KBOX AND KGKO MEMORIES
This section is open to former employees, listeners and fans of KBOX and KGKO.
If you'd like to share your memories, please email Mike Shannon at mike@dfwretroplex.com.


Bob Whitney, today
Courtesy Bob Whitney
Bob Whitney, former KBOX program director, and longtime radio pro who left the business in 1974:

“I really believe that the 1958-61 KBOX was a landmark factor in the evolution of format radio.  The sound was unique and extensively imitated.  As a young program guy, I was terribly fortunate to have all the right things happen – and all the right people in place – at the right time.  It was also extremely exciting.

“I had my plane ticket in hand for Houston to meet Bill Weaver at KILT to discuss a job.  Then…I met Stan Kaplan.  I was to change planes in Dallas.  Kaplan worked for Balaban and was acting GM of KBOX.  Big Stan’s day job was national sales manager for Balaban in St. Louis, and he was John Box’s top secret agent.  Stan drove out to Love Field.  His mission:  Get some programming help for KBOX.  I had no idea who he was; I had never heard of John Box, or KBOX for that matter.  These guys have spies big time!  Stan told me it was ‘really dumb’ to go to Houston, and to consider a job with Balaban instead.  After a trip to St. Louis for Stan to show me around the town, John Box offered me the program director job with KBOX.

“How was KBOX?  KBOX’s little pumphouse studio managed to spit out its 500 nighttime watts to its four, tiny, snake-infested towers which aimed the pipsqueak signal straight up.  I named the place ‘KBOX Radio Park’…short for ‘The Little Spark at Radio Park.’

 “About the KBOX studio:  I could –even now—go into the front door with my eyes closed, make my way to the studio, cue all the audio and run a show without opening my eyes.  (Not bad after 42 years!)  KBOX and its jocks were all part of the same organism.  And that organism had a SOUND.  THE SOUND!!

"After a fabulous year and a half, KBOX superjock Dan Ingram and I went on to Balaban headquarters in St. Louis--I as National Program Director, and Dan as PD of WIL.  But we kept coming back to KBOX to bootleg production for our other stations.  Charlie Van Dyke (see reflections below) said KBOX had a certain smell inside.  It DID!  I guess he was talking about the acetate discs and the power supplies.  But there was something more, something really magical about the place.  Everybody felt it.  KBOX smelled and felt like its space was vibrant and alive--somehow in joyful motion--just like it sounded--and we kept coming back because, it seemed to us, to be like KBOX--or to sound like KBOX--you just plain had to be there.

“In the entire time at Balaban, no one ever questioned anything I did.  Really!  It was spooky.  But I knew everything I did was carefully observed.  And I guess it was successful management because I was very careful about everything we did.  That being said, the major element was the result of what you did.  If you were successful, they left you alone.  I was lucky that way – but it WAS spooky much of the time.

“It was a whirlwind experience.  I was very proud of that KBOX sound and all of those great jocks who were unforgettably superb."

Bob has done a wonderful tribute to KBOX and his radio career...
find out the rest of the story at www.yubatube.com/ourradiosite/kbox-hotdamn/



The KBOX Good Guys poised for a basketball game to raise funds for another worthy cause in 1965.
L-R:  Ron Rice, Bill Ward, Ken Scott, Sam Pate, Jack West (Schell,) Ron Jenkins (McAlister.)
Courtesy Bill Ward

Dave Tucker, former KBOX personality and longtime DFW radio personality most recently at KLTY:

“I LOVED working at KBOX…my first major market station.  It was an honor working there!  I was there when they announced KBOX was going to country.  Dan Patrick, who hired me there, is a ‘prince’ of a guy.  Working with Frank Jolle was hilarious, and Bill Ward was a treat to work with, too.”



Bill Ward (L) was 19 years old when this 1958 photograph was made at a Dallas Chamber of Commerce
function, also attended by (L-R) KLIF PD and daytime talent Ken Knox (later with KBOX,) KLIF afternoon
drive host Art Nelson, Robb Robbins (the first KBOX PD after the Balaban buyout) and wife
Courtesy Bill Ward

Chuck Dunaway, aka "The Round Mound of Sound," was a former KBOX manager and later in management with KLIF and many stations across the US:

“KBOX was an extremely well-programmed station.  It sounded ‘alive,’ and, in spite of an inferior signal, KBOX was making inroads on McLendon flagship KLIF.

