Monday, January 31, 2011

Phil North Aircheck, 3/15/72!

Russell Wells checked in with me recently and sent along some airchecks, one of which we'll share with you here!

This one is of Phil North on March 15, 1972. Eric Chase, Phil North of KAAY, offers his insight:

The thing that stands out to me in listening after 40 years is that the personality of the jocks all came thru…we were a real 'people's station'…despite the clich√© phrases and formatted elements, the station exuded a warmth and feeling to the listener…sort of a best friend…. If we said it on “The Mighty 1090,” the folks by and large really believed and trusted it was true....why else would they listen to 20 minutes of commercials per hour…they wanted to hear what we had to say and what we had to play….Eric

And I concur! As a young lad, I listened to everything KAAY did; I didn't "channel hop" as many kids did with local radio stations, when the commercials were aired. Too, KAAY was also stronger at night in the Mobile, AL area than most, if not all, of the local, had better music and better programming, in my opinion.

There WAS a warmth to how the jocks handled's hard to describe, but you WANTED to listen for whatever they had to say next! To that end, please enjoy this great aircheck of Phil North, compliments of Russell Wells...and hold on to your hats, there's some interesting music to begin with:

or download here

(or stream/download here from the archive page)

Bud S. (

Sunday, January 30, 2011


A couple of weeks back, DAVID NELSON passed away. David was the last link to one of Radio/TV's longest running dynasties the "Ozzie & Harriet" Show. With that in mind, I again went to my Audio Archives to pull out one of my favorite Interviews: The
Legendary Rick Nelson in October, 1981 to share with my friends here at our KAAY Blog:


RICK NELSON was one of the earliest Superstars Of Rock & Roll, and Elvis' closest rival during the mid-fifties. He was in all regards one of the '50's first "Teen Idols".

That Time Period of the 50's was the birth of the "Music Revolution" that REALLY lead to "CRUSIN", AND the lifestyle that a lot of us enjoy to this very day !

It was an era of blending rock/country/rhythm & blues/pop music to listeners across-the-board. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, and lots of others were cranking out hit-after-hit.

BUT, RICK NELSON had a Secret Weapon that had never been tried to the fullest extent yet: A weekly TV Show ! And that's one of the cool things we talk about in the Interview.

With hit records like "Be Bop Baby", "Waitin' In School", "Poor Little Fool", "There'll Never Be Anyone Else But You", "Travelin' Man", "Hello Mary Lou"...and many, many others his place in R&R History was set into place.  Rick Nelson was the 5th biggest-selling male artist of the 50's.

In this Exclusive October, 1981, Interview, Rick talks with me about his early years, how his girlfriend gave him the idea to record to begin with, and his first Million Seller: "I'M WALKIN' ". (NOTE: Legendary Guitarist, JAMES BURTON, plays lead with Rick's group. He's a Hall Of Fame Member himself.)

Please enjoy this story on a Special Tribute Page that I've set-up for Rick which is one of my All-Time Favorite Interviews, with a man who was truly a Hall Of Fame Legend. Just click-on here to listen...and make sure your speakers are turned up.

SPECIAL NOTE: Rick Nelson was Inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame on January 21, 1987.  John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival was his presenter.

RIP: Ozzie, Harriet, David & Rick And thank you for all those years of fun & entertainment that you gave us...from 1944 to 1966.

Jonnie King

Friday, January 28, 2011

Air Checks, Dave Montgomery

Bud, just a quick post script to the air check stories - we had a reel-to-reel tape machine in the control room that was dedicated to DJ air checks. Some DJ's recorded every show, and others recorded sporadically. I seem to remember Wayne Moss recording many of his shows.

If the DJ wanted to record an air check, all he had to do was to thread a fresh reel of tape onto the machine, and then go to work. The machine's remote control was connected to the studio microphone key. Every time the microphone was turned on, the machine would begin to record; then when the microphone was turned off, the tape machine would stop. (As an alternative, the DJ could use the tape machines standard remote control to start and stop it on their command).

Pat Walsh also had a small fleet of portable radio/cassette recorders that he would use to record things he was interested in keeping.

The reel to reel recordings were usually good quality - since they used the studio audio as its source. Pat's cassette recordings were not always good however, medium to poor quality and subject to reception noise where-ever he happened to be at the time.

Felix also ran a "logging recorder" at the transmitter. It ran at incredibly slow speed (much slower than 1 7/8 ips) and was used only when there was a question about something on the air, a commercial may have been left out, or just as a legal verification of the program material. These logging tapes were poor quality, and their use was limited to verification of the program content.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Interesting Link with Videos

In my ever-constant search for KAAY history, I found this link, which yielded a couple of interesting KAAY-related videos:

To beat it all, I wasn't searching for anything on Beaker Street- I was actually Googling for "Ken Knight"!

