Some 15 years after his death, Herb Jepko, a legendary Utah radio host, is still having an impact on broadcasting.
Although Jepko passed away in 1995, a new University of Utah scholarship program is being established in his honor. There's also a new Web site and a Facebook page to preserve the memories of this radio pioneer.
Jepko used to host and produce the "Nitecaps" syndicated program, the nation's first nighttime network talk show.
"Nitecaps" has been referred to as the early "C-Span of all-night radio." It ran from Feb. 1, 1964, into the early 1980s. In its heyday, the show had 10.5 million listeners nightly and was heard on 255 U.S. radio stations via the Mutual Broadcasting Network.
He also worked at KSL, KDYL KLUB, KCPX and KMGR during his 40-year broadcasting career.
Park City's Joseph G. Buchman, a retired college communications professor and Jepko admirer, and his wife have donated about $8,000 of the initial $10,000 needed to begin giving out scholarships in Jepko's honor at the university.
The Web site — www.nitecaps.net — is up and running with a history of Jepko, some audio clips and a lot of related information.
The Web page also features details on how to donate to the Jepko scholarship fund.
MISSING 2009 HIGHLIGHT — One significant radio development from last year that I omitted was the transformation of KBZN. The station successfully converted from "The Breeze" to "Now 97.9"
According to Dan Jessop, KBZN operations director, the station immediately attracted more listeners after the change. It even had better results in December — making the top 10 in the PPM ratings with a cumulative audience of almost 300,000.
Jessop also noted that there has been only one turnover in the staff since the changes, and KBZN "didn't clean house like most stations do in format changes."
TEN YEARS AGO IN SALT LAKE RADIO — Roger Brown and Feline Nemeth become Utah's newest morning show hosts on KIQN. … KUER celebrates its 40th anniversary, and Gene Pack is honored for his four decades of service to the station. … Frankie and "Dangerboy" of KZHT live in a box for a week to raise money for the homeless in Salt Lake City.
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