“I moved into the afternoon slot.  Bill Holley, the ‘Night Creature,’ was doing great in the evenings.  Great guy and great jock Bob Whitney was on mid-days.

“My first hire was a youngster from San Diego, Ken Dowe, to do mornings.  Jimmy MacKrell was our newsman.  He used a MacKenzie tape player to fire off sounder, stagers, stings and many other elements that made ‘Dynamicnews’ the most exciting news presentation on any radio station.

“At KBOX one day in 1961, 16-year old kid dropped by the studios and asked to be allowed to do chores in exchange for news copy to take home and practice his technique.  I said he could, and eventually allowed him to use the production board after hours to record his voice.  Every so often, his mother would call late in the day or early in the evening and ask if he was still there, and would I please send him home.  The other jocks on the station began to hear him speak on tape, and became worried that their replacement was in the building.  His voice was that mature and powerful at the early age of 16.  That young man became one of the great voices in radio.  It was Charlie Van Dyke, who already sounded like a million bucks.  Some people just have it naturally.

“It wasn’t long before one of the monthly surveys indicated we had beaten KLIF by a small amount in at least one daypart.  That was enough to get the attention of KLIF GM Bill Morgan, one of McLendon’s top lieutenants, who called me at home the night the survey was released.  He wanted me to come to his house and talk to him the following evening.  We met at the pool in his backyard, and I was hired on the spot for substantially more money.  He told me I was to be on the air at KLIF the next day.”



KBOX PD Bill Ward with The Supremes, 1966
Courtesy Bill Ward

Frank Haley, former KLIF and KVIL personality, and later news director, KFLQ-FM, Albuquerque, NM:

“In 1958, I was a regular listener to KLIF, and a friend at Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas told me about KBOX.  He said, ‘You’ve got to hear this station, especially their news at :55 past the hour.’  I remember waiting for the news each hour, and how exciting it was to hear the production and rapid fire of the newsmen.  There will never be another 'KBOX Action Central News' sound.  I always wanted to work there; I applied a couple of times in the 1960s, but didn’t have the experience.  (When) I auditioned for a news job there in 1960 or ’61; a newsman named Ray Carnay showed me around, and that five-tray MacKenzie unit was a great little machine…(it) was preloaded with all the sounds…the first tray had the news tones, and the second had the news production open, weather and close, and I think another tray had the music bumpers.  They really did some great production.

"I later worked at KVIL and KLIF in the late 1960s, and reporting news on an FM in Albuquerque, where I’ve been for the last 27 years.”



Frank Jolle is flanked by two unidentified women in a publicity shot
Courtesy Katie Pruitt

Don Keyes, former KGKO announcer and longtime McLendon programming expert:

“My first job in Dallas radio was at KGKO in late 1952.  I had just gotten out of the Air Force in the summer of that year, and, while stationed in Wichita Falls, had gotten my first job in radio at KWFT.  This enabled me to tell the PD of KGKO that yes, I had experience.  As I recall, I worked evenings.  An old Dallas radio man, Buddy Harris, did the morning show.  He referred to himself as 'The Morning Grinder' and made repeated references to his automotive drive-time audience with, 'Those of you out there on the boulevard of broken taillights.'  There was no particular format and the jocks pretty well picked their own music from a good-sized library.  There was no news effort at all.  Frankly, there was no real leadership in the programming department, and, candidly, the station was never a factor.



Pop stars Peter and Gordon ("A World Without Love") in a 1966 visit to KBOX.
(L-R) Bill Ward, program director; Peter Asher; Frank Jolle, music director (back center;)
Gordon Waller; and KBOX jock J. Morgan Van Buren (aka Joe McChesney)
Photo courtesy Bill Ward; thanks to Danny Brown for identifying Peter and Gordon!

