Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Big KAAY Twist

One of the early promotional 45 record give-a-ways at the Mighty Ten Ninety was "The Big KAAY Twist". Originally it was a jingle produced in Nashville. The full version on the record runs 1:30. As good as any of the twist records out at the time, the thousand or so pressings were quickly given away. This would be a great find if you could turn one up today. I have seen one go on Ebay for $30.00. You can have it free! Here it is:

Friday, April 07, 2006

Lin Broadcasting the parent company of KAAY, bought 2 full pages in SRDS to announce the birth of KAAY. One page was full color. I'm sure this was a very expensive purchase, since I don't remember many (if any) full page ads, let alone color. A side note: the letters LIN in LIN Broadcasting stood for Louisville, Indianapolis, and Nashville. Those were the markets in which they intended to establish stations. Even though LIN went on to own TV stations, Cell service, and other radio markets, Indianapolis was never one of their markets. Nashville was the first station. Fred Gregg was the President of LIN Broadcasting. Here's the ads:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

KAAY is often remembered for the music. As many radio people listen to the old air checks they always remark about the music policy. The music was not KAAY's strength. It was the unique combination of music, news, contests, promos, jingles, DJs, and commercials. In those days a broadcast hour usually contained far less that 30 minutes of music. Never were two songs segued together. Our highest rated hours often contained more that 18 commercial minutes.
News was a critical part of KAAY. There was always a news director and a newsman. The original format called for the five minute newscast to be "1st at 45". Bannerlines were at :15. Later I will be posting a sample newscast, but today is the news intro jingle without the big into voice of Tom Perryman. A lot of people never understood the expression "COMEX News". COMEX was an abrivation for Communications Exchange, the name for the newsroom. It's just the singers and music, so jump in there and be newsman of the day as you listen to:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Jingles were a critical part of the Friendly Giant's sucess. Early on after the change to top 40 and the call letter change from KTHS to KAAY, then program director Mike McCormick (Jim Hankins) had a seperate cart machine in the rack away from everyone with one cart in it that just had a very low level jingle "K A A Y, One Oh Nine Oh" repeating and fading out quickly. The jock, coming out of every record, hit a button below the console that started that jingle in the background. He then went on with the next element as though the jingle wasnt even there. This went on for months, but I have never heard an aircheck with this in it. Today's treat is jingle from a much later period when KAAY could afford Pams jingles. This is one of the Big K sonovox jingles.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Today is a very rare audio treat. It is a jock promo that features the voices of the original DJ's that started when KAAY went on the air. As many know, KAAY used a set of disc jockey names that seldom changed. The person may have changed several times, i.e. there were three Doc Holidays. Sometimes the names were retired. The next generation of names were usually an inside joke. Clyde Clifford of Beaker Street fame, was named after the corporate controller of LIN broadcasting. These names were usually the doings of manager Pat Walsh. Notice especially the writing. Anyone who knows Mike McCormick (Jim Hankins) will recognize the style. He was the first program director for the Mighty 1090 and would write a 2 minute promo extolling the virtures of spring. He would write a promo for each season. More on McCormick's original ideas later. For now enjoy this promo and see if you can identify the real names of the voices you will hear. Here is the link

Saturday, April 01, 2006

KAAY History

Pat Walsh bought a history of KAAY/KTHS, when KAAY was in the 7th street studios. There are a few inaccuracies but the early history is valuable to preserve and pass along.

