Saturday, December 30, 2006

Chicago Fan From The Beginning

Here is an email of a KAAY listener from Chicago, who heard the change from KTHS to KAAY:

I saw some of your information about KAAY on the Internet. It brought back many memories. I listened to KAAY here in the Chicago suburbs during the early to mid-sixties. I was just a young kid at the time, and I used to try to pick-up AM DX on my radios at night. I first discovered KAAY as KTHS. I was captivated one night when KTHS kept playing "The Baby Elephant Walk" and the announcer kept reading names out of the Little Rock phone book. One of the promos that night was, "What in the name of backward radio? YAAK."
The DJ said, "Tune in tomorrow night for a big surprise." I couldn't wait. I was sure there was going to be a call letter change. I was not disappointed when I tuned in the next evening. In fact, I couldn't wait for it to get dark, so there would be good signal propagation between here and Little Rock. I was not disappointed that evening. I was never sure what they meant about the legendary "Big KAAY elephant" coming to Little Rock. Somewhere lost in my house, I have about one minute of a tape recording from that night before the call letter change. I wish I could find it.

I was always disappointed when I would try to tune into KAAY, and find the Spanish programs intended for Cuba during the Cuban Crisis. Even as a kid, I realized those broadcasts were important, but I wanted to here Rob Robbins. I made the best of it.

I have been searching for the "Big KAAY Twist" for many years. My parents were not happy with the long distance phone charges I incurred trying to get one by calling Franklin 5-5311. That phone number is engraved in my brain along with Franklin 2-1090.

Would it be possible to send me an MP3 of "The Big KAAY Twist" and any early jingles? Thank you for taking the time to post all of the information. They brought back many memories.



Ron, If you will check out the "archives" over on the right, and click on "April" you will see "The Big Kay Twist". You can save the file by right clicking on the link and choose "save target as". Also, scattered through out the archives are jingles like the Pams sonovox "Big Kay".

I will mail you the 45 of "The Big KAAY Twist" if you can find the recording of the change of KTHS,(the reading of the phone book that you mentioned.

Let me make this a contest for everyone. The first person to get me a recording of the reading of the phone book change from KTHS to KAAY, will get a 45 record of "The Big KAAY Twist.

Also, it is interesting to note a listener from Chicago, since that city had two fine rock and roll stations WLS and WCFL.

The reference to the "elephant" was to tie in "Baby Elephant Walk" to the elephant symbol that was used on the early surveys (see archives for March). The elephant was a symbol of size also, so that's why it was chosen. It was dropped in later years.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Clyde Clifford in 7th St. Studio

Clyde Clifford a/k/a Dale Seidenschwarz Beaker Street

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What did you listen to KAAY on?

Maybe you listened to KAAY on a transistor radio as above. Most had a speaker and an earphone jack. Today the kids have ipods and play just the music they want. In the 60s we listened on transistor radios or on the car radio. Do you remember the sound from an older car radio? Even one with tubes. Remember the old juke boxes with tubes. Today, some of the most expensive amplifiers have TUBES. At KAAY we couldn't wait to get rid of tubes.
To hear your favorite song you just called the radio station. At night at KAAY, we had to hire a teenager to come in and answer the phone. He kept counts of what songs were requested and passed them on to the music director. A 45 record of a hit cost 99
cents. Isn't it strange, today a single downloaded from ipod cost 99 cents.(Only 88 cents from Walmart download services. ) In view of the entertainment business today, what is radio doing? Looks like to me, more consolidation. Voice tracking multiple stations from hundreds of miles away by talent who has never set foot in the city.

Thanks Doug Krile

Thanks Doug Krile for you comments on KAAY. Read it:

Christmas in August

KAAY had a contest in August (or July) probably 1964, where listeners were asked to place a sign in their yard with KAAY 1090 on it. The mobile unit and skinny Santa (played by Jim Pitcock) would drive around and award prizes to the best sign. Above you see one of the winners.

Signs showed up all over and it gave us great exposure. We all loved this promotion except for Jim. Those of you involved correct me on any of the dates or facts.

My Best Christmas Memory

It was Christmas Day and my wife and I had only been married a few months. I was doing the Emperor Holiday stick on KAAY. We decided to put on the Emperor robe and crown and my wife wore the Daphnie get up. (short cheerleading skirt and white go-go boots). We spent Christmas morning at the Arkansas Children's Hospital. Understand that every child who could possibly be sent home, was gone. The remaining children were very, very sick. They gave us so much more than we could ever give them. Through all their pain, they was excitement and joy on their faces. To this day, its one of my best Christmas memories.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

More Felix Memories...this time from David

Thank you so much for the piece on Felix McDonald on
12/23. He is just the epitome of Renaissance Man, a
wonderful, warm, down-to-earth person with a
WELL-developed sense of humor.

Felix is widely regarded as one of the most
knowledgeable engineers in the country when it comes
to RF (for the uninitiated, that's Radio Frequency
energy; the stuff that comes off big metal towers to
carry the signal to your radio and which can cook your
skin if you get too close). During his time, when
anybody had a problem with their antenna array, Felix
was the man they called.

There's a legend at KAAY concerning the time that
Felix was called to Lin Broadcasting's sister station
KILT 610 in Houston to troubleshoot their directional
array. About the time he got started down there, the
KAAY transmitter developed a problem switching from
day to night mode. It became "stuck" between the two,
taking the station off the air.

Apparently, none of the other engineers had seen this
happen before; no one knew how to fix it. Pat Walsh
chartered a plane to Houston to pick up Felix so he
could set things right again.

According to the story, Felix picked up a big wooden
stick (about the size of a boat paddle) from a rack
behind the door, walked over to the "contactor" switch
assembly that nobody else could get to move, and
struck it a mighty blow. It immediately moved into its
proper position and Walsh's money machine was back in

After that, some of the other engineers began a
protocol wherein the first order of business
concerning any balky equipment was to figure out where
to HIT it, marking the spot with a big "X."

The way I hear it, Felix is not in the best of health
these days, but he is never too busy to help young
engineers along.

My fondest memory of Felix is seeing him wearing a
pith helmet, driving a Ford tractor, towing a huge
round hay bale across the pasture that held the four
KLRA (1010, now defunct) towers. He always used these
"antenna farms" to graze his cattle!

I hope he lives a thousand years, for we will not see
the likes of him again.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ring up the Transmitter!

I was thinking today, if you can believe sometimes things got board during an airshift at KAAY especially if it was night or over night. Even during the day, sometimes you would reach down and crank the hand crank on a telephone that was direct wired to the transmitter at Wrightsville. In those days, 24 hours a day an engineer was required to be on duty. These guys were rather isolated and only able to listen to one station. Felix McDonald, the Chief Engineer lead the pack. He was with the station when it was KTHS. Felix also was one of the first players on our Komando Basketball team. (see earlier posts). I have so much respect for Felix as did Pat Walsh. Felix still does some engineering for the current owners. He also built an FM station in Little Rock and has since sold it (I believe). The above photo shows Felix standing in front of the old RCA 50,000 Watt blowtorch transmitter at Wrightsville. I can't say enough about Felix, thanks for all you have done for radio.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas from KAAY

Repeating a previous post:
Relive the Christmas season at KAAY. Here is 2 minutes of holiday cheer.
Sing along with the last cut for a happy new year.

Click Here

For some Christmas music on your computer try this: (it's not KAAY, but KUDL in Kansas City:

Click Here

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Part 2 Beaker Street Aircheck

Here is Part 2 of the Beaker Street aircheck as described in message below. Recorded off the air and is presented here for educational purposes only:

Click Here

Beaker Street Air Check

Here is the first of the airchecks referred to in the message below. As always it is recorded off the air and is provided here for educational purposes:

Click Here

Beaker Street Memories

A few reminiscences. I grew up in Evanston IL, a northern suburb of Chicago. And while the big city rockers like WLS and WCFL provided no shortage of great listening, I was an active DX-er and was fascinated by that exotic station from Little Rock that boomed in every night on 1090. What really made KAAY unique was Beaker Street, which sounded like nothing else on AM in Chicago or anywhere else. In the early 70’s, album rock and “progressive FM” was on the air locally but it lacked the mood of Beaker Street with the “Head” music bed, Clyde Clifford’s laidback style, and the blues and country-flavored music that rarely made it on the air in Chicago. It was strange and spooky, and I loved to listen to it at night as I went to bed. For a young man who was fascinated with radio and eager to work in it, Beaker Street and KAAY was radio magic for me. I occasionally airchecked KAAY and years later I was glad I did.

Here are two airchecks of Beaker Street. Both have mostly good skip reception with some fading. The first is Clyde Clifford from June 1, 1972. The music selection is tremendous, including Eric Clapton, the Grateful Dead, The Flock, Robert Johnson, Leon Russell and Judy Collins. It’s interesting to hear the spots for the New Orleans club called “A Warehouse”, with the $4 concert price tickets - imagine that!

The second aircheck is with Ken Knight, from December 1974. Note the Spanish ID and “Greetings QSL’ers”, the ad for a hard rockin’ local band, and the intro for Beaker Theater.

