KXOK Lives Again

 

 

Make sure no other player is running!

KXOK (630 AM) was a radio station in St. Louis, Missouri, which helped pioneer the Top 40 radio format in the early-1950s. In its heyday as a top-40 station, KXOK broadcast on the 630 kHz frequency with 5,000 watts of power and reached a substantial portion of eastern Missouri and southern Illinois during daytime hours. At night, the power was 5,000 watts as well, but with a more directional signal, sending a strong signal into the immediate St. Louis metro area, from KXOK's three tower site just outside Granite City, Illinois.

A number of legendary air personalities graced the KXOK airwaves during the station's glory years including Ed Bonner, Ray Otis, Bill Addison, Mort Crowley, Danny Dark, Ron Elz aka Johnny Rabbitt , Shad O'Shea, William A. Hopkins, Don Pietro'monaco aka Johnny Rabbitt , Don Shafer, Delcia Devon, Louise Harrison Caldwell (The Beatles' George Harrison's sister), Lou Cooley, Davey O'Donnell, Peter Martin, Keith Morris, Richard Ward Fatherley and Bob Shannon.

Other outstanding personalities of the 1970s included Jerry Butler, Mason Lee Dixon, Jack Mindy, Craig Roberts and Scott Sherwood, The news staff included veteran reporters Bob Shea, Robert R. Lynn and Steven B. Stevens. It was under the leadership of Station Operations Manager Bud Connell and program directors Ray Otis and Mort Crowley that KXOK became one of the highest-rated stations in the country.

 
 

Donald Stephen Pietromonaco (September 15, 1935– April 18, 1997) was a Child Actor, award-winning radio personality and voice actor whose career would span more than 47 years. In the summer of 1948 at the age 13 Don began his acting career as Don Pietro by appearing in a number of major Hollywood productions including his first film The Boy with Green Hair with Robert Ryan and Pat O'Brien followed a year later by Mrs. Mike with Dick Powell. In the 1950s there came a string of nice roles like Follow the Sun with Glenn Ford, The Gene Autry Show as Pepito Garcia and Girls in the Night with Harvey Lembeck. In 1957 Don played a Page on an Ocean Liner in the film classic An Affair to Remember opposite Cary Grant.

By 1960 Don made a transition from the big screen to Don Pietro, Disk Jockey at KROG, Sonora, California where he began toying with various character voices while developling an on air persona that became one of the country's most theatrically gifted air talents. In 1963 program director Guy Williams aka L.David Moorhead hired him for the all important early evening slot at legendary top forty rocker, KRIZ. Using the air name "The Purple Pizza Eater", Don along with his sidekick Bruno J. Grunion, a mythical teenage ne'er-do-well voiced by Pietro (unbeknownst to the listening teen audience, the two garnered huge ratings in the Phoenix market and his reputation as an on air entertainer began capturing national attention and the management of St. Louis giant, KXOK-AM 630.

Known to thousands of radio listeners as "Johnny Rabbitt", Don along with his faithful companion Bruno J. Grunion, the two would delight their predominantly teen audience from 7 pm to midnight with outlandish antics such as Rabbitt feeding Bruno to a "man-eating plant." But of course Bruno would always survive because the plant would spit him out. The throngs of teens calling the station's request lines with their problems or dedications could simply, "Blab it to the Rabbitt." From 1964 through 1968 Don Pietro would enjoy some of the highest ratings ever recorded to date in the St. Louis market. Don Pietromonaco would eventually be inducted into the St. Louis Radio Hall of Fame.

 
September 15, 1935– April 18, 1997
Rest Rabbit, Rest