This Blog is Run/Administered By Former KSBK/JORO Personalities


The RBC Building (KSBK on The 2nd Floor)

The RBC Building (KSBK on The 2nd Floor)
Scan Courtesy Jon Yim

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The History

BREAKING NEWS..................Just confirmed........

Famed Internationally-Known  Radio Broadcaster, and KSBK Alumnus ART BELL has Died.
Detail are limited, but Art passed away at his home in Pahrump,Nevada.  A short announcement regarding ART BELL can be found here on the Blog, in the Personalities section.

Chief Announcer, and KSBK's leader, BOB WALES has passed away, from undisclosed illness.
We have little details, it's believed he passed away at his home in Hawaii, on Jan. 24,2017.
Bob was one of the best Program Directors ever in the history of KSBK/JORO. His "Opinon Line" Radio Show, was the Number 1 Radio Show, in the Far East. (Beating out Stations in the Philippines,and Guam) Bob was the last Broadcaster to be behind the Microphone, when JORO signed off the Air, in 1973. Our Thoughts and Prayers go out to the Wales Family and Friends. I know for sure.........Bob Wales appreciated all of us that carried the KSBK/JORO Banner. If he believed in you.......he would stick with you, through thick and thin! He made all of us better people.

FOUND!..............The last 45 mins of JORO!........Preserved on audio tape by Walter Edelman. I will do my best to make the Recording available..........Will keep you posted. Thank You Walter. all of us at the Blog appreciate your efforts.

As the dust settled from World War II,Bill Conine has this idea to give the official Armed Forces Radio Outlet on Okinawa, a run for it's money. Thinking that the U.S.Forces could use an alternate Radio source.With less than $10,000 KSBK started to become a reality. From 1955/1956 this reality started to unfold. He got the best Studio Equipment he could line-up,Annoucers, and most importantly,started to sell advertising to the local population, that would cater to all these American Service members.It worked!Thus began one of the most-popular radio outlets in the Far East. Eventuly, Conine cut a deal with RBC. RBC was Okinawa's largest Media Company,that owned a couple of other stations. Plus.the Islands Television Station gearing to it's own Okinawa population. Conine eventually left KSBK, Bart Richardson took over as Station Manager.
In it's "hay-day", KSBK was the Number One rated Radio Station, in the Far East.The Ratings were higher than those on Guam,Philippines, or any of the American Forces Outlets.
Following Reversion of U.S. to Japan---KSBK changed it's call letters to JORO-AM.

KSBK-AM 880, signed off the air for it's last time on Halloween Night,1973-- at :01 Second,after Midnight.Bob Wales was the last DJ to say "Fond Fare-Well", to those faithful listeners. NOTE: KSBK-AM was JORO-AM at the time of this sign-off.

Thanks To Paul Compney, I've added to the top Right.....The Guy that was responsible for the "Day-to Day Management of KSBK/JORO, Mr. Nakachi AkiraMiyako. He was the "Official" General Manager of the Station. Conine,Richardson,Greene,and later Bob Wales, all took directions from "Miyako". He was the quietest GM I have ever known. There were some of the Broadcasters,DJ's that didn't even know who he was!  He was affectionately known as: "Mr Okinawa Radio". In later Years he was a Presenter on RBC's FM/Okinawa. the Station still remains on the Air to this day.

SPECIAL NOTICE......I know somewhere on the Blog, We have said this Before but, here it goes again: There is a Company doing business as CAFEPRESS. They do Coffee Mugs,T-Shirts, and other various items carrying the logo's of both KSBK, AND JORO. This Blog, it's Owners, nor anyone else associated with KSBK/JORO, Including any Personality, have NOTHING to do with this company. Any questions you have pertaining to Shipments,Orders etc. have to be directed to them. To my knowledge, NO Royalty Payments, are paid to RBC/KSBK/JORO for the printing of the Logo's. I'm sure you can reach them on a Search Egine of your choice. Just wanted to clarify this again. We have had some Inquiries regarding this Company.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Notes: Over the Years

Many people have ask us,that worked there---"What was the song that when played, made you think of KSBK"? I'd have to say----"The Road To Naminoue", by Ronnie Fray. During the late 60's to the time KSBK went off the air, that song was the most-requested, bar none. I emailed Ronnie some years ago to let him know how popular that song was. He was totally blown-away, that the song was so popular. He had no idea it was KSBK's adopted theme song.
I remember people calling in on the request line, and tell us not to say anything at the beginning, so they could tape that song,so they could have a song to remember Okinawa.

