John Walton dies
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Half of the “Walton and Johnson” syndicated morning radio team, John Walton, 67, died July 1, 2019.
Steve Johnson, posted the news on social media and the team’s flagship Houston radio station 950 KPRC’s website.
In the post, Johnson said, “[John Walton’s] medical issues were too numerous to overcome. He had been receiving treatment over the last month but continued to suffer.”
Johnson did not disclose the medical problems that plagued his partner, but says the show will return as soon as possible.
“John was great a broadcaster but also a very private person, and we didn’t realize how much pain he was in … near the end of his life,” the show’s executive producer Ken Webster Jr. told the Houston Chronicle.
Walton and Johnson, also known as “The Radio Gawds,” have steadily grown a radio empire across the Gulf Coast for nearly 40 years amassing a fan base known on the show as 10%ers.
Known for a mix of comedy and then later political-current events talk, Walton guided the show as Johnson provides the voices for characters Billy Ed, Mr. Eaux and Mr. Kenneth.
John Walton (and Steve Johnson) was born and raised in Houston. He first got into radio while attending college at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK as the weekend guy, working midnight-6a Saturday night on KOMA Oklahoma City.
Walton and Johnson teamed up in 1983 in New Orleans on WQUE replacing “Scoot in the Morning.” Reports say it quickly became one of the top-rated morning shows in the city.
In 1986, the radio duo moved to Kiss 106 KTKS Dallas-Fort Worth
In 1988, the show spent a three month try-out period on WQHT New York hybrid dance CHR.
Later that same year, WEZB New Orleans came calling and W&J replaced Ken Cooper.
In 1993, the show started to syndicate to other markets. This led to a feud between W&J and they split up.
They later teamed up in 1994 at WCKW New Orleans.
In 1999, the duo moved to WRNO New Orleans.
In 2002, the duo moved back to their hometown of Houston and took mornings over from Grego, Pruett and the Boner (the show after Mark Stevens was fired) at Rock 101 KLOL.
In 2004, the AOR KLOL was flipped to Mega 101, but W&J kept broadcasting to their other syndicated stations.
In 2005, 97.5 and then later Rock 103.7 KIOL was launched with Walton and Johnson in the mornings.
After the demise of KIOL, W&J moved to 950 KPRC in 2007.
In April of 2013, Walton and Johnson moved back to 950 KPRC replacing the Joe Pags Show.
Walton is survived by his sons Cody and Adam.
Adam Walton has been the program director of his father’s radio station 105.3 KXXF Beaumont.
Here is the full message Steve Johnson posted on the 950 KPRC website:
It is with great shock and sadness that I inform the Walton & Johnson audience of the untimely and sudden passing of John Walton.
His medical issues were too numerous to overcome. He had been receiving treatment over the last month but continued to suffer. He made the decision to return home yesterday and spend his last hours with his family. He went out on his own terms. John passed away last night around 11:55 PM – July 1st, 2019.
I will always cherish John as not only a partner but a dear friend. His wit and humor defined him as the unique individual we all knew him to be. He will never be replaced. He had a voice and he had something to say.
Your loyalty and support for him and his craft was always a mutual sentiment. John cared deeply for all of you. He loved to make you all laugh.
Please remember his family in your “thoughts and prayers“.
I am forever in debt to all of you for your support of our program. The show will return as soon as possible.
Sincerely, Steve Johnson.