John Records Landecker, a longtime top 40 DJ whose shows and interactive phone bits have influenced many others in radio, will be in the spotlight when the 2020 NAB Show comes to Las Vegas.
The selection of a classic air talent to join the NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame comes during a winter when the role of the American DJ has been challenged by technology.
Not that National Association of Broadcasters made any mention of recent iHeart headlines in naming Landecker, whose selection was likely decided well in advance.
NAB Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs Steve Newberry hailed Landecker’s “profound impact on radio” and said his induction “symbolizes the personal connection between DJs and their audiences and how innovative personalities can influence radio programming.”
But those connections have been squarely in the middle of debate in American radio over recent weeks, as the industry digested the announcement by iHeartMedia that it would put artificial intelligence and other technologies to work in its programming, and proceeded to lay off hundreds or more of its air talent.
So regardless of intentions with this award, it may be with some taste of bittersweet that the NAB will induct a classic radio jock into its Hall of Fame. It’ll do so during the Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner on April 20 at the Encore.
“Landecker is best known for his tenure as the evening personality at WLS(AM) Chicago, a 50,000-watt station reaching audiences in some 40 states,” NAB stated in the announcement. “His signature style included incorporating satirical songs and bits based on current events into the program, as well as his trademark saying, ‘Records truly is my middle name.’”
The association noted that Landecker is credited for introducing some of the first interactive phone features on top 40 radio.
According to the bio, his 50-year career began as a high school student at WOIA(AM) in Saline, Mich. He stayed on the air throughout college in Michigan, working at WTRK(AM) in Flint, WERX(AM) in Grand Rapids and WILS(AM) in Lansing. “Landecker later entertained listeners with stints at WIBG(FM), Philadelphia; CFTR(AM), Toronto; WPHR(FM), Cleveland, WJMK(FM), Chicago and WGN(AM), Chicago.”
Additionally, Landecker has released six albums and written an autobiography. Today he hosts a weekly program on WEFM(FM) Michigan City, Ind.
Landecker has won other notable honors including induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame; and his work is acknowledged in the radio exhibit of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
Read the honor role of past inductees.