Don Couser :: A Radio Original
Radio lost a real original this past week: Don Couser.
Talk to just about any radio professional who grew up in San Antonio and they will surely tell you a story of how their career and life was touched by this kind man.
Here is mine.
It was Fiesta Week and I remember standing for hours in front of the KONO Radio “Alamobile” (a modern mobile home that had been converted into a remote studio) parked at Alamo Plaza. As I listened and watch my favorite radio personality, Don Couser, I couldn’t help but dream of being behind the microphone one day, having “the best job in the world.” That’s what Mr. Couser made it sound like.
I had to find a way begin my journey. That opportunity came when walking home from Central Catholic HS, listening to my portable radio, (purchased on layaway for $19.95, a dollar at a time), I heard Don saying that he and George the Duck were going to call the President. It became a running bit as the “White House secretary” would say the President was very busy and then hang up.
I had been entertaining since 7th grade, as a stand-up comedian and emcee, performing with a small troupe at hospitals, military bases, and schools. One of my impressions was of President Kennedy, so I called the radio station, leaving a message for Mr. Couser that “JFK had called” and left my number.
The next day I answered the phone to hear that familiar voice.
Don: This is Don Couser. I got a message to call this number from a JFK.
Me: Just a moment.
Me: (Using my Kennedy voice) Ah yes, Mistah Cahowser! What can I ah do for you?
Don: (Laughing) Who is this!
Me: This is the President. How can I help you? Please ah, make it faast, I’m a busy man!
Don: (Still laughing) That’s very funny! Now really, who is this?
I introduced my self and he kindly offered to bring me on the next day’s show as the President!
This time when Don called the White House, the secretary put him through to yours truly as JFK. The bit went over so well, Don continued the ongoing conversation for several days. My classmates at Central Catholic couldn’t believe that I was the voice of the President.
And so, began a great friendship with a man named Don.
Although he wasn’t supposed to, Don would let me sit in occasionally as he performed his magic on KONO.
For this 16 year old kid, it was a vision of the future.
Little did I know that one day, I would provide the introduction of Mr. Couser as a fellow inductee of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. It doesn’t get much better than that!
I spoke to Don’s good friend and attorney, Michael Black, recently and asked him how he thought Don wanted to be remembered. He said, “Don would wish that others would think of him as a family man, good friend and someone who gave his best to the community.”
You were all that and so much more, Don.