Sunday, May 07, 2006

WSAI Air Force DJ Bob White dead at 77

If you were a kid growing up in the 1960s and you were fortunate enough to own your own radio, it was probably a hand-held six-transistor model and you probably pulled in stations from Chicago and Cincinnati. Those modern marvels had only one set of frequencies (AM) and the selectivity was poor (it was hard to distinguish between stations at night) but they provided hours of amusement for the cost of one battery — those oblong nine-volt jobs with two connectors at the top.
Many teens dreamed of growing up to become like their favorite disk jockeys, Ron Riley, Clark Weber, Dex Card or, maybe, Bob White.
Bob White, WSAI-AM 1360, Cincinnati, was the radio name of a man who later settled with his family in the Wabash Valley. Like many show business people, he had an every day identity. He was known on the street as Jack Teiken and, until failing health in the last couple years prevented it, he was a regular at the Brazil Rotary Club each Wednesday at noon.
Amazingly, for people in show business people, John Patrick Teiken (the name given him at birth) and his wife, Barbara, were married for 50 years before her passing in 2000.
Jack died May 3 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Indianapolis at the age of 77. He is being laid to rest today.
Jack began his broadcasting career in Oakdale, La., a career spanning more than 40 years with almost half of those years spent in the Wabash Valley.
In 1968, after he left Cincinnati, he moved to Terre Haute to work at WBOW radio.
In 1970, he and Barbara bought into the local Brazil radio station transforming it into WWCM-AM, the first country music station in the Valley.
A few years later he and his partner built WWCM-FM.
The stations were sold and Jack moved on to other parts of the U.S. to pursue his broadcasting interests. In 1989, he and his family moved back to the Wabash Valley where he worked at WSDM until his retirement from broadcasting.
He then started JPT Advertising Agency that he operated until his retirement in 2001.
Bits of Jack’s radio work lives on in recordings.
One such recording, known as an air check, was made on Friday of the Labor Day weekend, 1965.
Although the voice is younger and sounds lighter, one knows it was Jack Teiken on the air as Bob White.
His on-air patter was familiar to those listening to 1960s radio.
For example:
• “I had a very unfortunate accident today. A little kid came up to me and said, ‘You know, you’re Number One on my hit parade.’”
“I said, ‘Really?’”
“He said, ‘Yeah and then he hit me.’”
• He called the music playlist the “Color Countdown” (taking advantage of the newest rage in TV - color broadcasting.)
• “We’re celebrating the three liberties: Life, liberty and the pursuit of Ann Margret!”
In the air check, he plays Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” — played on a real vinyl 33 1/3 rpm record, no doubt — with commercials for Cincinnati’s Coney Island amusement park and Burger Chef restaurants.
Jack was part of the DJ team known as the “WSAI Air Force” in those days.
It was 2002 at a Rotary meeting in Knightsville that I first met Jack. He was always willing to talk about his radio days and I was a willing listener. I wish I had taken notes or recorded his recollections.
I also wish I would have taken him up on his invitation to play golf, but somehow I never got around to it and now it’s too late.
But, Jack was most proud of his family; of that there was no doubt.
As a family man, I was most impressed to hear him talk about his family. He would say, “I have four daughters and they’re all beautiful.”
Jack was an entertainment business success story who managed to keep his priorities in line.
He will be missed.