Saturday, October 31, 2009

Doug Krile Also Comments Re: Henry & The Haunted House

"Doug Krile said...

David B -

What a great story! You just kicked off my Friday evening in fine style.

Now, off to babysit the granddaughter. Too bad she's too young for spooky stories! Oh, if I had only had the chance to work at KAAY. I consider my self lucky to have put in some time on Cottondale Lane, when the old carpet was still on the control room walls!"

Hey, Doug, can you tell us of some of that time, please? Drop me some lines at:


Bud S.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jerry Sims' Comment, Re: Henry & The Haunted House

Well David, that makes us up to $2000 now on "getting it back". I am right in line behind you. What a neat story. The kind of stuff I like to see on the blog. It seems everyone enjoys the "inside" stories. I will try to share some of those when I can, although not with the great writing style that you possess. I was painted a picture, by you, that was in great detail. Sometimes I cannot find my fork, but KAAY details come very clear. I remember the building well.

Jerry Sims...The middle Sonny Martin

Henry And The Haunted House

Henry was a 1973 Ford Galaxie 500 that my wife’s father bought her not too long after we were married, and he prided himself on finding a bargain. Henry was a bright yellow—a lemon yellow. If there ever was a more undependable set of wheels, I pity the fool who got stuck with it. Murphy himself must have owned Henry at one time, for if anything could go wrong with that car, it would—at the worst possible moment. He was notorious for refusing to start, no matter how many new batteries had been installed. A parade of mechanics couldn’t find anything wrong with him, but I think he was possessed.

Moron that I was, I drove Henry up to the recently-vacated KAAY studios one chilly evening in October of ’76 to do my show from Funmobile Number One on behalf of the Little Rock Jaycees Haunted House.

We had moved to the new facility at 2400 Cottondale Lane only days before and the Jaycees set about turning the old place into their annual Haunted House. They installed ramps and mazes and dead ends throughout the place and painted every exposed surface flat black. There were tattered curtains, cobwebs, fake coffins and skeletons everywhere. If memory serves, their main Torture Chamber was in the old control room. They spared no effort and apparently no expense, because they even installed a phone and an alarm system in the building.

I spent the evening merrily broadcasting, watching the throngs come and go until the Jaycees shut down for the night at 10:00. I had another hour to go, so I set myself on cruise control and enjoyed the relative peace and quiet. Little did I suspect.

11:00 rolled around and Beaker Street took over from the transmitter site in Wrightsville. I stowed the gear and locked the Funmobile. Time to drive home and kick back with a cold beer, right? Wrong! Henry wouldn’t start. Wouldn’t even turn over. The lights would come on, the radio would play, but his cursed engine wouldn’t lift a finger—except maybe the middle one. I was stranded miles from the studio (there wouldn’t have been anyone there anyway) and even more miles from home. In those days, there was no whipping out the ol’ cell phone to call for backup. Throughout the State Capitol neighborhood, not a creature was stirring, not even a low ride. I was alone in the middle of the night!

Desperation being the real mother of invention, I tried my key in the back door of the old building and—BEHOLD—it worked! All that remained was to find the phone and call Mrs T to come get me. Of course, it would have helped if I could have found the main power switch to get some lights on, but that was NFTH (not fixing to happen).

My first thought was to get up front and disarm the alarm system (couldn’t have the cops showing up and possibly giving me a ride home, oh nooooo) in THE DARK. Not just any dark, mind you. Complete, utter and total dark. Dark as the inside of a coal miner’s pocket at midnight. But what the heck. I knew that old building like the back of my hand (which I couldn’t see in the dark, but I digress) and all I had to do was feel my way along until I got to the lobby. Then I’d punch in the alarm code and find the phone. What could be simpler?

Imagine my surprise when I walked smack into a wall where the hall used to be! I turned ninety degrees and ran into another wall. There was just enough fuel in my trusty cigarette lighter to show me the opening I needed, so I made my way up front, barking my shins, stumbling over Lord-knows-what, getting tangled in cobwebs and turning the air purple with the most heartfelt of curses. Finally, I was at the alarm box and was able to disarm it, assisted by the very last flickers of my lighter.

I knew where the phone was—in the back of the building, of course—and I had a pretty good idea of the way back. When I finally made it to the phone, my lighter was dead. All it would do was throw sparks. Fortunately, there were enough of them so that I could phone home by a poor sort of strobe light and my long-suffering wife could come to my rescue. (Yes, we had a second car and it was reliable.)

It was maybe a week later when demolition began on that wonderful old building. At the time, I was not the least bit sorry to see it go. But now I’d give a thousand dollars to have it back the way it was when it was the home of The Mighty 1090.

David B. Treadway
Doc Holiday VII

EPILOGUE: I’m sure the spirits (of which there were at least two) who haunted that building had a big ol’ time watching me struggle in the dark. You’d think they could have at least given me a hand…

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tom Hunter's Halloween Adrovdga Commercials

In an earlier post, Ron Henselman reminisced about Tom Hunter's clever comic commercials for "Adrovdgas", a tasty but pesky (and purely imaginary!) little pet.

(You can listen to Tom's recreations of his commercials here:
Via Lee Hollihan, Ron has kindly provided us with Tom's "Halloween Adrovdga Commercials", recreated in 1992 and 1993 respectively. Happy trick-and-treating with these guys!

Halloween Adrovdga Commercial 1992: stream | download

Halloween Adrovdga Commercial 1993: stream | download

Thanks, Tom and Lee and Ron! 
---Dave S.

Comments On Jonnie King's Website- WOWZA!

I have always known that the folks who worked at KAAY were prolific, creative and successful...and, for one, Jonnie King really shows it in his aforementioned website.

Jonnie has really worked hard over the last few weeks, tuning it all up and getting some rare photos posted there, along with his stories and personal history regarding his tenure at not only KAAY, but other radio stations, as well. I told him I'm a bit jealous of his KAAY pictures, but not to worry, he's sharing them with the world- and us- through his previous invitation on this blog!

Please go there, enjoy the history and drop him a note. It would be much appreciated!

In the meantime, don't forget us here! We're always looking for material-no matter how trivial you may think it to be- to add to the history of The Mighty1090KAAY blog.

Many hands make labor lighter; a one-legged man CAN run a marathon, but it is more difficult, so we're asking for everyone's participation!

Thank you,

Bud S. (

When Pumpkins Drink...

Happy Halloween !

Comments On Music List

"This is a great idea for a post. The music category brings back a lot of memories for me. For instance, "Sugar Town" reminds me of my army basic training. The song San Francisco was popular in Vietnam because many GI's thought they would be coming home to the US through San Francisco. Each time I hear that song I remember separating from the Army and coming home from overseas was one of the happiest days of my life. On the other hand, some songs trigger some bad memories too. Let's discuss the good ones.

Ron H."
I agree, Ron!  I remember when I had either a Realistic DX-200 or DX-302 shortwave receiver...I was a kid and liked to tune around, listening to odd stuff.  Well, I was tuning around the 25 MHz portion of the RPU (remote pick-up) broadcast band and heard WLW...I begged my mother to call their request line and got permission; I got through pretty quickly.  When the deejay heard WHERE I was hearing him and HOW, he was amazed!  Before he got off the air, he asked if I had a request and I asked for, "Tears Of A Clown".  In about 15 minutes, he came on the air and mentioned, "...and here's one for my buddy Bud down in Alabama..." and played it...I was thrilled!
That's one of my good 'bout more?  Thank you, Ron!
Bud S. (

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Conversation Starter...

Some of us associate music with special times in our lives...a tune triggers a great memory, or music can mark a great period.  Whatever the case, music is very important to us.

Dave M. checks in with a great list of movies and music from 1968, the year he graduated from high school.  In his own words...

"Our town was quiet, but we heard about what was going on in other cities. It was a small town in east Texas, and rather insulated from the world – and we only received 1 TV station, so most news came over local radio, or from the big 50kW voices we heard at night. KAAY was 6 years old in 1968 and “Top 40” radio was very popular, with a mix of personalities, pop music, and news.

Historically 1968 was an awful year, with riots in many cities, lots of turmoil over the VN war, the assasinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., and more. But there were some good movies and some great music.

I’m sure many of the blog readers will have mixed memories of this period – both good and bad."

