Dis Jockeys come and go, but anyone living in the Sioux Falls area in the late 0s remembers Ray Ford at KISD. Ray Ford grew up in the Omaha area listening to KOWH, the first "Top 40" station in the U.S. At night, Ray scanned the dial for DJs like Wolfman Jack and the legendary Allen Freed (coined the phrase "Rock & Roll") at WJW in Cleveland. He also became a fan of Pipestone native, Jim Dahlmier, who was Jim Dandy on Sioux City's KMNS.
After moving to KOIL in Omaha, Jim and Ray became friends and in 1958, both moved to Phoenix to DJ at top rated KBUZ. There, Ray met wife Carol and later became program director at #1 KRIZ. In 1962, friend James Brown convinced station owners to name Ray, program director at KCAC, the first 100% R&B formatted station in AZ.
Ray also enjoyed success booking top concert acts likes of James Brown, Sonny & Cher, Marvin Gaye, The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, and British Invasion Shows / Dick Clark. For the Rolling Stones, Ray had the "Precious" Stones transported tot he concert by armored Brinks vehicle.
In 1966, Ray was recruited to Sioux Falls to program the new KISD doing afternoon drive. In 1967, the Neilson rating service sited KISD as one of the highest rated secondary markets in the US. The station broke several national hits including the million seller, "more Today Than Yesterday" by Spiral Staircase produced by Ray's friend Sonny Knight.
KISD staged a series of radically successful "Summer Happenings" with the biggest acts of the day. When the Turtles single "Happy Together" hit #1 in the US, Ray teamed with friend Ted Fagin, at White Whale Records, to bring them to Sioux Falls. They arrived in the Stones DC3 to several thousand fans. Sioux Falls had never seen the likes of this. Ford was also credited for many regional shows like those at Dell Rapids Pavilion and the Mocamba Club, which The Mob called their second home.
Returning to Phoenix in late 1969, Ray became co-founder of "Bobby McGee's Conglomeration", the first national chain of food / dance clubs pioneering the club DJ/disco concept. As VP of Marketing & Entertainment and first DJ, Ray was responsible for DJ's, music format and beverage sales of the Southwest chain's 16 locations in Arizona, California, Texas and Hawaii.
After retiring from BMC in 1983, Ray and Carol created Ford Mgt. Svc. which has provided consulting services for over 100 venues around the world. Today, manages 2 entertainment websites, HospitalityIndustryResourceCenter.com, digitalDJstuff.com and as DJstuff, produces a monthly DJ dance mix podcast.
KISD had some outstanding DJ's over the years but Ray was one of the best. Fans were disappointed he left Sioux Falls but a man with this much talent was destined for bigger and better things. Ray Ford left his mark in SD with memories many still cherish today. "no matter where I live, Sioux Falls will always be my home town," Ray ford.