Jack's Jukebox

When I came to work at KITY (known as Stereo Island and/or Stereo 92-9 at the time) most of the air staff called it “Jack's Jukebox.” Actually, they called it “Jumpin' Jack's Jukebox,” not after the Rolling Stones song “Jumping Jack Flash,” but because Jack Roth (the owner) was always “jumping up and down” about something on KITY. The jukebox came about because you never knew when you were going to get a phone call (usually at night) from Jack on the hot line instructing you to place the last record you played into his “in” box so he could attend to it in the morning. Once placed into Jack’s “in” box, the song would never be heard again on KITY.

An alternative to a phone call on the hotline was someone from the news department showing up at the KITY control room door. Jack had just called on the two-way radio and the last record played was now oblivion. Most of the time whoever talked to Jack on the two-way in the news department didn’t even bother to make the trip from the news room to the KITY control room. They would just get on the intercom and say "Jack just shot your last record. Put it into his ‘in’ box."

The third alternative (normally during business hours) was for Jack to send his secretary down the hall from his office to the KITY control room. She would hold out her hand and demand that you give her the last record you had just played.

Since most of the music played on KITY was on record albums, someone on the night staff found out that they could sometimes get away with placing a bogus album into Jack's "in" box and then removing the banned track from air play by marking it out on the real album. About 80% of the time, when the Disc Jockey “forgot” to mark out a track for future air play and a bogus record was substituted, the banned track would continue to air on KITY with no further problems from Jack.

If Jack sent his secretary to pull an album, it was a little harder to do a bogus switch. She listened regularly to KITY because it was always playing in Jack’s office and the secretarial area.

One day during my afternoon shift. Jack's secretary showed up at the KITY control room door. She told me that Jack wanted the last record I had just played. To make sure I didn't give her the wrong record, I asked her for the song’s name. She didn't know because she had been busy with work and hadn't paid attention to what I had been playing. Rather that give her a wrong record, which had happened multiple times to some of the other air staff, I asked her to find out more about the record, such as the title, the lyrics or even how it sounded. While the secretary was gone, I reviewed the last four songs I had played. All four had been added to the play list at Jack’s request. That Jack would change his mind wouldn’t have surprised me in the least.

After a few minutes, the secretary came back with a further description of the record. It still didn't sound like anything I had played all afternoon. When I informed her that all the songs I had played during the time period in question had been added to the play list at Jack’s suggestion, she quickly turned and left.

I was very surprised to see her again about 5 minutes later. Jack must have REALLY disliked the song!

This time she attempted to describe the song a little better. I still couldn't fit any song that I had played during the time period to her description. Finally the light came on! What she was describing to me was not a song, but a commercial I had played.

I handed her the commercial tape cartridge.

As she left, I reminded her that the commercial was scheduled to play again the next hour. I needed it back before then.

About 10 minutes later Jack's secretary came back and returned the commercial tape cartridge.

All she said was "Jack said ‘It's O. K. to play since it's a commercial.’"

Ed Tree

Note: The offending commerical was a jingle for shampoo.

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