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Saturday, September 03, 2016

Jim Pruett of Rock 101 KLOL's Stevens and Pruett has died

Jim Pruett, along with Mark Stevens, defined comedy for a generation of Houston radio listeners on 101 KLOL and other stations

Stevens and Pruett 101 KLOL audio clips online + podcast

AUDIO: Michael Berry's 101 KLOL Jim Pruett tribute

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Jim Pruett from upcoming 101 KLOL documentary filmed at his gun store (2010).

Jim Pruett, the comic genius and half of the legendary 101 KLOL Stevens and Pruett morning team, died Friday evening at the age of 72.

He is survived by his wife Joy and his children. No cause of death has been released at this time. His family has updated us that Pruett died due to heart failure.

Pruett, who along with his longtime broadcasting partner, Mark Stevens, helped define morning radio in their decades together.

Born in nearby Bay City, Pruett fell in love with radio at a very early age. In interviews for my upcoming Rock 101 KLOL documentary, Pruett told me he began his career at the age of 15 at KBWD in Brownwood, Texas.

"And then I begun my kilowatt climb to incredible markets from Brownwood to Snyder, Texas to Frederick, Oklahoma and so forth," Pruett told me. "And then finally I got Merkel, Texas. Abilene, Texas. Also I ended up in Midland, Texas. And from Midland I got to do all nights in Oklahoma City, so that put me into a big market. Oklahoma City is a big market."

After serving in Vietnam, Pruett was hired by KNUZ-AM program director Buddy McGregor and Houston radio would never the same. In those days, Pruett went by the name Tony Raven on the Night Flight show playing the "hippie" style music that would define rock and roll.

In the early 70s, KLOL founding program director Pat Fant hired Pruett to work mornings on the newly signed on 101 KLOL. He would eventually become program director. It was a chance to work as the iconic 610 KILT morning show characters Hudson and Harrigan with Fort Worth DJ Mark Stevens that took Pruett away from KLOL in the mid-70s.

Eventually the duo realized they wanted to be themselves on air and worked stints at KULF-AM and 97.1 KEGL The Eagle in Dallas-Fort Worth.

In the early 80s, with an intense radio war against 97 Rock KSRR, KLOL made the move to bring Steven and Pruett back to Houston and a generation of Groove Dawgs was born.

"There is only one Stevens and Pruett," Fant told me in an interview for my documentary. "And it is radio genius, I think. The guys were just remarkable, and they made a lot of money. And I paid them a lot of money, because they made us a ton of money. Stevens and Pruett is, I think, one of the best radio combinations ever."

With bawdy humor that spawned such memorable segments as Uncle Waldo and the Sex Survey Hour, Stevens and Pruett became the staple of many Houstonians' morning routines.

"It was something you would sit in the car in the parking lot, with the motor running at 8:30, not go up to work and you were late and it was OK because you were going to hear the end of what they just started," Fant told me.

Pruett told me he heard the same statement over and over again in his post-radio life from former listeners, "Man, you made me late for all of my classes and I got into a butt-load of trouble!"

But for all of the shocking humor, Pruett was a religious man who wanted to help people. He worked tirelessly on his passion project, The Stevens & Pruett Foundation for Children and Animals, a ranch that helped abused children and animals.

"Well, I was given the opportunity to do it," Pruett told me. "I don't really take any credit for that I am a better person or anything. But I do think God loves me obviously, hopefully directs me and sometimes you can do a better job with that. I thank God that I am given the opportunity to help kids and animals. Not everybody gets that chance. So by being in radio, I had that chance and did it."

After radio, Pruett, a strong Second Amendment believer, opened a gun store off Highway 290.

It was at his store, I had the opportunity to interview Pruett for hours. He was a quick wit with a mind that worked extremely fast, it was hard to keep up with him. Pruett was an entertainer through and through.

In listening back to old Stevens and Pruett broadcasts, I forgot how many jokes the dynamic duo rapid fired at us back in the day. If you rewind the tape, you hear jokes you didn't catch the first time around.

There will never be anything like S&P on Houston radio ever again.

Below is a clip we shot the day of the interview of Pruett...being Pruett.

AUDIO: Michael Berry's 101 KLOL Jim Pruett tribute

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Jim and Joy Pruett - a photo taken by Crash's wife Roxana Marx Collins at a charity benefit.

- Stevens and Pruett remembered by a Rock 101 KLOL insider
- Former KLOL DJ 'Crash' Collins, 69, has died
- RIP: Stevens and Pruett player Jake Ray aka "Tito"
- Former 101 KLOL Stevens & Pruett producer Thomas E. ‘Tubby’ Lawler III died

Stevens and Pruett 101 KLOL audio clips online + podcast

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