|Rex Miller's story is
one of the most unusual of all KQV's personalities. Rex was hired by John
Borders and joined KQV February 8, 1968 to do mornings. Rex came to KQV
from WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee. Rex did not stay on mornings long. He
was moved to overnights and by the end of April had left the station. His
last shift was April 26th.
KQV's Chuck Brinkman said
this about Rex to John Mehno, "Another Texan. He must have weighed about
380 pounds. Highly talented, an immense brain and talent, but so undisciplined
it was unbelievable. He would just mesmerize you when you watched him because
everything came to him off the wall."
Rex was hired by Jack
Gale to do afternoons in Charlotte at WAYS the following Monday. He never
showed up. No explanation.
Jack had this to say in
his book "Same Time ... Same Station"... "I thought of Rex Miller, who
I considered to be one of the top jocks in the nation. I called and offered
him our afternoon drive job. He accepted and made some taped promos which
we ran. We did a tremendous promotion campaign on his coming to Big Ways.
On the day of his first show, we started a countdown to 4 pm when he was
to hit the air. By noontime, we hadn't heard from him. Stan grew concerned
and so did I. One o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock and still no word
from Rex. At ten til 4, we realized he wasn't coming, so I started a contest
called "Find Rex Miller" with a cash prize to whoever found him. At five
past four, we got a call from a listener who said Rex Miller was on the
air at WIXE, a little station in Monroe, N.C., about fifteen minutes from
Charlotte. Dave Hedrick, their PD had pulled a great one on us. He had
gone on the air at 4 pm saying he was Rex Miller."
Rex became an author after
leaving radio. He had a number of horror stories and books published over
the years. His bibliography includes 1 novel, "Saint Louis Blues", A series
of books, Slob, Frenzy, Profane Men, Stone Shadow, Iceman, Slice,
Chaingang, Butcher, and Savant.
In 2002, it was discovered
that Rex was living in a nursing home outside of St Louis after having
suffered a stroke.
Rex with wife Carol and
(from John Long's website)
From the Sikeston Standard
EAST PRAIRIE - Rex M.
Spangberg, 65, died at 9 p.m. May 21, 2004, at Missouri Delta Medical Center
Born April 25, 1939,
at St. Joseph, son of the late Victor and Dixie Miller Spangberg, he lived
in Mississippi County for several years, moving from St. Louis where he
was a radio announcer. He was also a collectibles dealer and author.
Survivors include: three
cousins, Susan Stahlin of Sequim, Wash., Rich Stahlin of Ft. Collins, Colo.,
and Mimi Gosney of Louisville, Ky.
Graveside services will
be conducted at 2 p.m. Thursday at Mounds Cemetery near New Madrid with
Edward Wells officiating.
Shelby Funeral Home in
East Prairie is in charge of arrangements. "
|On June 8, 2004, I received
this e-mail from John Rook...
"Jack Gale reports that
one of the funniest jocks ever, Rex Miller died this past Sunday. He was
in a nursing home near St. Louis, Mo. for months and suffered a heart attack
Sunday. Rex worked for Gordon McLendon, KQV in Pittsburgh, WUBE in Cincy,
and with Gale at WITH in Baltimore in the early sixties . Jack says, "Another
one of the great radio personalities has left us too soon ... "
On June 8, 2004, I received
this e-mail from John Rook...
Young would certainly know great talent....thought you'd find his remarks
of interest. Sorry that I never got to hear him. "
"I remember hearing Rex
daily on KLIF and later on KTHT in Houston. He WAS, as Jack
said, the single funniest jock I ever heard in my life. I remember
the day he signed on at KLIF (the first time ... he was there twice as
I recall) ..... he said .... "my biggest disappointment in moving to Dallas
was to discover that Love Field was only an airport!"
He was a jock's jock!
Each show was crammed so full of bits and liners, coming one right after
another, that you had to tape it or lose it. Zillions of "legendary"
rumors circulated about him, many unkind and most probably untrue ... he
was (rumored) to be very obese and to have rarely bathed or showered ...
would work all night recording bits for his show, then fall asleep and
not show up for work ... would burn out all his material in 3 months and
have to move on (although the Hoopers went through the roof for that 3
months!) ... when hired for a new job, you had to pay his moving expenses,
which included a massive aquarium.
