June 22, 2007

RIP: Frank Terry

Not a lot of details are currently available, but Frank Terry has died. The pioneering Boss Jock had been battling cancer for many years, and passed away on Wednesday (June 20) at his home in Sonora. He was 68.

Born Terrence Francis Crilly in Rapid City, S.D., on July 5, 1938, he moved with his family to Southern California when he was four years old, where his father became a sales manager at KFXM in San Bernardino.

In an unpublished interview for the book "KHJ: Inside Boss Radio," Terry said he got into radio because "I thought it might be a wonderful way to meet good-looking women, girls. And when I was in high school I actually got my first job."

That job, at KCSB in San Bernardino, began humbly — emptying waste baskets and mowing the station's front lawn — but led to an on-air gig as the teenaged host of a Saturday night show in which he played nothing but Elvis Presley records.

Following a three-year hitch in the Navy (as a telegrapher), he bided his time working for the Santa Fe Railroad (also as a telegrapher — although the railroad no longer employed Morse Code to communicate with trains) while waiting to enter college.

Fate stepped in, however, as a law requiring employers to hold jobs for returning veterans meant that his old position at KCSB had been vacant, awaiting his return.

In the early 1960s, Terry became Boss Radio architect Ron Jacobs' early partner in crime in the development of the format in San Bernardino (KMEN), Fresno (KMAK) and L.A. (KHJ), before moving to the Bay Area as a first-generation Big 610 Man (famously appearing in the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" documentary about the infamous Altamont concert) and a Country jock here at KNEW and KSAN, and at Froggy 92.9 (KFGY) in Santa Rosa.

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