Friday, December 31, 2010

Beaker Street, New Year's Eve 1971 Revisited

I was so excited when we got these airchecks from Greg Barman, we just HAD to get them on.  Nonetheless, in the spirit of the holiday, here is a link back to all of them.  Enjoy!  And please, have a great evening, be safe, and have a happy and prosperous New Year!

Beaker Street, Dec. 31, 1971

Bud S. (

Thursday, December 30, 2010


AN OLD FRIEND OF MINE, THE LEGENDARY "WOLFMAN JACK" GAVE ME A SURPRISE PHONE CALL on New Year's Eve, 1993, when I was doing my show on JUKE BOX 96 Radio/St. Louis.

I've saved this audio in my Personal Archive's for all these years...and now, as a Special New Year's Gift, I want to share it with you. Just click-on here to listen:

... and be sure to pass this link onto a friend right now so they can hear it too !!

AND, A VERY Happy New Year to all of you ! God Bless & Thanks for making 2010 our best year ever !!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Beaker Street" Gaining Grassroots Support!

The fans of "Beaker Street" are angry and motivated!  There are currently several individuals making efforts to put pressure on KKPT's station management, in an effort to convince them to keep the program on the air, or to find another station to pick it up.  Here are some links, if you are interested.

"Keep Beaker Street Alive" on Facebook (created less than two days ago, and already boasts 158+ members):

"Beaker Street/Clyde Clifford Fans" Facebook Page:

This Facebook page currently has 914 members.  

If every member, as well as readers of this blog site would write and/or call KKPT, that would certainly put some pressure on the management.  KKPT 94.1 "The Point" has all live programming and many of us feel that "Beaker Street" belongs there.  As I wrote on one of those pages, "Beaker Street" is living radio history.  When it does go off of the air, Clyde Clifford, his legion of fans, and the program itself deserve to have a proper send-off, such as Larry King had on CNN.  I'm listing the link for KKPT below.  If you are so inclined, please take a few moments to write or call the station, and express your support for this groundbreaking program to remain on the air (and on the World Wide Web) in Little Rock.


Richard Robinson

Theater Of The Mind....

Oh, for the days of radio, when it actually stirred the imagination!

Remember when we could listen to programs, deejays, and such, and the pictures they painted?  Remember the hysteria created by Orson Wells' "War of the Worlds"?  I believe firmly that television has taken away much of our imagination.  We've become so jaded, that it takes more and more shock and drama to even stir us....

How about the mental pictures painted by Ken Knight (Howard Watson) of the Blue Goose Lounge, across from the studios?  And his imaginative creativity in "Ear On Arkansas" along with all the other various players?  What about the erie picture painted while listening to Clyde Clifford on "Beaker Street"?  How was your imagination while listening to the various Sonny Martins, Mike McCormicks, Doc Holidays, the Emperor Holiday himself, and all the other Greats?  They were larger than life!  The crazy ads put on by the various deejays, like The Foulk Monster, etc.?  And Those Voices, the ones that announced KAAY all during the day and night- Tom Perryman and Gary Gears, with those deep, gutteral, processed voices- they could have been the Hulk, they sounded so "large"!

Yes, since the consolidation began, radio hasn't been the same...but, like the young lad in the picture above may now do, we have learned to relish and cherish our memories of The Greats of KAAY- and other stations- and we honor them here in these pages and posts and audio clips and airchecks so many of you have graciously contributed!

May the great memories never die...and as long as I can muster something for the blog, it will be preserved here for all to enjoy!  My thanks to all those in the forefront and behind the scenes who help to keep these wonderful memories alive!

(The cartoon above was gleaned from a 1965 Amateur Radio Relay League publication- the caption has been changed for enjoyment on the blog!)

Bud S. (

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Beaker Street" CANCELLED!

Faithful blog readers, it is with great sadness that I must tell you that "Beaker Street" is slated for cancellation on KKPT "The Point" 94.1.  The last program is scheduled for February 6, 2011.  The word is out, and the Facebook page for this historic program has more details.  Here is the web link:

Here is the entry on www. (from Clyde Clifford himself):

Welcome to Beaker Street.

I have really felt at home here at the Point. The staff and especially the audience have been great. I had hoped that someday in the nebulous future that the Point would be where I would finally decide to retire.That is not to be. I have been informed that the last Beaker Street on The Point will be February 6th.
Check here often for information, which I will post as I learn it.
Keep the faith. I intend to continue Beaker Street as long as I can.

6 more Beaker Streets at The Point.

The options, as I see it, are to contact the management of KKPT at:

and register your anger and disappointment over this decision.  Should the station management stand by their decision, "Beaker Street will indeed go "dark," unless another station picks up the program.  There are other possibilities, including another station picking up the program in Little Rock.  If no terrestrial radio station is willing, some enterprising folks might be able to put the program up on the Internet, although that would take some doing.  It is such a shame that OUR "Beaker Street" is being cancelled, because Clyde Clifford had built up an audience again, both in the immediate listening area and truly world-wide via the Internet.  If you want "Beaker Street to survive, then please get busy and let your voice be heard.  We need you NOW!

"Beaker Street" is such an important part of Arkansas broadcast history.  It is the longest running radio program in the state.  It was ground breaking.  It is probably one of the few radio programs that has a Ph.D. dissertation devoted to it.  The program is important.  It should stay on the air.  Please do what you can to help keep Clyde Clifford not only in our hearts and minds, but also in our ears.  


Richard C. Robinson


To all my Mighty 1090 Friends:

NORM GRABOWSKI’S LEGENDARY FORD "T-BUCKET" BECAME A Media Icon in 1958 when it was launched into TV-Land on the Warner Brothers hit show “77 SUNSET STRIP” !

Through the years almost EVERYBODY reading this info, has either seen, or heard about "77 Sunset Strip" one of TV's legendary long-running shows.  AND, the "Kookie Kar" was an integral part of the show !

The car was recently released in Danbury Mint’s “Legacy Motors” catalog, and Norm’s “KOOKIE KAR” has become a hot topic all over again. Listen as Norm tells how the “car” became a “star” !   PLUS: YOU’LL ACTUALLY HEAR “KOOKIE” !!

Just click-on this link to the Hall Of Fame Legends WebSite, listen, and enjoy !

SPECIAL: COMING LATER THIS WEEK: New Year's Eve With "Wolfman Jack" !

Happy Holidays To All My KAAY/1090 Friends !

Jonnie King

Best Jock Vote

Boy, you never know what you'll come up with doing research!  I found this archived link from the RadioInfo boards where several folks were mentioning their favorite Arkansas male jocks:;topic=4328.0

Some of these people I've found e-mail addresses for, many have not returned repeated requests for a word or two.  Someone mentioned early on in this blog that some folks don't WANT to look back.  Maybe due to mismanagement, as in Multimedia?  I'm just "supposing" here....

