Rick Dees in the Morning, 102.7 KIIS-FM/1150 KIIS-AM Stereo Los Angeles | Summer, 1985

Rick Dees began his career sometime in the early 1970s in the state of Mississippi. His first claim to fame occurred in Memphis, at 56 WHBQ, that powerful Top 40 station which was home to many legendary deejays, including George Klein, Wink Martindale and others.

Following his phenomenal success at WHBQ with his sidekick, Terrance McKeever, Dees left for California. Being that WHBQ was an RKO station, Dees was essentially called up to the big leagues from the brass at RKO, and sent to 93 KHJ. When KHJ began to implode due to a number of factors, Dees found himself unemployed… for two, excruciating years before finally landing the morning show at KIIS-FM. There, Dees found himself presiding over the number one radio morning show in Los Angeles, a place where he would stay until he was replaced, unceremoneously, by Ryan Seacrest, on February 10, 2004.

KIIS-FM, at this point in 1985, was still simulcasting it’s sister station, KIIS-AM 1150. The AM side was broadcasting in Motorola C-Quam AM Stereo (and did so for the rest of the 1980s and into the 1990s). JAM Creative Productions was the sole supplier of station jingles, a separate set were sung for the AM and the FM side, along with some common cuts. Dees had a full staff for the morning show, plenty of sound effects, great writers and some hilairious bits. It could be said that Dees, and KIIS-FM were both just hitting their stride in the Summer of 1985.

As usual, I’d like to cordially invite our West Coast expert, known as ‘CalRadioPD’ to comment on any errors or omissions printed here in this presentation. There is almost always a ‘story behind the story’ and we’d sure like to know about Dees and KIIS-AM and FM in the mid-1980s. In fact, anyone who would like to comment is invited to do so. Spark up a conversation in our comment section, and know that we’ll be sporting a brand new discussion board just on the topic of Classic Airchecks very soon. But for now, just click that ‘Comment’ Button!


  1. Jeffery James

    All I can add is that KIIS-AM had a different line-up after 6 p.m. and on the weekends. The simulcast was Dees, Paul Freeman and Big Ron O’Brien. That was the reason for the set of different jingles.

  2. calradiopd

    Dees actually made it big at WHBQ’s competitor, WMPS. They fired him for playing “Disco Duck”, and WHBQ picked him up. That was fall of 1976.

    Dees was brought into KHJ in April of 1979 as Chuck Martin was desperately trying to get KHJ back on track after John Sebastian’s quasi-AOR approach. As we’ve discussed in other exhibits, it was too late and Rick was a casualty of the format flip to country in October 1980.

    Dees was out of work way less than two years. He was on KIIS-FM in July of 1981. So that’s seven months.

  3. John McAfee

    Rick DEEs was a great DJ in the eighties. I graduated high school in 1982 and I got My first real job downtown L.A. in the Wilshire district at Tams Stationers and my friends and I traveled from West Covina to Los Angeles daily in morning traffic and the Rick Dees morning show with Rachel and Coach and Chuey from LaPuente, made our hour or so drive much more bareable, Im 50 years old now and I live in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I was telling some of the students at the school I work at about Rick Dees and how much fun it use to be listening to him and how funny the bits they use to do when he would call someone up and give them a hard time. Well anyway thank you Rick and KIIS FM for all the fun memories in the 80,s.

    Sincerly John McAfee Jr. 870-345-8947

  4. I lived in Southern California in the early to mid 80’s and enjoyed KIIS FM and Rick Dees morning show daily. He really knew how to entertain with his cast and crew. I even had a chance to meet Rick and his wife once.This is one of the best memories of my time in Southern California.

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