Here's Dave's List:

Top Movies of 1968 -

- Night of the Living Dead
- Funny Girl
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Odd Couple
- Bullitt
- Romeo and Juliet
- Oliver!
- Planet of the Apes
- Rosemary's Baby
- Yours, Mine, and Ours

Top Songs of 1968 –

- Hey Jude, The Beatles
- Honey, Bobby Goldsboro
- Love Is Blue, Paul Mauriat
- (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay, Otis Redding
- People Got To Be Free, Rascals
- Sunshine Of Your Love, Cream
- This Guy's In Love With You, Herb Alpert
- Stoned Soul Picnic, Fifth Dimension

I agree with Dave...where I grew up near Mobile, Alabama, we had three TV stations, with one of those broadcasting from Pensacola...maybe a fourth on UHF, but I can't remember ever being able to see it with any regularity...and radio was important to us, as well.  We had two or three pretty good stations here as well, but before I found KAAY (and other powerhouse stations), my mother kept her car radio on "beautiful music" (not Top 40) and my father kept his truck radio on country music.  Everyone shut up when the news came on.

I also remember once, when riding in town with my father, someone hitting his truck with a brick....

Dave also sent me a l-o-n-g wish list of 1968 music to fill a jukebox with...but its too long to put here!  Rest assured it was some quality stuff!

Thank you, Dave!  Does anyone else have some musical, movie or other entertainment memories they'd like to share?

Bud S. (

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pics Of Tommy Riggs & Charlie Okle From 1966!

Hilarious picture of Tommy in the rear of the control room. Amazing what you can do with a couple of waste baskets, a hat, a scarf and a set of headphones...!!! So we were a couple of comedians.

And a posed picture of me at the board. Same night in 1966. I bet everyone will love these. -Charlie


Charlie Okle: Tommy Riggs' Obit

Charlie Okle and Tommy Riggs were great friends, according to Charlie.  Charlie wanted me to share this with everyone:

From the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: "His name was Tommy Riggs but many fondly remember him by his radio moniker, "Rock Robbins", or by his nickname, "the Prom King"."

"In the 1960's and 1970's, Riggs' voice was broadcast over Little Rock's KAAY-AM, his humor transmitted across radio waves from Canada to Havana, Cuba."

Readers should be able to click on the picture and enlarge it, but if you cannot, just drop me a line via e-mail and I'll return with a .pdf file for you.

BTW, for those who didn't know of Tommy Riggs, he had a beautiful voice and wrote many songs.  Several KAAY deejays here worked with Tommy and he's been mentioned here and on A. J.'s blog many times.

Keep those memories coming!

Bud S. (

KAAY & Radio-Related Halloween Stories

You know, I was betting (if I were a betting man) that someone in the KAAY bunch, as creative as they were/are, would come up with a Halloween story or two...and I was correct!  We'd already mentioned the grave at the transmitter site, but here's a couple from "Hog Fan":

"Actually, I do, Bud. It's a story from my days at KCLA in Pine Bluff, where I worked with A.J., Greg Fadick, Barry Wood, and George J.Jennings. The largest high school in town, Pine Bluff High School, had their Homecoming near Halloween. And each year they had a homecoming parade. We found an old 30's model car with running boards, dressed up in 3-piece suits, and some of us found toy guns to complete the look. We had a sign on the car that said "The KCLA HitMen". It was mostly jocks with 1 or 2 sales-folks to make it look 'bigger'. We were standing around before the parade began and I noticed that one of the salesmen had a really nice shoulder-holster.  Looking more closely, revealed that he had a real '45 in the holster.  Nothing was in the clip, but the gun was definitely more 'authentic'than anything anyone else brought."

And, one from Dave M.:

"Hi Bud - I've been traveling for a week, but wanted to let you know I was digging through some old photos and found a couple I will upload later this week. I found a snapshot of Bill Howell (Bill Edwards on the air), and a pretty good shot of Funmobile "Number 1" (the blue trailer) - I'll get those to you when I get them scanned. Does anyone have any snapshots of Funmobile "Number 2" (the yellow motorhome that eventually burned down)? Don Payne will have to tell us that story of the fire and how it happened . . .

KAAY did a haunted house promotion for several years in the "70's" with the LR Jaycees (I think). I don't remember much about it other than we parked the Funmobile out front, we did a live broadcast from there each night and LOTS of people came through each year. Maybe someone else remembers some good stories about the KAAY Haunted House?

I seem to remember that the year AFTER we moved the studios to Cottondale Lane, we used the old vacant West 7th street studio building as a Haunted House, which "really" made it the "KAAY Haunted House". Not long after that the West 7th Street building was torn down to build a freeway exit.

/Dave M/"
Jim, Dave, thanks for the stories...and we're looking forward to those promised photos!  Don P. also, with his story on how the Funmobile burned...was THAT a Halloween-related incident?
Be sure to watch out for kids as they run around the neighborhood, getting goodies...and I'll be working at a "Fall FUNtastic" myself, clad in a ghillie suit:

Yup, ya shoulda seen the kids AND adults jump when they saw me!
Bud S. (

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ron Henselman: Broadcast Radio in Vietnam, Part II

[As a follow-up to previous posts on radio broadcasting and radio reception in Vietnam during the war, Ron Henselman, himself a Vietnam veteran, assembled this material. Thank, you, Ron, for your hard work!]

Broadcast Radio in Vietnam, Part II

After I tired of listening to AFVN, I decided it was time to meet the man with the FM station at Bien Hoa Airbase, so my radio enthusiast friend Paul F. Lebzelter and I drove over to meet Phil Lenz.  Phil showed us his setup.  I was impressed because he actually had a turnstile antenna on a tower.  It looked like two horizontal dipole antennas mounted at right angles to each other.  This gave the station an omni-directional pattern.  This is when I volunteered to build a five hundred watt RF amplifier for the station.   Phil was very mild mannered, and he declined my offer by explaining he needed to keep somewhat of a low profile because he was already competition for AFVN in Saigon. 

Phil Lenz:
"The tower in the picture is the one that belonged to my detachment (Long Lines South) and the dipole on the very top is the WACI antenna. It was part of a "bed springs" assy. I took the dipole off the reflector and had my friend Vance climb to the top and mount it (I don't climb). The transmitter was a TRC-24 (Track 24) which had several plug-in RF heads of course I used the 100 MHZ head. The Air Force assigned me the frequency of 102.25.  The only other antenna on the tower is the microwave dish that was aimed toward Long Binh.

Vance is one of the guys on the tower but I can't really tell who the other guys are, but they are all from my group."

I explained how much I enjoyed the prerecorded shows with the funny announcers and fake commercials.  Phil told us the gentlemen supplying much of the material were Tom Hunter and Lee Hollihan.  Each of them mailed tapes of their shows to Phil for airplay on WACI.  Both Lee and Tom could perform as different characters. My favorite character was Jose’ Meteres, which was performed by Tom Hunter.  Jose’ was a DJ who sometimes screwed up the English language.  There was a time I thought Jose’ was really a Hispanic gentleman.  Lee did Big Lee Baby.  How many of you remember Big Hugh Baby on WLAC out of Nashville?  After my curiosity about Tom and Lee was satisfied, Phil informed me Lee had a station on the air before him.  I wrote to Lee to see if I could get any specifics about his station.  Here is what Lee had to say in his recent email:

"Hi Ron,
Hope you are feeling better.

WACI was at 1200 KC when I was on the air in 1965-1966. The first transmitter was a small 10 watt unit that was under a utility table. There is sort of a picture of it at my WACI Vietnam web site. One is at tent city B. The second is at the Gia-Dinh villa.

The final location was at the main 125th ATC compound at Tan-Son-Nhut airbase. I have been unable to find a photo of that setup. I thought I had some Black and White negatives somewhere, but they seem to be hiding. I hope they weren't in the camera case that was stolen back in 1982.

Anyhow, the transmitter was rebuilt with nav-aid beacon parts and the old crystal oscillator from the 10 watt unit. The final output power was 50 watts... using an 807 PA. I think. The modulator was a copy of a 30 watt Williamson amplifier with push pull 6L6 output tubes. A genuine 50 watt modulation transformer was used, although it only needed 25 watts for 100% modulation. That transformer developed a short, and went up in a glorious puff of smoke. No one was there at the time. It's a good thing the hootch didn't burn down. I was told how the place was filled with smoke. There was quite a commotion. I replaced it the next day with a bad beacon modulation transformer that developed an arc when used at 500 watts. It worked fine at 250 watts, so I figured there would be no problem using it at 25 or so watts. I was concerned that it might sound really bad. But it sounded just fine. It sat on the floor beneath the transmitter that was in a rack made from 2 x 4s. Nothing new about that, eh, Tom?

