Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I like radio-related things, of course!  I can only imagine that Santa likes me so much, he'll bring me radio goodies!

Wait!  Who could this be?

I'm sure after a long shift at the mall, these Santas are enjoying some soothing tunes in front of the Admiral console in the lounge before heading out for the evening!

Nonetheless, we here at The Mighty 1090 KAAY Blog wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Bud S. (

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Other Telephones

(From Doug Virden)

Remember seeing the old black telephone on the blog from the transmitter visit in 2011, there are two other telephones at the transmitter.  The one pictured on the blog then is the 302 model which 1st came out in the late 30's and was in circulation through the 50's.  I'm assuming it was the original telephone at the transmitter.  Barry McCorkindale took it home with him a couple of years ago when he was out at the transmitter.

The other two telephones are still there one is the rotary dial phone we are most familiar with which is the 500 model.  I'm guessing it was added sometime in the 60's.  The telephone was modernized sometime in the 80's with a touch tone telephone,I believe the color of the touch tone is ivory.  Telephone service was shut off at the transmitter building due to leases still be paid on those phones around the middle to late 90's.
The black one sits in the workshop area while the ivory one sits to the right on a shelf as you walk in the building on the top level.
Thanks, Doug!  We here at The Mighty 1090 KAAY Blog appreciate your contributions.  Keep up the good work!

Monday, December 11, 2017

KAAY's New Transmitter

(A bit late, due to my extremely busy schedule, but better late than fault entirely. bs)

"I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, now it is time to start posting again.  The new 50kw transmitter was still in the crate when I visited there in September.  There is an engineering firm from Baton Rouge that will be installing the new transmitter.  Read on another FB page about a month ago that their firm would be there soon to install it.  That company also completed the ground work on the towers.  A new ventilation system was also installed upstairs to keep the transmitter climate controlled.  The building originally didn't have a/c, the heat and humidity would eat the new transmitter up within two years without it.  Remember reading stories about how the old RCA kept the building warm on very cold days and nights.  
The other transmitter is a 5kw backup transmitter, it was sent from an affiliate in Dallas to get the station back on the air a few years ago when water from the roof leak destroyed the one in the workshop area.  The Harris 50kw transmitter installed in the early 80's will be used as a backup.  That is the one with the blue cover in the previous post.  The new transmitter is approximately the same size as the 5kw in the pic and will be placed right next to it."
Thank you, Doug...keep up the good work!
We appreciate those who go to the trouble of contributing; things have been somewhat slow at The Mighty 1090 KAAY Blog and I think we've pretty much tapped out what is out there.  Who knows, there may be someone out there, sifting through their oddball tapes and finding some "new" audio, or finding a shoebox full of memorabilia that they'd be willing to share.
(I know there is more stuff out there, but I have had a hard time convincing people of donating samples for the blog....)
Nonetheless, as bits and pieces surface, we will continue to share them here.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Recent Pictures From Doug Virden

"Saw this on top of the console where Clyde did Beaker Street.  This was a very big football rivalry when Arkansas was in the Southwest Conference.  Even had a bet between KAAY and WOAI one year, unfortunately Arkansas came out on the losing end of that bet.

The console used to sit in front of the old RCA, it has since been moved in front of the Harris Transmitter which has been there since 1980.  The new transmitter is still in the crate and I will post a pic of it for the next post and give an update on it."

Thanks, Doug.  I remember when the console was in front of the old RCA back when I visited back in April 2012.  Wish I had all those notebooks there, too.  I wonder if any of the old station logs have been thrown away, too?

Thank you for sharing, Doug, we'll be looking for more coming our way!

Bud S. (

Friday, November 10, 2017

Comments From Cuba, From Antonio Diaz

In fact I didn't remember anyone been jailed for listen to radio stations from USA but if the police or any communist official got you doing that you end up been marked as a gusano (dissident).I'm a living example of that I was thrown out of university of Havana in 1980,they found out that I was an underground music fan and was listening Beaker Street every night in my house and finally I had to head north to America.
---Antonio Diaz
on More Cuban Comments

It's very exciting to know that people from Cuba took the time to send letters to the staff of KAAY, I'm Cuban and by that time 1973 I was a diehard listener of the station, Beaker Street was my favorite program I didn't miss them , each night I used to turn on my radio on 1090 khz from 1971 when I first discovered the station until September 27 1977 that beaker street wasn't on the air and never again I had the chance to hear BS I still don't know what happened, anyway I still keep those memories as my fondest, there's no doubt about it KAAY was the best station I've ever heard in my life.
---Antonio Diaz
on Long DX Letter From Cuba

Friday, November 3, 2017

Tower Pictures

Took some pics of the towers and you will notice fencing around each tower as well as where the guy wires connect to the insulators on the ground.  It was raining off and on the day I was there so I didn't get close up to the towers.