Any way, it was a good, fun read to see others' enthusiasm for their favorite jocks.  Hey, you Greats, you're ALL special!

Bud S. (

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Art Vuolo's Video Tribute to Don Payne

Thanks to Devlan Roehling, via e-mail...a video tribute to Don Payne:

And another one that popped up from a former radio associate, also forwarded by Delvan:

If ANYONE has any airchecks of Don at KAAY, please contact me!  Especially of him on Beaker Street!  Thanks to Devlan for sending this to us and to Dave S. for setting up the video,,,.

Bud S. (

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Greetings From KAAY Jocks!

As promised, here is your Christmas surprise!  Several KAAY deejays sent in their Christmas greetings for all of you dear listeners and fans of KAAY.

Christmas greetings from KAAY deejays:   stream   |   download

Many thanks to Greg Barman for his audio expertise in putting this together...and to Dave S. for helping post the audio.  Without their help, this blog would be very dull.

And, many thanks and Christmas greetings to our beloved Great Ones, the deejays, engineers, program directors, general managers, the LIN staff and owners and everyone else involved with KAAY from 1962 to 1985- ROCK ON!

Bud S. (

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wolfman Jack Christmas And New Year's Greetings

From fellow blogster Thom Whetston, manager of the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) blog recently came upon a broadcast of Wolfman Jack's Christmas Show from 1975.  Since Wolfman Jack had appeared at KAAY, he's given permission for us to insert a Christmas greeting here from the Wolfman:

Wolfman's Jack 1975 Christmas Show:   stream   |   download

I've mentioned Thom's blog before and will continue to do so, since he and others did so much to entertain our troops via the very important radio and TV services.  Here is the link, look up "Christmas With Wolfman Jack", posted on December 9, 2010, and enjoy over 103 minutes of fun!

Thanks to Thom and all the other veterans who have served; thanks also to Dave S. for posting the audio.

Bud S. (

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Special Christmas Treat To Come!

A little teaser for you, dear visitor and reader!  Check here Christmas Eve day for a special treat for your ears!

Bud S. (

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hams' Memories Of KAAY

Just an interesting link to Hams (Amateur Radio) discussing their memories of KAAY:

One mentioned that, maybe Clyde Clifford/Dale Seidenschwarz had a Ham license?  I checked and, yes, indeed, Dale holds callsign WA5AVA

The only Hams I knew of previously who worked for KAAY was Felix McDonald, W5OVZ,  Don Payne, K9WP, and now Dale Seidenschwarz, WA5AVA.  Anyone else?

Bud S., KC4HGH (


Since my Great-Grandparents on my Dad's side came from Ireland & England, and due to my acting for many years and having great insight into the works of Shakespeare, I've always wanted to travel to England & Ireland.  What better way to spend Christmas than in the land of  Dicken's "Christmas Carol" ?

Which brings me to 1969 and my working at KAAY:

 I began at the Mighty 1090 on April 21st and, being single, occasionally found some nice girls to date.  But, in September of that year I saw a show at the Arkansas Art Center and was very impressed by one of the very attractive dancers in the show.

I found out from the program that the girl's name was Kerry, and sometime after the show got in contact with her and - since the feeling was mutual - we began dating in October...starting the beginning of a lengthy relationship.  But one of the things that really entranced me was that Kerry was from England !   She had actually grown up there, and later took up residence in Little Rock.

Since the Holidays were upon us, she asked me to spend Christmas with her and her family to which I agreed, but had to get the approval of the PD (Barry Wood) & Pat Walsh, GM.  They both gave their blessing, travel arrangements were made, and on Christmas Morning, 1969, Kerry & I headed for England to join her wonderful family for a most-unimaginable feast, and a day to remember...the first of many I would spend there.

How could we do it all in one day ?  Well, it was only about 26 miles from where we lived in Little Rock to England...England, Arkansas.  But it WAS England !

God Bless Us, Everyone, and especially Kerry...wherever you are.

Jonnie King

PS:  My newest list of Holiday Films & Videos are online, PLUS you can hear an Episode of the Special Christmas "Breakfast Serial" ("The Yuletide Miracle"), and hear a Christmas Classic from The Drifters !   Just go to my WebSite, look, listen, and, enjoy ! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

You Can Have Them, Also!

Even if you have no knowledge of how to rebuild or refurbish old radios, you can have that "look" easily and economically!  The pair of tabletop radios I have above are a manufactured by Thomas America Corporation; the one on your left (my right) is a 1940 replica #3 (of which I have two) and the one on your right (my left) is a 1932 replica Model 317.  My wife found them at garage sales for about $10 each.  They're available at all kinds of on-line auctions for $15 or $20 each.

I've also seen these radios (and others) in little sales flyers which offer all kinds of household "goodies", that have been mailed out on a bulk basis; the problem is, these replica radios are listed for $99 to $129 apiece!

To be sure, they are NOT tube radios, but transistorized versions of such.  The cabinets of mine are real wood.  Both radios (as well as others) are typically AM/FM with a cassette player on the side.  In my opinion, if any more show up on the market, they ought to include a CD/mp3 player, as well- there's plenty of room in the cabinets on these models.  It might be interesting to experiment with an input jack to enable the radio(s) to take CD/mp3 audio devices, but, since they are not stereo, an audiophile might not appreciate the effort.  Although the audio is monaural, I still enjoy some of my old-time radio shows played on cassettes through them.

Just another little tip from ol' "Bud Santa"!  Ho ho ho! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Bud S. (

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Story Of Christmas And (Ham) Radio

I'd been wondering if I should post this or not, then decided to do so, anyway.  You know, dear reader, this is the season of giving.  I play Santa Claus, both in the flesh and on special "Santa Claus Nets" (or networks) over Ham radio.  It can be greatly rewarding, and heart wrenching, as well....

A number of years ago, an old Ham radio friend of ours who was in his upper 80's and his wife a few years younger were both ailing. Bob was having a lot of maladies, but he cared for his wife first, then himself last. After all the kids checked in, he checked in and asked "Santa" (me) if he could have a Christmas wish, as well. I said, "Sure, we're all kids for Santa!"

Bob said, "Santa, I want one more year to live with my wife."

I choked. I bit back a sob as I cracked the mic and said, "Bob, God will give you the desires of your heart." and then I let out a "Ho ho ho!" to cover up my emotions. When the net ended a few minutes later, I broke down and sobbed....

Bob did have that year with his wife- barely. After Bob passed away, I met his wife at a little tailgater (a Ham radio fleamarket) in Milton, FL. She was very pale and weak, but she was with us, her and Bob's friends. Shortly after, however, she passed away, too.

Love prevailed that Christmas and throughout the year after. God gave Bob his wish...I was only the conduit.

