Ongoing History of New MusicRadio

Ongoing History Daily: The legacy of Wolfman Jack

The history of radio has many stories of legendary DJs who helped advance the cause of both broadcasting and rock’n’roll. Wolfman Jack was one of those guys.

His real name was Robert Smith and he grew up being fascinated by radio, getting his first paying gig in 1960. By 1963, he was calling himself Wolfman Jack and running a show out of an insanely powerful Mexican AM radio station just on the other side of the California border. The 150,000-watt transmitter allowed the Wolfman to be heard across most of North America. And if atmospheric conditions were right, he could be heard as far away as Europe, the Soviet Union, and South Africa.

He later moved to another even more powerful Mexican station and continued to evolve his on-air persona. The man was so much of a legend in his day that the Guess Who, The Doors, the Grateful Dead, and Todd Rundgren namechecked him in songs.

Sadly, he died all too soon in 1995 at the age of 57.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38300 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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