Thursday, July 30, 2009

How About a New "Where Are They Now"?

There's been one or two folks mentioning this...and we have to depend on others who were "there" to come up with this information. This could be an interesting addition to the blog, as readers would know how KAAY has affected and enhanced their lives.

Bud S. (

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Reunion? Says Dave Montgomery!

"So I checked the new blog and “found” Fadick, and Treadway, Jonnie, and Downes out there – where have-ya been guys? Lurking? Dang it’s good to hear from you! And, boy would a reunion be nice over a slab of ribs and couple of brews!

I am so glad to hear Jonnie and David B, Greg and Dick have done so well. And so many good stories to stack onto the KAAY experience. Wonder if anyone would be interested in a “Where are they now?” follow up?

Anyone else out there lurking who hasn’t checked in yet? Sunny, where art ye? Wayne? Barry? Phil? Clyde / Dale ??

Greg, thank for the offer, but you can keep the change - - - Heh!

Dave M // David Ray (Lee Roy is truly my middle name)

(Saturday morning, fill in and full time wire twister par excellance)"

Yes, how about a follow-up, folks? We're working hard here, but many hands make the burden light! Let us know what's up!

Bud S. (

KAAY Production (From Greg Fadick)


In a recent post, David B. Treadway makes an important point. I was also amazed by the almost total lack of ego among the stars of KAAY.

Keep in mind, I didn’t join the KAAY airstaff until 1977. In ‘71 and ‘72, I was just a kid hanging around the studios on Friday and Saturday nights, in serious violation of Pat Walsh’s visitor policy. Even so, folks like David B., Phil North, Jonnie King and Barry Wood freely and gladly gave their time to coach me. Jonnie graciously took the time to show me how he chose music for the station, and how to communicate with the listeners. (Side note: Jonnie is one of those rare individuals who has the talent and ability to sound as if he’s right in your room with you, talking to only you as your personal friend.) Barry taught me that you’re not doing an airshift, you’re producing a show, and he gave me my first Budweiser. David B. and Phil would spend extra hours in the production room, teaching me, step by step, what they were doing, how they did it, and why.

And that brings me to what’s on the top of my mind as I sit here in a 64-track Pro Tools suite, with more goodies than the law allows. David B. and Phil have always been known as two of the best air talents KAAY ever had, but what sometimes get lost is that these two were also the wizards of the KAAY production room. While a number of air talents consider production to be a necessary evil, these guys loved it. Not only was this long before the days of computer workstations, plug-in effects, analog special effect boxes and even multi-track tape machines, but at that time, production rooms were equipped with cast off gear from the main control room. The idea of buying a brand new piece of gear for the production room was almost unheard of. So these two not only made magic, but they did it with almost nothing. The imaging and commercials they created were first rate even by today’s digital standards, but when you consider the technology they were working with, it was nothing short of amazing.

Today, if I want reverb on a voice track, I have literally dozens of reverb plug-ins to choose from and an infinite amount of control to tweak the sound just the way I want it, then save that preset for later use. In those days, reverb came from using one of the tape machines for slap-back, 7 1/2ips for a slow echo, 15 ips for fast. There was no Waves Metaflanger plug in to give you a phaser or flanging effect and no Pro Control to automate the send and receive sidechain. Instead, you racked up the same audio on two tape machines, started them at the same time, then used your thumb to alternately slow the playback speed just a touch, and recorded the result on another machine. And forget about being able to manipulate audio a thousand different ways or even to multi-track. Your only tools was a grease pencil, a razor blade (slightly rusty), a roll of splicing tape and your skill and imagination.

The workhorses of the KAAY production room were Ampex 351 tape machines, in mono configuration. Punching one of the transport controls on those monsters (and those controls required a heavy punch) produced a rather satisfying "thunk" sound as multiple relays engaged, and pulled enough power to dim the lights in half of downtown Little Rock. Yet thanks to the engineering guys, the audio quality that came out of them was outstanding. In fact, when I left KAAY in 1978, several of those 351's were still in use.

The monitoring system in that room was a huge, old dump truck of a speaker (the brand escapes me) sitting in the back of the room, about ten feet behind you, aimed right at your back. An interesting set up for critical monitoring, to say the least.

While today my digital microphone modeling plug-in will give me the exact sound of hundreds of different mics, at that time there wasn't even any sort of processing chain for the production room mic, until one of the engineeres found an old three-band EQ that actually came from a Gray labs turntable, made some slight modifications to it, then installed it on the mic line. Believe it or don't, the sound was actually better than some of the digital devices I use today, warm, but with an amazing amount of punch.

Along with learning how to make silk purses from pig's ears in the production studio, Phil, david B. and Barry Wood also taught me that the most important element in audio production is the written word. No amount of studio wizardry will save a bad piece of copy. Or, as their favorite saying went, "no matter how hard you rub, you can't polish a turd". And these three guys, along with others, were some of the best copywriters ever to put pen to paper.

Consider these two classics:

First, a commercial that Phil put together for a James Taylor concert. The spot opened with Phil's voice, using an absolutely haunting delivery over the intro of 'Fire and Rain' with the lines, 'Once there was a guy. A simple guy who couldn't quite get his head together. He spent some time in a mental institution, and that's where he met Suzanne. He got better, she got worse, was isolated and committed suicide. Thus the true story behind the one and only James Taylor (into the lyric) "Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone. Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you.'

Second, my all-time favorite imaging line: 'KAAY Com-Ex News...better staffed...better qualified...better listen.'

If those don't send chills up and down your spine, better check your pulse.

*I hear rumors that some low-life actually swiped this news line and used it on WIOD in Miami in 1994. Of course, I have no idea who that low-life would be.

Thanks, Greg"

Wow, Greg, what an account! I don't believe I've ever read such a great account of behind-the-scene production at KAAY! Thank you SO much for this, and we'll be looking for more!

Folks, please, if you have any comments for these guys, be sure to leave them so they can read them! Just click on the "comment" at the end of the posts, type in those comments and choose "Anonymous" before you send the comment. A little contact information wouldn't hurt, either! If you want to keep the latter confidential, we understand, or just drop it to any of the posters' e-mail addresses. Thanks!

Bud S. (

I Caught My Target!

Hopefully, the "grey line" post didn't bore anyone- maybe enthused some of us to hunt for and log stations a little more frequently, maybe? As an addendum to that, if you're trying to hear a station on a particular frequency, if one station goes off where it is dark, you can sometimes hear another station on the same frequency that is still on the lighted side of the "grey line".

Needless to say, I also mentioned chasing after a station on 1550 AM. Well, I got up early this morning, grabbed my headphones and a portable reciever and went to breakfast! I heard a partial i.d. of "FM 98, 1550 AM", "Scott Shannon" and later, "True Oldies Channel", although the latter had to come by me a couple of times before I understood "channel".

Well, thank God for the Internet (no, NOT Al Gore!) and I was off on a chase. I finally found the only station that broadcast on both 98.1 FM and 1550 AM, WLOR in Huntsville, AL! This coincides with the way I had to orient my radio, so that the signal was coming from due north. Here's some information on the station via Wikipedia:

What was so amazing to me is that its mentioned that WLOR cuts their power to only 44 watts at night!

Here's more information about the True Oldies Channel:


So far, what I could hear is pretty good stuff...and they mention streaming on the 'web as well!

I have two radios I like to take with me and chase Mediumwave DX: a Realistic DX-440 (which was made by Sangean for Tandy Corp., the original being Sangean's ATS-803A), which is an AM/FM/shortwave receiver, and a Sony CFS-43 an AM/FM boombox with great speakers! When I want a little more diversity, I'll use both radios and tune the same station...sometimes, when the signal fades on one, it'll stay up, or keep better audio on the other. Sometimes, the trick is the loopstick antenna inside the radio- the bigger, the better!