Be that conduit for someone...not only this season, but every day of the year!
Bud S. (

Friday, December 17, 2010

Camaro Muscle Cars And Radio, From Dave M.

And now for something completely different - KAAY once gave away a brand new "Sprite" -themed Z-28 Camaro in a contest sponsored by the Little Rock Coca Cola bottling company. Here's a story about the new Camaros, and how technology helped solved a little radio problem -

Merry Christmas to all!

Dave M//

From :

When spy shots surfaced of the pre-production 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible sporting an AM/FM whip antenna positioned on the rear deck lid, mullet-wearing fan-boys began to bitch. So Chevy called in an unexpected problem-solver — a Ham radio geek.

After realizing the enthusiasts hated the idea of an R/C car-like whip antenna on the rear deck lid, Chevrolet commissioned self-described "antenna freak" Don Hibbard, an antenna test performance engineer, to find a way to fix it. "Antennas are a beautiful thing to me," says Hibbard.

Hibbard and colleague Gregg Kittinger had to do what some thought was impossible: conceal the AM/FM antenna without sacrificing radio reception. Adding to the problem is that, as Kittinger says, "Typically antennas are hidden in a vehicle's rear window, but with a retractable soft-top roof, that's not an option." So putting it inside the Camaro's windows? Yeah, that's not going to happen.

The two, who share three other patents, accepted the challenge despite Kittinger's belief it wasn't likely impossible.

But the two came up with a novel approach –- hide the antenna inside the rear spoiler. No one had tried that on a Chevrolet before because of the hit to radio reception.

"We responded to a legitimate criticism from devoted Chevrolet Camaro enthusiasts and in ten months found an innovative way to improve the overall aesthetics of the vehicle without sacrificing performance and quality," said Kittinger.

While the shark fin antenna that transmits XM Satellite Radio, OnStar and cellular signals is still present on the car's deck lid, the built-in spoiler antenna eliminates the need for a longer, separate whip antenna to receive AM and FM radio signals.

Hibbard, a lifelong Ham radio enthusiast, says the unorthodox placement of the antenna within the body of the vehicle created a number of technical challenges, such as balancing form by preserving the car's styling and function of unimpeded audio reception.

"Where other automakers have tried and failed, Chevy succeeded," said Hibbard. "We hope to take what we've learned with the Camaro Convertible, build on it and apply it to future vehicles."

But the main morale of the story? Mullet-wearing Camaro fan-boys will bitch about pretty much anything. But hey, Chevy will try to make them happy nonetheless.

The secondary morale of the story? When you have a girlfriend who's a licensed Ham radio operator — and knows Morse code like the back of her hand — you'll find any story about Ham radios to be absolutely enthralling.

(Thanks, Dave!  Being a Ham radio operator for years myself and a radio-listening enthusiast, I can attest that the antenna is the most important part of any radio system.  You can have the best radio or transmitter in the world, but unless you have a good antenna, performance will suffer.  One of the big loves in my hobby is antennas and their design.  I have hand-built many of the antennas I currently use in Ham radio and also for my listening pleasure and they WORK.

By the way, folks, Hams (Amateur radio operators) have developed much of the technology you enjoy today; chances are, most electronic and communication devices you use every day was developed by or improved upon by a Ham radio operator somewhere on this planet.  You're welcome!

Dave, thanks for this look into antenna technology; many of us rode around listening to The Big K for many, many hours.  I even put together a better-than-production antenna system on my old '66 Dodge so I could hear the station better.  KAAY's night-time signal was SO strong, that if my car radio had a signal-strength meter in it, the needle would have been pinned all the way over to the right!

And, as I've mentioned to Dave a couple of times, with all of his and other engineers' knowledge, they'd make great Ham radio operators!  Bud S., )

For The Beaker Street Fans...

...I've found another link that I hadn't come upon before...and it's quite succinct in it's history of the program, more so than I've seen in the past.  Clyde Clifford (Dale Seidenschwarz), Stuart McRae and Don Payne are all mentioned in the article.

The article is too long to print here...nonetheless, it makes a good read.  Influences upon listeners include that of a particular band (there were MANY musicians influenced by the music) and Cuban listeners, as well.

I remember somewhere, a comment as to how one listener liked the music, but not the problems brought on by the drug culture of some of the musicians...and that, as a child of six years old, he saw how several artists died from overdoses.  Liked the music, didn't like the drugs, never got involved with the latter.  I felt the same way, as a fan of the show....

Bud S. (

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stuart McRae Checks In! Picture Of Don Payne, WZPL

I called Stuart McRae today and had a wonderful conversation with him!  I am looking forward to more correspondence with him in the coming days.  Stuart knew Don Payne very well.  In fact, he sent along a picture of him at the mic:

Here's Stuart's comments:

"Make no mistake about it - this is Don having fun! (He loved those SM5Bs).

Gary Hoffman in Indy had this pic and it think it was from his daze at WZPL.

Stuart McRae"

What a wonderful piece of history!  Thank you, Stuart, we're looking forward to more in the future!

For those who are interested, Stuart also passes along that the gravesite service for Don in Hot Springs, AR will be at 4:00 PM, Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at Greenwood Cemetery.  Thank you again, Stuart.

Bud S. (

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Tribute To Don Payne

Simply put, here is the link, in tribute to Don Payne:

...and this link for condolences, please:


Bud S. (

Mark Larsen- Again!

Here's another picture of "Marvelous" Mark Larsen, back from 1983, on 95-YNF, an album rock station where he worked in Tampa Bay, FL at that time.  Mark informed me that the picture had been cropped; it was of him and Huey Lewis, who Mark was interviewing at the time the picture was taken.

Found here at Jon Anthony's Rock & Roll blog:

Thanks to Jon and Mark!  Be sure to visit Mark's podcast every day:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mobile Great, Scott O'Brien, Signed Off

Robert S. "Scott O'Brien" Griffith, another Great, this time from Mobile, passed away Saturday morning, December 11, 2010; he was 61 years young.  Scott had worked in many markets in Mobile, from news/talk, to rock 'n' roll, to country and sports/talk, on stations which included WABB, G100, 95KSJ (WKSJ), News radio 710 (WNTM), 92ZEW (WZEW) and Sports radio 105.5 (WNSI).  Scott was also a highly-decorated Viet Nam veteran.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at the Wolf-Bayview Funeral Home in Daphne, AL; his burial will be at a private service at a later date later at Barrancas National Cemetary aboard NAS, Pensacola, FL.

I listened to Scott many, many years in the Mobile market.  He valiantly fought cancer, but never let it affect his on-air time.  I'll always remember, when he signed off, he had a short recording of his son as a young lad, "Feed the birds, Dad!"

I mention Scott because he was another Great in the radio industry.  Several folks who worked at KAAY also worked at one or more stations mentioned above in Mobile.

Rest easy, Scott....we will miss you.

