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Don Kennedy papers

 Collection
Identifier: M223

Scope and Contents of the Papers

The Don Kennedy papers, 1956-2013, contain writings, audio recordings, photographs, printed materials, and awards related to Kennedy’s television and radio broadcasting career. The bulk of the materials relate to the production of the Big Band Jump radio shows between 1989 and 2013. These include scripts, cue sheets, newsletters, and broadcast masters of the weekly programs. The papers include some full-length interviews with musicians and other big band-era figures that were subsequently edited for broadcast. The collection also includes promotional and photographic materials from his work with television station WATL-TV, 1976-1978; radio stations WKLS FM, 1960-1970, and the Georgia Network, 1972-1982; as well as his time as children’s television host "Officer Don," 1956-1969.

The scripts, cuesheets, and sound recordings for Big Band Jump are all filed by program number.

Dates

  • 1956 - 2013

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.
Access to original sound recordings is restricted. Use copies are available in the Special Collections and Archives reading room.

Biography of Don Kennedy

Don Kennedy was born on March 2nd, 1930, in Beaver, Pennsylvania. Kennedy’s career in broadcasting started at the age of thirteen when he constructed a half-watt radio station in the basement of his home. He got his first paying job playing pop records at WPIC in Sharon, Pennsylvania, when he was 17. While in college, Kennedy worked at a local radio station as a sports and news announcer and eventually became the chief engineer of the small station. After college he was drafted into the Army, and worked as a studio chief in the psychological warfare unit at the end of the Korean War. After his military service, Kennedy moved to Atlanta where he anchored the eleven o'clock news at WSB-TV. He was assigned to host a children's show for that station as a policeman character, "Officer Don." He played Officer Don on multiple shows from 1956 to 1969 with the most popular, The Popeye Club, amassing the largest audience of any such local program in the nation. In 1960 he established WKLS-FM in Atlanta, serving as President and General Manager. He also set up and served as President of Georgia Network and Florida Network, two of the pioneer state news networks in the nation. In 1976 his company returned Atlanta's channel 36, WATL-TV, to the air.

Kennedy returned to popular music broadcasting with the syndicated radio program Big Band Jump, which ran from 1986 to 2013 and could be heard nationwide for most of its run. Episodes of the show were based on a theme or artist from Swing-era popular music, and often featured Kennedy's original interviews with big band performers, songwriters, and arrangers. Kennedy also provided voice work for several characters on Cartoon Network programs including Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Terror Phone and as narrator for award winning documentaries aired on Georgia Public Television. He is the recipient of the Silver Circle Award and two Emmy Awards from the Atlanta Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Pioneer Broadcaster and Georgia Broadcaster's Hall of Fame awards from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters and honorary membership in the DiGamma Kappa Broadcast Fraternity at the University of Georgia. In 2007 he was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame for Career Achievement.

Extent

22.58 Linear Feet (in 29 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract:

Don Kennedy is an Atlanta-based radio and television station founder, manager, broadcaster, and actor, known for playing Officer Don on children’s television as well as creating and hosting the radio program Big Band Jump. The Don Kennedy papers, 1956-2013, contain writings, audio recordings, photographs, printed materials, and awards related to Kennedy’s television and radio broadcasting career. The bulk of the materials relate to the production of the Big Band Jump radio shows between 1989 and 2013.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Don Kennedy, February 14, 2014; August 8, 2014; May 26, 2016.

Digitized Material from the Collection

Digitized copies of photographs and newsletters are available in Georgia State University Library Digital Collections.
Use copies of the sound recordings are available for in the Special Collections and Archives reading room.

Related Materials

Related Materials in This Repository

  1. WSB Radio records, 1920-1985 (M004)
  2. WRAS Radio collection, 1968-2008 (M218)
  3. Georgia Radio Hall of Fame collection, 1945-1991 (M226)

Separated Materials:

Separated to the Popular Music Sound Recordings Collection

  1. Commercially released LPs, Sesac Transcription Library Service and War Department 16-inch discs, and an Officer Don “Ooey Gooey” 7-inch disc.

Separated to the Special Collections and Archives Book Collection

  1. Please see library catalog for access.

Processing Information

Processed by Maria Meade at the file level, 2016.
Title
Don Kennedy:
Subtitle
A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University Library
Status
Completed
Author
Georgia State University Library
Date
September 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • Fall 2016: Electronic finding aid created by Maria Meade.
  • October 2016: Electronic finding aid edited by Hal Hansen.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2880
404-413-2881 (Fax)