Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

June 20, 2011 at 10:19am

KGHP’s Mike Kelly loves reggae

Mike Kelly at the beach in 1989 with Steer Town Posse

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Among the dense evergreens that surround the banks of Carr Inlet a rhythmic island beat thumps. From behind Peninsula High School, between the art department and the football field, emanates reggae, ska, dub, rock steady, mento and dance hall. Every Wednesday night, KGHP FM plays host to Mike Kelly and his radio program, Kelly's Heroes, a show that's been going strong for 20 years .

Before Kelly moved to Gig Harbor in 1990, he managed reggae bands in Chicago, Illinois, most notably Smokey and the Seventh Seal. But Kelly's love for the island sound was grown from a young age.

"My first reggae album was Desmond Dekker with the Israelites," Kelly says. "I bought that in 1970, at the time not knowing that it was called reggae. It was just a cool song and still is a cool song. I remember buying that for 45 cents at K-mart in Westminster, California. I was 11 at the time."

After the location shift from the Midwest to the Northwest, Kelly took a radio class taught by KGHP founder Don Hofmann. Shortly thereafter, he found himself spinning records at the high school station. Kelly's Heroes started in 1991. After two decades on the air, the show is now the longest-running Jamaican radio show in the United States.

 To read Josh Swainston's full story click here.

Filed under: Music, Gig Harbor,
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