Sunday, March 04, 2007

Youngstown Radio Mainstays Retire

Our knowledge of Youngstown radio history is sketchy, but one thing is for sure: Dick Thompson and Johnny Kay are basically right next to each other in our knowledge of the market's past.

The long-time air personalities, who worked together at iconic top 40 outlet WHOT - in its original days at AM 1330 - have been paired at Cumulus standards WSOM/600 Salem for the past few years...until Friday, when both men retired after doing a final show together on Friday afternoon.

Throughout their careers, Thompson and Kay seemed inseparable. Even after coming out of their first retirements to work at WNIO/1390 in the 1990's, they did so together, as they also moved to WSOM as a pair later on.

Thompson tells the Youngstown Vindicator's Guy D'Astolfo that the two have been "like brothers" in their 50-plus year careers working at the same radio stations. He jokes that they've "done this retirement thing before...we hope to get it right this time."

They're certainly up there in the pantheon of local radio history in the Mahoning Valley, along with fellow WHOT "Good Guy" Boots Bell, and WKBN/570 talk show host Dan Ryan - both no longer with us.

WSOM apparently will fill the openings locally. Gary Rhamy takes over mornings, and "Jolly Roger" does afternoons...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like DT and Johnny, Jolly Roger has a history stretching back to the heyday of 'HOT. The story goes that he played Bob Dylan's "Rain Day Women #12 and #35" for four straight hours as a stunt. Of course, DT didn't think too much of it. :-) He later worked in Miami and other big towns.

Anonymous said...

i repeat a post of mine from the other day.....

we couldn't wait for them to leave...it always had to be their way or "hell to pay" ...

they were well past it....

(industry insider)

eriedjguy said...

Up here in Erie, PA when Myron Jones owned WJET 1400AM, I remember growing up hearing the voice of 'Big Al Knight'. I later found out, once I got in the business, it was Dick Thompson's voice on cart. Gee, they voicetracked in the 70's too!! Sorta.

Ironic, the weekly surveys listed the DJ pictured as Al Knight. In reality, it was Boots Bell in the picture.

An example...

http://las-solanas.com/surveys/WJET/WJET_1968-01-30_1.jpg

Anonymous said...

How can we get Keith Kennedy to retire?

Anonymous said...

How about also getting Mike Trivisonno to retire too?

Anonymous said...

i thought jerry starr was big al knight?

Anonymous said...

no it was DT

Anonymous said...

"How can we get Keith Kennedy to retire?"


How do we get you to stop posting like a crybaby coward? Or using a post not related to Keith in any way in order to spread your garbage on the board?

Anonymous said...

AMEN

Anonymous said...

I'm voting Kennedy for Programmer of the year. I don't personally know or care if he's worthy. I would just like to hear the bitching on this board if he were to win.

Give 'em hell keith! There are some of us who think your stations sound pretty damn good.

Anonymous said...

I often wonder in there is a internet board for roofers, where roofers who couldn't make it proffesionaly go to complain about roofers who are employeed and doing a good job.

Ed Richards, WHOT 1969-1973 said...

As a kid I knew Johnny from record hops all over the Youngstown area. Just a year later, at 18, I was working along side him at WHOT 1330.

My thanks forever to Dick Thompson for giving a scared, but eager 18 year old kid his start in radio.
Dick taught me how to be a jock and a newsman. He preached versatility.

I was lucky to have them as mentors in those early days of my career.

My best wishes to both of them.

Tim Lones said...

Ed:
Nice rememberances..While I can't say I've heard either Dick or Johnny often..By all accounts, they were true BROADCASTERS..There are fewer and fewer of them around these days..We ought to be remembering how good they were instead of picking at them as they retire..congrats to both..

Anonymous said...

"Super Dick" was WHOT's first Program Director, is that correct?
Up until the 80's when Tom Pappas took over I believe

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of interviewing D.T. in 1989, when he was still programming WHOT. He told me he joined the station in 1958 as news director (at that time it was still a daytimer on 1570) and became PD in 1960.

I later acquired an early 1960 aircheck of Boots Bell with 1570 jingles and a few seconds of D.T. doing a newscast.