Bob Fox, KGKO listener, KCPA-Dallas announcer and retired public broadcasting personality:

"KGKO was an easy listening station in Dallas that occasionally featured jazz music.  I went in the studios a couple of times; once was to visit Tony Davis, a 1950s radio icon in Dallas.  Both Davis and a DJ named Gene did a Sunday night jazz program.  They apparently had free reign in choosing the records to be played. They provoked my interest in the West Coast Jazz style that was in its development stage at that time, and in other styles of jazz as well.  LPs were beginning to become the standard of excellence for consumer sound reproduction, and perhaps a reason why the station's programming allowed for modern jazz on the airwaves.  No other station, as I remember, had such freedom at that time.  It was what gave my 'middle-class-white-boy' ears exposure to what was otherwise unlikely:  serious black artists who could actually play music with incredible musicianship, imagination, complexity and personal flair...that would have only confused Elvis, though his style was strongly derivative of the black music."
.
Bob lived close to KGKO's studios on Audelia and Northwest Highway in NE Dallas.  He recalls a KGKO DJ who spoke of cows coming up to the on-air studio's window!  His proximity to the station made for good recording experiments as well:  "The crystal set, which were also the first radio receivers for the public, is totally free of distortion and the aural spectrum is unrestricted.  KGKO had high-quality equipment that sounded excellent through my dad's "high-fidelity" system that he built from Heathkits or Dynakits (he was an electrical engineer.)  The recordings I made directly from the crystal set sounded very good.  They did have some crosstalk from another AM station, but my crystal set was hardly more than a diode and antenna.  It was not tuneable.  It received all of the AM band together at once.  I made one that you could tune, but I was so close to KGKO that it mostly overpowered the interfering station."  Bob regrets that many of the recordings he made were inadventently taped over.



KBOX office and airstaff have lunch with recording artist Jimmy Dean before sausage.
Clockwise starting with Chuck Dunaway on phone are Jimmy Dean, the KBOX engineer,
the KBOX sales secretary, the station bookkeeper, and KBOX newsman Jimmy Kaye (Jim MacKrell.)
Courtesy Chuck Dunaway

Tony Hayes, currently morning show host, WLYT-FM, Charlotte, NC:

“I can remember listening to KBOX sometime in the mid to late 1970s when I started my career at KCLE in Cleburne.  I used to scan (around the dial) on that drive from Dallas to Cleburne six days a week.  What vividly stands out was Tom Allen playing 'I’m Scared' by Burton Cummings (lead singer of The Guess Who) and then justifying why he played it on ‘then-country’ KBOX.”



Night jock Frank Jolle recorded a Lennon-McCartney
composition while working at KBOX in the mid-1960s

Jack Schell, former KBOX personality as "Jack West" and currently a self-employed radio consultant:

“KBOX was a planet unto itself.  Surprising.  Never, ever a dull moment.  Raw.  Frustrating.  A learner’s bonanza.  Scary.  And wondrous.”



Henry "Homer" Haines and Kenneth "Jethro" Burns of Homer & Jethro fame in the KBOX production studio
with Ron Rice (second from left,) Bill Ward (second from right,) and  legendary RCA-Victor record promoter
Joe Walker (right.)  Homer & Jethro, in Dallas for a KBOX promotion, entertained millions of fans during the
1950s and 60s with their exclusive brand of homespun humor and parodies of popular songs of the day.
Courtesy Bill Ward; thanks to Roger Dimick for identifying Joe Walker!

Tony deHaro, former KBOX newsman and currently owner of “Wilder 103” in Florida:

“K-B-O-X…wonderful in every way.  The stories at KBOX are legendary.  Ray Carnay was the news director, Dick Moore, Dallas DeWitt, Harry Hines and I did the news.  Bob Whitney was GM.  We were an artistic success, a ratings flop and revenue was mediocre.

“A couple of stories…I believe they are true…Ray Carnay, KBOX news director, was a licensed pilot.  KLIF was using its ground mobile units to do traffic reports, so Ray rigged a way for a receiver capable of getting the plane’s radio to be patched into the board, and KBOX did the city’s first airborne traffic report.  This went on for a while, with a police officer doing backup and we, pardon the pun, got a lot of mileage out of it.

“As was the case with many, John Box fired Ray Carnay and he left on a Friday.  When the policeman went to the hangar to do the traffic report on Monday, there was no airplane.  It seems that Carnay had negotiated the plane deal and had worked it as a lease-purchase, with him (Carnay) as the eventual owner.  So for months, KBOX unknowingly was buying Ray an airplane.  When he flew, he flew his own aircraft…with KBOX still painted on the side.

“Next story…Dick Moore, mid-day newsguy, was at the downtown Press Club bar one afternoon when there was a construction accident at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield building.  The Press Club was close by, so all the stations called their reports in from the club…forgetting that they had been there several hours and all had their snoot full.