I’m looking to trade Beaker Street airchecks with other collectors, so feel free to email me at: click here


Note: I will be posting the airchecks later. We are working out transfering one of the checks.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Return With Us Now..........

Return with us now to the days of the AP news teletype. This was the primary source of news at most stations including KAAY. It was usually in a closet, or cabinet to muffle the sound because it was noisy. It consumed a lot of paper from fanfolded boxes. The ribbon always needed changing because no one wanted to do it. It ran 24 houra a day spewing out not only news but all kinds of features and assorted material. AP had a seperate radio wire that contained news that was written for reading on the air. Even the state AP had radio writers. When there was a bulliten, a bell would ring or an alarm would be set off. There were various stages of alerts with "Flash" being the highest degree of alerting. This was usually reserved for the death of presidents, etc.

Thanks to Jerry Sims for saving several AP wire stories on the assination of President Kennedy. Below is the PDF file that you can printout and save for the future.

Click Here

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Greg in Denver heard from!

It's alway interesting to hear from listners to KAAY's sky wave and especially when they went into radio. Here's Greg's email:

I'm a KAAY listener from the midwest back in the 60's/70's, when I grew up in Iowa and Chicago. I recently discovered your blog while researching stuff on the 'net pertaining to KAAY. It's a station that always fascinated me, especially when Beaker Street was on.

I worked in radio for more than 17 years as a jock and newsguy, and have collected several airchecks of KAAY which I would like to contribute to the site, along with my reminisinces. It's not clear to me how I can post on this blog, can you help me with that?

I currently live in Denver. You can see some of my aircheck collection on the site.

Monday, December 04, 2006

27 Minutes off the Sky Wave 1963-1971

Here is an interesting collection of short airchecks that span 1963-1971. This differs from other airchecks I have posted in that these are all off the air from the skywave. That's why the quality is not so great. Enjoy and let me hear your comments.

Click Here

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Merry Christmas from KAAY

Relive the Christmas season at KAAY. Here is 2 minutes of holiday cheer.
Sing along with the last cut for a happy new year.

Click Here

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Where were you when JFK was assassinated?

I had left KAAY studios (in Channel 11 building at that time), and was on the way to class at Little Rock University. I made a u-turn and headed back to the station where the news was flowing thick and fast. KAAY had no network affiliate at the time, but we were able to gather audio from all over. George J. Jennings, (news director at the time) was on his way to Dallas for Thanksgiving and just drove a little faster to get into the action. George started feeding stories as soon as he arrived. With all of this going on, to my knowledge no tape was saved.

Jim Pitcock wrote a JFK special about two hours, and most of the staff pitched in, with voice tracks and production. It was the best audio production I have ever been privileged to be a part of. Again, the tape has been lost.

Other stations did save tape and here are some links that might be interesting to you:"
The actual broadcast over KLIF Radio in Dallas on November
22, 1963, as
the news was breaking that President John F. Kennedy and
Texas Governor
John Connally were shot in Dealy Plaza."
A 45-minute portion of the broadcast over WFAA Radio in
Dallas on
November 23, 1963, shortly after the announcement of
President Kennedy's
death was issued."
The broadcast of humourist Jean Shepherd over WOR Radio in
New York on
November 25, 1963, discussing John F. Kennedy and his
assassination. A
very remarkable program under the circumstances.

The above from "King Daevid MacKenzie" in a comment on broadcast airchex listserv.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Those Other Hits

Thanks again to David Treadway for a great article he wrote for this blog:

Those “Other” Hits

It was a world without consultants and callout
research, devoid of the “experts” who make their
living by flitting market-to-market and taking twenty
minutes to tell Program Directors what the
“highest-testing” songs are. It was a time when Music
Directors actually called the shots about what songs
(we called ‘em records) got played on radio stations.
Before there were focus groups and number-crunching
computers, there was gut instinct. A good Music
Director could tell a hit record within the first
eight seconds of it hitting the turntable.

That’s why KAAY played so many great songs that have,
inexplicably, not made the cut for the so-called
greatest oldies of all time. Case in point: The
Uniques--on Paula Records out of Shreveport,
Louisiana, if memory serves. The first I ever heard of
them was a hard-rockin’ little number called “You
Ain’t Tuff.” You’ll not be finding this one on the
playlist of your Good Times/Great Oldies cookie-cutter
station, nor are you likely to hear the all-time slow
dance contender “All These Things.” Then there was the
good-timey, Lovin’ Spoonful-influenced “Groovin’ Out
(On Your Good, Good Lovin’)” on which lead singer Joe
Stampley took the main riff with tissue paper and
comb. I know this last part for a fact because I saw
him do it at the Malvern High School Senior Prom in

While we’re dealing with Northwest Louisiana and the
Jewel/Paula Records family, how’s about John Fred And
His Playboy Band? While you may be familiar with “Judy
In Disguise (With Glasses)”, you probably have not had
the pleasure of “Agnes English” with its gospel-tinged
backing vocals.

If you do frequent the sadly disappearing Oldies
stations, you have undoubtedly heard “Western Union”
by The Five Americans. But those stations somehow see
fit to ignore that group’s butt-rockin’ predecessor,
“I Saw The Light”

Likewise, you may just be familiar with
“I Go Crazy,” by The Buckinghams but you don’t know that Chicago’s
Buckinghams did a real good version of it and KAAY saw
fit to play it before “Kind Of A Drag” was a gleam in
anybody’s eye.

There are more groups and individuals who had some
measure of success Back In The Day, but who have
fallen into obscurity now, thanks to giant
corporations and the leeches who pass themselves off
as experts. Perhaps this piece will spark someone
else’s memories of those Other Hits and they will see
fit to write in (hint, hint).

Meanwhile, this was written with great love and
respect to the outside-the-lines memory and spirit of
The Mighty 1090 and a shout-out goes to Sonny Martin,
Jonnie King and all the other KAAY Music Directors who
made listening to the radio such an out-of-body experience!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ear On Arkansas

I've referred to "Ear On Arkansas" in some old posts and one of the Timeless Tracks has a discussion of Ear. Briefly, it was a weekly 30 minute saterical review of the news in Arkansas. This was one of the features that made KAAY unique and not just another music station. Over the years, many different individuals assumed the responsibility of putting the program together. As I listen to some of the Ear recordings, I realize how times have changed and things that were important them, can hardly be recalled. Also, in 1967 no one would have guessed that the Arkansas Gazette (the old grey lady) would cease to exist. Here are a few cuts from an album that was pressed and given away about the year 1967. There was a second album done for 1968. Listen now to about 40 minutes of Ear On Arkansas: Click Here

Saturday, November 04, 2006

"The Flying Saucer"

If you listen to the newscasts that have been featured on this blog, you understand that times were trying just as they are now. At KAAY we were always looking for the bizarre, the ridiculous and satirizing all that we could. You have seen the "Ear On Arkansas" discussions. Later, I will feature some recordings from "ear". Today, I ran across a record that the oldies stations never play even though it reached number one. And several of his succeeding records also were as big. Even in the KAAY days I don't remember playing this song as an oldie. This is a little bit of history that needs to be brought forward. Read about it and then listen to an off the air recording, for educational purposes only:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dickie Goodman (April 19, 1934 - November 6, 1989) is considered one of the earliest proponents of sampling in music, through a series of "break-in" records he created from 1956 to 1986. His first song, "The Flying Saucer," was co-written with partner Bill Buchanan, and featured a description of a news-covered invasion of earth from a Martian space ship. While Goodman asked questions of pedestrians, scientists, and even the Martian himself, their responses were "snipped" from lyrics of popular songs of the day, including tracks from Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.

Although "The Flying Saucer" became a major hit, it also landed Goodman in court for infringement of copyright - e.g. the songs he used to create his "break-in" records. The lawsuits were later settled out of court when the judge ruled that Goodman's records were burlesques and parodies, and were original creations in and among themselves.

Goodman later recorded other break-in records, usually based around a political theme, or having his reporter alter-ego interviewing Batman or Neil Armstrong. In 1975, Goodman returned to the pop charts with "Mr. Jaws," a break-in record in which he interviews several characters from the motion picture Jaws.

Goodman's singles often had instrumental numbers (in which his actual role is uncertain) as B-sides. These are not found on either his original LPs or his CD compilations.

Goodman died in 1989 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His son, Jon Goodman, continues to promote and administer his father's works. In 1998, Jon supervised the issue of Greatest Fables, the first authorised CD collection of Dickie Goodman's recordings, which included Jon's own tribute, "Return Of The Flying Saucer". (This included sound bites from The X-Files and Hanson, among others.)

Goodman also is survived by his son Jed and daughter Janie.

Goodman is recognized by Billboard Magazine as the #1 Novelty Artist of All Time.