K AA Y for Pat Wa1sh Jr.
The New Arlington Hotel Company of Hot Springs, Arkansas applied for authorization to construct and operate a new broadcast station at Hot Springs National Park in the summer of 1924. The hotel building was constructed in mid-1924 with space and facilities built-in for the proposed station. Two steel windmill towers, one 150 feet and the other 125 feet in height, were erected atop the building, with the forward tower at the midway point between the east and west towers of the hotel structure. On December 19, 1924, the New Arlington Hotel, Central Avenue and Fountain Street, Hot Springs, was granted authority to operate; issued a "Class B" broadcast license; and assigned ca11 letters KTHS by the Radio Division of the Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce.
Broadcasts began on Saturday, December 20, 1924 with an inaugural program heard at 8:30 p. m., originating from the New Arlington ballroom. First test broadcasts were conducted on December 11th, prior to licensing. KTHS was assigned a wavelength of 375 meters (equal to 800 kilocycles) with 500 watts, using a new Western Electric trans­mitter, which was installed in the "operating room" on the 12th floor. Main studios were installed in the west tower of the New Arlington Hotel building. Cambel1 Arnoux (pronounced Are-new), formerly of Fort Worth, Texas' WBAP, was KTHS's first Director, announcer, and technical operator. Mr. Arnoux had earlier broadcast "remote controls" from Hot Springs over WBAP, and it was he who sold the New Arlington Hotel owners on the idea of installing their own broadcasting station, in March of 1924. Mr. Arnoux left the WBAP staff in October 1924 to assist in getting KTHS on the air. The call letters represented the slogan "Kume To Hot Springs". The new building was first opened for hotel guests on January 1, 1925.
On April 8, 1925, KTHS began sharing the 800 kilocycle channel with KFRU of Bristow, Oklahoma. KTHS was shut down for overhauling and technical renovations from July 5th to August 2nd, 1926. On June 15, 1927, the station was assigned 780 kilocycles; con­currently raising it's power output to 750 watts. On April 1, 1928, KTHS was assigned 600 kilocycles and was then required to divide time on the new assignment with WBAP, Fort Worth. Also in April, power was increased to 1,000 watts.
The New Arlington Hotel (W. E. Chester) presented the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce a gift of KTHS in August of 1928. The station left the air during the week of August 13th for a move from the hotel to the Chamber of Commerce Building at 135 Benton Street (between Hot Spring's Post Office and the courthouse). In mid-August, the station's transmitter was moved from atop the hotel to a new site adjacent to the Hot Springs Golf Club, three miles southwest of Hot Springs on Malvern Road, where a new 5,000 watt transmitter was installed. Two towers, each 200 feet high and 384 feet apart, just inside a gate on a high kno11, were erected at the site. By the end of August, KTHS returned to the air, still utilizing a power of 1,000 watts. KTHS became a commercial station in September 1928. At 3 a. m., Saturday, November 11, 1928, KTHS was assigned 800 kilo­cycles full-time, as a result of a nationwide frequency real1ocations plan effective that date. Power was concurrently raised to 5,000 watts. KTHS joined the National Broad­casting Company "chain" (both Red and Blue networks) on March 23, 1929. On June 1, 1929> KTHS was assigned to operate on 1040 kilocycles, raising power then to 10,000 watts.
By March 1932, KTHS's transmitter, on Malvern Road (now Highway 270), three miles from Hot Springs, "in the country", was described as two 200 foot towers, with a small fan-type vertical cage antenna suspended between them. Cam Arnoux, Station Director since it's founding, left KTHS in January of 1934 to join a prominent Norfolk, Virginia station. Replacing Mr. Arnoux as Station Manager was Scott Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton left KTHS in the fa11 of 1934. Douglas Hotchkiss then became Station Manager of KTHS. Earlier, in the spring of 1934 KTHS was granted Special Authority (S.A.) by the Federal Communications Commission to operate on 1060 kilocycles until local sunset, while still licensed for 1040 kilocycles. On 1060, KTHS shared