JJ Jackson Described as Man of “Many Compartments”
(March 24, 2004) The world of MTV, storytelling, KLOS, automobiles, “the EDGE,” and rock and roll came together yesterday afternoon at JJ Jackson’s Memorial Service at the Angelus Funeral Home in Los Angeles. During the one hour and fifteen minute celebration, J.J. was described as a complex man with "many compartments.” Richard LaBrie officiated and he acknowledged that JJ might be more complex than we think. He said that the participants would piece together JJ’s life, “so we can match our memories with their memories.”
JJ's death on St. Patrick's Day of an apparent heart attack was a shock to those who knew him as one of the first MTV VJs, or a KLOS jock during the 70s, or KABC/Channel 7 Rock reporter, or pd at KEDG “(The EDGE”) or more recently as the afternoon personality at KTWV, “the WAVE.” He was 62.
Many of his friends packed the funeral home on Crenshaw were visibly shaken. It started as Elma and Johnnie Jackson, JJ’s parents, came up the aisle. It is tough to imagine what it is like to outlive your child. (Photos: Elma and Johnny Jackson)
The room was filled with LARP. I sat with Richard Kimball in from Palm Springs, Randy Thomas who flew in from Florida, and Anita Gevinson. Others in the room included: KLOS pd Rita Wilde, Cynthia Fox, Mark Miller, Katie Clark, Barry Funkhouser, Bill Dudley, Nicole Devereux, Jane Monreal, Kelli Gates, K.M. Richards, Pat Gorman, and Suzanne Ansilio.
A woman who had known JJ for 40 years remembered when he expressed a desire to be a disc jockey and she suggested he become a Saturday night announcer at the Tufts University radio station. And that’s how he started in 1964.
Joe Reiling (right), colleague, friend and the last person to see JJ alive, was the first to mention a theme that was woven through the remarks of those who shared. "JJ was a storyteller and he would tell them to the nth degree,” said Joe. “If you ever sat in on a JJ story session, he would tell a story and then tell it several times. But because he did it with that JJ flair, we let him go on and on and on. Bottom line was that if we tried to stop him, he would still continue.”
Joe expressed JJ’s passion for radio: “He always had a radio idea in his mind and it always changed with the times.” JJ always had a love for cars. One of his early cars was a Corvette and the car he died in was a Mercedes Benz. “On his last day, fortunately he was in his favorite car, the Mercedes. In between he had a Jentzen Interceptor in the garage for years that he tried to sell to his friends.
“As many of you know, I was the last one to see JJ and I want you to know he was in great spirits,” confided Reiling. He had just recorded The Beatle Years at Westwood One, which he loved to do. Dropped off some chicken for mom and dad. And we had dinner. His career was kicking back into real high gear and we were doing some projects together.”
Allan Hunter, fellow MTV VJ, said that JJ straddled so many rivers without boundaries. “He wasn’t black or white or red or yellow. Everybody loved him and he loved them.”
Top: Julie Brown, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn
Botton: Anita Gevinson, Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood
Another original MTV VJ, Mark Goodman, opened his comments with, “I’m so pissed at JJ now. I’m the oldest VJ now.” Mark discovered why Jim Ladd and JJ were the best of friends. “Ladd realized there was someone who could match him word for word when it came to being verbose.” Mark revealed that JJ’s vanity forced him to spray the bald spot on the back of his head with black paint.
Photo on left: Richard Kimball
Photo on right: George Reyes (KTWV morning show & co-host of Reyes Y Solis on KLSX); Nicole Devereaux (former KTWV weekender); Rosemary Jimenez (KTWV morning show producer); Barry Funkhouser (KTWV programming & production assistant); and Bill Dudley (KTWV weekender)
Martha Quinn said that she was JJ’s little sister. She revealed that JJ almost quit MTV after the first week because he thought he was selling out by appearing on a new network that had a noticable lack of black artists. It came to a head when MTV virtually ignored the death of Muddy Waters to feature Spandau Ballet. “JJ said, ‘Goddam it, I sold out.” He stayed on and will forever be remembered as one of the original VJ’s from MTV’s launch in the summer of 1981.
Damion (left), a KLOS compadre beginning 1972, remembered JJ for his passion for music and clothes. “No matter the occasion, he was the one who showed up as the nattily attired man. He was always fashionable,” said Damion. He quoted John Lennon on the subject of dying. “Lennon said it was like getting out of one car and into another. JJ loved his cars.”
“JJ Jackson was my best friend,” revealed Jim Ladd. “He was not just a good friend or even a close friend. He was my best friend. He was my brother. We used to joke about the fact that we could actually have grown up in each other’s homes. We were both blessed with such loving parents. JJ never took that for granted. He used to brag about his parents to the point where I felt I knew Elma and Johnny almost as well as he did.”