Click Here

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More KAAY Razorback Stuff

I believe the 60s and 70s represented the greatest era of Razorback football support. Much of that excitement was created by playing Texas. In bowl games or regular schedule, the Texas conflicts represented football at its best. It was possible for a state a fraction of the size of Texas to beat them at football. George J. Jennings represented the bragging attitude of Texas that we all loved to hate. George's true feelings were not that loyal to Texas, but he knew a good stick when he saw it. This poster printed and distributed by Union National Bank shows George going into the stew pot. When nowdays, have you seen a bank producing a poster that gave great status to a radio personality.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Elegantly Appointed Blue Goose & More

From the Timeless Tracks broadcast here is a discussion of The Blue Goose and more:
Click Here

Friday, October 27, 2006


I try to keep this blog strickly KAAY material, however, I can't resist passing on some of my favorite stuff. Anyone who has ever worked in radio, has to love the old TV series WKRP. We have all worked with these characters. Here are some links to some great clips from the TV show. Especially look at the last clip. It is a great satire on the long over produced news opening:
(you'll have to cut & paste these addresses)

If you are really interested in WKRP there are dvds of the entire series available on Ebay. These are not commercial products, since it hasn't been released by the company that holds the rights. The series I bought was great quality.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Frank Broyles & NWA Airport

The following aircheck from Nov 1969 has some historical significance. It is Ron Owens A/K/A Walt Sadler (now passed away). In this aircheck Bill Edwards does the newscast. (a much lower key, simpler produced newscast than what we have featured earlier) One news story is about Frank Broyles, Razorback Football Coach pushing for a tax to build a Northwest Arkansas regional airport. Forty years later the airport has finally been built, and Frank Broyles is the AD at U of A. This aircheck was recorded off the air from the Timeless Tracks broadcast of the 40th annaversery of KAAY, and is for educational purposes only:

Click Here

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Back to the 60s

Usually I try and keep this blog as KAAY all the time. However, this site has a great retro look at the 60s. It's lengthy so be prepared to spend some time:


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Razorbacks Roll On

Continuing the history of Razorbackmania as promoted by KAAY. I need you help guys on the year this song was played. It's "The Pig" by the Pacers. J. Paul Scott wrote it and Bobby Crawford and the Pacers recorded it. Please email me the year and any other stories you may have connected with this record. Bobby and The Pacers still play dates today. As with all of the airchecks featured on this blog, it was recorded off the air and is presented here for educational purposes.
Click Here

Friday, October 20, 2006

More Air Checks 11/1/71

Here is an aircheck that starts with a short segment of Marvin Vines, Then Sonny Martin a/k/a Matt White, and George J. Jennings, a/k/a George W. Jennings.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Doc Holiday 1976

In response to Pat's question:

Greetings, Emperor, may you live a thousand years!

This is in response to Pat's email posted on 10/17,
enquiring as to which Doc Holiday was on at night in
1976. That would've been me, David B. Treadway, on my
second tour of duty at KAAY. At least I think it was
the second; things have always been a bit blurry in
the radio business. You can be here today and gone

Like Pat, KAAY was a big part of my youth. It was the
only thing happening for a teenager in the "suburbs"
of the VERY small town of Friendship, Arkansas (south
of Malvern, north of Arkadelphia, exit 83 on I-30) in
the early 1960s. From the first minute that I heard
Rock And Roll on KAAY, my consuming ambition was to
work at the Big Station in Little Rock. I saw it as my
way out of the boondocks. I would have been 25 when
Pat heard me on the air, and from what he says about
28 years in the business, that would put me eight or
nine years older than him. Give or take.

1976 was a watershed year for KAAY. In my opinion, it
marked the beginning of the long, sad decline of that
great station. Early that summer, Multimedia (who had
bought the station from Lin Broadcasting) decided to
dismiss Pat Walsh as General Manager. Operations
Manager and Program Director Wayne Moss was also
sacked at the time.

At that moment, KAAY began to lose its heritage and
its sense of connection to Little Rock and Arkansas.
We "old-timers" talked of it as the Invasion Of The
Brilliant Yankees--outsiders who had come to Podunk to
show us stupid, slow Southerners how it was done in
the Big Leagues. The latter half of 1976 was when
radio in Little Rock began to lose its soul, and I
suspect that KAAY was never again the money machine
that Pat Walsh had made it.

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.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

40 States and 19 Foreign countries

That was the claim in the early days of KAAY. Over the years we have seen that was probably understated.

Here is email from Pat about his early memories of KAAY:

I just found out about your blog featuring KAAY.
Saw it on

One of your pages listed you as "Doc Holiday". I've been searching for the guy who used that name in 1976 on KAAY. Was that you or another guy?

Back in the early 70's, I lived near Gainesville, Missouri, way back in the Ozark Mountains. The AM radio was my way of hearing about things outside those tree covered mountains -- at night the Big stations would come to us over the airwaves.

I listened to KAAY, WLAC, WLS, WOAI and others that popped up on my little radio.
The music was great for a teenager -- it rocked! I loved it.

So -- now as a radio professional of 28 years, I search for some of those things I remember from my youth. Doc Holliday was one of my favorites on the night-time and I'd like to know more about him.

Any info you could share would be appreciated.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Razorback Records on KAAY

In 1975 Tommy Riggs a/k/a Rock Robbins had left KAAY for Pine Bluff. He was Program Director and later Manager of KCLA. Pat Walsh needed a Razorback Record for the Cotton Bowl so he called Tommy to come up with a song. At the time "Convoy" by C.W. McCall had been a big hit and served as the inspiration for this song. Tommy picked a new name for himself, "T. Tommy & The Gray Ghost Crew". Greg Fadick a/k/a Hot Scott Fisher of KLAZ fame did the engineering. Recorded off the air, and for educational purposes, here is "Cotton Bowl Ambush":Click Here

KAAY control Room 1964

Jim Pitcock a/k/a Ron Owens sent this picture taken in the KAAY control room in 1964. The control room was in the Channel 11 building and had a big picture window that overlooked the Channel 11 studios. In fact, there was a small wire that came through the wall, that when pulled would rattle the lighting grid and greatly spook anyone on the air on TV. But, I digress. Right to left is Jim Pitcock, Liberty recording artist Bobby Vee (who still tours and is often in Branson) and record promoter Stan Lewis. Not to be confused with Stan Lewis of Stan's Record Shop. Liberty was a hot label at the time, as was Bobby Vee.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What KAAY meant to me

Thanks for the email from Jim relating what KAAY meant to him:

Let me first say that I listened to you as a child growing up in Rison, AR (IÂ’m not making that up) even we later worked together. As a teenager in the 60Â’s, KAAY was my link to the outside world while I grew up in rural Southeast Arkansas. It truly was as if all the popular artists of the day were performing just for me at the behest of KAAY, which seemed larger than life itself. I can remember going to the State Fair when KAAY had he booth/trailer above the Main Gate and trying to get a look at jocks as they came outside.

I can remember vividly when KAAY got the Funmobile because Sonny Martin would broadcast live from the front lawn on sunny days. He even mentioned on one of the first broadcasts that someone from the Secretary of StateÂ’s Office called to find out why the guy was out on the lawn.

From various Doc Hollidays, Buddy Karr, and George J. Jennings during the mornings, Sonny Martin in the middle of the day, Mitch McCormick in the afternoon, Tom Robbins, Johnny King, and Phil North at night, and of course Beaker Street with Clyde Clifford, my friends and I escaped our small town and traveled the world thanks to KAAY. I love the blog. Thanks for it and for great memories.


Thanks Jim for expressing what KAAY meant to you. "Larger than life" is often used in relation to KAAY. For those of us who were there, we also had that feeling. We knew what was going on was significant. It served as a creative pressure to create more than a juke box. As I have often said in this blog, it was not about the music. Sure we played rock and roll, but so did our competitors. The guys who started KAAY with something different, set a standard which all those who followed tried to live up to and surpass. Most of original guys were not there long enough to see the rating success. The comments I read from folks whose lives were changed or inspired by KAAY mean more than money or ratings. My challenge to radio stations today, are you making a difference in people's lives, or are you a juke box?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tommy Riggs a/k/a Rock Robbins

I thouight I had written about Tommy in a previous post. I went back through the archives but I didn't see it. Something is missing in the archives, like the month of May. If anyone has saved anything from May let me know.

I will write a story of Tommy at KAAY later, but I am writing this to share a link to a website that has lots of mp3 files of Tommy's songs. Click on the album covers for more songs. Also, I will be encoding the Razorback song Tommy did on the KAAY label, "Cotton Bowl Ambush", since I was thinking about all the Razorback songs.

Here is the link to the Tommy site: Click Here

50,000 Watt Hog Caller

If KAAY were a music station today, it would probably be playing a song about Mitch Mustain.

KAAY was always involved in Arkansas Razorback promotion. Many records, (45s with the big holes) had their beginnings at KAAY. In the era of payola, Pat Walsh wisely decided the station didn't need to be directly involved with the records. Also, if a Razorback song came from KAAY, other stations wouldn't play it. Enter J. Paul Scott. He wrote and produced may of the Razorback records on his labels and with his talent. Today's feature is a song about Light Hoss Harry Jones. As best I can date it. 1965. The group is The Rivermen, sounding a lot like the Kingston Trio. The flip side is "Quarterbackin' Man" which also got a lot of play. For legal purposed this was recorded off the air and is used here strickly for educational purposes.

