Monday, March 24, 2008


When you think of the phrase "larger than life radio personality", one Jack Armstrong is the first name that comes to mind for many who have heard him.

A number of radio trade sites report today that Armstrong died over the weekend in his North Carolina home.

In Cleveland, the man born John C. Larsh took the air name Jackson Armstrong, and "Your LEEEEEEADER" blazed his trail on the old WIXY/1260 and then-WKYC/1100 (now Radio Disney's WWMK and Clear Channel talk WTAM, respectively).

He gained fame, fortune and followers in many large markets, from Boston to Toronto to Los Angeles.

In recent years, Jack had been holding down morning drive at an FM oldies outlet in his home market of Greensboro, and his voice made it into Northeast Ohio at night on one of his old radio homes - 50,000 watt then-oldies blowtorch WWKB/1520 Buffalo - a show voicetracked out of North Carolina's Piedmont Triad that sounded every bit "live and local".

It was on this non-live show that your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) first heard "Big Jack", as we were far too young to appreciate him when he was on the air here in Cleveland.

Thus, we only know second hand that he apparently was forced to give up the "Jackson Armstrong" air name when he landed on "Radio 11" - the name, from what we were told, was "owned" by WIXY. He then adopted the "Big Jack" air name for WKYC.

Much more at our friend and colleague Scott Fybush's NorthEast Radio Watch...


74WIXYgrad said...

A sad day indeed. I remember listening to Big Jack on WKYC radio 11 in 1967. One of my early influences(I was 12 at the time)

Another piece of classic top 40 radio gone forever.

yekimi said...

Dammit! This makes me sad. I know we all have to go eventually. I wasn't in Ohio when Jackson was big, but when WMJI did the WIXY reunions I got to hear him and he was amazing, even located some old airchecks and listend to them. Once coming back from Maine, while driving down I-90 in New York I was dialing around the radio on AM and about crashed my car when I heard Jackson Armstong blasting over the airwaves of WKBW. Could have fooled me, I thought he was live and local, didn't realize he was doing it from NC. Still amazing, still sounding the same as in the 60s. He was one of the great DJs I would have liked to meet, now I'll never be able to. At least someone posted video of the WIXY reunion at WMJI on YouTube.

yekimi said...

Oops, I meant WWKB.

Chuck said...

Jack airchecks from '97 WMJI/WIXY Reunion weekend here