When KAAY was in their Top 40 days, it only took a small pocket receiver to hear their signal- and, with 50,000 watts of power, sometimes that receiver would try and jump out of your pocket! One friend of mine would listen at night, especially to Beaker Street; he was eating 9-volt batteries, so he built a variable 9-volt power supply and listened all night, every night! Well, his mom came in one morning, saw the radio was on and thought she'd turn off the power supply instead of the radio. Needless to say, she turned the power UP on the power supply instead and burned his radio up! Gone was his listening for a while....

The bottom line is that it was refreshing to hear rock-n-roll on an AM station again! Now, my next challenge is to maybe experiment with a better antenna system to drag that signal in....

Bud S. (

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"DX'ing" Mediumwave Stations and The Grey Line

Since I was a kid (I found KAAY when I was nine), I've twiddled the radio dial, chasing after stations in the distance- hence, the Ham radio term, "chasing DX". No matter what aspect of the hobby I've been involved with (I now hold an Extra Class Ham radio license), my first love has always been scanning the AM dial. Right now, my pet project is trying to identify a particular station on 1550 which has been playing classic rock music (The Guess Who, Starship, etc.) with pretty good audio. It seems as if, just as there might be a station i.d., there is a static crash from lightening or the signal fades...and, to make it worse, I can only hear the station for a few minutes in the afternoon around dusk, local Central time!

The "grey line" mentioned above is not the hairline of most of us here today! It is a tool, used by shortwave, mediumwave, scanner and other monitors/listeners and Ham radio operators to hear stations not normally on the air or possibly "covered up" by stronger stations.

Note that we hear radio signals by things that happen high in the atmosphere. There are what's called the "E layer" and "F layer" portions that are affected, but we'll concentrate on the "F layer" for this discussion. During the day, when sunlight strikes the "F layer", it splits into an "F1 layer" and an "F2 layer". This allows more of the radio signals to pass through and into space. At night, however, the reason why we could hear radio stations over longer distances and with greater strength, is that the "F1" and "F2" layers recombine, hence are more dense, and reflect MORE signal back to earth for our enjoyment!

This is where the "grey line" comes into play. There are some stations that shut down at sunset and come back on at sunrise; there are still others that reduce their power at sunset and resume full power at sunrise. The "grey line" lets one see where this dusk or dawn condition occurs and allows the listener or monitor to target certain areas of the country (or the world) to listen for stations they wouldn't normally hear. So, if you're in, say, Houston, TX and want to try and listen for a particular station in Michigan, the "grey line" map allows one to watch for the best time to listen!

Here's a link to this interesting tool:

The aforementioned station on 1550 fades in, then out in this small sliver of time along the "grey line". Not only does time hamper my efforts, but two other stations fade in and out about the same time: one, with a Christian praise/gospel music format, the other with a Hispanic music format. Due to the pretty decent audio of my target station, I feel lthat I need to learn the station's i.d. and compliment them on their good audio and fine selections of music!

Let me know if this helps you in hearing something you haven't heard before. I knew that something was up, even 'way back when, before I knew what "grey line propagation" was when KAAY would come booming in sometimes 30 minutes before dark!

And, the original blame for my current obsession with this station on 1550 goes to Ron H., for his post on AM audio- thanks, Ron for a fun obsession and a target to reach!

Bud S. (

David B. Treadway Checks In!

Man, oh, man, the hits just keep on comin'! We're blessed with people checking in from the golden years of KAAY and David's the latest! Here's an e-mail I received from him today:

"Hi, Bud!

First off, thank you for the new KAAY Blog and may the name of A.J. Lindsey live on for a thousand years! I found the blog by accident (of course) and was immediately smitten by the fact that people like Jonnie King and Dave ("Lee Roy truly is my middle name") Montgomery and Hot Scott Fischer and Dick Downes were posting. I will be sending along some drivel of my own from time to time, in hopes that even Mortals may get a sense of the KAAY Magic.

I came to KAAY in March of 1971 and got to read the livestock market report in the noon farm show with Marvin Vines for my on-air audition. To this day, I have no idea what "canners and cutters, steady to .50 lower" actually means--but I read that script like I knew what I was doing and got a weekend news and DJ gig under the air name of Holiday (no "Doc" at first). That was on a Thursday and Wayne Moss (Operations Manager) told me I could start the following Saturday morning at 6:00. I was a hair over twenty years old and this was all the glory there could possibly BE in the Universe!

The thing that still shines at me through all the years is the way I was ACCEPTED by STARS like Sonny Martin, George Jennings, Jonnie King, Mike McCormick, Clyde Clifford, Wayne Moss, Mitch Michaels, Mary Donald and my great friend and mentor Phil North. They all freely shared their knowledge with me, which is astounding when you consider that they all had talent enough to justify massive ego trips. I never even saw a TRACE of that with this bunch of Legends!

Before I sign off for now, I need to point out that until Phil North shows up I am the YOUNGEST member of the Golden Age air roster, perfectly preserved and inordinately good-looking. Let the Geezers now discuss that among themselves.

Very Truly Yours,

David B. Treadway
Friendship, Arkansas"

David, I must say that the kind words are much appreciated, BUT, there are those here other than me pushing this blog forward! Folks both here and behind the scenes who are doing more "stuff" than I would ever be capable of to do this thing! And, please note, I was an avid listener, who never got to take part in the day-to-day doings of KAAY- I was at least a faithful listener, who was inspired by the things that went on with the station. Even though I'd not worked directly for a radio station, I was spurred on to do certain things, such as doing a stint as a Sound Tech for 15 years, doing program production that was aired on two local radio stations for a number of years, did an infomercial for one of my vendors and other small tasks. I feel blessed to be (almost) rubbing elbows with folks like y'all!

This Mere Mortal will be awaiting more of your anecdotes...please write often! And if you have any "pull" with any of the other legendary KAAY folk, tell 'em to check in, as well! Thank you, David.

Bud S. (

Monday, July 27, 2009


Well, I'm back from my trip to Salina, Kansas "The Crossroads Of America". Over 1,200 Rods & Customs, plus cool Rock-a-Billy music, including one of the early pioneers that's STILL rockin' Charlie Gracie ! "Butterfly", "Fabulous", and many other hit records. He is a smash performer to this day, and routinely sells out venues in Europe where he is bigger than ever !

Great Interviews with many of the Super Legends: my old friend, George Barris, who created the "Batmobile", "Munsters" cars, "Beverly Hillbillies" truck, etc. Also did a super Interview with the above mentioned Charlie Gracie, and many others.

Now that I'm back, I got to go over the previous posts made while I was gone, and David Treadway & Dave Montgomery had better get in touch with me soon ! (I always keep tabs on people who owe me money. And, David B. still is into me for at least $.25 from the soda machine purchase that I loaned him in 1970. And, I think, I may owe Montgomery $.75 in postage for some OTR tapes he sent me here in St. L. in 1974. Hey, this is High Finance at its highest level ! Money talks...nobody walks !!)

And yes, Greg, I remember the "yogurt lesson" well. The reason ? I had previously gotten some outdated yogurt that made me ill at home, and I didn't want that scenario repeated while I was on the air.

Also, David B. is absolutely right and I had planned to cover this later: No matter what "spirits" haunted those at the Transmitter, we definitely DID have a "spirit" at the Main Studio. When I arrived in April of '69 Sonny Martin was one of the first to mention the "Spirit" to me, and Barry Wood confirmed it.

