Jack Alix; Local DJ Hosted Dance Show, Beatles Concerts

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Jack Alix, 64, a fixture on Washington rock radio in the 1960s known as "JA the DJ" who most recently was head of marketing and promotions for Clear Channel Communications stations in Richmond, died Nov. 15 at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond. He had emphysema, diabetes and pneumonia.

Mr. Alix, who had a fluid and excitable style, became one of the premier rock deejays in Washington in the early 1960s, first on WEEL-AM and later on WPGC-AM/FM. He also hosted a weekday dance show for teenagers on WDCA-TV (Channel 20) called "Wing Ding," soon renamed "The Jack Alix Show."

He was among those chosen to emcee at Washington Coliseum when the Beatles performed their first U.S. concert there in February 1964. He also hosted the band's later concert at what was then called D.C. Stadium.

"There was only one of the Beatles who took the time to talk, who was friendly, who related on a one-to-one level, and that was Paul McCartney," he later told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "It was like talking to a next-door neighbor."

John Anthony Alix was born in Chicago and raised in Washington by his single mother, a personal assistant to Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa.

As a teenager, Mr. Alix was a regular dancer on Milt Grant's popular bandstand show, and he became the nighttime deejay on WEEL after graduating in 1960 from Archbishop Carroll High School.

"By the early '70s, I really wanted to learn something about station management, and no one in Washington would give me a chance," he told the Richmond paper.

He went into sales and promotions in Richmond and hosted "Rock 'n' Roll Roots," a syndicated radio show in the late 1970s and early '80s that aired on more than 140 stations worldwide.

"We got so excited the time we beat Casey Kasem in one market," he told the Times-Dispatch.

He later held management positions at stations in Florida, Michigan, West Virginia and Missouri before returning to Washington in the mid-1990s on WXTR-FM as co-host of a morning drive show with deejay Bobby Bennett.

Mr. Alix also was operations manager at WXTR and was director of the Columbia School of Broadcasting in the District.

In May, he received the Richmond Association of Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement Award.

His marriages to Tincy Lewis Alix and Cathy Driscoll Alix ended in divorce.

Survivors include two sons from his first marriage, Michael Alix of Glen Ridge, N.J., and Jeffrey Alix of South Yarmouth, Mass.; two children from his second marriage, Aimee Alix of Alexandria and John Alix Jr. of Manhattan, N.Y.; and three grandchildren.

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