Bud S. (

Don Payne: Rest In Peace, Brother

Dear reader and visitor, it is with heavy heart and much sorrow that I must inform you all that Michele Payne has informed me that Don Payne has passed away:


I wanted to let you know that Don passed away yesterday at home. He loved looking at your brought back great memories for him.

I know you know many people that would want to know of his passing.

I am meeting with the funeral home here in Indianapolis today and will get back with you on his arrangements. He will be buried next week with a graveside service in Hot Springs.


Michele Payne"

Don had the distinction of airing the last "Beaker Street" on KAAY, before The Last Day, when Clyde Clifford aired that last hour.  Don had been couragiously fighting pancreatic and liver cancer and had recently undergone three operations, the latest about a week ago to relocate a bile duct.  In his last e-mail to me, he was upbeat and hopeful, albeit a little sore from the latest procedure.  He was alwayS Don, never down-hearted, always hopeful and thankful for all your good thoughts and prayers for his recovery.

Don was also a fellow Ham radio operator, whom I never got the opportunity to talk with over the air.  He expressed trying to get an antenna up and us getting together, but his work schedule, and consequently his illness, precluded his efforts.

As soon as Michele gets me the funeral arrangements, I will print them here for you.  May Hot Springs, AR experience a major traffic jam with his procession!

We love you, Don...tell Pat, A. J., George, Richard, Barry and all the Others "hello" for us....

Bud S. (

An Interesting Beaker Street Link

It's been a bit since we've mentioned Beaker Street here...and, in my ever on-going research, I found an unusual posting on another blog, as well as a YouTube link with audio, for the group "The Olivers", who cut the 45 r.p.m. record (remember those?), almost at the same time Clyde Clifford started the show of the same name!  Instead of my rehashing the info, see it here:

...but I couldn't resist posting a picture of the record here....

Bud S. (

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hollis Duncan Comments, Re: The KAAY Harris MW-50B

Ah, the filthy. maladjusted KAAY Harris MW-50B. This sure brings back memories. And at least a few nightmares.

The Harris MW-50B was reliable and never failed on my watch. This alone is remarkable because the MW-50B was the filthiest transmitter that I ever saw and had been completely misadjusted by my predecessor (an unlicensed engineer). Nonetheless, it just kept chugging along.

When I arrived in 1982, KAAY was sounding pretty rough. The MW-50B transmitter was filled with soot following a power transformer fire. That story has been told elsewhere on your site. Because I only had access to the transmitter between 1 am and 4:30 am on Monday morning, I spent the first four weeks cleaning the transmitter. It took many buckets of distilled water and ammonia (used because it doesn't conduct electricity and its absolutely wonderful smell) and I had to get a fresh bucket after a couple of wipes with a wet sponge. It was (finally) reasonably clean but all of those white wires will never be anything but a dull grey.

While I was cleaning this poor beast, the audio monitor was tuned to the studio signal. I kept hearing white noise rising and falling in the audio feed and soon realized that the KAAY studio-to-transmitter microwave link had a noticeable fading problem. That would lead us to the story of the infamous Tower Building KAAY-KLPQ microwave relay site. But that's a story for another time.

Here's my analysis of one of the secrets of the classic KAAY Sound.

The KAAY RCA BTA-50F was a high-level (plate) modulated transmitter, meaning that the audio and RF are combined at the output terminal of the final RF tubes. As noted, the biggest problem with a plate-modulated transmitter is the physical size and weight of the transformers. Plate-modulated transmitters can be very stable and can sound very good. The KAAY RCA was probably as good a plate-modulated transmitter as was ever produced. The MW-50B couldn't match it for several reasons.

The biggest difference between the RCA BTA-50F and the Harris MW-50B was that the Harris was installed, while the RCA was engineered as a part of a complete RF system. To explain, a little KTHS engineering history is in order.

Consulting Engineer A. Earl Cullum of Dallas designed and constructed the KTHS-KAAY array at Wrightsville, Arkansas. Mr. Cullum had been the KTHS Consulting Engineer since its days on the Arlington Hotel. Mr. Cullum was the top AM Radio Consulting Engineer in the United States and he was in active from the 1930s well into the 1970s and was still active when I met him in 1977.

Mr. Cullum designed the KTHS-KAAY antenna system to provide a proper RF impedance match both at the carrier frequency (1090) and at the sideband frequencies (1080 and 1100, or 10 kHz either side of the carrier frequency). If the antenna system does not present a good match at both of these sideband frequencies, then the station will sound crummy and no amount of audio processing will help.

To complicate matters further, this sideband impedance match must occur at the plate of the final RF tubes in the transmitter. Mr. Cullum knew this and engineered the KTHS-KAAY array to provide a good match to the output tubes of the RCA transmitter during both daytime and nighttime operation. And that is one of the underlying secrets to the classic KAAY sound.

To give an example of how finely-tuned the KTHS-KAAY RF system was, I removed the Common Point RF ammeter for calibration and the removal of that small inductance put the KAAY nighttime antenna system out of adjustment. If I hadn't seen it I wouldn't have believed it.

As an aside, Mr. Cullum engineered a virtually-identical system at KOMO-1000 in Seattle, complete with an RCA BTA-50F and a 3-tower nighttime array.

Unfortunately, Mr. Cullum's engineering did not produce a good sideband match for the KAAY Harris MW-50B. The MW-50B RF output was fed through 50 feet (or so) of rigid coaxial cable to a switch near the output of the RCA transmitter. This additional length of coax, when added to the MW-50B output network, provided a poor match at the sideband frequencies and made it impossible for the MW-50B to achieve full effective modulation.

To make matters worse, my immediate predecessor (an unlicensed engineer) had adjusted virtually every available control on the MW-50B. It took me another month of Monday mornings to restore the MW-50B to its factory settings.

Although I had tuned the MW-50B with an intermodulation distortion analyzer, Veteran Multimedia Engineer Terry Baum came to town and and we used his magic audio spectrum analyzer to tune the MW-50B for lowest distortion. We discovered that every control on the transmitter affected the distortion level. By the time that we were through, the MW-50B sounded very clean, although still not particularly loud.

That was the best that I ever was able to get KAAY to sound. Because my successor decide that his first act of business should be to retune the transmitter, that sound lasted about two weeks, and KAAY never sounded that good again.

All of my work at KAAY was a complete waste of time. By then (as it soon became apparent), Multimedia had decided to sell KAAY and had given it (and KEEL-710 in Shreveport) over to a corporate lackey to play with. When the aforementioned lackey ordered me to fire Felix McDonald and Tom Rusk and I refused, I realized that my tenure at KAAY would not be long. But in terms of an experience, KAAY certainly was one.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bob Robbins: "Here's The Rest Of The Story..."

