Quite a Ride, When You Ride Shotgun


Tom Irwin (Shotgun Kelly) on K-Earth 101, Los Angeles.

The Modesto Radio Museum salutes Shotgun Tom Kelly.    Tom enjoyed Major Market fame in Los Angeles and San Diego.  He was as big a star as any disc jockey in America.

But before all that, he went to radio school where he met a bunch of aspiring announcers from Modesto.

Shotgun Tom Kelly in radio school. It takes hard work to sound like a natural.
Shotgun Tom Kelly, 18, waiting at the Bus Stop of Success, Ogden’s Radio School.










Tom has a gift.  It’s not  his on-air style, nor is it his marvelous, booming voice.   His gift is how he becomes an instant, and close friend with just about everyone.    His friendships continue to this day.


Shotgun Tom Kelly. His friend, Stevie Wonder, came to his Hollywood Walk of Fame induction.


Top-40 radio stations used big-voiced announcers at the top of each hour.   These “sounders” were legal station identifications, always delivered with Top-40 flair.   You probably heard many of them.   For KFIV, Shotgun Tom Kelly voiced them all:   “AND NOW, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOB DE LEON!”   “YOU’RE LISTENING TO JOHNNY WALKER!”  “AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING!”  “THE MILLION-DOLLAR WEEKEND CONTINUES!”    All of these were followed by the jingle, “K-F-I-V, MODESTO!!”   It was fun having this huge, national voice.   It made K-5 sound big, as big as Shotgun Tom Kelly.


How many DJs have been in the Oval Room of the White House?

We are honored to have Shotgun Tom Kelly as a member of the Modesto Radio Museum Foundation.

1972 – Shotgun Tom Kelly with the intro to the Derek Waring Show


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