Norm Gregory Radio Scrapbook: Danny Kaye Visits KJR, 1972

by Norm Gregory on March 16, 2012

in 1972, KJR, Radio Scrapbook

I got a question yesterday on Twitter that reminded me of a Lan Roberts story.

As I mentioned I wasn’t there . . . but this story was told for years about KJR owners Lester Smith and Danny Kaye and general manager Pat O’Day touring the station one day in 1972. Mr Smith and Mr O’Day were wearing business suits. Mr Kaye was dressed much more causal with his trade mark hat. They walk into the on-air studio where Lan Roberts was doing his mid-day shift. Right from the introductions you could tell that Lan and Danny were hitting it off and were instantly on a first name basis. They were chatting about station activities and Lan’s programing ideas, past promotions and future promotions. Lan says “Danny I got this great idea that I’d like to do . . . ” And Lan explained how he’d like to have a studio in an airplane and flying around the Northwest every day and he would be doing his show from the sky. Danny says something like “Gee . . . that does sounds like a great idea. What kind of plane could we get . . . Maybe we should . . .” Trying to hide their horrified looks Mr O’Day and Mr. Smith quickly changed the subject and hustled Mr. Kaye out of the studio before an eccentric owner and an eccentric disk jockey could firm up plans for a very expensive mid-day promotion.

(In 1958 KJR, KXL and KNEW were bought by Frank Sinatra and Danny Kaye for $2.5 Million. Les Smith became the General Manager of the station group. In 1964, Sinatra sold his interest in the stations to Danny Kaye and Les Smith. They formed Kaye-Smith Enterprises, with Kaye having majority ownership. Smith bought out Kaye in 1981.)

What is going on here? I have been digging through My Collection of photos, news clippings and other documents from my 35 years in radio. The daily postings began on May 19, 2011. The Collection can be sorted:

By radio station: KPUG • KJRB • KJR • KZOK • KQFM • KOMO • KJR-FM

By year: 1961 • 1963 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972
1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1994

1 Ed Bennett March 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

Great story Norm. That,s too funny. Keep em coming. Now I know more exact about the owners as well.

2 Dan Packard January 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

That is a good one. Lan was quite the creative piece of work.

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