The antenna was the weakest link in the system. It consisted of a 150 foot long wire that was fed about 40 feet from the transmitter end with a 30 foot -- almost vertical -- hunk of wire. This was also the hot end of the antenna. The transmitter and feed line were in the same area as the studio equipment. It was a miracle we didn't get a lot of RF feedback. The only people who had a problem with RF were the poor bastards who had those Teac recorders that were very popular. WACI used one, too. I had to put bypass capacitors on the playback heads. The record circuit wasn't bothered for some reason. My little Sony 1/2 track worked fine. The antenna was only about 30 feet high. It was strung over the tops of the hootches on the drag strip side of the compound.

Yikes! That's more than I planned to write. I am getting hungry.

See ya later,

If you care to read more about Lee’s early efforts, you should take a look at one of his web pages:
When one can’t find something in the spirit of a station such as KAAY, why not create your own?

It was getting close to the time I would be leaving for home.  Phil Lenz asked if Paul Lebzelter and I could get a day off to help him do his first remote broadcast from a Labor Day weekend party in September of 1968.  We did it, and it was fun.  Phil showed me the proper way to cue a record to start off the show, but I managed to screw it up anyway.  That was the last time I saw Phil because I went home a few days later.  I never realized Phil was in the army, and he was assigned to the air base.  When I returned to Long Binh, I was told the prisoners in the prison compound close to my communications shop had rioted and set fire to what was known as LBJ or Long Binh Jail.  My guys were sent in to rewire the place, and they weren’t happy about me not being with them.  I was home in Melrose Park, IL a few days later.  Phil recently mentioned he had an AM station on the air shortly after I left.

After 9-11, I started feeling sentimental about some of the people I met in Vietnam, so I started searching the Internet.  I saw Phil listed as the chief engineer of a Pittsburgh station on some DX bulletin board.  My favorite fake commercial was for a fictitious product called Zeke’s French Fried Adrovdgas, so I mentioned that in my initial email to Phil.  Soon I received an email from Tom Hunter telling me Adrovdgas were his creation.

[AUDIO CLIPS: Tom Hunter Adrovdga commercials
I had learned how to do analog audio production on my own, but Tom took the time to teach me the finer points of digital audio editing since we first communicated in 2001.  That is why A.J. asked me to edit and improve some of his audio clips.  A.J. said he didn’t have the patience to do some of the things I did for the old blog. I find it interesting how Tom can speak so clearly when he is doing an Adrovdga commercial; then he can be the bumbling deejay Jose' Meteres and be totally silly.  Take a look at Tom’s site --- you will find the items near the top the most interesting, but you will also see he does on-site recording and manages some web pages.  He is man of many talents: .

One might wonder if my friends still do live radio shows.  I listen to Lee and Phil on Sunday nights via the Internet, and you can too: .  Make sure to look at some of the photos on all of the sites I have listed.  I still learn from Tom.  He is a great teacher, yet I have never met him in person.

If Lee reads this, I hope he will give me permission to post his “Daddy Lolo show.”  How about it Lee?  Clean it up so we can provide a link to it!   It has faked out many professionals as being a legitimate Vietnamese station.

---Ron Henselman

Friday, October 23, 2009

Care And Treatment Of CDs And DVDs

I got permission from a fellow aircheck collector to print this...makes good sense:

"Do not put labels or write on the DVD's or CD's. I have found that labels can dissolve the protective lacquer coating if the adhesive is based on a solvent that the lacquer is susceptible to. Asymmetric labels can throw the disc out of balance, causing read problems, and labels not designed for CDs or DVD's might bubble or peel off when subjected to long periods of heat inside a CD/DVD drive. The ink in some kinds of pens may damage the top coating of the disc."

Have a good weekend, all!

Bud S. (

Happy Birthday, Jerry Sims!

The title tells it all...and many, many more fun ones to you!

Jerry Sims Comments On The Scooter Rides!

I remember the contest well. They were Yamaha "Twin Jet 100's". We gave away the two of them. The contest rule was to keep up with the miles they had put on them. At various times the D.J.'s would update the rides. "Today Ron Owens rode over to the State Capital Building to cover a Governor's press conference..and back". "Buddy Carr went for a ride out to Park Plaza Mall and back" etc.

Now thanks to you, Charlie, we know the milage was not accurate, but it would have been worth it to see Tommy on the bike.

Most of the jocks were not riders before the contest. I had two motorcycles and the guys would come to my house, in Lakewood, to practice. We also had a race at the old Benton Speed Bowl one night that almost ended in disaster. I'll post a story about that later.

Jerry Sims

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Hi Everybody ! (Does that sound general enough ?)

I wanted all of you to know that I've put together my personal WebSite...and I wanted to share it with you here first.

I had a serious accident a year ago yesterday (10-21-2008), and it had me laid-up for almost 6 months...and in the process gave me a lot of time to think about the future, as well as my past.

With well over 50 years combined in Acting &  Broadcasting, I've decided to share many of my stories, pix, airchecks, memorablia, and personal memories on a "dedicated" site.  And, someday, I promise there'll be a book !

I thank all of you for logging-on to THIS site and, of course, I'll keep contributing here too. BUT, I wanted a forum to share my archives with all of you...and many others who are friends, on a very personal basis. That's why I'm mentioning it here first.

If you have some time please check-it out and let me know how you like it. WARNING: It is a "work in progress", not finished yet. But, during the last 3 weeks I've spent well over 100 hours putting it standards are very high, and I've torn it apart and rebuilt it many times to get what is there now as perfect as it can be.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR ON THE SITE: 3 pages of KAAY Pics & Info;
My Special 2009 Halloween Film Rarities List; The 2 Part Rick Nelson Interview/Tribute; My 40th Anniversary Show; AND, how I got to KAAY TO BEGIN WITH !

PLUS, after you've listened to all my other Airchecks, listen to my 40th Anniversary'll hear a different style, a different progression. Like many others in my profession, if you try to do what you do very well, you become a "chameleon" and can shift & change into ANY format and still retain your own persona. If you listen, I think you'll know what I mean.

(Don't Forget: You'll see some of the RAREST KAAY PIX in existence from my personal collection, and see some of the early KAAY crew too ! )

Take your time, enjoy the Site, and thanks to each and everyone of you for your kindness & support.

Just go to :


Charlie Okle, Tommy Riggs And The Midnight Scooter Ride

Had to be the summer of 1966... KAAY was running a promotion to give away two motor scooters, Yamaha I believe. Tom worked till midnight. His wife Stella was there and I was visiting. The motor scooters were parked in the back room of the station where the door to the parking lot was. Tom got the bright idea to take them for a "midnight ride" through downtown. The station was on West 7th street near the state capitol building. So off we went, navigating steep hills and narrow streets for several miles. We pulled down the alley behind the station and put the bikes away in the back room! As far as I know, nobody at the station was aware of our escapade. Certainly not the contest winners...

Perhaps someone will have information as to the exact date, and the make of the scooters. Let me know if you find out.

Number One Songs For This Date '62 to '85

1985 Saving All My Love for You Whitney Houston
1984 I Just Called to Say I Love You Stevie Wonder
1983 Total Eclipse of the Heart Bonnie Tyler
1982 Jack and Diane John Cougar
1981 Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) Christopher Cross
1980 Woman in Love Barbra Streisand

THE 1970s

1979 Rise Herb Alpert
1978 Hot Child in the City Nick Gilder
1977 You Light Up My Life Debby Boone
1976 If You Leave Me Now Chicago
1975 Bad Blood Neil Sedaka
1974 Then Came You Dionne Warwick & the Spinners
1973 Midnight Train to Georgia Gladys Knight & the Pips
1972 My Ding-a-Ling Chuck Berry
1971 Maggie May/ Reason to Believe Rod Stewart
1970 I'll Be There The Jackson 5

THE 1960s

1969 I Can't Get Next to You The Temptations
1968 Hey Jude The Beatles
1967 To Sir, with Love Lulu
1966 Reach Out I'll Be There The Four Tops
1965 Yesterday The Beatles
1964 Do Wah Diddy Diddy Manfred Mann
1963 Sugar Shack Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs
1962 Monster Mash Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Crypt Kickers

AND, for this day in 1958:

1958 It's All in the Game Tommy Edwards

Why? Because today's my birthday!

Bud S. (

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Tommy Riggs Story From Charlie Okle

Tommy Riggs has been mentioned from time to time on this blog and A. J.'s old blog; Charlie Okle shares a humerous story with us (how many of US have done this, huh?):

"Here's a Tommy story from the old KAAY days...

