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PLAYRod Roddy, Paxton Mills, KLIF Dallas Talk Show Paul Is Dead 1969 (56:18)

. . . Your Communicaster, Rod Roddy . . .

[Description by Contributor Steve Eberhart]

Long before Rod Roddy (d. 10-27-2003) was the network television announcer bellowing "come on down", he was a well-known DJ working through some of the hottest top 40 stations in the nation. He grew up in Fort Worth, worked at KFJZ there in the early days of his career, and later did the morning show at KLIF. After that, he began doing the late night talk show which was broadcast on both KLIF 1190 AM (the reigning king of top 40 in Dallas) and KNUS 99 FM (an "underground FM" featuring album rock). Interestingly, one of his frequent callers and listeners was none other than Highland Park resident John Hinkley, who later attempted to assasinate President Ronald Reagan.

Initially just called "The Talk Show, it was later named "Hotline with Rod Roddy". Roddy gained popularity on the show for his many controversial topics by design. On one occasion he took on a former Miss America who was promoting her affiliation with Amway. Roddy expected to discuss the Miss America Pageant, but she wanted to talk about Amway. A heated discussion ensued which resulted in the former Miss America tossing a cup of water in Roddy's face. Rod went into a tirade and ultimately hyperventilated and passed out briefly — live, on the air. Stunned listeners sent ambulances to the KLIF studios thinking he'd had a heart attack. Within minutes he recovered and went back on the air continuing to lambast Miss America, who cowered into a waiting car and left.

Rod continued his controversial topics on his talk show and on two evenings addressed the growing speculation regarding Paul McCartney. A college newspaper had done a story on the coincidences and conjecture regarding various lyrics and photos on Beatles albums. Essentially the story was that Paul had died and the Beatles and their management were covering it up. After the first night of discussing this on the talk show, KLIF was inundated with calls about the show and requests to repeat the subject, which Roddy did the next night. Throughout High School and College campuses the "Paul is Dead" topic was widely discussed. This tape begins slightly in progress with night jock Paxton Mills (d. 6-25-2001) narrating the story. It then continues with Roddy and incoming phone calls. It is interesting from the standpoint of how much speculation and imagination people had on the subject at the time.

Ultimately, what may be most interesting about this exhibit is the fact that today, when he's 64, Paul is alive and well, and sadly, Rod Roddy and Paxton Mills ARE dead.

[Our thanks to Steve Eberhart for this exhibit.]

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