Rosalie Allen, a disc jockey known as the “queen of the yodelers,” died on Sept. 23 from congestive heart failure. She was 79.
Allen taught herself to sing and play her brother’s guitar as a child. During World War II, she earned $15 a week as a professional yodeler. When she moved to New York and landed a job on the “Swing Billies” radio show, her pay increased to $300 a week.
In 1944, Allen took a brief break from singing to become one of the first female disc jockeys. Her half-hour program, “Prairie Stars” on WOV in New York was so popular that Country Music magazine named her the most famous country music personality in Manhattan. She also produced her own local television show on NBC, and opened one of New York’s first country music record stores, the Rosalie Allen’s Hillbilly Music Center.
Allen returned to singing in the late 1940s, performed at Carnegie Hall and recorded several hits, including “I Wanna Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” and “Guitar Polka.” In 1999, she became the first woman inducted into the Country Radio Broadcasters: Country DJ Hall of Fame.