After Tom started working at KAAY, I would drive up to Little Rock from Pine Bluff and visit fairly often as we were best of friends. One afternoon in downtown Little Rock, we were browsing around in the old Woolworth Store at 4th and Main. We spotted a display of the new Wham-O "Super Balls". Having seen them advertised on TV, we each bought one. As we went to the sidewalk out front Tom unwrapped his and gave it a mighty slam against the concrete. This was a very busy intersection and the ball bounced very high out over traffic. When it came down and bounced off a car driving by, all hell broke loose. Here was his ball being batted around by passing autos. Tom shouted "My God", and we stood there dumbstruck for a minute, then beat a hasty retreat down the sidewalk hoping no one had noticed where it had come from!!! -Charlie."

"Where Are They Now"...Again....

Man, what a pleasure, listening to those voices on the Timeless Tracks! Always the questions surface...this time, it's about Jim and Jerry Pitcock! Does anyone know where they are nowadays, how to contact them and what they're doing? We sure would like their input to the blog!

How about Charlie King? I think Jerry Sims mentioned that he may still be around.

The more we look around, the more folks we find who are still with us! Still looking for stories, anecdotes, pictures and what-have-you to help fill the historical holes in KAAY's lineage!

Bud S. (

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Comments Re: Mary Donald

So Delores Handy, who is about to be inducted in the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame is the "Mary Donald" of KAAY fame. Her bio says she was the first black anchor person in Arkansas television also, but it does not say anything about her KAAY history. She probably was the first black on-air personality at KAAY also. Let us hear more about this person and her KAAY connection.

Jim Clark
Rogers, AR


I remember working with Mary Donald very well, for quite awhile she did newscasts on my show at night.

Mary truly cracked me up one night when she reported an earthquake that hit China or somewhere. She stated something like "...the earthquake registered 6.5 on the RICHARD Scale."

I was on the floor ! I explained to Mary that it was the "RICHTER" Scale NOT the Richard Scale.

I used to tease her before she went on sometimes by saying: "Coming up in just a few minutes, Mary Donald, wearing her newest Orthopedic Sweat Sox, with the latest news."

Mary was a sweetie and was well aware of my research, show prep, and, constant striving for "doing things the right way the first time, so you don't have to do them a second time." I was, and still am, a stickler for perfection, as most who know me well will attest to.

So, one time when she was in the Control Room and heard me compliment someone about something they did, Mary said: "You got a compliment from Jonnie King ?! Boy, you better not forget that ! He doesn't cut anybody any slack !"

Mary was a really nice girl, but I know that at first working with me she was sometimes intimidated. She hadn't been in the business all that long at the time, and she was a little leary of making the wrong moves or saying the wrong thing in her newscast when I was on the other side of the glass.

However, after awhile she warmed up, and knew I "was on her side" and wanted her to do well, and became a good friend.

I missed her when I switched from 8-11pm to Mid-Days.

Jonnie King

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jerry Sims, The Beach Boys and KAAY

The Beach Boys were in town on Oct. 1st here in Little Rock to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Yeah, really. I was out of town or I would have been there. Here is my KAAY related story:

Whenever a big name group or performer came to town, back in the day, promoters would attempt to tie in KAAY in some way, to get our endorsement and extra exposure. (Free Advertising). The Beach Boys were coming to Little Rock and they wanted our involvement. They wanted one of the D.J.'s to be there and introduce the show. I was asked, and willing. The week of the show, sometime about 1964, arrived and we were required to announce on air, that the show had been postponed. Brian Wilson, (the creative genius of the Boys) was "ill". If you have followed the history of the Beach Boys you will know that this happened quite often. So, the show was to be re-scheduled to a later date. Ticket holders could get a refund or hold them for the re-scheduled show.

The show was re-scheduled before too long. The Boys came out with their pink and white stripe shirts, and did their usual show. About half way through the night Mike Love told the audience that Brian Wilson was ill, and they had to bring a fill-in for him. He introduced the replacement as an "Arkansas Boy". Yep.... he was Glen Campbell. He wanted to feature him on a solo. I do not remember why, but I can remember the song he sang. Roy Orbison's "Crying".

In Branson, Missouri on business about two years ago, I had an opportunity to see Glen performing with Andy Williams. Glenn had his daughter with him, and I got an opportunity to talk with her. I told her the story and asked her if she thought Glen would be impressed that I remembered the song. She said that we would ask him after the show.. I was not able to speak with him though, because of a power failure that knocked out power to the adjacent restaurant where Glenn and Andy were to go after the show.

Our "Arkansas Boy" can still sing and play that guitar. Andy, at about 102 pounds, still has that voice too, although it was a little weak from a cold that night. Because of the voice weakness, they were unable to do "MacArthur Park" together. A big disappointment for me. I might consider a drive back to the beautiful Missouri Ozarks just to hear that one.

Jerry Sims......who was "you know who" back when Glen, Brian, and I were just kids.

David B. Treadway, Re: Mary Donald And Jack Lee

Delores Handy left her "Mary Donald" persona behind many years ago and apparently never looked back. She was at KABC, Los Angeles, by 1973 (if fading memory serves), did some fill-in anchor work at CNN and is currently an award-winning correspondent for WBUR in Boston, an NPR affiliate. I am certain that I have left out many stops along her way, for her stack of credentials must be five feet thick by now.

I remember her as being unflappable on the air. Phil North and I certainly tried to crack her up, but it was for nought. When the mic was on, she was All Business. After that, she loved to laugh--and the sound of it was musical to me. I had a crush on her as big as Dallas!

I remember two Jack Lees, the first of whom would have been there prior to 1971. He was Gary Souheaver (pronounced "SAI-ver") from El Dorado AR. That's all I know, except that I heard his family had some financial interest in stations in south Arkansas.

Mike McKinney (also from El Dorado; go figure) was Jack Lee from circa 1976 until he left the business for a lucrative career as an investment advisor. He was also the go-to guy for one of the Little Rock TV stations whenever they needed a complex issue explained in language that mortals could understand. It would not surprise me in the least if he retired rich.

I did not know Gary Souheaver, but I'll bet he was as competent and talented as Delores and Mike. You did NOT get a position in the KAAY news department unless you were the best available.

David B. Treadway
Doc Holiday VI (or was it VII?)

Jonny King's Console Comments

I remember that console very well...even though it's been 37 years since I've seen it !

I always loved watching REAL needles move back-and-forth,rather than digital-electronic scans.

And, yes, Woody had been the Air Force. In fact, one time around 1970 I think, he hired a guy from the close-by Air Base in Jacksonville to be a week-ender.

Sad to say the guy wasn't very good, and I'm being kind here, and only lasted a weekend or two.

He brought in his "Confusius Says" joke book and would read the one-liners out of it verbatim...not very funny.

I felt sorry for him, but it was another case of the "Gee, I'd Like To Be On The Radio !" Syndrome, and just didn't work out.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Blue Goose on Timeless Tracks

With all the recent comments regarding the "elegantly appointed Blue Goose Restaurant", here's an audio clip for your listening pleasure: It's taken from the 40th KAAY anniversary broadcast of the Timeless Tracks radio show.  You will hear the origin of the  Elegantly Appointed Blue Goose as well as the time listeners across the country were asked to mail napkins to the restaurant (due to a shortage ?!). There are also some stories related to the Emperor Holiday's Commandoes basketball team....

(Click here to download clip.)

---Dave S.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Comment To "Fun With Electricity!"

Hi Bud--

Jonnie's post about Tom Rusk and Barry Wood reminded me of a Barry Wood 'factoid'. I worked with Woody in Pine Bluff after his KAAY days, just before he left PB to start KLAZ. He had great pipes and was one of the most quick-minded on-air guys I ever worked with. But, before he became Michael J. McCormick at KAAY, Woody was in the U.S. Air Force and worked in a missile silo.


Dave M. Checks In With Goodies!

Since Jonnie brought it up, the pictured console is the one that he mentioned. Jonnie sent many midwest young’uns into dreamland using that microphone and console and his silky smooth delivery!


More "Where Are They Now"?

I still scour the 'net in a never-ending quest for more material for the blog...I also listen to the audio we're archiving and a new question comes up, "what about the news people?"  Two, in fact, come to mind: Mary Donald and Jack Lee.  We've mentioned the incomparable George J. Jennings, but I was wondering about these folks, as well.


Bud S. (


"Cruuuuuuu-isin'...cruisin' in my automobile...." (Jefferson Starship)

Yep, today is Friday...and that means CRUISIN'!  This was the exact dash in my ol' '66 Dodge Coronet 440 and that AM radio was tuned to- you guessed it- 1090, KAAY!

I'd mentioned somewhere before that I'd outfitted the car with a four-section, extra-long telescoping antenna and an in-line bullet amplifier that would work on AM and FM.  Sure made the difference in pulling in signals, too.

