Former Q102 DJ Jim Fox Dies In Texas

May 18, 2020

UPDATE 10 A.M. WEDNESDAY, MAY 20: Services for Jim Fox, the former WKRQ-FM and WUBE-FM DJ who died Monday at 71, will be streamed on Facebook from the First Baptist Church in Slidell, Texas, at 3 p.m. today Cincinnati time.  

Jim Fox died Monday at age 71.
Credit Courtesy Coker Funeral Home

He was born Allen Duaine Pruett in Texas on Dec. 1, 1948, and graduated from Slidell High School in 1967. Here is a link to his obituary.

"In lieu of flowers, at Duaine's request, please make memorial contributions to the Greenwood-Slidell Volunteer Fire Department," the obit says.  

The address is Greenwood-Slidell Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 153, Slidell Texas 76267.

ORIGINAL POST MONDAY, MAY 18: Jim Fox, the popular "Q102 Morning Zoo" DJ who later hosted country music on WUBE-FM (B105), died this morning of pancreatic cancer in Texas.

In the 1980s, Fox and Chris O'Brien hosted the hugely successful WKRQ-FM (101.9) morning show in a heated radio war for listeners with the WEBN-FM Dawn Patrol.

The Q102 Morning Zoo featured (bottom row) Jim Fox and Jim "Squirrel" Stadtmiller, and (back row) newsman Scott Shively and Chris O'Brien.
Credit Courtesy Chris O'Brien

"We had so many fun and memorable experiences, like broadcasting from the Grammys in New York in 1988, at the Statue of  Liberty reopening on July 4th 1986, even doing our show from a Skyline Chili billboard on I-71," said O'Brien, who co-hosts mornings on WGRR-FM (103.5) with his wife, Janeen Coyle, whom he met at Q102.

"We also broadcast live on the barge as it floated up river into place and became the Waterfront restaurant. Very sad that he is gone too soon," O'Brien said.

As Q102 program director and operations director, Fox worked with some of the most popular radio personalities of the 1970s and '80s: O'Brien, Coyle, Mark Sebastian, Randy Michaels, Pat Barry, Brian Douglas, Tony Galluzzo, Bobbi Maxwell, Jim "Squirrel" Stadtmiller, Mark Elliott, Brinke Guthrie, J.C. McCoy and Dan Allen. 

WKRQ-FM was Billboard magazine's "Station of the Year" in 1984 under Fox. And in a 1985 Radio & Records story, Q102 again was No. 1 in the ratings with women ages 18-34 and women 25-54, the station's targets.

Fox (second from right) at 2009 Q102 reunion with (from left) Mike Hoffbauer, Bobbie Maxwell, Janeen Coyle, Fox and Andy Craig.
Credit John Kiesewetter

Dan Allen was hired by Fox in 1980 during "the best radio wars in Cincinnati history. Randy (Michaels) and Fox led us all as we changed the face of Cincinnati radio," said Allen, a Ludlow native who works at iHeartMedia in Cincinnati supplying programming to over 500 radio stations.

Born Allen Duaine Pruett in Slidell, Texas, Fox arrived at Taft Broadcasting's WKRQ-FM in April 1974 on a three-wheeled motorcycle that he rode from Dallas, recalls Ted McAlister, the program director who hired Fox.

O'Brien, who had been hired the previous month, showed him some West Side apartments on April 3, when tornadoes ripped through Sayler Park and Xenia. "That was his welcome to Cincinnati," O'Brien says.

Credit Courtesy Media Heritage

After working almost every air shift, including overnights, Fox was named program director in December 1975 when Michaels left to program Taft's WDAF-FM in Kansas City.

Pat Barry and Fox at a KISS concert at Riverfront Coliseum on Sept. 10, 1976.
Credit Courtesy Pat Barry

"He started working at WKRQ about a month before I did, at the same time Chris O'Brien started. A year later Randy came and we changed it to Q102," says Barry, a friend of Fox for nearly 50 years.

In the 1970s, Fox attended all of the big concerts at Cincinnati's new Riverfront Stadium. Barry posted this photo of him attending the first KISS concert there on Sept. 19, 1976. Fox also played golf with Bengals players Tom Dinkel and Turk Schonert.

"He and I worked together at Q102 for many years and had lots of success together. And we spent a ton of fun times together. He will be missed," Barry said.

Randy Michaels moved Fox from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m., before Fox did the morning show.
Credit Courtesy Brinke Guthrie

Elliott, who roomed with Fox when they both worked at Q102 in the 1970s, said that "Fox was a kind, easy-going Texan who fit right into Cincinnati. He was always positive and good-natured, an easy person to share an apartment with. He also was a big prankster just like the rest of us," says Elliott of Oldies WDJO-AM.

Elliott says Fox, who was color blind, had a system for dealing with his wardrobe. "In his closet the shirts and pants were pinned together. He always wore the same shirt with the same pair of pants and never went clothes shopping alone," Elliott says.

In the heyday of Q102, Fox and Elliott had a jukebox filled with 45 rpm hit records. "We would go to parties at his housel, and he had a jukebox full of records. It was always a great time. Jim was fun, lively and yet serious about his Q102 duties," Allen says.

Another 2009 Q102 reunion photo (from left) Mark Elliott, Jim "Squirrel" Stadtmiller, Jim Fox, Randy Michaels and sales manager Tim McNerney.
Credit John Kiesewetter

Broadcasting veterans Douglas and Guthrie recalled how Fox gave them a chance at Q102 and mentored them.

"Jim hired me at Q102 in 1987 and was so good to me and my family," said Douglas, who left radio in 2015 to become an Atlanta-based movie production still photographer. "My run lasted for 28 years and a lot of the things he talked to me about in those early days stuck with me even until today." 

Guthrie called Fox the Q102 "request line" in 1979, as he was transferring from Miami University to UC, and asked to watch him broadcast his show.

"He invited me to come down, and I sat on the floor of the air studio in the corner. I did that two times, and was mesmerized," says Guthrie, a Mariemont High School graduate now working for KGO-TV, the ABC affiliate in San Francisco. "They hired me to answer the request line. I was at Q from 1980 to 1993, and always owed Fox for my start in the business. He will be missed."

1970's promotion for the Q Mornng Zoo.
Credit Courtesy Media Heritage

Fox explained Q102's success to Radio & Records this way in 1985: 

"Back when everybody went for the 'more music' sound, we continued to put personality on the air and tried to reflect Cincinnati. All of our people are very active, and that's one of the things which keeps us on top. No other radio station has had people on the air for 10 years who know the city and landmarks, and have greeted as many faces, shook as many hands, kissed as many babies, and been on as many telethons to make the personal impression we have."

Fox later hosted mornings from 1992 to 2000 on WUBE-FM with Eric Boulanger. His local broadcasting career essentially ended with his arrest soliciting sex from a teenager in Xenia. He admitted his mistake in a tearful interview on Barry's WKRC-AM show after the incident.

"For many years he been living back in his hometown in Slidell, Texas," Barry says. "He was there to help his brother with the farm, and also while his mother and father passed away. They had discovered oil on the farm so the family was doing pretty well." 

"Jim spent the first and last years of his life on a farm in north Texas," Michaels says. "Jim was a success on the radio in Dallas, Indianapolis, and Savannah, but was especially loved in Cincinnati, getting big ratings first on WKRQ and then on WUBE.  Jim was a great talent coach and had an ear for hit music.   Jim had a warm, low key personable approach on and off the air.  It was no act.  A lot of us will miss Duane Pruitt, aka Jim Fox."