The Boise community lost an iconic broadcaster, Big Jack Armstrong, who passed away this weekend. His family and extended broadcast family first reported the news on social media. Mr. Armstrong was a pillar of good works, combining the appeal of his radio show with his passion for serving the local community. 

For over forty-eight years, listeners were entertained by music spanning almost five decades, several stations, and a variety of formats. When Mr. Armstrong was on the air, folks in the Treasure Valley grew up listening to the very popular DJ.

Mr. Armstrong was one of the last of the truly great entertainers on the radio. He worked nonstop for most of his career without computers, shuffling records, answering and airing listener phone calls, and requesting favorite songs. 

Boise Honors Radio Legend Big Armstrong

Idaho broadcasters honor his career.

Gallery Credit: Kevin Miller

Mr. Armstrong was Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter long before the internet became a reality. He was the original Idaho social media influencer. Reverend Bill Roscoe, the CEO of the Boise Rescue Mission, praised Mr. Armstrong for helping him become a part of the Treasure Valley when he moved to Idaho. 

So strong was Mr. Armstrong's relationship with his listeners that during the summer months, teenagers would know when it was time to turn over while tanning. "When the William Tell Overture played, we knew it was time to flip over, one young lady told us recently."

Steve Bertel, author, and award-winning journalist, detailed Big Jack's career in his Facebook post:

So sad to hear that "Big Jack" Armstrong passed away last Friday.  

He was a true legend in Treasure Valley radio for many years. I had the pleasure of working with him in the late-'70s/early-'80s when I was news director at KBBK-FM ("Magic 92") and he was the night deejay and, later, program director.

Jack worked "up and down the dial," coming from KOZE in Lewiston and starting at KBBK in 1978, when the station broadcasted from its famous "airport control tower" studios on Fairview Avenue in west Boise – in fact, Jack would often wave to listeners from the "tower" control room, as they honked at him when driving past the station, while listening to him on their car radios. He stayed with "Magic 92" until the early '80s, after it moved to a remodeled former church building in Meridian. From 1985 to 2014, Jack worked for KFXD-FM ("KF 95"), KLCI-FM ("Rock 97"), KLTB-FM ("Kool 104"), KDJQ-AM, KWEI-FM/KKOO-AM in Fruitland/Weiser, and at KSRV-AM in Ontario, Oregon.

Listeners Thank Big Jack Armstrong

Beloved Boise DJ Passes Away

Gallery Credit: Kevin Miller

Celebrate National Radio Day And See How The Decades Of The Job Have Changed

The first commercial radio stations began broadcasting in the 1920s. There are now well over 15,000 commercial radio stations in the United States.

From the 1920's to day, as much as things have changed in radio, the mission remains the same – keeping the audience informed and entertained.

See what famous radio hosts and other celebrities over the decades have said about radio.

Gallery Credit: Jim Rondenelli

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