Most of the time, I was working the night shift after high school, so I'd pull the car up to the shop, have it idling, the doors open and the radio blaring...I'd punch out at 11PM (unless I had to work overtime), run to the car and spin out of the parking lot.  I'd have to be back at work the next morning at 7AM, so I'd take a small detour (approximately double the normal drive- what the heck, premium gas was only 33 cents at the time!) and listen the whole way.  If I had to double over for the next shift when the next guy failed to show, I'd have the car pulled up, anyway, and have that radio going, regardless!

During the summer, I worked day shift, so I'd make sure that I'd be near a radio about dusk.  Later, after I'd graduated, I worked a year before going to college and, after entering college, I'd work from 7am to 3:30pm, run to classes at 4pm- or clinical rotations at whatever hospital I was to work at- I was a Paramedic- and, as soon as I got free from my class or rotation shift, I'd turn that radio on and cruuuuuuise....

Even when I had to drive to the scene or the station, I had that radio going, whether it was a fire or a wreck...hey, at 3am in the morning, I had to wake up somehow!

I had some good times in that car and listening to KAAY....and I feel fortunate and blessed to be rubbing elbows with and sharing the stories of my heroes from KAAY via this blog.

Happy Friday, all!

More Goose Stories, From Jerry Sims/Sonny Martin

Another KAAY/ Goose memory:

After the religion block (6:30 to 8:00 pm), the D.J.'s on the 8 pm to Midnight, and the Midnight to 5 am shifts were required to do their own news cast. Preparing the news report required a trip next door to our News Room (booth) to rip A.P. wire copy. Also we made hourly trips to the KTHV Newsroom, downstairs, to get weather copy since we did not have a weather teletype. It was convenient to leave the control room door open after hours, since there was not a lot of traffic in the halls. All of that to set up another Blue Goose story.

I knew something was not right when I came in early on Saturday morning to do a 7am to Noon shift. The control room door was not only shut, it was locked. The D.J., who will remain nameless, had locked himself in, and finally peeked out the door after I knocked several times. "Quick, look over to the there a guy in the lot?" (From the control room door, you could look down on 7th Street and across to the Goose parking lot). "No....just lots of the bottles and trash." He pulled me in and closed the door.

Someone had called him very early in the night and told him that he "knew what he had been doing with his wife", and he was in the Goose lot with his rifle ready to "blow his *%# off", when he came out the door. So all night he had been locked in the control room, with no fresh news or weather, and doing what was, most likely, not his best show. I suppose he was thinking too, that a high powered rifle in the Goose lot would not have looked all that out of place.

Thinking back on doing your own news report, I immediately think of my favorite news opening. We were required to hit the news cart at 6 seconds before the hour. The audio was a beep, every second.....Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep.....then Tom Perryman, like the voice of God, saying "K A A Y Communications Exchange..... K-ComEx News!!" Wow, it was not fair for me, or any of us, to have to follow that voice. I have said it before. We had great jingles....great promotion...great coverage...but that voice WAS KAAY. Thanks Tom!

Another Goose memory......Their dumpster was parked very near the sidewalk on 7th Street, with a pay phone close by. We got the number of the phone, and would place calls when we saw someone about to walk by. Usually, they could not resist answering. Watching from across the street we would, in our best radio voice, whisper....."The money is in the dumpster." The questions then was, "To Dumpster Dive, or not to Dumpster Dive". This was also a favorite trick later when I worked for KTHV. By then, I had grown up, and was beyond such tricks. (I only watched when they had a victim in suit and tie walking by).

Jerry Sims...aka Sonny Martin KAAY...seems like yesterday, ago

Comment To "Greg Fadick And FM"

"It was Great Stuff! Sure Change my way of thinking about Radio and the direction I wanted to go! If the Walls could talk inside the Studio...My,my,my...:-)

Jeff Rains..."Woody, you had to be the most Creative Boss I had and Dale...thank you for making the Call to get me on the Blood Shift!

Oooooh those where the Days...Radio at it's Best!

JaBeaux on myspace


Electric Rooster Entertainment
P.O.Box 4325
Grand Junction, Colorado 81502"
Hey, "JaBeaux", come visit any time!  And PLEASE share some of those stories you tease us with...the statute of limitations has expired, as far as we're concerned!
Bud S. (

Jerry Sims & Jim Clark On The Blue Goose

I told you I check the blog often. I even read my own post today. I guess the "executives" that we terrified got back at me. Maybe that is the reason they were "executives" and I was on the skateboard. And yes, I usually use spell check. And....the Goose had a phone?



I was one of the parents who took my two kids down to the studio to trade in their skateboard for the albums. By the way, it was Jan and Dean, I believe. I think, maybe, it was none other than Jerry Sims (a/k/a Sonny Martin) who was the DJ to whom we surrendered the dangerous instruments of accidents. My daughter, who was about 6 or 7 at the time, had broken her arm on one skating down a hill in the Levy area of North Little Rock where we lived. So I made her and her brother, 1 1/2 years older. surrender their skateboards. We went down to KAAY in the evening, had to ring a bell or something like that, to get in and turned the nefarious things in to a young man who looked very similar to the Jerry Sims photo on the blog recently. My son and daughter are now 53 and 52 years old, so we are really dealing with ancient history now, but I remember it well, and it is still one of my positive remembrances of KAAY.

I also remember the Blue Goose. It was actually a drive-in that also had seats inside, and as Jerry noted was a beer joint. I ate a lot of hamburgers out of there. If I had known what Jerry noted with the "furry animals" I might not have liked it so much. I hope everyone will keep on posting these memories, because they bring back a lot of my own.

Jim Clark

Rogers, AR

Thursday, October 15, 2009


If Dave Montgomery views this Post in the next few days, maybe he can expand on this story:

This took place in maybe 1969 or 1970.  I wasn't in the building when it happened, but heard about it that afternoon when I came in to my office.

There had been some work in the Main Control Room, rewiring, putting in new pots or something.  Whatever the case, Tom Rusk (who was a great guy, and had a sweet little wife, whose name I think was Mary) had done the wiring, or, at least some of it. The work that was being done was on the Console. 

WELL, as luck would have it, something didn't get "grounded" correctly.  Barry Wood (Mike McCormick) was on the air doing afternoon drive (Barry also had an engineer's license as I recall).  Barry sat down at the Console and proceeded to grab both handles on the ends of the Console, was immediately zapped with a Trillion Volts of Electricity, got knocked out of the chair on his rump, and was lucky to be among the living !

Poor Tom was in the proverbial "doghouse" for awhile, but was young and had just not insulated/grounded a connection, wire, or cord somewhere...from what I could gather.

And "Woody" (as we called Barry), had another close call as my friend Dave Treadway told me.  This was many years later and Barry had a brain aneurism and lived to tell about it.

ATTENTION: DAVE M.  Do you remember the incident I just described ?  And, did my memory serve me well on some of the details ?  Lemme know, Amigo.

PS: I'll be announcing the Official Launching of my Personal WebSite soon.  Maybe by next week. It's a look at my career through the years, with pix, airchecks, memorabilia, etc., involved. It'll be a work-in-progress, but I hope you enjoy it.

As always: stay safe & well,

Jonnie King

Home brew again

In a previous post, More Home Brew: The Knight Kit, Ron Henselmen described his adventures with his friend Gary Wegner at kit building and amateur broadcasting.  Here's a follow-up to Ron's story:

PART II: Bud and Ron digress:

Cool story! I also played with Part 15 transmitters, but they were transistorized and, much later in life. I used to DX pirates, so I got a bunch of tapes from them. I have a Ramsey FM-10 that I used at Hamfests as a display (us Hams can use them for other things than broadcasting!), but I put some of the funnier pirates on, just for shock value. Yes, I i.d.'ed as a Part 15 broadcaster, following the FCC guidelines, but STILL got a Ham or two wanting to file on me!

Later, a pirate sent me a Ramsey AM-10 (?), modified with plug-in capacitors to quickly change operating ranges. I've never tried it, never hooked it up.

I have a Ramsey FM 100, and I built an amp with a low pass filter for it. I never designed a VHF RF amp using an RF power transistor before, so it was a good learning experience for me. That was in 2000. I ran the FM-100 without the amp as an automated oldies station using WaveStation software, but the novelty wore off quickly.

There weren't many pirate stations when I was an active DX'er, so the only thing I ever heard was a pirate on 101.5 MHz. That was about twenty years ago. There aren't any local stations occupying that frequency, so I use it to check VHF propagation. That is also the frequency I used for the Ramsey transmitter.

I never bothered to read the part 15 rules until I bought that transmitter. It never dawned on me that the rules between the FM and AM broadcast bands might be different. I thought one could use 100 milliwatts with a 60 inch antenna on FM too. My fun came to a close when I saw people getting busted for running things which were only slightly questionable; I didn't want to lose my commercial license or my amateur license.