Where are the radio stations today doing anything like this?

Here's the aircheck: Hoss Harry.wma

Thanks 2000 Visitors

Over 2000 folks have visited this blog. I thought that was great, but my daughter-in-law has over 2500 visitors to my grandson's blog.

I would especially like to get email messages that I could post on this blog, telling where you were, and what listening to KAAY meant to you at that time.

I received this email from a reader who asked for more audio of Razorback support on KAAY. That's a very good idea. KAAY was one of the best Hog cheerleaders. Bumper stickers, store signs, pep rallies, and all those Razorback records added to the Razorbackmania. I remember one Texas game where even the telephone information operators answered their calls, "Beat Texas", Information how may I help you".

Here's the letter from GH:

i came across your blogsite and very much enjoy the old days of KAAY

ray lincoln was my favorite and would enjoy hearing more of him. nostalgia is a great thing, and radio will never play the role in teens lives the way it did back those days.

i fondly remember ray lincoln (circa 1979) on the radio , with one comment i will always remember. he said " we have high inflation, rising crime rate in the US, corruption in our political leaders, hostages in Iran, and shortages at the gas stations - but in 20 yrs from now, they will call these the 'good ole' days'

do you have any airchex from the razorback promos?? always the debates with jennings . i remember lots of "beat texas" promos, etc and "calling the hogs". if you have any of these, it would be great to have this added to your site.



Sunday, October 01, 2006

More Ray Lincoln

KTHV television in Little Rock has a video clip of an interview with Ray Lincoln by Craig O'Neill in 2005. You'll notice the humor is still there even though the voice has changed.

Many thanks to Craig for this interview and all he has done to save radio history, including a feature on KAAY, sometime ago. Craig, to my knowledge, never worked at KAAY which is a shame. He is truly one of the radio personality giants in Arkansas. Maybe he will start his own blog and we can link to it.

Here is the link to the Channel 11 page:

click here

Ray Lincoln remembered

I would like to receive more comments on Ray Lincoln to post on this blog. If you have a memory of Ray Lincoln, please email me at

Paul writes:

Living in St. Louis, KAAY still reached north just before sunrise, and I remember hearing Ray in the morning in the fall of 1979, as I got ready for school, along with the ag reports. I am sorry to hear of his recent passing.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mayor Laman Loses Bet to Emperor Holiday

Emperor Holiday was always making high school football predictions. Those predictions were always based on what school would react more to the prediction. In this case, it was the Hall High vs North Little Rock High game. The Emperor predicted a Hall victory and the outcry was tremendous. The North Little Rock Mayor Casey Laman even got in the action with a wager. If North Little Rock won, Emperor Holiday would work a day for the street department. If Hall won, his Honor would do the Emperor's radio program. From the picture, you can see who won. The mayor did the three hour show, with the help of an engineer, and newsman George Jennings even calling the mayor's political opponent offering him equal time.

Jim Pitcock a/k/a Ron Owens 1963

Records! Remember what those were? Remember cueing a record. Here is Jim reaching for a cart. Remember carts. This is the KAAY control room on the second floor of the KTHV Channel 11 building. This is the original control room chair that only lasted a year or so. It was the most comfortable one we ever had. Like earphones, control room chairs only lasted a few months.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Return with us Pres. Carter, snowstorm in LR and Pryor announces for Senator

Perhaps the headline should be "Short clip of Ray Lincoln chatting with newsman Mike Mckenny". For many reasons this is a great audio sample to save. In view of Ray Lincoln's recent passing it might be good to review an AP report:

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Ray Lincoln, a longtime central Arkansas radio personality who created colorful characters to entertain listeners on their morning and afternoon drives, died Monday. He was 64.

Lincoln had a heart transplant in 2003, but his cause of death is not yet known, said his wife, Maxine Coday.

Lincoln worked at several Little Rock radio stations starting in the mid-1970s. He retired in 2000, after anchoring the afternoon drive show on KARN-AM 920.

"Ray was an enormously talented person, and he had the tremendous good fortune to get started in radio when it was still an awful lot of fun and owned by very competitive smaller companies," said Pat Lynch, who worked with Lincoln at KARN in the 1980s and '90s.

At KAAY-AM 1090 in Little Rock, Lincoln worked a morning drive show where he created alter egos like Ram Led, a west Texas cowboy, and Sport Jackson, a horse handicapper.

To me, Ray was a DJs, DJ. He was one we always tried to listen to.

Now here is the clip:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Herman's Hermits Visit KAAY

In the photo are:

In the back Herman's Hermits
Front from left to right: Ray Brown a/k/a Doc Holiday, Jerry Sims a//k/a Sonny Martin, Bob Mullins a/k/a Buddy Karr

Thanks to Jerry SIms for this photo. I don't have the date. Anyone?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

More KAAY Komandoes Basketball Team

The Komando Basketball team was a very long running promotion and we went through a lot of employees and friends to keep a team going all over Arkansas including playing the Harlem Globetrotters. Thanks to Jerry Sims we have the original press release that we will share later. Above is a picture of Emperor Holiday and Daphnie.
Daphnie was played by Barbara Lewis who was Manager Len Carl's secretary. Usually Daphnie was involved in distracting opposing team's players, coaches, or officials.
Here she is attempting a free throw.

Also above is a memo from Len Carl, typed by Barbara, showing the schedule for a couple of months in 1965. I have even forgotten where Kirby, AR is.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Day For Decision

Thanks to Jerry Sims, the Day For Decision, in its' original form is now available for you at the end of this post.

You will notice the original author and narrator are listed on the photo of the record. It all started as an editorial on WMAK, Nashville. Public reaction was fast. Soon all the Lin Broadcasting Stations were airing it. And the requests just kept coming. Please enlarge and print out the 2 publicity sheets and the sheet that was inserted with the record.

The publicity material indicates 750,000 records were sold. I'm not sure which version that figure relates to. KAAY pressed about 5000 and gave them away. The country artist Johnny Sea at some point in time, bought the publishing and all rights to the editorial and released his own version, which also had great success. If you do an internet search for "Day For Decision" you will see it credited to Johnny Sea. Johnny Sea's version is available on several internet download music services.

Someone should do a 2006 version of "Day For Decision". Where are the radio stations today that editorialize? Where are the editorials that touch the public in the way "Day For Decision" did?

Here is the original Day For Decision: For Decision.wma

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Marvin Vines KAAY's Farm Service Director

To tell the Marvin Vines story is a challenge. When listeners talk about KAAY, seldom is mentioned the farm service director. When employees of KAAY talk, he is almost always mentioned. Marvin ran his own show, brought in lots of money, and was interested and made friends of all the rock and rollers. According to the publicity sheet, (everyone had one) Marvin started with KTHS (predecessor to KAAY) in 1953. He was one of the few people and the only on the air person to make the change to KAAY.
Marvin's talent was not so much on the air, as it was driving 64,000 miles a year and speaking everywhere he could. My memory of Marvin was his terrible coffee. He arrived at the station early (like 4AM) to prepare his show. The all night jock was not interested in making coffee so the first pot of the day was made by Marvin and it was terrible. I arrived at 6 AM as Marvin was doing the farm reports. By then it was old and terrible. But Marvin was always in a good mood and even had his own contest and promotions for the farm shows.

David emailed me this memory of Marvin:
My favorite memory of Marvin was one day in the summer
of 1971, when he went to Pat Walsh proposing that no
farm-related advertising be sold on the station within
15 minutes either side of the noon farm show. This
produced a famous Walsh Tirade, which could be heard
from one end of the building to the other. It went
something like this:

"Hell, Marvin, that's THIRTY MINUTES! Thirty f******
MINUTES! Do you have any g****** IDEA how many
commercials I can sell in thirty minutes?"

I do not know the outcome of this little meeting in
the hallway. Fearing that things might get ugly, I
escaped out the back door!

Regardless of this exchange, Marvin was one of Pat's favorites. In one of Pat's last comments to me recalled Marvin's funeral:
Marvin Vines, Farm Director died in the late 70's his funeral was huge. Attended by 2 sitting U S Senators, 1 sitting Congressman, a sitting Governor and 1 past Governor as well as the Secretary of Agriculture.

Also, according to David:
I am pretty sure that Marvin was doing the farm
reports at KAAY as late as November of 1977. It was
May of 1978 when he was killed in a tractor accident.

The accident was on Marvin's farm and his tractor turned over on him.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Changes in Personnel Post

There have been corrections and additions to the KAAY Personnel Post. If you have copied it please get the revision.

