A typical Ron Jacobs story. He was 21, working at a radio station in his native Hawaii in 1957. Elvis was coming to town for the first time. Jacobs learned that Presley’s entire entourage would be staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village one floor below his radio station. However, Colonel Tom Parker made it very clear that Elvis was not giving interviews or appearing in public before his shows.
So Ron decided to create a fake Elvis. He got an impersonator (the first), drove him around Honolulu while station personnel “reported” his whereabouts from mobile units (pay phones). There were practically riots. Ron even crashed into Honolulu Stadium with his “King” just before a football game and caused mass hysteria there.
They finally got back to the station, were practically doubled over with laughter when they got a call – from the Colonel. He wanted to see them immediately.
Jacobs and accomplices went downstairs as if going to the gallows. But Parker, the consummate showmen, appreciated a good stunt when he saw it, introduced Ron to Elvis, he got to emcee the concert, and a lifelong friendship with the Colonel and E. was formed.
When Ricky Nelson was the flavor of the month and wouldn’t go on the air for an interview, Jacobs had an imposter go on and staged a fist fight with him. Back in the states, Ozzie Nelson went bat shit.
In the mid 60’s Ron was the program director of KHJ, “Boss Radio” in Los Angeles. That station changed the entire course of Top 40 radio and was a major influence on the music of the decade. While there he created the 48 hour “History of Rock & Roll”. Today if a radio station gets a 3 share that’s huge. “The History of Rock & Roll” was getting 33 shares. That's "final MASH" type radio numbers.
He left KHJ to start a syndication company and created a little show called “American Top 40”. He went back into radio in the 70’s, this time taking the album rock format to new heights. Looking for a way to promote his new station he created “The San Diego Chicken”.
Oscar Levant once said, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity and I have erased that line.” Ron has obliterated it. A typical conversation with RJ will go from astute observation, to mad rant, to expert analysis of the Los Angeles Rams (he refuses to accept that they’ve moved). to a lyrical discourse on the beauty of Hawaii. to Harrison Ford (who was once his carpenter in Laurel Canyon). to eastern religion. to the tits on a certain CNN anchor, and then in no particular order – a prediction on the future of technology so insightful you’d think he was Steve Jobs, a tirade on how he can’t get his George Foreman to work, an anecdote about Elvis, a take on the current pop culture, Don Ho, NFL collectibles, family values, recounting the morning of Pearl Harbor, Barack Obama, Robert W. Morgan, jail time in the Orient, and Carla Gugino. Usually all in a two minute span.
Hawaiian listeners (like Obama growing up) have had the pleasure of hearing all that over the years as Ron was a disc jockey on a number of stations (with the nickname Whodaguy).
Now he is about to launch a new venture – an internet radio station, WHODAGUY HAWAII. I’ll post the link when it’s up.
Starting 7-7-7 (according to Ron, a very lucky day, The number 7 has held special significance from the time of the ancient Babylonians, who revered the seven sacred planets – of course now we’re not sure how many damn planets there are…but I digress…), RJ will be broadcasting live for four hours and repeating the show throughout the day. He’ll be featuring an eclectic mix of Hawaiian, and every genre he’s ever programmed (meaning everything other than Gregorian Chants). But the real attraction will be hearing vintage/non diluted/100% proof/probably even wackier than ever Ron Jacobs on the air.
When I spotlight writers I always have the advantage of being able to post samples of their work. I’ll remind you when 7-7-7 comes along because this guy you’ve got to hear.