It will be fifty years in December or January since I built my first transmitter from just parts. I built it into a cigar box, and I used the 90 volt battery out of a tube type AM portable radio to supply the voltage for the tubes. Gary Wegner reminded me about how I got into trouble in seventh grade for bringing it to school. I left my transistor radio turned on, but the transmitter was turned off with a toggle switch. A classmate decided to be cute and flip the transmitter power switch on during the middle of class. The transmitter was setup to transmit tone modulated Morse code, so the tone blared out of the transistor radio while my teacher was talking. She was not impressed, but I didn't get into any major trouble. Later, I made the unit into a voice transmitter. I hated Morse code at the time.

Sometimes we were asked to bring portable radios to school, so the whole class could listen to some history making event.   Everybody else in the class would have their radios tuned to the Chicago NBC station, and we would have ours tuned to the Milwaukee NBC station.  We would play dumb when the teacher asked us why there was a delay in the audio between our radios and the rest of the radios in the classroom.  The attached photo will show what I looked like about the time of the multiple radio incidents:

Dave mentioned seeing catalogs that his father received from Allied Radio. Their main store was on Western Avenue in Chicago. I loved going there; it was a sad day when most of the company was purchased by Radio Shack. They had what they called a dock sale shortly before closing down the store. I went there along with Gary Wegner. We bought speakers, turntables and headphones. I finally had money to buy things because I saved most of what I earned in Vietnam....

Have you ever heard some ridiculous claims from pirate broadcasters or illegal CB'ers as to how much power they are running? Some of them can't do the basic math to figure out their electrical circuits can't handle the amount of current required for their claims. 240 volts X 100 amps = 24000 watts total available to the typical older home with 100 amp service. I have a fifty amp 240 volt electric range outlet just to run my VHF amplifier. I never argue when I hear those claims; I just chuckle.

 Thanks, Ron and Bud, for the memories!
---Dave S.

Car Radios As Audio Tools

I'd inquired to Dave M. about when he mentioned using car radios, why so? And his reply below:

"Back in the day, you either had a car radio or you didn’t. About the only option you had with a car radio was to have a rear seat speaker with a front-to-back fader. Car radios were made by Philco (if you owned a Ford) or by DELCO (if you owned a Chevy). Purely subjective listening tests taught us a couple of things about these two radio brands. The DELCO’s were the best at picking up stations at a distance but the Philco’s had the best sound.

So using all the subjective talent we could muster, we would “tweak” the audio of KAAY using a Philco car radio as the listening post. We knew that if it sounded good on a Philco car radio, it HAD to sound good on just about everything else!

But if you wanted to listen to a radio station on the dark side of Mars, get a DELCO.

We had a lot of little audio tools and tricks we used to tweak the audio. Our goal was to be the best sounding 50kW station on the dial, including all those “big city” stations. Wayne Moss (Wayne Moss) had an exceptionally good ear and audio intuition, and he was constantly asking for a little more of this, a little less of that, etc., and we were glad to oblige. Some days, we would make a little audio tweak, and then run out to the car radio to see how it sounded. We didn’t use the studio monitors because we wanted to see how things sounded to Mr. Average Joe Public.

Wayne would be a most excellent resource to coax into contributing to the blog – his tenure spanned both the early days of KAAY as well as into the 70’s and he knew most of the people mentioned on the blog to date.


And I sure would like to hear from Wayne Moss...on ANY subject! Thank you, Dave!

Bud S. (

"Hot Seat"

Wowza, Dave M. checks in with a good State Fair story...good timing, since many Fairs are visiting towns near us at this time of year- thanks, Dave!

"Hi Bud,

I wanted to tell you about another State Fair promotion we did in the late ‘70’s. It was called SHOCK THE JOCK. It’s absolutely hilarious, and if anyone tried this today, the lawyers would be lined up three deep and four across at the front door. But we did it and it was a HOOT!

Here’s the setup- - State Fair comes along once a year. In the late ‘70’s we had a tent on the midway, and we parked the Funmobile next to it, and broadcast from there every night, 8-11pm as the lead-in to Beaker Street. Big promotion. Lots of people.

I think it was Dave Hamilton that brought the idea to me. He wanted me to build a “Shock the Jock” machine that would be used at remote broadcasts and especially the State Fair. He explained his idea in some detail - We talked it over and came up with a concept that was eventually built and then used on the State Fair midway. Here’s how it worked.

Picture this. There were two chairs, placed about 6-8 feet apart and facing each other, and a small control box on a pedestal between them. The “control box had three large light bulbs on top, one RED, and the other two green. One of the green light bulbs had a random flasher module in it so that it would flash on and off at a rate of about 1-2 times a second. The box also had a small control panel with a couple of switches on it that made a very loud CLICK sound when they were moved – creating an “audible” signal that something was happening. The DJ controlling the box could switch from a “steady green” to a flashing green, or a steady red by simply flipping some switches.

The two chairs were rigged with auto ignition coils on the underside, which were connected to small electrodes the chair seats, and also back to the “control” box. The chairs were “hot” and sparks would jump the gaps – there was no way you could sit idly by - it was jump up in the air “hot”. We quickly found out we had to screw the chairs to the floor to keep them from being knocked over when people would “fly” out of them.

The DJ would ask for volunteers from the audience to come up and sit in the chairs, facing each other. Each volunteer was given a small hand-held pushbutton switch and told – “Watch for the RED light to come on. If you press your button first, after the RED light comes on, you’ll shock the other guy in his pants. But if you press your button too soon, you’ll shock yourself in the pants!”

There were a couple of “fake outs” built into the control box. One was – when the RED light came on (controlled by the DJ) there was also a very loud buzzer in the box. So you had the effect of psyching out your opponent, watching for the RED light to come on, and being the first one to press your button to burn the pants off the other guy. BUT – the buzzer also had a “fake” switch that would just make the BUZZ sound but NOT the RED light!

There was also the continuously flashing GREEN light. The contestants knew that the moment the GREEN light went OFF, and the RED light came ON, it was time to press the button.

So you get the picture? In each chair you have a couple of “bullet proof” State Fair partiers who think they can beat the Jock to the switch. The DJ is in full control of the lights and buttons that enable the two contestants to either shock themselves or the other poor doofus. I have to tell you, we never laughed so hard for so long at the knuckleheads that WANTED to sit in those chairs!

Like they say on Mythbusters – “Don’t try this at home. We’re whatcha call experts.”

Heh, /DM/"

(I wonder how those fared when wearing dungarees with copper rivits? bs)

(A "P.S." from Dave:) "The State Fair is fertile ground for “midway heroes”, what with beer being served, and plenty of knuckleheads out to impress their dates….We clearly took advantage of this – Sometimes we would have a guy and his date zapping each other. Funny?! I can’t even begin to describe the delight a young damsel takes in giving her date the hot seat. And the tent crowds cheered ‘em on!


Yessir, times never change...they get ten feet tall and bullet-proof when they get a few in 'em, don't they?  I wonder how many relationships broke up because of this- and other similar things?  HAH!

Bud S. (

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Of Skateboards and The Blue Goose Restaurant....

Jerry Sims and I had a conversation awhile back and he promised a couple of "insider" stories that are hilarious...and we enter the "theater of the mind" as we read them below:

"Early Skateboards were very crude. Many had metal skates attached to a very rigid board. Very few had polyurethane (or whatever) wheels that allowed the ride to be fairly smooth. Because of these problems, there were lots of kids being thrown to the street. Lots of broken arms, etc. Parents hated them.

Being the days of all the Surfing songs, there was a group who put out an album called "Sidewalk Surfing". Being "The Mighty 1090", and able to break records over a large part of the country, they were willing to give us a huge stack of albums to give away. Knowing parents wanted to get the little rascals off the boards, we offered an album to anyone who would trade in their Skateboard to us. Kids hated it, Moms loved it. We got lots of them everyday. We, in fact, ended up with a room full of them. Not wanting them to go to waste, several of us would pick out one with smooth wheels to do some mean "hall surfing", up and down what used to be, rather quiet halls. This was in the earliest days of KAAY when we were upstairs, over KTHV Channel 11, the CBS Television station in Little Rock. We shared the upstairs with the television executives and their accounting and traffic departments. The TV folks never did like us very much. Imagine a couple of D.J.'s racing down the hall, usually me (Sonny Martin) against Buddy Carr (Richard Wiethan) only to scare mild mannered TV accountants on their way to the ladies room. Or maybe even George J. Jennings coming out of the news booth. He was a great newsman, but not much of a Skateboarder, as I recall.