SO.........Where are some of the KSBK DJ's Now? This will be a work in-progress. ART BELL, as mentioned, has passed away in 2018. For years He hosted the "Coast To Coast" Radio Show. For a time, he was just as popular as Larry King, who even had him on his nightly TV Show on CNN. There are some, that have vanished.STEVE GOLD, is working in Television."SKIP" WILLIS is retired from day-today Radio. he is doing some part time work in Florida. RICK LANE, is retired. Following KSBK, Rick worked in Atlanta,Florida,New Orleans.KEN MARSHALL, is working Radio part-time. THE "PORCUPINE" JOHN RICHARDS, is on the other side of the music business. He works with various Performers who work various Projects.(Is a Program Coordinator for "The Pat Boone Radio Show".Featured on various Stations around the U.S.) PAUL COMPNEY,is in Arizona.  After his stint on "The Rock", he worked in Radio in Green Bay Wisconsin.Following his stint at KSBK/JORO,JIM WILSON became Program Director at WHOA-AM, on Puerto Rico.BART BARSNESS, is still in Radio. He hosts an "Outdoor" type Show, out of Billings,MT. AND, as they say----the story continues............when we hear from any of the guys, we will post the info.

Just spoke with Legendary Actor, and KSBK Alumni member ROBERT COLBERT. Some of you might remember Mr. Colbert from his appearance as Bret Maverick, in the TV Show"Maverick".And the popular TV program "Time Tunnel". It was a great honor to speak with him, regarding his tenure at KSBK. He also appeared in many other feature films. (He even co-starred with The Three Stooges, in "Have Rocket Will Travel"!)  He said his time on Okinawa, and his work on KSBK was one of the high marks in his career. After all, during this time, he was asked to play a part in a local play. And the rest as they say is History!  He is retired from Show Business, and enjoying life. "Thanks" Robert for playing those Platters, and making KSBK great!

Recieved an email from Charles,who was stationed in Machinato Service area, in
1972. "Did you know any of the broadcasters on AFRTS"? YES......Even though we considered them competition--there were a couple of them that some of us socialized with.(Concerts,hanging out in Koza,and Naha) John Smith(His real name) a Navy guy, use to come over to the Apartment we had, and just told Radio stories. Basically just hung-out with us.Another DJ at AFN was Paul Brumalowe. He left there, and worked for a short time on KSBK. (I remember Paul doing some Station/Announcer ID's.)

Jim Ashton has checked in.....He was in a "Country" Band. His group,"The Sons Of The South" were the House Band for "The KSBK Jamboree". That Show was patterned after "The WLS Barn Dance,and the "Grand Ole Opry". That also brings to mind this:During his Air Force stay at Kadena--a very young Melvin Tillis appeared on the show in 1958.(He mostly did the AFRTS Shows as KSBK was changing to a full Rock and Roll format.) After Okinawa, as Mel Tillis, has become one of Country Music's greats! The "KSBK JAMBOREE" ran from 1957-1963. It was brought back as an Hour show, in 1972,which was sponsored by a "Country" themed Night Club, in Koza. I think it only lasted for 8-10 weeks. (Playing Records.....No live Music...was a Remote Show @ the
Ken, who was @ NAHA Base writes in: Where did you guys mostly hang-out? That's easy..EVERY WHERE! All of us lived in the surrounding towns: Ojana,Futema,Naha,Koza,and other areas of the Island.It would be nothing to see many of us @ the A&W,The Futema Steak House(Which by-the-way, had thee best Kobe Steak in the world!)We would frequently go to the Filmore, to hear all the groups that would play there like:TLA,and Murasaki.