I cruised along unbothered by it until one night the Fall of 1971, at which time I truly had one of the most horrible experiences that I have EVER encountered. I WILL NOT go into it here now or maybe ever, as it still frightens me to think about it all these 38 years later. BUT believe me, my friends, the Spirit at the KAAY Main Studios WAS real. (I'm sure David B. remembers the night that happened to me, and Phil North and Barry Wood could also add their own happened to Barry right in front of me.)

It's late so I'll close for now. Thanks to all who take the time to share their stories & thoughts.

I would suggest though if possible, for those of us "who were there"and make Posts, it would be cool if you would specify the date/dates of the time period your story ties in with as this gives us a "lock" on the History we're compiling here. AND, preserves that chronology for those who read these great Posts.

My best to all. Stay safe & well !

PS: Regarding KING/1090 in Seattle. I used to have fun once in awhile spelling things out as I did my drop-ins between records, over intros, into stop sets, etc. And, sometimes I'd say: "This is K-I-N-G on K-A-A-Y !" Pat Walsh used to tell me that drove any FCC Officials listening-in crazy.


Dick Downes, Stuart McRae, KAAY and WZEW

What a small world...come to find out, Dick and Stuart both worked for two favorite radio stations of mine! As mentioned in a previous post, Dick was the last KAAY P.D. who kept Beaker Street going. Stuart McRae was one of the last Beaker Street deejays...and both wound up in Mobile, AL at WZEW. Here's Dick's recount:

"I put the Zoo on the air. Stuart McRae, my old "Beaker Street" jock from KAAY was the PD. He recommended me to Dick Oppenheimer for the GM job, I got it and his first order was - fire McRae. Oh S***! Stuart was great about it, knew it was coming. He and Oppenheimer weren't getting along.

I supervised the build-out of state-of-the-art studios in the penthouse of a midtown high-rise office building, really nice. Came up with the (almost) free promotion that caused a lot of chatter - we gave away the opportunity to become Miss 92-Zoo and have her bikini-clad image on a huge billboard to jump-start her modeling career. (I personally felt it necessary to supervise the photo shoot ;<) Strange after-story, I needed foot surgery several months after the promotion. I walked into the podiatrists office and there was our winner! She was the receptionist. So much for the modeling career.

The (now) famous Randi Rhodes was our nite, then morning, jock.

We also were the first station to wrap a bus. Only it wasn't a wrap - they hadn't been invented yet. I hired a couple of local illustrators to paint Zoo characters from Disney's "Jungle Book" all over a city bus. I think we got the bus for free because the transportation agency was so excited about the concept. We also traded out an old Winnebago and painted it in the same scheme. Parked it at every WABB promotion we could find and broadcast live; even from the concerts they "welcomed."

If we'd had a signal... no tellin' where that station would be. I might still be in Mobile. I still think we had the best ratings they ever enjoyed.

Another anecdote, I probably cut the best deal in Arbitron history for that station. In the day, ARB based your next three-year deal on the previous couple of books' cume. Well, it HAD been a religious station with hardly any listeners. We killed 'em. I think I got two books a year for three years at less than $10k total. Unheard of in a top-75 market.

Unfortunately the signal never got past downtown and that's not where the WASPs we targeted lived. So, despite our promotions giving away those little round loop FM antennas for their home stereos, you couldn't hear us once you left your car or in most offices. Still can't. We looked into moving the stick to the west side of the bay - nope. Erecting it on a barge in the bay - nope. Adding a repeater or translator - nope. Let us put up a taller stick or bump the power in Fairhope - nope. Make it a B - nope. We tried everything and got shot down every time.

Eventually I attended a manager's meeting with Dick Oppenheimer and his board at HQ in Texas, plus all the other managers. When it was my turn, I suggested they sell the station because of the signal problems. I had another job lined up. What a load off my back. Three months or so later they sold the station. To the best of my knowlege, it's never done as well as the original 92-Zoo.


And I agree with that last sentence...and since Catt Sirten is recently back at The Zoo with his Jazz Brunch on Sunday mornings and with Radio Avalon in the evenings, I occasionally tune in. In my opinion, Catt is the jazz version of Clyde Clifford....

Bud S. (

Dick Downes' Beaker Street Comments

Dick Downes and I have been enjoying e-mails back & forth to one another. Dick is a very interesting guy! I've been blessed to learn some things from him that I didn't know and THIS is the very reason I'm hounding him and folks like him before history goes away! Such as this insight about Beaker Street:

"I was the last PD who kept "Beaker Street." When I moved on, C. David Hamilton took my place and decided to end its long run. I can't really fault him, consistency is at the heart of any radio station. My thinking was that it wasn't hurting us in all-nights; and its multi-state (and country) audience probably helped us - but who knows for sure? Dave disagreed and it was his station at that point. But the die was cast. AM was dying - rapidly. KLAZ had been kicking KAAY's a** for months before I got there. I was able to stem the tide for a while and didn't really follow up on KY once I left, so I don't know if Hamilton's tenure was successful from a ratings standpoint or not."

I remember when FM started coming on strong...and, even though FM dominates the scene for music quality, it's admirable that Dick did what he could to keep KAAY alive. Thank you, Dick, we're looking forward to more insights as you have time to share!

I don't care what they say, but I STILL dial around the AM dial...FM, at times, has gotten quite sterile, what with consolidation...and, the other night, right at dusk, I found music coming in like gangbusters at a decent audio, until it faded into the noise. More on that later.

Bud S. (

Identity Revealed! By David Treadway

Wow, of all the stories about if, or if there wasn't, a real gravesite at the transmitting tower, here comes David Treadway! This was a comment under the Hot Scott Fisher post:

"FADICK!!! Treadway here. LOVED seeing your post on this fine new blog--and THANK YOU for mentioning the tombstone under the "western" tower in the array. If memory serves, the kid's name was Glaspie Dillard, who died in 1929 at about the age of five. Phil North showed me the marker in the summer of '71, and I have been back a couple more times over the years.The way I heard it, there was a graveyard on the land selected for the transmitter site when KTHS moved from Hot Springs in 1951 or '52. All the graves were relocated, except for one, and I was told they couldn't find any of the family so it was left where it was. Whether truth or tall tale, ya gotta admit that it's a story WORTHY of KAAY. Poor Glaspie has undoubtedly not rested since they fired up that big-a$$ RCA for the first time. (Aside to readers who may not know: the transmitter building AND the studios at both 1425 W. 7th and 2400 Cottondale Lane were quite haunted.)Ah, such memories! Guess it's time to get off the half a heinie that I have left and start contributing.Cheers, Old Friend!David B. Treadwaya.k.a. The Last Doc Holiday"

David, would you consider contributing more stories for us, please? Feel free to contact me ASAP at my e-mail address below- and thank you!

Bud S. (

A Note From Russell Wells

I'd been trying to contact people in the industry to let them know about A. J.'s passing and that we're doing our best to keep things going, when I got this note from Russell Wells:

"I worked with him for a very brief time when we both were in Pine Bluff, Ark. in the late '80s. For literally two days he and I were co-workers. He left one station as I'd arrived. I left the station he was destined for, and my next gig was at the station A.J. had departed!

Funny how these things seem to unfold in our business.

He and his family are in my prayers and thoughts.

Best regards, Russell"

Interesting how paths cross, Hmmm? Here's Russell's website on ReelRadio:

Thank you, Russell, we hope to see more of your comments here!

Bud S. (

A Humorous KCLA Story: Joke on George J. Jennings!

This came from Jim, a fellow I met on a message board recently, and involved A. J. Lindsey. This reflects the humor that so many people in the business have:

"One of my favorite stories from working with A.J. and George Jennings at KCLA was an organized collaborative effort to 'get' George. Let me explain, George J. Jennings was one of the most talented radio guys/news person I've ever worked with. No matter what was thrown at
him, George never broke up--or 'almost' never. The rest of the staff decided that we were going to break George up or die trying. A. J. was in on it, along with 'in-the-bag' and virtually everyone else. Bill Sadler, who is now a spokesman for the Arkansas State Police, was our other newsman and he captured some audio from a network feed of Tug McGraw (Tim's Dad) doing part of a commercial for a Jock Itch product.

