J. Dean McClain

J. Dean McClain (September 15, 1924-April 3 2006) was pioneering Dallas-area radio broadcaster, one of the first disc jockeys to play rhythm and blues music in that radio market.

McClain was born in Athens, Texas, USA, but grew up in the Oak Cliff neighbourhood of Dallas. He graduated from Dallas's W.H. Adamson High School in 1941, and joined the United States Marine Corps. However, an injury in basic training led him to be reassigned to the Army Air Forces, where he trained as a radio operator and waist gunner on B-17 bombers. However, by the end of his training, the action in the European theater was mostly over, and was thus trained for the B-26 for the Pacific theater, but never saw action there as well.

McClain's Army training in Texas, Florida, and Mississippi introduced him to rhythm and blues music being performed in local clubs, where he developed a passion for it. After leaving the Army, he attended Southern Methodist University, and worked for a radio station in Nacogdoches before working for KWBC-AM 970 in North Texas beginning in 1950. His pioneering morning show, Blues at Sunrise was probably one of the first in the area to play the genre. In 1953, KWBC would change over to KNOK-AM, to market itself to black audiences as one of the first R&B stations in the country. McClain became program director in the 1950s, followed by station manager and general manager. He retired from broadcasting in 1978.

McClain was nominated to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2006.

After he left broadcasting, McClain founded and operated a printing business until his retirement in 1988. He died of cancer in Bedford, Texas on April 3, 2006.



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