Ladd described JJ as a man of many parts. He was a proud Marine and at the same time a hard-core rock and roller. He was the first man I would call if my life depended on someone else. But he could also cry at the end of a bad movie. He was a man who seemed to be endlessly fascinated with life.
(Mark Miller, Denise Westwood, Jim Ladd, Rita Wilde)
The ceremony ended with the congregation singing the Lennon/McCartney song, In My Life.
Katie Clark was moved by the ceremony. “What a touching and wonderful place to remember him,” emailed Katie. “As sad and in grief as we all are, hearing the words of his friends and family brought his bright soul right into that room for me. What a special person, who was loved by so many. He was not only a part of music history, he WAS musical history. What an inspiration,” concluded Clark.
"I had the surreal pleasure of working with JJ at KLOS on the weekends,” said Kelli Gates (right). “Those on-air exchanges with him made me feel like a million bucks. I would get so nervous initially, not thinking I could ever stack up on the air alongside him. I was honored that he would even want to goof off with me, or hear my opinions on things. Of course, I would always make sure that I had applied some fresh lipstick for when he came through the door and laid some ‘sugar’ on me. You had to look good for JJ!
My regret is not getting to know him better and taking him up on those platonic offers to go to a fabulous dinner or out dancing. I had his home phone # in my book at his insistence, and never dialed it. Honestly, I don't think I felt worthy, like, ‘why would he want to spend time with me?’ But now I realize he did...he had a huge heart and made time for all kinds of people. After hearing all the wonderful stories his good friends told yesterday, I knew I had passed up a wonderful opportunity to gain wisdom, share laughs, and of course, hear out of this world rock and roll stories! I will never make that mistake again. Jim Ladd, can I finally come to that poker game of yours?!?!?!
“It was such a lovely, touching, tasteful, and poignant tribute to JJ Jackson,” said Mary Lyon. “I've never seen so many of those guys in neckties before! Some of them I haven't seen in years. While I'm sorry for the circumstances that demanded it, I was so glad to be there, and to be reminded of so many cool experiences and memories from my KLOS days. I'm WAY grateful to have been part of these people's lives. Reminded me of how much I treasure them! As Damion mentioned to me – ‘the friendships are the currency of our days.’ Pretty eloquent, 'eh?”
JJ Jackson Has Died
(March 18, 2004) JJ Jackson, one of the early MTV jocks and long-time Los Angeles Radio People, died last night of an apparent heart attack while driving home from dinner.
JJ worked afternoon drive when he arrived at KLOS from WBCN-Boston in 1971. He spent almost a decade there. Later in the 1980s, JJ worked at KWST, KROQ and KMPC/fm, which later became KEDG ("The Edge"). In late 1994, JJ began hosting "The Beatle Years," a syndicated series airing on 200 stations nationwide. He spent many years at Westwood One. He returned to KLOS in 2000 to host "The Seventh Day." Most recently, JJ worked afternoon drive at KTWV, "The WAVE." Services are pending.
JJ Jackson Memorial. The announcement for JJ Jackson's memorial says: The Jackson Family announces the Memorial Service for our brother, lover, father, son, conscience, mentor, cooler, soul mate, friend:
JOHN JULIAN JACKSON III
Tuesday, March 23
Angelus Funeral Home
Los Angeles, California 90008
If you would like to participate in the hour long celebration by briefly sharing some of your memories of JJ, please call Tracey Jackson Cash today at 310.386.3266. JJ died last Wednesday of an apparent heart attack. He was 62.
"JJ hugged me the very first time we met. He skipped right past the handshake and went directly to the hug. That, to me, is the essence of JJ. The warmth in his eyes, that twinkle, embraced you. The genuine enthusiasm in his voice drew you in to the radio. He didn’t just back sell music, he wrapped his arms around it. JJ truly knew how to hold – how to embrace – an audience." (Ralph Stewart)
Opening comments by Joe Reiling on KLOS on Thursday, March 18, at 10 p.m.
"Hello I'm Joe Reiling. I'm here tonight for Jim Ladd, because we're both taking care of family business...and with that I'm talking about the passing of JJ Jackson. All day today, people have been calling us from all over the place, all asking, 'Is it true about JJ?'
I was blessed to see him just before he died. I want everybody to know that JJ was in great spirits and he was happy and we were talking about what were were going to do this weekend. JJ, or "Triple J" has been recognized by many as:
A rock and roll radio pioneer
One of the original MTV video jocks
A radio legend
And indeed he was all of that and so much more.
