KIIS Pioneer Wally Clark Dies at 84


Wally Clark, the intrepid general manager who helped turn Rick Dees’ Top 40 countdown show into a nationally-syndicated staple, died this week at the age of 84.

The cause of death was not immediately known, but he had suffered two strokes over the last few years, according to the website, which was first to report his passing.

Clark started his radio career in the 1960s shortly after graduating from Southern Illinois University with a degree in broadcasting. He held jobs at WWWW in Detroit, where he hired a young Howard Stern to help produce a morning show for the station (he later helped Stern get a job at rock station WWDC-FM in Washington, where his morning show really took off).

Clark worked as the general manager of KIIS (102.7 FM, Kiss FM) from 1982 to 1986, where his community outreach and sales efforts turned the station into a powerhouse in the Los Angeles market. The station became so popular that Clark was able to convince advertisers to spend upwards of $2,000 on spots — something unheard of at the time — according to some reports.

While at KIIS, Clark worked with Dees to transform his local pop hits countdown show into a national hit of its own. The show, “Rick Dees Weekly Top 40,” was created during a dispute with the syndicator of “American Top 40” (which, in a twist of irony, is now produced at KIIS). Clark’s efforts helped bring Weekly Top 40 to over 40 markets across the country; it is now heard on 200 stations coast-to-coast, as well as on the Armed Forces Radio Network around the world.

Clark started his own consulting firm in 2005, where he offered his expertise on national radio syndication. In 2016, he was honored with the Diamond Circle Award by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, according to a newspaper report.



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