Jack Shafer was a graduate of Washington High School in 1953. After a short stint with the Marine Corp Reserve, he sold magazines door to door from California to Kansas, returning to Sioux Falls by bus in March 1954. He went to work for Morrell's meat packing plant, saving his money to get him to Brown Institute radio school in Minneapolis. (Then it was known as American Institute of the Air).
While in Minneapolis, Jack's favorite "rock and roll" station was WDGY Hot 100. He came back to Sioux Falls and went to work at KIHO, a Mutual Network affiliate, where he gave station breaks for "Queen of a Day", "Bob and Ray", Canaries baseball and Notre Dame football.
He talked the station owner into doing a rock and roll show called the "Four O'Clock Rock", using the Bill Haley and the Comets hit for an intro and the rock and roll fans starting sending the mail to the radio station. In the spring of 1955, KIHO was sold to a Minneapolis company which changed the format to Top 40! (Right up Jack's alley!) It was a time when the music was changing from big band / orchestra to rock and roll. Elvis had arrived on the scene and teenagers couldn't get enough of the new sound.
Lloyd Reiver, "Lucky Lloyd", was program director and their play list came from Billboard Magazine. The station hired Bob Helgeson "Helgie" from KSOO. (What a pro - was Jack's mentor.) Phil Sievertson (Little Phil), Dan Buran (Dandy Dan) and Smilin' Jack became the KIHO Rock Jocks! They were known as "Your Mayors of Music City".
They did sock hops, beauty contests and at one time, Jack tried to set a record in the Disc Jockey Marathon at Ace Hardware. He lasted 72 hours on the air! In the summers of 1958 and 1959 you would find "Smilin' Jack" doing remotes at the Barrell Drive Inn. Sometimes things got pretty hectic as the DJs' had to race from the studio outside of town to do a remote in town.
Smilin' Jack, then in his mid 20's, left KIHO in 1950. He was employed by the Sioux Falls Shopping News for seven years before returning to radio and television at KELO. Jack returned to the Shopping News in 1973 and retired in 2004. He now lives in Sioux Falls with his wife. If you had an opportunity to listen to Smilin' Jack on the radio, chanecs are he put a smile on your face.