Speaking for myself, Jim and another KLOS alumni, Damion, JJ is our brother. J would refer to us as 'The Four Musketeers.' We shared so much together.
And sharing is what J was all about. Anybody who met JJ realized the heart this man had for the music he played, for the rock and roll he 'lived,' for all his many friends, musicians and of course his family. Yes, JJ has a big family. JJ is a brother to us all. Whether he was talking to a major recording star or to someone who was trying to get into the business of radio or music, JJ would always share time and words with them.
Now at this point, JJ is probably glancing at me and telling me to 'get on with it.' He always kept us in line that way. So, utilizing the next few songs, I would to share with you our memories of our brother. JJ Jackson...son and friend of John and Alma Jackson. Brother to us all.
At this point I told the story about the first tv broadcast JJ did on KABC/Channel 7. J had proposed that he would cover major concert events for KABC/TV. Since he and Rod Stewart had been very good friends, and Rod wanted to help JJ get this gig, Rod offered to be his first guest. J said that become the clincher for the deal. I then played a set by Rod. Subsequently I played sets of music by artists who were very good friends of J's and music by artists that had some connection to J. His 'friend' sets included: Rod, Roger Daltry, Robert Plant, and Peter Wolf. I introduced each set with a story with they're connection to J. I closed the show with Led Zeppelin's Since I've Been Loving You. Robert Plant dedicated this song to his 'good friend JJ Jackson at Zep's Forum concert back in 1976."
"Triple J. The man with the touch. And indeed he did touch us all. I remember how he loved to come into the station 2 minutes before air time, hit the mike and it was that touch. 'Hello SO-CAL it's Triple J.' Over the last 20 years every once in a while we would get in touch again. Maybe at an R&R in L.A. or at a new hot spot in Hollywood that I had called JJ a week before my LA trip to find out about. Being from Louisiana, we didn't cross paths often, but when we did it was always like 1979 was only yesterday. That JJ touch. And we touched again sharing a few old memories, a few new ideas and a few of our shared ambitions. Those of us who were fortunate enough to have worked closely with him will remember his smile, his kindness, his sense of people. God bless him well." (Ted Ferguson PD KWST in 78-80, Mgr Radio 1, Star-Fm, Tiare-Fm Papeete, Tahiti}
“He was J-3 to me. We met in the 70s. He had the sweetest smile and was just so genuine. I listened to him on the air of course, like everyone. What a star! So smart about his music, not only Rock, but every musical genre, and of other things too. He had great taste and loved to look sharp in whatever he was wearing. He loved his life and L.A., but said to me, ‘Hey, I'm a New Yorker.’ Actually, I think he was universal. He fit in everywhere with everyone. He had a jumbo phone book full of friends. He was cool.
I was privileged to work at KMPC/fm as it transformed into KEDG/fm ‘The Edge,’ on Raechel Donahue's morning show. JJ was the music/program director, Gene Autry being the owner of the station. What a trip. It was short but intense. We were on at 6 a.m. so JJ was our polar opposite, yet he'd awake early sometimes and listen to the show, checking it, making sure, but allowing Miz Rae be her creative best. And he and I would talk on the telephone. He taught me a lot about his gig. He was management, but he was us, too. He had a wicked sense of humor, and was generous of spirit.
He had a Corvette and loved to floor it. I remember a drive thru Laurel Canyon at top speed and the music blasting. He loved that. If you want to SEE JJ at his best, talking about radio, check out Raechel Donahue's documentary called Rock Jocks - The FM Revolution. It was screened at the Museum of Radio and Television in Beverly Hills last year and afterwards we all went to dinner. I'm so glad we had that occasion because he was in the best mood and I'll always remember how funny he was. ALL GRIEF BE FAR.” (Allison Caine)
“I listened to Triple J from the earliest days of Rock N Stereo KLOS. He was always one of the guys that was able to make you feel the music. I followed him around the dial, and always felt like he was a friend, ready to share the latest and the greatest in music with me. I only met JJ once, but it was like meeting an old friend again. It was during a radio discussion at the Museum of Television & Radio in Beverly Hills. This was a chance for listeners and industry folks to be able to sit down and listen to the tales of KMET. Of course, JJ was not part of the staff of KMET, or on the stage for any of the program, but afterwards, I was lucky enough to have him autograph Jim Ladd's Radio Waves. His quote: ‘Thanks for caring. JJ Jackson.’ JJ, thanks for making us care.” (Frank Canin, Davey Croakette, KFRG)
"I heard the words. I ran to the tv. An immense wave of sadness went through me. I have been sad for days now.
