Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jerry Sims', Toys For Tots and KAAY Errata!

Toys for Tots has been going on for a long time in Little Rock. It is currently going on, on the little "Toy Hill" just above War Memorial Stadium. I was there last weekend. KAAY used to be the main promoter of the event. I remember the last time I was there with KAAY. This was about in 1966 or 1967. I was no longer at the station, I had gone into TV just a few months earlier. My best D.J. friend from KAAY was doing his Toys For Tots campaign there. His on air name was Buddy Carr. Back then, as in his promotion, a jock stayed with the campaign round the clock. This particular Buddy Carr, of which there were three, was my friend Richard Wiethan. The station did not have a Fun Mobile or the likes, just the Mobile News Cruiser. That big ole white station wagon with all the radios and the red KAAY on the roof with several antennas. I visited late at night and hung out with Richard in the warm car in between cut-ins with the D.J. back at the station. As usual, listeners were invited to come out, bring toys and visit with Buddy Carr. A couple of them also recognized me and asked for an autograph. Rather then go into a long explanation, I most likely gave it to them......"Well, you see, yes, I was Sonny Martin, and yes, I am on the radio, but that is really Matt White and not me anymore, there are kind of two of us....." This was to be Richard's last Christmas, as he was killed in a National Guard training accident the next summer. I lost my best friend and KAAY retired the name after the accident.

Some one had written earlier that Lin Broadcating owned the names used on the air, and that is true. One thing that was not always true though, was the fact that KAAY went to the name pool of the longest un-used name to give to a new D.J. We went through so many late night "Robbins", one right after the other, that it was many times impossible. Usually the first name changed, like Bob Robbins, to Rob Robbins, to Rock Robbins....etc. I left KAAY on a Friday as Sonny Martin (ll) and Monday there was Sonny Martin (lll) on the air with the same name, same shift, different personality, different voice. Oh well, I suppose just like in politics, radio listeners too, have a short memory.

A side note......The local United States Marine Corp Reserve unit has always been a major partner in the local Toys for Tots campaign. I took toys this past weekend, but also took the opportunity to visit with my son (ok, step-Son), a USMC Iraqi War Vet, that I am most proud of.---

Also the current long time radio supporter of the Toys For Tots campaign is KSSN, a long time popular Country station in Little Rock. Their long time morning D.J. is Bob Robbins. Sound familar? Yep, he was the last of the Robbins at KAAY a hundred years ago. (Sorry Bob, I could not resist). And yes, he could take his name across the street because Lin Broadcasting was no longer the owner of KAAY.

The Christmas Season was always special at KAAY, but so was every other season!

Sonny/Jerry Martin/Sims

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