HOLY SMOKES, y'all! This has made my day! "Marvelous" Mark Larsen just dropped in!
I usually don't post on the blogs and boards, but a former co-worker and fellow Razorback (I attended U of A 77,78,79) said he saw an inquiry on the Arkansas board about me.
I'm alive and well and doing mornings in Tampa Bay. I (regretfully) left Little Rock in late 79 for a quick, errant stop at WFMF Baton Rouge, on my way to B97 in New Orleans. I was only in BR for 6 weeks when a call came in from PD Dan Vallie in New Orleans about a new FM CHR he was going to fire up. He asked me to come down and I left a 60 mile long trail of rubber burning my way to B97's inaugural PM drive slot. I also did mornings and middays over the course of the next year. From there, off to Tampa Bay, where I have been for 29 years. I retired from 970WFLA after a long midday talk stint, due to a full real estate portfolio and my recording studio business. But I always said I'd come back for a morning gig, which better fit my schedule. Now at independently owned 820WWBA in Tampa Bay for the past 7 years.
I have always told folks that my fondest radio memories were at 1090KAAY. Our 1977-78 overhaul was an absolute blast -- especially 1977-78, when we didn't use any "record research" and just danced & rocked our 50kw asses off. Unfortunately, we found ourselves playing Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Diamond records by '79 (because the computer said so) and the fun was mostly over.
It was a rare occasion to take a bombed out 50kw battleship to a 13.6 in one book against Z98. Of course, we had stolen the late Ray Lincoln from KLAZ, too. But the rest of our lineup came mostly from WROK in Rockford, led by Carl Hamilton. (WROK had just been named Billboard Magazine's Grand International Radio Station of the Year, 1977 -- beating literally EVERY other radio station in America.)
Sadly, I haven't been back to L.R. since I moved. I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to relive those amazing days on KAAY. I'll never forget that first night, rockin' 28 states. It was the first time I ever had to use an area code with the request line number. My first song was Fleetwood Mac's, "You Make Lovin' Fun." To this day, every time I hear that track, I can see that RCA board, 6 ITC auto fire carts, an RE20 in front of me and the Arkansas River out the window. Donna Summer, Boston, LTD, Brothers Johnson, Saturday Night Fever... holy crap! If I could have everything I have now in Tampa Bay, I'd rather have it in Little Rock.
Feel free to copy/paste this on the radio board or your blog. By the way, Stuart McRae, with whom I share the same birthday, is still a very good friend of mine. I saw that there was an inquiry for him as well on the radio-info Arkansas board. We usually see each other every winter in Colorado on the slopes. I'll make sure he sees the board and gets your email. While NewsTalk 820 is 50kw during the day, unfortunately you can't hear it up there, as we're a very directional 1000w before sunrise. I do have my old KAAY demo and some jingles. If the tape isn't too brittle, I'll see if I can burn you an mp3 for your tribute site. Hopefully, you can get some Beaker stuff from Stuart.
All the best,
Mark Larsen's Morning Magazine(R)
Weekday Early Mornings, 6-9AM
NewsTalk 820 WWBA, Tampa Bay
Mark, thank you SO much for letting us know what's up! We hope and pray that the tapes hold up and we can get some audio from you, soon.
This is amazing...the Internet has proven to be a great tool for this reunion, of sorts- what else could we call it, but a reunion? From a now-deceased collector's entry on a now-closed website, to a query on Radio-Info Boards, to Mighty1090KAAY...prayers ARE answered, y'all!
Once again, one of the greats has emerged....come visit often, Mark!
Bud S. (firstname.lastname@example.org)