Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Tin Can Alley", By Barry Mac!

Folks, if you remember awhile back when we mentioned that Barry Mac did "Radio Yesterday" at KAAY in the latter years, then a similar program called "Tin Can Alley" at another radio're in luck.  Even though Barry's no longer (yet) on a radio station, he's offering us the programs here on the Mighty 1090 KAAY blog!

These programs are similar in that Barry plays period music from KAAY's '62-'85 era and intersperses KAAY advertisements and jingles in the programs, just as they would in original programming.  It's a fresh look as it used to be, in a modern way.

We hope you'll enjoy Barry's programs; just look on the right-hand side bar and click on "Tin Can Alley" and enjoy the shows!  Thanks to Dave S. for his audio linkage wizardry, as well!

Bud S. (

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Day At KAAY #12, May 18, 1971

Ladies and gentlemen!
From Little Rock:
Jonnie King!

He's your King, and your King loves you!  Jonnie said this quite a lot- and meant it!  This segment of the evening is only a little over thirty-one minutes long, from 6:00 PM on, preceding the nightly religious block; he took his regular show back up at 8:00 PM.  Jonnie's shift went from 6:00 until 11:00 PM, when Beaker Street with Clyde Clifford took over.

You'll notice Mitch Michaels (Nick Markel) opening this segment with a weather report of a tornado watch in three Arkansas counties.  Something unusual to listen for: there are several "blips" of possible news audio under the first song of the hour!  Maybe some of those open sliders on the board while cueing up carts, maybe?

Jonnie sounds as good today as he did in this broadcast; we speak over the phone plenty these days.  What a great pleasure it is to speak regularly with The Greats to whom I listened so many years ago!

or download here

(or stream/download here from the archive page)

One more segment to go in this remarkable series saved for us by Russell Wells --- stayed tuned for Part 13 !

Bud S. (

Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Trip, Bad News

Folks, I finally realized my almost-lifelong dream of going to Little Rock, visiting KAAY and the transmitter site.  Jerry Sims ("Sonny Martin 1963-1967"), David B. Treadway (the last Doc Holiday and Program Director), Charlie Scarbrough ("Charlie King", 1967-1969), Felix McDonald (engineer for KTHS and Chief Engineer for KAAY) and Barry McCorkindale ("Barry Mac", latter years) were all great hosts and tour guides.  I had a blast with them all and will recount the trip in posts to come.  However, I bear bad news....

While we were at the transmitter site, we were informed by Citadel personnel that the building is to be bulldozed within the next year, probably before the end of 2011.  We are posing questions as to what may be saved, but no information is forthcoming.

More later as news develops.

Bud S. (

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy KAAY Anniversary, Jonnie King!

I want to interrupt the regularly-scheduled retro-program to commemorate Jonnie King's anniversary at KAAY, back on April 21, 1969- congratulations, Jonnie!

I wish I could have had just a bit of audio from Gary Gears, announcing Jonnie, inserted for you to enjoy, BUT if you go to some of Jonnie's airchecks here, you'll hear Gary announcing Jonnie- just type in "Jonnie King" in the upper left-hand corner search box and look for a couple of 1972 airchecks.  In fact, since we're commemorating Jonnie's anniversary at KAAY, please enjoy ALL his airchecks, while you're at it!

Jonnie is full of wonderful energy, enthusiasm and encouragement.  Every time he and I speak, he encourages me- not only for this blog- but in every phase of my life.  Jonnie, like his mentors, pours his energy into those around him.  I am richer for this outpouring of Jonnie's encouragement.

Happy Anniversary, Jonnie!

Bud S. (

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Day At KAAY #11, May 18, 1971

We continue our presentation of the 13-part series of Pat Walsh's KAAY transcriptions, saved by Russell Wells for our listening enjoyment.

This segment of the day, from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, opens with Mitch Michaels (Nick Markel) ending the news, which opens again for Mike McCormick (Barry Wood).  The deejays at KAAY had a lot of freedom to play different types of music and this opening song is no exception.  Buck Owens and The Buckaroos perform; you'll most likely remember Buck Owens from the TV comedy show "Hee Haw!"

Enjoy once again the contribution of Russell Wells and the audio work of Dave S.

or download here

(or stream/download here from the archive page)

Bud S. (

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Don Pietromonaco, KXOK's Johnny Rabbitt, passed away in California on April 18, 1997.

Don was my friend & mentor. I started working with him in 1965 at the old KXOK Radio Park Studios, and he was my strongest supporter & eternal confidant as I left to head for my first station in September of 1967.  And was truly excited when, on April 21, 1969, I did my first show at KAAY...throughout his career he'd never worked at a 50KW.

But, he was always urging me to get to a "bigger market", sending me Info of jobs around the country, wanting me to get back out to California after he relocated there from KRIZ in Phoenix. He invited me back out there time-after-time, and, when I visited, tried to find openings in the market at stations I could work at. Again, he was so happy for me when I moved to WDRQ/Detroit as, at the time, it was the 5th largest market in the country.

