On air names

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    Lots of Jeff Clarke goodies here:



    As Craig points out in his extensive list above, the late Bwana Johnny had three different names in Portland. Lesser known, he was “Father Duffy” at KJR circa 1974.


    Charlie, Thanks! I’ve added you to the master list, as:

    CHARLIE BUSCH aka Gary Mitchell on KGW, aka Charlie Mason on KBZY.

    Andy Brown

    “Was Jay Nordlund on any other Portland area stations as Jay Nordlund?”

    Not that I can remember from that period.

    “”Seen any strangers in the station lately?” Anybody know where that line came from?”

    Movie? Need a hint, Bob.

    “Hey Andy, I think my saracasm about Mr. Mercedes Man didn’t make it past my keyboard.”

    Let it out, Val. Howard is in Austin last I checked. I doubt he’s tuned into this little corner of the world.

    I spoke to him last around 2003. He called me to complain about paying taxes, mostly. Said he was going

    to sell his house and go to Cuba for a vacation and then move down by Howie, jr. in Texas.

    “None of this matters much”

    That’s what makes it so much fun, Charlie. My favorite Charlie Bush quote: I had stopped by KRCK to pick up a broken electronic keyboard belonging to John Walker (yet another Walker) I told him I would fix for him. We wandered into the control room and John asked Charlie “So, what’s the latest?” Charlie grabbed an invisible chain saw, pulled the invisible start rope, and made a great chainsaw sound and said “Nothing new here.” Priceless.


    Here are a few from in and out of the Portland area:

    Alan Mason became Mike Rivers on KGW….he did not work at KVAN.

    Joe Gianunnzio became Joe Cooper on KGW….mostly because no one could spell his last name…it may be wrong here. This was accomplished in a high level meeting in my office using a phone book and a pencil.

    Fred Wasnuski (phonetic but not correct spelling) became Fred Winston on KOIL, WING, WKYC, WLS and others…..mainly because he wanted it that way.

    Lyle Lebsack beame Lyle Dean on KOIL, WLS, WGN…..”Dean” is Lyle’s middle name.

    KISN’s “Jim Hunter” became Roger W. Morgan on KOIL and later KISN because I was at KOIL before he got there and I was using Jim Hunter. Also because Burden wanted a “Roger W. Morgan” in the morning and Burden usually got what he wanted.

    Bob Bengsten became Bob Benson on KOIL, WLS where he was News Director and later as head of Radio network News at ABC.

    Don Rossi became Uncle Don Wright on KGW.

    Dan Foley, Phil Harper and Gordy Miller’s names were not changed at KGW. Gordy called the KGW Production facility “Buck Central.” He was right.

    Al Vanik became Gary Mitchell on KING-AM.

    Bill Neeck became Todd Chase on KOIL, and later KQV, WQAM and others.

    Mike Hankins became Mike McCormick on KAAY, KOIL as PD, KQV as PD, WLS as PD.

    Bruce Vial became Johnny Mitchell on KOIL, and then legally changed his name to Kris Eric Stevens at WLS. As he grew as a person, his personna changed and he once told me that “Bruce wasn’t who he was anymore.”

    Many of the early “house names” were originated in an attempt to tie into various things, like time periods. At KAAY the afternoon drive guy was “Buddy Carr,” and there are many others I’m sure you can remember.

    Sometimes the change was made to make singing a jock name jingle easier. It was really hard to get the PAMS singers to get names like Larry Lujack, Dan Ingram, Pat O’Day, etc. sung right so they fit with the call letter musical logos. That’s one reason why there were “jock shouts.” The singers would enthusiastically shout the name in unison. It solved a lot of matching problems.


    Kris Erik Stevens filled in on KISN once, straight out of Chicago. I have no idea how that came about.


    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!


    Mick: That reminds me of what happened to us. I’ll let Billboard, Vox Jox do the set up:

    “November 12, 1994 KKSN-FM morning man Bob Dearborn is out just a few weeks after moving his family to Portland and signing on the air there. P.D. Phil West replaces him.”

    About a month later Dearborn’s picture appeared on milk cartons as our new morning man! It was ironic since the cartons were originally used to find lost people!


    I actually worked with a guy – at my very first radio job – who, in 15 years of being the station’s mid-day man, had NEVER used a name on the air. Not his real name, not an air name, nothing. We finally got him at Christmas, by starting a “Holiday Greetings” reel for all the station staff to record their holiday greetings for the audience. Everybody made a point of using their right at the top of the recording, i.e.: “Hi everybody! This is Mickey Jay wishing you the best Holiday Season ever and a Great New Year!” He couldn’t refuse, without looking like a jerk. The first time we played his cut: “Hi this is Don DeVos (his real name); from my house to yours, have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year”, we got about 6 or 7 calls from listeners: “You know, I’ve been listening for (X) years, and that’s the first time I ever heard that guy use his name!”

    He never did forgive us.


    Have you ever glanced at a jock’s FCC license on a wall – (or a loose file on the jock around a station office)

    that you THOUGHT was the real name of that very particular jock?..

    …and found out that it WASN’T?..

    ..I have in my radio rounds…IT HAPPENS!


    I always just used my maiden name.


    I’ve always been known as “Wildcat” on the air, except for a brief period last year when I was known as “Zero Junior” in honour of my late Grandfather, who was himself an avid CBer for many years (long story; don’t ask.)


    “Wildcat?” I trust that you are not this guy. 😯


    Wait Craig Walker was his on air name. His father use to be the PR guy for the Dairy Farmers of Oregon and his last name started with a K. So how did he come up with the name Craig Walker?



    Ummm…..no. That was just a few years before my time.

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