Thanks to the sleuthing of Dave Montgomery comes a nice story on Bob Robbins, from the Arkansas Times magazine.  From a rough childhood to a good notoriety on the radio, Bob is a very busy man, but not tooting his own horn- he's out there helping others.  Give the article a read, then re-read it...this is a story of character-building, a story of giving back to others.

Dave, thank you....

Bud S. (

Holiday Greetings From Bob Robbins

Heh, heh...Wayne Moss told me how to get Bob Robbin's (Bob Spears) attention, since I'd e-mailed him before and not gotten an answer- probably due to his busy schedule at KSSN- but Wayne's suggestion worked like a charm!  You'll have to read in between the lines, since I won't reveal it, but here's Bob's response and well wishes to you all:

"Hey great hearing from you and to know that "Geraldine" and Wayne are alive and well!!!!!! What some beautiful times in my life....KAAY... Merry Christmas to all of you KAAY fans and I hope a wondeful new year. Bob Robbins"

If you remember the video we posted awhile back on January 7, 2010, where Craig O'Neill did a segment on, "Whatever Happened To...", you'll see Bob in his signature black cowboy hat...and he's still wearing those cowboy hats today.  Here's the post, have fun watching the video again:

And you can still hear Bob on the air on KSSN every weekday morning:

It's good to know that some of The Greats are still kickin' it on the radio!  Thank you, Bob!

Bud S. (

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beautiful Crown Reel-To-Reel Recorder

This is a beautiful Crown reel-to-reel briefcase tape recorder that A. J. Lindsey had also offered as a prize to anyone who could find any Emperor Holiday promo episodes (he did so many but, sadly, none were kept as recordings).  He'd offered this back on May 31, 2008 in his "KAAY Emperor Holiday Scavenger Hunt":

There is also a picture there of the unit closed, but I figured the open picture was more...exciting...?  It would record off of AM or FM and included a microphone and the reel size was six inch; A. J. also mentioned that it was used to record some KAAY airchecks.

What a wonderful piece of history...and, as with the T-shirt, no one to my knowledge ever won it...and I darn well tried for this one, too!  To this day, in my constant search for KAAY airchecks, I have not (yet) found an aircheck with Emperor Holiday included...but I search on....

Bud S. (

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

KTHS Profile Now On Encyclopedia Of Arkansas

Well, I got the notice from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas when they accepted the final draft, but thought little of it until just now...and I thought I'd look and see.  Yup, it's there:

Again, it is hard to write in a mode such as enthusiasm, only cold, hard facts.  But I suppose an encyclopedia isn't supposed to read like a novel, right?  Needless to say, I hope one day some young mind will take on a research project regarding radio and get a good grade because of this.  Who knows, radio as WE know/knew it may even cease to exist in the next generation...but I certainly hope not.

Radio has come a long way, technologically,, but there's some things that you shouldn't fiddle with, in my opinion.  Look at what we have today: corporate radio...yech!

In the meantime, here are a couple of KTHS QSLs (verification of reception) for you to enjoy:

Bud S. (

Pearl Harbor Day, December 7

There are fewer and fewer WW II vets surviving today...and even today, some will not talk of the horrors they experienced while serving.  If you know one of these surviving vets, please express your gratitude and love for your freedoms to them due to their efforts.  Today's world is getting more dangerous and it seems that our great country has even more enemies, though we have lent our hand of help, dollars to feed and rebuild the world and aid in upgrading people everywhere...yet, war continues on....

There are "Freedom Honor Flights" going on recently, where WW II veterans are flown free of cost to Washington D.C. for a day.  If you would like to be a caregiver on one of these flights, or if you are a WW II vet interested in going to an honor ceremony in D.C., please check this link:

Also, from the Library of Congress, here is a link regarding "This Day In History" for December 7; please see the picture at the bottom of the link for a photograph of the ceremonial opening of the Pearl Harbor dry dock...a very interesting photo, indeed:

And don't forget to hug a veteran, no matter where or when he or she served!

Bud S. (

Monday, December 6, 2010

KAAY T-Shirt

A.J. Lindsey had offered this T-shirt as a prize back on August 6, 2008, in a contest he put forth, to give to anyone who could find (and send in) a previously-unposted KAAY music survey.  To our knowledge, no one every won it...and I darn well tried!

Just a lettle memento to share with you all again, if you hadn't seen it on his blog:

Bud S. (

Friday, December 3, 2010

In The Glow Of A Giant....

Last evening, dear reader, I again stood in the glow of a giant.  Through the help of David B. Treadway, I was able to contact none other than Wayne Moss, the first "Sonny Martin"!  For the better part of an hour, Wayne entertained me with story after story, reinforcing what we have found on this blog: a history, rich with great personalities, a winning team and an unbeatable format under some good managers.  To be sure, he reminded me that KAAY had it's rocks & ruts, as any place will....

Wayne did, in fact, work in Mobile, AL at WABB-AM.  I'd found WABB when I was 7 or 8 years old, but I cannot remember back that far.  In fact, he gave me a history of radio stations with which he'd worked:

-WKDA, Nashville, TN, 1240 AM (he worked on promos to go to work at KAAY with another soon-to-be KAAY employee from the Nashville LIN station, I forgot which one.)

-KAAY, Little Rock, AR

-WMAK, Nashville, TN (no comment on this station!)

- WABB, Mobile, AL

-WONE, Dayton, OH (great to work at, per Wayne)

-WDEC, Americus, GA (a scary town to work in, if you ain't from there!)

-KAAY, Little Rock, AR

Wayne mentioned that there were other offers of jobs at stations after he retired, but he's enjoying retirement too much!  Wayne is an outdoorsman and enjoys hunting & hiking, by the way.

One note here, that he mentioned of Jim Hankins/"Mike McCormick" and the Cuban Missile Crisis:  Jim got a call from Edward R. Murrow, when he was involved with a government entity before CBS, thanking Jim for his and KAAY's involvement in broadcasting to Cuba.  There are other facts that I'll have to clear before writing about here; however, I will do so in subsequent calls to Wayne.

I found Wayne to be very gracious and accomodating, very comfortable to converse with.  I have to admit, as in speaking with and meeting some of the other Greats of KAAY, I was nervous, but he quickly put me at ease.  Before we knew it, quite a bit of time had elapsed, my wife was giving me "that look" and supper was getting cold.  Wayne closed the conversation, promising to look for items of interest to share with us here on the blog...!

My thanks to David B. Treadway for his initiating the contact, and to Wayne for his hospitality to this humble listener and enthusiast.  More is to come!

Have a nice weeekend, all!

