By Carol Griswold
Jan. 24, 2020

On December 29, 2019 our fellow KZUM programmer and friend, Tom Dayton, host of “Unknown Radio” for the last five years passed away.  I wanted to touch briefly on Tom and his time at KZUM. You see, to understand the whole story, we must go back to 1999. Tom, who had probably been thinking about this for several years, decided that if there was a group called “The Promise Keepers” then there must surely be another group “The Promise Breakers”! Admittedly, these discussions started with friends and beverages at the Zoo Bar; Tom kept coming up with these outrageously funny, goofy, and irreverent topics about life.


Thus, the Promise Breakers Topic of the Week, with the motto “trying hard to seem sincere,” started as a segment on Women’s Blues & Boogie in 2000. Tom was in his element; he wrote the topics on bar napkins for me to announce on the air, called on the phone, and then set up an email account to keep in touch.


Soon he was on the air every Friday doing the topics of the week with me. Before we knew it people were calling the station if there WASN’T a topic of the week! There were hats, t-shirts and I was his “straight woman” for all this insanity and lord you can only imagine–our poor KZUM program directors (Tom you can’t say that on the radio!); everybody loved the nonsense.


And of course Tom–he was KZUM and community radio’s finest ambassador for music, the joys of being a volunteer, and of course “living local.” This went on until 2011, when Tom took a few years off. He briefly did a blues show on KZUM but really loved all music, so that format wasn’t broad enough for him. Then came the perfect fit, a programming slot opened up on Tuesday from 10:30am until 12:00 in 2014 which he named “Unknown Radio.” The rest, as they say, is history.


Tom was very proud of the fact that he never missed a single show in all of that time! He and his sidekick “Elvis” the hound dog, were quite a duo. They will not soon be forgotten by all of his loved ones, friends, listeners, and KZUM family! We Promise!!


A celebration of life for Tom Dayton will be held at the Zoo Bar Saturday, February 1, starting at 3 p.m. with a potluck dinner and open mic to share stories.


Music by Katy G of Kansas City to follow from 6-9 p.m.

Carol Griswold is the host of Women’s Blues & Boogie which airs Fridays, 1-3 p.m. Tom Dayton was the host of Unknown Music, for many years, which aired Tuesdays 10 a.m. until Noon.