Goodbye Jack

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I was a pretty good shoe salesman in my day.
Yes, for those who don’t know, I was the real Al Bundy for about three years prior to worming my way into broadcasting.
I actually enjoyed it because I had a good product to sell, a good selection from which to choose and a fairly good gift of gab.
Most of the time my customers were won-over by a comfortable fit and a little flattery.
When I left the shoe business to try selling radio advertising I figured it would be a snap too..but I figured wrong.
Instead of customers coming to me..I had to go find customers.
Instead of having something tangible to show off and slip-on and smooth-talk about..all I had to offer was commercial time on the air waves with no guarantee that listeners would respond to the ads I was trying to peddle.
I stunk at selling blue-sky.
So it’s a bit ironic that I would wind-up working at Keloland Television (not in sales, thank God)  along side two of the finest blue-sky salesmen the country has ever known; Joe L. Floyd and Jack Townsend.
      Jack TownsendFloyd used all his skills as an imaginative and highly successful movie theater promoter to convince local businessmen to stock and sell TV sets even before he had put the first television “signal” on the air in 1953.
Jack Townsend was Floyd’s bright young “idea” man who was brought aboard to promote KELO during those challenging early years.
As promotion director, Jack won all kinds of national awards, including a new car for his local campaign in 1958 celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Ed Sullivan Show.
Joe Floyd may have dreamed up the Keloland Gold Rush concept but it was Jack who sweat blood and lost sleep working out all the details and logistics of that huge 2-day event that brought over 150 thousand people to tiny Manchester, South Dakota in 1961.
By the time Jack was named local and regional sales manager in 1971, he had already played a major role in creating the quality product Keloland Television had become…and continues to be today.
Now, he, like Joe L. Floyd, Evans Nord, Tom Sheeley, Jim Burt, Russ and Marge Artis, Jerry and Jackie Lofgren and the other broadcasting pioneers who built Keloland TV from nothing, has died at the age of 79.
In our 19 years working together, I always admired Jack’s creative genius and ability to keep cool under pressure.
Jack Townsend was a class act and helped make Keloland the classy place it was and is to work.

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