True Don Bleu

Congratulations to True Don Bleu of Star 101.3 FM in San Franciso.  He is about to be inducted into the Minnesota Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  Don was "punking" people on radio even before Ashton Kutcher was in diapers.  His "Bleupster" phone calls to unsuspecting victims have helped make him as much of an institution in the Bay Area as the cable cars.

Some of us of a certain age remember him as R. Thomas Thumb at KILO Radio (now KCNN) in East Grand Forks.  Before that he was Rick Kelleher of Sacred Heart High School.  He also worked for years at KDWB in the Twin Cities before heading to LA and then San Francisco.

As a sophomore at UND back in the Dark Ages, I remember an "Intro to Broadcasting" class Don sometimes made it to along with another soon-to-be radio legend, Shadoe Stevens (aka Terry Ingstad of Jamestown).  They would sit in the back row of the class making memorable "comments" about the lecture going on.  I don’t think I missed a class.

Years later I did a series of television reports about Don as he began hosting a new syndicated version of the "Gong Show" at CBS Television City in Hollywood on the same stage once used by Carol Burnett.  Don was working hard in those days, taping five "Gong Shows" on Saturday and five more on Sunday, in addition to his radio day job during the week.  His version of the "Gong Show" only lasted one season.  But it got me to Hollywood.

On that same trip we visited Shadoe Stevens at "American Top 40" which he had just begun hosting.  AT40 was heard on 120 radio stations around the world.  Shadoe had already become the announcer for "Hollywood Squares."  Later he would get a shot at starring in his own TV series "Loose Cannon" and play one of the leads on the Dave Barry-inspired sit-com "Dave’s World" on CBS.  The announcer of the Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards and the "voice-over" on countless commercials, his is one of the most famous voices in the world.   


4 Responses

  1. Pete Berg


    Just discovered this Blog-site. Great stuff!! Keeps me laughing out here in Colorado!

    Regarding True Don, a good place to check out is — you can listen to a couple of Don’s radio shows on KDWB from the 60s and 70s. This one particularly made me laugh, as at the very top, they’re promoing an event that will be held at my high school–St.Anthony Village High.

    I have also learned that if the clip has an error the first time thru, reload the page and try it again…it’ll likely work.

    Take care!


  2. Steve

    I fondly remeber KDWB when it was at it’s best. I really remember 1963. The jingle went: “KDWB channel 63 that’s easy to remember”

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