by Blake Lindsay
* This story appears in the book San Antonio Radio Memories.
It took me several years to break into the fifth largest market in America…Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. In December 1991, I officially entered this massive market, which was absolutely the most exciting part of my radio profession. I launched my ten-year broadcast career in Dallas-Fort Worth with KODZ, Oldies 94.9.
Mr. Phil Hall was the gracious individual that hired me. He had listened to my prior work that I had captured for keepsakes and for demos I knew I would need on cassette tapes at some point, which featured my voice on the Austin and San Antonio airwaves. Phil had previously worked with a blind person and was comfortable with my blindness. He did not doubt my abilities. Upon being hired, I was introduced to a radio legend, Mister Wolfman Jack.
Little did I know I was about to have the privilege of not only working with this radio legend, but he was about to become a good friend. What an absolute highlight in my broadcasting career. I became familiar with Wolfman Jack at the early age of nine, and now he was in my presence. How truly amazing!
Wolfman’s show followed my show every Saturday at seven PM. He generally arrived at least an hour before his shift to get prepared and to play his usual tricks on me. I think he was a bit fascinated at how a blind person could function so well.
Wolf had never worked with a blind individual before, and he got a kick out of switching my Braille labels all around the radio console. I would go along with his trickery and act confused, but fortunately I knew my way around the radio board well enough that he did not cause me to make any embarrassing mistakes.
One afternoon, I decided it was about time I played a trick on the Wolfman. The long version of the 1972 hit “Nights in White Satin” was playing. I purposefully turned the monitors down really low. I engaged the Wolf into a conversation, asking him about his week and he began talking, paying no attention to the fact that a song was playing on the air. Like two old friends sitting around a kitchen table we enjoyed a nice conversation without a care in the world. But I was anxiously waiting for the part of the song when the mysterious deep voice booms out the lyrics “breathe deep.” As Wolf sat across from me on a tall stool, I could hardly wait for the shocker and was determined to keep a strait face.
A split second before the big, booming voice was ready to blast those words I had been anticipating, I cranked those nice JBL speakers, roughly three feet above Wolf’s head to their maximum volume.
Finally, those words “breathe deep” bellowed like a freight train driving through the studio from the state-of-the-art sound system. Just as I had hoped, Wolf jumped right out of his seat completely in a state of shock. I learned some choice words I had never heard before.
“Wolf, you don’t mind if I get you back every once in awhile now, do you?” I asked in a chuckling voice.
I was thankful he did not have a heart attack because I would have never gotten over that one. We laughed and we laughed until my stomach felt like I had completed a vigorous one hundred crunches. This was typical of our every Saturday, having fun and laughing until our bellies could not take it any longer.
Outside of the radio studio I spent a little time with Wolfman. I accompanied him, once, on a fishing trip to Lake Grapevine. We did not catch too many fish, but we had a great time. I wish I had been able to record all the stories Wolf shared with me about his exhilarating radio career. What a true treasure trove.
I think of Wolf often. Of course I wish he were still with us, but what great memories I will always enjoy. I know for certain, that we touched each others lives in a very positive way.
Editors Note: This excerpt commemorates the passing of Wolfman Jack (January 21, 1938 – July 1, 1995), who was heard all over South Texas (and the world) in the 60s on XERF, and weekends on KONO in the 70s.
A note from Lonnie Napier, Wolfman Jack’s personal assistant and producer for more than 30 years: ” It’s completely true. Wolf was blown away not only by this guy’s talent, but by the way he used to have his sister type his content on a braile typewriter. One of the most moving times of my life was watching how Wolf bonded with Blake during our fishing trip. Blake is a very special soul.”
Copyright 2008 by Blake Lindsay, Lonnie Napier & SanAntonioRadioMemories.com – All Rights Reserved