Adam Jones at KIOA Des Moines 1963

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Adam Only Has One Name (Des Moines doesn't get it)

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Before I went on the air at KIOA they had me running all over town meeting people including a woman who owned a nightclub. I asked her how she could run a nightclub with no booze (there was no liquor by the drink in that town at the time.) She said it was no problem because she had an opium den in the basement.

One of the other things they did was to get a convertible and four good-looking girls. They decked me out in a morning suit which consisted of a cut-away coat, a Willy Wonka hat, and a pair of Scrooge McDuck spats. We drove all over town with the top down and a sign on the car that said, "Adam Comes to KIOA 3 to 7. He's Irresistible!" We ended up at KSO (the other rock station) and parked in front of their showcase studio in the window. Dick Vance (I can't believe I remembered his name) was on the air. I don't remember how he reacted, but it was probably digital. When we got back to the rental store, I asked the guy, "Do you rent this suit often?" He said, "No. The last time the man was arrested." I asked why and he said for being "non compos mentis." He said he thought that was Latin for "You're not from around here, are you." (I ran into a lot of those non compos mentis people years later in North Carolina.)

Shortly after I went on the air at KIOA the Victoria Hotel exploded. My response was, "I hope it wasn't something I said Oh, they did it on purpose."

A few months after I started at the station, the first ratings book came in. In those days the survey peopled asked three questions: When do you listen, What station do you listen to, and What is the announcer's name? If you didn't answer all three questions, no station got credit. Joe Holcomb and I looked at the book and guess what our afternoon ratings were the same but a closer look showed that KSO's numbers went down. Where did those listeners go? Were they listening to Kate Smith haul her moon over the mountain on WHO? No! Were they listening to "Yesterday's News Today" on KRNT? No! We couldn't find them anywhere. "Well," said Joe, as he ran his hand through his Chester Morris hair, "They must be listening to you, but don't know who you are. Maybe they can't understand that you only have one name. "Oh, come on!" I said. What about Liberace, Dagmar, and Ishcabibble? "I don't know," says Joe, "but they don't get it. Today is Friday pick out a last name by Monday." Just then the sales manager piped up and said not getting it is a way of life in Des Moines!

The rule of thumb is if you want to have a name that people can remember, your first name should be unusual and your last name simple. Back in the early '60's "Adam" was an unusual name, so I started thinking of simple last ones. "Story" was out (it would make me sound like a newsman.) "Hitler" was no good (we lived next to the Hitlers when I was a kid and it was really a tough neighborhood.) I mulled names over and over in my head all weekend and then on Sunday night I thought of a strange, funny jock I had met once named Rex Jones. If it worked for him, I thought, it can work for me. That was 50 years ago. I guess I made the right choice. So all you other Adam come lately Joneses, I was here first!

In a few weeks, Joe Holcomb left and went to WSIX in Nashville. When the next book came in six months later, KSO's numbers were down again but this time Adam Jones' numbers were up, and I called Joe to say, "You were right."

Next: Doug McKinnon comes to mornings. What a hoot!

-Adam Jones

KIOA Fire 2-26-1963KIOA on fire February 26, 1963. Burns down studio
KIOA on fire February 26, 1963. Burns down studio

Adam emcees KIOA roadshow
Adam emcees KIOA roadshow

KIOA Fabulous 40 Survey November 16, 1962
KIOA Fabulous 40 Survey for week of November 16, 1962

KIOA Fabulous 40 Survey May 5, 1963
KIOA Fabulous 40 Survey for week of May 5, 1963

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