Once again, Doug, thank you for the pictures and the update!

Bud s. (

Friday, October 27, 2017

More Transmitter Pictures

Here are pics from the outside of the KAAY transmitter building.  Included pics from the back and front of the building.  Notice the dumpster out front.  It was there when I took the picture just after the property was bushhogged about six months ago.  With a wet summer it has really grown back.  The cattle guard gate has been replaced by a sliding gate.

Thank you, Doug!  Y'all stay tuned for more!  Bud S. (

Monday, October 23, 2017


From Russell Wells' post on Facebook:

1968 trade publication advert. "You can't spell Arkansas without the K."

Thank you, Russell!

Bud S. (

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

More Transmitter Pics

From Doug Virden:

"Let's not forget the reason I was able to visit the KAAY transmitter building, the reason being was to pick up a remnant from the old RCA transmitter for Bud.  I  ended up taking a meter and some tubes which I sent Bud a few weeks ago.  I  got to take me home a meter and some tubes too.  I will let Bud do the honors of posting what he received, here are pics of mine."

Thank you, Doug!  I believe the Per Cent meter referenced modulation;  The tubes are part of an RF deck, and are 813 power tubes mounted in hefty ceramic bases.  Here is a vintage advertisement:

A great many Amateur Radio operators used these in home-built amplifiers for 160 meters (the Ham band just above the AM broadcast band, 1800 to 2000 kHz) and ran them for about 1,000 watts, reliably, for years.  They are tough tubes, able to take lots of abuse.

I will have to look around, I think I had a schematic for the old RCA transmitter somewhere, by the time I post my tubes and 12.5 kilovolt meter Doug sent me, I hope to have data on where they were in the RF chain.

Thanks again, Doug!

Bud S. (

Friday, October 6, 2017

Jerry Sims, The 2nd "Sonny Martin"

Here is a picture, shared by Doug Virden, on the KAAY-Mighty 1090 Facebook page....

I heard Jerry when I was 9 years old; when Jerry came through Mobile on a sales trip to Florida for his last employer (Hank's Fine Furniture), he stopped in Mobile and we had supper.  We calculated the years and, by gosh, we came to the same conclusion!  And he was so young back then!  later, I was able to make a trip to Little Rock in April 2012 (see other posts to this topic) and we had a great time!  Then, in August that same year, we lost Jerry.  He was doing what he loved: playing softball.  He collapsed on the field in extreme heat conditions and never regained consciousness...

...and a year later, in the same month, I almost died from heat stoke.  Two things ran through my mind: is this how Jerry went? and, what will my family do?  Fortunately, I recovered and have harped on safety re: heat-related injuries for all these years afterward.

Rest easy, Jerry, I'll see you in heaven....

Bud S. (

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Doug Virden Visits The KAAY Transmitter Site

"Had an unexpected opportunity to visit the KAAY transmitter building last week and here is a great starter pic with the 7th Street sign.  Ever since Bud and David B. Treadway (and don't forget Jerry Sims, too! bs) had a picture with it, I really wanted one too.  The reason I got to go out there was to pick up something from the old RCA transmitter that had been dismantled to put up the new 50KW transmitter.  I ended up taking something from the old RCA home with me too.  It will be included in another post."

That's a good picture, Doug!  Keep 'em coming!

Bud S. (

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Folks, I just heard from Jonnie King; he has just celebrated 50 YEARS in the broadcast industry!

I cannot tell the story like Jonnie King can, so, if you will, please go to his website and read all about it!

Happy anniversary, Jonnie!

Bud S. (

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

QSL Cards From The Past!

Thanks to Larry McDonald for these reception verification ("QSL") cards from the past!

Bud S. (

Friday, September 8, 2017

"Big Mama" Is Gone....

I was just informed by KAAY's head engineer that the RCA, "Big Mama", as David B. Treadway called her, is now gone.


...and no more:

My heart hurts!  I am so thankful that Jerry Sims, the 2nd "Sonny Martin", now gone also, pleaded and cajoled with me to make the pilgrimage to Little Rock and Wrightsville, AR to see this once-magnificent radio station.  I was tearing up heavily when I saw David B. lovingly caress her face, then listen for her as he pressed his ear to I am about to now.

That's Gordon Stephan behind David B.

