July 30, 2016

World’s Happiest Broadcasters

 

Interviewing Phil Jay at the North Kansas City classic car cruise May 14, 2011.

I got a chance to talk to a boyhood idol this past weekend: Phil Jay, formerly the #2 on-air personality on WHB-AM, Kansas City’s dominant #1 radio station during rock’s golden era of the 1960s.

 

This event in 1965 was the fourth rock 'n' roll party sponsored by WHB at the Plaza Theatre.

As Phil and many other reference works tell it, WHB owner and Omaha, Neb., native Todd Storz was the inventor of Top 40 radio. WHB was one of the first to employ the format 24-7, starting soon after Storz bought the station in 1954.

 

Phil Jay joined top dog Johnny Dolan on air at WHB-AM 710 in 1968, at a time when it was drawing huge ratings and its announcers were local celebrities. He remained with WHB until 1993. Today he lives in Olathe and has a mobile disc jockey service.

 

This handbill is from 1970. Similar events were held in 1971 and '72 at Fairyland.

WHB played a role in promoting lots of events around town, too, including some of KC’s earliest rock concerts. A series of “Plaza Parties” were held at the Plaza Theatre in 1964 and 1965 featuring national names like Ray Stevens and locals such as Roger Calkins and the Silvertones. In the early 1970s, the station also sponsored a series of concerts and special high school days at Fairyland Park, which was at 75th and Prospect.

The 40 Star Survey for Dec. 18, 1970.

 

Comments

  1. Tom Sorrells says:

    Rick I have a great story regarding the plaza theatre shows.

  2. Bill Harrison says:

    Which DJ said on air that WHB stood for “we hate Beatles” and got boycotted where ever he went for weeks after?

  3. steve drinkwater says:

    where are lphil jay and johnny dolan these days. are they still on the air?

  4. Stephen Hutt says:

    I was a budding DJ in late 60’s and sought out J. Dolan for advise a couple of times–once Liberty HS battle of the bands. He drove a killer bronze ’68 Mustang GT500. Parked it by the no parking/parking lot tree by front door. Saw him again at Shakeys pizza 78th & Metcalf in OP, KS in ’71. He was gracious with his time and I appreciated it. I still have multiple WHB top 40 surveys from late ’60s. Dolan advised me to go to REI on Linwood Blvd. to get 1st class FCC license and rode to class with a friend of Phil Jay’s from Pittsburg, KS. Those were the days!!!

  5. Del Miller says:

    I will always cherish my high school memories of ” Rolling With Johnny Dolan” , Phil Jay , J.Walter Beethoven and we can’t forget “Chicken Man” , The Tooth Fairy and Ms Helfinger !!! I attended Golden City High in Golden City , Mo .from 1966-1970 , when I fell in love with my high school sweetheart and future wife ,Terrie Hill from nearby Jasper , M o. . Our favorite songs were Let It Be , Bridge Over Troubled Waters(what we also called our parking spot ) , Reflections Of My Life , Which Way Are You going Billy , ect . I also loved the Stones , Beatles , Steppen Wolf, and just about everyone else ! I occasionally strayed to Beaker Street on KAAY or to WLS in Chicago , BUT seventy onederful WHB (the big HB ,as we called it ) WAS HOME ! Does anyone know if Dolan is still rolling or not ? I heard a Johnny Dolan on a Houston classic rock station several years ago , so I had to call the station and check it out ! He was a different dude , but said that he had many callers asking if he had worked at WHB ,as well , and then he added ,”that he must have been a very popular fellow ” ! Indeed he was !!!

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