“So Dick Moore charges to the scene, crosses police lines and gets arrested.  He is charged with disobeying a policeman and being drunk in public.  Later, the city wanted to drop the matter, but Dick wouldn’t let them.  He demanded a full jury trial, and got it.  At the trial, ten reporters testified as to how much a seasoned reporter could drink, versus a rookie reporter…how drunk one could be and still function as a journalist.

“The trial lasted for days, was covered by all the papers, and embarrassed the Dallas PD and DA…and Dick was acquitted.  Forever after, Dick had to behave himself in public as the cops were just waiting to get even."



KBOX PD Bill Ward (right) with Sonny and Cher, center.  The three young women were high school students who were part of the
Sanger-Harris Teen Board; the blonde to the right of Sonny is Jane DeFord, who represented South Garland High School.  The others are
unidentified.  Taken on 12/27/1966, Sonny and Cher were in Dallas for a KBOX-sponsored concert at Memorial Auditorium, then
rode in a float at the Cotton Bowl Parade on 1/1/1967.
Courtesy Bill Ward; thanks to Jane DeFord for identifying herself!

Jerry Knight (aka John D’Azzo, former KBOX personality and most recently air talent for ABC’s Pure Gold format):

“I used to work at KBOX from 1965 to 1967 until they went country.  I was the 7PM to midnight guy then, and had a great time.

“One funny story, when I was working there, I was sent to pick up Mike Nesmith of the Monkees from Love Field and bring him to the station.  He and I had gone to Thomas Jefferson High School together here in Dallas.  The Monkees were in town for a concert we were doing here.  While sitting at a traffic light at Preston and Northwest Highway, a car full of kids pulled up next to us and recognized Mike, and they chased us all the way to the station.  I had to hurry him into the station to avoid the ‘kiddy rush’!  He said to me, ‘I didn’t know I was that famous.’  I told him, ‘You aren’t since I know you!’”



KBOX jocks let their thoughts be known about KLIF owner Gordon McLendon!
Atop the Southland Life building in Downtown Dallas are (L-R:)  Bill Holley,
Ron Rice, Frank Jolle, Terry Byrd, Dan Patrick, Bill Ward.
Courtesy Bill Ward

Allan Peck, former KBOX personality and half of the “Peck and Penny/Peck and Peggy” show; currently with KHYI/KXEZ in Plano, TX:

“'Peck and Penny' and later 'Peggy' was the very first man-woman broadcast team in country music in the US.  I cannot recall the vast number of inquiries from everywhere on just how it was done.  Management would fly in to listen, take notes, and then go back and try to copy the idea in their markets.

“The reason it did work was very simple…compatibility of personality and absence of micromanagement.  It was a great compliment to management for the approach.  Six program directors and 11 years of that team and manager continued to allow creativity and originality.  What a concept for radio today!”



An artifact from KBOX's country days...this stylish belt buckle!

Sean Sims, son of the late KBOX newsman Glenn Sims:

“My father was Glenn Sims.  He did news for KBOX and WRR in the 60s and early 70s.  As most radio people did/do, he traveled around from station to station for years.  During his time in radio, he was on the cover of Newsweek as one of the reporters in front of the schoolhouse in Alabama when George Wallace made his (famous) speech.  I know I’ve got pictures (of Glenn) washing a 1960-something Ford Mustang with the KBOX letters on the side.  I remember one of his stories…he had a tough time adjusting to Dallas when he got to KBOX.  Prior to working there, he had mostly been in smaller towns, and the news crews (here) went out and covered every car wreck that happened.  Well, when it rains here, there’s a wreck on every corner.  That took some getting used to for him."



Another artifact...this KBOX AM-FM cigarette lighter

Jason Walker (former KBOX personality; later with KLUV and KLDD, and as a newscaster with USA Radio Networks in Dallas):

"I have fond memories of the old KBOX facilities on McCree.  When I came to Dallas in late 1979, I remember seeing the shrubbery in front of the building.  It had been cut to read 'K-B-O-X.'  Quite a work of art by someone!  A wonderful memory from that time...the legendary Ken Knox (McClure) was on our sister station KMEZ, and he would often tell me some great stories about Gordon McLendon and KLIF!