Michael O'Sullivan a/k/a Bob Steel Heard From

I got a great email from Bob Steel who was the only Michael O'Sullivan KAAY ever had. As was Pat Walsh's custom as an inside joke, the actual Michael O'Sullivan was an accountant with Lin Boradcasting Corp. Along with some additional names, Bob sent a newscast with an exclusive interview with V.P. Spiro Agnew as he visited Little Rock. This is another great example of a real functioning radio news department. As you hear this great newscast you will probably be blown away with the commercial for "Black Ceasar" showing at the Capitol Theater and a couple of drive ins. Someday maybe I will tell you the story of the movie theater account at KAAY. Here is the aircheck: (For anyone who doesn't know you can save any of the audio files on this blog by right clicking on the file name and then select "save target as" and save it where you want it.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Some Early KAAY Jingles and Promos

Thanks to Jim Pitcock a/k/a Ken Khight for some early jingles and promos. The jingles
(I believe) were written by Jim Hankins a/k/a Mike McCormick and recorded in Nashville.

KAAY Personnel

I am attempting to put together a list of KAAY Personnel and dates they were at the station. I need your help in filling in the dates and other names. Later I will be adding off the air people who were often on the air as character voices or Ear On Arkansas characters. Transmitter engineers even got into the act on the Commandoes basketball team.

One of my most prized books is "Arkansas Airwaves" by Ray Poindexter. Printed in 1974 it chronicles radio stations and personalities from the beginning of radio in Arkansas.

Pat Walsh should have written this blog, because he had all the dates and people in his head. All of us got used to picking up the phone and asking Pat a simple "whatever happened to....." and getting a college education on the subject. Pat was quick to get the facts straight. I miss him everyday.

Most folks may not realize Pat was the third manager at KAAY. Tom Bishop was first, coming from KAJI. He was there only a matter of months before he was replaced by Len Carl,(Voth) who had been sent from Lin Broadcasting in Nashville, to be a salesman and keep an eye on the place. Len did it all. He of course managed, but he also sold advertising, voiced editorials and commercials (mostly he got stuck with the PIs because no one else wanted to be the voice of "20 combs for $1". He played on the Commando basketball team (in the publicity shot that follows in the Jeep roadster, (he is the only one in the Commando Basketball uniform) and managed to maintain a certain air of dignity admixed a staff of egotistical maniacs. When LIN Broadcasting bought WAND-TV in Decatur, IL he was promoted to General Manager and Pat Walsh was promoted to manager.

Please look this list over and email me additions or corrections to the dates and personnel. (

Air Name Real Name Year
KAAY Personnel

Doc Holiday Dub Murray 1962
Mike McCormick Jim Hankins 1962
Sonny Martin Wayne Moss 1962
Wayne Moss Wayne Moss 1870-1976
Buddy Karr Tom Bigby 1962
Rob Robbins Tom Campbell 1962
Ken Knight Howard Watson 1962
John K. Anderson Jack Grady 1962
George J. Jennings George W. Jennings 1962
Doc Holiday A.J. Lindsey 1963
Sonny Martin Jerry Sims
Rock Robbins Tommy Riggs
Buddy Karr Richard Weithan -Aug 1967(killed
in Nat.Guard summer
camp jeep accident)
Ron Owens Walt Sadler
Mike McCormick Barry Wood 1965-1972
B. Bruce Jenkins B. Bruce Jenkins
Ron Owens Jim Pitcock 1963-1964
Doc Holiday Ray Brown
Sonny Martin Matt White
Rob Robbins Bob Spears 1972-1976
Mich Michaels Nick Markel
Jack Lee Mike McKenny 1976-1978
Jack Lee Gary Souheaver Early 70s
Jonnie King Jim Edwards
Phil North Phillip David Rowe 1969-1972
Buddy Karr Bob Mullins
Clyde Clifford Dale Seidenschwarz 1966-1972
Doc Holiday David B. Treadway 1971-1972
David B. Treadway David B. Treadway 1983-1985
Doc Holiday Al Eisenman 1969-1970
Michael O'Sullivan Bob Steel 1972-1973
Marvin Vines Marvin Vines 1962-1978
Linda Page Linda Pasier 1976-1978

Saturday, September 16, 2006

First At :45

Thanks to Mike McKinney a/k/a Jack Lee for several airchecks. This cut is a George J. Jennings newscast from Jan. 1964. I do the commercial in the middle for Holly Ham. This is a great example of a George newscast complete with Jimmy Fiddler at the end. Is anyone doing exciting radio news today? Hearing this makes me want to shuffle through the 45s and find the fastest, hotest hit, cue it up and be ready to blow the monitor out with more muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusic!!!(See earlier discussion of Jimmy Fiddler and how we got "free" Ampexes)Even in 1964 "Hollywood" news was big. The news departmetn was never excited about Fiddler, but I'm sure he added to the adult audience.

Here's the clip:

Promotions that back fire- KAAY Flying Saucer

One of the most unusual promotional devices we had at KAAY was the Flying Saucer. I'm not sure where we got it. I think it came from KEEL when they got tired of it.
It is basically a "hovercraft". A motor is connected to a very large fan, blowing downward that provides a lift to make the saucer rise up off the ground. One person could set on a seat that covered the motor. The direction could be controlled by leaning in the direction you wanted to go. It could also be pulled by a rope. We decided it would be great to have the flying saucer in a parade since it really got attention. Jerry Sims a/k/a Sonny Martin and I had a bet and the looser would pull the winner on the flying saucer in the rodeo parade. The rodeo parade was on Main street in Little Rock and attracted lots of spectators. Unfortunately or position was behind any number of horses that had left deposits on the street. You guessed it!
The enormous wind created by the fan in the saucer blew s___ all over the spectators. The call letters were very large on the saucer and I'm sure we made an impression on the side lines. The Emperor's robe also had to go to the royal cleaners.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Problem Identified

Alert reader Paul pointed out in an email:

I thought you might want to know that I have had trouble downloading the third Timeless Tracks .wma (10 September). The clip sounds all right at first but then it sounds like it plays back at 1/2 the speed. On my end I tried it twice and it came back with the same results.

By the way, was anyone experienced at sailing that boat when it was used on the water? :-) If not, if they ever used that boat at a flea market, they could have renamed the event a "yard sail!" Thank you--I'll be here all week--tip the waiter on your way out.....

Thanks Paul, I have never seen an audio file do that. I have reposted the file and if you go to the entry entitled "More Timeless Tracks...etc" it should play correctly.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Another KAAY Silver Dollar Survey

Thanks to Jerry Sims, this is one of the earliest music surveys I've seen. It is dated Jan. 63 and the jock pictures show the original jock lineup that signed on KAAY. Also note the story of the newsmen on the back. John K. Anderson and George J. Jennings pictures side by side and a story about them.

For those of you not old enough to remember, top 40 stations usually put out a weekly music survey. In afternoon drive, KAAY did a countdown of the top 10 songs. In those days it was a big deal what was number one. Collecting radio station music surveys has become a hobby for many and ever once and a while, a KAAY survey turns up on Ebay. They often sell for $15 or $20. I still remember the huge file folder we had of all the surveys. Wonder whatever happened to that file and what it would be worth today. It's sad that the printed music survey has disappeared from today's radio scene. This is the largest picture I could post or blogger. Try saving the picture and enlarge and print it out for a nice copy. If would like the original scan, just email me.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Whatever Floats Your Boat: Sonny Martin a/k/a Jerry Sims

For several years in the 60s, KAAY put a DJ to live above the entrance to the Arkansas Livestock Show and Rodeo. This was great state wide exposure and contact with the public. As the cowboy Doc Holiday, I lived for a week in a small prefab house atop the entrance. The next year, wanting to share the experience with others, a bet was made with Jerry/Sonny. It was all done so that Sonny could loose and spend the week in a sailboat housted above the main gate. I forget why a sailboat was used and don't remember how or where we got it. Jerry indicates a high wind one evening almost put an end to the fun. Until you've been there you have no idea of how late the rodeo and fair folks stay up. Then there is the all night nationwide audience of KAAY to keep you up. There is nothing like the personal contact even if it is constant. KAAY was always out there in front of people. It might be the Gould Turtle Derby, or the Grady Catfish Fry, or the Gilette Coon Supper. If there weren't enough real events, we made them up. The Eggplant that Ate Chicago and came to Little Rock movie, or the Cow Chip Throwing Contest, etc, etc. The more outragious the better.
Radio just isn't FUN anymore.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Stan's Record Shop

In all the discussion and retro news pieces on KAAY, very little is ever mentioned about Stan's Record Shop that ran 11:00-12:00 PM nightly. Stan bought the hour and we played his music. I still remember the address: 728 Texas Street, Shreveport LA.
If you worked the 6-midnight shift, you got to do Stan's Record Shop. Here's a little history of Stan I found on the net:

About Stan Lewis & Jewel-Paula Records

Stan Lewis opened his first record store on June 22, 1948, with money he saved from selling newspapers. At twenty years old, he became a music industry pioneer by setting up a national independent distribution network and sponsoring radio shows on clear channel stations KWKH in Shreveport and KAAY in Little Rock, covering most of the country and advertising his records through mail order. Stan "the Record Man" quickly became friends with the early entrepreneurs of R&B and rock & roll: Leonard and Phil Chess, the Bihari Brothers, Sam Phillips and his brothers. In addition to sales and distribution, Lewis also had an ear for talent and the ability to shape hits. In 1963, Lewis started Jewel Records and later Paula and Ronn Records. He also acquired a large collection of Chicago Blues material, including recordings released on the Cobra, Chief, Artistic, JOB and USA labels.

