Jimmy roach - 2017 Broadcast Legend Nominee
“Jimmy Roach” was born as James Roach (yes, that’s his real name) in Columbus Ohio, where he dreamt of being a radio broadcaster. His wife Karen answered a TV ad for the “Columbia School of Broadcasting” on his behalf. Eager for a new pupil, the school sent a recruiter to his home to convince him they’d make him a famous broadcaster. The recruiter was local Ohio TV star Nick Clooney, father of actor George Clooney. With Nick’s endorsement, “Little Jimmy” enrolled in the Columbia School of Broadcasting and set off on a 40+ year radio career.
In 1970, KQV-FM converted from the “Love” format to free-form album rock. It changed its call letters to WDVE in 1971 to represent the word ‘dove’ - the bird of peace. Looking for new talent, WDVE hired Jimmy Roach in 1973, where he manned the afternoon shift. With his super-deep voice, casual laid-back style and great music selections, he won over the Pittsburgh rock audience, and became program director for two years, starting in 1975. Jimmy was also heard nationally as the host of the syndicated radio show “The Backstage Special.” Airing on about 120 stations across the U.S. from 1979 to 1981, it featured his interviews with rock superstars such as Frank Zappa and members Rush and Yes.
WDVE’s top brass then asked Jimmy to create a new morning-drive show. He agreed only if he could team up with Steve Hansen, who was working in San Francisco at the time, and they debuted in September, 1980. Roach and Hansen created on-air personas and a group of zany characters who dropped into the studio. Roach played the stable, laid back hip dude and Steve the sly, wry-witted friendly guy. They wrote six skits daily, and had everyone across Western PA talking about Jimmy and Steve. DVE's ratings went through the roof, and "Jimmy and Steve in the Morning" became the #2 radio show in the Pittsburgh market, dominating the prized 18-49 demographic. Besides the comedy, Jimmy and Steve’s listeners tuned in to hear great new music from local musicians such as Diamond Reo, the Granati Brothers and the Iron City Houserockers, who all got their first airplay on DVE, which helped launch them nationally. Jimmy and Steve left for Miami in October1986 where they spent six months before returning to a cheering Pittsburgh crowd. WMYG-FM Program Director, Chuck Brinkman, snapped them up until they parted ways in September, 1987.
Jimmy made a career change to morning host of Pittsburgh country station Y-108 in 1991. He liked that new country artists were adapting elements of rock ‘n roll to country music. In ‘93, he partnered with Monty (Brian Montgomery), and stayed until ‘98. He then served as morning host at WASP-FM (94.9), which became part of the Froggy Network, where his show aired simultaneously on three area stations. Wendy Green was his co-host and Roach was heard on Froggy until March, 2012. He returned to Y-108’s morning show in April, 2012 with Monty, staying until he retired in July 2015.
NOTE: We’ve made every effort to provide accurate information about each nominee, but apologize if there are any inaccuracies or inconsistencies. Biography information provided courtesy of the artists, Pittsburgh Music History website, Wikipedia and the artists’ websites.