Earl, who was on Okinawa, in 1967/1968 writes in: I walked from Nominoue to Kokusai Street and passing a Radio Station where the DJ was attempting to set a marathon record. He believed it to be Art Bell. Do you know the Naha Address of KSBK Back then?........First...let me say you are absolutely correct. It was Art Bell, and he
was trying to break the Teeter-Totter World Record of consectutive Hours Teeter-Tottering!. Bell did break the Record. I'm not sure how many hours he stayed on that teeter-totter, but I'm thinking it was a very long,long time. I Have for a while now still trying to see if that record still stands! It might!
As far as the Address: You got me on that!.All I can remember was the mailing address KSBK/RBC Box 4 Naha,Okinawa. A possible street address might be: RBC Building, 1F,231 Kumoji, Naha City,Okinawa. "Bubble Head Ed" writes in, saying that on a Telephone Survey Form he received from Doug Greene, the Address was: RBC, 1-66 Kumeji-Cho Naha,Okinawa. . Both of the Addresses could be correct.
Everytime we had someone come down to the Station, all of the Cab drivers knew where the RBC Building was---so we just said go to the RBC Studio's! THANKS EARL,FOR CHECKING IN!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some Interesting Facts On KSBK

So, you thought Cigarette advertising was banned on the radio? Not on KSBK. Since the station was owned by RBC/Radio, and Television, The "Big 8's was free to advertise Cigarette ads from the U.S. If you listened from 1968-1973, you heard all the top brands:Camel,(Walk A Mile for a Camel)Marlboro,(The famous Marlbaro Man)Kent.(What A Good Time For a Kent)Yes,Yes, Yes, such a unique outlet.

And....This is neat! KSBK was a big influence on Far East Radio. When Performers, and Groups(The Recording Artists)would appear on Okinawa,(Thru the USO, or sponsored Appearances at Officers Clubs ect.)they would eventualy meet-up with someone from KSBK's announcing staff. The Recording Group OCEAN,(The Group that recorded "Put Your Hand In the Hand")LOU RAWLS,THE VENTURES,JOHNNY OTIS,were either introduced during thier Appearances at the Officers Clubs,USO Shows,or hung-around with the Disc Jockey's from KSBK during their stay on the Island.These Recording Artists
knew that they would get Air-Play from the station.

From Jeff, comes this question:"Since you were directing your programing to the Military, who were stationed on Okinawa(And the Dependents)Were you officially endorsed by them"? NO!......Since we were a commercial operation, the Army,Air Force,Navy,Marines---officailly did not endorse us. But.....If you entered just about all of the Barracks---it was probably KSBK/JORO,that you heard coming out of the radios/stereos. I know, in the Barracks dayroom of B Company Supply, in Machinato---the dial was stuck @880 AM.

This brings me to this story........One of the Dj's on The Big 8's wanted to have the Commanding Officer of the Machinato Suppy Depot as a "Guest" DJ. After a couple of calls to the General's office---a call came back saying that the General thought that appearing on KSBK would not be appropriate for his field members to think that a General would de-mean himself by going on a Radio Station, to play Records.
I, of course thought differently-----This guy probably would have been a rallying piont for his men. That would have been a milestone for the Military on Okinawa, And it certainly would have been a Ratings-Buster for the station! Imagine the ID for this guy: "Playing The Hits.....Your Listening To General *******"! What a fun Aircheck that could have been!

Please Note:
I have had some inquiries regarding getting a hold of some Air-Checks from the Station. Those of us, that worked on-the-air probably air-checked our shows many times.There are NO Airchecks commercially available for sale. Individual DJ's may have some of their work on tape----but as far as I know, they are probably in an old 3M Tape box in a Closet somewhere. It was never a thought that someday we would even be talking about The Big 8's, on this level.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Stories

Almost every announcer has a funny's one about Rick Lane: Rick was in the Army, during his stay on Okinawa. He was assigned to the Information Office. He had access to all of the Radio Shows flown over from AFN's Headquarters in Los Angeles. One day he got a hold of a daily show from one of AFN's contracted announcers from the States. Rick's show began at 5:45pm the AFN guys show began at 6:05pm. At 6:00, Rick announced his records using the same words that he picked-up from the transcribed Disk he had heard earilier that day. Making the AFN guy sound like he was copyiing everything that Rick said.. Although Rick had the first listen hours ago.

