Friday, July 16, 2010

Barry Mac, KAAY Rewound And Radio Yesterday

I'd been pestering Barry Mac for some history about his role with KAAY after The Last Day and he has good-naturedly come across with some great history.  Without further ado:

"I'll give you a slightly extended story of KAAY Rewound and Radio Yesterday. For several years, I'd been told by KAAY's chief engineer, Felix McDonald (who had worked with KAAY virtually non-stop since about 1953), that there were a number of tapes out at the transmitter building, and he thought I might be interested in checking out some of the audio on them. Oddly enough, I'd only been to the transmitter building once, I believe in the spring of '88, as a head honcho with Beasley Broadcasting (who had bought the station the previous year) was in town and wanted to go out there, and for whatever reason, I don't remember seeing the downstairs, even though I'm sure we went down there for awhile. Well, fast forward about 10 years, and that's about the time Felix started to occasionally try to generate my interest in these tapes. Finally, in the spring of 2003, I told Felix that I'd meet him out there one Saturday afternoon. Understand, when Felix told me there were "quite a few" tapes, I'm thinking in the neighborhood of about 50 to maybe 100. Well, imagine my shock when he takes me to the basement of the old building, and I see hundreds of tapes lining the shelves of the north wall. Then, even more surprise when I see there's another area behind that wall that has at least another 200 tapes! So, along with a guy named Grant Merrill, who worked in the newsroom at Citadel-sister station KARN, we carried out about 50 or more these tapes and took them back to the Citadel building, loading them up on one of the few reel-to-reel machines remaining (hooked up, anyway), and spent the balance of the afternoon going through these old commercials. After another trip to the transmitter building, Grant thought that we ought to do a show on KAAY late one night, running some of these old ads and talking about the history of the station. We were able to get long time Beaker Street host Clyde Clifford to sit in with us, and on a Friday night in July or August of 2003 (I don't have the exact date), we all talked about the station's past and ran numerous clips, and even took a few calls from listeners. We called that one hour segment KAAY Rewound, and promoted it for a couple of weeks leading up to the broadcast (we even advertised it newstalk KARN). Well, because of that late Friday night gathering in the summer of 2003, I thought it might be a good idea to sort of continue it with a weekly one hour broadcast that would combine music of the '50s, '60s, and '70s with these old ads. Again, unfortunately, I don't recall when I started this show, but it was several months later, probably in January or February of 2004, and I dubbed it "Radio Yesterday." It ran twice on the weekend, once in the early overnight, Friday into Saturday from midnight to 1:00 (the same hour as that KAAY Rewound program), and again Sunday afternoon from 1:00 to 2:00, immediately preceding a syndicated show called "When Radio Was," originally hosted by Art Fleming back in the '90s, and then after he died, by comedian Stan Freberg. Even though this Sunday afternoon programming block was a departure from our normal Christian teaching format, the reponse to it was quite positive. In fact, I was always surprised that I never received any complaints about us playing old rock and roll on a Christian station!

For various reasons that I won't necessarily go into now, I announced my resignation from KAAY just before Thanksgiving of 2005, with my departure planned at the end of the year. Regardless of this, I continued on with several station responsibilities, including new Radio Yesterday programs. But because of events going on in my life at the time, by late September, I decided it was probably time to shut the show down, and the last Radio Yesterday aired on October 7th, 2006. But the spirit of the show continued on in my hometown of Harrison, AR, on classic rock station KCWD, 96.1 FM, three months later, when I started a somewhat similar (3-hour) program called Tin Can Alley.

So there! A not-so-brief synopsis of the KAAY Rewound and Radio Yesterday story."
We'd posted some video awhile back on "Whatever Happened To The Mighty 1090", which featured several former employees, including Barry in the KAAY studio with KTHV newsman Craig O'Neill, demonstrating some of the aforementioned shows' audio.  If you haven't seen that yet, you may want to search back and view is the link:
Barry has been graciously sending in audio clips from the tapes he was able to rescue...there are probably more, if the current KAAY engineer hasn't thrown them out.  We may never know....
Thank you, Barry Mac, for all you do to bring this great history and audio to us!
Bud S. (

1 comment:

  1. Goo history of KAAY even he had excellent and reward able job for radio in early times.