From the humblest of beginnings in a record store no larger than the size of a closet, Stan Lewis became the South's largest independent record distributor -- and Jewel Records became a leading independent label with dozens of national hits on the R&B and pop charts

I had to do a little editing on the above because "clear channel" was capitalized and I wouldn't want anyone to confuse the expression with today's large group owner.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

More from Timeless Tracks: Buddy Karr aircheck, Comments about Ear on Arkansas, and Buddy Deane

Here is a segment from Timeless Tracks and discussed below. Be sure and save any and all of the audio files you want. If you are new to the blog, checkout the archives, and save all you want.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Jack Lee Heard From

My name is Mike McKinney and I learned of your KAAY blog the other day from Bill Sadler (ASP and before that - KARK). I worked in news at KAAY back in 76 thru 78 with Nick Markel (Mitch Michaels) and djs like Bob Spears (Bob Robbins) and others.

From his email: I wish the present owners of KAAY would drop the call letters. Then maybe XM Radio's 60s on 6 would do a Friday afternoon re-enactment of the old KAAY like they do so many other old classic AM stations from the 1960s.

Thanks Mike for you comments and Mike has offered to share some recordings which I will share with all of you on the blog. Bob Spears (Rob Robbins) deserves a feature story on this blog, but I don't feel qualified to write it. Will someone step up and do a story on Bob for this blog?

I will try to do something on Matt White (Sonny Martin) who you have probably already heard on the "Timeless Tracks" audio clip. Knowing Matt, he may beat me to it and write his own, which would be great with me.

Concerning Mike's comments about XM and current owners of KAAY. First, I appreciate current KAAY attempt at broadcasting some of the old KAAY sound. However, the few shows I have heard seem to have mostly been about the music. With the exception of "Beaker Street" KAYO was never about the music.

I was a very early subscriber to XM, having heard raves from other past djs. I really enjoy what they do. They are almost like a super 50,000 watt station with lots of formats. It's a shame they don't go the extra programming step that creates loyal listeners as in the "old days". If they did some contests, local appearances, and create a following, Howard Stern wouldn't have a chance. Sometime look at their stockholder's report under a figure called "listener acquisition cost". Think what they could do if this were spent in contests and building a loyalty.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Update of Phil North

Thanks to David for an update on Phil North. His email message follows:
Greetings, Majesty!

First off, how wonderful to hear from the Mighty
Jennings. Outside of Pat Walsh, he was the scariest,
most intimidating individual in the building at 1425
W. 7th Street. And, like Walsh, he had much to teach
anyone who was willing to pay attention.

Now, as to Chris's inquiry about Phil North: I don't
have a lot to offer except for a few places that he
went after KAAY. The first was WDRQ in Detroit, I
believe. This would have been late '72 or early '73
and Jonnie King (Jim Edwards) would have gone at the
same time.

From there, it was on to XEROK (uncertain of the
actual call letters), a high powered Mexican station
down in the 800 kc range with studios in El Paso.

After that, he was at KRBE in Houston for a rather
long time. He did a lot of production there (he was/is
a master at it) and took the air name Eric Chase.

I have seen or heard from him him maybe three times
since he left Little Rock, the latest being around
1993. At that time, he was working for the ad agency
that handled Sam's Town Casino in Mississippi. He
could be heard doing voiceovers on their TV spots.
Where he is now, I have no idea.

I will always be grateful to Phil/Eric/Rico for
getting me in the door at the tail end of KAAY and for
teaching me every dang thing he KNEW about audio
production. I hope he sees this and knows that I am
ALWAYS his friend!


Monday, September 04, 2006

Whatever Happened to Little Johnny Garner?

This picture is some kind of a drawing for a contest at a movie theater. In all the discussion of previous jocks, we haven't mentioned "Little Johnny Garner". I don't remember his air name, or what happened to him. I do remember he was the most nervous person I have ever met. Right behind John is Bob Mullins who was the 2nd Buddy Karr. He left the station and returned as many jocks did. I would be happy to post more discussion or updates on these guys. The lady in the picture holding the drawing basket is Sue Baber who was the executive secretary to the manager. I believe she was one of the few KTHS employees who made the transition to KAAY. I understand Sue passed away. I always felt she just tollerated us rock and rollers, and was always amused by what was going on.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

George J. Jennings tells how he came to KAAY

The following is George's recount of how he came to KAAY and where the "J." came from. His real name is George W. Jennings. A publicity photo of George appears on down in this blog.

In the summer of 1962, I was a disc jockey at WRR in Dallas. All of a sudden on a Sunday afternoon there was a pounding on the back door of the station. It was a person named Jack Grady who was looking for a friend of his who allegedly worked at the station. I let him in and he came into the booth where I was playing records and sat for about three hours, while he waited for his friend to show up. Grady was between planes at Love field and had nothing else to do. During that time I did several rip and read newscasts. Grady left about 6 PM and I thought I would never hear from him again. About 2 weeks later, I heard from Grady. He had heard my newscasts and thought I would be perfect for a station signing on in Arkansas. On a whim, I took my wife, infant son, and cat, and drove 300 miles to Little Rock. I had no idea what a newsman does. When the station signed on as KAAY, it was distinguished by playing "Baby Elephant Walk" and reading the Little Rock telephone directory 24 hours a day. We would say things like, "The friendly giant welcomes Mr. and Mrs. Jack Jones of 123 Apple Street to the land of KAAY. During this time I rip and read newscasts. After about a week, I started trying to figure out what a newsman was suposeded to be and started actually covering things. For the first two months Grady was news director but he left to pursue "other interests". At that time, the disc jockeys used all fake names. During the entire time I was at the station, I used my own name, except for the J. initial that was inserted in the middle. It finally became a situation, where I was inserted in the morning program with a number of Sonny Martins or Emperor Holiday,adding wit and humor or setups for the DJ to play off of. That was the entire pattern for my stay until 1974. Through a pattern of attrition I became news director, operations manager plus salesman at KAAY. I eventually had another newsman working with me, and over the period, I became a fair newsman, so much so that I was able to become news director for such stations as WOAI, San Antonio, and WFAA in Dallas, with stops in New Orleans, Louisville, Minnapolis. KAAY was for me a testing ground, where I learned what I needed to. I am still in contact with Grady and I curse him every time I speak to him. I am now retired in San Antonio and have nothing to do with radio except for constant listening to old time radio shows.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

KAAY's Sonny Martin Heard From...Jerry Sims

Well, one of four (I think there were's easy to lose count). Jerry Sims was Sonny Martin between Wayne Moss and Matt White. Wayne was the first. Jerry was at KXLR prior to KAAY. Jerry was involved with lots of stunts which we will share later and was one of the few serious basketball players on the Komando basketball team. Jerry is now media director for Hank's Finnnnnnnnnnnne Furniture and we can thank him for all those TV placements. Jerry writes: I
enjoyed the pictures of you and Barbara and the car pushing
shot. Richard spelled his name Wiethan and, as you probably
know, he was a newsman then and became Buddy Carr after Bob
Mullins left.
Thanks for the "Weithan" spelling correction. I knew it was wrong when I typed it, but I knew the phonetic spelling would bring out the correct one. Even though Richard was with us a short time, anyone who worked with him will always remember him.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Whatever Happened to KAAY's Phil North?

My computer crashed and has slowed my posting. I'll try to catch up.
Chris sent me an email as follows:

writing to say thanks
for taking the time to establish the site and contribute so
many nice
to it.
I grew up in Fordyce and remember listening to Sonny and
GJJ getting ready
for school. Graduated FHS in '72. The old 'breakfast
serials" were great
can just hear Sonny saying " . . . welllllllllll" when the
plot would
change and leave
the listener hanging 'till next time". I had an
opportunity to visit the
Big K studios
when Sonny and GJJ were on the air! What a pair those two
were. I'm
wondering -
whatever happened to Phil North? As I understand it, he
left for Detroit
in the early 70's. Wonder if he is retired now or just
what he is doing?
He did the
8-11pm slot as I recall.
So - thanks again. Just wanted to send you a quick note


Anyone know? If so, email me at

Saturday, August 26, 2006

George J. Jennings & Sonny Martin Remember

From the program "Timeless Tracks" explained below, George And Sonny remember some KAAY experiences: Tracks edit2.wma

Friday, August 25, 2006

From the "Timeless Tracks" KAAY 40th Anna. Pgm

Tony Warner currently does a radio program called "Timeless Tracks". Even though this is a music program, Tony has done more to preserve radio history, than anyone I know. He has even written a book on Buddy Deane, of Baltimore radio fame. (If you have any interest in the book contact Tony at Tony's show can be heard online at: or on the air: KOLL 106.3 (Little Rock AR vicinity)6-11 PM Sundays.