We wrote a fake news story intro and had an 'actuality cart' to go with it. So the next morning--with the entire staff up early and listening to George and A-J, we heard George say "The heat is creating problems for residents of Ball County Arkansas..." and then Tug McGraw's audio was "..I don't care if you shower 10-times a day, you can't wash away jock itch...". That was followed by brief, stunned silence and George said "okay" in an effort to collect himself and then fell apart laughing."

Wouldn't you have liked to have been there?

BTW, Jim also worked with A.J. in the waterbed business....Thanks, Jim, we're looking forward to more!!!

Bud S. (

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The "Other" 1090 Stations

There has been mention here and there of "the other" 1090 radio stations from KAAY's Top 40 era. I just thought I'd look into the history of those stations from the '60's to the '80's, and Wikipedia was one easy source (there's most assuredly others!) and I thought I'd share a little of their history.

KING-AM (now KPTK): (from Wikipedia)

King Broadcasting Company

"For several decades the 1090 kHz frequency in Seattle was home to KING-AM, founded in the late 1940s by broadcasting pioneer Dorothy Stimson Bullitt, which itself focused on left-leaning political talk during the final years as KING. During the 1970s, the station was known as 11/KING and was in a heated Top-40 music battle with KJR. When KJR unveiled its "Sunshine" window sticker, KING followed with its own red "Sunburst" sticker. The line-up at included such Seattle radio personalities as Gary Lockwood (who later defected to KJR) and Bruce Murdock, with the "Murdock in the Morning" show. As AM music radio lost young listeners to FM, KING eventually gave up on Top-40 (around 1980) and moved to a softer Adult Contemporary approach, described in its slogan as "Soft Rock and More." This format was parodied on one April Fool's Day by rock station KISW.

On October 4, 1982 [5] KING adopted a talk format, primarily with local personalities, including Jim Altoff, Mike Siegel and Pat Cashman. Following a complicated series of transactions between 1994 and 1996 that involved several Seattle-area radio stations changing owners, formats, call letters, and even frequencies, the 1090 frequency was acquired by Infinity Broadcasting (later called CBS Radio), which was either used to simulcast one of the three Country stations that were Infinity-owned in the mid-90's (KMPS, KRMP (now KBKS), or KYCW (now KJAQ), or as a Classic Country station, a Talk-Station, or a different type of Classic Country station, before before changing the station's call letters to KPTK and returning liberal talk radio to the Puget Sound airwaves in 2004."

XERB: (also from Wikipedia) "XERB was also the original call sign of a border blaster station in Rosarito, Baja California, which was branded as The Mighty 1090. That station continues to broadcast today with the call sign XEPRS"

XERB: The Mighty 1090

1090 AM started out as XERB.

In the early 1960s, Bob Smith (a.k.a. Wolfman Jack) was living in Del Rio, Texas and appearing on the "border blaster" AM radio station XERF. After several violent incidents at XERF's transmitter, Smith and partner Marvin Kosofsky (referred to as 'Mo Burton' in Wolfman Jack's autobigraphy) purchased daytime-only AM station KUXL in 1964 in Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota. Smith relocated in Minnesota, and never appeared as Wolfman Jack on KUXL, but rather worked as the station's general manager, while shipping Wolfman shows on tape to XERF.

In 1965, Smith made an arrangement with the U.S. agent for XERB in Baja California. Smith began selling ad time on the Mighty 1090 and recording Wolfman Jack shows for his new affiliate. Initially, Smith controlled the station's affairs from Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1966, Smith, along with fellow KUXL staffers Ralph Hull (a.k.a. Preacher Paul Anthony and The Nazz) and Art Hoehn (a.k.a. Fat Daddy Washington) relocated to Southern California to run XERB full-time.

Wolfman and his associates were 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 kHz in Monterrey, Nuevo León.

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. 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 Marvin Kosofsky had to turn control of the station back over to the Mexican owners."

And WBAL: (also from Wikipedia)


"WBAL began broadcasting after being dedicated on November 2, 1925, as a subsidiary of the Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power Company, a predecessor of Constellation Energy.[1] WBAL's initial broadcasting studio was located at the utility's offices on Lexington Avenue, and it operated as part of the Blue Network of the National Broadcasting Company. On January 12, 1935, with radio becoming more commercialized, there was little justification for public service company ownership of a radio station, and WBAL was sold to the Hearst-controlled American Radio News Corporation.[1] In the 1930s, WBAL became the flagship station for the international broadcast of radio evangelist G. E. Lowman, which originated in Baltimore until 1959. During the 1960s and 1970s, the station had an adult contemporary music format in most day-parts. Among its personalities during that period were program host Jay Grayson, Harley Brinsfield (who had a long-running Saturday night jazz music program, The Harley Show), and White House-accredited newsman Galen Fromme. By the 1980s, WBAL had transitioned to its current news-talk format, winning 19 national Edward R. Murrow Awards since then – the most of any local U.S. radio station."

To be sure, the "clear channel" stations of the Cold War era had some of the tightest, well-maintained coverage patterns...they had to, because, of the massive power they were emitting, they couldn't (and didn't need to) interfere with one another. With the exception of the Mexican "border blasters" (which sometimes got up to 150,000 watts or more), these stations were limited to 50,000 watts.

Doing a search on clear channel stations was very frustrating, to say the brought up the huge conglomerate "Clear Channel" again and again, BUT, once more, Wikipedia does come up with some history:

Listed are a number of stations, but, if my memory serves correctly, wasn't there ONLY five specific frequencies, to begin with? Does someone know? But, one other reference, other than Wikipedia, is, who lists 25 stations:

This is where WBAL, KTHS ("perhaps the last 1-B added in the United States"), KTPK and XEPRS are listed...not KING, KAAY or XERB...odd, in my opinion!

Enough for now, this can turn into another post!

Bud S. (

Tom Perryman: ''The Voice''

Every radio station had its jingle, where a chorus of female singers would sing out the call letters in perfect harmony. (While typing this, "Double-You-Ell-Ess---Chi-Ca-Go" is ringing through my mind....)

But KAAY had The Voice.

Remember how it was... the sun had just set, you switch on the radio and work past the static to the upper end of the dial. Then you hear, like thunder over the hill, The Voice:


Now, not only did you know that you had found your station, you were commanded to listen!

Of all the Top-40, of all the Beaker-Street, Soul-Record-Club, and The-World-Tomorrow I heard on Radio 1090, what I remember most vividly was The Voice. The only thing I ever heard quite like it was when I was watching the movie, "The Ten Commandments," and Charlton Heston (Moses) went up Mount Ararat to get the ten commandments. In that movie, God's voice sounded like the voice of Radio 1090.

The Voice belonged to Tom Perryman, who worked at a radio station in Louisville, Kentucky. Tom did the KAAY announcements for free, as a favor. Here's what Tom had to say about it:

"I worked at WAKY in Louisville, which was also owned by the same company [LIN] as was KAAY. I was News Director at WAKY. Program Directors were always airchecking or sending tapes of one thing or the other, and the Program Director at KAAY called me and asked if I would do some promos and air intros. He would send the script and I would return a tape --- usually 20 or 30 promos at a time."

I asked Tom which promos he remembered doing, and the one he instantly recalled was this:


(I never heard that one, but Tom says it was so!) Tom added,

"I did most of the promos over a 2 or 3 year period in the early to mid sixties.... I did a few promos for other stations, but mostly just KAAY for which I was paid nothing [!]. I enjoyed doing it, and the Program Director was always very appreciative."

