Jews in KMOX history

Jews in KMOX history

By Robert A. Cohn, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

One recently published book that came across my desk is local radio maven Frank Absher’s “KMOX:  The Voice of St. Louis” (Arcadia Publishing, Images of America Series, $21.99). Absher himself was part of KMOX history, hosting such shows as “At Your Service” for many years. The book serves as a visual scrapbook (with an informative introduction) that pairs well with the 2000 history of the station, “The Mighty ‘MOX,” by Sally and Rob Rains. The books stirred memories of some of the members of the local Jewish community who have been part of the history of KMOX:

Jack Carney was a longtime favorite and “The Jack Carney Show” dominated the station during his entire tenure. Always proud to mention his Jewish mother, Carney also included an annual tribute to the late, controversial comedian Lenny Bruce on the occasion of the comic’s yahrzeit. His son, John Carney, carries on his father’s legacy at the station.

ADVERTISEMENT

Skip Erwin is familiar to Light readers as author of his weekly “Inside Sports” column.  He wrote and broadcast shows for KMOX for 25 years and is a member of the JCC’s Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. The Passaic, N.J. native draws on his years of sports and broadcasting knowledge for his column, which looks back on famous moments in local or national sports history, and some of the colorful personalities he has encountered over the years.

• Although he was only on air in 1973, Charles Ashman put his quick wit to good use hosting the evening “At Your Service” program. Ashman identified very positively as Jewish, giving frequent talks at local temples, synagogue and Jewish groups and briefly published a column in the Jewish Light.

• Although not a St. Louisan, another Jewish broadcasting sports personality on KMOX was the late Joel Buchsbaum, described by Bob Costas as the “man who knew everything about everybody with stacks of books from floor to ceiling and a squeaky voice people liked to imitate.” Buchsbaum lived in Brooklyn, but shared his comprehensive memory of sports history as a guest commentator for KMOX and Houston’s KTRH.

Jim Baer is another stalwart KMOX veteran. During his 14 years at KMOX, from 1978-1992, Jim worked loyally for KMOX General Manager Bob Hyland and the station’s Sports Department. Jim was their top prep correspondent, covering everything in that arena. He also covered the 1984 Olympics and the 1987 Pan American Games for KMOX, in addition to covering every state tournament in all the major tournaments during his years at KMOX. He remembers with fondness working with the late Marty Hendin when Hendin was vice president for communications for the St. Louis Cardinals, and who named Baer to the public relations committee of Legal Advocates for Abused Women. Jim is an active member of United Hebrew Congregation.

Joel Meyers for a time was among in the Cardinals broadcast booth with Mike Shannon, announcing Cards games during the long KMOX run as the Voice of the Cardinals, which resumed after a 10-year hiatus when the games were broadcast on KTRS, the “Big 550.” Meyers more recently has been announcing games for the Los Angeles Lakers NBA franchise.

The list goes on of Jewish regular and guest hosts, writers and producers of local radio programs on KMOX, including such people as Don Wolfe, local attorney and jazz expert who has hosted numerous jazz shows on KMOX and other stations through the years. There is also Vicki Atlas, who hosted a morning drive time slot for KMOX.

No doubt the limitations of space for this column and inadvertence has resulted in the unintentional omission of lots of other names of local Jews in Radio. If you have any such names and their radio affiliations, please email them to: [email protected], and we will append them to the online version of this column.