OAB Hall of Fame
Don Wallace might be described in Oklahoma broadcasting as a pioneer…a visionary…an innovator. In 1955 Don was the very first disc jockey to play rock and roll in Tulsa on KOME and the first to host teen hops in Oklahoma. In 1965 his “Wallace Wildlife Show” made its debut on WKY-TV when there were only four outdoor shows in the country and none in Oklahoma City. Forty years later, Don’s wildlife show is still airing in the market.
A Pittsburg, Kansas native, Don’s radio career began in 1949 at KWON in Bartlesville. Following stops at KGLC, Miami; KBIX, Muskogee; KRMG, KTUL and KOME in Tulsa, he landed in 158 at Oklahoma City’s powerhouse rock and roller, WKY. His casual on-air presentation earned him the national Movie Mirror magazine “Disc Jockey of the Year” honor for 1963-64.
Don Wallace’s passion for fishing led him down a new path in broadcasting. In 1965, after four years of pleading, WKY-TV’s management agreed to air a weekly 15-minute Wallace Wildlife Show. For six years, Don hosted the show while working six days a week for WKY Radio, doing station promotions plus Teen Hops, which numbered over 2,000 during his DJ career.
In 1971 The Wallace Wildlife Show became a “full-time, prime time” 30-minute show on WKY-TV. In 1976, it carried the highest rating of any wildlife show in the country. In syndication, Don’s show aired in markets throughout the southwest, including Dallas, for 16 years. A self-taught photographer, Don hosted the show, shot 90% of the film, did the editing, producing, selling and syndication.
Don Wallace was a pioneer, a visionary and innovator, but above all an entertainer and friend to Oklahoma listeners and viewers for over 50 years.