“One of my fondest memories is of Dick Siegel landing his chopper on the hill just east of the building.  He was doing traffic for KLIF then.  Our traffic girl, Amy Graf, flew with him.  One day I told Amy I wanted to fly with them, so I went to the station early that afternoon and Sieg picked me up.  He dropped me off about 6PM.  Jack Weston wasn’t too thrilled with that.

“KBOX will always hold a special place in my life.  It was my first time to work in a major market…and having made the jump from a small market (Hutchison, KS,) made it even more so.

“I remember a goofy time at KBOX.  I had been there just a short time when the jocks and news guys played a donkey softball game for charity somewhere in Pleasant Grove.  I just remember playing shortstop and slipping in a pile of donkey sh*t and falling flat on my ass!  For those who don’t know about donkey softball, every player is on a donkey, except for the pitcher, catcher and batter.  Once the batter makes contact, he drops his bat, hops on the donkey, and (hopefully) heads to first base.  The fielders must go after the ball while riding their donkeys.  It can take two hours just to play two innings!”



Dan Ingram, today
Dan Ingram, former KBOX manager and personality, as interviewed in 1978 by Claude Hall for his International Radio Report in Billboard Magazine (thanks to Claude Hall for permission to use):

“John Box hired me to go to KBOX in Dallas.  (He) offered me double what I was making at the time.  I told him I’d be right there, even if I had to crawl!  That was the first really big break…going to Dallas.  Later, John took me to WIL in St. Louis.

“They had just turned KBOX to rock six months prior to my arrival (in 1959,) and had a lot of golden-tone, good-sounding people in the air who weren’t quite making it.  John Box had just learned that (KBOX employee) Al Lohman was going to WABC in New York to do the morning show.  In searching for a replacement, he ran across a tape of mine from an aircheck service.  I happened to be the first voice on the tape, and he called me.  I was in Dallas for just a year, and then John Box wanted me to come to St. Louis to do the morning show at WIL, which I did.”



Charlie Van Dyke, today
Charlie Van Dyke, former KBOX personality and later top Los Angeles jock and voiceover specialist:

“Actually, I wanted to work (at KBOX) more than at KLIF…but the way things worked out, I ended up at KLIF and I am truly grateful for that opportunity.

“My earliest recollections of KBOX were in grade school when Dan Ingram was the morning man.  Dan used to read the school lunch menu for the Dallas Independent School District…and (would) tell you what the menu items ‘really’ were.  Dan was one of the guys who inspired me to get into radio.  He had that ability to create pictures.  I have tremendous respect for him.

“Pat Hughes came out to our grade school once for a dance.  Everyone was excited when the bright red KBOX Mobile Unit rounded the corner!

“I remember the MacKenzie repeaters that were used for the jingles and elements during Action Central News.  There was a switch to add filter to the mic when they went to the ‘weather tower.’  (There was also) the time tone button that looked like a doorbell, and the extra echo that was kicked in to emphasize certain words.

"They used four turntables…two on each side of a U-shaped studio setup that looked into the newsroom ahead, and to the production room on the DJ’s left.  Spots were on acetate discs, and there was a disc cutter in the production room.

“KLIF always had KBOX bested for signal.  KLIF was 50,000 watts day and 1,000 nights.  KBOX was 5,000 and 500.  Nevertheless, I usually listened through the night static because I thought KBOX was more exciting.  When I was young, KLIF seemed more geared to older listeners…though they both played Top 40.

“There was a great smell inside KBOX…combination of acetate, the records, warm tubes…not sure what all, but it smelled like radio to me.

“Out (in) front of the building, the bushes had been groomed to spell out ‘KBOX’ on the hill leading up to the building.

“When Chuck Dunaway came to KBOX from WKY in Oklahoma City, he made me ‘school reporter’ on Sunday nights, and paid me in records, literally.  (It) didn’t matter; it gave me a reason to be in the building and the chance to ‘be’ on KBOX.  Later in time, my high school, Jesuit, won the KBOX Principal of the Year contest, and we had a big party as the prize.  At this time, I was working at KVIL…but it was a 1,000 watt, six-tower directional daytime AM which happened to have a 119,000-watt FM simulcast on 103.7.  But nobody listened to the FM…yet!

“Eventually, KBOX lost its magic and went to the country format.  I was already on KLIF when that happened.  It was sad to realize that ‘Wonderful K-BOX’ was gone, but it sure was fun when the K-BOX Good Guys played the incredible music I loved from the Silver Dollar Surveys.”



