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 ! http://www.jonnieking.net/gpage44.html
"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.
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 ( https://brennanbenns.wordpress.com/about/
). 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
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
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.
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 [staceys4@Hotmail.com])
Today, the Voice Of Arkansas hangs his hat up...as per his Facebook post:
Okay, here's the official word. I am retiring from US 97, 96.7 The Rocket, US Stations LLC and Radio in general, effective at 10:00 AM this Frida...y, February 10. It was a week ago today that I somehow survived to be 66. That's 198 in human years, and the feds declare it to be my Full Retirement Age. Being a good American, it is now my patriotic duty to quit working and get on that government tit. I am eager to become a burden on society, as I figure I have about half a tank of fumes left to get me through two more mornings.
I am deeply, seriously and humbly thankful to everyone who has ever listened to me. If you've gotten a laugh along the way, it has made me rich beyond reckoning--and I hope you're okay knowing that I'll never be able to pay you half of what I owe you. If you're one of that small handful of miserable bastards who tried to stomp me out, feel free to line up and start kissing my ass. I'll be home most days and I'll come down to the road so you don't even have to get out of your cars.
My eternal gratitude to Mr Charles Shinn, Gary Terrell and Craig T. Dale for having THE best company I ever did work for. My love to the Most Dangerous Woman On The Air, Vicki Parker, Tom Duke, Pat O'Briant, Jennifer Bailey, and Wayne Bennett for surrounding me with their consummate professionalism. It's been an honor to serve with y'all and I'll miss you like blazes!
Treadway out. For now."
There is more, if you have Facebook access...
David B., congrats for getting out alive; I hope you and Mrs. Treadway will have many, many happy days together in the sunshine with Shack, and all the wild animals. maybe you can work full-time keeping the deer out of her garden now!
"Here is the final telephone listing I have for KAAY this is from the 1977 Little Rock telephone directory. There had been some changes to KAAY over the past year, first KAAY was under new ownership, Multi Media took ownership of the station the previous year, second KAAY moved to a brand new building located at 2400 Cottondale Lane, third it was also the first time KAAY had a sister station, it was KEZQ located at 94.1 FM at the time. You can see it a few listings down. On a final note, the 7th Street building had been torn down by the end of 1976 to make room for the expansion of I-630.
Here is the front cover:
...and the back cover:
By this time, touch tone phones were growing in popularity.
A pic inside the Cottondale building 40 years later. I had the privilege of visiting the Cottondale building a couple of months ago, 94.1 is still located there and is a Classic Rock station known as The Point 94.1. There are a couple of other FM stations in the building and they are locally owned and operated In the pic with me are morning host Rick Steel and Promotions Director Chuck Gatlin. The engineer's shop is now located where the KAAY studio once was."
Thank you, Doug! You know, what with newer social media technologies such as Facebook, there are more things like this popping up, then disappearing. I am glad that this blog is serving as a repository for everything KAAY (and related). You know you can come here and, with a simple search, find everything on a subject you're interested in: pictures, audio, etc. Folks like Doug are helping us keep it alive...won't YOU?
Send us your stories, your memories, etc. of what KAAY meant to you...thanks!
Rest assured, even though we've come to information only coming in dribs and drabs, we will continue to try and find more KAAY treasures to share here.
Greg Barman, Dave Schmidt and I have encountered numerous challenges with life as we get older, but we are tackling them as they come at us. And, even though I don't see myself as "owner" of this blog, I have been thrust to the forefront as the "leader". Yes, I had the idea to continue A.J. Lindsey's blog, but no one, not even his family, had the login information- so the Lindsey family graciously allowed us to start a new blog, a' la A.J.'s efforts and in his memory, as well as the memories of the other KAAY Greats....
I have to hand it to Greg and Dave, however; even though I was highly motivated, these two guys have been the technical nuts and bolts behind it all- I couldn't do this without them, no way! These guys are the cream of the crop and rose to the top, out of an original nine folks (ten, including myself) who I contacted about getting this thing off the ground.
So, with that, how about YOU contributing some of your KAAY memories, please? Just drop them to my e-mail below and we'll get them here!
"Fast forwarding into the 70's, this is the 1974 listing for KAAY. The studio and offices had moved to 7th Street several years ago. There are also more department listings. There is the studio, office, farm director, and the transmitter building number. The telephone number at the transmitter is different from the previous listings since the phone company added a new prefix for Wrightsville.
...and the front cover":
Thanks again to Doug Virden for these pieces of history!
Again we are appreciative of anything regarding the history of KAAY, so even if you think something is not worthy, it very well may be- in the past, a single picture, item or audio bit has created a backstory or triggered memories that we can continue to share, so PLEASE let us know of your KAAY treasures! We'll post them here!
"Here is the second yellow pages listing for KAAY, this is from the 1963 Little Rock telephone directory. This is the first year to be listed as KAAY, as the call letters had changed from KTHS six months earlier.
The front cover consists of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences building.
The back cover consists of the different styles of telephones, the princess phone was very popular at the time."
Thank you, Doug! We (at least I) enjoy these bits of history- keep 'em coming!
Blog friend Doug Virden found some old phone books with some interesting listings...here are some pictures and his comments:
"Here is the first installment of the KAAY phone listings in the yellow pages. The first one is when it was still KTHS from the 1960 telephone directory. The numbers listed are the studio and transmitter. It's also when the station was located in the Channel 11 building. The front cover is of the fairly new constructed Barton Coliseum. The back cover has all the phones in various colors. On another note, there are also several concerts ads in the old KAAY audio files at Barton Coliseum."
Thanks, Doug! We will be looking forward to more! If you can get copies of those concert ads, we'd be interested in posting them here, as well! Bud S. (staceys4@Hotmail.com)
Wow, our 2016 ended and 2017 began with a tremendous deluge of rain! New Year's Eve netted over five inches and New Year's Day netted even more. Yards and roads are brimming with water, looking for somewhere to run off. As I live pretty far out from "civilization" (not really, we're just not in the "right area" for cable or other internet services), we have to use a satellite-based internet connection. To be sure, what with all of the cloud cover, internet connections were next to impossible- hence, my inability to wish you all a Happy New Year.
Nonetheless, with no offerings from anyone (that I have been aware of), I am going to post all of the New Year's posts from the past here, for you all to enjoy: