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BUD CONNELL INDUCTED
INTO ST. LOUIS RADIO HALL OF FAME
LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA (March 22, 2002) - Bud Connell has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in St. Louis along with Paul Harvey, Jack Buck and Harry Caray. Also named to the Hall of Fame were three of Connell's former employees, newsman Robert R. Lynn, and posthumously Bob Shea and Don Pietromonaco, also known as Johnny Rabbitt.
Connell, now a film/video writer-producer-director, was previously a broadcaster and achieved several notable successes as a programmer, station manager and personality in Omaha, New Orleans, Miami, and St. Louis. Prior to entering the film and video business, he was consultant to more than one hundred radio stations coast to coast.
He is credited with furthering the successes of format radio, Top 40, Rock, Talk, Country, Oldies, and, as a personality and programmer, he held some of the highest audience ratings ever recorded. His employers and clients were among broadcasting's elite, such as Todd Storz, William F. Buckley, Jr., Gordon McLendon and Ted Turner. He created programming that was copied nationwide, and he personally trained on-air personnel and produced promotions that garnered huge shares of audience. All of his stations became dominant in their marketplaces within two to three months after he re-staffed and reprogrammed, and one station, KXOK in Saint Louis, became the highest-rated independent in the United States in the 1960's.
Connell is presently President and Executive Producer of BCTV Productions in Laguna Niguel, California. He has produced several hundred films and videos for companies and organizations worldwide. He also consults and advises broadcasters in matters of personalities, ratings and promotions.
Bud Connell brought many talented people, memorable contests and events to his markets. Danny Dark (the voice of NBC-TV for twenty-five years), Ray Otis (now a major voice in New York), Richard Ward Fatherley (owner of Fatherley's Advoice in Kansas City), Johnny Rabbitt, Stephen B. Stevens, William A. Hopkins, Shad O'Shea, Mort Crowley, Louise Harrison Caldwell (George Harrison's sister), David D. Rogers, Nick Charles, and many more.
He also created The Music Museum, one of the Nation's first all oldies shows earning among the highest ratings in broadcast history, and a hundred other contests, games and events during his broadcasting career.
In 1957, Todd Storz, the owner of Storz Broadcasting Company, had previously hired Connell as a morning personality at their home office station. When the station was sold to William F. Buckley, Jr. along with Connell and the other staffers, he set his sights on beating Storz in his other markets with the intention of forcing Storz to bring him back into the company.
In New Orleans, where he was an afternoon drive personality and Gary Owens was the morning man, he was made program director, defeating the Storz-owned station across all day-parts. As an on-the-air personality, he held among the highest ratings ever recorded in a multi-state sweep of his show's coverage area from Tampa, Florida to Beaumont, Texas, with a 52% share (Hooper Rating) while all other stations in the station's five-state coastal coverage area shared the remaining 48%. Two years later, as station manager, Connell designed and programmed WFUN in Miami, a station that overwhelmed Storz-owned WQAM's ratings in less than sixty days after his new station signed on the air. Todd Storz telegrammed a carte blanche offer to take over and win the audience for his largest station, KXOK in St. Louis.
In 1961, Storz's newly acquired KXOK had a rich history but in last place in the ratings. It required reprogramming and a complete public image facelift. Bud Connell monitored the competition and began changing shifts, hiring new talent, writing and recording a profusion of promotions to blitz the St. Louis market. On October 1, a chorus of baritone voices and entertainment talents hit the airwaves. When the ratings were published ninety days later, KXOK was tops in the market. KXOK dominated the marketplace for a decade, and in the mid-'60s, it rated as America's Number One Independent and was also one of the top five radio stations in the entire United States according to a Nationwide survey by Pulse, Inc.
KXOK's events and promotions were also many and fabled. Each personality was given his own slate of promotions and KXOK always aired at least one major promotion continuously. KXOK's Lucky License Number put KXOK stickers on the rear windows of several hundred thousand Missouri and Illinois cars.
Connell created the Johnny Rabbitt character and KXOK's Kay, one of the Johnny Rabbitt Show's most popular continuing promotions aired nightly. Kay was the listener's confidante and their conduit to Johnny Rabbitt. There were several "Kay's" because of the tens of thousands of telephone calls processed
every week on the Johnny Rabbitt Show.
Bud Connell also made Peter Martin "KXOK's Poet Laureate" and he read love poems every morning to his predominately female audience. Dick Fatherley became KXOK's Millionaire, riding around in a stretch Rolls-Royce limousine giving cash to anyone for no reason at all.
KXOK was host for the Beatles at Busch Stadium, and in a particularly bleak year for the Baseball Cardinals, Connell had KXOK collect vitamins for the team to "help the Red Birds out of the funk". Listeners responded, and a few days later an entire truckload of KXOK vitamins was delivered to Bing Divine's office and the Cardinals won the Pennant that year.
The KXOK Fun Fairs at Kiel Auditorium were prominent promotions in the 1960s. Five hundred exhibitors showed their products and services to the Baby Boom generation, and NASA even sent their traveling space exhibit.
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