Carol Channing pays a visit to KBOX's Tom Allen in 1977

Bobby Dark, former KBOX jock who worked under both formats:

"I am the only former disc jockey still living that worked at KBOX during the Top 40 as well as the Country days.  As a kid growing up in Lake Highlands (the section of Dallas around KBOX,) I was at the station sweeping and emptying trash cans and playing music part time.  That was in the mid-1960s.  I left for college at Abilene Christian University in 1966, and worked at KRBC and KNIT in Abilene, then on to KKUB in Brownfield, and then KNIN in Wichita Falls.

"On a Friday afternoon in early 1969, while on the air at KNIN, I received a call from the GM at KBOX, Bob Bostian, who said he was listening to my show and wanted me to come down and visit him and talk about coming back to KBOX.  I told him no, because I didn't want to be associated with 'country music'...YIKES!

"Several weeks later, I received a second call, same scenario, and after a crummy day, I decided to pay KBOX a visit.  That weekend, I drove to Dallas and met Bob Bostian on a Saturday.  We toured the station and I met my old friend, Ron Rice, again.  Now, I am a 21-year old kid, getting a chance to go 'home' to work a 9AM-noon show, Monday through Friday, for more money than I ever knew existed and be with the 'stars' all the time, so what could I say?

"I had 13 of the best years of my life, and had the pleasure, or pain, depending on how you look at it, of playing the 'last' song on Sunday evening, November 14...the same one we played in 1967 as the 'first,' Buck Owens' 'I've Got a Tiger By the Tail.'"


.
KBOX's dressy custom envelopes overstated their local ratings dominance!

“Doc” DeWeese, son of KGKO's Dallas F. "Tex" DeWeese:

“My father, Tex DeWeese, was news director at KGKO from 1956 until 1959.  So I guess he did work at KBOX for a short period of time.  This all happened after we moved from Indianapolis, where he was news director at WISH Radio/TV from 1953 until 1956.

“In Dallas, I remember Dad enjoyed working at KGKO.  He was very happy there.  My mom loved Dallas and our family life was much like that of the Ward and June Cleaver family.  KGKO was in a white-colored building north of White Rock Lake, as I remember.  It wasn’t very large, but it was adequate.

“As I remember, Dad left KGKO because of a dispute between the new owners.  He was very unhappy about changes that were occurring in the KGKO news department.  My mom told me in later years that Dad was insulted because the new ownership was de-emphasizing news, pushing music, and that he was being relegated to having the job of a reporter.

“KGKO was the #1 news station in Dallas at the time, and it remained so until KBOX came along.  Also, the general manager at the time threatened my father.  As I understand it, there was a great deal of turmoil during this period of transition from KGKO to KBOX among staff and management.  And all of this after my father had the storied career he had in Ohio and Indiana for so many years!

“I spent a great deal of time at White Rock Lake.  (Dallas millionaire) H. L. Hunt had his mansion there, just off the lake, and I met and played with his sons.  We used to play with our motorized toy boats on the lake.  One day, I met Hunt, and he asked me what my dad did.  I told him that my dad was Dallas F. DeWeese on KGKO Radio, and Hunt replied that he listened to KGKO every morning!

“I do not remember who the general manager was at KGKO at the time, but he was fired after the ownership change, I guess.  I do remember my dad saying (that) the place was on a downward spiral, news-wise.  When my dad was there, he headed up a news department with five personnel in it, and he ran a hell of a tight ship.  He had no respect for anyone (in news) who did not ‘live it’ 24 hours a day.  He had sources you wouldn’t believe.  Even with the Dallas mob.  The Dallas Morning News wanted him to do a column, but he refused.  He had ethics and standards even I could not imagine an individual could possess.”



