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 THE DISC JOCKEYS


Dan Thompson
 

The Dan Thompson story began in 1961. He broke in at WIKE in Newport, Vermont. In '62, he segued to WTWN in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. At both locales he went by the name of Wade Allen. By 1963, Thompson moved down to New York City to work as a production assistant for ABC-TV. The network experience put Dan in good stead, but he was itching to get back into radio. So he headed west...and didn't stop until he reached Honolulu. From 1965 to 1967, he worked at stations KORL, KPOI, and KGMB (as Ron Temple). Dan Thompson has a number of stories from his Honolulu days. Here are several. 'I was employed by KORL on several occasions. (In those days, I tended not stay around any one station for too long). They were continually on the verge of going broke. We lost the UPI wire for non-payment and had to read the news from stolen newspapers as the jocks never had any money either. KORL was actually put off the air for a while when they were thrown off their transmitter site for non-payment of rent'. Dan goes on to say, 'In 1967 I was doing the all-nite show on KGMB in Honolulu. They really liked to get their money's worth out of their jocks, so after I got off at 5:30 AM, I was required to hang around to 7 or 8 and be the producer/sidekick on the morning show with J. Akuhead Pupule. What an honor it was to work with this guy. For those who don't know, he was a true legend and one of the greats of the business. I learned a lot from that sweet man! But I digress. Ray Charles had been scheduled to come by the station the previous evening, but was a no-show due to travel problems leaving Australia. So I'm doing the all-nighter when at 3 AM, down the hall to the studio comes the great Ray Charles and the promoter to do the interview. Needless to say, I was thrilled as well as a bit nervous having Ray on my show. Well my nerves were quickly put at ease by Ray Charles who was totally cool and quite the gentleman. He was a very personable and likeable guy and gave a fine interview. Rather than just doing 15-20 minutes with me and then leaving...he stayed for the rest of my show! We'd chat on the air for a while, then I'd play a record and that's how it went for 2 hours. I was playing "Ode to Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry which was a huge hit at the time. Ray mentioned to me that he really dug that song, 'cuz it told a story he could visualize. He said he could picture that family sitting 'round the supper table in his mind. I told Ray (jeez, we're on a first-name basis by now) that we'd just received Bobbie Gentry's first LP. Ray asked me if there was a photo on the cover'. The 'Genius' then asked Thompson to describe what she looked like, centering on certain attributes. Says Dan, 'So there I was, a young man in Honolulu, describing Bobbie Gentry's (profile) to the great Ray Charles'. In 1968, Dan went back to the Big Apple to work at WOR-FM. Dan says it was the high point of his career. 'It was a total thrill to work with the likes of the late Bob Elliot (K.O. Bayley), the also deceased Jim O'Brien (what a class act that guy was!) and Charlie O'Donnell, who still has that Merv Griffin gig in L.A.'. Dan stayed at WOR for 2 years. By 1972, he returned to Honolulu for a brief stay at KUMU (as newsman Jock Harvard). Dan recalls, 'There was the Christmas Day in the 70's when I was recording a newscast on KUMU, a so-called Good Music' station, when a nit-wit board op inadvertently put the production studio I was using on the air. While I was taping the news I was disturbed by another employee and therefore came out with the 12-letter granddaddy of 'em all (yeah, THAT one) live on the air over some Christmas music. Fortunately the station's owner (John Weiser, a very interesting guy and one of the great characters of the business) saw the humor in the situation and I was allowed to keep my gig. Then from 1973 to 1995, Dan Thompson took a necessary hiatus from radio. However in '95...Thompson returned to the mic at KEYN in Wichita, Kansas. He was there until 2000. From '97-'99, Dan had added duties at KCMO-FM in Kansas City. Dan says, 'At the present, just laying around the house and enjoying every minute of it'. You can e-mail Dan Thompson (or if you knew him by Wade Allen, Jock Harvard, or Ron Temple) at drt2000@mindspring.com

  

 
     

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