And, to Jerry Sims, who made me actually realize my dream:

I can't say this enough: I love you guys, for caring enough to show me around and taking time with me, a humble fan from so long ago.  One other Great, Charlie Scarbrough, "Charlie King", who took the time to ferry me and my family around, thank you SO much!

I will always have fond memories of KAAY, and especially of this trip.  A few months later, Jerry Sims died from a heat-related incident while doing what he loved: playing softball...but that's another story.

At the top left-hand corner of this blog, type in "my trip" and search; post after post will come up, relating to my trip to Little Rock and Wrightsville, AR back in 2012 and will reveal all the wonderful pictures and memories I experienced.  One more chapter closed on KAAY.  Thanks, Daniel.

Bud S. (

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Happy 55th Anniversary!

My, how time flies!  Fifty-five years ago this moth, KAAY came into being and the "Baby Elephant Walk" song permeated the airwaves for a while, as deejays read aloud the Little Rock phone book, saying the folks were "friends of the Mighty Giant", etc.

This signaled the format- and callsign change- of 1090 AM in Little Rock, AR, as KAAY bought out KTHS and became the Mighty 1090, KAAY that so many of us loved.  It happened Labor Day, 1962.  The history is slightly murky as to who the original jocks were, as some left, others came right in, but here are links to previous posts we have entered, as well: well as a few posts from A. J. Lindsey's now-inactive blog:

Yes, we have plenty to celebrate!  For my article regarding KAAY in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, go here:

I was honored when they asked me to contribute!  No one had ever entered any information on perhaps the greatest radio station Arkansas ever had, so they encouraged me to arrange this article.  After a few months' work, and honing and polishing, and with the help of some of "The Greats" of KAAY, this was the finished project.  Enjoy!

Happy anniversary, KAAY and to you Greats who brought us so much wonderful entertainment!

Bud S. (

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Keepin' 'Em Cool....

Larry McDonald, son of Felix McDonald, found this as the family was cleaning up at the McDonald farm.  he says he'll bet this is the only survivor.  Does anyone know what the McDonald's favorite soft drink was?

Thank you, Larry!

Bud S. (

Friday, July 28, 2017

"The Hotline"

Larry McDonald posted this on Facebook, his comments follow:

 "It is a phone hotline my dad helped build the station it was called KTHS before Linn broadcasting made KAAY. I watched them change the letters on the transmitter building, it went from there to the Mighty 1090."

Thanks, Larry, for all you and your dad did to keep this mighty station on the air!

Bud S. (

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Larry McDonald's Comic Picture

This was cut from a comic strip years ago, and Larry McDonald posted it on Facebook as the "Felix and Leta McDonald Family":

Larry's sister said, "That's us!"

Bud S. (

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"New" Bumper Stickers?

Alerted by Doug Virden, "sourced" by Larry McDonald (Felix's son), here are some bumper stickers I've never seen!

Thanks, Larry and Doug!

Bud S. (

Sunday, July 23, 2017

No KAAY Facebook Page?

Sidney Woodbury just noted on the Facebook page "KAAY-AM, The Mighty 1090" that KAAY themselves no longer have a Facebook page:

"I don't know if this is a sign of some kind of change or just a coincidence, but there is no KAAY Facebook page, that would be the current KAAY, not the Mighty 1090 page."

More as their status develops....

Bud S. (

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Contact From A New Visitor!

From my e-mail recently:

My name is Jeff Barrette, I live in Madison Wi.  I crew up in a small southwest Wisconsin town.  I recently found your blog and it has been delightful.  I have been trying to read all of the posts’.  I have posted a few responses.  I have found all of the history of KAAY fascinating.  KAAY was without doubt my favorite station, even though I could only listen after sundown. The music that was played is timeless.
The purpose of this communication is Clyde Clifford. Because of Clyde Clifford and Beaker Street the music that is considered classic was introduced to millions of people.  It is my opinion that Clyde Clifford should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Would you be interested in assisting with such an endeavor?
Your fellow KAAY and Beaker Street fan.
Jeff Barrette"
Jeff, thank you for your e-mail!  There are probably a lot of people who think just like you.  When Clyde proposed this back in late 1966, "the suits" didn't think Beaker Street would work- little did they know the huge success they would enjoy.  Later, when other owners/GMs discontinued it, they disappointed a lot of listeners.  In later years, when it was aired on other stations with Clyde at the helm, it gained momentum again...but you know radio....
I hope many other people attempt this endeavor.  I have also petitioned to get Don Payne in the Arkansas Radio Hall Of Fame, since he was the last deejay to air it until "the suits" shut it no avail.
Go for it, Jeff!  And thanks again!  Also check the Facebook page at: ttps://

What KAAY Ought To Do?