Wow, who wouldn't be?? Actually, as A.J. Lindsey noted in his blog, KAAY's Pat Walsh would often repay such favors with gifts. Here's what Tom said he received:

"He actually sent me a gift once...a battery operated shoe shine kit (that didn't work!)"

I asked Tom specifically if he remembered doing the famous intros to Beaker Street ("an underground music service of the LIN Broadcasting Corporation!"). Tom said he couldn't remember exactly, but Bud Stacey received an email from from A.J. Lindsey, dated Jan. 3, 2008, where A.J. asserts,

Tom L.Perryman was the BIG voice announcer that did the Beaker Street opening and almost all the station IDs. Tom never actually worked for KAAY. He just sent us the voice tracks from our scripts and they were produced at KAAY. I think Tom did the voice tracks from the beginning to the end of top-40 KAAY.

A.J. posted (at ) a number of stories related to Tom and his work for KAAY. They are worth a read.

So, perhaps the most recognizable voice of the Mighty 1090 in the 60's worked at that time for a radio station in Louisville, Kentucky....

Although I did not ask Tom about his days at WAKY, Louisville, he did in fact have a distinguished history with the station, working as News Director and broadcasting as "Tom Perry." You can read about Tom's work at WAKY at which is part of John Quincy's excellent WAKY tribute web site,

Thanks, Tom, for taking time to comment on your great intros for KAAY !


Here are some audio clips that are worth a listen. The first showcases "The Voice." It was posted on A.J.'s blog on Nov. 25, 2008. About it, A.J. said,
"Following [Tom's] ID is a discussion from a Timeless Tracks program that Tony Warnier did on the 40th anniversary of KAAY.":

Next, here is the classic Beaker Street intro, followed by a great start of the show by Clyde; the aircheck was recorded by Russell Wells (see his page on ReelRadio, , for some background):

There are also a number of audio clips on the WAKY web site that showcase Tom. My favorite is Tom's midnight news broadcast on October 21, 1960:

And I simply must finish with this clip, also from the WAKY site. The title says it all:

Boy, does he ever!!!

---Dave S. (
P.S. Thanks to Bud S. for the email and link to Tom's ID

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dick Downes and KAAY

I've just heard from Dick Downes, a former Program Director of KAAY...we've traded e-mails back & forth and I've gotten permission to share some notes with you. Dick was the PD back in 1975 and had a nerve-wracking episode happen at a cocktail party just after he was, let him recant it for you:

"Bill Paddock owned the local record store in Little Rock (and is one of my "Friends" on FaceBook), there's a photo of him, me and The Wolf that he posted recently that reminded me of this story. It's short, but I don't have time right now to tell the whole tale.

... I was PD at KAAY. We moved into new studios and brought in Wolf to do the night show - one night stand. Picked Wolf up at the airport in a limo (this was in '76 in Little Rock) first thing he does is roll and smoke a fattie - in the limo! Then we visit the record store, meet Bill, do a live remote and all of us head to the brand-spankin' new studios.

Then, during the evening - huge cocktail party including all local and state dignitaries and advertisers - there's this strange odor from the men's room just down the hall from the studio where Wolf is doing his show.

Then Jim Dandy & Ruby Starr show up (with friends) and the odor doubles - and we add the ladies room. Smoke's leaking out from the door to both potties. I was a wreck. I'd just been hired there and thought "Oh s***, this promotion was all my idea and we're gonna get busted."
Nobody ever said a word, but there were a lot of smiling faces.


...and some further notes, in addition:

"In fact, I was chatting online with Lonnie Napier, Wolf's manager (and long-time friend), this past weekend and he remembered the gig and added that he also remembered a boat ride (possible, the new studios were right on the river, but I don't remember it) and the limo turning into a taxi because he saw this knob on the dash and, as he was pulling it, asked "what's this do." Well, that killed the limo and we ended up in a taxi. I suspect Lonnie found the choke but was mechanically challenged and flooded the thing.

On the last day in the old studios (a real toilet - in fact the former GM, Pat Walsh, had a phone extension in the toilet and would do his business while doing business), we sponsored a "Parade" to the new studios at 6 or 7AM. A bunch of people showed up and the cops were really PO'd - I don't think we'd thought of notifying them in advance.

Good luck on the new site and RIP, AJ. Dick"

Thank you, Dick! Please visit often!

Bud S. (

Radio-Info Memories

I've done quite a bit of research for A. J. when he was running his blogspot, but it amazes me how much information is STILL out there! I've run into this particular message board and referred to it a time or two, and there's some interesting stuff at Radio-Info. This latest link goes back to Jan. 15, 2007 and I posted to it yesterday, July 23, 2009. I've also gotten lots of "hits" on Radio-Info regarding the announcements of this new blog.

Needless to say, I found this thread interesting and wanted to share it, and I've appealed to one broadcast tech there for an interview...let's hope it happens!

If you decide to register there (or on any other message board), talk this blog up! The more, the merrier and the better history we can glean from engineers, deejays, etc. out there!

Bud S. (

Garner Ted Armstrong

There has been some discussion on other boards (Radio-Info, for instance) and amongst ourselves about the religious blocks of programming on KAAY. To be sure, there was good money in this programming. KAAY had an interesting mix of programming, what with the latest Top 40 rock-n-roll, religious, news and agricultural programming.

One such discussion was on AgTalk:

"Seeing those call letters, WLS brings back memories of my youth. Back in the 60's I used to listen to them (pre FM days) along with WDGY (Twin Cities), KOMA (Oklahoma City), KAAY (Little Rock) and others. It was WDGY during the days and WLS, KOMA, KAAY at night out on the tractor. It seems that WLS usually had some Ad's for Gran(t) Spalding Dodge. These Ads were always exciting for a young farm boy who had hopes of some day owning a fast car. KAAY out of Little Rock always puzzled me a bit. They would have that nasty Rock and Roll on for certain time slots only to be followed by Garner "Ted" Armstrong with the "Good News of the World Tommorrow". Apparently being in the Bible Belt forced this eclectic programming.Edited by tedbear 1/24/2007 09:40"

There was also some loose discussion on a Google Group:

Still another on A.J.'s blogspot, from Paul, a reader:

"When KAAY would reach into St. Louis through skywave, I usually heard religious programming (typically Garner Ted Armstrong), which I didn't care for, but now understand kept the bills paid. Then at 8 PM, heard "Greetings QSL'ers, this is KAAY Little Rock" kicking off the hour with music."

And the list goes on. Jonnie King mentioned in another post that the time bought by Garner Ted Armstrong was very sufficent for his and Clyde Clifford's salaries!

Needless to say, KAAY had programming that, I personally, found no were else. Sure, other powerhouse stations had interesting programming and I've logged them in my list, but its always KAAY that has stuck in my mind.

Whoops, almost forgot- thanks to Dave S. for this reminder: Airchexx also had some posts regarding Garner Ted Armstrong:

"Allen Dean Petray says:
August 18, 2006 at 1:31 pm
I grew up with the Friendly Giant in Malvern in the late 60’s and early 70’s–the station’s salad days. My lasting memory is the eclectic programming: from Top 40 music to Marvin Vines’ farm report, to the World Tomorrow and Life Line, each ultra-conservative mouthpieces for Garner Ted Armstrong and H.L. Hunt, to the psychedelic album cuts of Beaker Street. There never was, nor will ever be another AM station like it–classic Southern radio."


"Rev. Jesse L. Spurgin says:
June 21, 2007 at 9:35 pm
I grew up in Nebraska in the early ’60’s. I’d start my evening listening to Buddy Carr’s carpool party. I was a huge fan of Rob Robbins and would listen for his “rockin’ robin” intro. There will never be another station like KAAY. Everybody from Garner Ted Armstrong to the Lundstroms ran their religious shows and could come on anytime at night. Thanks for the memories. Rev. Jess."

