This past Sunday, John Records Landecker was voted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. It was his first appearance on the ballot.
FINALLY, my all-time #1 radio idol gets the recognition he deserves. Across 38 states, gazillions of kids listened to JRL every night and said “I want to be on the radio like THAT GUY!” I was one of those kids. Largely because of John’s antics on The Big 89, I spent 16 years behind-the-mic.
As most of you know, I grew up in Minneapolis. In 1976, we had FOUR Top 40 stations: KDWB WYOO, WDGY, and KSTP. I believe we were the only market with 4. By 1978, we were down to one. WYOO sold and their FM became KDWB-FM. WDGY went country. KSTP was transitioning to a more “adult” approach by mellowing out the music and adding more talk. That left KDWB AM/FM. Under Doubleday, it was a very “safe” Top 40 with a strict liner card format. Even True Don Bleu was muzzled. I already knew I was going to be on radio “when I grew up” and needed inspiration beyond what was now available locally.
This is where John Records Landecker came into my life in a big, BIG way! When the sun went down, I’d tune in and listen to the master work his craft. I was amazed at how he would jingle out of every song, then talk PERFECTLY up the intro of the next record. I’d record his shows, listen back to the intros, then practice. I’d drop the needle on my record player and talk…again and again and again until I finally got it right. Then, I’d get on my “undocumented” pirate station and do my best to emulate him. This is how I learned to be a DJ.
“Boogie Check, Boogie Check, ooooooh, aaaaaah!” “Are YOU talkin’ to ME?” “Can I Get a Witness News!” Congratulations, John. This is a well-deserved honor that should have been given to you years ago. You’re the best!