Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Retro: David B. Treadway and Cottondale Studio

November 1, 1976 was a historic day for KAAY; I'll let "Doc Holiday", a.k.a. David B. Treadway's words describe it, from A. J.'s blog post on Oct. 9, 2006:

"On November 1, 1976, we moved to the new studios at
2400 Cottondale Lane. The Riverdale section of town is
now thriving and crowded, home to Alltel world
headquarters among other notable businesses. In 1976,
it was regarded as swamp land and Pat Walsh caught a
great deal of grief from his peers about his decision
to move the station there. As usual, Walsh had the
last laugh.

There was a certain "magic" about KAAY; it was a
living, breathing entity--apart and complete unto
itself *without* the human beings who made it run. For
the past thirty years, I have been convinced that the
magic did NOT make the move with us from 1425 West 7th
Street to 2400 Cottondale.

It would take the clueless Multimedia almost the next
ten years to run KAAY completely into the ground, but
the Final Approach began on November 1, 1976."

Here's the Cottondale location as it appeared in 2012, when Jerry Sims drove me around town:

A. J. Lindsey was the second "Doc Holiday", David B. Treadway was the last.

Bud S. (


  1. It wasn't the magic that didn't make the move. It was Ralph A. Walsh, Jr!

  2. I agree with Dave. Although I never worked at 1425 7th Street, it was clear to even a casual visitor that those studios had a distinct personality. The late Barry Wood attributed it to the spirit of a deceased DJ who he believe inhabited the studio building.

    Thanks to Dave Montgomery, Cottondale Lane was a very good technical facility, but by 1983, the Cottondale Lane studios had little or no discernable personality. I agree that Multimedia (or as Ray Taylor called it, Murphymedia) was largely responsible.

    Cottondale Lane was a poor choice for a couple of reasons. First, the studio was so low in elevation that it was impossible to construct a Studio to Transmitter (STL) link to either the KAAY transmitter at Wrightsville or to the FM site at Shinall Mountain. Both signals were sent to the Tower Building using lines leased from the telephone company, which did have a STL path to Shinall Mountain and a marginal STL path to Wrightsville. The Tower Building installation was done in a very poor manner and was a constant source of problems as well as a single point of failure for both stations.

    In addition, Cottondale Lane was located less than a mile from a station on 1050 kHz. This station had a very tall tower and would receive KLRA-1010, 40 kHz below 1050, and rebroadcast KLRA in an inverted form 40 kHz above 1050, or squarely on 1090. This made it impossible to monitor KAAY off the air at Cottondale Lane during the day and interfered with KAAY over substantial areas of metro Little Rock. Tom Rusk and I resolved this problem as one of my last acts as Chief Engineer of KAAY.