Thursday, January 22, 2004
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Disc jockey Ken Jordan, 60, was a rock 'n' roll oldies aficionado

HAMDEN -- Rock 'n' roll lost a good friend this week.
Ken Jordan, a New Haven radio oldies icon, passed away at age 60 Tuesday from congestive heart failure.

Jordan, whose given name was Kenneth Jordan Berger, was a music disc jockey with WNHC, WELI, WAVZ and most recently WLNG-FM in Sag Harbor, Long Island
playing oldies on a weekly show called "Ken Jordan's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame."

Fran Fried, the entertainment editor of the New Haven Register, was a big fan.

"Not only was Ken a nice, personable guy, he had a knowledge of early rock 'n' roll, especially the vocal groups, that went beyond encyclopedic," Fried said.

Veteran broadcaster and Hamden neighbor Kenn Venit also has fond memories.

"Ken loved old-time rock 'n' roll. And although he didn't make a full-time career out of his passion for that music, he did live it, breathe it and share it whenever possible on the radio, at his record hops and at the oldies concerts he emceed," Venit said.

Jordan hosted record hops in the area for more than 30 years and also was the emcee for North Haven's annual summer oldies concerts on the Green.

"He emceed a 40th anniversary celebration for us in a wheelchair," said WLNG general manager Paul Sidney. "He was a just a great gentleman." Jordan's day job was owner of a boutique in Wallingford called Dynamite Designs, but radio was his labor of love.

His Sunday night "Hall of Fame" show spanned 21 years on New Haven area radio, with the personable Jordan spinning tunes from doo-wop to early rock 'n' roll. He was an expert on Connecticut performers and interviewed many small and large music legends.

In July 2000, his show was picked up by WLNG, which can be heard along the Connecticut shoreline and throughout New Haven County at 92.1 FM.

Jordan, said Venit, "really loved the old rock music, especially the a capella songs. Professionally, he was at his joyful best when the musicians came to the studio and performed live for Ken's appreciative radio audiences. I wish I had tapes of those shows."

On a WELI show in 1991, Jordan reunited the "Straight Shooters" popular disc jockeys from WAVZ-AM in the 1960s Bill Beamish, T.J. Martin, Ed Flynn and Tracy.

In a 2002 Register story on the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, Jordan talked of visiting Graceland and seeing Presley in concert at Madison Square Garden in the late 1960s. "What was incredible was the number of flashbulbs. It was continuous from the time he came out till the time he ended," he said in that interview.

He leaves his wife, Miriam Rabinowitz Berger, his mother, Ida Berger, a brother, five children and six grandchildren.

Jordan's funeral is set for 1:30 p.m. today at the Shure Funeral Home in New Haven.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 2572 Whitney Ave., Hamden 06518.

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