San Antonio is blessed to have two ‘Kings” of Country Music: Singer George Strait and legendary disk jockey “Cousin” Jerry King.
Thousands of south Texans wake up to the voice of their favorite disc jockey, “Cousin” Jerry each morning on KKYX AM radio, and have been since 1975.
Wednesday, June 19th will be a special day for Jerry, as it will be his 68th birthday.
I have known Jerry since childhood and vividly recall Jerry and his pal Ray Smith (see photos, with George Jones) singing on the front porch of my parent’s home in the south San Antonio in 1963. I thought they were the Everly Brothers.
Jerry and Ray would often come by uncle Sherman and aunt Lydia Sanders house to “sing, pick and grin” on their guitars next door.
While Dee-Jaying for KBER radio, George Jones played at one of their events. Jones had a nephew, Lamar Jones, who sang in a KBER show called “Teens Across America.” Lamar introduced them to George Jones and it was long before Ray was installing speakers and wires in Jones’s home in Beaumont, Texas.
Ray died at the age of 29 in 1973.
Jerry, a graduate of Harlandale High School, married Ray’s sister Carolyn. Their son Gaylon is an on-air personality with Texas Pride radio.
One of the proudest moments for Jerry’s fans, or “family”, or “cousins,” was his 2004 induction in the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame.
Over the years I have run across Jerry at many events and venues such as KLRN telethons, country music river festivals on the San Antonio River Walk, and emceeing charitable happenings.
I’ve seen him introduce country stars from the likes of George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Tanya Tucker, to Charly McClain, Johnny Rodriguez and Kenny Rogers.
Jerry is the epitome of what we think of when we hear the term “country cousin.” He remains consistently good natured a friendly to everyone who meets him.
Jerry took the time to sing at my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary in 1975, which has endured as a proud moment in our family’s memory.
Jerry was the first person ever to play a George Strait song on the radio. Jerry had seen the Ace in the Hole Band south of San Antonio, in Jourdanton in 1979. He was impressed with the lead singer and wrote down his name: George Strait.
“Hearing Jerry play my first record with MCA was like I’d died and gone to heaven,” Strait recalls about an occasion he visited the KKYX studio in 1981. “I’ll always be grateful to him for that.”
“He gave me time to get to the car so I could actually hear it on the radio,” said Strait. “Hearing yourself on the radio for the first time sounds a little weird. I thought, ‘That’s really what I sound like?’ Anyway, I guess it worked out.”
Pioneer country DJ Hall of Fames’ Charlie Walker was an early influence for Jerry.
Walker would introduce and interview stars such as Elvis Presley, Minnie Pearl and Eddie Arnold at San Antonio’s Municipal Auditorium and other locations.
Walker introduced Jerry to more country music on his KMAC radio show. Later KMAC became KKYX.
Jerry and Ray often played music during high school, and Jerry went on to radio school at Elkins Institute in Dallas.
Jerry started his first radio job in March 1965, with KBER in San Antonio. He also worked at stations in Benton and Alice, Texas before returning home again.
Cousin Jerry was inducted in the Country Music Association of Texas as DJ of the Year in January 2013.
Congratulations Cousin Jerry King! Happy Birthday!
Please leave your comment below to wish Cousin Jerry a Happy Birthday!