Tony did a 5 hour "TImeless Tracks" broadcast on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of KAAY. The following 8 minute clip tells of the sign on of KAAY, the consistent DJ name structure, and a rare radio appearance of long time KAAY manager Pat Walsh. Pat did appear on KAAY occasionally but it was only to do a mobile unit follow contest which he really enjoyed doing. This recording is very significant, do to the recent loss of Pat Walsh.
: Tracks edit1.mp3

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Emperor Holiday & Daphne

Remember the cast of characters for the Emperor bit? There was Col. Splendid, Daphne, & Lt. Cavendish. In each market the comedy material was the same, just the Emperor's name changed. Lt. Cavendish was the foil of many of the jokes. Daphne was the bright, sexy, one. When we made personal appearances we had staff members who often played the parts.

In the fall, Emperor Holiday made football predictions. Mostly local high school teams. However, what the public didn't know was that these predictions were made based on how we could get the most reaction. For example, Hall Hi was in Little Rock and always had a good football team in those days. North Little Rock Hi was across the river and had great school spirit. We felt we could get far more reaction by predicting NLR to loose. We appeared at the NLR pep rally and at the game, spent most of the time on the NLR side. We were booed, pelted with drinks etc. The Mayor of North Little Rock even entered into a wager. If NLR won, Emperor Holdiay would spend a day working for the street department. If Hall won, Mayor Casey Laymen would do the Emperor's radio show. NLR won and the Mayor did 3 hilarious hours.

Finally the story behind the picture. Emperor and Daphne cool it on the side lines. Daphne was played by Barbara Lewis the manager of the KAAY's secretary. She also did cheerleading for the Commando's Basketball team. Barbara was a great team player, and a good friend.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Those Wonderful RCA Microphones

These pictures are a before and after KAAY.On the top, I was in high school and working at KBBA, Benton AR, my first radio job when this picture was taken with a wonderful RCA BX-44 that could make even a teenager sound good. The left picture was taken a few years ago with an RCA 77D. The best mike ever. I still use it to this day.

KAAY used RCAs extensively. Mainly because they were there from KTHS. We also had a lot of Ampexes. A few from KTHS but we got several in a bonus deal from Jimmy Fidler.

Remember "Jimmy Fidler in Hollywood reporting for KAAY". When you signed a contract with him, you got a free Ampex. More on Jimmy later and an air check for those who don"t remember.

All this was prompted by an email from David:


I was told some years back that Jerry Sims was a Sonny
Martin. I do not know this for sure, but I seem to
remember the voice appearing under that name. This
would have been prior to the time when the RCA 77DX
ribbon mic in the control room was replaced by the
Electro-Voice 667 (or perhaps the short-lived 666

I always wondered why the voices on KAAY sounded so
large, even the higher-pitched ones. It was that RCA
ribbon mic!


Monday, August 21, 2006

Corrected Air Check

You log visitors are on the ball. Paul wrote: The other day, I downloaded the .wma of the Jennings blog, and found out that the file gets corrupt at around 15 minutes and stops playing. I just tried downloading it again, and it did the same thing.

Very alert Paul, the file should have been 32 min 19 sec. Part of the problem I am having is webspace to hold the tiles. That space filled up and wouldn't take the whole file. I reencoded it to a slower bit rate and a smaller file. It is now all there but the quality is not great. All this discussion about the air check link under George J. Jennings.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Jingle Post Vanished

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about jingles. For some reason it seemed to disappear from the blog. I have no record (or memory) for that matter of what I said. It was discovered missing, while I was checking the files that are used to link the audio downloads. There was the huge audio file and nothing on the blog linking to it. If anyone remembers what I said let me know and I'll try to reconstruct it. The audio is KAAY jingles from several years and several different companies. I am reposting it for any of you who would like to copy and save it.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I Need Your Help

I need your help with the air names for a couple of people in this picture. It was a publicity photo, but I forgot why we were taking it. If anyone remembers email me.
From left to right: B. Bruce Jenkins, Howard Watson, Bertha Sims, Jerry Sims, Sammy Peters, Len Carl, Richard Weetan, Emperor Holiday, Barbara Lewis and Bob Mullins.

Does anyone know the "on the air names" for Jerry Sims, and Sammy Peters?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

George J. Jennings

George J. Jennings was the first newsman at KAAY. He was actually at KAAY twice. When he came back, he made the news position more than a news reader. Along with Sonny Martin he wes a co-host of the morning show. Later, George became Operations Director. He lives in San Antonio with his wife Nancy. I've ask George to write some history notes for us, but until he does enjoy an aircheck of Geeorge and Sonny as they play a KLIF aircheck and discuss a nude Cosmopolition photo spread.
: 4-17-1972.wma

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Car an Hour

Continuing the contests memories. KAAY signed on September (Labor Day weekend as I remember.) 1962. I was Program Director at KXLR. With KAAY, a total of four stations in the market were top 40. We had heard on the street, that KAAY was going to give away a car. So, we got our crack sales department to go out and trade out a car to give away. KAAY's contest was to give away a car a day for a month and ended the promotion with a car an hour for 24 hours. Mike McCormick (PD at the time) always thought big even for 1962. The run of the mill contests, the news tip,etc. were usually small dollars. Mike D. remembers:

I love listening to old airchecks where the prize is something like a dollar
and a half. They'd give the winner's name and street address out on the air.
Sometimes their phone number. In the '60s they used to have contests where
the object was to go knock on people's doors looking for something or asking
if this was the secret house. You'd get shot today. The "Mr. Whisper"
contests were popular too, or guess the record played at a different speed.
Sometimes they'd give way the entire Top 40 of that week on 45s. That must
have set the stations back a bundle.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Never the 91 caller!

Contests and promotions were contributing factors to the success of KAAY. There were always several contests going at once. A variety of contests with different ways to enter, were key factors. In those days, many of the proof of listeners was from the mail that was received from across the country.

One contest I found a picture to support was the "Christmas in August" contest. I don't even remember the details, perhaps one of you can refresh my memory. I know it involved Jim Pitcock whose air name was Ron Owens (I think). We thought it was so funny to dress skinny Jim in a Santa suit with NO padding and drive him around in a convertible in the heat of an Arkansas August.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


An emailer asked: Did you ever see the gravestone of little
Glaspie Dillard out under the west tower?

I've been to the transmitter site many times and have never heard this one.

Anyone out there have more details?

Ghost at the Wrightsville Transmitter

As you have seen in previous posts the transmitter for KAAY was in Wrightsville, AR (south of Little Rock) and Clyde Clifford's real name is Dale Sidenswartz. (the name Clyde Clifford came from the comptroller of Lin Broadcasting. Pat Walsh delighted in naming air personalities after Lin corporate types). With all this in mind here is a post from Bill S. shedding some light on the story:

Several years ago, I asked Dale Sidenswartz about the rumors I had heard like you of the Mighty 1090 transmitter building being haunted.

While I don’t recall the entire story, Dale did confirm that in his late nights at the transmitter as he kept the Beaker Street alive, there was on more than one occasion some unusual occurrences, if not, ghostly spirits, moving through the inside of the transmitter building. Never did he mention anything about a gravestone.

In 1969, as a teenager, having visited the Wrightsville three towers site during a tour of the grounds and building by Felix McDonald, I never noticed a grave marker.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Answer to Paul's Question

Thanks to David for the answer to Paul's question:

"House Of The Rising Sun" to
which Paul refers was done by a group called Frijid
Pink (I think that's the proper spelling). They had
maybe two albums on Parrot Records, a subsidiary of

David also raises questions about the haunting of two
studio locations and the grave stone under one of the
towers. I'll have to research that one. If anyone has
any experiences with this, please email me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Beaker Street & KAAY

Any discussion of KAAY usually comes around to "Beaker Street". Here from a newspaper article are Clyde Clifford's (a/k/a Dale Sidenswartz) own words:

But the audience was enormous back in 1966, when Clyde Clifford got the job of hosting KAAY’s “Beaker Street” because the Federal Communications Commission required an engineer to be on duty at the transmitter.
“I was out there at the transmitter anyway,” he said.
The eerie background music of “Beaker Street” was used to mask the hum of the machinery since the show didn’t broadcast from a conventional studio.
“We wanted it to sound really trippy,” Clifford said.
Despite being in the center of the country, as far away from the recording centers of the East and West Coasts as it was possible to be, KAAY was bringing groundbreaking music to the heartland.
“I knew there was a lot of stuff we were doing that no one else was doing — that we were ‘out there,’” Clifford said of KAAY. “We were rocking, but we weren’t really a rock station. Some country would slip in, some soul would slip in, even some jazz would slip in. Nothing extreme, but not a strict format. We even aired farm markets.”
The advent of FM radio saw improved sound and steady — although less far-reaching — signals. Rock-formatted stations migrated to FM, a change Clifford calls “hard to explain. There was just change in the air at that time. It was like the change from spring to summer — you didn’t really notice.”
Clifford himself moved to FM in 1974 — to Little Rock’s KLAZ, 98.5 — and “Beaker Street” was abandoned.
The legend of KAAY and the prog-rock show only increased as KAAY finally “went pure religious” in the 1980s. There was a celebratory last day of broadcasting in the original format with original staff, culminating with the return of Clifford to do a final broadcast of “Beaker Street” on KAAY.
“I thought that was the last radio I’d ever do,” Clifford said.
Improbably, in the late 1980s, “Beaker Street” was resurrected on FM and again on Sunday nights. Now, Little Rock’s classic rock stalwart Magic 105 has aired Clifford’s “Beaker Street” longer than the original lasted on KAAY.
A block of religious programming airing earlier on Sundays helped pay for the airtime of “Beaker Street” on KAAY during the hippie prog-rock show’s initial run. Meanwhile, “the Mighty 1090” itself has exclusively broadcast Christian sermons since the 1980s. KAAY still carries on in its storied call letter form — and its storied power.
“It was a great time to be in radio,” Clifford said of KAAY’s heyday. “It was a great time to be in Little Rock.”