JJ was so very much responsible for my going into the radio biz. Back in 1978-79 I worked as a volunteer for Sam Russell on the KLOS Community Switchboard. Every Friday for a year, my shift was right alongside JJ who was on the air. And he'd mark my arrival on the phones by playing Peg by Steely Dan on the air. Back then I thought it was cute. Now that he's gone, I realize just how much those Friday night moments mean. Wonderful memories! I wanted so badly to work at the station and he encouraged me to hang in there. We had so much fun. And I listened to his advice, was patient, and eventually did land a job at KLOS. I missed him terribly when he left KLOS. I will forever hold him near and dear in my heart. What a wonderful, kind, loving human being. One in a million. God bless him." (Peggy Sellers, ex-KLOS sales department & broadcast standards)
"How sad that JJ is no longer with us but what wonderful memories of time with him at work and play [KLOS], through past tragedies and at some very happy celebrations of life. I'm proud to have known him. He left his mark on radio and the music and brought much joy to those whose life he touched." (Richard Flanagan)
"These are truly powerful and touching remembrances; but I can't help but think how OUR JJ would feel reading them. I suspect he'd get shy and even somewhat embarrassed by them. I think he'd try and shake them off in that gentle sweet way of his. But that was our JJ S R E A L. An extra-ordinary guy and that's how he touched people - in an extra-ordinary way.
I first encountered Triple J years ago at KWST. I did traffic in the mornings, first with Phil Hendrie and Scoop and then with Miz Rae and David Perry. JJ followed from 10 to 2 and on most days we'd hang around the studio and talk. And OY! Could he talk, or what?
I didn't know much about the radio landscape back then, but I did know right away that this guy was not your average Joe in headphones. I know I'm one of the lucky ones 'cuz we remained friends and I'm a smarter and wiser gal because of it.
The thing is, if you knew JJ, there's nothing I can say about him you don't already know. We each experienced him in our own way. To me, he was just 'some'em special' and he'll be sorely missed. I used to call him 'Pillow Lips.' And if you missed the story behind that, know it was a good one - and one that ALWAYS gave the big a guy a big laugh! I miss you Pillow Lips; it's
a sad day in Radio Land without you. (Gayl Murphy)
"JJ Jackson and I were not ‘good' friends, and, in fact, only met in person a half a dozen times and talked on the phone an equal amount. We worked at some of the same places at different times, had a lot of friends in common, and I believe, a mutual respect existed on a professional basis. Here's my point. Every time we did meet or speak, he remembered my name, came across the room to say ‘Hi,’ asked about the well being of common friends, and was genuine. He took the time hear me out on the KROQ Reunion or programming philosophies as related to ‘The Edge.’
There are DAMN FEW practicing LARPs that will take the time, return calls, or even give someone not currently working in the industry the time of day if they can't figure out WIIFT [What's In IT For Them]. The next time we may be feeling a little full of ourselves, please consider the kind and generous nature of the Gentle Giant with the Husky voice, Triple J.” (Darrell Wayne, ex-KROQ, LARadio.com editor, morning fill-in KVTA-AM Ventura)
"I worked with J.J. at KLOS from 1972-76. He was the afternoon guy and I came over from KMET to do mornings. JJ was a warm and generous man. When we first started working together he would call me ‘the kid.’ We weren't close, but when I would run into him at a Westwood One Christmas party or other event we would catch up on ‘things’ like we were old buds. Triple J was a true Rock radio pioneer. Starting at the legendary [and still standing] WBCN in Boston, he got to know all of the great rock musicians of the day, many who remained friends. Most of us got into ‘underground radio’ in the 60s because of our love and commitment to the music. JJ never lost that.
The only time I every remember him being pissed at me was when the entire staff at KLOS went to a Led Zeppelin concert at the Forum. I left early because it was too loud, believe me I heard about it the next day. We lost a great friend.” (Jeff Gonzer)
“I was shocked to hear about JJ Jackson. What a set of pipes this man had. I know everyone will miss him. My thoughts are with his family.” (Larry Woodside)
“In 1986 I moved to Los Angeles and was one of the last djs ever hired on KMET. It was not too long after that management changed format and the WAVE forced us out on the streets. Eventually most of us found our way to Gene Autry’s KMPC/fm.
The first time I met JJ, he was upstairs in the music director’s office pouring through stacks of CDs that would eventually find their way into the on-air studio. A true ‘musicologist,’ JJ not only blurred color lines he merged the parameters of rock music. In his own way he was truly a renaissance man. And then there was the ‘Triple J Bear Hug’ if you were lucky enough to be on the receiving end of one you felt special.
