Thursday, June 3, 2010

Charlie Scarbrough, a.k.a “Charlie King”

I had a very entertaining conversation with another one of The Greats tonight, “Charlie King”, known as Charlie Scarbrough these days. I was given his phone number by a reader and former KAAY employee (who I hope will also include his own information here!) and spent the better part of a very delightful hour with Charlie! He is now doing commercial voice-over work “from Anchorage, AK to Miami, FL and everywhere in between”. He’s given permission to share some information with you here on the blog...I just hope I get it right, since my notes were hurried and scribbled!

As a youngster, Charlie used to listen to “Ken Knight” (Howard Watson) and his “All-Night Club”, with his radio under the pillow (as many of us did!) so as to not disturb the household. He mentioned the tinkling of glasses and silverware and conversation in the background, which were really sound effects, but it all sounded so real! Charlie later worked with Howard Watson at KMYO, but that’s another story....

Charlie originally went to college for accounting, but found math boring, even though he was and is very good at it; he consequently left early to get into radio. He’d never told anyone he really had radio broadcasting at heart. He walked in one day and told his parents he wanted to work in broadcasting and he said he’d never seen anyone stand there so long with their mouths agape...but they proved supportive to his dream! He later went to Memphis and completed Keegan’s Radio School and got a job almost immediately at WTUP, 1490 AM Tupelo, MS in October, ‘63.

Charlie worked the midnight-to-6 AM shift and had two all-night listeners. One was a lady across the street at the local newspaper, doing editing & layouts for the morning edition and was a big Elvis Presley fan. She’d call & ask for “anything Elvis”. His other listener was an attendant at the all-night gas station out on the highway, who called and asked for anything BUT Elvis! So Charlie kept all Elvis at one turntable, everything else at the other.

Fast forward to his KAAY days: he happened to be at Keegan’s again when someone called from Little Rock, “looking for talent”- I believe the station he mentioned was KALO (“Land Of Opportunity”). The receptionist put Charlie on the line with the man and in a few minutes, the guy hired him. By February ‘64, he was on the air at KALO. Charlie said that shortly after, A.J. Lindsey took him to lunch and offered to find him a job in another market away from Little Rock (even as far away as Mobile, AL!), because KALO was competition and KAAY didn’t want any good-sounding talent in the area if they weren’t at KAAY. Funny thing: since A.J. was “Doc Holiday”, he went around in a black cowboy hat; Charlie met him wearing a white cowboy hat!

Charlie was later hired by Pat Walsh and worked at KAAY from 1967 to 1968, about two years. He took the name “Charlie King” after LIN Broadcasting’s vice president. He was originally hired to work the 10AM-3PM shift, but when he came on, “Buddy Carr” (Richard Weithan) had left for his yearly military two-week stint. Charlie stepped into the 3-6PM slot while Richard was gone.  Richard was killed in a jeep accident a few days later and the “Buddy Carr” air name was retired. Charlie worked the whole time in the afternoon time slot.

Charlie also mentioned playing with the KAAY Kommandos and all the antics they got into...playing “ringers” from the different schools, the goofy stuff they did, all the time doing it for charity. They even played a ten-minute game against the Harlem Globetrotters before their exhibition games in Little Rock!

Charlie mentioned that the most fun he had was while he worked at KAAY- the second best was while working with Howard Watson at KMYO (“Cameo”). He also mentioned that, on a trip to Disneyworld, he & a friend stopped here in western Mobile and ate their fill of shrimp a number of years ago...isn’t the world a small place?

We ended the phone call with several promises of getting back together- I’d kept him too long and he had to call family- so I hope to report more at a later date. Charlie is going through his stuff to find any KAAY memorabilia he can find to share with us!

I must say, I was excited to speak with Charlie; it made a tough work day otherwise great!

Thanks to Glenn B. for the tip!

Bud S. (staceys4@hotmail.com)

3 comments:

  1. Great story ! If you check-out the KAAY Info on my Personal Site, you'll see that I almost 'inherited' the "Charlie" nomenclature...but by-passed it.

    AND, the "Buddy Karr" story was still fresh in everyone's mind's when I got there in April of 1969.

    JK

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  2. Enjoyed your story. I, too, was a steady listener of the "Mighty 1090" back in the 60s. Charlie is a good friend of mine and we talk frequently about the good 'ole days.

    Jim Cleveland
    Little Rock

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  3. Actually, it was "Ken Knight's All Night Satellite."

    Trivia: Ken Knight I-Len Day-Howard Watson later had a TV show and then was the Program Director at KEWP-1380 in 1973.

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