Dan Acree’s Publisher’s Letter in the Winter ‘08 issue received a huge response, mostly from other Boomers who shared Acree’s experience listening to late-night radio on their transistor radios.
Dan Acree’s story about living in Oklahoma and listening to distant radio signals brought back a flood of memories—all good—of growing up in Tulsa. I also discovered the Wolfman on XERF-AM and tuned in Larry Lujack (WLS-AM), William “Hoss” Allen (WLAC-AM) and many others. Was there a better time for radio? I don’t think so. Nothing can replace the DJ talking to you and spinning the 45s.
Great story about Wolfman in the Winter ‘08 issue. I was just 18 years old and looking to learn radio when I landed an internship at Wolfman’s Los Angeles studio in the early ‘70s. The shows for XERB-AM were recorded at that studio and then ferried down across the border into Tijuana. It was there that I met Wolfman’s personal manager and business partner, Don Kelley. The work involved long days and nights. But I could never outwork Kelley. When I complained, he would remind me that this was a job millions would dream of having and that “if you’re still here in six months, you might have a shot at a career in this business.” Twenty-two years later, I reminded Don of that conversation over drinks after another long day. By that time I had graduated to executive producer of Wolfman’s radio programs and was a trusted confidant of this truly legendary entertainer. While Bob Smith (Wolfman’s name at birth) created the character, it was Don Kelley who brought him to the attention of Hollywood’s movers and shakers and made his name, face and voice familiar to millions around the world. Don always reminded me, “Wolfman is the star, no matter what, we’re meant to be in the background. That’s our job.” Wolfman and I had just returned home to North Carolina from a book tour that day in July, 1995 when he died instantly of a massive heart attack. I still miss him.
1 thought on “Wolfman Jack Back Story”
Lonnie Napier has continued to be a close friend of these many decades and he is still a force in radio. Today, he lives in Nashville and produces Kix Brooks’ American Country Countdown.