I never met him, but I
never missed a show while he was in Dallas ... I would sit in my PD's office
in Tyler, Tx, listening to KLIF! The rumors only made him more
Sorry to hear of his death
... he was a great one!
... Bill Young
On June 9, 2004, I received
this e-mail from Ken Dowe
"Rex worked with me at
KLIF, and for me in Knoxville and in Cincinnati. A world class talent and
crazy man. Normal, he was not. In anything."
On June 14, 2004, Ken
Wells' memories of Rex Miller from Pittsburgh Radio Nostalgia Board
remember Rex Miller, having banished from the morning, for which he came
to Pittsburgh in the first place, working the midnite to six am shift at
was talking about the "new jingles" that had just been added at KQV,
Miller said, "..and for
the past week, our program manager, and his staff, have been cavorting
around Dallas -- on the company expense account-- in their silk suits,
working eight hours a day to develop a new jingle package for this station.
After a whole week of diligent, dedicated hard work, here's what they've
come up with!"
then played a :03 second jingle: "FOURTEEN KAY KYOO Vee!"
followed the jingle with the comment, "Sure nice to know the station got
it's money's worth.""
On June 20, 2004, I received
this John Long
had never met a disc jockey like Rex. The closest was Don Rose when he
was at WQXI. Rex was big in stature and very animated. When Rex hired me
to do 12-3PM at WNOX in 1967, the first thing he did was give me a new
air name: Kincaid. It was in keeping with the overall rugged outlaw cowboy
theme of the station. The jocks were called the 99'ers and Rex used the
Marlboro theme in station promos. He was the first program director to
critique me and make me relax on the air. "Be yourself" he told me and
most importantly "have fun." He told me to romance the music, feel it,
groove to it, and communicate that to the listeners. He told all of the
jocks to call him "the ol' Skip," so we did. Rex was a funky guy,
loved the blues and jazz. One day he called me into the production room
(he was always in there producing bits or promos) and asked to listen to
the new news intro. He hit the button on the Ampex and out came an edit
of Ray Charles singing "oooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww, I've got news for you"
followed by the instrumental from the song. I didn't know what to say.
It was so unusual, creative, spontaneous, and sooo Knoxville. That was
the funkiest town in the South. A guy named Crockett used to bring in concerts
at the civic auditorium and they were mostly black artists and the audience
was mostly white kids. Johnny Pirkle, music director at WNOX and fellow
jock, told me years later that the reason he recommended me to Rex as a
jock was because I loved R&B. Rex was always writing bits, jokes, and
one liners. He told me that he regularly sent material to Johnny Carson's
writers. I don't know if they ever bought any of his jokes; they probably
stole some of them though. Rex and Carol had my wife and I over for dinner
often. That was a treat because Rex had an enormous appetite. There was
always plenty to eat. Other times we'd go to Krystal and order obscene
amounts of the little square hamburgers. He loved them. After we got fired
at WNOX, I didn't see Rex again until he was working in Chicago in the
early 70's and I was a PD in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. One weekend my wife and
I went for a visit and Rex and Carol introduced us to Mexican food; tacos
actually. I think Rex ate about 24. Fast forward to 1979 and I was at WHBQ
in Memphis and went through East Prarie, Missouri on a monitoring trip
through the Midwest (looking for jocks). I stopped to see Rex and Carol.
By then, Rex was out of radio all together. He had started a mail order
business for radio premiums (Captain Marvel decoder rings, etc.). Now we're
up to Y2K. I found him again after a year long search. I found a Rex Miller
who had written several paperbacks. I contacted the publisher; they said
they couldn't release any information, but would be happy to forward a
letter to his guardian (?). They did say his health was not good. In December
of 2001, I received a letter from Carol. Rex was indeed in poor health.
He'd had a severe stroke several years earlier and was in a nursing home.and
partially paralyzed. He and Carol had divorced amicably, yet she
was taking care of his personal affairs. She sent me copies of all his
books. I wrote Rex often, sending the letters to Carol, who read them to
him. She would write back and say that my letters, as well as Jack Gale's,
made him smile. The last letter I received from Carol was after he died.
She said that in the final few months, Rex's smile was gone and so was
he for all intents and purposes. During my 1979 visit with them in East
Prarie Rex gave me one of his radio premium catalogs. I still have it,
the picture used on the KQV website, and very fond memories of the most
talent people I ever met in my life, Rex Miller Spangberg