Sunday, July 26, 2009

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


  1. Bud here...I'd always loved that deep, rich voice of Tom's- and, late at night, it was almost spooky! What pipes....I have a deep voice and have done some voice-overs and such, but WOW! Tom's got "it"!

    Bud S.

  2. I listened to KAAY back in the 70's and I loved it. I hardly understood most of the English language announcers but I loved those 3 hours of the most extraordinary music .
    And of course that voice:
    K.. A.. A.. Y.. Littlerock.. Arkansas

    I am now in my 60's but KAAY will be forever in my memories!