Cliff Powers graduated from Jamestown, (ND) High School. During his high school years, Cliff worked at KEYJ Radio. Bob Richardson was his mentor. The Ingstad family from nearby Valley City owned many ND stations. A son of the owners, Terry Ingstad, later became radio legend Shadow Stevens. Cliff played football for the Jamestown Jimmies coached by Rollie Greeno (a Kidder, SD native from the Greeno coaching family). He entered school at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, but soon was drafted by the US Army. Following a tour of Vietnam, he moved to Pierre, SD “bald and broke.” After two months at a 10,000-watt country station, Cliff moved to Rapid City.
Starting as a daytime top-40 disc jockey with KEZU, the station changed to a 24-hour rock station—KKLS. Chuckles Mack, Nathan Page, and Tom Franklin kept spinning the discs with Powers. Jack (Daniels) Morris, a recent inductee into the SD Rock and Roll Music Association recalls, “When you listened to Cliff Powers it was like listening to God.” “He was the king.” “Cliff was the best ever to work radio in Rapid City.” “The cool thing was ‘It was his real name!’ Noone uses their real name in radio!”
In late 1972 following the disastrous Rapid City flood, Cliff headed to Pittsburgh to do mid-day and serve as program director at WIXZ. One of his co-workers there was Jeff Christy—now known as Rush Limbaugh III. Powers moved on to Charlotte, NC to take a job with high energy rock and roll station called “Big WAYS” radio. Later he did mornings at Albuquerque, NM, spent three years at KXKX in Denver, and moved to New York to work for Viacom, which featured MTV, WKHK, and the first Lite FM station, WLTW. Back to Albuquerque, then many years in Denver with the Jones Radio Networks. KOOL 105 was the oldies station, and KNUS was newstalk.
Cliff and his fiancé, Lori Kellman (an award-winning news person) moved to California in 2016, where Cliff is pursue an acting career.
The South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association is proud to induct Cliff Powers.