What Today’s Radio Personalities Can Learn From Wolfman Jack



Jacob Media Strategies 

June 2, 2023

Wolfman Jack – Photo courtesy of Orange County Archives

Recognize this guy?

If you do, chances are you’re a radio veteran who’s likely now to be a member in good standing of AARP.

It’s Wolfman Jack (a.k.a. Robert Weston Smith) was a legendary radio disc jockey back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s mostly.  Like a lot of the iconic jocks of his era, the Wolfman worked during an era where personalities were as big – if not bigger – than the great music they played.

Wolfman knocked around U.S. radio for a few years before being sent to Mexico and the mega tower and transmitter of XERF-AM, and later XERB where he was on the air at night.  At 250,000 watts, the station’s signal – and Wolfman Jack’s gravelly voice – could be picked up all over the U.S., and up and down the California coast.

While he eventually ended up at WNBC in New York City for a time during the 70’s, he returned to the West Coast to focus on a syndicated show.

The Wolfman was an enigma, heard more than seen.  And while he changed up his appearance especially in his early years, it wasn’t until he was featured in George Lucas’ first film in 1973, the classic “American Graffiti” that most of us actually got a look at him.

Wolfman didn’t just star in the movie – he was its soundtrack as the teens raced and cruised up and down Modesto’s main drag.

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  1. Well… today’s radio personalities can learn a lot, not just from The Wolfman, but from many, many others in our not too distant past. Example: a CKNW newsman recently said “Not all parts of the Lower Mainland are experiencing this hot, dry weather…in the Kootenays…” Yes, that’s exactly what the most likely fresh-out-of-BCIT-grad said.
    As the restaurant snob in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off said…”I weep for the future!”


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