440: Satisfaction - In depth

From: "Johnny Williams" (johnnywilliams@440.com)
To: "Steve Sleeper" (steve@stevesleeper.com)
Subject: Re: Looking for Joe Light's son
Date: Fri, 31 May 2013 12:02:44 -1000

Steve Springer’s e-mail address is atlantissds2002@yahoo.com

I understand the interest in Joe. I worked with him at a couple of stations, including KRIZ in Phoenix. My wife and I recently (Feb 2013) enjoyed a KRIZ reunion in Phoenix and one of the big mysteries was Joe Light’s whereabouts. Then, lo and behold, a couple of months later I got the e-mail from his son telling us his dad had died. Talk about just a little too little too late... At any rate, we all loved Joe. He was a great guy and a good friend. That’s why we all were so perplexed when he dropped off the radar. Apparently, he was disillusioned with the whole radio business. Too bad. Understandable, but too bad – considering the number of people he touched over the years. He would have been surprised and delighted, I’m sure.

Please let me know when the Omaha World-Herald piece comes out. I would like to link to it from 440: Satisfaction.

Best to you,
John Williams


From: Steve Sleeper (steve@stevesleeper.com)
Date: Fri, 31 May 2013 16:22:47 -0500
Subject: Looking for Joe Light's son
To: BossJock@440.com

My name is Steve Sleeper and I’m what you call a radio geek J I was on air for 25 years – 1973 to 1998. WGSY in Peru IL – and in Omaha – KOCU, KRCB, KQKQ, KEZO, KKCD and KBBX.

I recently read this thread on Joe Light’s passing. The thread ended with a couple of emails from Joe’s son – Steve Springer.

Joe Light was a legend in Omaha radio. He worked at KOIL on and off (mostly on) from about 1961 until about 1978. He was always getting into trouble with station management and getting fired - so he would take a job with a competitor. But he was so popular, KOIL would hire him back. Ask anyone in Omaha who grew up or was young in the 60’s – and they remember Joe Light. Joe was to Omaha was Larry Lujack was to Chicago, or The Real Don Steele was to Los Angeles.

Joe left Omaha in the late 1970s, never to be heard from again in these parts. When we posted the thread on Facebook, the reaction was overwhelming. Folks remember Joe. He was very much loved.
The local daily, Omaha World-Herald, is interested in doing a story on Joe. We’ve put together most of the pieces, except they need to be able to interview Steve Springer – Joe’s son. Do you have an email address or phone number for Steve?

Any help we could get is appreciated. (BTW – Joe’s real name was Charles Springer.)

Steve Sleeper
Omaha, NE


Date: Fri, 17 May 2013 11:13:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: steve springer (atlantissds2002@yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: Joe Light
To: prez440@hawaii.rr.com

Help John,

Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. I wanted to try and get more info than I have. As far as any call letters, I only remember KIQQ, FM-100 in Los Angeles, which was in the late seventies and early eighties. (We moved so much and I was pretty young.) After Omaha, we went to Council Bluffs, Iowa, then to Denver, Kansas City, Texas, Oregon, a few others, and then Hollywood. That was his goal. To one day make it to Hollywood as a DJ and so he quit. I believe he was number three nationwide -- to Wolfman Jack and one other that I don't remember (he was either in New York or Chicago) -- when dad quit and went into radio advertisement.

He did a couple more little radio shows a number of years later, one in San Diego and one in Sacramento but he really didn't have his heart into it anymore. The style of DJing had changed so much and the place in Sacramento wouldn't allow him to use the name Joe Light, he just moved on to other things. I would like to be able to tell you that he continued on to do great things but in all honesty his heart never really got into anything else like it did the radio.

He died in Sacramento on March 28, 2013 four days before his 80th birthday. I'm sorry I can't help you out with more call letters but it was so long ago and I was so young. I hope what I did give you was helpful and please feel free to ask me any more questions you might have and I will answer them to the best of my ability. I want to thank you and the others for keeping my dad's memory alive I had a great cry knowing that people still remember and think of him.

Sincerely, Steve Springer


From: John Williams (prez440@hawaii.rr.com)
To: steve springer (atlantissds2002@yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: Joe Light
Sent: Thu, May 9, 2013 8:15:52 PM

Hi Steve,

A couple of additional questions about your dad’s passing. What city was he in when he died? And if you can, what was his age?

And, again, any additional info on his radio career would be appreciated.

Thanks very much,

John Williams


From: steve springer
Sent: Wednesday, May 08, 2013 7:14 PM
To: BossJock@440.com
Subject: Joe Light

Dear Bill (Steinwart),

My name is Steve Springer, I'm Joe Light's son. If you knew my dad well while at KOIL then, though I was pretty young, I probably met you at one point or other. First off, I would like to thank you for the kind things you said and remembered about my dad, reading yours and the others comments was very touching and had I found that site sooner I'm sure it would have touched dad deeply knowing that he wasn't totally forgotten.

