Word came this past week of the passing of broadcasting legend Jim Rohn – or, if you grew up within 100 miles of Fargo in the sixties and early seventies, “Captain Jim”:
Rohn got his start in 1946 on the radio at KSJB-AM in Jamestown following his service in World War II.
He was radioman/gunner on Navy dive bombers during the war.
KSJB was the “enemy”, the station across Main Street from the station I grew up at.
After a few years, he moved to Fargo when sisterstation KXJB-TV was launched, where he was a fixture for many years as a weatherman, among other roles.
He was known to viewers who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s as “Captain Jim,” his persona in a children’s show, a name that stuck among viewers of a certain age for years afterward.
Rohn also hosted “Polka Party” on Saturdays, dressed in a Bavarian lederhosen outfit.
“He was a real character,” said Al Aamodt, a veteran broadcaster at KVLY and KXJB’s Valley News Live.
I had lost track of Rohn when he left KXJB when I was in probably second grade – and was amazed to hear him on the air when I was driving through the Lakes area probably ten years back.