A Tribute to Jack Link
This is also the feature article in Issue 55 of our Magazine
As the Turn Table Turns – Published in November of 2020
by Art Gregory
President of the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation, Inc.
Jack Link has been someone I have looked up to ever since I first met him in 1975 while working for KIDO-AM. Jack treated everyone he met like they were his best friend, yet he still maintained a humble attitude towards his own role as the manager of all of Bill Boeing Jr.’s radio properties, as well as managing Bill’s many industrial-properties in the Seattle area. When I left KIDO at the end of 1976, Jack wished me well in my new job at KUUZ. It would be 31 years before I would hear from Jack Link again.
I founded the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation in January of 2004, and two years later, met Frank Aden Jr., who is now the Foundation’s Vice President. We held our first public meeting in May of 2006, and began holding regular meetings the following month in June of 2006. In 2007 we held a meeting at KTVB Channel 7 to celebrate the station’s 54th year on the air. We also published “Issue 7” of As the Turntable Turns in July of that year, which covered the early history of the station. One of the people attending that meeting was R.W. Egelston, who had worked at KIDO Radio in the 1940s. “RW” was in regular contact with Jack Link in Seattle, and sent him a copy of our magazine, and as they say, the rest is history! Jack was an enthusiastic supporter of the Foundation right from the start, and sent us a large “care-package” of original KIDO artifacts along with station sales and promotional literature! Many of these historic photos and documents ended up in my book “KIDO Boise’s First Radio Station.” It was published in 2012 and covers KIDO’s entire early history, starting 100 years ago in 1920 with Boise High School’s technical/trade school radio station 7YA. The book also covers the licensing of KFAU in July of 1922 as a limited-commercial station, and KFAU’s rapid growth and expanded operation through 1928 when it was sold to C.G. Phillips and Frank L. Hill and changed call letters to KIDO. The book then covers the “Kiddo” Phillips and Georgia Davidson eras, which lasted 30 years from 1928-1959, and ends with the “Bill Boeing/Jack Link Era” which ran for 17 years, from January 31, 1959 until June 30, 1976. I was working for KIDO at that time as an announcer, doing mornings for a short time, and then afternoon drive. After sending us that initial care package, Jack joined the Foundation and we set up a time for he and I to talk on the phone. I then called his Seattle office and we did an extensive phone interview, which we recorded and still exists in our massive audio archives.
The next year we celebrated KIDO’s 80th year using the KIDO call letters (1928-2008) with a luncheon at the Chrystal Ball Room at the Hotel Boise (now called the Hoff Building). To open the program, we played a recorded audio greeting from Jack Link to the attending guests. Jack was totally “on his A-game” and delighted the audience with his quips and quotes and really set the tone for what was truly a wonderful program! You can listen to it on line on our website which is www.historyofidahobroadcasting.org – click on Foundation Info and then click on the meeting date November 2008. There are two segments of audio. The first is Jack’s intro, followed by Bill Gratton and Gene Perkins talking about announcer Dar Dodds singing songs on KIDO, much to the dismay of the station’s owner Kiddo Phillips! Vern Moore was next with an air-check recorded during “Golden Sounds” week in the early 1970s where he told us about KIDO’s early history during the 1930s and 1940s. The 2nd audio segment covered the remainder of the program as described below.
Included in this audio segment is the introduction of our four guests of honor, starting with KIDO Announcer Pete Furno. (pictured below);
Our 4 other guests of honor (in addition to Pete Furno) included former KIDO AM & FM Chief Engineer Jimmy Johntz, who was the first member of our Foundation. (pictured below);
R.W. Egelston, Foundation Member and former KIDO Transmitter Engineer in the early 1940s at the Wiley Lane site (pictured below);
Bob Vaughan, former KIDO announcer in the 1940s and early 1950s (pictured below);
And, former KIDO Chief Engineer Don Cederstrom during the 1960s and 1970s (pictured below).
After that meeting, we published three (3) issues of the magazine covering KIDO’s 80th anniversary. Much of the material Jack sent us went into the first 2 issues, #14, and #15, and Jack and Bill Boeing Jr. were both so pleased with the depth and accuracy of the story we told, they sent us a check for $1,000.00, which was then, our largest donation to date! That donation was the “shot the arm” we needed to grow the Foundation, so Jack Link’s encouragement and financial support was responsible for sparking much of our early growth!
Jack Thompson and I then hatched the idea of doing an in-person reunion in Seattle and inviting Jack Link! That event happened in May of 2010 and was called the Seattle Connection.
The list of attendees read like a “who’s who” in KIDO history.
Jack Thompson and Jack Link
Pictured here are Jack, Art and Del Chapman before the luncheon and panel discussion.
The following May (2011) we held the “Blast from the Past” reunion in Boise, where Jack attended via telephone hook-up during a live broadcast from the front window of KIDO’s former Vista Studios!
Jack would join us again “live” via telephone in 2013 to narrate a slide show at Boise’s Parkcenter Smoky Mountain Pizza and Pasta celebrating Channel 7’s 60th Anniversary. I sent Jack a special binder that showed photos of all the slides the folks in Boise would be seeing. Jack then supplied a live audio description for each slide, and even took questions and comments from Doug Armstrong and the many members of the KTVB staff that attended the luncheon!
When my KIDO book came out a year earlier in 2012, Jack was very supportive, first by supplying rare photos and other materials for the book, and later by purchasing many copies to give to friends and family! We also sang “Happy Birthday” to Jack at numerous October meetings through the years, and often played recorded audio greetings from Jack, which he was always happy to do, and did so with great skill and expertise. Even in his later years, Jack “still had it” and could speak with wit and wisdom on command!
When we started the campaign to purchase the KFXD Building in 2017, Jack was an immediate and major-supporter, and sent us regular checks, donating hundreds, and in several cases, thousands of dollars! So the good news at the beginning of this magazine, where we were able to refinance the building, would not have been possible without the friendship and financial support of Jack Link. So enjoy our tribute to Jack Link. He was a major supporter of our Foundation, and a great broadcaster! But more important than that, Jack was a great person and a wonderful friend to me and to everyone he met. He will be missed, and in part, thanks to our Foundation, his legacy will never be forgotten.