Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cotham's Mercantile Razed By Fire

As per an alert by Doug Virden, Cotham's Mercantile was destroyed, as reported 5/30/17 on KARK:


When I made my visit to Little Rock a few years ago, Charlie Scarbrough ("Charlie King") acted as our tour guide for a couple of days; Cotham's was one place he took us...unfortunately, it was closed on the day we went there:

There's my beautiful wife and daughter!

Such a neat landmark...sad to lose it....

Thanks to Doug Virden for the news flash.

Bud S. (staceys4@Hotmail.com)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

It is not about BBQ and beer, folks....

Bud S. (staceys4@Hotmail.com)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bob Robbins Keeps On Keepin' On

Former KAAY personality Bob Robbins signs an extension of his contract with KMJX:


Thanks to Doug Virden for this information!

Bud S. (staceys4@Hotmail.com)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

KAAY Featured On Rewound Radio

Doug Virden contacted me on KAAY being featured on Rewound Radio:

"This past Saturday Rewound Radio featured a few hours of unscoped airchecks from KAAY.  They were from May 18th, 1971, the ones that are already listed on the blog.  The airchecks consisted of Wayne Moss and Mike McCormick (aka Barry Wood).  Rewound Radio relives those radio days every Saturday at noon Eastern time.  A majority of them are from the top radio markets in the country such as New York of Los Angeles.  The Little Rock radio market is ranked #83 in the US.  KAAY was described as being unlike the other stations on the East or West Coast which had a deep playlist as well as describing the nighttime coverage.  Beaker Street also got a mention.

     Rewound Radio is an online oldies radio station, to be able to listen you can go to rewoundradio.com on your computer and hit the listen button.  Another way to listen is to install the tunein radio app on your phone and listen through your phone.  Hopefully next time KAAY is featured I will know about it ahead of time and it can be posted to the blog ahead of time."
Thanks, Doug!  Keep a sharp eye out and let us know!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bob Robbins Still Going, Going, Going...

I found this article on the KAAY-AM, Mighty 1090 Facebook page:


Thanks, Doug Virden, for posting this on Facebook!

Bud S. (staceys4@Hotmail.com)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chuck Berry and Jonnie King- And A Happy Anniversary!

Hey, all!  Jonnie King just wrote me with some good info- please enjoy!

"Wanted to let you know that I am happy that tomorrow (April 21, 2017) will be the Anniversary of my first night on KAAY 48 Year's ago!

IN CONJUNCTION WITH THAT, I've put together a Tribute to Chuck Berry...who has influenced my life and career since 1955.

The Info on the Link that I'm sending you, with my TRIBUTE TO CHUCK BERRY, was started the day after he passed-away. These are my Personal stories and memories of Chuck. I'll leave his Discography and Life Story to the many others that have, and will, chronicle those. I worked with Chuck FOUR times, beginning at the Batcave here in St. Louis in 1966.

The rare pix of Chuck and myself, and the other images, are most-all from my Archives.  The Audio is from RARE BBC interviews with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Johnny Rivers, and, John Lennon, that were to the best of my knowledge done in 1987 (except for Lennon's).

(You'll love Chuck's On-The-Road lyrics about his Brand New AirMobile, the New Jersey Turn Pike, trying to outrun the State Troopers, and the Full Moon !)

 HERE'S THE DIRECT LINK to the Tribute Page. Let me know what you think, and, feel free to pass-it-on and add it to the KAAY BLOG if you have time in the next few days ! http://www.jonnieking.net/gpage44.html

Thanks for all you do for us Bud, God Bless you and yours !
Jonnie "

Thank YOU, Jonnie!

Bud S. (staceys4@Hotmail.com)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

KAAY Getting Cleaned Up?

"Giving an update on what is going on at the KAAY transmitter site.  For the 1st time in about 12 years, the KAAY Transmitter Site has finally been bushhogged.  Found this out on another Facebook page so I went out the next day to take a few pics.  The property inside and out is being cleaned up.  You may be able to see the dumpster by the transmitter building.  The work is in progress in getting the original signal restored."

Thanks to Doug Virden for this picture he snapped a few weeks ago!  Keep up the good work!

Someone's ideal scenario is that KAAY does an about-face and revives the rock & roll music format, while retaining some of the Christian programming in other time slots/blocks...that coming from a Facebook post.  I agree.

Thanks, Doug!

Bud S. (staceys4@Hotmail.com)

Monday, April 3, 2017

The death of a 50,000 watt station

This is not totally about KAAY.  It’s about another 50,000-watt former rock’n’roll audience giant that just went dark, a station that meant a lot to me just as KAAY has. 

WFLI(AM)-1070, Lookout Mountain/Chattanooga TN, went off the air for good last Friday evening March 31, after 56 years of broadcasting.  Like KAAY, they dared to go fulltime rock’n’roll in the early 1960’s, rose to top ratings and stayed there for years.  The combination of their power, their personalities, the promotions, and the music, turned them into a legend known as “The Great Jet ‘FLI”.  They were huge, seemingly unstoppable.  I was a DJ there from 1975-76, just a blip in their long top 40 history.  And now, they’re gone. 

Sure, there were differences between WFLI and KAAY.  WFLI dropped power to 1,000 watts at night, so it didn’t have the clear-channel impact and reputation that KAAY had.  WFLI was family-owned for its entire life by the Brennan-Benns family of engineers  ( https://brennanbenns.wordpress.com/about/ ).  They knew how to keep a used, monster-sized Western Electric 50kw transmitter alive, and how to provide their audience with homespun local talent.  In contrast, KAAY was owned by a series of corporations, with more money to spend and access to some of the best technical engineering consultants, and brought a big-city sound to a smaller market.