Bud S. (

KAAY Article, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 2000

And here's the third article, again compliments of Greg Barman:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

KAAY Article, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 1995

Here is the second article, ten years after, compliments of Greg Barman:

Monday, November 29, 2010

KAAY Articles From Arkansas Democrat Gazette, From Greg Barman

Thank you, dear readers and visitors, for being so diligent in finding and sending in pieces of KAAY history!  One such friend of the blog is Greg Barman (thank you, Greg!), who found three articles and sent them along for your enjoyment.  The first describes KAAY's last day as a Top 40 station.  Many of you have read David B. Treadway's and Barry McCorkindale's recollections of that day...if not, type in "last day" in the upper left hand corner search box and check 'em out.

Nonetheless, onward.  The second article deals with ten years after and the third article is five years after the second, describing more history of our beloved KAAY.  I'll post them in three parts.  They are in .jpg, so you can possibly download them, but Greg sent them to me in .pdf format, as well, so they can be readily expanded, read and printed.  If anyone wants copies, please e-mail me at my address below.

Here are Greg's comments:

"Here are few articles from the Little Rock Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Online service on the final day of the Mighty 1090, and some reminiscences of the station as the years went by.

The first article is from April 4, 1985 with coverage of KAAY’s final day of rock’n’roll the day before. Not that big of an article, really, for the end of such a huge institution! Perhaps the paper had more coverage prior to this day, but this was the only article I could find on the D-G online service. This happened before the two newspapers merged in 1991, and there is no indication whether it came from Democrat or the Gazette.

The second article is by the D-G’s Mike Tyler on April 21, 1995, about ten years after the day the music died. More than half the article is about Beaker Street.

Finally the third article is from May 26, 2000, and it’s a longer set of memories written by the D-G’s John Brummett. He writes about the Kay-Why generation and how “it was a great time to be alive with a transistor radio cupped in your hand against your ear.” Brummett concludes that radio in 2000 was holding up okay in the world of new media.

I wonder what the paper would say now. Maybe the Democrat-Gazette is overdue for another KAAY reminiscence, don’t ya think ?

Greg Barman
Denver CO"

Herewith, the 1985 article:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Another Beaker Street Band

I haven't heard from these folks yet, but "Beaker Street" is booked through Gigmasters and are based out of Appleton, WI:

There's audio and video samples there, as well.

Nice to know Beaker Street and Clyde Clifford influenced so many artists.  Still lots of bands playing classic rock and roll, blues, jazz and other forms Clyde exposed us to!

Bud S. (

Friday, November 26, 2010

Beaker Street Blues Band

I'd found this band's website during my many research forays and inquired as to how they came about the name:

"Yes I also listened to Clyde Clifford back in the day. As a young musician, I was certainly influenced by Clyde Clifford and Beaker Street. As I remember, it was mostly rock. Cream, Traffic, etc.

My band now plays all styles of blues.

Thanks for the interest and that would be great to pass our website on to your listeners. We will also have a Facebook page soon.

Thanks, Chuck"

The band's website link is:

Be sure to watch their short video!

Bud S. (

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"This Is Thanksgiving, 1962"

Here is a great announcement from KAAY, 1962...this was posted on A.J.'s blog back on December 1, 2008, but the links are broken now, since no one is able to access his blog and maintain it.  If I'm not mistaken, I think the people on this clip are B. Bruce Jennings and George J. Jennings.  If I am mistaken, someone please set the record straight and we'll correct it here.

Our wish is that everyone have a safe and happy Thanksgiving...and, as to the audio clip, we have a lot to be thankful for....

Thanksgiving tribute 1962:  stream   |   download

Bud S, (

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jerry Sims, "Sonny Martin" At The Arkansas State Fair!

There is a new museum at the Arkansas State Fair, and Arkansas' all time favorite radio station is included. Here we are at the new exhibit, right there beside Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, some great looking girls, and Chuck Conners. What a thrill.

I have written about that really fun week on A.J.'s blog, but now we have some new recognition, for those old enough to remember it........ It was in 1966, and as I look back at the pictures of my little skinny self, it is no wonder I could not project a Tom Perryman voice out of that 14 1/2 in neck. Come to think of it, here 44 years later the neck has filled out nicely, thank you, and I still can't do that "K A A Y........Little Rock, Arkansas", like Tom. He was KAAY's identity.

The week was a great promotion, and caused lots of attention. So much in fact, that the fair officials said "never again". The boat was atop the entrance to the fair, and fans kept the entrance area blocked most of the time. I did my Sonny Martin Program from there, and did cut-ins on all the other programs around the clock. Because of the KAAY fans wanting to talk (or send up a stuffed animal or candy apple), fair officials moved our participation way back near the Hall of Industry in a concrete block "Fall Out Shelter" (remember those?) the next year. Tommy Riggs (Rock Robbins) got that assignment, camper toilet and all. Speaking of toilet, there lies an interesting "insider" story......The sailboat was equipped with a portable toilet large enough to handle long term occupancy. The monster was about 4 feet high. When a person (and there was only me) sat on the thing, head and shoulders would stick out the top opening of the boat. Folks along the midway would never know what was going on inside the boat, just a waving DJ sticking out the top.

Len Carl was the manager at the time. As others have written before, he was the boss, but also one of the guys. I never knew anyone at the station who was not having fun and willing to do whatever it took to promote the station.

The fair is over for 2010, and may even be in a new location by next year. The museum folks tell me that the new museum was well attended, and want to add video for next year. The sailboat adventure with an interview. I'm more than willing.

JerrySims....Sonny Martin 2

Monday, November 22, 2010

Harris Or Continental Transmitter For KAAY? Dave M. Elaborates...

I remember the long running technical discussions and internal debates that ultimately led to the decision to buy the Harris transmitter. The Harris 50kw transmitter model of the time used a hybrid solid state / vacuum tube technology, and it was generally felt that the Harris might not measure up to the RCA in terms of robustness and general audio quality. The Harris used a brand new method of modulating, something called Pulse Duration Modulation.

Continental also manufactured a line of high power shortwave transmitters that used a more "traditional" vacuum tube technology and modulation schemes. It was a difficult but necessary debate deciding how to invest a lot of money that would ultimately have to operate every hour of every day, flawlessly, for 20+ years. We debated this for months: Continental?, or Harris?. The decision was backdropped by the impressive performance history of the RCA transmitter - which had at that time been on the air for about 30 years.

Jim Loupas once told me that there were 13 of the RCA BTA-50F model variants built (I think the number is about correct), and the main reason they were being replaced with newer technology was the operating cost, and the fact that eventually, everything wears out no matter how well built it is. Some parts, including the 6600 pound modulation transformer could not be replaced if it ever failed. And the old RCA was also power-hungry when compared to newer transmitters. Translated: a new transmitter would bring lower overall operational cost.

When I finally left in January 1980, the decision had been all but made, and the wheels were turning to acquire the Harris. A spot had been made in the transmitter building that would allow the installation of the new Harris transmitter while the RCA remained on the air. I was gone by the time the Harris went on the air, so I can't speak to its performance or reliability - something that Hollis Duncan would be able to address.