the channel with WBAL of Baltimore, operating simul­taneously during the daytime hours and shared time at night (from 9 p. m. Baltimore time). By 1935, the station dropped its NBC-B1ue affiliation but continued its association with the Red Network. In September 1936, Colonel Thomas K. Barton, President of the Lion Oil Company and owner of KELD E1 Dorado and KARK Little Rock, made a bid to acquire KTHS from the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce for $75,000. This sale did not occur, as the Chamber of Commerce elected to retain it's 10,000 watt station. In December 1936, Hot Springs Postmaster S. A. Kemp was elected President of the Chamber and it's KTHS. In September 1937, Stephen A. Cisler Jr. became Station Manager. (In 1925, Steve Cisler had been a substitute announcer on KTHS; leaving the station later in the year).
KTHS, while retaining NBC Red programming, joined the Mutual Broadcasting System as an affiliate in mid-1938. Air slogan of KTHS at this time was still "Kume To Hot Springs". By mid-1938, KTHS began it's broadcast day at 6 a. m. and operated until 9 p. m. and shared the nighttime hours with WBAL Baltimore on 1060 kilocycles, although it was licensed for share time hours on 1040 with KRLD Dallas. The 1060 kilocycle channel offered more airtime for the Hot Springs station. John I. Prosser became General Manager of KTHS in late 1938 replacing S. A. Cisler, who moved to a New Albany, Indiana station. Again in November 1938, Col. T. K. Barton attempted to "buy or lease" KTHS. In late 1939, Mutual network programming was dropped. In 19^0, C. Lewis Brenner was named President of KTHS's licensee. By 19^1, the Chamber of Commerce had moved out of their building at 135 Benton Street, Hot Springs, leaving KTHS as sole occupant of the structure. (The Chamber's offices were moved to 115 Centra! Avenue).
In the NARBA Treaty frequency real locations, KTHS switched from 1060 kilocycles to 1090 kilocycles, at 3 a. m., Saturday, March 29, 19^1. The former authorization for 10^0 kilocycles (sharing with KRLD Dallas) was dropped at this time. In July of 19^1, KTHS was authorized full-time operation on 1090, using 10,000 watts days, but was required to reduce it's nighttime power output; first down to 5,000 watts (for which it was issued a licensed); then to 1,000 watts (for which it was issued an SA). This was to protect co-channel WBAL at Baltimore at night, allowing both stations simultaneous operation. Also in 19^1, Hub Jackson was named Genera! Manager succeeding Mr. Prosser.
The Chamber of Commerce chose to withdraw from active broadcasting and sell KTHS in June of 19^2. Acquiring KTHS for $177,650 was Radio Broadcasting, Inc. (98% owned by Co1. Thomas K. Barton). Other principals of Radio Broadcasting, Inc. were George D. Wray, P. E. Furlow, Alien D. Morris and John McCormack. This sale was approved by the FCC on June 16, 19^2. In 19^2, after the new ownership assumed control, John C. McCormack became KTHS President, naming Kenneth K. Kellum Genera! Manager of the NBC-affiliated station. The station affiliated with the statewide regional Arkansas Network (principally broadcasting Arkansas Razorback football) in 19^2. NBC-Red network programming was retained until June 30, 19^3 when KTHS switched to the Blue Network. At this time, KTHS was operating days with 10,000 watts but reduced nighttime power to 1,000 watts.
Due to the FCC's Duopoly ruling, adopted in the early forties and to be effective in mid-19^, KTHS was transferred (traded even - no money exchanged) to the owners of Shreveport's KTBS in October of 1944. (Concurrently, the KTHS principals gained possession of the Shreveport, Louisiana station). FCC approval of this swap occurred on August 25, 1944. The new ownership, trading as Radio Broadcasting, Inc., was controlled and owned by John D. Ewing, Publisher of the "Shreveport Times" newspaper and members of the Ewing family. In 1945, K. K. Kellum was replaced as General Manager by J. John Wolever, Jr. On June 15, 1945, the Blue Network Company, with which KTHS was affiliated, changed its corporate name to the American Broadcasting Company, Inc. An application was filed with the FCC by the KTHS owners for operation of a station on 550 kilocycles with 50,000 watts at West Memphis, Arkansas in 1946. The purpose was to move KTHS to a larger market area. The Ewing interests proposed to erect "a small station at Hot Springs". No action was taken on this application.
