Uncle Don Rhea

Past DJ Hall of Fame Inductees
2004

 

In more than twenty-five years on the air in Kansas City, most of which spent in the morning shift and on KCKN, Uncle Don became on of the nation's most prominent disc jockeys and both influenced and mentored generations of Country air personalities.

Born November 16, 1931, Jack Donald Rhea grew up the son of a Western Electric employee who moved often before settling in Springfield, Missouri. Influenced by a family friend that worked at KVOO, and by neighbors who worked in radio, was hanging around stations in that market by the time he was in high school. While stationed at Lackland Air Force base, he became Program Director of the base station, and took his first fulltime radio job upon discharge.

In 1962, he was hired by a former general manager to work at KCKN. Kansas City became is home, with notable detours to San Antonio to put KBUC on the air, and to Grand Junction Colorado, to guide KQIL-FM to number one in that market as Operations Director.

The Mayors of Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas joined together to proclaim "Don Rhea Day". As a Music and Program Director, he is credited with breaking many hits, including "Almost Persuaded" by David Houston, "Flowers On The Wall" by the Statler Brothers, "Snowbird" by Anne Murray and many more.

In 1986, Don left the air to serve as General Manager of WATZ-AM and WATZ-FM in Alpena , Michigan. He retired in 1995.

Uncle Don was always active in the community, spending 25 years in scouting, as a leader, trainer and commissioner, receiving the BSA's Silver Beaver Award. He was a Country Commissioner in Grand Junction, and a District Commissioner in Alpena.