In the mid 1960s, the Wolfman crossed the border to Mexico and joined the 250,000-watt powerhouse XERF-AM. Thanks to XERF and later XERB-AM, the Wolfman reached most of the southwestern United States while selling everything from coffins to inspirational literature and baby chickens.    

After Wolfman Jack temporarily left XERF 1570-AM he moved to XERB "The Big- 1090" and was DJ and station manager from 1966-1971. The station was actually licensed to Bob Smith aka Wolfman Jack for the Tijuana / Rosarito area of Baja California, Mexico.

XERB was immortalized along with Wolfman Jack in the George Lucas movie American Graffiti.  Wolfman was able to make the station turn a huge profit by selling programming to radio proselytizers in 15-30 minute blocks. Because they had such a large following and made so much money, the radio evangelists were never too hesitant about paying huge fees for airtime. As if being on one border blaster wasn't enough, Wolfman began broadcasting pre-recorded shows on three different Mexican stations at different times of the day, XERB, XERF, & XEG 1050-AM in Monterey, Mexico.

According to his biography, by 1971 Wolfman was making a profit of almost $50,000 a month. The Mexican company executives that leased XERB noticed this and got greedy. They wanted to throw him out and make all the money themselves.

Wolfman and the Border Blasters

So, the owners bribed Mexican officials into politically squeezing Wolfman off the air. The Mexican government did this by passing a law that stated there could be no more Pentecostal or religious programming on Mexican airwaves.

Since XERB made most of its profits from airtime sold to the prayer-cloth preachers there was no way Wolfman could continue to make payments to the owners each month. “That was it." Wolfman remembers, "In one stroke they cleaned out 80 percent of all the money we were expecting to make." So, he and business partner Mo Burton had to turn control of the station back over to the Mexican owners.

With Wolfman out of the way, the station owners tried to duplicate his successful formula. Since Wolfman owned the call letters, XERB, they changed the letters to XPRS and programmed soul music, calling the station “The Soul Express.” Wolf still broadcast for over a year while under the new ownership, but left soon afterwards. April 4, 1972 was the last day Wolfman ever held sway over the Mexican border airwaves.

Four months later George Lucas and crew would film Wolfman on location at station KRE/AM in Berkeley, CA playing himself for the film, American Graffiti. Although the movie shows him broadcasting live from California, the Brinkley Act made this impossible. Artistic license was taken with the subject material for the sake of the script.

Soon afterwards, the Mexican government repealed their own law and put the preachers back on the air. But, without the Wolfman howling over the airwaves, the station never even remotely saw the success that Wolfman Jack had achieved.

(Courtesy of Kip Pullman's "AMERICAN GRAFFITI BLOG" tribute to the 1973 film classic.)