Pay attention to videos #1, 3 and 5; at the bottom of the page on the date I found there is a video of the Beaker Brothers Band, live, in Iowa City, IA, in three parts, via YouTube on this link.  The rest of the videos on the side don't apply, watch at your own peril....

Bud S. (

Monday, January 24, 2011

Russell Wells' Story, Affilliation With A.J. Lindsey

Russell Wells had recently checked in and we've had some nice e-mail fact, he has donated some airchecks, to be released here at a later date!  Russell has been in the broadcasting industry for a long while and also has a neat website for all to enjoy:

Here is his story:

"In 1992, I discovered there was a hobby centered around airchecking .... or years I made tapes of various radio stations. Started doing so in 9th grade, in fact. But I thought I was the only one who did that sort of thing.

Well, after having come to realize this, I began seeking out old recordings whichever way I could. I focused on the areas I'd lived over the years ... especially my native Alabama. But Arkansas radio always piqued an
interest, given I lived in the state from 1982 until 1990. My own bumpy career got its start at KBHS in Hot Springs, at the time a real dungheap of a station, with terrible audio, but a daytime signal said to have been
bigger than KAAY's daytime coverage. With 5,000 watts at 590, it could well be true.

I also worked in Jonesboro and Pine Bluff, with some parttime work in Little Rock, for KEZQ. There, I have some fond memories working along some great people. People who put up with this green college kid who had a lot of growing up to do. My time in Pine Bluff included a stop at the once-great KOTN, which I'm told made that city the only one in Arkansas where KAAY had to take a back seat.

The one thing I observed, the big common thread between all these Arkansas cities and most of the radio people I worked with, was a sober reverence for "the old KAAY." For a couple of folks, that reverence bordered on idolatry! Yes, I remember hearing 1090 when I was younger, living in Mississippi, and especially in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where I lived prior to my Arkansas years. KAAY came blasting in like a local after dark. That amounted to what first-hand memories I had of The Mighty 1090. Of course, by the time I was fully aware of the station, the glory days were behind it. It still sounded good (I remembered the slogan "Music station of the South"), and it had that big sound I enjoyed. However, after I moved to Arkansas, I learned that the KAAY I remembered was nowhere near the legendary beacon it was under LIN Broadcasting.

So, naturally, when I dived into aircheck collecting, I wanted to hear for myself what all the fuss was about. Was KAAY that great a station? I figured I'd track down the man who helped make it happen. I made a
cold-call to Mr. Pat Walsh. I didn't expect much except some stories; fact is, few radio people saved any tape from their own stations. I learned this very quickly in all the phone calls I made during the pre-internet
horse and buggy age.

(A side story: because of this, in my hobby I've made many a dub for the jocks whose airchecks I've collected ­ for them, it amounted to the one single way to have samples of their past careers. In one instance, I ran off some tapes for the daughter of one legendary jock, now deceased; it was the only way she was able to hear her Dad during his radio days!)

Anyway - With Mr. Walsh, I hit paydirt!! Not only was he most congenial, but he trusted me with dozens upon dozens of reels. This unknown person he'd never met, from two states away in Troy, Alabama. Imagine that.So I dubbed most all of the reels, and returned the booty to Mr. Walsh. Yes, "most all" ... there was a 3600-foot Concertape reel, on which existed 12 hours each of KAAY and KARK from May 1971. And another reel of tape from early '72 (the 02/06 Johnnie King aircheck) containing KAAY, plus KARK, KXLR and KLRA. But I dubbed only 90 minutes of each jock on the May '71 KAAY (but all of the King from '72). At the time, I was 27 years old and had zero desire to go near the other stations on the
reel. MOR bored me, and I could not stand country music.

So why did I dub only the 90 minutes each? This being 1992, and crazy pipedreams like Adobe Audition nowhere near the horizon, I had to be creative. The machines at the station where I worked running only 7-1/2 and 15 ips, I had to dub the reel at 7 onto another machine running the full 15 ips. That brought it to 3-3/4. Which then required ANOTHER bump to get it where it was supposed to go. (Meanwhile, my then-boss was becoming less than enamored about all this activity in our production room, although I did it all after hours, off the clock!!).

So I managed a sample of each KAAY jock from 05/18/1971. Better than nothing, I thought.

As I said, I returned the tapes to Mr. Walsh. Although, I would find out years later, not ALL of them. Somehow two reels of tape got separated from the bunch, and through two moves both managed to stow themselves away. I discovered them early in 2009. By then, he'd passed away, so I poured out
lots of apologies upward, hoping he'd hear them.

