Radio Personality Writes Book on St. Louis History

By Hoffman, Larry | St. Louis Journalism Review, June 2000 | Go to article overview

Radio Personality Writes Book on St. Louis History


Hoffman, Larry, St. Louis Journalism Review


KMOX-AM morning talk-show host Charles Brennan has announced the early July release of a publication called "Walking Historic Downtown St. Louis: 250 Incredible Years in Less than 2 Hours." Jointly written by Brennan and 1999 Washington University graduate Ben Cannon, the guide is filled with historical facts connected with both obvious sites and notable events in the city's rich history.

Brennan told SJR he was motivated to do the project when he learned that several cities which are smaller and less historically significant than St. Louis had designated similar districts, among them Palo Alto, Calif. He felt that such recognition was long overdue and now there will be permanent recognition for places along the route.

The 1.5 mile-walk begins and ends at the Old Courthouse and features plaques marking points of interest as well as the publication's running narrative highlighting what Brennan considers to be "one of the most historic cities in the nation." He likens this walk to the famous "Freedom Trail" in Boston, a city he worked in prior to arriving at KMOX in 1988.

The effort will benefit a foundation recently set up by Brennan known as Rediscover St. Louis with education as its primary goal. Something this well-researched and significant is bound to excite educators at all levels of the secondary school system on both sides of the river, and give a boost to tourism. The walk is destined to become a sought-after field trip thanks to the dedication of both Brennan and Cannon.

In addition to being a Coro Fellow Cannon is headed to Oxford, England, later this year on a Rhodes scholarship. Brennan was named earlier this year by Talkers Magazine as one of the 100 most important talk show radio hosts in the nation.

Sources at Lindenwood College's KCLC-FM (89.1 FM) are pleased to announce that testing will begin soon for the station's new transmitter. The jazz and new age outlet has been limping along for over two years with a temporary 1000 watt transmitter following damage to its primary transmitter during a lightning storm. Now the signal will be increased to 35,000 watts and should provide the region with a consistent and expanded coverage area.

KCLC was the only NAC reporter to Radio and Records in the area until that category was eliminated by the trade publication. Currently, the station reports to Gavin.

Group owner Radio One has taken over the 95.5 FM frequency previously known as WFUN-FM in order to flip the format to urban. This will be the first urban station in some time to challenge the Clear Channel urban contemporary. FM monopoly consisting of KMJM-FM (104.9 FM) and KATZ-FM (100.3 FM).

A weekend radio nostalgia event at former AM rock bellwether WABC-AM in New York carried several St. Louis echoes in its line-up, including a rare aircheck of Jack Carney doing a remote from Freedomland in 1961. Other jocks with previous St. Louis ties included Ron Lundy from 1975 and Dan Ingram from 1964 and 1972.

All three air personalities worked at WIL-AM (1430 AM) in the late '50s and early '60s and went on to become members of a legendary air staff which had the greatest audience reach of any radio station in its era.

Carney left WIL to become one of the original members of the WABC "Swinging Seven" in 1960 after serving a memorable stint in St. Louis from 1958-1960 both as afternoon personality and program director. He left the New York powerhouse after six months, reportedly because he could not tolerate creative constraints imposed by WABC.

A fictional piece in the May 15 issue of the New Yorker drew the ire of KMOX's Charles Brennan who made brief mention of a scathing characterization of St. Louis. Entitled "Reunion," writer Richard Ford (no relation to either well-known local personality of the same name, banker or anchorperson) described our city as follows: "...our affair had taken place in the city of St. …

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Radio Personality Writes Book on St. Louis History
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