in at 93.7 BobFM in Norfolk, VA…) and isn’t that Glenn Shannon next to you..?? One thing I don’t see are ashtrays for the cigars…lol…

    Andy Brown

    Kevin Ross (not his real name) had been working in Hawaii and Brian Thomas (partial real name) was, as was said above, working the classical attempt at the KKSN reboot under Bill Failing Part 2. (Part 1 was Brave New Radio, Part 2 was classical, Part 3 was satellite garbage).

    Kevin had already developed some radio theater characters from former gigs (best known was The Old Timer) and Vic Ives (GM when I got there, then GM/owner when the format switched to CHR and Magic 107 was born) loved that kind of stuff. His reasoning pairing him with Brian remains a mystery and the two of them barely got along after a few months together every morning. I vaguely remember talking with Vic about it and he was aware that as much as he liked Kevin, a CHR morning team needed more then what Kevin brought with him. The competition was fierce in the market. Z100 wasn’t born yet (it was KQFM and their main channel was automated crap, they made their dough through their SCA service), K103 was brand spanking new and Craig Walker, ex KGW guy, was the morning DJ (Craig even came by between his KGW and K103 gigs to talk to Vic about 107’s new ownership/format/morning team), KWJJ on the AM had strong numbers as did KXL and KEX. KGON was in the early years of its classic rock format (playing the same songs they still play now) and KINK was about as lame as they have ever been playing their two Jackson Browne songs and some Joni Mitchell and claiming they were ‘progressive’ (barf) and true to the music (not). Kent and Alan brought Vic’s plans to fruition, Thomas and Ross set the stage but didn’t have the demeanor for a Portland audience. Cosmic Jon was programming his heart out. Jon had been there before the format switch and was happy to be doing something more contemporary then Harte Hankes (former owner) wanted and was ecstatic when the corporate ownership sold to Vic, but Thomas and Ross were musically ignorant. They had their shtick between the songs but there was no flow, i.e. their discussion on air rarely was about anything they were broadcasting. Kevin was abusive to the equipment and Brian became somewhat obsessed with his social standing as a Portland DJ. Alan and Kent were clearly more adept at making their program a show that flowed and it worked. Vic added Jody Leverenz to do the traffic reports and the morning hours became a lot more fun to listen to. Alan and Kent went to Seattle and had even more success, but the music they played up there was mostly awful, like K103. At least while they were in Portland, the Coz gave their show a bit of bite. Then Taft bought KQFM and began Z100 and put a lot of money into promoting it and top rated Magic 107 began to falter.

    I pulled this prank on Thomas and Ross as a form of revenge for them constantly leaving the remote gear in the van when they would return from one of their teeny bopper sock hops they were hosting at night for extra dough, using the station remote equipment and van (the remote gear is a story unto itself, big, wieldy, heavy and DJ proof). Vic’s deal with them included them having to load and unload the gear when they were done so the van was available the next morning. They never would unload after the gig. One payday, Vic wouldn’t give them their checks until they unloaded it. Another time Vic threatened to dock them $40 bucks and give it to me for unloading. They still wouldn’t. He did. I had to unload again but got forty bucks that time.

    And you can quote me on any of this.

    Question: What is that on Eric’s knee. A Tom Brooks bobblehead?

    Steve Naganuma

    Yes that is GLynn Shannon on the right. As for the Bobblehead, I don’t remember it having any significance. Just a toy that ended up in the control room.


    Don Wright, Bruce Murdock, Craig Walker, London and Engelman, Tom Parker, Andy Barber, Ron Leonard, in no particular order.


    Now I remember: Brian Thomas was pulled away from KMJK by Z100 and teamed with Gary Bryan, thus breaking up the morning team. Not long afterwards, Brian Thomas was dropped.


    Andy Barbell and Cousin Bruce for the win!
    Barber and I worked afternoon drive on different radio stations and later again in a larger market. We both would listen to each others breaks on our air monitor receivers while on – air. We both knew listeners can “punch out” within milliseconds after a bad song or break. We both did “stand up” except he would place his stool in front of the control room door which opens in.
    Bruce Murdoch’s chair would squeak for obvious reasons. He’s much ‘healthier’ now. Andy is working Morning Drive in Tulsa – OK for Scripps. You know where to find Bruce.

    Alan Budwill

    Thank you for the shoutout on this post! Great stories from Andy Brown about Thomas and Ross. Kent used to have to go in and break up shoving matches between those two. Cosmic Jon Barry was the one who stuck Kent and me together after Thomas and Ross. Neither one of us had a CHR background. Kent was mostly a news guy and I had a news/Beautiful music background. Jon Barry was an amazing PD and coach. I also learned a ton from Vic Ives on doing skits, comedy, and theatre of the mind bits. We took several of the characters we created on Magic 107 to Seattle with us.

    Kent is also one of the top PD’s around. He has kept us competitive all of these years in Seattle. Of course, we’ve had to morph the show numerous times over the decades from scripted bits, produced bits, listener stories, personal stories etc. Portland will always feel like home to me. Great to see familiar names on this board from the old Magic days.

    Steve Naganuma

    Yes, it is nice to see familiar KMJK names on pdxradio. Dave O Conner (former KMJK evening guy) emailed me some more KMJK equipment pictures. Dave is working in the Seattle area in Video and TV.


    in KEX’s heyday of playing MOR music like Neil Sedaka and Captain and Tennille songs.
    Awful Middle Of the Road music

    Which was definitely the sentiment of the time. Compared to the crap that passes as “music” today, 40 years later, that era’s MOR is like many breaths of fresh air!


    Great pictures posted Steve…KMJK . that was such a FUN place to work at…When Victor Owned it…!! great people and great memories…


    Great to see my friend Sheryl Stewart as one of Portland’s best. She’s a gem, great talent and has really grown in her profession. Very proud of Sheryl.

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