Those reels were the aforementioned May '71 Concertape and the February 1972 reel. Each recorded both sides, one station on each channel.

Meanwhile, a lot of water had passed under the bridge since 1992. Good water. "Water" such as TECHNOLOGY. Digital editing was the norm. I had Adobe Audition on my computer ... plus, a few years earlier I'd gotten hold of an old Akai reel machine.

The other "water" was MATURITY. I was now 44. And a higher sense of nostalgia had taken root ... I'd become quite fond of hearing tapes of the old middle-of-the-road stations. So the KARK represented a fantastic goldmine. What's more, I'd since cultivated a love of old country music (sorry, but I still can't take what passes for current C&W!). I now wanted to hear those other stations which my younger self 17 years earlier had turned up his nose. Oh, and there was the small matter of unfinished business: ALL of that 12 hours of KAAY. It had to be transferred. Every inch of that tape.

Soooooo ... I fired up that Akai, racked up the first tape, and proceeded to give that decrepit machine the workout of its life!

The Akai had a 1-7/8 ips setting, but the speed was too warbly. No problem: I recorded the 1971 reel at 3-3/4 into my CD recorder (the '72 tape's content was 3-3/4). Once that gargantuan (!) task was completed ­
over the course of a week's time ­ I then ripped all the raw CD-Rs into my computer, and went to work in Adobe Audition. Did I mention digital editing is wonderful? A simple pitch tweak, and I had everything mostly where it was supposed to. A little cleaning up, and I had MP3 files of each hour. Every bit of tape was recovered, and digitized. The result you see in this package. :-)
Sad postscript: no sooner had I completed the last run of tape (the final minutes of KARK from 05/19/1971), the power supply in the Akai gave out on the last rewind. Poof ... it reminded me of the scene in "The Blues Brothers" where their old car literally fell apart toward the end.

Thanks to A.J.'s blog, and to Arkansas sports personality Grant Merrill (a fellow radio history junkie), I was astounded to see that what Pat Walsh loaned me was a small fraction of what he had. Wow!

The fact is, KAAY 1090 might well be the most airchecked radio station anywhere outside of the big guns WABC, WLS or KHJ. And all thanks to one man, who saw fit to roll lots of tape!! (It's a good thing Pat's
generosity with production tape extended to his own personal use)

As for my time working with A.J., there honestly isn't much to tell. When I landed in Pine Bluff — and I rapidly realized there's a reason the city has a reputation to live down — my first stop was KCLA. There, I worked with some good people like Charlie Okle and Royce Wolfe. I knew about KOTN, and how just about everyone in Pine Bluff thought the sun rose and set at 1490 on the dial. A.J. Lindsay was PD over there when I was at KCLA. For a time, I did morning drive (while also news director), and two
commercials we ran were produced by A.J. He had a great voice, and all this time I had no idea at all as to his former stature as a KAAY jock back in the day.

I never met him, in fact, until I left that station and signed on to help put a new station on the air in Pine Bluff, KPBA-AM 1270, wowwed and wooed by grandiose promises from its owner. And it was there I met him in person. He was, to my recollection, very friendly, genuine. A good radio man, through and through.

Two days. For what amounted to two days, Doc Holiday and I were co-workers. Very shortly after I left (what,­ did I offend?), A.J. defected to KCLA, where ­ oddly enough — he took over my old slot of of
news director. I can only wonder if he saw the writing on the wall. I was "promoted" to his slot of Operations Manager. A position I held for two months, and for which I earned the princely sum of $Goose Egg. Bad
pay, even by radio standards.

Welllll, just in the nick of time (my savings from KCLA were drying up fast!), KOTN called. Their midday slot needed filling, and they offered me the gig. KPBA was going nowhere fast, so I too left the station. It
eventually signed on, but I don't think it lasted but six months. I worked at KOTN for 10 months before I realized that ship was sinking and I left Arkansas for a Public Radio job in Alabama. I've been in the noncommercial realm ever since.

So, there you are. A.J. and I swapped places in a very short period of time. Isn't this a crazy business??

Again, I am really enjoying the blog ... I'm so happy somebody picked up where A.J. (too soon) left off. KAAY deserves this tribute. It was a station as distinctive as the state in which it was located. I never
appreciated Arkansas when I lived there ­ it took being away for years before I realized what a special place Arkansas truly is."

Thank you, Russell!  We're looking forward to hearing from you often!

Bud S. (

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Golden Age Of Radio: Classic Car Commercials !

They've been with us since the end of the 19th Century...and they continue to this very day:  America's love for the Automobile, in all its  forms, is one of the mainstays of our culture. And, those commercials telling us how "truly great" they are began in the 30's, and are ever-present in our new Millenium.

