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Wolfman Jack still howls on radio station in city of 'American Graffiti'

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Wolfman Jack still lives overs the airwaves thanks to a radio station in Modesto, CA., the city where the film “American Graffiti was set, David Ferrell Jackson, the station's program manager and music curator, said in an interview with Examiner.com.

Jackson says KMPH-AM (840), which is available on the internet," has exclusive access to Wolfman Jack's archives from his estate. “They thought it was a wonderful idea to have Wolfie on the air in the city where 'American Graffiti' was born," he said.

Wolfman Jack, whose real name was Bob Smith, was born on Jan. 21, 1938 in Brooklyn, N.Y. He landed his first radio job in Newport News, VA., but began what became his Wolfman persona in 1962 in Shreveport, LA. It was in the mid-60s on XERF and XERB in Mexico that his voice was heard all over the Southwest. He moved back to Los Angeles in 1969, and stayed in the U.S. until his death in 1995. Mostly heard on the air, he was seen in 1973's “American Graffiti” and on “The Midnight Special” TV show.

Jackson said the station has “an incredible reach.”

“The signal blankets the Central Valley from Sacramento to Fresno, and we've had listeners contact us from Los Angeles and throughout the Bay Area,” he said. “We have regular over-the-air listeners in Oakland, Placerville, Castro Valley and Morgan Hill.”

Anyone who's heard Wolfman Jack's airchecks knows he was, to put it mildly, unique. Anything was possible when he was on the air. Gary Mora of internet radio station KYA was one of the lucky ones who worked with him.

“I worked with the Wolfman for several years back in the late eighties and early nineties," he said in an interview. "We co-hosted numerous road shows for both KYA and KFRC,” he said. “Bob (Wolfman Jack) would fly his private jet to the Bay Area so we could party with people who listened to our shows.

"We would usually open our sock hops with a popular song called, 'Clap For The Wolfman. We had a contract with Hornblower Yachts," Mora said. "Listeners were treated to wonderful food and drinks and Wolfman and I would get them up and dancing. He was a joy to spend time with.”

Jackson says they'll be upgrading the KMPH studio and office facilities in Modesto over the next few weeks, and will be adding even more Wolfman Jack features and additional programming once the work is completed. The station is already carrying “Dennis Mitchell's Breakfast With The Beatles” on Sunday mornings.

Jackson also maintains a tribute site with Wolfman Jack XERB airchecks at www.XERB1090.com.

Copyright Steve Marinucci. Please do not reprint in full on other sites without permission. Connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. And don't miss our weekly Beatles news podcast “Things We Said Today” available first on Fab4Radio.com on the weekends, then on iTunes and Podbean.com.

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