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The Ronnie Kaye story began in a sleepy town in southeast Missouri. Growing up in Cooter was probably not much different than growing up in most small towns in the America in the 40’s and 50’s. His dad was the town pharmacist and his mom was a piano teacher at Cooter High School.
Between church, school, and home, Ronnie was always surrounded by music. When the high school presented a play or show, Ronnie was always a part of it. By high school, he was studying to become a concert pianist, performing recitals of Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven. At the same time, he was hearing radio stations in Memphis play Perkins, Presley, and Chuck Berry.
Ronnie’s high school superintendent, Mr. J.E. Godwin, sensed that he liked the business and suggested that Ronnie do play-by-play of the county high school basketball tournament on KLCN in Blytheville, Arkansas. The manager liked the idea and Ronnie’s career was off and running.
After graduation from high school in 1955, Ronnie attended Memphis State University and hitch-hiked home every weekend to do a radio show on KLCN. Suddenly in the music Mecca of Memphis, surrounded by some of the best radio people in America, he began to realize that his choice of radio was a good one.
In 1960 his first real offer came from Don Hodges, with whom he had worked in Blytheville. Without hesitation, Ronnie packed up his new wife and baby and headed to Lawton, Oklahoma to take the job at KSWO.
After working in Lawton for six months, he made the pivotal move of his career. It took many phone calls and a lot of rejection, but finally Danny Williams said “yes” and offered him a job on WKY in Oklahoma City.
Late in the 60’s, Ronnie asked for the opportunity to produce and host a local teen dance show on Channel 4 that catapulted his career to new heights. “The Scene” aired at 12:30 on Saturdays on WKY-TV (now KFOR.) The show featured local kids dancing and national artists performing. Ronnie found himself transporting people like Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, and Smokey Robinson from the Skirvin downtown to the studios on Britton Rd. For eight years, the show was syndicated in 10 markets in the southwestern United States including California and Texas.
In 1980, Ronnie left radio and went to KOKH-TV where he served as News and Public Service Director for eleven years.
By 1991, the baby boomers from the 60’s and 70’s were musically ready to return to the times when things were a bit more simple and life was a little less demanding. Oldies radio was beginning to show great promise, especially for a radio station that had pioneered the Top Forty format from the beginning: 50,000 watt KOMA. He went to work there and has been a principal player in the success of the station ever since.
“I’d like to think I was a part of that success. And after some 40-plus years in the business, the job remains fresh, exciting and always challenging. The people at KOMA are making this the most fun-filled part of my life.”
Ronnie was inducted into the Oklahoma Broadcasters Hall of Fame along with Paul Harvey, Bob Braun of CBS News, the legendary Will Rogers, and the Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry.
“I once saw a large mouth bass stuffed and mounted by a taxidermy with a caption that read, ‘If I’d kept my mouth shut,, I wouldn’t be here now,’ Well the same goes for me and radio. But I’m glad to say that I just never kept my mouth shut.”
BORN: Cooter, MO
IN RADIO: Since 1956
AT KOMA: Since 1992
FAVORITE GROUPS: Journey, U2, Boston, Genesis, Mike & The Mechanics, Whitesnake
FAVORITE SINGERS: Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, John Lennon, Elvis, George Michael
FAVORITE T.V. SHOWS: Thunder Basketball, Fox News, How It’s Made, NOVA, Lucky Dog
FAVORITE MOVIES: Darkest Hour, Patton, Godfather, Home Alone, Rainman, Batman
PERSONAL QUOTE: “Comb your hair, put on a nice cologne, and underarm deodorant to impress a girl… and it might be a good idea to wear some clothes, too.”