Here's another...Rick Lane,Skip Willis, and "The Porcupine" John Richards were heading to a social event at Monza Beach. Skip was driving and was stopped by a MP for going too fast on the highway. Rick who was in the front seat quickly grabbed a microphone, and pretended to be doing a "Live" radio report.Asked why the MP had stopped them. He told them they were driving too fast, and he was going to give them a ticket. Rick told him they were doing a Radio report, and that he was on the Radio. Embarrased that he interupted a "Live" Radio report he let them go., the microphone was never "Live", and they got away with one!

"The Janitor In the Morning"---Paul Compney recently shared this: When Lou Rawls appeared at the Officers Club, Rick Lane was driving him around to each destination,and making sure he got from point A to Point B. Rick had Lou call the station, during Paul's shift. Paul immediately put him On-the-Air, and his lesteners were treated to an exclusive interview. This one thing that KSBK had over anyone else------the freedom to run shows/special events on a One Minute notice. Years later---Lou Rawls was appearing in Atlanta,Georgia, I asked him if he remembered the station. He said "KSBK was one of the best outlets around the world":.Whenever he released anything new---he could count on Airplay from Okinawa's KSBK/JORO.

So....How did KSBK keep up with the popular hits in the U.S? There was a service that the station used to rush what ever tune was in the Billboard Top 100. This way we always had the tunes that were hitting the charts. PLUS.....The DJ's also had the freedom to bring in Albums/45's that they liked. On Okinawa, there were two outlets that we used to get music,if we needed it. The Futema Music Center, and Poncie's House of Soul, were two music stores that got us the records too.

Cal C. writes in...."I remember on the radio, one of the DJ's had a Monkey,as a regular on his show....was that a real Monkey"? YES......That Monkay was owned by a friend of Rick Lane,Skip Willis,and "The Porcupine".I can't remember his full name,but his first name was "Bob". (Named after his owner) He was a real hell-raiser! One time he was spooked by a visit from one of the RBC Engineers, and started to run and jump all over the broadcast room. crashing some tapes,and music cartridges all over the place. All this during a "Live" Radio Show.Needlessly to say--that was the last time "Bob" was allowed into the studio! We also had a pet Cat. Sometimes the cat would go on the request show, and meow to some of the callers. Everybody loved that cat---we called him the "Geepes"

From Kevin, who was stationed at Kadena Air Base: Was the Disc Jockey "The Janitor",a real RBC/KSBK Janitor? NO! If you are speaking about Paul Compney--It was Paul's "Radio Moniker". He did the over-night shift, so he became the Station's Janitor. However, sometimes on the shows, various people who worked at RBC, would stop by the studio, and we would have them on "Live". I remember having one of the Engineer's actually Introduce one of the Records I was playing. In broken English, he Announced: "A Cowboys Work Is Never Done"/Sonny & Cher". That was a great bit! Plus, he had some fun too! He would frequently sit around the studio, and be amazed to the fun we were having!

The Personalities

BREAKING NEWS:  This just in from the KSBK News Desk:April 13,2018
Another KSBK Alumus has Died........Famed Talk Show Host, ART BELL has passed away. Art passed away at his home in Nevada.Art was "One of America's Best-Known Talk Show Hosts". At one time his overnight program had over 500 Radio Outlets carrying his Show.ART BELL was probably the Best-Known Alumni of KSBK. He always appreciated Doug Greene for giving him his first Commercial Radio job. During his tenure of the "COAST TO COAST" Radio Show,(A program he started) he had Ratings as high as Larry King. In fact,King had him on his CNN TV Show. ART was one of those "one of a kind" Broadcasters that will go in history as America's Best Radio Personalities. May you Rest in Peace..........And as Bob Hope would say, "Thanks For The Memories"! Our thoughts are with his Family,and Friends.

 JIM WILSON has passed away, in Texas. Jim died on May 5th/2015, of a Heart Attack. Jim was one of the mainstays of the Station. He  worked a Daily Show on both KSBK, and was at JORO, during the closure of  the Station, with Bob Wales .Following his years at KSBK/JORO,  Jim became Program Director for a Station in Puerto Rico. Then moved to Texas where he did Voice-Overs. A Personal Note...... Jim was a Radio Genious! His "Side Stories, and  Mini-Dramas". were  Masterful. I'll remember him as a very sound Professional.  May You Rest In Peace.

