Joe Moore is the nation’s longest-serving news anchor at a single TV station, I believe. While most anchors in the U.S. average five years or less at one station, Moore has been a news anchor with KHON for nearly 38 years.
Some of my readers will recall that Moore spent nine years as a sportscaster at KGMB. He moved to KHON in June 1978, where he did sports for two years, then became the news anchorman in June 1980.
Recently he stopped doing the 10 p.m. news. “Late last year after 40 years of doing the 5:30, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts for KHON TV, I stepped down from the late news,” Moore told me.
“About eight years ago my old friend Tom Moffatt suggested I host a show on the radio station where he was working, Kool Gold 107.9 FM. I laughed it off and said I didn’t have the time.”
Recently Moore said he started thinking about what he’d like to do with his evenings off. “I remembered Tom’s suggestion and called Dita Hollifield, the general manager of Salem radio stations in Hawaii, and asked if she would have any interest in my hosting a once-a-week show on Kool Gold radio.
“She said she definitely would and thought Saturday afternoons would be ideal. She talked with Kristina Lockwood, the general manager at KHON, to make sure it was OK with her, and when Kristina approved, Dita and I decided on a four-hour show from noon till 4 p.m.
“I asked for complete control in picking all the songs I played, and Dita said, ‘Absolutely.’ So, on Jan. 20 we launched ‘Joe Moore’s Good Time Rock ’n’ Roll.’ I do all the research for the show, mostly on weekday evenings.
“I’ve liked rock ’n’ roll music since I was a small kid,” Moore says. “When I was at Aiea High School in the early 1960s, I teamed with fellow student John Wakayama and played rock songs in the school cafeteria at lunch time.
“While attending the University of Maryland, I was a rock jock on the campus radio station, WMUC. So, it’s fair to say my first job in broadcasting was as a deejay in college.
“Over the years I’ve had a lot of favorite rock bands and songs, so I’m very familiar with the material. When I decided to do this show, I bought some books about rock ’n’ roll history that I knew would be helpful, and of course, there’s always Google as a last resort for background info on songs and artists.
“As for choosing the music, I just go with the songs I really liked yesteryear and still really like today. Sometimes I’ll work around a theme, like an all Rolling Stones hour, an all Joan Jett and the Blackhearts top five, or whichever songs I feel like playing.
“I take my notes about the songs and artists and go into the Kool Gold studio and work with Paco C., who operates the board, which leaves me free to focus on the music.”
On his show, Moore gives background information on the group and song before playing it. Here are a few examples:
The Rascals were a huge island favorite even before their 1968 song “My Hawaii.” The song was not a big hit nationally, but was top of the charts here.
The Association band had a Hawaii connection. Larry Ramos, real name Hilario Ramos, from Waimea, Kauai, played lead guitar and sang co-lead on their No. 1 hit “Windy” in 1967 and their No. 2 hit “Never my Love” in 1968.
The Monkees were a band assembled for a TV series that ran from 1965 to 1971. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote most of their early hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Steppin’ Stone.” Neil Diamond wrote “I’m a Believer.”
On Dec. 3, 1966, the Monkees (Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork) made their first live concert appearance at the Honolulu International Center (now Blaisdell Center) in Honolulu.
The Rolling Stones’ first hit in the U.S., “Satisfaction,” was No. 1 for four weeks in 1965. Keith Richards says he composed the song while he was sleeping, and he intended the now-famous three-note guitar riff to be replaced by horns but was talked out of it by Mick Jagger.
>> “House of the Rising Sun,” by the Animals (1964). This was the first “British Invasion” song to hit No. 1 in the U.S. that was not by the Beatles. It was possibly written as early as 1905 by an unknown artist.
>> “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” by Pat Benatar (1980). Her first top-10 hit is still popular in aerobics classes. It was written by Eddie Schwartz, who came up with the title after attending a pillow-punching therapy session to release hostility.
>> “Crystal Blue Persuasion” (1969), by Tommy James and the Shondells. The group was in Hawaii for a couple of gigs on Oahu and in Hilo when this song became a big hit nationally. While James was staying in a Kahala mansion, he received a phone call from his secretary saying a producer had invited them to sing at a pig farm in upstate New York and it was going to be a big deal. James told his secretary he wasn’t going to give up his stay in paradise to perform at a pig farm. Turned out the pig farm gig was Woodstock, and it became one of the biggest musical events ever.
>> “Light My Fire,” by the Doors (1967). Unlike most of the group’s songs, this was not written by lead singer Jim Morrison, but by guitarist Robby Kreiger, who based it on “Play With Fire,” by the Rolling Stones.
>> “Sister Golden Hair,” by America (1975). The band’s second No. 1 hit following “Horse With No Name,” the song’s title was inspired by the blond-haired mothers of all three members of the group. The band is a trio of Air Force “brats” whose dads were stationed near London. The band was formed in England, but the members are Americans.
>> “Don’t Bring Me Down” (1979), by the Electric Light Orchestra (E.L.O.). The band’s highest-charting single in the U.S. A word a lot of people mistakenly hear in this song as “Bruce” is actually lead singer Jeff Lynne shouting the made-up word “groose.”
>> “Barbara Ann” (1965), by the Beach Boys. Tom Moffatt said Mike Love of the group told him they decided to leave the famous “screw-up” in the lyrics on the recording about halfway through, when they fumble over the names of the girls, because it added to the “party” nature of the song.
BACK IN THE DAY
While a deejay on the University of Maryland station, in 1966 Moore interviewed Sam the Sham (and the Pharaohs). “Wooly Bully” was the top-selling song of 1965. “Sam told me he wanted to call the song ‘Hully Gully’ but for legal reasons couldn’t use that name, so he replaced it with the name of his cat. A line in the song that goes “Let’s not be L-7” means “Let’s not be square.” It’s what you get when you put the letter L and the number 7 side by side … a square.”
Moore says he’s having a blast doing the show, “and in a way, I look at it as coming full circle in broadcasting from my first job as a deejay in college. After 49 years on TV in Hawaii, I have returned to radio part time.”