Arkansas Network programming was terminated in 1947 by KTHS, electing to retain it's ABC network liaison. Again, in March of 1950, Radio Broadcasting, Inc. applied for a move of KTHS to West Memphis, Arkansas and to switch to 550 kilocycles with 50,000 watts. The FCC ruled in April against this proposal. A move of the station was made, however, in the early fifties. In late 1951, permission was granted by the FCC to move the station from Hot Springs to Little Rock, Arkansas. In June 1952, KTHS was moved from 135 Benton Street, Hot Springs, to the "KTHS Building" (the old five story Blass Building), 313 South Main Street, Little Rock, where new studios were installed on the fifth floor. The station's transmitter on Malvern Highway, near Hot Springs, was abandoned in early 1953. On Tuesday, March 24, 1953, KTHS went on the air from its new Little Rock studios, trans­mitting from a new location at Wrightsvi11e, southeast of Little Rock, site of the station's new directional antenna system, composed of three 511 foot towers. Power was concurrently raised from the new site to 50,000 watts (directional -- nighttime hours only). Also in March, KTHS dropped it's ABC affiliation. When KTHS returned to the air from Little Rock, W. H. Bronson was President of KTHS's licensee, while B. G. Robertson was Genera] Manager of the newly independent station. KTHS did not remain an independent for very long, as the station joined the CBS Radio Network on June 15, 1953. By 1954, Robert Ewing Jr. was Board Chairman of Radio Broadcasting, Inc.
A new modern radio-television studio and office building was placed into service in February 1956 at Eighth and Isard Streets, Little Rock. KTHS was then moved from 313 Main to the new two-story facility, which was dedicated May 15, 1956. Also housed in the building was KTHV (TV), partially owned by Radio Broadcasting, Inc. F. A. Watkins replaced B. G. Robertson as General Manager in 1957. CBS programming was dropped by KTHS in January 1959, but on November 28, 1960, KTHS rejoined the network. In 1960, B. G. Robert-son once again became Genera! Manager of KTHS.
KTHS was acquired from Radio Broadcasting, Inc. by KAAY, Inc. (a newly formed sub­sidiary of the Lin Broadcasting Corporation - Frederic Gregg, Jr., President) on August 1, 1962. This sale, for $500,000 plus a $79,000 covenant not to compete, gained FCC sanction July 25, 1962. In early September 1962, call letters were changed from KTHS to KAAY, and Tom Bishop was appointed Genera! Manager. In 1963, the station's CBS affiliation was dropped and KAAY switched to a contemporary "Top 40" music format, operating 24 hours a day.
Len Carl became Genera! Manager in early 1964. Studios were moved from Eighth and Izard Streets, to new quarters at 1425 West Seventh Street, Little Rock, in 1965.
Mr. Carl became Vice President and General Manager in the same year, but was replaced in 1966 in that position by Pat Wa1sh Jr., formerly KAAY's Commercial Manager. In 1969, Mr. Walsh became President of licensee KAAY, inc. as we11 as General Manager of KAAY.
Licensee KAAY, Inc. was sold on May 15, 1975 by group owner Lin Broadcasting Corp. to Multimedia, Inc. in a sale approved by the FCC February 28, 1975. Purchase price for KAAY and two additional Lin stations was originally $9,300,000 but the sales agreement was later restructured downward to $8,650,000. KAAY was then transferred to Multimedia Radio, Inc. (a subsidiary of the Greenville, South Carolina-based Multimedia, Inc. --WNcen C. Wearn, President). James A. Tandy was appointed KAAY Vice President and General Manager in August of 1976.
Today, KAAY, Arkansas' third oldest continuously licensed broadcast station, operates on 1090 kHz with 50,000 watts (nighttime directional) from studios at 1425 West Seventh Street, Little Rock, Arkansas, and transmitter and towers situated on Pine Bluff Highway. An independent, broadcasting a contemporary music format and some religious hours, KAAY operates 24 hours a day and is licensed to Multimedia Radio, Inc., a subsidiary of Multimedia, Inc. Wilson C. Wearn is President of the parent organization while Pat Wa1sh Jr. is President of KAAY and James A. Tandy is Vice President and General Manager.