With that in mind I've just added some GREAT "Old Time Radio" Classic Car Commercials to the Video Gallery on my Hall Of Fame Legends WebSite.  SO, you not only see some of the coolest cars EVER produced, BUT you get to listen to some great spots from the 30's, 40's, and, 50's !

Simply click-on this Link:   and scroll-down slightly till you see the Video Gallery Info. 

Hey, what better way to have fun on a dreary, snowy, January day !   Enjoy !

When I Get To Heaven....

...I wanna see THIS Great, along with all the others!!!

"Ralph A. "Pat" Walsh, 73, the larger-than-life, plain-spoken media consultant who managed radio station KAAY, Little Rock's "Mighty 1090," in its glory days, died Jan. 21 after a year-long hospital stay related to an infection in his knee. Walsh entered the advertising business in 1957, moved into radio sales in 1959 and managed KAAY-AM from 1964-76, during which time it was the market's No. 1 radio station and a nighttime fixture from Cuba to the Hudson Bay."

I'll bet he's debating politics and sports to this day!

Bud S. (

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Buddy Karr" Checks In!

There were a pair of comments on Jerry Sims' post, re: at the State Fair, from a former "Buddy Karr"'s a conglomeration of the two:

"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.....Would love to hear from you."

Jerry and I believe this is Bob Mullins, but there was no identification or e-mail to contact him.  "Buddy Karr", would you please e-mail me at:

and I'll make sure Jerry gets back with you!

And, if anyone knows the whereabouts of Bob Mullins and his contact information, please let me know!

Bud S.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tom Gallagher/Dan Goode Checks In!

Another one of The Greats checked in, dear visitor. It's Tom Gallagher/Dan Goode, who worked (had fun!) at KAAY from 1977-1979 and 1981-1982! He said that he's retired now in Conway, AR and misses radio from those days.

He is looking for any airchecks of him at KAAY, so if anyone does, please contact him at:

AND, also, contact me at my e-mail address below...we'd like to give him exposure here on the blog, as well!

By the way, he and Richard Robinson went to Conway High School together, graduating in 1970....

Thank you, Dan, for checking in!

Bud S. (

Michael Hibblen,, KUAR Beaker Street Interview

Michael Hibblen, friend of this blog, works at KUAR and made time to interview Clyde Clifford/Dale Seidenschwarz at KKPT, The Point, on January 16, 2011. Richard Robinson posted the YouTube video on January 17, 2011. Michael has since contacted me with links to the interview, below:

"Hi Bud,

Here's a link to the story I wrote for KUAR's web site, where you can also hear the piece that aired this morning.

You can also hear the full interview with Clyde Clifford here:

Good reaction to the story.


Michael, thank you so much for contributing!

Have YOU called KKPT today to lodge your complaint?

Bud S. (

Monday, January 17, 2011

Current "Beaker Street" Video

There is a great video on YouTube, taken during the Sunday, January 16, 2011 show at KKPT "The Point."  It shows him performing an outro of a song, and also has Clyde Clifford talking about the "Beaker Street" program.  Fans of Clyde and the program should really enjoy this.  I believe the NPR affiliate in Little Rock, KUAR, FM 89.1 conducted the interview.

Here is the link:

Richard Robinson

Friday, January 14, 2011

Comments, We Love Comments!

Dear visitor, as I write this, I think back on how fortunate we've been to receive more than 24,800 visits to the blog since we began it in mid-2009...not as many as major websites, but a lot for a little niche blog, nonetheless...and especially for a single radio station site!  If you look at the map, down a short way on the right-hand side of the blog, you'll see the counter...and it shows many, many people in the middle of the country (lots of Arkansas visitors!), right in line with KAAY's signal pattern.  A few are on the East and West coasts, as well.  KAAY was, and still is, famous for its signal and its programming...and The Greats live on here, with their comments and the airchecks and studio audio we are able to find and share with you here.

WE NEED YOUR COMMENTS!  To be sure, some of you do leave a comment or two and we value them immensely!  We really love to hear from you, dear visitor, and your treasured memories of listening to (and working at!) KAAY.  So, if you will, just click on the "comment" below and leave us a few words.  If you have something to say that will take more than a couple of lines, please feel free to e-mail me at my address below!

We have more things and more audio in store for you in the coming months, courtesy of various collectors and friends of the blog!  We hope these snippets of audio, visual and literary history will tingle you with delight and stir some great memories for you.  Let us know!  And thank you for visiting The Mighty 1090 KAAY Blogspot!