JJ was doing afternoon drive on KMPC/fm [101.9] soon to become KEDG ‘The Edge.’ In a short amount of time JJ was promoted from music director to program director and promoted me from nights to middays, shortly after Cynthia Fox resigned. So, everyday during my show he would come into the studio to pull his music for his afternoon drive shift regaling me with stories about his favorite artists.
He loved it when the air staff found a way to create segues that would seamlessly transition from one song or artist to another without the jarring effects of what you would traditionally hear on any other station. If you could find a song that began on the same note the previous song ended on, or found a theme you could thread together musically, it would cause the studio hot line to ring and JJ would be on the other end telling you how brilliant you were. JJ created a loving and nurturing environment that fostered the last bit of creativity on the fm band. We were as close to free form radio as when fm first began in the early to mid-70s.
JJ let us choose the music that would create a radio show unlike anything else on the air in Los Angeles in 1988. Perhaps he gave us too much freedom and ultimately management pulled the plug on the EDGE. It was like a prolonged funeral saying goodbye to the EDGE, not only because we loved working on the radio every day in such an amazing environment but also because we were a family and it was hard to say goodbye. That was truly the end of a radio era.
JJ and I continued our friendship with dinners and lunches over the years and the thing I loved about him the most is he always told you the hard truth whether you wanted to hear it or not. He just had this special way about him, you knew he would not suffer fools and if you were someone he cared about you felt blessed.
Just before I move from L.A. to Florida last summer, I had a barbecue and JJ was there to wish us well, kiss me and my husband and daughter goodbye, and present me with a letter that he wrote from his heart on MTV stationery. I teased him that it was time to get new stationery. Other than my Mom, there was no one that was prouder of me for my accomplishments. I was a dj-turned-professional voice-over artist with several Academy Awards under my belt and, in fact, he called me every time he heard me on a global awards show. His letter to me was so touching because he not only told me how proud he was of what I had accomplished with my career but because he was proudest that I would leave L.A. at the top of my game to move to a place where my family would have a glorious life. I shall treasure that letter forever now.” (Randy Thomas)
“I am very blessed man to have known JJ Jackson for almost 30 years. Back in the Rock N Stereo days with JJ Jackson, Jim Ladd, Damion and Tom Yates, and polyester dressed salesman named Arlo were all young and the world was ours to fully enjoy, and boy did we. The wonderful thing about JJ was that he never stopped fully enjoying his work and his friend and life. He was gentle, fun, and loving and he knew and cared as much about Rock and Roll as anyone.
One of my biggest regrets was that not long ago I talked to Jim Ladd and JJ about a Fear and Loathing road trip in a convertible to Las Vegas. I would have been the designated driver. I'm so sorry we never got our chance to go. I love you JJ and will always cherish the light and love you brought into my life. God Bless.” (Arlo Hults)
“I'm truly stunned at the death of JJ Jackson. As a fan of MTV in the 80s he made you feel like you were one of his friends sitting there watching music videos. I will truly miss him. He was one of the great guys in radio he made you feel you were listening to one of your friends and not just a dj in the afternoon “ (Traci Mecca, Mission Viego)
“What a shock. I got to meet JJ Jackson at your radio festival at the Museum of TV & Radio. He was very approachable and we had a nice chat. Got a good picture with him too.” (Andrew Schermerhorn)
"Rockin Stereo Ninety Five and Half - KLOS! Nobody delivered a station's name better! I listened every day in high school! A great talent and person! You will be missed JJ.” (Craig Powers, ex-KIK/fm, KEZY, KIIS, “Lite 100.5”)
“JJ was my inspiration for getting into radio in the first place. I used to hear him on KLOS as a child and he made the music come alive for me. Ironically, I became the music director for KLOS and competed against JJ in the 80's when he was programming a cross-town station. He was very complimentary and always had a kind word to say to me whenever we saw each other. He was truly a gentleman.” (Stephanie A. Mondello, Director of Programming, DMX MUSIC)
“August 16, 1977. JJ Jackson was on the air at KLOS when the newsman, Marshall Phillips, came into the studio with some distressing news. Elvis was dead. What could be worse news at a rock station? The worse news was that an announcement was about to be made that the King of Rock & Roll had died and there wasn't an Elvis record in the building. Remember this was a ROCK station. JJ calmly called for Jeff Beck's Beck-Ola, opened the microphone, related the bad news with the credibility that he always brought to the airwaves, then slid into All Shook Up, as if the King had requested the song himself in celebration of his life. KLOS still had board operators for their jocks in 1977 and I was the guy on the board that day.
JJ was the real deal. No matter how he was painted later by the hype of MTV, he truly loved the music and if he found out that you loved the music too, you became part of the fraternity.
