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Mitch Jayne

One of the most notable DJ’s at KSMO was Mitch Jayne.  Mitch had moved to the Salem area to teach at a local one-room school.  After his stint in teaching Mitch began his radio career at KSMO in the early 1950’s.  While there Mitch invented a radio program called “Hickory Holler” with bluegrass music and comedy skits.  He would start his two hour program with these words “This is colorful KSMO, 250 watts of pulsating, penetrating power coming to you from our palatial suite of glassed-in, wall to wall carpeted tastefully decorated and guaranteed 100% bat proof studios.  Second dead limb up on the west side of a white oak tree in the head of Salem’s own Hickory Holler”.  Mitch once received a letter from an airline pilot, who would fly several miles off course on his St. Louis to Dallas/Ft. Worth flight plan, so he could let his 200 plus passengers hear what the people below were like.

There were two brothers that would come into the KSMO studio, by the last name of Dillard.  Rodney and Doug were their names and they played music with Howe Teague.  Rodney helped Mitch learn how to play the banjo and picked out music to be played on the air.  In 1962, the Dillard brothers decided, after making the record “Ebo Walker” in St. Louis, to leave Salem.  Mitch decided to go with them.  So they packed up their families and left in a 1955 Cadillac for California with another musician, Dean Webb.  They eventually made it to California where they were discovered by an agent for the Andy Griffith television show.  They became the Darlin’ Family for the show and had recurring roles for six episodes.  The Dillards opened up for Elton John, Bill Cosby and even played for the Queen of England.  Mitch began to have hearing problems and quit the band to come home to the Ozarks.  He had several books published and one book became a movie.  Mitch loved the Ozarks and the people that lived here.  He and the Dillards were our ambassadors of Ozark culture and humor, that they shared with the world.  Mitch Jayne passed away August 7, 2010.

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