You have to be old to remember, but TV stations were not on 24 hours a day. There would usually be a late movie after the 10 pm News, that would be over at about midnight. They would then sign off, lock the doors, and go home. We were on 24 hours a day, and highly against the wishes of our land lord, on occasions would allow "fans" inside to join the party. Hey, if they had traveled across several states to visit what they thought was "Party Central", the least we could do was unlock the door for a brief visit. Sometimes they might stray downstairs into the TV area. A definate No-No.

The reason we were in the building in the first place, if you have not figured it out yet, was because KTHS (which became KAAY) was there. When Arkansas Broadcasting Company sold their radio station, call letters were changed to KAAY, and they moved in. TV folks, most likely, regretted this on about day two. We later moved to the new building (a former Doctor's office) on 7th Street, adjacent to the State Capitol Building. Ironically, I ended up spending most of my broadcasting career back at the Channel 11 building. Being Weather Boy, News Reporter, Account Executive, and other things. Even in the same office that I had once used as Music Director at KAAY.

Also while thinking of people who thought Little Rock was the "Rockingest" possible place on earth: I knew of some who even planned their vacation around a Little Rock visit. They always wanted to visit the station, and see the "Blue Goose". Howard Watson (Ken Knight) deserves most of the praise for the promotion of the Goose. He started referring to it as "the elegantly appointed Blue Goose", and several of us took up the cause. It was described as Little Rock's most elegant and special restaurant. It, in fact, was a local beer joint. We used to watch furry animals scurry about the trash bins over there. I remember one time a man decided to drink as much as possible before killing himself in his car there. You might find a disc jockey, or a TV news anchor there, but not exactly a proud stop on the Arkansas Tourism map. Anyway, visitors to KAAY would have second thoughts about a meal there when they got their first look. It was usually a shock for them too, to see one little old me, upstairs in a dark building, attempting to lead a multi-state party, in the middle of the night, when they expected maybe, "a cast of thousands" (OK, two or three anyway). I believe still, it was magic. KAAY. I was just a small part of it.

Jerry Sims....aka Sonny Martin...a while back."

Jerry, I DO remember the TV stations signing off, with the National Anthem, followed by a test pattern.  (I believe Jonnie King has such a test pattern on his site, along with pictures of old TV shows.)  Sure brings back memories.  Now, you'd be hard-pressed to hear the National Anthem anywhere outside a ball game or find anyone who actually knows what a test pattern is....

I also remember a recording of a radio show where A. J. Lindsey, Sonny Martin III, Pat Walsh and a couple others were discussing the Blue Goose Restaurant.  They made mention that the deejays, while describing the fine dining, would have a soundtrack going in the background, complete with tinkling glasses, silverware scraping on plates and what-have-you.  So many people fell for it, that they called the place for reservations...the fellow answering the phone replied, "You want WHAT???"

Thank you, Jerry!  What great stories!  Please keep 'em coming!

Bud S. (

How Many Nights...

...did we sit up, listening to wonderful programming, with nothing but the dial light of the radio on?  So many stations "up and down the dial"...but, to lots of us, there were few like KAAY.  Some of the greatest hits came from this station, some of the most fun deejays, lots of good memories.  And how many times did your Momma holler down the hall or up the stairs, "You'd better NOT be listening to that radio!  You've got school tomorrow!" (I wonder how many times she & dad may have secretly listened to something when they were growing up?)

Something about the night...and crazy, wild music that emanated from the radio from that program called Beaker Street.  Many of us had never heard anything like it, especially the spooky background behind that deejay!  Then there was Beaker Theater...and I listened with my head underneath the covers, but with my forehead at the edge of the bed, touching the table so I could hear the radio at it's lowest volume.  I was scared, but at the same time, fascinated!  What times, growing up!

When I was a teenager and driving, I tried to make my trips longer at night, especially when I got off from work at 11PM, so I could listen longer.  Living on a farm, I had to draw the line somewhere, since 5AM came early and attending school, participating in sports and working took a lot of energy and time.  Listening to the radio, and KAAY in particular, was my release.  But on summer nights when I was out of school, I would cruise....

Later in life, a local radio station hereabouts started playing old radio shows on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.  They dropped it, another tried it.  Still fun, but nothing like Beaker Theater.  I'd give almost anything to relive those young days.  Just these little snippets we're enjoying here are simply gold.  Thank you to all who contribute here...every aircheck, every story is a little ray of sunshine in our lives!

Radio has been a large part of many of our lives...mine, especially.  I wish I knew where that old green Zenith tube table radio was...its long gone now.  I obtained the one above when my wife's grandmother passed away and added it to my collection.  However, it is from approximately an era when KAAY was still "large" in the Top 40 market.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Don Payne Recollection!

Boy, I'll tell you what...those KAAY folks were a great bunch!  The more I rub elbows with them, the more I find that they were a cut above the rest, as far as innovation and being fun-loving!  Don Payne regales once again:

"Howdy Bud!

I worked for KAAY/ KEZQ and later KLPQ in the Cottondale Lane building for about 3 years in the late 70s. Bob Nelson and Stewart McRae and I have stayed in touch off and on thru the years; Bob just yesterday emailed me the link to this site. Incidentally C. David Hamilton (the KAAY Program Director who took over after Dick Downs) ended up being my Regional VP here at Radio One. We had a nice time talking about the KY days. Oh, and not directly to do with KY but remember the Program Director for Ron Curtis’ KLAZ and KALO-AM, Barry Mayo? Well, he’s the President of Radio One right now! He’s one heck of a great guy; every time he comes to town we have some good conversations about Little Rock radio. Never burn a bridge, right? Who would know almost 40 years later we’d be working together.

KAAY was only my second job in radio and I was only about 19 or 20 years old. I had worked right across the river at gospel 1050 KSOH for about a year. My friends and I had ham radio licenses and we would drive out to Wrightsville to see Stewart in the middle of the night and stare at that huge transmitter. We got to be friends. The transmitter was in a very remote location, and we would bring Stewart cokes and donuts and snacks. Stewart ended up hiring me to do weekends to give him a few days off. By then all operations were in the new studios on Cottondale Lane. Saturday was my big night and there was only about 2 hours of Beaker on Sunday before we went into block programming loading reels of tape and babysitting it all night as I recall. At that age, and after growing up listening to the guys on that station….I was so damn nervous every time I opened the mic that you could hear it in my voice. I’ll be glad to put more memories like this on the site.

Part of my job was to keep that automation system across the hall (It had a nickname “Clark” named after the Superman Clark Kent) loaded with reels of music and it was sometimes a pain in the ass. It took the better part of Bob Nelson’s life 24/7 to listen to it constantly and keep it running. I later went on to do afternoon drive at that station, which changed from beautiful music to AOR. You would not believe how the front desk phone rang for a solid week after that format change! Doctors and Dentist offices opened up Monday morning with Zeppelin blaring thru the hallways! What memories. Later, I’ll tell you about the time the KY Fun Mobile caught on fire and burned along side a major freeway.

(Once), I locked myself out on the roof during Beaker Street. (Never mind what I was doing up there, but it went on a lot back in those days)

I put on a nice 7 minute song and headed up the ladder. The wind blew the hatch shut and there I was. Luckily another staff member just happened to be in the neighborhood and heard the station go silent. After about 10 minutes of dead air, I must imagine his surprise as he came pulling in the driveway seeing me standing there out on the roof, stoned. The fact that nobody ever said anything or I never got in trouble for that is a major miracle. Ha. -Don"

Uh, oh, I'm glad the statute of limitations has run we can hear about the Fun Mobile and other things!  Thank you, Don, we'll be sitting on the edge of our seats for more!

Bud S. (

Calling In On Radio Promotions

Remember these?  I collect old things, like some folks do...mine are communications-related.  I have one from about the 1940's as well that I may post later....regardless, how many of us have tried to wear out one of these phones trying to call a radio station to win something?  There was no such thing as a redial button- we'd just "dial 'em again!"...and keep on dialing until we were the caller who got in, or heard over the air that someone else won the prize.

My kids never saw one of these until I brought one out of storage.  For many years, I had one held back and it still worked on the modern lines, even though it was a pulse-dial phone and the lines were utilizing Touch Tone.  The reason being, if/when the power went out during a storm or a hurricane, cordless phones do not work!  Nowadays, there's redial, caller I.D., multiple (three-way) call, call forward, etc., etc., etc.  And cell phones, cordless phones, camera phones, yadda ya....

The worst thing we had with these phones were a party line...big deal, unless someone was "on" when you wanted to call the radio station to try to win that goodie!