I've also gotten some responses from folks on Airchexx that, hopefully, will garner us another interview or two...let's hope!

Bud S. (

Comments from Greg Fadick, a.k.a. "Hot Scott Fisher"!

Just got some correspondence from Greg, regarding his time at KAAY and other stations:

"Okay Bud, I'll come clean. Back in the day I went under the name Hot Scott Fisher.

Feel free to quote anything I said in that post. As a matter of fact, here's a little more for ya:

I actually started my career working for AJ at KCLA in Pine Bluff in 1970. AJ was the GM at the time, and while KCLA's country format wasn't my first choice, he was the only guy who would hire a 15 year old who sounded as bad as I did then. AJ left KCLA shortly after hiring me, turning the reins over to then-PD Tommy Riggs (Rock Robins of KAAY fame).

In fact, the day I took the test for my third class license (remember those?) AJ was the guy who drove me to the Federal Building in Little Rock to take the test. After the test was over, we stopped by KAAY (the old 7th Street location) for AJ to visit with Pat Walsh and others, and I was in heaven.

Thanks to that "introduction" to KAAY, as soon as I got my driver's license I was spending every minute I could hanging around the KAAY studios, soaking up as much as I could from guys like Phil North, David B. Treadway, Michael J. McCormick and yes, Jonnie King. Back then, KAAY was the station we monitored for EBS, and I routinely got in trouble for dead air because I had turned down the KCLA monitors and switched on the EBS monitor to listen to KAAY. They never bought my excuse that it was productive show prep.

I seriously doubt Jonnie remembers this, but there was a night when Jonnie handed some cash to a skinny kid from Pine Bluff as he was going on the air, and asking said kid to pick him up a couple cartons of yogurt from a grocery store down the street. Jonnie then delivered an incredibly detailed lesson in how to check the freshness date of yogurt, which was a good thing when you're dealing with a Pine Bluff kid who had never heard of yogurt, and had no idea you actually ate it.

While I hoped my full time career would start at KAAY, it wasn't in the cards. Instead, I came to Little Rock when Barry Wood (KAAY's Michael J. McCormick) was putting together the original air staff for KLAZ. While that station was one of the greatest experiences of my time, it was still a bit painful to be part of what would eventually bring down The Mighty 1090, namely FM stereo.

I left KLAZ in 1975 to return to Pine Bluff and become AJ's program director at KCLA, which was now Top 40. After a few months, I was talked into coming back to KLAZ, then left for good in 76 to go back to being AJ's PD at KCLA. Just couldn't get away from that guy.
I left there in 1977 to finally join KAAY, during the Multimedia/Jim Tandy/C. David Hamilton era to do late nights, right before Beaker Street. This was KAAY's last run at being a CHR station, and unfortunately, even though we had a great sounding station, the audience had moved to FM. Still, it was a rush to be on that big mother 50,000 watt skywave using those legendary calls.

I left KAAY in early 1978, retiring from radio and attempting to live in the straight world. That didn't work out too well, as in 1981 Ron Curtis had no trouble talking me into coming back to then-CHR KLAZ, which then morphed into KZOU, All Hit Zoo 98.

I did finally come off the air in 1985, moving into full time production at KZOU, left there in 1987 for KRXY (Y108) in Denver, then WAAF in Boston and finally WIOD/WFLC/WHQT in Miami.
I exited WIOD/WFLC/WHQT in 2001, finally getting out of day to day radio, but staying close to the business as Executive Producer for Brown Bag Productions, at the time the premier provider of imaging libraries for radio. I left the Bag in 2005, along with Mike and Bob Lee (the founders of the company and inventors of the imaging-only library concept) and we founded Download HD, the industry's first and only complete radio content service. (You can check us out at, click on "demo"). And now I sit in a studio all day, cooking up content for a couple hundred stations, just a couple miles from the Miami beaches. Yeah, life is tough.

Whew, didn't mean to get so wordy, or give you the complete bio, but it just happened. I'm really glad to see you're continuing the KAAY blog, and I'm sure there's some fun stories locked inside these aging brain cells. If you like, from time to time I'll have a large glass of Maker's Mark and see if I can bring them to the surface for ya. Or, if there's anything else I can do to help the cause, just let me know.


"P.S. BTW, I just saw Dave Montgomery's post on your blog. He and Felix were putting in that ground system during my second term as PD at KCLA, and I can vouch for the hog poo stink. It stayed inside that building for months after we opened.

While you're at it, ask Dave if he remembers the name of whoever it was who was buried under one of the towers at the KAAY transmitter site in Wrightsville. No, I'm not joking, there was a headstone right next to the tower foundation. As Clyde Clifford used to say, "with 50,000 watts going through that ground system, that's one body that ain't cold." "

Thank you, Greg, for your insight! In my opinion, this is important history- please visit often and let us know more!

Bud S. (

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Humorous Anecdote From Dave Montgomery!

I'd inquired to Dave Montgomery a short while back about his involvement with KAAY. This is the kind of anecdotal information we're looking for on the blog:

"Hi Bud, Yes, I worked several years at KAAY, and therein lies the story about how I met AJ. I started there in 1969 and worked as an engineer while attending UALR (now Univ Ark at Little Rock). When I started, AJ had moved on, but he was a frequent visitor to the W 7th street studios. I was out for a couple of years for Army service in Vietnam, and then returned early 1973 and worked there up to Jan 1980, when I joined International Tapetronics Corp (ITC), the makers of the audio tape cartridge machines. [Therein lies another couple more stories, including a patent]

I worked for Felix McDonald, the KAAY chief engineer that AJ mentions a number of times, and I was responsible for the studio plant. I supervised the construction of the Cottondale Lane studio/office building, and a variety of other projects.

One of my favorite stories about AJ was when Felix McDonald and I built the ground system for AJ’s new transmitter site in Pine Bluff. From the first moments of digging in the wire, we were permeated with a truly foul stink. Turns out the ground we were plowing was a former hog lot, and every turn of dirt unleashed long buried piggy-poo. Pine Bluff is hot and humid in mid-summer, and the stink lingered around us like a stray cat. It took days to shower the stink off – Ha!

Dave Montgomery"

What a HOOT! As you can see, from an engineer's standpoint, not ALL the fun stuff goes on behind the mic! Thank you Dave for this great tidbit!

BTW, Dave, thank you for your service to our country....

Bud S, (

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


In answer to some previous inqueries, let me clarify the story of "KAAY: After Dark".

When I was hired by Mike McCormick (Barry Wood, PD) & Pat Walsh, GM, in April of 1969, it was to help with the nighttime listening audience that needed to be locked-in in the 8pm-11pm time slot.

The reasoning was simple: the afternoon-drive shift ended at 6pm. From 6pm-8pm a religious block was aired, and the station needed a strong lead-in to get not only the local listeners back, but the rest of the country (and the World). That's where I came in.

My job was to fill those 50,000 Watts of coverage with Rock 'n Roll, Top 40...the biggest hits, the best oldies, and, the up-and-coming sounds that were the staple of AM Radio at that time. Shortly after I arrived, I was also appointed Music Director to ensure that those sounds were consistent, and with my history & background, I also brought to the table many record industry connections that got us much well-deserved National recognition. I wanted the legend & history of that dynamic Radio Station to be acknowledged far & wide.

"Beaker Street" with Clyde had been consistent with the Album Oriented and "Underground" crowd, but the mass-appeal lead-in that followed the religious block had to be strong enough to stand on its own. That was my job.

