Don Kennedy papers
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.
- Kennedy, Don, 1930- (Person)
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research use.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.
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.
22.58 Linear Feet (in 29 boxes)
Language of Materials
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.
The papers are arranged into two series:
- Series I: Biographical materials, 1954-2001
- Series II: Big Band Jump radio program, 1989-2013
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.
Separated to the Popular Music Sound Recordings Collection
- 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
- Please see library catalog for access.
Processed by Maria Meade at the file level, 2016.
- Kennedy, Don, 1930- (Person)
- Don Kennedy:
- A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University Library
- Georgia State University Library
- September 2016
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Special Collections Repository
100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303