From the very beginning of his stellar career, Elvis Presley recognized the vital role that radio station disc jockeys played in bringing his music to the public and building his popularity. Among these DJs was rebel rock ‘n’ roll enthusiast Bob Hough, who spun records on KNEW, Spokane’s very first rock ‘n’ roll radio station. Bob’s encounter with the King of Rock and Roll occurred in 1957, and his memories of that special meeting remain etched in his mind.
A Chance Meeting with History
Bob Hough, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 89, defied the trends of his time by fearlessly playing Elvis’s records when others were trying to ban them from the airwaves. It was this audacity and love for rock ‘n’ roll that brought Bob face to face with Elvis. In July 2003, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Bob in his living room to discuss his encounter with the legendary musician.
The Rise of Rock ‘n’ Roll
During our conversation, Bob reminisced about his early days in radio when he took over the midnight to 6 a.m. shift at KNEW in 1955. While many of his peers dismissed rock ‘n’ roll as a passing fad, Bob and his colleagues embraced the genre wholeheartedly. They saw it as a gift from heaven, and they couldn’t have been more right.
The Man Behind the Promotions
Elvis’s appearance in Spokane was made possible by Bob Salter, a DJ from KJR in Seattle. Working together, they arranged a memorable event that left a lasting impact on the city. Prior to the show, KNEW ran promotions and gave away tickets, generating excitement and anticipation among music lovers in Spokane.
A Press Conference to Remember
Before taking the stage, Elvis held a press conference in the football dressing room at Memorial Stadium. Four of the five “Bobs” from KNEW were in attendance, soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying the unique experience. Bob Hough vividly remembered the unconventional aura surrounding Elvis, with young reporters itching to stir up controversy but failing to rattle the composed rock star.
An Unforgettable Performance
Elvis’s performance that evening was nothing short of electrifying. Bob and his fellow DJs watched from a short distance, captivated by his charisma and talent. Elvis sang with such passion that it felt as if he was serenading each individual in the crowd. The show was filled with memorable moments and humorous remarks that brought immense joy to those fortunate enough to be there.
Cherishing the Memories
Bob Hough’s encounter with Elvis Presley remained a cherished memory throughout his life. He continued his successful career in radio, welcoming other rock stars to Spokane and making valuable contributions to the industry. But that fateful meeting with Elvis in 1957 stood out as a pinnacle moment for Bob, forever etching the King of Rock and Roll into his heart.
For more fascinating stories about Elvis Presley and his incredible journey, visit All about Elvis.