(May 23, 1919-Feb. 11, 1993). A native of Loveland, Ohio, whose full name was James Shelton Undercoffer, Shelton took his first radio job in 1940 at WCMI in Ashland, Kentucky. A year later, he moved to Wibc in Indianapolis where he worked for 50 years, only interrupted by three years of service in the Army Air Force during World War II.

A man has a board hanging around his neck. The board says "Pick A Pocket" and has a series of random numbered pockets on it. A crowd of people surround him.
WIBC radio game show, “Pick a Pocket,” ca. 1950s Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

Shelton created “Pick-A-Pocket,” a popular 15-minute quiz show, which aired at 12:15 P.M. from the Circle Theatre marquee November 24, 1947, through October 8, 1968. Donning a 15-pocket apron designed by his wife Dorothy, Shelton asked people to “pick-a-pocket” and answer questions to win money and prizes. During its 21-year run, the program aired 6,390 times and was the most-listened-to program on Indianapolis radio for 19 of those years.

Shelton also was an announcer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network from 1948 to 1978. In addition to his work behind the microphone, Shelton served as a sales account executive for WIBC from 1969 until his 1991 retirement. He was the station’s top salesperson for nine of those years.

A recipient of over 100 awards for his civic contributions, Shelton was named to the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1989 for services to the radio industry. At his retirement, he was named a Sagamore of the Wabash.

Revised March 2021

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