According to family friend Tim Kusner, Robert W. Morgan led a “Storybook life of a local boy making it big in a difficult industry.” Calling Morgan “…a top radio personality in Los Angeles for over 30 years,” Kusner noted Morgan’s being named Billboard Magazine’s Air Personality of the Year (1967), his unanimous selection to Ohio’s Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame, and his being awarded a citation from the National Association of Broadcasters for “Significant Achievement in American Broadcasting.” In addition, Morgan has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, near the Kodak Theater complex. His Wikipedia biography notes that his work is displayed at the Museum of Broadcasting in New York, the museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills and the International Broadcasting Congress archives in Brussels.
How and where did this legendary broadcaster begin? According to his Wiki biography, Morgan’s “interest was piqued while listening to his favorite DJs on Cleveland’s top forty giant KYW.” Following his graduation from Galion High School, Morgan attended Wooster College where he worked for WWST & WWST-FM, starting at $1.00 an hour.
In 1959, Morgan moved to California where he worked for a number of radio stations including KACY in Port Hueneme; KTEE in Carmel; KMBY in Monterey; KOMY in Watsonville; KMAK in Fresno, working with program director Ron Jacobs; and KROY in Fresno. In 1964 Morgan earned his “first major-market job at KEWB in San Francisco… where he met and worked with his lifelong friend “The Real” Ron Steele” (Wiki).
In April 1965 Morgan, Steele and Jacobs would become “Superstars” when they came to work at KHJ-AM in Los Angeles. Joining “programming genius” Bill Drake, they turned a “sleepy giant into the city’s most dominant radio station” (Wiki). Morgan earned ratings that made him the “top morning show personality.” Known as “The Rooster from Wooster,” the phrase “Good Morgan Boss Angeles” became his signature.
During his years at KHJ, Morgan voiced promos for the “Boss Jocks,” the nickname he and his fellow DJs had earned, and co-produced and narrated the History of Rock and Roll, a 48-hour history of Rock and Roll that aired internationally.
In 1970 Morgan moved to WIND in Chicago, remaining there until 1972, when he returned to his morning drive-time slot at KHJ, again earning top ratings. He left KHJ in 1973 and worked at KIQQ-FM, Los Angeles, and KMPC, Los Angeles. During this period, Morgan also worked on or hosted several television shows, including Morgan’s Alley, ABC’s In Concert, NBC’s The Helen Ready Show, and KHJ-TV’s The Groovy Show. He also served as announcer for Solid Gold during the 1980s.
In 1992, Morgan signed on as the morning show host of the “oldies” at K-EARTH-101, again earning solid ratings. In May 1997 Morgan announced he was suffering lung cancer and told his listeners “It could have something to do with the two packs a day cigarette habit I had for the last 35 years” (Wiki).He told his listeners he was going to take time off to fight his disease. According to Kusner, Morgan became “a spokesperson on lung cancer following his diagnosis.” Morgan died on May 22, 1998. He is survived by his wife Shelley and daughter Susanna.
In Kusner’s words, Morgan “…is probably one of the most famous Galion High School Alumni, if not THE most famous!”