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.