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


  1. After hearing about one of the high points of KAAY's days at the Arkansas State Fair, here is one of the lowest.

    KAAY had a large tent that was right inside the main gate. So far so good. Unfortunately, management had no idea how to take advantage of this location. So after much deliberation, management convinced the Multimedia corporate lackey to use something that he had used in Evansville, Indiana, that he called "Shock That Jock."

    The premise was that a contestant would sit in a special seat and the jock could push a button that would deliver a shock to their posterior if they gave the wrong answer. Or something like that. The setup was sitting in an Evansville warehouse and came in the next week. After a few minutes testing, management said that the shock wasn't strong enough and told me to beef it up. However, whoever designed the unit had (wisely) used a small power supply that really didn't have enough energy to deliver much of a jolt, so there was little that I could do.

    As it turned out, it really didn't matter. Management neglected to order any signs, so nobody knew that KAAY was there. There was also not enough talent, even with the FM staff, to man the tent for any length of time. Management also neglected to arrange for any prizes, and fairgoers were not lined up to be shocked for free.

    It was a complete embarrassment.

  2. Don't know if Jerry Sims remembers me, but I was Buddy Karr at the old KAAY back in the day. I was drafted into the army in 1966 and live in California (since leaving KAAY) Jerry was at my wedding in 1968. Eleanor, my wife of 35 years, passed away in 2001.

  3. Jerry Sims, I can't believe I found you on google. Remember Buddy Karr (1963-1969) I married and moved to California in '69. Eleanor, my wife of 35 years, passed away in 2001. Would love to hear from you.

  4. Jerry and his family are in my thoughts tonight, he will live in all of our hearts forever.