Bud S. (

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beaker Street Post On Tye Dye Travels

Kat Robinson's post "The Last Days Of Album-Oriented Rock" caught my eye tonight...just thought I'd share the link with you:

Send Kat a nice comment, she's of like-mind, too, about The Point discontinuing Beaker Street.  I've given an invite to her and her visitors to come and join us here to enjoy the airchecks so graciously donated by you, dear visitor and friends of this blog!

Have YOU bugged KKPT today about their errant decision?

Bud S. (

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clyde Clifford

There's been so much written about "Clyde Clifford" (Dale Seidenschwarz) and his influence in the radio world...all you have to do is search the name in the upper left-hand box or Google the name.  Suffice it to say, while I was doing some research for the blog, I stumbled across this picture the other day in Facebook (I am not a member, for privacy reasons) and got permission from Richard Robinson, the poster of the picture, to include it on our blog...the caption read:

"Clyde Clifford looks over the doctoral dissertation about 'Beaker Street' for which he was a primary source (in many ways, THE primary source.)"

The person to his right (our left) is his wife Trish...

Wow, just looking at the dissertation Clyde is pouring over, that was some great work, Richard!  Thanks go to Richard Robinson....

And here is "Clyde" where we know him best, behind the mic:

Bud S. (

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Beaker Street" Memo to KKPT Management

This is a comment that I posted on the KKPT "The Point" Facebook page this morning.  If your wish is to see this program remain on the air, please go the the "Keep Beaker Street Alive" Facebook page, and let your wishes be known to the station management.  If you don't use Facebook, then please go to the station's website:  

Thank you!

I would like to register my shock and dismay over the cancellation of "Beaker Street." In my radio experience, Sunday nights were never a highly profitable time slot for radio unless it was religious programming. This historic, legendary program is a vital part of Arkansas broadcast history.  With Internet streaming, the "Beaker Street" audience is truly that.  I believe that Clyde Clifford and this program have not been marketed properly. That's a shame, and I urge the management of KKPT to reconsider this decision. "Beaker Street" fans are much more numerous than you might think.

Please keep "Beaker Street" and Clyde Clifford on the air.


Richard C. Robinson

Pat Walsh, A Historical First, And The Razorbacks

Any KAAY fan (and certifyable radio nut like me) could see the connection in the title above.  I thought it signifigant how all three intertwined, so I hope you'll indulge me!

The "historical first" mentioned above was when KFMQ made Arkansas history by airing the first play-by-play broadcast of the Razorback football game on Saturday, September 27, 1924.  This was a practice game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and Northeastern Oklahoma Teachers College, at Razorback Field.  The announcer was A. W. "Johnnie" Porter from the sidelines.  Even another microphone was placed to get the crowd's reaction and the referee's whistle!

Pat Walsh was a big Razorback fan.  Here, from A. J. Lindsey's blog is what is called Pat's personal Razorback tape (click on the link):

I'll bet Pat is still rootin'!  This recording is 31+ minutes long, so get a cool beverage of your choice, sit back and turn the sound up!

Bud S. (

Friday, January 7, 2011

My "KAAY" Radio

The photographs above are the first transistor radio I ever owned.  It is a General Electric "10-Transistor" AM only radio, which I purchased from Greeson's Rexall Drug Store in Conway, Arkansas.  This would have been in 1965.  The price was $9.99 (a dollar per transistor!)  It came with an single earphone, which I used frequently until it fell apart.  Later, I purchased a flat "pillow speaker," which allowed me to listen to "Beaker Street" during the late night/early morning hours on KAAY.  The radio still works, and I have several others in my collection.  But this is my first radio, and probably holds the most sentimental value for me.

Richard Robinson

When Was 1090 First Used In Arkansas?

Man, the things I think of when I can't sleep!  Or what pop in my head when I wake up!  Hey, I could have a worse hobby than radio...fortunately, my wife tolerates my enthusiasm, until someone asks me a question, then she'll tell me, "Don't talk their head off!"

Ray Poindexter's book, "Arkansas Airwaves" is a fantastic source of answers to questions such as the above...but you have to read it to find the answers!  I think I have that answer:

In late September of 1924, KFMQ had installed a new 500-watt transmitter.  The frequency was changed to 1090 kilocycles (kilohertz to you young 'uns!) or 275 meters.  So far, I haven't found a reference before that (pp. 52 in the book), and I'll keep digging.  Does anyone else have a reference to an earlier usage of 1090 in Arkansas?