Doug Virden notified me of Greg Barman's shared link over on Facebook's KAAY-AM The Mighty 1090 page:

Thanks to both you guys!

Bud S. (

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cotham's Mercantile Razed By Fire

As per an alert by Doug Virden, Cotham's Mercantile was destroyed, as reported 5/30/17 on KARK:

When I made my visit to Little Rock a few years ago, Charlie Scarbrough ("Charlie King") acted as our tour guide for a couple of days; Cotham's was one place he took us...unfortunately, it was closed on the day we went there:

There's my beautiful wife and daughter!

Such a neat landmark...sad to lose it....

Thanks to Doug Virden for the news flash.

Bud S. (

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

It is not about BBQ and beer, folks....

Bud S. (

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bob Robbins Keeps On Keepin' On

Former KAAY personality Bob Robbins signs an extension of his contract with KMJX:

Thanks to Doug Virden for this information!

Bud S. (

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

KAAY Featured On Rewound Radio

Doug Virden contacted me on KAAY being featured on Rewound Radio:

"This past Saturday Rewound Radio featured a few hours of unscoped airchecks from KAAY.  They were from May 18th, 1971, the ones that are already listed on the blog.  The airchecks consisted of Wayne Moss and Mike McCormick (aka Barry Wood).  Rewound Radio relives those radio days every Saturday at noon Eastern time.  A majority of them are from the top radio markets in the country such as New York of Los Angeles.  The Little Rock radio market is ranked #83 in the US.  KAAY was described as being unlike the other stations on the East or West Coast which had a deep playlist as well as describing the nighttime coverage.  Beaker Street also got a mention.

     Rewound Radio is an online oldies radio station, to be able to listen you can go to on your computer and hit the listen button.  Another way to listen is to install the tunein radio app on your phone and listen through your phone.  Hopefully next time KAAY is featured I will know about it ahead of time and it can be posted to the blog ahead of time."
Thanks, Doug!  Keep a sharp eye out and let us know!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bob Robbins Still Going, Going, Going...

I found this article on the KAAY-AM, Mighty 1090 Facebook page:

Thanks, Doug Virden, for posting this on Facebook!

Bud S. (

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chuck Berry and Jonnie King- And A Happy Anniversary!

Hey, all!  Jonnie King just wrote me with some good info- please enjoy!

"Wanted to let you know that I am happy that tomorrow (April 21, 2017) will be the Anniversary of my first night on KAAY 48 Year's ago!

IN CONJUNCTION WITH THAT, I've put together a Tribute to Chuck Berry...who has influenced my life and career since 1955.

The Info on the Link that I'm sending you, with my TRIBUTE TO CHUCK BERRY, was started the day after he passed-away. These are my Personal stories and memories of Chuck. I'll leave his Discography and Life Story to the many others that have, and will, chronicle those. I worked with Chuck FOUR times, beginning at the Batcave here in St. Louis in 1966.

The rare pix of Chuck and myself, and the other images, are most-all from my Archives.  The Audio is from RARE BBC interviews with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Johnny Rivers, and, John Lennon, that were to the best of my knowledge done in 1987 (except for Lennon's).

(You'll love Chuck's On-The-Road lyrics about his Brand New AirMobile, the New Jersey Turn Pike, trying to outrun the State Troopers, and the Full Moon !)

 HERE'S THE DIRECT LINK to the Tribute Page. Let me know what you think, and, feel free to pass-it-on and add it to the KAAY BLOG if you have time in the next few days !

Thanks for all you do for us Bud, God Bless you and yours !
Jonnie "

Thank YOU, Jonnie!

Bud S. (

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

KAAY Getting Cleaned Up?

"Giving an update on what is going on at the KAAY transmitter site.  For the 1st time in about 12 years, the KAAY Transmitter Site has finally been bushhogged.  Found this out on another Facebook page so I went out the next day to take a few pics.  The property inside and out is being cleaned up.  You may be able to see the dumpster by the transmitter building.  The work is in progress in getting the original signal restored."

Thanks to Doug Virden for this picture he snapped a few weeks ago!  Keep up the good work!

Someone's ideal scenario is that KAAY does an about-face and revives the rock & roll music format, while retaining some of the Christian programming in other time slots/blocks...that coming from a Facebook post.  I agree.

Thanks, Doug!

Bud S. (

Monday, April 3, 2017

The death of a 50,000 watt station

This is not totally about KAAY.  It’s about another 50,000-watt former rock’n’roll audience giant that just went dark, a station that meant a lot to me just as KAAY has. 