By the way, the big white overlay was for those of us who misplaced our glasses on top of our heads....!

Jerry Sims' KAAY Poster!

Jerry recently found a few of these and sent in a copy for the blog.  He mentioned that, "Ironically, this 'Beat Texas A & M' poster will have special meaning again this year when the Razorbacks play the Aggies in the new Texas stadium."  Arkansas beat Texas A & M 47-19 this year, but I hope this doesn't dishearten our KAAY fans in Texas!  (BTW, this poster is over 40 years old!!!)

Jerry also told me, "Pat Walsh, KAAY Manager, would have these printed each week during the season, and you would see them in windows of homes and businesses all over Central Arkansas.  We would usually hand them out (and stack up traffic) in front of the station in drive times all week."

"Particularly when I worked the night shift, I would be getting calls from all over the place thinking Little Rock, AR must be 'party central'.  Funny, but it was just a young, local kid, all alone upstairs over a dark TV station (that had already signed off and gone home), having the time of his life, with a huge audience, that were apparently making lots of memories, too."

Jerry, thanks so much for sharing this with us!

We are always looking for memorabelia, audio and what-have-you to share here on the blog.  What YOU get out of it is what YOU put into it, so if you have something, please share!  Please don't think your contribution doesn't count, because it DOES!  One little memory could trigger a flood of memories for someone else, and we're all made richer for it!

Again, thanks to Jerry Sims for sharing this poster!

Don Payne Checks In!

"Hey it's Don Payne here!

It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure I did the last one. I would have taped it on the big old Revox airchecker but God knows where that tape is. I've moved thru Memphis, St. Louis, Lafayette, Indiana (Purdue Engineering) then Indy, Cincinnati as Director of Engineering for CBS, then back to Indy, as of today, 10/13/09 I'm CE of a 5 station cluster, 3 FM's 1 Directional AM, and a TV. 53 years old and having a good time here in spite of the challenges of the economy. I know where some of the other folks are, and will post later.

Thanks to Bob Nelson for sending me the link to the site."

Cool! Don, please regale us with more stories and spread the word...we're having a blast here on the blog!

Bud S. (

Monday, October 12, 2009

Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Much has been said about the Cuban Missile Crisis here and on A. J.'s blog, and how KAAY broadcast, re: the situation. This was one time that we were a breath away from annihilation. I believe President Kennedy and Khrushchev used good restraint in knowing NOT to "push the button"...unlike some of our leaders today, who have no sense and thrive on power and ego. As King Crimson said in "Epitaph": "'s fate is in the hands of fools..."

Needless to say, I was a few days shy of four years old when all this happened and have no recollection of it; however, I enjoy history, and this phase of ours makes me shiver....

There are many, many references to this event. I personally do not like Wikipedia, because I was told by someone opposite of my party affiliation that almost anybody can register and give their version of history. Therefore, I refuse to use that source any more, after having seen some "sensitive" information being changed as many as three times in one month. Hence, the sources I commit here. If anyone has any other interesting references in this historical anniversary week, please feel free to leave them in comments.

How about the timeline:

Some Navy FAQs:

The National Security Archive photograph site:

And A. J.'s posts re: the events:

Remember...and celebrate life! I believe there should be deterrant enough to avoid catastrophe...and not to trust too much....

Bud S. (

Another Mini-Broadcaster Checks In!

Mike Wolstein said...

In re my old buddy Ron Henselman's great story about the Knight Kit Broadcaster:

I did the same exact thing, in 1968, when I was 19; but on FM! During my high school days, when I was 15, I built that same little blue "Knight Broadcaster". I tried a long wire but still got only 100 to 150 feet of range.

In 1968 I found a schematic for a tube-type FM transmitter in Radio-TV Experimenter magazine (I loved White's Radio Log!). I built it, and the fidelity was amazing! So much better than AM. It had a pretty good range, maybe 100 yds., but that wasn't quite good enough for this seasoned pro broadcaster. ;-). I connected the output, via RG-8, to my CB antenna on the roof of our building. I found that a CB antenna is great for FM! I had no idea how far my signal was going, so I made a 2-hour reel-to-reel tape of myself doing a radio show, complete with "commercials", rock and roll (lots of Fab Four!)and some locally-oriented announcements. Very professional! I took my little GE transistor radio and went walking around the neighborhood.

I finally started getting noisy about 1/4 mile away. I saw some friends of mine sitting on a porch and gave them a show. They were totally blown away. They couldn't figure out how I was doing that; they didn't know about tape. I did a daily show after school for a little while, but not many of the kids were paying attention. That ended my radio broadcast career.

73 Mike (Chicago area)

Bob Nelson, Re: Other KAAY Personnel

Bob Nelson again checks in various personnel he was affiliated with at KAAY, along with a few comments about the station:

"...(about KAAY)...factoring in its smallish market size and location in a flyover state, it was arguably among the most influential stations for that period.

Just from my era (a short span from 1976-1978), I count these others, all of whom are still in the industry or an allied field:

-Reid Reker - Became GM of CBS/Chicago and later CBS/Dallas
-Don Payne - CE of Radio One properties in Indy
-Carl Hamilton - Just retired as market manager for Radio One/Houston
-Mark Zintel (Larsen) - Retired from WFLA/Tampa, a bigtime talk operation
-Steve Gunn - Did afternoons at WGCI/Chicago and was at ABC at last check
-Stuart McRae - Also at ABC (Citadel) at last check
-Linda Page - Assignment editor for Fox TV-13/Memphis
-Gary Heathcott - Runs an advertising agency in Little Rock
-Tom Rusk - Became a station owner, later a multi-station engineer in Arkansas
-Joe Coeburn - Did mornings at WBBM-FM for years as Joe Bohannon
-Mark Winston - I ran into him back in 1993 at a Wichita station I was doing software work for, he's now a voiceover talent

...and that's just a few off the top of my head.

Of course I have to also include Lou Holtz,later coach of Notre Dame and now an ESPN analyst. Although he didn't work at KAAY, we carried the Razorbacks during the magical period when he led that program to prominence. Hey...that's gotta count for something, eh? :-)

Again...thanks to John Schaab for getting me hooked up with Lee Roy and for getting me turned on to the ``Mighty 1090 KAAY'' blog! Feel free, Dave, to share any of this on that site."

("Lee Roy" being Dave M., of

Any of these fine folks are WELCOME to visit and drop us some comments! Thank you again, Bob and Dave!

Bud S. (

Bob Nelson Checks In!

Hey, folks, Dave M. assists once again in helping fill in more KAAY history! His friend, Bob Nelson, Operations Director from 1976 to 1978, fills us in:

"As much as I enjoy broadcast history, until today I wasn't even aware of``The Mighty 1090 KAAY'' blog site. It's a great resource and I appreciate the time and effort put into keeping the memories alive.

As for me, my stint at KAAY/KEZQ was all-too-brief, stretching from winter 1976 to late summer 1978. In that short span of time, I worked with an outstanding collection of people. I subsequently worked in larger markets than Little Rock (Nashville, Pittsburgh and Dallas) but I always look back to my days in Little Rock as the most fun I've ever had in any job.

I was really just on the periphery of the great people that worked there. My job was running the automated Bonneville beautiful music companion,KEZQ. My actual title was Operations Director but it amounted to little more than keeping the Schafer-903 programmed. But the part I enjoyed the most was doing weekends and fill-in over on KAAY. It was a blast giving the phone number for the hit lines, complete with area code (501) 661-1212. It never got old picking up the phone and getting a request from places like Des Moines, New Orleans, Duluth and Bismarck.

For a while I did middays on the AM and had the pleasure of working with Farm Service Director Marvin Vines, a true gentleman.

As for Dave Montgomery, I have this one story to share which reveals the true measure of the man. One weekend, I was driving back to Little Rock after visiting friends from college up in Nashville. My little red Mercury Capri had close to 200,000 miles on it when the engine finally blew out in the little town of Widener, AR on the far side of Forest City. This happened around 1:00 early on a Sunday morning and I was scheduled to do live assist on KEZQ for morning drive. Dave was doing the regular weekly maintenance for KAAY at the studio. I called the hotline and told him of my dilemma. Without a complaint, he hopped in the station jeep and drove the 200+ mile round trip to get me back what seemed like the middle of nowhere back to Little Rock.

There are other anecdotes I can share about Dave (and other KY-ers) but that act of generosity is among the more memorable. -- Bob Nelson"

Bob we certainly hope you'll check in often...we'll be looking forward to many more stories and anecdotes...and, thanks to Dave M. for bringing Bob on board. Kudos, gentlemen!

Bud S. (