Thursday, February 13, 2014


Hey welcome back to Kip Pullman's American Graffiti Blog. I trust everyone had a decent holiday and you're well rested and have already gotten back into the groove of the daily grind. This month were gonna get a small taste of some of the early sounds of Rhythm & Blues/ Soul radio that disc jockey, Wolfman Jack helped make popular in the mid-1960s and early-1970s.  We've got some record surveys and very rare air-checks you can't find anywhere else.  Gonna blow your mind, baby. Most pix & surveys on this page can be enlarged for your pleasure by clicking on them. Soooo... let's get this party started!!

In the mid-1960s Bob Smith aka Wolfman Jack was working as the manger of a small daytime-only radio station, KUXL, 1570 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As manager, Smith helped station operator, Marvin Kosofsky change the programing from strictly religious to a more youth-oriented format: Rhythm & Blues.  The station broadcast continuous tapes of religious preachers during the mornings but from 1:00 in the afternoon until sundown KUXL played R & B records from the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, B.B. King, and The Four Tops.  The station also sponsored dances & concerts featuring performers such as The Temptations, Jimmy Reed, and Jr. Walker.  Even though he was the manager, Smith never broadcast from the Minneapolis station as Wolfman Jack during the time that that he was there.
KUXL R&B Hit List, November 1968

KUXL Super Soul Thirty,  July 1972

Aware of  the immense popularity of the tiny station, Smith got dollar signs in his eyes and decided to apply the exact same format of paid-programming mixed with current R & B to take over the high-powered, 50, 000 watt Mexican station, XERB, 1090 AM. The transmitter sight for the station was located near the costal resort city of Rosarito Beach in the Mexican state of Baja California which is about 10 miles south of the California, U.S. border.  Helping with the new adventure were KUXL disc jockeys, Art Hoehn (a.k.a. Fat Daddy Washington) and Ralph Hull (a.k.a. Preacher Paul Anthony and The Nazz).  At first, beginning in late-1965, they operated the "Big X" from Minneapolis, then relocated to offices in Los Angeles, California in 1966.

A facsimile of the station's 1966 schedule. Turf Craft racing results & Glory Bound Train were (unannounced) paid advertising income for the station.

The station’s new format was a complete success. XERB had been a Country music radio station before Bob Smith & company took over.  The new "Super Soul" format was quite an exciting change, and on top of it all, they had the mysterious and outrageous, Wolfman Jack howlin’ and prowlin' over the airwaves for 6 hours every single night. Have mercy!!! 

XERB Record survey July 1967   Compare this "Soul Monster" record survey to that of KRLA's Top-40 survey also from July 1967 (further below)

A March 1969 QSL post card from XERB engineers confirming that the recipient had indeed heard the station.  To get a QSL card from XERB (or any radio station) a listener would need to send a reception report to the station giving information about what they heard & the reception conditions.
XERB RECORD SURVEY, October 7, 1967. Although the XERB transmitter towers were in Rosarito Beach, in the Mexican state of Baja California, the station operated as though it were a local Los Angeles/Hollywood station and used many local L.A. sponsors. 

XERB Super Soul-21 Survey, May 10, 1969

While Wolfman's shows become more eclectic, XERB's "Soul" format became limited to specific shows by DJs such as Bill Harris as this 12/22/1969 survey shows.

 In the 1960s and early-'70s, the number-one radio station in the Los Angeles market was KRLA, 1110 AM. The station boasted a high-powered 50,000 watt signal during the day which was reduced to 10,000 watts in the evening. The popular station KRLA was blessed with some extremely talented on-air talent including: The "Real" Don Steele, Casey Kasem, Bob "Emperor" Hudson, Dave Hull "The Hullabalooer," and much later, Wolfman Jack (1984-87).

The primary local daytime competition for Wolfman's station XERB, with a similar R & B format, was the Los Angeles soul station, KGFJ 1230 AM, but in the evening only XERB, with it's far-reaching, 50,000 watt signal bouncing across the ionosphere, could be heard throughout most of North America, west of the Rocky Mountain range. After a couple of years XERB's R & B format eventually became more inclusive of Top-40 rock found on other LA stations such as KRLA.  For a little over five years XERB, with Wolfman Jack at the helm, was the hip station to listen to at night.
This KGFJ Top 25 Rhythm & Blues record survey from the beginning of 1967 shows "(I Know) I'm Losing You" by The Temptations holding fast at number one for the second week in a row. One of the station's DJs, Magnificent Montague later joined the lineup at XERB.



  1. I recognize those pictures, Kip, from Wolfman's appearance on The Odd Couple

    1. @ David Kruh: You are 100% correct David. You must have a good memory, That particular episode of the Odd Couple was first broadcast in 1973 the same yr. that Wolfman made his appearance in Graffiti.

  2. Hello:
    Vengo siguiendo este apasionante blog desde hace unos meses. American Graffiti es mi pelĂ­cula preferida y Woflman Jack mi Disc-Jockey predilecto.
    Saludos desde Spain.