JJ, as the ‘rock reporter’ for KABC/Channel 7's ‘Eyewitness News’ was the first guy to interview Bruce Springsteen on television in 1978 in one of the longest music features I've ever seen on a local news broadcast. At the end of that report the anchors at the time, Jerry Dunphy and Christine Lund were miffed by his enthusiasm about this rising artist. The only thing Jerry could say to close out the segment was, ‘Sounds like fun, JJ’ in his best Ted Baxter pose. ‘He loves his work.’ As clueless as Jerry was about what he had just witnessed, he was right about the fact that JJ did loved his work.
He made you proud to be a rocker and carried that message to the radio and television with more class than anyone that has reported on music since.” (Michael Stark)
“I was stunned to read your bulletin about JJ Jackson's untimely demise! I knew JJ and had worked with him at K-West, starting in January 1980. He was a very kind, generous and sweet gentle man. As a talent, he was bar none.
He had his idiosyncrasies, though. Two that I still remember vividly concerned his beloved Jensen automobile, which, while he was on the air on the 4th floor of 6430 Sunset Blvd., he always insisted on parking on the adjacent garage rooftop where he could keep his eye on it from the control room window.
The other idiosyncrasy was that he always drew closed two sets of curtains in the control room. He didn't want to be seen from the newsroom window nor from the common hallway window. But the one set of curtains he ALWAYS left open? The view to the rooftop garage.
A quick personal story: one time he and I were riding up in the 6430 elevator to the 4th floor. It was five minutes to his show time when the elevator suddenly stopped and tilted severely to one side. We were stuck - and it felt like a cable had broken. We both tried to remain visibly calm and cool but I could see he was just as nervous as I was. I picked up
the handset in the elevator and spoke to the building's management. We were told not to move one iota and to hang tight, so, JJ and I held hands – sweaty as his and mine were. I think I had a death grip on his. I'm not sure if he was nervous because we were stuck in an elevator, or, because he was now quite tardy for the start of his 2 p.m. drive time show.
But after about ten minutes, we were righted and started moving again. We both dashed out of the car as fast as we could when the doors opened on the 4th floor. I saw him run the obstacle course that was the K-West hallways and straight into the control room where the midday guy, Steve Downes, sat patiently but perplexed at JJ's tardiness. The consummate entertainer, JJ decided the stuck-in-an-elevator story would make for a good jock-crossover, relating to Steve and the audience what had made him late. It was then,
listening in my office to JJ down the hall, that I discovered he had been as scared as I was in that motionless, tilted elevator. Afterward, he never stopped thanking me for getting us both out.
May he rest in peace.” (Elizabeth Salazar, formerly K-West)
“I was so sad to read about the death of JJ Jackson. I loved him and enjoyed listening to him on the KTWV. More than that, he was a good and decent guy in a world that is losing too many good and decent people.
I was already an adult when MTV hit, but I always enjoyed the camaraderie the original VJs all had. Of all of them, though, JJ was the most knowledgeable interviewer, knowing when and what to ask an artist and when to bail on an interview.
There is no way JJ was 62, maybe in human years, but not in spirit. My prayers to those he left behind, way too soon.
Thank you, Don, for letting me find out from a friend instead of a cold newspaper.” (Julie Byer)
“The best set of pipes in the biz. JJ was a master of the spontaneous, his feel for live radio was in a league of his own and he soared with eagles. May all of us that have known him, find comfort knowing that we are in his spirit.” (Nicole Devereux)
“I’m saddened to learn of a true gentleman who is no longer with us. I had the privilege of meeting him through Bill Dudley at KTWV "The Wave" a couple of years ago. I was impressed by his mild manner and terrific sense of humor. A real loss to us all.” (Jaime Uribe, Oakland)
"Such a sad loss. I saw JJ at the car show back in January; he was one of the best guys I've ever known, radio biz and life in general. Hard to do a show today. I really feel for Jim Ladd; they were truly BEST best friends, as I'm sure you already know. The fact he wasn't in a programming position of some sort was already a loss for L.A. radio. He'll truly be missed, on so many levels." (Gary Moore, KLOS)
"A true gentleman. It was a pleasure to know him. He was one of the very first black rock jocks in the USA. He knew everyone in rock n' roll and he spoke highly of most of them." (Bill Dudley, KTWV)
“I remember the 3-J's at KLOS in the early70s - Jim Ladd, Jeff Gonzer, and JJ Jackson. These gentlemen were not ‘time and temperature’ jocks, but
communicators of the music - the stories behind the songs, the artists' personal lives, the appreciation of a song well crafted, sung and played.
