It was the 30th anniversary of "the day the music died," the last broadcasting day of the "old" KAAY, April 3rd, 1985. We gathered at The Oyster Bar party room, just as we did two and a half years ago for the station's 50th anniversary birthday party. A lot of the same suspects were in attendance this time around, including Arkansas broadcasting legends Bob Robbins, Sonny Martin, Clyde Clifford, and Charlie Scarbrough. Also, long time political columnist/sports announcer/jack-of-all-trades Rex Nelson descended upon us, as he, Bob and Sonny, and Clyde all shared stories with us. In between the stories shared by our speakers, I ran some old audio bits, including a number of news items and commercials, including a great 1974 "blooper" reel featuring Bob Robbins and Bill Edwards, as they tried about a dozen times to get through a script for voter registration. But the highlight of the evening was long time station engineer Felix McDonald coming through the party room double doors. One of his daughters had told me earlier in the week that they were going to try to get Felix to come out, but being that his health hasn't been very good the last few years, and the fact that he's 89 years old, I wasn't holding out too much hope. But lo and behold, at approximately 7:45 in the evening, Felix, his wife, Oleta, and two of their daughters made their entrance. And after they had a seat at one of the tables, it was about five minutes later, while Clyde Clifford was sharing some of his stories, that Felix stood up and kind of surveyed the crowd. After about a minute, he and his cane started making their way around the room, occasionally leaning in to share words with the various people who caught his eye. And it was about five minutes later that Bob Robbins up and grabbed the microphone to give Felix a rousing introduction, which brought the crowd of about 35 to their feet with an energetic round of applause.
The "Two Macs"!!!
On display just inside the entrance to the party room were a number of items from many years ago, including an enlarged KAAY top 25 chart from August of 1976 (Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven" inhabited the #1 spot, by the way), as well as a picture of the late Governor Winthrop Rockefeller holding up a KAAY Arkansas Razorback-Texas Longhorn game day poster.
Much thanks to Virginia Boyd for accommodating us at the restaurant that she's owned for so many years. It's really a perfect atmosphere for a gathering like ours.
I have to say that the only thing missing from this party was the presence of David B. Treadway, who, of course, was the program director those last few months before ownership transferred from Multimedia to Sudbrink Broadcasting. And let me add, there will no consideration of any more KAAY gatherings unless David B. confirms he WILL be in attendance. We had a great time without him, but we would've had a better time with him."
Thank you, Barry Mac! The following are various pictures, thanks to Doug Virden, from the reunion. Oh, here are a trio of clowns, showing off their "retro" flip phones, Gordon Stephan, Barry Mac and Charlie Scarbrough!
There were also various pictures of Doug with Clyde Clifford, Sonny Martin, Bob Robbins and sundry other items:
Folks, there are SO many pictures, this post will have to continue into several more parts! Pleas stay tuned!
Bud S. (firstname.lastname@example.org)