Only a few frequencies were allowed by the Department of Commerce for broadcasting; many radio stations had to share time and came to gentlemen's agreements as to when and when not to transmit, taking turns to crank out their broadcast fare.  Seemingly, the frequency of choice I noticed most in this and other sources appear to be 833 kilocycles, or 360 meters.  In or around the mid- 1920's, th DoC allowed the AM broadcast band to "open up" from 550 to 1500 kilocycles...which I'm sure resulted in a much less-congested radio spectrum and allowed more broadcast time for stations.  However, the years that followed show that the DoC, later the Federal Radio Commission, had stations hopscotching all over the band, changing frequencies so fast, you'd need a program to tell the players!  But that's another story....

Reminds me of Abbot and Costello's "Who's On First?"

Bud S. (

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Grandpop's Zenith TransOceanic

Here is an ad for the same 1953 Zenith TransOceanic I inherited from my grandfather, "Pop"...and I still have the radio today.  I used to listen all over when shortwave was pretty active; nowadays, shortwave seems to be dying and radio programming is sent out via satellite.  Every time I picked up a trade journal or hobby magazine over the years, I'd read about one more shortwave outlet shutting down in lieu of shipping the signal up to and down from space.

That TransOceanic gave me a world of fun...recalling the previous "Theater of The Mind" post...and I still take radio over TV.  I remember as a young lad (still am, according to David B. Treadway!), I'd be washing dishes, listening to American Forces Radio and Television Services (AFRTS), most times when sports were being relayed to our troops overseas via shortwave.  I'd imagine what it was like, being so far away and getting a taste of home via radio.  I'd get yelled at sometimes, too, because I'd be scrubbing the same pot for five minutes!

In reflection of Veterans Day and in deference to my friend and fellow blogger Thom Whetson, visit his blog often- he has some excellent airchecks there:

And what does this have to do with KAAY?  "theater of the mind" and 50,000 watts!  Remember "Ear On Arkansas"?  Even into the late 1960's, KAAY was producing and airing a comedy show- much as radio did when it was growing up.  Plus, the fact that KAAY was a clear-channel (not the company!) station, covering so many states and countries, it just as well could have been a shortwave station on mediumwave!

My wife recently gave me a book written by Leonard Malten called, "The Great American Broadcast: A Celebration Of Radio's Golden Age".  An eleven-year effort, Malten chronicles radio from its infancy until the 1950's, covering many subjects...comedy being one of them! Arkansas' own Lum and Abner is mentioned several times in the book.  Needless to say, radio started dying when television came upon the scene in the 1950s...and I'm not impressed with much TV programming today.  I tend to watch older shows, back from an era when cussing and overt sex wasn't in vogue....

Needless to say, there are still some stations that fill the airwaves of shows from years past; one such series I've come to be reaquainted with is, "When Radio Was".  Seemingly, the only station I can get broadcasting this programming is KMOX, early Sunday mornings.

I was reviewing some audio we'd gleaned from A.J.'s old blog (the players there seem to be more down than up) and we may re-release some Ear on Arkansas episodes...I think we have four depisodes....don't count on corporate radio having this level of programming!

Bud S. (

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eddie Graham
KAAY Blog Site Biographical Sketch
Originally written April 19, 1994
Revised December 31, 2010

How can a tall, skinny kid from a small town in Arkansas make a significant impact in the world of broadcasting and wind up owning his hometown radio stations during his career?  Eddie Graham is one such example.

Loyd Edward Graham was born and raised in the DeGray community, near Arkadelphia, Arkansas.  His father was a building contractor, and many homes in the Arkadelphia and Clark County still stand as a testament to his work.  Loyd Edward Graham, or “Eddie,” was the youngest of eight children.  His mother died when he was five years of age, and his father never remarried.

Graham graduated from Arkadelphia High School in 1955, and attended Henderson State University.  Graham intended to join the Army along with one of his friends, but the opportunity to get a job in the broadcasting industry beckoned.  Actually, his friend quit a job, and his boss hired Graham.  That was in 1956, and the job was studio engineer for KTHS radio in Little Rock.

Suddenly, Graham was thrust into the limelight in 1957, during the Little Rock Central High School integration crisis.  Then Governor Orval E. Faubus was speaking to the world about his decision to call in the Arkansas National Guard, in order to prevent the integration of Central High School.  The largest intercontinental network telephone hook-up in Arkansas broadcast history (at the time) was accomplished from KTHS radio.  The Governor answered questions from around the globe about the historic event.  Studio engineer Eddie Graham was the man at the controls.  Over the next several weeks Graham met some of the greatest names ever in broadcast news, including Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards and Eric Sevareid, and of course, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus.  “I was just a big, overgrown kid from Clark County (Arkansas) and didn’t realize that this was such an historic event in the live of the country,” Graham said.