In a couple of pictures on the website listed below you can see part of the Harris transmitter's front panel - it is the blue colored panel in the photos. (There are some neat pictures of Felix McDonald here in front of the Harris and RCA transmitters. bs)

Here's a tech note penned by Curt Lutz, a Harris sales engineer and acquaintance, writing about how the new Harris transmitter worked - this might be a bit boring to the blog readers, but reading this points to a significantly new way of doing things that departed from the traditional "high level" RCA transmitter technology.

The Harris MW-50A AM Transmitter
Information provided by Curt Lutz

This transmitter employs Pulse Duration Modulation. One of the 4CX-1500 tubes serves as a driver for the 4CX-35000 Modulator tube. The other 4CX-1500 tube is the driver for the RF Output 4CX-35000 tube. The rest of this transmitter is totally solid state -- in fact, later versions of this MW-50 Transmitter replaced those two 4CX-1500 tubes with solid-state amplifiers, leaving only the two 4CX-35000 tubes.

The modulation scheme is a Harris patented system, using a 70-kHz oscillator to generate pulses (square waves), which are varied in width (or duration) by the audio input signal. These 70 kHz square waves are used to turn the modulator tube on and off at a 70 kHz rate, but with varying pulse widths. Since the final RF Amplifier and the modulator tube are in series, the final amplifier is actually turned on and off at that 70 kHz rate -- with the varying pulse width amplitude modulating the RF output of the transmitter. This type of modulator, since it is actually an electronic switch, is called "Class D" operation. Most transmitters of this vintage used conventional high-level modulation, and the modulator section often used more power from the AC mains than the RF section of the transmitter (after all, the RF output amplifier was operating as a class C amplifier at around 60 to 70% efficiency, while the audio modulator section would have been operating in class AB1 or AB2, perhaps at only about 30 to 35% efficiency). Since the two 4CX-35000 tubes are connected in series, and the modulator tube is operating in class D (switching mode), that high power modulator is even more efficient than the Class C output tube.

The output of the RF amplifier tube will contain the 70 kHz signal, so there is a special filter circuit in the output network of the transmitter to remove virtually all of that 70 kHz signal (otherwise this type of transmitter would create some sidebands about + & - 70 kHz from the carrier frequency), which would be extremely illegal, and would create a mess over most of a bandwidth of + or - about 75 to 80 kHz when the transmitter is modulated.

The newest Harris AM Transmitters of 10 KW and higher (up to 1 megawatt and more) are totally solid state and use a completely different modulation system called Digital AM Modulation. This scheme is another Harris Patented system, using a large quantity of plug-in modules, each one generates RF at a different modulation level; in order for this to function, any incoming audio (if analog) is broken down into digitized data, then used to drive the various modules at the varying levels needed to have an amplitude modulated output. It sounds pretty simple, in fact, each module has a toroid (coil) which is the load for that module; all those toroids are lined up and an iron pipe is run through these toroids so that the combined output of all the modules is coupled into this pipe. One end of the pipe is at ground, the other end is the RF output of the transmitter. There is an output network to match impedance of the pipe, which is probably only a few Ohms, to the required output impedance which is usually 50 Ohms, although sometimes high power transmitters are set up to provide 75 Ohms, once in a while even 300 Ohms, to drive an open wire type transmission line system. This type of AM transmitter has an overall efficiency (power line in versus RF out) of around 85 to 90%. That is better than most high power FM Transmitters, which can also be very efficient, as they do not waste any significant power in the modulation scheme because they do not have to vary the amplitude of the transmitter's output signal.

Thanks to Dave for this interesting information on the "heart" of KAAY.  We all grew up, loving that old RCA, didn't we?  Hopefully, we haven't bored you, dear reader and visitor.

Remember The Last Day?  David B. Treadway called to the transmitter site & asked Felix McDonald if the old RCA could be employed one last time.  Felix told him to wait a few minutes to let it warm up.  When the old RCA came on-line, everyone could tell the difference!

In later years, we have noticed that the transmitter power hasn't been like it used to; Jerry Sims/"Sonny Martin II" mentioned that when he came to Mobile, AL on business, he couldn't even hear the station.  I still occasionally tune there...about a week ago, they had a fair signal, but nothing like they used to.  Sometimes, the new technology isn't as good, even though it IS more efficient....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where Is Jim Hankins/The 1st "Mike McCormick" Today?

The last I'd heard of Jim Hankins was that he was in Austin, Texas (President and CEO of MCC Radio Consulting), but the last e-mail I had isn't working.  It was he who had the intestinal fortitude to contact the authorities to get KAAY on the bandwagon, transmitting Voice of America (VOA) programming to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.  This was when he realized the tremendous potential of KAAY's night time signal pattern, and the fact that not one of LIN Broadcasting's executives could be found to make the decision.  It almost cost him his job (and some say it later did), until the station got a commendation for its part in broadcasting to Cuba during this time of trouble.  We owe him a lot for making such great radio history.

I'd made a mis-spelling awhile back, and got corrected by someone, I don't know who, but it seemed "1st person".  I'd mis-spelled the last name, "McCormack" and immediately went back and spelled it correctly.  If that was you, Jim, would you care to make some comments?  Thanks in advance!

Jim Hankins was the first "Mike McCormick" in 1962, if I remember correctly....

Bud S. (

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Greg Fadick On Tape Machines

I thoroughly enjoyed David B.’s post on magnetic tape and Dave M.’s comments on carts. Thought you might like a few pictures of the “evolution” of the tape machines we used.

First, is the machine a lot of us cut our teeth on, the Magnacorder PT-6. My first station (KCLA) actually used these not only for recording, but also for playback of commercials and promos on the air, which was a challenge as the machines took about 2 1/2 turns of the reels to come up to speed, making it necessary to hit the switch for the spot several seconds before you wanted the audio to start.

Next is the workhorse of KAAY, the Ampex 351. The transport controls on these used some pretty large relays, which meant they made a rather satisfying “ca-chunk” sound when you hit Play. Incredible machines, as evidenced by the fact that they were introduced in around 1950 and still in use at KAAY and a lot of other stations in the late 70’s and even into the 80’s.

Finally, the Ampex AG-440. Starting in the early 70’s, this is what we considered to be the Rolls Royce of tape machines. There’s a lot of fond memories of material David B. and I produced on one of these in the old KLAZ production room.

Hope you enjoy.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Got My Copy! Arkansas Airwaves

I was on the RadioInfo message boards the other day, when I saw a post by Michael Hibblen, answering my question about Ray Poindexter's "Arkansas Airwaves":

If anyone wants to own their own copy (like I did!), here is the link that Michael provided:

The one listed at ABC Books is no longer there...that's the one I got- and it's a signed copy!  Needless to say, my copy shown above is in great shape, only a slight tear to the inner mylar cover, but you have to look to see it.  I've started devouring it, to be sure!