KBOX hopped on the Twist bandwagon in 1962

Sam Pate, former KBOX newsman, died in August, 2009.  His remembrances were published in Radio Daily News in 2001:

“Unable to get a job at KLIF, I drove across town to KBOX at Audelia and McCree roads.  I had already met a lot of DJs and a few newsmen, so I had a little ‘in’ with the station personnel.  Tom Murphy was the music director.  Tom hired me the day I walked into KBOX.  Even though we were competitors now, Ken Elliott (of KLIF) and I remained friends until he left for other places.  Once there was a shooting at a residence in the Oak Cliff area.  I had made my report at the scene, and finally Ken arrived at the location.  After he gathered what information he needed, he went to his mobile news unit to file his report, and each time he would tell the newsroom that he was ready to make his report, I would see him in my rearview mirror…and when he released his mic for a reply, I would key-up my two-way, and it would cause a loud roar on his two-way speaker.  This went on for several minutes until I decided to leave the scene.  As I left, so did Ken.  Chuckling as I went, because I could tell he was never able to get that story sent.

“In a mobile news unit, you could shoot across town quickly and get right in the middle of the action.  On inside news, it was a different story.  However, there were times when a crazy DJ like Frank Jolle would wear his Jolley Green Giant suit on duty, and that was enough to crack up a seasoned newsman, much less a novice like me.  Especially when he would stick a wet finger in my ear while I was on live, or once (when) he sat my rewrite copy on fire right in the middle of a story!

“1963…the year Dallas came of age.  I was thrilled with the new toy that KBOX had purchased for me.  It was a sparkling new 1963 Pontiac Catalina, bright red with giant-size lettering, 'KBOX RADIO NEWS 1480.'  It was on the sides, tailgate, front of the hood, and, at my request, it was also on top of the mobile unit so that, when I parked on a street, people inside of buildings could read it and tune to KBOX to see what was happening.  I wanted people to see and know me, but mainly, that they would know our radio station.  As I was driving into the downtown area on my way to the Dallas Police Department to check out anything that might have occurred newsworthy, while I was picking up my new news unit from Taylor Pontiac in Oak Cliff.  As I was waiting for a red light at Commerce and Lamar, there it was, three piercing beeps on my police monitor speaker…an armed robbery at the National Bank of Commerce, Main and Poydras Street.  I decided it was time to see just how fast this new Pontiac could go!  Tires squalling, I went through the red light.  A short block later, I was on Poydras, screeching to a stop, leaping from my mobile unit with my tape recorder and notepad.  I opened the door, ran inside, and to my shock, the robbery was still in progress.  The bandit was wielding a sawed-off shotgun, relieving a teller of her money in the cash drawer.  He looked at me, pointed the shotgun at me, and, before he said a word, I shoved a microphone in his face and asked him why he was robbing this bank.  The robber said he needed money because he couldn’t find a job since he got out of prison.  He was telling me this as he moved to another teller.  There was a faint siren sound…he ran out the door…(and) got into a car parked a few feet away.  I saw him pull into the parking lot at he Cotton Belt Railroad freight office (and) he disappeared into the freight yards.  He was caught, but not until several months had passed.  Want to be a mobile newsman?  Remember, you’ll have to talk the talk and walk the walk.”



An early trade publication ad for KBOX

Bob Krause, KBOX listener, who later married the daughter of KDNT newsman Buford Harrell:

“As a teenager, I lived a block over from the KBOX station and transmitter site between 1960 and when I went to college.  We used to walk over and watch the DJs do their show.  I had a friend in junior high whose dad worked for KBOX.  (The friend’s) name was Bobby York…I don’t remember his dad’s name."


...
..
The KBOX "Battle of the Bands" program from 1959

Danny McDuff, former KBOX personality, 1977-79:

“I was 32 years old and working in Houston at contemporary Christian KFMK.  I hated the Big H and sent one aircheck to one radio station, and that was KBOX in Dallas.  I used to visit there when I was really young in the biz, and always dreamed of working there.  Chet Maxwell called me to fly out for an interview, and I came runnin’.  Initially, I was hired in 1977 to work swing shifts.  Proudly, I can tell you that, after my first stint on the air, Chet and PD Jack Weston called me in and said, ‘You’re doing afternoon drive!’"


..
Would you believe...a KBOX coloring book?  Peck, Peggy and Jack Weston appear in caricature (crayons not provided)

Doug Pritchett, KBOX listener and currently a captain in the Pampa (TX) Fire Department:

“I spent many hours on a farm and ranch with my uncle, Travis Glenn, growing up.  He had 1480-KBOX tuned to every radio he had.  Those in his vehicles and the radio in the barn…they were always tuned to KBOX…24 hours a day, seven days a week…and I spent a great deal of time listening to 1480.  Peck and Peggy were a regular part of my morning routine from 1973-78, when I switched to FM because of the better sound quality.  All of the radios I listened to during those days were equipped only with AM, and that included those in vehicles I rode in, and that’s how KBOX became a regular part of my radio listening habits.