Don Pietromonaco was not only one of the most talented, creative Radio Personalities (when those words REALLY meant something) to ever sit behind a mike...he was one of the kindest, and most generous friends to ever enter my life.

Accordingly, I've put together a Special Tribute Page that contains his Rare "KXOK RABBITT PEPSI DEMO" from 1966. I've expanded it into a Special Tribute Page with much info, pix, documented dates, etc.

(One of the reasons I'm so proud of this Demo is that it contains a show I created for Rabbitt that took advantage of the "Batman" craze...I called it "Batrab & Goono".  You'll have to hear it to understand how Don's alter-ego, Bruno J. Grunion, adds to the mix !)

ALSO, I've pulled out some rare personal candid pix from my Archives that I've never shared before, and those too are documented & dated...with info on each one.  IN FACT, the one you see at the Top of this thread is from the KXOK Studio: Gary Lewis, me, and, Johnny Rabbitt the night of April 18, 1966: Exactly 45 years ago !)

I thought today would be the day to properly "Launch" the Page and here's a Link that will get you there:

And, I'm honored to share it with you, all of my KAAY friends who've been my "faithful companions" all of these years.

Many thanks,

Jonnie King

April 18, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Russell Wells' Tape Comments

My recollection brings up an incident during a rewind back in '92 when I did a spot dub of each jock. At 3600 feet, this tape stock was thinner than tissue paper ... and even with the utmost in TLC, it both stretched and unraveled. I fixed the tape, but at the expense of a couple of minutes' worth of audio (present on two hours each side of the KAAY and neighboring KARK recording).

The occasional dropouts and distortion? The fact is the tape was a "Concertape" - the low-end Radio Shack brand. I've read a few horror stories about Concertape reels' tendency to shed and gum up a deck, but I think sheer luck otherwise carried the day.

(It's the height of irony that a cheap tape stock intended for speech recording carried the brand name CONCERT Tape!)

Reel tape recorded at 1-7/8 ips (inches per second for the radio-impaired and various young punks out there) typically had a compromised sound quality. Sort of like the difference in recording VHS tape at the 6-hour speed (SLP) vs. the standard 2-hour SP mode. We have 12 glorious hours of archive here, alas at the expense of hearing just how truly awesome that RCA BT50 transmitter sounded. At least one can hear a smidgen of that quality, if not the full deal.

As for that old deck I used, I truly believe the gods of radio past were keeping her alive just long enough to get through this big project. :-/


I'm just old enough to remember ESSO gasoline, and how confused this young'un was seeing ENCO branded gas in Alabama, while it was ESSO across the line in Tennessee. Same logo, same "E" style, but different name.

Most of you know what became of Esso in the U.S.: it became Exxon in (I believe) late 1972. Exxon still markets as Esso in Canada and elsewhere.


Russell, I am also amazed at how some analog media has held up all these years.  Phil North and Mark Larsen had found some old tapes that survived almost 40 years of storage!  Mark had also found parts for his reel-to-reel deck on the Web, repaired it and dubbed his audio over for us.  Phil (Eric Chase) already had things in place, I suppose, in his studios to dub his tapes over.  Phil's tapes were stored in an attic, if I remember correctly...Mark's, I can't remember.

I also have in climate-controlled storage many (non-KAAY related) tapes; hopefully, they'll still be "there" when I need them....

As for you mp3 and iPod generation out there, radio stations used reel-to-reel tapes in many instances, as well as cart tapes, etc.  Barry Mac told me that much of the commercials and jingles you hear here are gleaned from hundreds of tapes found at the KAAY transmitter.  It has taken him many, many hours of tender loving care to build the archive he has.

Thanks to ALL who share those archives and tape contents with us!  Without you, this important historical audio would be lost!

Thank you, Russell!

Bud S. (

(P.S. I have often taken a recording outside on a clear starry night, turned it on and enjoyed the aircheck while looking up at the sky...the occasional atmospheric fade, noisy crackle and co-channel interference made the airchecks sound JUST LIKE the station did when I was a youngster! Bud)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Day At KAAY #10, May 18, 1971

We're at Part 10 of this 13-part archive of Pat Walsh's audio tapes of a "day of the life" of KAAY !

In this segment, 4:00 to 5:00 PM, Mitch Michaels airs the news, as well as sports later in the hour and Mike McCormick (Barry Wood) is again the deejay.

I thought an interesting phrase being used this day is, " Ten-Nine-Oh!".  I remember hearing A.J. Lindsey, I believe on Tony Warner's program saying that a deejay would say something.  Pat Walsh would come thundering down the hall, burst into the control room and yell, "What did you say?"  The deejay, fearing for his job, would shakily repeat the phrase.  Pat yelled out, "I like that!  Keep saying that!" and would run back out....WHEW!

