John Rook, born in Ohio and after graduating from high school in Nebraska attended drama classes at Santa Monica California City College and the Pasadena Playhouse in Burbank, California. During appearances in the Wild Bill Hockok television series, 1950’s star Tennessee Ernie Ford suggested a career in radio.
As a disc jockey at KASL in New Castle, Wyoming, with the name Johnny Rowe, he soon advanced to KOBH in Hot Springs and KIMN, Rapid City, both South Dakota. KALL, Salt Lake City and KTLN, Denver, before being named program director of ABC owned KQV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and WLS in Chicago, Illinois. He was also program director of KFI and KABC, both Los Angeles radio stations. Rook, as a radio consultant was responsible for programming on more than thirty radio stations during the 1970’s and 80’s, including:
- WCFL, Chicago
- WHYI, Miami
- KRBE, Houston
- WZGC, Atlanta
- WIFI, Philadelphia
- KTKT, Tucson
- KROY, Sacramento
- WABC, New York
- WBAP, Dallas/Fort Worth
His close friendship with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recording artist Eddie Cochran is noted in several publications including, “Don’t Forget Me – The Eddie Cochran Story” written by Julie Mundy and Darrel Higham (ISBN 0-8230-7931-7), “Three Steps To Heaven” written by Bobby Cochran (ISBN 0-634-03252-6).
Rook was named “Programmer of the Year” at radio’s Gavin Convention, Variety Magazine naming him “Radio’s Man of the Year,” both in 1969 and Radio Consultant of the Year in 1977.
In 1985, Radio & Record readers voted John Rook one of the “Most Influential Programmers of the Past 20 Years” and in 1998 he was honored as one of “Radio’s Legends” at their annual convention.
In 2007 John Rook and co-creator Gil Bateman were joined by more than two dozen radio and recording leaders in creating the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, where all Pop, Country and R&B recording artists are honored.