In 1960 Graham became an engineer with KTHS-AM 1090 in Little Rock, Arkansas.  That same year he also received is FCC First Class Radiotelephone certificate, become a full-fledged licensed broadcast engineer.  While he only attended college briefly, he did attend Draughon’s School of Business in Little Rock, and while there, completed courses in engineering and electronics.  Graham had a keen mind, with a knack for electrical and electronic equipment.  This background and training served him well, as he worked diligently for what would become the number one broadcast radio station in the state of Arkansas.

When the LIN Broadcasting Corporation purchased KTHS and re-named the station KAAY in September 1962, But Graham’s career path changed after a few years as studio and production engineer.  Pat Walsh, who was the sales manager and later general manager of KAAY for a time, once said that “Eddie can do things with a razor blade and splicing tape that people with computer programs can only dream of.”  That was accurate.  At one point, Eddie told me that he could “take the T off of shit.”  He was truly gifted in that way.  Graham could also repair virtually anything, especially anything electric or electronic.  His keen analytical mind, along with his knowledge, skills, and abilities in electronics served him well.  But Pat Walsh saw greater potential in Eddie Graham.  Walsh called him into his office one day and told him that he was going to move him to sales.  According to Walsh, Graham became so upset that he kicked a wastebasket across the room, which Graham denies.

Eventually, Graham saw the potential for greater earnings through radio advertising sales.  Walsh said that he knew that Graham would do well, because he “was a tremendous worker, and people trusted him.”  Those traits paid off for Walsh, Graham and KAAY.  He held the sales record at the station for the largest one-week ad schedule for an advertiser – The Harry Brace Roman Spa – for $10,000 over seven days.  Bear in mind that this was in the 1970s, when radio time was much less expensive, even on KAAY.  In addition, Graham utilized his engineering and production skills, working for advertising agencies, producing and dubbing commercials in his off hours.  He and his wife Carolyn founded the firm “Audio Arts,” which became quite successful.  Graham also taught radio production courses at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as an adjunct professor.

In the late 1970s, as AM radio popularity began to wane, and the FM stations in markets began making strides in audience acceptance, Graham became interested in looking to purchase his own broadcast property.  He had performed occasional contract engineer work for KVRC and KDEL in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, his hometown radio stations.  While there on a job, he mentioned to the owner, John Riggle, that if her was ever interested in selling the stations, to give him a call, so that they could discuss as potential purchase.

After KAAY was purchased by Multimedia Corporation (now Gannett), eventually Graham left KAAY and went to work in the sales department of KTLT-AM and KLITE-FM in Little Rock.  Then the call from the Riggle family came.  John Riggle’s health was failing and they wished to sell the Arkadelphia stations.  Other parties had approached the Riggle family and made offers to buy, but they were true to their word and to talk with Eddie Graham first.  Over the next several months, with offers and counter-offers going back and forth, the two parties settled on a purchase price.  Once the Federal Communications Commission had approved the sale, the properties were his.  Eddie Graham went back home, to own and manage his hometown radio stations.  They “sold the farm,” which included their country home and rental properties they owned in the central Arkansas area).  He and wife Carolyn settled in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, which is a town of just over 10,000, 60 miles Southwest of Little Rock.  By that time, their three children were grown and had moved away.  This was in 1985.

Unfortunately, hard times came upon the Clark County and Arkadelphia area.  During the first 24 months of radio station ownership, four factories left town, including one that had been in the area for more than 30 years.  Left behind was a shaken community, with over 1,200 jobs lost, and a dwindling retail business base.  Carolyn Graham continues to teach elementary school at Bryant, commuting from Arkadelphia, a 45-minute drive.  Eddie was owner, general manager, sales manager, chief engineer and custodian.  During these lean times (Clark County’s unemployment rate was at one point 17%), Graham was able to service the station debt with clever promotions, low cost ideas, and savvy management.  The economy picked up, new industries located in the area and the market improved significantly for the entire community, including the Graham Broadcasting Company.


As a “morning man” for Eddie on KDEL for more than 10 years, I observed that Eddie Graham is the type of manager who operates in a relaxed, casual manner.  Unflappable, he rarely “loses it,” when dealing with management decisions or personnel matters.  His knowledge of all of the various aspects of the broadcast industry (radio), including FCC regulations, engineering, sales, promotions, some news experience and personnel management gives him a dynamic combination of skills one could hope for, if they owned a broadcast outlet.  Graham was very involved and plugged into the community.  He was and is a member of the Arkadelphia Rotary Club and served on the board of directors, was an officer in the Clark County Industrial Council, Clark County Fair Board (served one year as president), and the Chamber of Commerce.  He and his wife are active and faithful members of the First United Methodist Church of Arkadelphia.  The couple is visible and respected in the community.  Besides being well liked, Eddie Graham is both trusted and respected.  Above all, he is fair minded and honest.  These traits carry over into his management style. 
One of Eddie Graham’s best friends once said, “Graham is a survivor.”  That is certainly a true statement.  He is knowledgeable, competent, hard working and honest.  In my opinion, you couldn’t find a better candidate to own a broadcast media outlet than Loyd Edward Graham.  His efforts impressions left on the broadcast industry of Arkansas have earned him many honors, credits and accolades by his peers in the profession.  His ability to survive hard times in a small media market is a tribute to his ingenuity, work ethic and ability to “stay the course and keep the faith.”  

