Now I am sure you may be wondering: What is a fly jock?
Earlier today, I had some people in my office pitching me a TV show concept, and one of their male hosts reminded me of 1973. In that day, I was a 19-year-old SMU student majoring in radio/tv/film while working part time at KIXL AM-FM in Dallas. The two “KIXL’s” were long established and popular stations. Both the AM and FM played beautiful music. I was hired in 1973 to work the Sunday morning church services on the AM side and play a little music, which by then was an early form of “oldies.” KIXL-AM had to sign off at dusk to avoid interfering with 50,000-watt WHO in Des Moines, Iowa. The stations had been sold, each to different owners, so most of the full-timers were looking for new jobs. By the summer of 1973, I was doing afternoon drive and then a Saturday afternoon gig. I also did a little work on the FM side as well. With the beautiful music format, I had to sound like I was in a tuxedo!
I had so much fun doing this that I really didn’t give much thought as to what was about to happen with KIXL-FM, and how DFW radio history would change. In the Dallas/Fort Worth market, Hyman Childs owned a 500-watt daytime AM station: KKDA. The station had some of the top R&B radio personalities in the United States, but like KIXL-AM, KKDA had to sign off at dusk for a Mexican clear channel station, XEX in Mexico City. Childs was getting ready to take DFW by storm and needed a full coverage FM station to execute that. He got that with KIXL-FM at 104.5. Once the deal closed and the station was his, it then was launched as K104, with an urban/R&B format and Tom Joyner as their morning drive personality. In just a few months, KKDA-FM became the #1 radio station in the DFW market and recognized as one of the top urban stations in the U.S. It was that success that made Joyner the “fly jock.”
Basically, Joyner would do his morning show in Dallas live, catch a flight to Chicago, do an afternoon show live on WCGI, catch a plane back to Dallas that evening… and do it all over again the next day. Not only was he a hit in Dallas, but he was a hit in Chicago! With today’s technology, there is no need to have fly jocks anymore… but they sure make great promotion!
Today, Joyner has his own company, Reach Media, and still does a syndicated radio show across the country. He is considered one of the most successful and savvy radio personalities and executives in America. KIXL-AM is now KGGR (Great Gospel Radio) and still signs off at dusk. KKDA-AM now is authorized to be on the air after dusk, but at reduced power.
See you next time.