TULSA, Okla. - News of the passing of long time Tulsa radio personality Phil Stone came as something of a shock last week.
Stone, real name Phil Riddle, had co-hosted the "Morning Zoo" show in Tulsa for some 27 years with Brent Douglas, familiar to listeners as the creator of a character named Roy D. Mercer.
Thursday evening at 5:00 p.m., Cain's Ballroom will host a memorial service for Stone who died at the age of 57 November 21.
He and Douglas had retired from their show less than six weeks prior to his death.
Dave "Wavy Davy" Michaels of KRMG sister station Rock 103 knew Phil for decades.
The two met in Fayetteville, before either of them moved to Tulsa.
Michaels tells KRMG his longtime colleague "was a great guy... he loved his kids, he was a great dad."
He and Stone had a lot in common, besides their roots in Arkansas. "He was a hardcore Arkansas Razorback fan, we had that in common. Loved the Beatles; we could sit and talk about the Beatles and play guitars, we'd play Beatles music. When video games first came out we'd sit up all night and would play Atari games."
Michaels has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Tulsa radio, having worked in the market for decades.
He remembers how the Morning Zoo team of Phil and Brent first came together.
"Brent was calling in bits. He was a pharmacist in Broken Arrow, and he was calling in bits on the morning show, and they decided 'hey this is the guy we need to get to be Phil's partner."
The story is confirmed by a radio interview Douglas did after Stone passed away.
Michaels continued, "in '93 is when Roy D. Mercer was born, and that's when they started doing the prank calls."
That bit helped Phil and Brent become nationally known, and cemented their position on Tulsa's FM radio waves.
"They got their record deals by truck drivers who would stop here at the truck stops and they would record those Roy D. Mercer things, and they would swap those tapes," he says. "It just spread like wildfire.
"They ended up doing several comedy albums because of the truck drivers."
As far as Stone's legacy, Michaels says his impact on Tulsa radio was significant.
"He owned it. He owned it. I mean I can only think of one other name other than Brent and Phil that's truly a legend, and that's John Erling."
Media reports indicate that Stone died from heart disease.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Heath-Griffith Funeral Home.
The family requests that donations in Stone's honor be made to either:
The Child Abuse Network, 2829 S. Sheridan, Tulsa, OK 74129 or
Trinity United Methodist Church, 1021 W. Sycamore St., Fayetteville, AR 72703