Johnny Dark, 68 WRKO Boston | 1975

680 Boston WRKO Chip Hobart, Dale Dorman Johnny Dark Harry Nelson JJ Jordan JJ Wright Mike Addams Eric Chase Charlie Van Dyke Jordan Rich JJ Jeffrey Charlie Fox 68 RKO
WRKO Transmitter
The WRKO Transmitter building – courtesy of

Recording Date: Summer, 1975
Station: 680 WRKO (WNAC) Boston
Format: Top 40
Branded: “Sixty-Eight R K O
Ownership: RKO General
Contributor: Steve Bleecker
Featured Air Personality: Johnny Dark



Thank you all for your nice comments. It was a great thrill to work at both WRKO and WNNNNBC. I never worked at WCAO. That IS a different JD. I also worked at WYND..WSRF… WSHE..WMYQ..WOKY..WHTT..WMRQ..WFLC..and WKIS. Thank you all again,
Johnny Dark (now in Florida)

Curator’s Notes:

With the benefit of time passing between the original posting of this aircheck and now, a few things can be said. First, the date can be narrowed down to 1975, not 1976. A few people have commented about this recording to help make that determination. Johnny Dark himself found this aircheck while online from his home in Florida. His comments are posted below.

As with most things in the media world, things eventually come to an end. One of the websites I used to go to for WRKO Top 40 format information was Owner Shel Swartz shut the site down in 2017, noting his retirement and declining resources. I find that quite unfortunate, noting that was one of the very first websites that I found on the web way back in 1997. The domain name is for sale, contact “if you have a substantial offer and wish to make payment”.

Also going away rather soon (as of this writing), our competitor, Citing health, declining revenue and ‘theft’, Curator Richard Irwin is closing the doors on the 22 year old legend as soon as operating funds are exhausted. A genuinely wonderful resource for the history of Top 40 radio broadcasting will be no more by the time Summer 2018 hits. We can only say goodbye, and get well soon.

Original Comments:

Johnny Dark was one of the Top 40 jocks at The NEW WNNNNNNNNBC in the late 70s and is probably best known in this role, but before New York City called, Dark was heard in Boston at 68 WRKO when it was a very hot Top 40 station. Sounding VERY contemporary, RKO has the same 1976 jingle package (TM, I believe) as sister KHJ in Los Angeles. Just ONE shotgun jingle but quite rhythmic, used a couple of times an hour. The TOH here is a spoken produced work instead of the Johnny Mann Top Hour Jingle – touting the station’s role as New England’s number ONE Hit Music Station!

This station really cooks! RKO was probably in it’s best phase (even though purists still look at the period 1967-1970 as it’s best). It really sounds hot. Johnny Dark is in great form here, and while there’s not much more than 3 minutes of audio to sample, you’ll hear him hit the post each time!

Thanks to contributor Steve Bleecker.



  1. Steve Bleecker

    Great clip of “Johnny…THE Midday Man” !
    Here, he must have been filling in for Dale Dorman (mornings)…leading into new P.D. J.J. Jordan , who had just recently arrived …BACK at The Big 68 ! Many will remember that Jodan had been the all nite man at RKO just a few years before…talk about a “Comeback” !! Anyway , Johnny Dark was Brilliant at “painting pictures” with carefully chosen verbal images, as you’ll hear !

  2. Nick Sarames

    This aircheck was actually from 1975. Charley Van Dyke continue to voice the TO ID for at least another year I think. My family and I vacationed on the Cape every Summer during the ’70s and I became an avid listener to WRKO. When we returned in August ’76, Jordan was gone, as was the “Shotgun” jingle, to be replaced by a package of jingles.


      Hey Nick …You’re right ! As I was getting this aircheck ready for , I debated as to when I had “grabbed” it …I went with ’76, not “75 …maybe THAT’S WHY I am feeling Older …Quicker ! ??? Thanks !

  3. John S.

    I remember Johnny Dark during the 1960s on WCAO in Baltimore. Steve is right; JD is a master at painting word pictures. I recall him giving a daily report on R.C. Allen’s treck across the country to be a new DJ on WCAO… There probably wasn’t a word of truth in it, but he gave a play by play of where he was each day… He also described at length how (because RC was coming and would get the good studio) he was moved to Studio B – the one with no windows – and asked for listeners to send in photos of themselves to decorate it. I do know that was totally fabricated, but he had everyone convinced.

    Man, that was when radio was RADIO!

    • There were three different Johnny Darks that I know of that worked at various places around the United States, mainly in the 60s and 70s. The more famous guy is the one who was on WRKO and WNBC. I *think* the Johnny Dark who worked at WCAO is a different guy, but hey, my wife says I have CRS (Cant Remember Sh**)… lol. BTW, the Johnny Dark you’re talking about at WCAO was also there during the Country days in the 1990s, just before the switch to Religion. I believe he had a special show on Saturday nights. Pretty famous guy in the Baltimore area as I recall from my days in Anne Arundel County.

  4. Johnny Dark

    Thank you all for your nice comments. It was a great thrill to work at both WRKO and WNNNNBC. I never worked at WCAO. That IS a different JD.

    I also worked at WYND..WSRF… WSHE..WMYQ..WOKY..WHTT..WMRQ..WFLC..and WKIS.

    Thank you all again,

    Johnny Dark (now in Florida)

  5. Steve Hughes

    I worked at WSRF/WSHE in Ft. Lauderdale in the early 70’s while JD was PD there. I was a board-op on the FM at the time for Tommy Judge’s “Headrest” show which was at the time experimenting with the idea of taking the then WSRF-FM to a full time progressive rock format, which it eventually did shortly after my leaving the station because of personal family problems that needed my attention back in California. I remember Johnny as being a true professional with great pipes, and I knew that he was destine for Top 40 radio stardom.

  6. Nick Sarames

    In a post above, Johnny Dark mentioned working at WMRQ (“Quality Rock”), a Triple A station out of Boston. He sounded just as good in that format as he did doing the high energy Paul Drew Top 40 sound of the ’70s. Dark would stay with the station as it changed to Oldies and WODS. And let’s not forget Dennis the Menace.

  7. Paul "Sandy" Sanders

    I had a friend known as “Shotgun Johnny Dark” on the radio as a DJ in Jackson, Miss in the early 70s and he would be about 62. Have you ever run into him?

  8. Robert

    Steve, thanks for your comment. I believe the WCAO Johnny Dark was the original one. He passed away a couple of years ago in his early 80s. His last station was WTTR in Westminster MD where he was doing oldies. I worked with him in 1995 when I did some weekend work at 100.3 WBIG Washington DC which then was oldies (now classic rock). Johnny did the Saturday night all request show. But he was on WMEX Boston as far back as 1961 prior to his long tenure at “60 CAO”.
    I met the WRKO/WNBC Johnny Dark back in 1967 at WYND 1280 Sarasota Fla. while I was going to Radio Engineering Institute studying for my FCC 1st Class Radiotelephone License. WYND was an incredible-sounding 500-watt daytimer with a young talented staff. Had it been fulltime on a better frequency it would have been a significant factor in the market.

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