There is only slight mention of KAAY in the latter part of the book, but so far, the early history of radio in Arkansas seems well covered.  I am enjoying this book.

Michael Hibblen, thank you so much for letting me know where to find this book!

Bud S. (

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Last Radio Yesterday, Part 3

Alas, it is said that all good things must end --- and so it did with Radio Yesterday.  Barry mentioned to me that he'd seen the end of the relationship between him and the KAAY "suits".  This was the last hurrah.  By January 2007, he handed the reins off and left KAAY.  As Dave M. mentioned before about "last one out, turn out the lights", Barry Mac turned the Top 40 lights out on KAAY.  We can thank him for keeping the memories going for as long as he did!

And, he's not through yet!  Later, he had a program called Tin Pan Alley, aired elsewhere, which, maybe later we can get a history of.  Nonetheless, he is still graciously sharing little audio tidbits, which consist of ads, soundbites, etc., for us to enjoy.

As with many of The Greats, Barry strikes me as a selfless, humble man, willing to share those great memories with us all.  I feel privileged to have met and talked with the man.  He, like the other Greats, had a profound effect on many of us through his work --- both behind the scenes and behind the mic --- and still does through his contributions.

Thank you, Barry Mac!  Herewith, the last part of The Last Radio Yesterday:

The final "Radio Yesterday", Part 3:   stream   |   download

My great thanks also go to Dave S. for his handiwork and selfless, tireless contributions in audio and video work for this blog; I need to learn more about computers- and, without him, much of this blog would not be possible!

Bud S. (

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Carts And Playback Deck

Per eagle-eyed Dave M.: "Here's an audio tape cartridge, and a 3-deck cartridge tape player - some of the radio tools David B referred to in his recent post."

Yep, another glimpse into the studio...these are where all those commercials come from!

Thank you, Dave!

Bud S. (

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tape It To The Limit

I saw that History Channel piece on the Library of Congress's efforts to preserve historic recordings and convert them to digital media. It got me to thinking (danger, Will Robinson!) about our "preservation" methods at KAAY: quarter-inch reel-to-reel magnetic tape. Yep, that would be the stuff that they don't even MAKE anymore. In this iPod Age, it's as prehistoric as stone tablets, but we didn't give it much thought.

Most of us kept a reel or two of spots that we were proud of. My man Phil North undoubtedly had packing crates full of seven-inch reels--later, cassettes and now CDs or flash drives. He was (is!) fanatically prolific; of all of us, he was the one who had the most work of the sort you'd want to keep.

It needs to be pointed out that most radio production was mundane--and little has changed in that regard over the last forty years. Car dealers still want to yell at you and restaurants still insist on listing every last menu item in sixty seconds. The majority of what we produced was ordinary. Temporary. Fleeting and disposable. I don't consider it worthy of preservation, but I MIGHT be a little close to the forest to be objective!

Tape was expendable in our time; we treated it shabbily. We cut it with razorblades and jammed it back together with Scotch Formula 41 splicing tape. We hung great loops of it from the pegboard over the right front Ampex. Pat Walsh bought it for us by the case and never once groused about the way we used twice as much as other stations because we recorded at fifteen inches per second instead of seven-and-a-half. In addition to WAY better audio quality, 15 IPS gave us more room to work. If there was some annoying little snort between words--or even WITHIN a word--we could reach in there and cut it out. The production room floor was littered with 1/16" or 1/32" bits of tape that had been removed with surgical precision.

About the only nod we gave to long-term storage was to file away the reels of tape that contained that day's production. Even then, the tapes that were stored contained a multitude of splices--meaning that they were eventually going to break at those points. But that was okay: Pat was ALWAYS going to buy us some more.

As failure-prone as reel-to-reel tape could be, the endless-loop tape cartridge ("cart" as it was universally known) was a thing that WAS going to fail. It WAS going to crap out on the air, at the worst possible moment. But the cart was how we played back commercials and promos--it beat the very h*ll out of cueing up spots on a bank of reel-to-reel machines.

The tape path in a cart was both its advantage and its Achilles Heel. The tape would unwind from the center of a small reel, pass over the playback head and wind back around the outside of the reel. Sooner or later, the tape was going to break or jam or decide to spill out and wind itself around the drive mechanism of the reproducer. Sometimes, we'd have to break the plastic shell of a cart just so we could yank a few dozen feet of tape out of the guts of the playback machine. Fortunately, we could go get the master tape which contained the spot that had just self-destructed and record it onto a fresh cart. (I have seen Phil North take a cart with broken tape into the production room, re-splice it and put it back together in the space of one 3:30 record while he was on the air, but most of us mortals couldn't move that fast.)

Although most of what we did just went up the towers and out through the Universe in a straight line, Divine Providence saw fit to seed our coverage area with some wonderful folks who liked to RECORD what they were picking up out of thin air. Now, as much as fifty years later, we can hear what we did Back When--and say "Man, I can't BELIEVE we got away with that stuff!"

So, here's a huge THANKS to everyone out there under the skywave, hundreds of miles away, who preserved bits of KAAY. Those bits have all wound up as 1s and 0s in the digital realm, but they are true and faithful reproductions of what we radiated as analog all those years ago. God bless you Collectors, and keep your bits rolling in!

Gratefully Yours,

David B. Treadway
Doc Holiday VII
The Last PD

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ann-Margret Awarded Patriot Of The Year Award, Mobile, AL

Ann-Margret, actress, singer, performer, USO cheerleader to troops overseas, especially during the Vietnam era, is being honored in Mobile, AL today at Fort Whiting.  She is being awarded the Patriot of The Year.  Not only that, she is the Grand Marshal for the Veteran's Day parade in downtown Mobile.

Nothing to do with KAAY, however, engineer Dave Montgomery (and others) come to mind, who served in Vietnam.  Dave, did you ever take in a show where Ann-Margret performed?

Dave replied: "No, did not see Ann-Margret, but I DID see Bob Hope's USO Show at Tan-Son-Nhut Air Base, his last Vietnam tour, Christmas 1972. Got one of the worst sunburns I ever had, but it was worth it.


Ann-Margret is in this video (just for a second or two- looks like she's standing behind Santa Claus one time!) of Bob Hope's last USO show, 1972- sent along by Dave M.:

Kudos to Ann-Margret for all her efforts in cheering up our servicemen!

Bud S. (

Veteran's Day (U.S.), Remembrance Day (Canada)

Let us spend a few moments today to honor those who went before us, ensuring our freedom.  And, because KAAY's signal was so far-reaching to the north, in honor to Canadian veterans, as well.

(This post is in rememberance of my wife's great-uncle, Reginald Martin, whose body is still unrecoverable where he lay buried in a minefield, in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea; may he be recovered and come home soon.)

Bud S. (