I received this email from Paul regarding "Beaker Street"
The one thing I am curious about is the version of "House Of The Rising Sun" that was used. This opening theme was used since at least 1973, and the whole song was usually played. Unfortunately, when I recorded it, it was not, and as an 11 year old, I stopped the tape. I wonder if anyone recognizes this version of the song. The only other time I heard this version was on an episode of the old NBC "Weekend" show during a feature on competitive frisbee throwing....

Here is the opening Paul recorded:

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pat Walsh & Bumper Stickers

Several times in this blog I have made reference to Pat Walsh, long time manager of KAAY, who has passed on. One of the great tributes to Pat was an editorial cartoon in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Anyone who knew Pat, knew his love for the Razorbacks. This was often translated into a promotional bumper sticker for KAAY and the Razorbacks.

This is just one of dozens of Razorback bumper stickers. (For those of you much younger, in the 60s and 70s it was almost a requirement to have a bumper sticker of some type on your car.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Where did you hear KAAY?

Naturally I was always interested in where people were when they were listening to KAAY. One evening we were shocked with a record request from a part of the world where we knew we shouldn't be heard. After closer questioning, the caller revealed he was listening on an Air Force line that had KAAY patched into it.

Here is another email comment I received: Living on the West Coast, I wasn't able to hear KAAY due to co-channel interference from XERB in Mexico. My first impressions of the station were from bits and pieces recorded by a friend traveling along I-10 from Arizona to Florida, probably around 1971. That friend later worked at a station in Tulsa and would record stations he was hearing from that location during the night. Of course, KAAY was one of the stronger signals. He'd record a bit of KAAY before moving on to lesser signl stations he was hearing such as WING in Dayton, some of the Kansas City stations, and whatever else he was receiving. At the time, KAAY was using the PAMS Series 42 "The Igniters" jingle package.

In September of 1973, I had an opportunity to travel to Tulsa to visit relatives and took time out in the evenings to listen to KAAY which I thought had a great format at the time and was using the PAMS Series 44 "The Music's On Us" jingle package. As mentioned by another poster, I also remember quite well hearing the 8:00 pm station ID "Greetings QSLers..."

The airchecks, jingles and other audio you're posting on this site is great! Brings back a lot of memories of what radio was like back in the good old days of radio when clear channel stations actually meant a clear signal.

Hope you can keep up the fantastic job on this blog.


Today's download is 20 minutes of KAAY jingles. I love the old style jingles that built a station image not just bridged songs together. This covers a wide span of years and includes several companies including Pams and the great sonovox cuts. The quality is not the best coming from carts and dubbed to cassette before being digitalized. I have some better quality cuts of some of these jingles but this represents many together. Enjoy:

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Thanks & Another Air Check Gem

If it is easier to email me than to post a comment please do so at I received the following email comment:
For the record, I am 41, and first discovered KAAY as a seven-year old in 1972.

KAAY was a great, great radio station. It didn't have a strict "Top-40" sound, the way stations like WLS, CKLW, WCFL, or XEROK had. The station played the hits, and played mid-chart hits that other stations (at least any other 50 kW blowtorches) didn't touch. The jingles, the personalities, and songs all combined to create something that was truly magical.

Listening to airchecks of the station is like having a ice-cold 41 degree Coke on a summer afternoon (and I really enjoyed the Walt Sadler aircheck offered here). KAAY offered Southern hospitality in radio form.

When KAAY would reach into St. Louis through skywave, I usually heard religious programming (typically Garner Ted Armstrong), which I didn't care for, but now understand kept the bills paid. Then at 8 PM, heard "Greetings QSL'ers, this is KAAY Little Rock" kicking off the hour with music.

I also remember "Beakerstreet" which came on at 11 PM. By the time I started listening to the station, Clyde Clifford was gone, but the show remained on the air until 1977. It was not a show I listened to as a kid, but through airchecks and Clyde's current show, grew to really enjoy. Programs like "Beakerstreet" added a certain mystique to the station, and gave KAAY a certain degree of credibility to my friends who didn't care for Top-40 music, and were listening to Album-Rock radio instead.

Even later on, shows like "Blues Alley" had KAAY stand apart from other stations on the dial.

If Doc Brown's modified DeLorean really existed, I'd set the dials at some point in the early 1970's, drive 88 M.P.H. and put 1090 kHz on the presets and hang out there for a while. And I'd bring a tape recorder/hard drive and bring it back!

Best Wishes/73


Thanks Paul, and here is an air check of the second Buddy Karr, Bob Mullins. I also show up this aircheck reading the "Bannerline news" as Doc Holiday. News was not my favorite, but working the 6-midnight shift you did what was necessary. Notice in the background after the record as Buddy starts to talk, a KAAY jingle is playing softly behind him. This was a requirement of the program director Mike McCormick. The jingle was on a cart machine in a rack out of the way and no one was to touch it. A remote button, under the console was pushed as the jock started to talk. I saved nothing air check wise during the two different times I worked at KAAY.I am always happy to find anything from this era. The air check was made in October of 1963. Bob Mullins also worked for the Big Kay twice and did George J. Jennings.
Enjoy the air check by clicking on this link:

Friday, August 04, 2006

KAAY's 1st Program Director Mike McCormick

Mike McCormick a/k/a Jim Hankins, as mentioned previously, created the original sound of KAAY. He did the 9-12 AM shift. Here is his bio from 9/27/62. Click on it and then use the enlarge button to read:

Now hear Mike and some of the early KAAY production with some of his "seasonal" promos: Here is the link:

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The First Buddy Karr a/k/a Tom Bigby

If you click on the above and then the enlarge button, it should be ledgible.

In the original lineup of jocks that signed on KAAY, Tom Bigby was Buddy Karr. He did afternoon drive.

Now hear a short aircheck of Buddy: Karr.mp3

Rock Robbins a/k/a Tommy Riggs 6/15/43-6/29/00

Tommy came to KAAY 8PM to midnight to do something different for the nighttime. Tommy was a DJ but more important, he played piano by ear. If you could hum it, Tommy could play it. We put a small electronic piano on top of the console, and Tommy would play and sing short bits as he was inspired to do. Additionally Tommy created many songs and material for "Ear On Arkansas" (a 30 minute saterical view of the news airing on Sunday). I remember often at 2 AM being 15 minutes short of a finished program and calling Tommy who would come to the station and fill the void with great stuff.

Tommy's passion was live entertainment. Even though he left KAAY to do more with his band, he did go to Pine Bluff, AR to be program director and eventually manager of KCLA.

Tommy was living in Nashville at the time of his death and was remembered there as well as back home in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, saw fit to remember him in a lengthy obit subtitled "Singer, Songwriter, ŒProm King.' " The article recalled how the North Little Rock native gained local fame as the "Prom King" for performing at high school proms throughout central Arkansas. He earned a larger following in the '60s and '70s as Rock Robbins, a rock deejay on the high-powered Little Rock station KAAY-AM, which could be heard from Canada to Cuba.

A Nashville paper had this to say: Tommy Riggs (Tom Payton) is an Arkansan singer, piano and keyboard player who had several bands while performing around the state in the 1960s and 1970s. He also was working as a radio DJ (as Tom Jones) at the time, on KCLA, during 1968 through 69 &As Tom Payton on KXLR in North Little Rock in 1964, and in 1966 at KAAY]]. During this period, he promoted himself as Tom Payton and the Kingpins, Tom Payton with The Playboys, and several other names. He recorded while he was Rock Robbins from KAAY on the Little Rock label "MY Records" in 1966. Two songs from the session were released on a 45 rpm record, "My Little Girl" and "Good Lovin'"... The other songs and all tape masters are in private hands. Promoting himself as Tommy Riggs, he performed around the country From St. Louis to Las Vegas before settling down in Nashville, Tennessee and frequently playing at the Stockyards Lounge

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Emperor Record

As the Emperor Holiday promotion got into gear, promotional material begain to roll. This is a 45 record (remember those) recorded by a local band in the conference room of KTHV. The records were all given away,probably a pressing of 5000. If you want to save this or any of the audio clips just right click on the link, select "save target as" and save it on your computer where you want it.

Here is the link: Holiday.mp3