WFLI(AM)-1070, Lookout Mountain/Chattanooga TN, went off the air for good last Friday evening March 31, after 56 years of broadcasting.  Like KAAY, they dared to go fulltime rock’n’roll in the early 1960’s, rose to top ratings and stayed there for years.  The combination of their power, their personalities, the promotions, and the music, turned them into a legend known as “The Great Jet ‘FLI”.  They were huge, seemingly unstoppable.  I was a DJ there from 1975-76, just a blip in their long top 40 history.  And now, they’re gone. 

Sure, there were differences between WFLI and KAAY.  WFLI dropped power to 1,000 watts at night, so it didn’t have the clear-channel impact and reputation that KAAY had.  WFLI was family-owned for its entire life by the Brennan-Benns family of engineers  ( ).  They knew how to keep a used, monster-sized Western Electric 50kw transmitter alive, and how to provide their audience with homespun local talent.  In contrast, KAAY was owned by a series of corporations, with more money to spend and access to some of the best technical engineering consultants, and brought a big-city sound to a smaller market.

But eventually, both WFLI and KAAY were swept up by the same changes in audience tastes, technology, and in how to maintain profitability on AM.  WFLI’s rock audience drifted to FM, resulting in a change to a country format in 1979.  Only a few years later, the Benns family threw in the towel on trying to compete in the secular radio world, and went to a Southern Gospel and paid religion format that required only a small staff.   KAAY’s new corporate owners made a similar switch to Southern Gospel radio in 1985.  Over the next 30 years, both stations went downhill.  They saw declines in audience, let their technical facilities degrade with age, saw profitability slip, all while listeners gradually gave up on AM.  In Chattanooga, Nielsen market #88, the only AM station currently rated in the top 17 is in 10th place and it’s not WFLI.  In Little Rock, market #83, there are no AM stations in the top 13.   Details of KAAY’s technical decline are noted elsewhere on this Blog.  WFLI looks like a radio museum with its 60’s/70’s-era equipment, except for a relatively new 50kw Harris transmitter that replaced the old Western Electric beast. 

I posted the sad news about WFLI’s demise on a Facebook AM radio group and comments flooded in.  Some people were amazed that a 50kw station just couldn’t make it anymore.  Others suggested creative ways to save the station.  And then other people berated the save-the-station folks, told them to face reality about the state of AM radio, and said the owners shouldn’t be blamed for wanting to shut it down, sell the equipment, and enjoy their retirement.  In short -- celebrate WFLI’s former glory days, but it’s time to let it go. 

I bring all of this up just to raise the possibility that, perhaps someday, the owners of KAAY may also decide it’s not financially worth it anymore, and pull the plug on the formerly Mighty-1090.  That would have been unthinkable several decades ago, maybe even just one decade ago!  But, look what has happened to WFLI, where the march of time, technical neglect, and just the nature of change eventually caught up with them.

Greg Barman

Photos by Greg Barman and David Carroll

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Doug Virden Snags A Good Find!

Found this at an estate sale this past week.  It is a commemorative coffee cup from the opening of the Cottondale building in November 1976:

The other side of the cup has an invitation to the grand opening;. At the tip it says "A Moving Experience, Multi Media requests the honour of your presence at the grand opening of the KAAY-KEZQ studios.  Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served Friday evening the twelfth of November from four until seven o'clock.  2400 Cottondale Lane Little Rock, Arkansas."

KAAY's sister station 94.1 had been through a few changes during the Multi Media years, this is what the format was before Multi Media sold KAAY and 94.1.  After KEZQ was switched to a rock station around the spring-summer of 1978, KEZQ moved down the dial shortly afterwards at 100.3 FM.  Remember reading the story on the blog about the change when the police came to the Cottondale building to make sure everything was OK during the transition.  There were a lot of unhappy people about that change.

This is what Philip Jonsson changed 94.1 to after he bought the station.  A majority of KAAY's former listeners came here after KAAY went full time religion.  They played the light rock favorites from the 60's, 70's, and current music at the time.  David B. Treadway and Barry Mac went to work for K-LITE sister station KLRA AM 1010.  Barry was also offered a job for the religious KAAY and worked days at KAAY and evenings at KLRA.  David B. Treadway eventually became Program Director of K-LITE and was Program Director when 94.1 made the change to The Point 94.1 Memorial Day Weekend of 1994 and served that position until he left at the end of 1995.

(Thank you, Doug, for sharing these cups with us!  Nice finds!  And keep it coming!  Bud S [])