A Rapid City radio personality reflects on his years in the industry

KSLT Studios in Rapid City has an on-air personality who’s been in the community for many years.

John Derrek 2John Derrek was hired at KSLT Studios 36 years ago, but he’s been doing radio for 53 years. And with a robust sort of day radio voice, John says it’s a “God given gift.”

“I love being on the radio,” John said. “I’ll never fully retire unless you throw me out. I just love being on the radio and talking. I just wish I got paid by the word.”

With a career spanning as long as his, John shared one of his favorite experiences in the industry.

“Basically, it’s my voice gives me away. And I even after all these years, I forget about it. And I’ll be in Safeway or somewhere shopping and talking to people. And all of a sudden I notice everybody’s looking at me and it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s right.’ And just the recognition of people coming up going, ‘Hey, you know, I grew up listening to you on KKLS, and I got to tell you this story.’ Those types of stories are what really, really, really inspired me. Because when you’re on the radio, you never know. You say this, you say that, you do this, you do that. You think, and all of a sudden somebody comes up to you and says, you know, ‘That changed my life,’ or ‘That really impacted me,’ or ‘That really helped me.’ And those types of things really, really impress me,” John said.

When it comes to his on air personality or what he talks about, John says he thinks most people know everything about him, like how he never cooks at home since he eats out all the time and has three kids.

John DerrekRecently, John was inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, due to his days at KKLS radio.

“When I first got here in 1971, there were only five radio stations in Rapid City, and KKLS pretty much brought Rock and Roll to the area. So I was the Program Director of that radio station, so that’s what got me introduced and inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” John said. “I was very humbled and after a while it was like, ‘Well, after 53 years, this is finally paying off.'”

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