BREAKING NEWS!.........Doug Greene has passed away. 
From the mid-60's to 1972, Doug was the Program Director of KSBK. He was not at the Station, when KSBK became JORO. Many of the names listed below were hired by Doug,during his management tenure. He was a great guy----and you could always come to him, with any ideas that could make you a better Radio person. May you Rest in Peace.

MORE BREAKING NEWS........Sadly we must report the passing of another KSBK Alumnus:
On August 19,2014, KSBK Broadcaster, JOHN ALLEN passed away in Florida. John, whose real name was Alan Hickey retired from Radio, in 2009. After leaving KSBK, using the name, Al Merideth, for many years was featured on WCBS-FM, in New York,City. May You now "Rest In Peace".  Our thoughts go out to his Family, and Friends.

And....... On Dec. 30,2016, "SKIN N' BONES",BOB JONES , passed away. Details are limited. When more info is released, we will let you know. "SKINS", as we called him, was one of the funniest guys, On-The- Air. He was a full time fill-in guy. If you were sick, or couldn't make your Air Shift, in 1970------It was SKIN N' BONES who worked for you. Now, You can Rest In Peace. Our thoughts go out to his Family, and Friends.

EVEN MORE BREAKING NEWS....Just received the last 45 mins of JORO. the tape was preserved by Walter Edelman. I'm going to try and get it on the Blog. Thanks Walter!  As fun as it is to listen to, it is also very sad.(What were the head "Honhos" at RBC thinking by closing the Station anyway?)

History buffs would probably list Jay Neely, as the FIRST Program Director.Followed by Dave Lock, Kiyoshi Kabira, Oscar Luria,Doug Greene, then Bob Wales.

The station had it's share of Characters/Personalities. Probably the best-known of all was ART BELL. As many of you know, he has become one of America's top talk-show hosts It was during a late-night show that people started to call-in to him saying that there were some strange-looking individuals loitering around the Naha docks. Aliens you ask? That started the ball rolling for his theme show "Coast To Coast". Along the way---other Disc Jockeys were heard over Okinawa. Among these were: BOB WALES, SKIP WILLIS,JIM WILSON,STEVE HARRIGAN,THE NIGHT HAWK, JAY FIELD,ALLEN ROTH,STEVE GOLD,"THE PORCUPINE" JOHN RICHARDS,RICK LANE,JOHNNY MAX,PETER J BOSTON,"SKIN N' BONES" BOB JONES,BOB KENT,TOM VERNON,VERN KYLER,KEN MARSHAL,PAUL COMPNEY,TIM TYLER,DOUG GREENE.JIM ESTEP,JAY SHERWOOD,AL LYNCH,,DON RIGGS,DON SWCHWARTZ,PAUL BRUMALOWE,JOHN HYCK,BOB EVANS,BRUCE WEST,MIKE MANDEL,DAN DERMODY,BEN SAVAGE,BILL YOUNGER,STEVE KEENEY,BILL MARRAY,JAY NEELY,BOB ALLEN,BART BARSNESS,JOHN PARISE,DON HOFFMAN,JULIAN FIELDS,BUBBLE HEAD ED aka ED ERICKSON ,DOUG STALKER,JOHN ALLEN,BOB FRAZIER,CLEVE MILLER,BOB MURRY,RON HAYMAN,MIKE WILSON, SKIP TAGGART,BOB MUNDAY, DON HOFMANN,ARRON MICHAELS, "JIVIN" JIM WALKER,GEORGE BURTON,RONALD BARRY LEE, DAVE GALLAGHER,DAVE LOCK,STU RYDER, KAY TAGGERT,,STEVE KEENEY..Plus, the station had it's own brand of 100% Soul. THE SOULMASTER was the Island's link to the "Motown Sound",the great "Philly-Sound" of the 60's, and 70's.And,(not very many know that while he was stationed on Okinawa),Actor ROBERT COLBERT had a music show on the station. KSBK also had three top-notch News Guys--DON EDWARDS, RAY HENDRIX, and ED ERICKSON.

