I’d prefer not to admit when I first heard Jerry King (Kay) on the air at Yakima’s KLOQ. So I won’t. But if you know anything about Yakima radio history, you’d know it would have been in the late 1950s.
Jerry hadn’t been out of old Yakima High School very long. But Paul Berg (Pat O’Day) gave him a chance, at a time when newcomer KLOQ 1390 was riding that new rock n roll wave in challenging the city’s longtime radio leaders, KIT and KIMA.
King’s career track from there is pretty well documented. Berg went to Seattle in early ’59, assumed the air-name Pat O’Day and went to work at then rock n roller KAYO. King took a similar path, not long after O’Day. He moved to Seattle, changed his name to Jerry Kay, and took a job at KOL, another of Seattle’s rockers. His KOL stint lasted about two years, followed by another two years, again with Pat O’Day, this time at KJR.
Kay was part of some of KJR’s most acclaimed jock lineups, working along side Larry Lujack, Lan Roberts, Lee Perkins, Pat O’Day, Dick Curtis, Tom Murphy and super news guy Chuck Bolland.
Jerry Kay did make the big time — starting in 1967 in Chicago — at two of the Windy City’s biggest rock giants, WLS and then WCFL. He returned to KJR in the early ’70s, and completed his career in the Seattle market. But rather then tell this story, we can hear pieces of it. Starting with Kay’s first shot at Seattle radio (KOL), here’s a 7-part composite aircheck of his career.
Audio Running Time – 6:30
The audio segments in order:
- 1961 – KOL Seattle, doing the Night Watch Show
- 1965 – KJR Seattle, reading the 8:55 p.m. news during the Larry Lujack shift.
- 1970 – WLS Chicago, a windy city auto dealership spot and other things on the Big 89
- 1971 – WCFL Chicago, doing another overnight shift
- 1971 – KJR guest shot (with Pat O’Day) while still at WCFL (it was KJR’s 50th year)
- 1983 – KVI Seattle promo (on KSTW-TV), with on-air lineup of Bob Hardwick, Jack Morton, J. Michael Kenyon, Ray McMackIn and Bobby & Gary Ryan.
- 1985 – KHIT-FM Seattle (Bremerton licensed), at a time when four different Top-40 FMs were competing for listeners.
Jerry Kay always had a signature identification line when on-the-air. He called himself “the late Jerry Kay” — a double entendre which really referred to his most frequent jock shift through all of his broadcast years. It’s true he did pull a lot of midnight-to-six board shifts. His career stints included all the following (and maybe a couple more): KLOQ, KOL, KJR, KNEW, WLS, WCFL, KBSG, KVI, KYYX, KHIT-FM, KAYO/KSPL, KJR-FM. And yes, some of them were more than once.
Jerry Kay retired to the Oregon coast where he passed away in late September, 2005.
2 thoughts on “It All Started in Yakima for Jerry Kay”
Good job on Jerry’s career, but one slight correction: It was always Jerry Kay rather than Kaye. The confusion often occurs because KJR was owned by Les Smith and actor Danny Kaye.
Agreed. I have updated the Jerry Kay name sitewide, deleting the references to Jerry Kaye. This has been debated here in other comments.