Someone You Should Know: Local ‘Professor Of Country Music Radio’ Signs Off After 50+ Years
Hank Williams Sr. made him fall in love with country music, and not long after he began introducing his songs on country music radio. After more than five decades on the air, a local legend signed off for the last time Thursday. KDLT’s Jill Johnson gives us a taste of why Joe Morrison is ‘Someone You Should Know’.
At just 9-years-old, Morrison says his love affair began with country music.
“The music isn’t quite the same, you know, in the old days they used to go into a studio and Elvis Presley and even Johnny Cash and maybe they would do a couple of takes,” said Morrison.
Morrison says listening to country turned into his career after taking guitar lessons from Sherwin Linton.
“He tried teaching me how to play ‘Wheels’ and my fingers wouldn’t work,” said Morrison. “He (Linton) said maybe you might consider getting into radio and you can still be around the music you love.”
That’s exactly what Morrison did. He attended the Brown Institute of Broadcasting in Minnesota before starting his career at KJAM in Madison in 1964. He worked at two other country music stations in Kansas and Missouri before coming to KXRB in 1969, where he’s been ever since. And ever since he’s been bringing people not only traditional country, but the stories behind the music, known to some as the ‘Professor of Country Music’.
Morrison said, “There’s a lot of automation in all radio, and without the personal touch, the local and live as we say with my show and KXRB in general, a lot of that is lost.”
But that ‘special touch’ hasn’t been lost among listeners. On his last day, Morrison’s last few hours on air, dozens of his most loyal expressed their joy and sorrow.
After 53 years, he decided to leave them with…
“‘Aloha O’ by Marty Robins, now I’ll tear up,” says Morrison laughing and then tearing up. “How do you find anything better than that? and then, the final song, ‘Happy Trails’ (by) Roy Rogers.”
Happy Trails, indeed, to a local legend in country music radio.
“For the last time Joe Morrison. Thank you again for all the years of support,” Morrison’s last words on air.
Morrison has was inducted into the National Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame a few years ago and will soon be inducted into the Legends of Hall of Fame in South Dakota.