So, going back to the original topic of this post, KAAY/1090 "After Dark" began at 8pm, NOT 11pm, and solidified the stations dynamic that reached deep into the night.

SPECIAL NOTES: Clyde Clifford was the only host of "Beaker Street". And he was just perfect for that shift, always did a super job, and created a great following that lasts to this day. Clyde was a good friend, and as MD I was able to work with him to get some of the most dynamite cuts on the air. I always tried to make sure he had "the best of the best" well as some cool "left field" cuts. (Anybody remember Jaime Brockett's "Legend Of The Titanic" ? That's what it was all about !)

All stations need financial stability to stay in business. The religious block (that I ran from 6p-8p at the main studio prior to my show) brought in about $100,000 a year...which sure helped pay Clyde's & my salaries !

Jonnie King

What happened to AM-music radio?

Back in the 50's and 60's, AM was King --- it had everything, whether it was the Top 40, the news, or the weekly serials. Stations like KAAY took advantage of AM's reach to broadcast to a huge portion of the U.S. and abroad. But it is difficult these days to find an AM station that plays music, and the finances of AM radio are tight.

To get some insight on the situation, I consulted Ron Henselman, our resident DXer and RF expert, for some technical info about music broadcasting on AM. Here's what Ron had to say:
AM stations have certain limitations which make them inferior to FM for broadcasting music. They have a limited audio frequency response of up to about 5000 Hz although the current FCC legal limit is 10,200 Hz.  Most of the audio program is below 5000 Hz.

(To give you some perspective, all musical tones have a frequency. For instance, middle "A" is 440 Hertz (vibrations per second), and Middle "C" is 262 Hertz. A modern piano might have frequencies as high as 4186 Hertz. In what follows, remember that "KHz" means "times 1000 Hz", for example, 5000 Hz means the same as 5 KHz. So, a piano plays notes in the range from about 100 Hz to 5 KHz.)

There is a technical reason for limiting AM frequency transmission to a max. of 5000 Hz: AM modulation is a non-linear frequency mixing process. If we transmit a 5000 Hz tone on 1090 KHz, the two frequencies mix together. We end up with the original 1090 KHz, but we also end up with a signal at 1085 KHz and another at 1095 KHz. If we transmit any tones higher than 5000 Hz, we are occupying bandwidth of the stations right above and below our station.

For instance, KMOX in St Louis has a center frequency of 1100 KHz. KMOX's channel is actually from 1095 to 1105 KHz --- it's exactly adjacent to KAAY's. Now, say that KAAY transmits a bass note or tone at 200 Hz. At the instant that tone is transmitted, the occupied bandwidth of KAAY would only be 1089.800 KHz to 1090.200 KHz. You just subtract and add the audio frequency from the RF carrier frequency. AM channels in the USA are spaced 10 KHz apart for that reason. The AM stations in many other parts of the world are spaced 9 KHz apart.

On the other hand, one of the good things about AM is the radio frequency range can travel long distances at night. The signals which normally are lost into outer space during the day are reflected back down by the ionosphere during hours of darkness.

There is another reason AM is no longer popular for transmission of music. The frequencies used for AM broadcast suffer from static crashes or noises when storms are present. This is worst during the summer months. Any type of electrical pulse noise is also picked up by an AM receiver. I hated it when somebody in my household ran an electric mixer or electric razor when I was trying to listen to KAAY. Light dimmers also are notorious for interfering with AM. It is even a bigger problem with spark plug noise (ignition noise) in automobiles. It is sort of obvious why most of the music broadcasters moved over to FM.

FM is somewhat immune to pulse noises due to something called a limiter stage in the receiver. Storm static is much reduced on the higher RF frequencies, and the limiter stage pretty much reduces what is there. The method of modulation for FM is not nearly as simple as the simple mixing method of AM. FM also occupies more bandwidth when the audio frequencies become higher, but this was engineered right into the band plan from the FCC. FM stations are spaced 200 KHz apart, so one signal can occupy quite a bit more bandwidth than an AM station. The highest tones transmitted on FM are quite a bit higher than the 5000 Hz limitation for a typical AM station.

FM antennas can be smaller and still work fairly well. AM antennas are always a compromise with short lengths.

There usually aren't any sky waves present on the FM frequencies, so interference from other stations is not as likely unless you are located some distance from the station. Even then, there is something called capture effect on FM which basically means you pretty much only hear the stronger of two or more stations.

So why would anybody try to broadcast music on the AM band these days? Well, most major markets don't have any spectrum available for new stations in the FM band. Many people consider the AM band to be a poor investment due to its waning popularity with listeners; consequently, it is easier to take over an existing AM station.

Thanks, Ron!

As Ron makes clear, there are technical reason why FM is better than AM for music broadcast. On the other hand, as Ron notes in his last paragraph, music on AM might make a comeback. The last few summers, my wife and I have been taking road trips into New Mexico and Arizona, and the best radio we find is on the AM side --- the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations have really good AM music stations, and there is a lot of great Mexican and World music elsewhere on the band. In contrast, the FM side sounds like computer-programmed "Jack FM.'' Maybe innovation is slowly happening in music radio...on the AM side....

---Dave S. ( )

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bill Clinton Visited KAAY...

"Anonymous said...
Bill Clinton visited the news dept of KAAY in Little Rock several times. As I remember, this was around '72 and/or '73, and was associated with Clinton's role with the McGovern campaign and/or Clinton's role as a member of Arkansas Young Democrats.

July 19, 2009 5:14 PM"

Thanks for your your entry was listed as "Anonymous", I'm curious as to if you worked with KAAY at the time? Thank you! Bud S.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jonnie King's wheels

Jonnie King, who has been kind enough to post a welcome message on this blog, rescued a few snapshots from his files and scanned them for us. They really bring back the "good old days"!

The first is a photo of Jonnie hard at work at his job as KAAY's Music Director in 1970:

(Looks like hard work, all right! I guess that's how you pick the hits --- give 'em a good listen!) For the next two photos I'll let Jonnie comment himself:

"[They] were shot in front of the KAAY Building. That's me on my "Contest Giveaway Mini-Bike" in the Spring/Summer of 1971. I gave it away on my show!"

And by the way, in the photo on the right, "the green Ford station wagon in the background is Pat Walsh's (the General Manager's) KAAY company car."
(You can click on the photos to see the full-size versions.)

Well, if Jonnie gave away his mini-bike in 1971, what is he driving now? Jonnie was kind enough to supply a photo of his wheels:

Wow! Is that a '61 Buick Invicta? Here's the scoop from Jonnie:

"Here's a pic of me in my Custom Invicta at the Darryl Starbird's National Rod & Custom Hall Of Fame Museum in Oklahoma. The man talking to me is Grammy Award Winning Jimmie Vaughan --- fantastic guitar player and car guy. He's Stevie Ray Vaughan's older brother...taught Stevie to play. Thought you might get a kick out of it!"

Jonnie is quite a classic-car buff, and over the years he has owned a '58 Thunderbird, '57 Dodge Mild Custom, '53 Buick Special, '67 Jaguar XKE, '68 Cougar XR-7, '59 Plymouth Suburban Station Wagon, a '66 Thunderbird, and a California/Arizona "Survivor" '57 Dodge D-500. (I guess I know where his spare change goes!)

Also, Jonnie maintains a super web site, "Legends of the Rod and Custom Hall of Fame" (, where you'll find interviews, stories, and photos of folks like Darryl Starbird and George Barris, as well as Jimmie Vaughan. (Here's a photo Jonnie supplied of Jimmie with his '61 Caddy:)

This weekend, Jonnie will be in Salina, Kansas, at the KKOA Custom Car Show/Lead Sled Spectacular (, meeting up with his friends and collecting more material for his web site.
Stay tuned!