But eventually, both WFLI and KAAY were swept up by the same changes in audience tastes, technology, and in how to maintain profitability on AM.  WFLI’s rock audience drifted to FM, resulting in a change to a country format in 1979.  Only a few years later, the Benns family threw in the towel on trying to compete in the secular radio world, and went to a Southern Gospel and paid religion format that required only a small staff.   KAAY’s new corporate owners made a similar switch to Southern Gospel radio in 1985.  Over the next 30 years, both stations went downhill.  They saw declines in audience, let their technical facilities degrade with age, saw profitability slip, all while listeners gradually gave up on AM.  In Chattanooga, Nielsen market #88, the only AM station currently rated in the top 17 is in 10th place and it’s not WFLI.  In Little Rock, market #83, there are no AM stations in the top 13.   Details of KAAY’s technical decline are noted elsewhere on this Blog.  WFLI looks like a radio museum with its 60’s/70’s-era equipment, except for a relatively new 50kw Harris transmitter that replaced the old Western Electric beast. 

I posted the sad news about WFLI’s demise on a Facebook AM radio group and comments flooded in.  Some people were amazed that a 50kw station just couldn’t make it anymore.  Others suggested creative ways to save the station.  And then other people berated the save-the-station folks, told them to face reality about the state of AM radio, and said the owners shouldn’t be blamed for wanting to shut it down, sell the equipment, and enjoy their retirement.  In short -- celebrate WFLI’s former glory days, but it’s time to let it go. 

I bring all of this up just to raise the possibility that, perhaps someday, the owners of KAAY may also decide it’s not financially worth it anymore, and pull the plug on the formerly Mighty-1090.  That would have been unthinkable several decades ago, maybe even just one decade ago!  But, look what has happened to WFLI, where the march of time, technical neglect, and just the nature of change eventually caught up with them.

Greg Barman

Photos by Greg Barman and David Carroll

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Doug Virden Snags A Good Find!

Found this at an estate sale this past week.  It is a commemorative coffee cup from the opening of the Cottondale building in November 1976:

The other side of the cup has an invitation to the grand opening;. At the tip it says "A Moving Experience, Multi Media requests the honour of your presence at the grand opening of the KAAY-KEZQ studios.  Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served Friday evening the twelfth of November from four until seven o'clock.  2400 Cottondale Lane Little Rock, Arkansas."

KAAY's sister station 94.1 had been through a few changes during the Multi Media years, this is what the format was before Multi Media sold KAAY and 94.1.  After KEZQ was switched to a rock station around the spring-summer of 1978, KEZQ moved down the dial shortly afterwards at 100.3 FM.  Remember reading the story on the blog about the change when the police came to the Cottondale building to make sure everything was OK during the transition.  There were a lot of unhappy people about that change.

This is what Philip Jonsson changed 94.1 to after he bought the station.  A majority of KAAY's former listeners came here after KAAY went full time religion.  They played the light rock favorites from the 60's, 70's, and current music at the time.  David B. Treadway and Barry Mac went to work for K-LITE sister station KLRA AM 1010.  Barry was also offered a job for the religious KAAY and worked days at KAAY and evenings at KLRA.  David B. Treadway eventually became Program Director of K-LITE and was Program Director when 94.1 made the change to The Point 94.1 Memorial Day Weekend of 1994 and served that position until he left at the end of 1995.

(Thank you, Doug, for sharing these cups with us!  Nice finds!  And keep it coming!  Bud S [staceys4@Hotmail.com])

Friday, February 10, 2017

David B. Treadway Retires From U.S. 97

Today, the Voice Of Arkansas hangs his hat up...as per his Facebook post:

"Hello Goodbye.

Okay, here's the official word. I am retiring from US 97, 96.7 The Rocket, US Stations LLC and Radio in general, effective at 10:00 AM this Frida...y, February 10. It was a week ago today that I somehow survived to be 66. That's 198 in human years, and the feds declare it to be my Full Retirement Age. Being a good American, it is now my patriotic duty to quit working and get on that government tit. I am eager to become a burden on society, as I figure I have about half a tank of fumes left to get me through two more mornings.
I am deeply, seriously and humbly thankful to everyone who has ever listened to me. If you've gotten a laugh along the way, it has made me rich beyond reckoning--and I hope you're okay knowing that I'll never be able to pay you half of what I owe you. If you're one of that small handful of miserable bastards who tried to stomp me out, feel free to line up and start kissing my ass. I'll be home most days and I'll come down to the road so you don't even have to get out of your cars.
My eternal gratitude to Mr Charles Shinn, Gary Terrell and Craig T. Dale for having THE best company I ever did work for. My love to the Most Dangerous Woman On The Air, Vicki Parker, Tom Duke, Pat O'Briant, Jennifer Bailey, and Wayne Bennett for surrounding me with their consummate professionalism. It's been an honor to serve with y'all and I'll miss you like blazes!
Treadway out. For now."

There is more, if you have Facebook access...

David B., congrats for getting out alive; I hope you and Mrs. Treadway will have many, many happy days together in the sunshine with Shack, and all the wild animals.  maybe you can work full-time keeping the deer out of her garden now!

Bud S. (staceys4@Hotmail.com)