JJ Jackson was perhaps an enigma in today’s corporate radio reality, nevertheless, I looked forward to his outro to a set of songs, because he'd always throw in a tidbit of info that I'd not known before.
I'm happy that he got to continue to do his thing at MTV, where his talents could be more appreciated. As a personal sidelight, until he was an MTV VJ, I didn't know he was African-American, but that's shortsigtedness on my part. Another L.A. radio legend is gone at 62, the same age as Robert W. Morgan and The Real Don Steele.
JJ, as you ascend the Stairway to Heaven, please know that you were not just a voice to go along with the music. We listeners did not know you personally, but we loved you nevertheless and will miss you.” (Dave Hubbert)
“As former director of sales marketing & promotion for the WAVE, I’d certainly like to pay my respects to JJ and his family. This is a sad day in radio & tv history and JJ will definitely be missed. JJ and I were able to share some good memories together in the year he was with the WAVE. The thing that sticks out the most for me is that above and beyond his kind and easy going personality, JJ was an ambassador every time we had him at a station event or appearance. For as long as he had been in the business, you could see it in his eyes that he treated every instance like it was his first. Peace be with you JJ and God Speed!” (Greg Schoenbaum, Media & Entertainment Marketing Consultant, Newport Coast, CA)
“I met JJ at KFRC in San Francisco. We were both jocks back in the early '70s. He wasn't a great jock but he was a great person. Later, he became a great jock. He was one of those guys you thought of at least a couple of times a year because he was a rare individual. He was actually HAPPY!” (Joe Kelly)
“We have lost another great one. It was so upsetting to hear of JJ's passing. Today, there are so few radio personalities who really care about their craft and the people they work with, JJ was one of these people. He was a staple of the AOR format. JJ was a good friend to everyone. When he joined KTWV I listened to him and I enjoyed learning about the music from him. He will be missed by many of his peers.” (Jason Jeffries, director of long form programming, Salem Communications/Los Angeles)
“I was shocked to learn the news of JJ’s passing. I’m mainly just fan, but I did get to talk with him several times at Y107. JJ never went on the air there, but he sat in on several of our weekly music meetings. He was still very much into new music. Maybe you had to be there, but I consider those music meetings with the legendary JJ Jackson one of the many highlights of my time in Boss Angeles radio.” (Scott Lowe)
“I was saddened to hear of J.J.'s passing at too young an age. He was one of the established prime timers at WBCN-Boston and his departure for Los Angeles basically created room for me to go full time. He was always upbeat, positive and genuinely warm. Just a good human being, it's a shame.” (John Brodey, Los Angeles)
"Very sad to hear about JJ. I worked with him at KWST in 1980-81. Ted Ferguson was pd. JJ was a class act, a cool announcer and a very decent human being. He will be missed." (Kenny Noble Cortes, morning host KJCD-Denver)
" JJ was at KLOS when I started there in '77. He was, in a sense, the Captain of the Team. He was Grand Master J.J. Jackson. Everyone, on the air and behind the scenes, looked to him for leadership, yet, from day one, he was always warm and friendly to me - the new kid - and everyone else. I remember our gm at the time, John Winnaman, appearing with me on the KLOS talk show to answer questions from listeners. He kept referring to JJ as the station's 'musicologist.' John knew that JJ not only sounded smooth on the air, but truly knew what he was talking about. He knew the music, and he knew the bands. Though short-lived, his experiment with the Edge [KMPC/fm] was extraordinary, and I thought he sounded great on the WAVE, too. Rock on, JJ. Rock on. (Michael Benner)
"I remember JJ well. The fm studio was across the hall from the newsroom. He was a talented and gentle man." (Bob Steinbrinck)
"I have known JJ for many years. He was a kind and gracious and funny man. He will be missed so much I cannot even put it into words. Rest In Peace my friend we all love and will miss you terribly." (Your friend, Vinnie Polselli)
"As a kid I listened to JJ Jackson regularly after school on KLOS. When I first thought of getting into radio he was one of the first on air talents I wanted to emulate. Sad day. My very best to his family and thanks for touching my life." (Mark Wallengren, KOST)
"It is certainly a dark day in Los Angeles. I met JJ while I was working as an engineer during Sunday Brunch at The Wave. He was supposed to talk to the crowd once per hour and give something away, and he told me he felt like Steve Martin doing stand-up. The stories he told me in those 5 hour shifts I will cherish my entire life." (Barry "Funk-FM" Funkhouser, programming & production assistant, Smooth Jazz 94.7 The Wave)
"Sorry to hear of JJ Jackson's passing. You could tell from his on-air personna that he was a great guy." (Rich "Brother" Robbin)