---Dave S.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More about the startup of KAAY

After reading my post on A.J. and listening to A.J.'s re-creation of the start of KAAY on Labor Day, 1962, Bud Stacey remembered a clip A.J. posted on his blog on August 25, 2006, from the "Timeless Tracks" radio show, about the startup of KAAY. Here it is:

Then... I remembered that Ron Henselman had recorded part of the day when KTHS in Little Rock was signing off and KAAY was signing on. Ron donated the clip to A.J., who posted it on January 1, 2009, labelling it with the title of "The Greatest Aircheck of All Time." Here it is again, and it really is great to hear the first minutes when KTHS became KAAY:

---Dave S.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


During the 60's and continuing through most of the 70's, KAAY Radio was for many "America's Station". Located in the Heartland of America we beamed into almost 40 States & 11 Foreign Countries.

I remember when I was doing the 8p-11p shift getting calls from all over the country. You NEVER knew where the call was coming from til you answered the phone, and it could be from Chicago, Fort Wayne,St. Louis, New Orleans,Fort Dodge, Iowa, Lincoln, Nebraska...ANYWHERE !

I used to get mail on a regular basis from all over America, plus Canada, and, Cuba. Sometimes, when the 1090 Signal reached Cuba, they thought I was Jonnie "Keen". Didn't matter as long as they listened & took the time to write. I saved most of the letters, and keep them proudly in my Archives.

The years I spent at KAAY (from Aprii, 1969 to September, 1972) contain some of the fondest memories of my career. I'll be celebrating my 42nd Anniversary in Broadcasting this September 10th, 2009, and the time I spent at KAAY/1090 ALWAYS reverberates most strongly in my memory banks.

The station, the personnel, the sales staff, the remotes, the listeners, the people of Little Rock, the truly fantastic girls of Arkansas who kept me company, all treated me like a, like a...well, like a "King". And have always had a special place in my heart.

I thank A.J. for beginning this blog many years ago, and to Dave S., John, my friend Bud, Jerry Sims, and all of the rest who have, as I mentioned in a previous note "taken up the gauntlet", re-grouped, and continued A.J.'s important work. And, I humbly thank you for asking me to be in the vanguard of contributors to the new Site.

Due to handling my own 3 WebSites I'm not sure how expansive my involvement here will be, but I will try to contribute as often as I can. Please let me know if there's anything, or, any information I can help you with.

My best to all, and if you have time and would care to check-out my WebSites I would consider it an honor. The Sites' info & previews can be reached through:

Those of you who remember "The Breakfast Serial" on KAAY will be able to re-live those thrilling days of yesteryear as, since 1973, I have produced and syndicated the "Serial". It initially was done with the help and blessing of my old friend/team mate, George Jennings, and has been at many stations across the country.

Now here's the good news: the ENTIRE Catalog for "The Breakfast Serial", PLUS, Episodes, Demo, and, Special Audio Previews are on the Site at: Enjoy !

Stay safe and well, and remember A.J. as he was one of the best.

Your friend,

Jonnie King / St. Louis

PS: YES ! Someday there will be a book ! And my years at KAAY will be chronicled with much information, many shared experiences, and a lot of warm memories.

KAAY Signal Lesser Than Before?

Here's a link where several folks have discussed and theorized why the 50,000 watt signal is not as strong as before (possibly other structures erected, detuning the station's array?)and some memories...see the link:

Bud S.

Comments From Jerry Sims, a.k.a., Sonny Martin, re: Tom Perryman

I mentioned to A.J. in one of our last communications, that Tom Perryman was KAAY. What a tremendous voice. It was thrilling to hear some of the airchecks A.J. posted.

As far as Bill Clinton listening to KAAY.....I suppose he did. Everyone of his age in our area did, it seems. I do not know of any visits to the station while I was there.

I appreciate efforts to continue the blog. It is certainly fun for me, as it was for A.J. I will contribute on my time there when I can.

Jerry Sims

Thank you, Jerry...we'll be looking forward to your memories here! Bud S.

An Old Station For A New Era

Friends, it's a pleasure to be here and to be a part of the Mighty1090KAAY Blogspot! Several of us wondered if this could be pulled off, knowing that in these days of computer whiz-bang wizardry, information can be here one day, gone the next. So a bunch of us KAAY and Beaker Street afficianados put our heads together and worked out a solution, with the permission of the Lindsey family, and got this blogspot going.

Dave S. has headed up the blogspot; John S. of Beaker Brothers Band has offered to safekeep the audio gleaned over the last three years; and numerous others, like Jerry Sims (Sonny Martin) and Jonnie King are along with us also, to hopefully, provide some anecdotes and insights to the station. Numerous others in our group will be relating other experiences and memories and we hope more will join our gang! This is for you, the listener, whom were enthused by KAAY and Beaker Street in their search for great music, comedy and quality programming.

I've never set foot into Arkansas, but KAAY and Beaker Street were a great influence to me growing up. Even the local radio stations had a hard time competing with the Mighty Ten-Ninety! It was SO strong, that the signal would come in 30 minutes before sundown, here in Mobile, AL. And, I would rock the night away....

"An old station for a new era"? I say, yes, since even though there were other powerhouse stations out there, KAAY touched many of us...and I personally hope this new blogspot can keep the vision and memories alive that A.J. Lindsey started back in 2006...memories that we enthusiasts of fun programming and great musical memories were able to find and enabled us to come together and be reminded what radio was. Thank you, "Doc", may we be able to keep these memories alive!

Bud S., Mobile, AL

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In memorium: A.J. Lindsey, 1941-2009

Hello! If you have found your way this far, it means you have likely been a reader of A.J. Lindsey's blog, KAAY 1090.

After a brief illness, A.J. (''Doc Holiday'') passed on May 17, 2009.
Since the weblog you are reading is meant to continue the work A.J. started, it is fitting that we begin it with a short tribute to "Doc'':

A.J. Lindsey was born December 22, 1941 to A.J. and Mattie Lindsey in Little Rock, Arkansas. He became well known to radio listeners in the southern U.S. when he joined KAAY Radio in 1963 as "Doc Holiday.'' Perhaps Doc was most notorious for his proclamations and dares as "Emperor Holiday,'' which made for great publicity for the radio station:

The Emperor's Commandos (listeners) were awarded membership cards and instructed to stay glued to KAAY to receive their marching orders from the Emperor himself:

A.J. had a deep, melodious broadcasting voice, which he used to great effect on the air. At the end of this note is an audio clip you can play to hear it yourself.

In his retirement, A.J. was a volunteer instructor for the Fort Smith Senior Net, a member of the Alma Rotary Club, and a member of Heritage United Methodist Church.
In 2006, he started his KAAY1090 weblog, which has served as an archive and a meeting place for KAAY staffers, listeners, and fans. A.J. is survived by two daughters, Lora Toland of San Diego, CA, and Holly Lindsey of Daytona, FL; one son, Marc Lindsey and his wife Brandy of Lavaca, AR; as well as one grandson, Davis Jim Lindsey of Lavaca, AR. He is sadly missed by his many friends and fans.

The archive of pictures, music, videos, and memories in A.J.'s weblog is extensive, and we are fortunate to have it.
But there are more pictures, music, videos, and memories to collect, and that is the purpose of the new weblog, the one you are reading now.
A group of A.J.'s former colleagues, KAAY listeners, and fans are working together to host this new blog and to add to A.J.'s work.
Over the weeks and months that follow, and with your help, we will continue to share the great sounds and memories of the Mighty Ten Ninety, KAAY, Little Rock. Please join us!

To get us started on the journey, let's listen to A.J. --- Doc Holiday --- tell us in his own words how KAAY first came on the air on Labor Day, 1962 (click on the picture below or click here)...

---Dave S.