Tom Alan Bethke
2011 - Matousek Lifetime Achievement Award
A freak accident while managing a restaurant in Minneapolis causing a serious back injury resulted in Tom Alan Bethke seeking rehabilitation into a new profession. Following back surgery and therapy, he enrolled at Brown Institute of Broadcasting in Minneapolis where he used the radio name Fast Eddie.
While attending school, he took in a concert at the Paradise Ballroom in Waconia MN featuring Bobby Vee and Wolfman Jack. Having met Bobby before Tom asked to meet Wolfman. Once the show started and Wolfman was brought on stage he quickly introduced a special guest, his brother, Wolfman Eddie (Tom). Tom spent the rest of the evening sporting his Wolfman goatee signing autographs as Wolfman Eddie. This would be the first of many appearances together.
After graduation in 1979 Tom took his first and only job in radio at Woodward Broadcasting KSUM/KFMC in Fairmont MN . It was there that he met fellow employee, copywriter and soon to be wife Dawn. Little did she know she would also be his first roadie helping tote and set up equipment at his first roadshows. Tom spent less than a year on Country KSUM as the Country Coyote.
Having an extensive oldies collection he decided to talk to station manager Woody Woodward about doing an oldies show on KFMC. A big influence on Tom's musical taste was the fact Tom's father moonlighted at Kay Bank Recording Studios in Minneapolis where the likes of Bobby Vee, The Trashmen and many others recorded.
After some discussion Woody agreed to a 2 to 4 PM slot on Sunday afternoons. Using his first and middle name "Tom Alan’s Rock n Roll Revival" was on the air. Shortly after the show hit the airwaves, portable sound equipment was purchased and the show hit the road. With Tom dressed in his 60’s era tuxedo, Brylcream-loaded hair and crazy antics, his live show soon became in demand throughout Minnesota and Northern Iowa. He was on some of the bigger stages including the Metropolitan Sports Center in Minneapolis , The Medina Ballroom, The Clay County Fairgrounds, The Surf Ballroom and many more.
For a two-year stretch he promoted Tom Alan’s Beach Party and Swimwear Review featuring Tom with bikini-clad college girls who filled ballrooms and nightclubs throughout Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa . Tom often was asked to M.C. or open for many national stars and each week he featured a special guest interview on his radio show.
Tom has worked with the Who’s Who of Rock and Roll. Names like D.J. and the Runaways, The Trashmen, Wolfman Jack, Bobby Vee, Mitch Ryder, Dion, Paul and Paula, Del Shannon, Jan and Dean, The Buckinghams, The Monkees, Chubby Checker, The Beach Boys, Peter Noone, Mark Lindsay and many more. At one point Tom Alan was the most recognized voice in a 14-county area of Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa.
Things were very busy and Tom entered into a partnership with Don Kliewer. Dene and Alan Productions was created and a full time roadie, Art Dougherty Jr., was added to the Rock n Roll Revival roadshow. The Twin Cities entertainment magazine, "Twin Cities Reader" called him the hardest working D.J. in Minnesota ; all from a 2 hour weekly radio show.
Tom decided to end the show, get off the road and spend more time with his wife and family in 1990.
Settling in Fort Dodge , he never really stopped doing voice work and hosted a Rock n Roll Show occasionally. During the 80’s Tom Alan was truly an influence on the popularity of Rock and Roll in Iowa. Shortly after the Iowa Rock and Roll Music Association was started, Tom joined the board of directors in 1997 and has served on it in several capacities ever since.
Tom Bethke has devoted his adult life to helping people enjoy and remember rock and roll, over the air waves, through his projects and working with IRRMA. For a lifetime of rockin’, Bethke receives the 2011 IRRMA Dan Matousek Lifetime Achievement Award.