“I used to hang out with my high school buddies in the parking lot before school and listen to Peck and Peggy before morning classes.  Peck and Peggy had a really good morning program…in particular, they never talked about their listeners…they always talked TO them…they communicated with them…and they made the listeners feel genuinely involved with them in a most positive way.

“I grew up in the city but always wanted to live on a farm, and country music and farms go together…and with that came the appeal of KBOX.  All of my friends in the Future Farmers of America and in the ag classes I took in high school always listened to KBOX.

“That’s what I liked about KBOX…KBOX was your friend.”



KBOX brought Buck Owens to town in 1970

Mark David Manders, successful country recording artist and son of KBOX salesman Dave Manders:

"When I was a kid, I would go down to (KBOX) and just hang out on Saturdays.  WBAP-AM was their big rival.  But I'd go down there and they had a catalog, or their library, and they always had four or five copies (of albums) from the big labels.  So they'd give me all the extras.  I had every country album you could imagine." (From the Dallas Morning News, 5/19/2000)



KBOXers George Cooper and Alan Abbott signed this 1960 single

Roy Hodgens, a KBOX listener and former Dallas policeman:

"In 1968, in the early winter, I was assigned to the Northeast Station and was given a radio call about 3:30AM. A woman met us on the parking lot of KBOX and told us her husband was a disc jockey that got off at midnight and had not come home, and his car was still parked on the parking lot, and he was nowhere around, and he must have been kidnapped!  While I was taking the information, a car pulled onto the lot off Audelia Road.  The driver saw us, backed up rapidly, and took off east on McCree Road.  I jumped in my squad car and chased the car, ending up at Northwest Highway and Plano Road, where the car stopped.  I approached the car and a very attractive young lady was driving.  In the passenger seat was the "kidnapped" disc jockey.  The DJ's wife drove up behind my car and walked up beside the car I had stopped, saw her husband, got back in her own car and left.  You should have seen the look on the disc jockey's face!"



A collection of KBOX goodies!

Dave Malone, overnight disc jockey at KBOX from 1968-70:

"I was the all-night jock at KBOX for just under two years.  I was initially hired by Irene Runnels and Bill Ward to host the mid-morning shift, (which was) the same shift I was hosting at KIKK in Houston.  I hosted mid-mornings for a brief period and jumped at the opportunity to host the all-night show shortly thereafter.

"Your KBOX history has brought back many great memories."



Tom Murphy asks for your presence at breakfast (after you smoke, of course)

Danny Brown, longtime KBOX fan who lived near the Radio Park studios:

"I grew up in Dallas and KBOX was the choice for me.  When I was little, around 1959 or '60, I figured that the musicians were actually there at the McCree building, playing the music LIVE!  I had an idea of what a studio looked like, so it all made sense."



Not to be outdone by KLIF's "Klassics," KBOX released an album of station favorites in the early 1970s



A KBOX pencil, from the collection of DFW radio vet Ed Padget


Click here to return to KBOX's home page
Click here to return to the DFW Retroplex home page
Click here for KBOX Music Surveys
Click here for KBOX Sounds (coming soon!)

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF USE

This entire website and its contents are copyright 1984-2014 Mike Shannon. Images are copyright of their respective owners. If you feel your copyright is being infringed upon by its appearance in this website, please email me and it will be removed or credited properly.  I am not responsible for errors, omissions, incomplete information, misrepresentations or dead links.  Information was gleaned from newspapers, broadcasting yearbooks, magazines, personal recollection, recollections of others and the like.  Copying of any or all information or images for use on other websites, in print or for other purposes, is prohibited without permission.  Links are provided for the user's convenience; I claim no responsibility for the contents, accuracy or relevance of other sites that may be linked to from this site.  This entire website is considered a not-for-profit "fan site," to be enjoyed for entertainment and informational purposes only. Usage of this site and/or any sites, sub-sites or pages or images contained within, however accessed, constitutes your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.  If you do not agree to these Terms and Conditions, click here and you will be taken elsewhere.  Proceeds from advertising & duplication services are directly used for site maintenance, hosting fees and research costs.