From the KSBK News Desk......(Actually it was a tiny little room, with one Mike) One of the Alumni Has checked in: PAUL COMPNEY,("The Janitor In the Morning") wanted to let everybody know he's working with some Vietnam Era Vets,in Missouri.And this is really cool:Some of the people he's working with---Remember "The Big 8's"!
BOB WALES just checked in.......Bob was our leader. KSBK/JORO wouldn't have had the success it did, without his leadership. His show, at 9:am, ("Opinion Line") was by far the most listened to program on Okinawa. To many of you listeners----Bob's voice was featured on many of the local sponsors' Ads. (These were shared by others like Jim Wilson, and "Skip" Willis) "Thanks" Bob for being a part of the blog.( hit the Beaches in Hawaii. Or go Boating in Incline deserve it!) AND,checking in: EARL BARNESS. Some of you might remember him as "BART" BARNESS.

NEWS FLASH!......Former KSBK/JORO Alumnus SKIP WILLIS has Retired, from day-to-day broadcasting. He spent the last years at WVBO, in Oshkosh,WI.  Like his shows on Okinawa....he had a very highly rated  morning program in WI. Good Luck in your retirement years! Radio has always in his blood......He's On-the-Air on a part time basis in his new hometown in Florida.

ANOTHER NEWS FLASH!.....Just heard from JAY NEELY. Jay was the first Program Director.And, was at the station during Bill Conine's leadership. Jay also had his own Show.He is completely Retired from Broadcasting. It was great speaking with him. He certainly was one of the original guys that made KSBK what it was......a true Broadcasting legend in the Far East.

STILL ANOTHER NEWS FLASH.....Just heard from "Bubble Head" Ed. Ed was one of the most talented guys KSBK ever had. And......very funny! I'll bring you more stories from Ed, as the days go by. It was great hearing from "Bubble Head". Thanks Ed for being a part of the Blog. You are one of the people that made KSBK Numero Uno!

NOT ANOTHER NEWS FLASH!......YES!.........The Blog just heard from BOB KENT. Bob was the All-Night Guy. he was telling me that after KSBK, he workd in a couple Commercial Stations in the U.S.. His big break came when he joined VOA......Yes, the Voice Of America, in Washington DC. As one of the Engineering Managers, he oversaw those Saturday Afternoon Broadcast of President Ronald Reagan. He lives in Florida, and runs a World-War  Two Museum. All of us at KSBK are proud of ya!

 BUBBLE HEAD ED, wanted to let everyone know, he's RVing across the U. S. He's visiting various Veterans Groups. He also has a email address. It's:

As others check in---we'll let you know. So for now, "That's the latest News,Uncensored"---from KBSK.

Speaking of KSBK's DJ's: How many of you called the KSBK "Request" Line? Remember the number? It was 88334530!Here is something very unique! You can speak with a former KSBK Staff Announcer from 1970-1973. (How neat is that?) You'll get all the info. You can talk about all those great Okinawa days. Or how about those Fry's and Cole Slaw at the A&W Drive In? Talk with one of the guys for up to 50 mins! PLEASE NOTE.....There is a charge for this---but, it basically covers the Personalities time,the Phone, and the Minutes. Again, The Contact for this is:

ATTENTION ANY KSBK ALUMNI:Check in with us, and let us know how you are doing.
You can reach the blog @
(Don't leave the blog until you looked at these pictures.....Thanks!)

JUST ADDED..........A very,very rare Picture OF ART BELL sitting at the controls in the Studio of KSBK, in 1967. Hey!........How many of you Alumni of KSBK/JORO, remember that Studio? And.......How about the Microphone? I don't remember one ever been that big!
You'll find it at the bottom of this page.......just stroll on down. PLEASE NOTE.........The Blog has had several Inquiries regarding a Company called CafePress. This is a firm that has Logo's of KSBK,and JORO, that can be placed on Coffee Mugs,T-Shirts, and other things. PLEASE BE AWARE: THIS BLOG HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT COMPANY. TO OUR KNOWLEDGE------NO ONE ASOCIATED WITH KSBK/JORO, OR RBC RECEIVE ANY COMPENSATION FOR THE USE OF THESE LOGO'S. Any questions pertaining to them have to be submitted directly to CafePress. I hope this helps out those who have written about them.