2008 - Disc Jockey
A native Iowan, Wayne Johnson was born and raised in North Central Iowa, and had the good fortune to become deeply interested in radio during the exciting, formative years of Rock & Roll. An interest furthered by his first unforgettable Rock & Roll show…the night of Feb. 2, 1959 at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.
Inspired by such early Midwest rock stations as KIOA, KSO, KWMT, KRIB and WDGY, Wayne started on a 40-year radio-career path shortly after high school graduation in 1961, when he enrolled at Brown Institute of Broadcasting and Electronics in Minneapolis. By 1963, he was picking and playing the Top 40 hits at his first job, working from 6-to-midnight at KSUM, in Fairmont, MN.
Within a short time, he joined Black Hawk Broadcasting, and worked the Top 40 stations in the chain. By 1965 he arrived in Cedar Rapids at 1450 KLWW, and became one of the “KL-Lively Guys.” While there, he assumed the position as Music Director, and felt strongly about including local and regional artists in the station’s playlist. His love of Rock & Roll, and his personal oldies collection, led to hosting a Sunday night Oldies Show that was later updated and revived at several different stations in Cedar Rapids.
By 1970, Wayne had moved into Programming and Music at 1600 KCRG, and that summer he guided the station into a full-time Rock & Roll Top 30 format. During this period he continued to give generous air-time to local and regional bands and artists.
In 1983, after working at the KHAK stations for a time, he began an association with the WMT stations that lasted over 15 years. An experience highlighted by working with the legendary Frosty Mitchell. With the added dimension of stereo high-fidelity, the Sunday night Rock & Roll Oldies Show was brought back on WMT FM, and it quickly became a Cedar Rapids favorite.
Wayne went full-circle when he concluded his Cedar Rapids radio career in 2004. He retired after doing afternoons at 1450 KMRY, the station at which he started when it was KLWW. He continues to share his ‘Oldies” with radio associates who program Rock & Roll and variety music shows.
The Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association congratulates Wayne Johnson on his vast and lengthy radio contribution to the History of Rock & Roll in Iowa, and his induction into its Hall of Fame.