You may have noticed that occasionally, there is wobble in the recordings, especially this one.  These hours were recorded directly from studio tape and reel-to-reel machines today are getting old and tired.  Our good friend Russell Wells was able to play these and other tapes and transfer them over to digital format for all of us to enjoy.  He mentioned to me that, on the last rewind, the machine finally gave out, so he barely got all the tape transferred before failure!

Hey, speaking of ads here and there, does anyone remember ESSO gas?

or download here

(or stream/download here from the archive page)

Thanks again to Russell Wells' collection and to Dave S.!

Bud S. (

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Day At KAAY #9, May 18, 1971

Here's Mike McCormick!  Also known as Michael J. McCormick, this was Barry Wood, who left in 1972.  Opening this hour, 3:00 to 4:00 PM, was news person Mary Donald (Delores Handy)!  She's at the news desk for a couple of times, then Mitch Michaels takes back over.

Seems like I remember Jonnie King mentioning that he'd tease her while she was on the air, but she was a trouper, never laughing or breaking stride.  For more on Mary Donald, do a search on her in the upper left-hand corner of the blog.

I'm also enjoying many of the advertisements in these hours...many we've heard before when Barry Mac has contributed them.  One such on this segment (and over this day's broadcast) was a concert ad for Bloodrock and Steppenwolf, for May 21st at the Barton Auditorium.

Please enjoy this latest installment, compliments of the audio help Dave S. lends to the blog and the audio collection of Russell Wells!

or download here

(or stream/download here from the archive page)

Bud S. (

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dave M's Best On-Air Joke, In His Opinion

Quite possibly the all time greatest on air joke was when KTHS changed formats and call letters to KAAY. The "Baby Elephant Walk" was played back to back and over and over again, non stop, while the Little Rock telephone book was read on the air. It certainly drew a lot of attention to the station, and was the talk of the town for many following days. (Not on April 1, though).

A recording of part of this can be found elsewhere on this blog -

(I believe this is what Dave is mentioning...check this link bs)

(Although this actually happened on Labor Day weekend in 1962, this WAS a pretty good prank! The saddest joke was when KAAY "went to be with God" on April 3, 1985 bs)


Dave M.'s April Fool Joke Entry

Probably the best "joke" we played was the night we changed format on KAAY's FM sister station, KLPQ (at the time). A good joke, certainly an attention getter, and not on April 1.

We began playing "Baby Elephant Walk" and "We will Rock You" back to back, and over and over again. The reason for playing Baby Elephant Walk was because that was what was played over and over again as the announcers read the Little Rock phone book on the air, when KTHS changed to KAAY.

Needless to say, we did get some phone calls asking us what the $&@# was going on. One listener actually called the Little Rock police to "go to the radio station and see what was wrong". When the police officer arrived, he was invited in, shown the studios, and clued-in as to what was going on.

KLPQ eventually became KKPT in Little Rock, and is now a Classic Rock format station.


Radio Station April Fool's Day Jokes

I recently asked around what some of the April Fool's Day jokes folks had been involved in or seen or heard of at any radio station, not only KAAY. Here are the entries:

Charlie Okle, friend of Tommy Riggs: "Well, here's mine. The two main stations here in Pine Bluff, KCLA and KPBA switched announce staff for the day a year or so before I became an announcer. About 1960. Totally confused the audiences and lit up the phones!!!"

And from a couple of contributors on Radio-Info Boards:

"In 1987, Zoo 98's Uglee Jerry and his wife swapped with KSSN's Bob Robbins. I don't remember much about it except that we had to keep telling Bob how to pronounce the artist's names. He was pretty game for it, though."

(Bob Robbins [Bob Spears] moved from KAAY at the end over to KSSN and has been there ever since. bs)

And, from Rich Moellers on Radio-Info Boards:

"I remember the Uglees and Bob switching. If memory serves, Uglee Jerry said he was Bob Robbins, and his wife said, 'and I'm Mrs. Bob.' Of course, we get the annual memo from legal counsel at corporate about stunting - kinda takes some of the fun out of it!"

Someone from Georgia adds, "Two stations in Valdosta, Ga switched morning shows. One was a hot ac station, one was a rock station. The rock guys were saying, 'I know none of this music!!!' It was pretty funny!"

Now, as much fun as folks had at KAAY, I haven't found anyone who can admit to having pranked David B. Treadway said, "For the life of me, I can't remember any April Foolishness on-air at KAAY. 'Course, I might have been taking everything too seriously at the time..."

Suffice it to say, we'll leave it there, as the staff at KAAY worked HARD at making the station as fun and interesting to us, the listener! We can be grateful for that and will always remember their efforts!

And, with that, have a happy April Fool's Day! Watch your back!

Bud S. (