"JJ Jackson was one of the most kind hearted and generous men that I have ever had the pleasure to have known and worked with. There wasn't a day that I can remember, when there wasn't a smile on his jovial face. And whenever I was feeling down, he'd prop me right back up. JJ you will always have a special place in my heart." (Fred Lindgren, writer/producer of Westwood One's "The Beatle Years")
"Some friends you say hi to, some you shake hands with. Every time I saw JJ he would give me a great big hug. I'll miss that more than words can say." (Donnie Ray, director of post production / producer, Westwood One)
"It's a sad moment for radio. As a programmer who always carried 'The Beatle Years' at every station that I worked at, I found that JJ was one of the most generous guys to deal with. He often went beyond the call of duty when it came to liners that most professionals in syndicated programming wouldn't even consider. As an example, he cut bits for us for our anniversary show. For a Hawaiian 'rinky dink' morning show at a small radio station out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? This gentleman had class. This Maui boy will miss him dearly." (Michael McCartney, KEAO / KONI / KPMW / KTOH)
"JJ was one of the VERY good guys. Too MANY people I know and like are leaving us. We all need to do a better job of staying connected to the good people in our lives." (Scott St. James, "Arrow 93")
"I have worked with JJ for many years at Westwood One as a senior production engineer for "The Superstars Concert" series and many other shows he voiced. He had a heart of gold, the most beautiful and joyous laugh, a smile that could lift your spirits and the voice of a God. Anyone who knew him will tell you: The world would be a better place if there were more gentle men like JJ Jackson. Farewell my friend: May your spirit always be near." (Jim Duncan, KLAC)
"JJ and I became acquainted relatively late in his career. In 1989, when he was programming The Edge, Patrick Goldstein of the LA Times took him to task in his weekly 'Pop Eye' column for not playing enough music by black artists. I was ops manager at KWNK at the time, and took it upon myself to answer those charges in a letter to the editor. I remember calling him a racist for thinking a black program director would choose music based on skin color, and pointed out that music is based on format, saying such things as 'does Goldstein expect KLOS to play Hank Williams Jr., too?'
I was out of town the weekend my letter appeared in Calendar, and by the time I got home and checked in with my station practically every member of the airstaff at The Edge had left a message for me. When I called the station hotline, I was told by Cynthia Fox that JJ really wanted to talk to me. I called him at home and got the warmest reception I've ever gotten from anyone in this business. He was so appreciative that I stood up for him [remember, JJ was, to me, a legend from his days at KLOS, K-West, and MTV] that I was pretty much speechless!
A month or so later, JJ asked me to come down to the KMPC mansion on Sunset to talk with him. He had an opening for production manager/apd/relief and wanted to see if I would fit in. The only reason I didn't go to work there was because Bill Ward changed the format to 'K-Lite' before we could negotiate a contract. [Best radio job I never got to start at.]
More recently, JJ and I had been talking about his involvement in a project I have been working on for the past several months. He even suggested that Mark Goodman and Martha Quinn might be able to participate ... and that, to me, is the measure of his greatness: A project lands in his lap, and his reaction is to think of a way to share it with his former MTV colleagues.
God, I will miss him." (K.M. Richards)
"Jesus. Sorry to hear that. I was his board op at KLOS in the Rock N' Stereo days. A nice and talented man." (Ken Levine)
"I'm so sorry to hear about JJ. One of radio's beacons for sure." (Scott B. Zolke, Loeb & Loeb)
“Triple J was a wonderful person. I had the pleasure of being with him at KLOS with John Winnaman in the early 1970s.
If my numbers and memory are correct he had higher quarter hour audience than Vin Scully and the ‘72 Dodgers. Always up and always bright. After a Nixon speech to the nation and aired by KLOS, he came out of it with the Beatles song, Lies. Not too pleasing to John!” (Paul Cassidy)
"I first met JJ at a party in the early 90s in Los Angeles. He was already a legend by then, but in my long conversation with him, there was no hint of ego whatsoever. I left that evening feeling that, yes he was a legend, but what a great guy! Years later JJ stopped by my office to leave photo's from his past as I was putting a special edition of Virtuallyalternative together on WBCN. We talked numerous times as I gathered material on his story for the issue over months. He stopped by our office in Burbank every once in awhile because he loved going to the shooting range which was close by. Just last week I watched JJ and Ann Litt host a Roy Orbison special on KCET television. One sentence can sum up JJ. He had the warmest smile of any human being around. He will be missed by all that knew him." (Jonathan L. Rosen, Promotions/Consulting, Los Angeles)
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Last modified: March 27, 2004