I'm sorry to say that my dad passed away recently, March 28, 2013. If there are things you would like to know about his life after Omaha I would be happy to tell you whatever you need to know. Once again, thank you so much for all the wonderful memories you shared about him.



To: radsub@440.com
From: mccourtdavid@hotmail.com (DAVID MCCOURT)
Subject: Joe Light
Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2011 00:42:56 -0700

I enjoyed listening to Joe Light on KOIL in Omaha as a teenager. He would always start his show with, "Light's On Everybody."

In 1961, he had a twist contest with Roger W. Morgan at Oddo's Drive In on South 13th Street. There were so many people the whole east side of Omaha was one big traffic jam.

A few years after Light left Omaha, Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars came to town. Gene Pitney, The Supremes, Paul Peterson and others appeared at Rosenblatt Stadium, but when Joe Light made a breif surprise return appearance, he got more appaulse than any of them. Omaha loved Joe Light. He was great.

David McCourt


Subject: Joe Light
To: BossJock@440.com
From: "William Steinwart"
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 10:21:20 -0700

I knew Joe well during his time at KOIL in Omaha. At the time, I sang professionally under the name Bill Stein, and Joe used to come see me frequently. He got me a number of jobs through the station, including writing and recording Rock Jingles, and as a lead act on a Three Dog Night concert.

We hung around quite a bit in those days. My girlfriend and I even got snowed in at his townhouse one night. The whole city was basically closed down, but Joe managed to arrange for a snow mobile, and made it into the station, which was a few blocks away. I think that he worked most of the next 24 hours by himself that day.

I remember his "Hamburger Winners" tongue in cheek awards, and all of the great stuff he did on the air (most especially shamelessly plugging me and where I was playing).

I do know that his real name is Charles Springer, if that is any help to anyone.

Bill Steinwart


Date sent: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 20:43:43 -0700
From: roseanna green (green123@flash.net)
Send reply to: green123@flash.net
To: BossJock@440int.com
Subject: Joe Light

I saw your web site and wonder, do know what ever happened to DJ Joe Light? Is he on the air anywhere?

We used to love listening to him at WIFE Indianapolis in the 60's.

Thanks for any info you may have.

Rose Green


Date sent: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 13:29:37 -0700
From: roseanna green (green123@flash.net)
Send reply to: green123@flash.net
To: John Williams (BossJock@440.com)
Subject: Re: Joe Light

John Williams wrote:
> Hi Roseanna,
> We don't know. Hopefully, someone will update us on Joe one of these
> days. Check back from time to time.
> I worked with Joe in Denver and Phoenix, but was unaware of his time in
> Indianapolis. What year(s) do you remember him there?
> Thank you,
> John Williams


Date sent: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 13:29:37 -0700 From: roseanna green (green123@flash.net)
Send reply to: green123@flash.net
To: John Williams (BossJock@440.com)
Subject: Re: Joe Light

Dear John:

Thanks for your reply, although I'm sorry you don't know the whereabouts of Joe Light.

My sister and I (and all of our friends) used to listen to Joe EVERY night, without fail. He was at WIFE during 1962 and '63, I think (I can't recall the exact time). I'm pretty sure he was there when the Beatles came to town the first time. It seems like he was there longer -- kind of like Chevy Chase on SNL (one season? but what a good one).

Joe was the greatest DJ we ever listened to, and since you were a DJ at the same time, you know what I mean when I say the kids today have no idea how fun it can be to listen to the radio. The songs were great, but you guys were the real stars -- a party all by yourselves. Now it seems a DJ can't be on the air alone, they have to have a partner to keep it going, and sometimes even three of them at once, and even then it's pretty dull, just a bunch of noise.

We never got to meet Joe then (even though we felt like we knew him), but we sometimes could get through on the request line, and had I been older, I probably could have gone downtown and watched the show through the "window on the world".

After I grew up, I worked here in San Diego at KSDO/KEZL in 1975 or '76, for John Bayliss (Combined Communications Corporation). I was sitting at my desk one day, and heard a voice that could only have been Joe Light's, coming from the reception area around the corner from my office. I thought, "no, can't be, but wait...thisble, I am at a radio station after all." So I got up, walked around the corner, and there he was, in person! It was a great thrill for me to finally meet the funniest guy I'd ever "known." He was a sales representative for a radio-related company (I was so excited to finally get to meet him, I couldn't remember half of what he said).

Do you know if WIFE is still on the air? It would be a kick to try to find old tapes of Joe Light on the air and surprise my sister with them somehow. Do you call them "air checks"? That's probably like trying to find a needle in a haystack, if they exist at all.

I wish my teenage daughter and her friends had something akin to the fun you guys created on our radios. Now it's N'Sync, BSB, and merchandising rules.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should have an exhibit devoted entirely to the DJ's of the 60's.

Thanks very much,
Roseanna Green


Click for larger version.
KICN promo piece circa 1961


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