Eddie Graham sold his stations in 2002 and retired from the radio business.  He and his wife Carolyn purchased another home near Arkadelphia, remodeled and double the size of the structure, and have a couple of acres surrounding it.  Graham refers to it as "Towering Pines Ranch," since it has many tal, tall pine trees on the property.  They remain active in First United Methodist Church of Arkadelphia.  Eddie is in the Arkadelphia Rotary Club, Carolyn is in the Clark County Retired Teachers Association, and they are both active together in the Clark County Fair Association.  Eddie hunts and fishes often, and they spend a lot of time on the road, visiting their children and grandchildren.

Eddie Graham - an icon of Arkansas broadcasting!

Richard Robinson

McDonald's Celebrate 60th Wedding Anniversary!

This anniversary announcement appeared in the Sunday, January 2, 2011 edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Congratulations to the McDonald's on being married for 60+ years! Felix was the transmitter engineer for KAAY from the beginning, and lives less than a half-mile from the station towers and transmitter complex. I had the pleasure of interviewing Felix on several occasions, while conducting research on KAAY. They are wonderful people and I know all the fans and readers of KAAY and this blog site with them the very best. May they have many, many more years together - best wishes to this fine couple!

Richard Robinson

Bob Steel as KAAY Newsman "Michael O' Sullivan"

When Bob Steel first began working in the Little Rock media market, he was a newsman at KAAY.  While I always thought that "Bob Steel" was a great radio name, in keeping with tradition, management changed his name to "Michael O' Sullivan."  Bob left KAAY to go into television news, serving as news director for KARK and KATV for 20 years.  Currently, he is the morning host of KARN Newsradio FM in Little Rock.  Bob is a true professional, and the newscast I just posted on this blog site shows what an awesome broadcast voice he has.  This was taken from a longer clip I have, when the talent dished it back to the studio for a newscast update.  This was during the "Skunk Festival," one of KAAY's many promotional events.

Richard Robinson

stream  or  download  here

A Nice Book!

Ah, the Golden Age of Radio!  This is a nice book, written by movie critic Leonard Maltin, about those years from the 1920s to the 1950s.  Neatly written over a period of eleven years, Mr. Maltin covers the radio actors, the audience, humor, etc. with neat precision.  Arkansas' "Lum and Abner" are covered in this book, as are a couple of pictures- I apologize for the graininess, my fault in reproduction:

The caption reads, "Chet Lauck and Norris Goff celebrate fifteen years on the air in the title roles of 'Lum 'n' Abner'.  In 1946 it was difficult to conceive that network radio's days were numbered."

The caption reads, "Lum and Abner and Pine Ridge's Jot 'Em Down Store were visualized in a series of feature films in the 1940s.  This scene is from 'So This Is Washington' (1943)."

Many radio actors became movie actors, like H. G. Wells, Jimmy Stewart, George Burns, and others, sometimes successfully, others not so, like Clark Gable and Gary Cooper.  Many times, movie and theater actors found steady, monetarily rewarding work behind the mike when otherwise unemployed.  Maltin explains many behind-the-scenes facts, backed up with quotes and pictures.  A fine read!

Nowadays, there's very little live radio, except for some programs on National Public Radio (on which David B. Treadway has participated in, a few times there in Little Rock), and the Grand Ole Opry, broadcast on WSM out of Nashville, TN, 650 on your AM dial....there may be a few others....

Thanks to my lovely wife for buying me this book; it has provided many an entertaining hour and proven to be a valuable resource.

Suffice it to say, KAAY kept the comedy going well into the 1960s....

Bud S. (

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, dear reader, here we are, we've rolled over into a new year again!  Here's hoping you enjoyed, once again, the Beaker Street New Year's audio!  We here at Mighty 1090 KAAY Blogspot wish everyone a safe, happy, prosperous and blessed new year.  And, if you have any mementos, memorabilia, audio or whatever regarding KAAY, please continue to send it along!  We'll continue to share all through the year!

And a special jingle (courtesy of Greg Barman) for all of you listeners out there:

KAAY New Year's jingle:   stream   |   download

Bud S. (