Born John Charles Larsh, in Durham, North Carolina, John, also known as Jack Armstrong, Jackson W. Armstrong and Big Jack Your Leader, was a popular disc jockey of the 1960’s at WIXY and WKYC. Larsh’s first break came in 1966, when he landed at WIXY. Norman Wain (1992 Honoree for Award for Excellence in Broadcasting) named him after the 1930’s radio serial, Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy. With his fast talking, young, friendly approach, Larsh became a huge hit in Cleveland—so huge that floundering WKYC-1100 asked him to break his WIXY contract, and come work for the 50,000 watt blowtorch in January, 1967. ‘Jack Armstrong’ was a copyrighted moniker in the market, so Larsh adopted the alias ‘Big Jack Your Leader’, and went to work for WKYC. He also occasionally taunted WIXY by calling himself Jackson W. Armstrong.
With WKYC being heard all over the Eastern half of the U.S., Larsh finally went national. He attracted fans all over the region, and became a huge hit. WKYC was listed as the #3 record buying influence in Miami, Florida in that era, no doubt due to ‘Big Jack’ and the 50,000 watt night time signal that blanketed the east coast of the country.
He had two imaginary sidekicks—the Gorilla, who speaks in a raspy bass and likes women, banana juice and whiskey—in that order. The second sidekick was the Old Timer, who wheezes, tells lame jokes and was always getting shot after one of them. Larsh was known for his distinctive signoff. At WKYC, it was a few catch phrases, spoken over the instrumental version of the Beatles’ “And I Love her”.