Tuesday, July 31, 2007
All DJs spend a great deal of time trying to break up other announcers and newsmen. Setting fire to the newsman's copy was old hat, but we still did it. More fun than that was to try and shake the TV people during live newscasts. KAAY was on the second floor of the building, and the control room overlooked the TV studios downstairs. There was a wire that came through the wall into the control room that was attached to the lighting grid in the tv studio. When you pulled on the wire it rattled the whole lighting grid. We didn't get away with it too often, because they soon figured out where the rattle came from...still it was fun while it lasted.
Monday, July 30, 2007
(Double click on the image to enlarge)
See why these surveys are so valuable. How about some of you in Little Rock tracking down some record store employees or owners and see if they might have saved surveys. (Moses Melody Shop is all I can think of.....maybe Discount Records was open then) I didn't have to buy any records in those days, so the names of record stores escapes me. Have you noticed how "record" stores are disappearing? Even the big chains are going away. I think the beginning of the end was when stations stopped doing surveys. Top 10 countdowns are gone. The country stations could have picked up the "charting" but they didn't. These weekly surveys were a big deal. The jock that was the designated "music director" spent a lot of time on the weekly survey. We usually bonused advertisers space on the survey or the taxi cab backs. Every station in town that played top 40 put out a chart. I tend to forget how competitive radio was. With the mulit-station ownership in a market, the competition is greatly reduced. In the old days, every station had a receptionist, an engineer, etc. and they were all part of the team. Today, one person is answering the phone for 5 stations. The sales folk have too much product. At least XM Radio on some of their decades channels, still do a top ten countdown for a week in history. What's interesting to me about XM, if you read a financial report, you will see an item "customer acquisition cost". The one I saw was like $300 per listener. No wonder they are wanting to merge. Also, the age demographics I saw skewed older. (40-50s), but they seem to want to advertise Snoop Dog and Ellen Degerate.
Find some more surveys. You've seen all I can come up with.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
There is an average of 22 visitors a day to this blog. There is an average of 0 (that's zero)
comments, emails, surveys that I'm missing or just a hi. If you've written once, don't stop. The only thing that keeps me going is hearing from you. Where were you on 11-21-66? What were you doing? This is not a blog for KAAY insiders only, although they have been invaluable in discovery lost material. I am guilty of doing what many of you do...surf...save....google for more. The website for Tommy Riggs has a guest register, and I see lots of the old crew dropping by. Perhaps we need a guest book. I'm open for suggestions on how to get people to leave a comment. The Arkansas TV News blog gets 20 or 30 comments on each entry. (of course, as I have mentioned before, they are often hateful and vicious, and I certainly wouldn't enjoy doing a blog like that. ) The easiest way to leave a comment is to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can ask that your comment not be made public if you like. KEEP LOOKING FOR KAAY MUSIC SURVEYS. See what great memories they bring back. Anyone still wearing h.i.s.? Are they still around.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
(Double click on the surveys to read)
Friday, July 27, 2007
I started off this post, with the idea of talking a little about music. As a DJ, I really got tired of the music. Elvis, The Beatles, all were just records to me. I was never an Elvis fan. I played it because the audience wanted it. However, the other day, after seeing one of those record offers on TV, I wanted to hear Elvis's Suspicious Minds again. I went online, to the Walmart music service. (because it's cheaper than Itunes.) Ready to spend my 88 cents, I saw an album with 14 cuts for about $7. Couldn't pass up a deal. I'm glad I did. I heard Elvis for the first time, as a listener, who had paid money. I have to say I enjoyed the album.
As I hear from KAAY listeners outside of Arkansas, I discover it was about the music. Why listen to KAAY when you have WLS and WCFL.? Why listen to KAAY when you have WNOE and WTIX. It was about the music.
As music evolved and Dale Schidenswartz a/k/a Clyde Clifford brought in Beaker Street it became even more about the music. Pat Walsh, gets a lot of the credit for allowing yea even fostering experimenting with the format. Pat even played with a little talk radio on KAAY in the evenings. The FM handwriting was on the wall. Would it be the death of AM? Obviously not.
The music hasn't died. (for those of you who bought the line from American Pie). It will continue to evolve. Where are the programmers willing to innovate? Is AM dead? Should it be? The F.C.C. allowing consolidation of stations hasn't helped. Manufacturers putting out devices that include radios but only FM, hasn't helped. Why doesn't the F.C.C. just take the AM band and use it for a purpose that they can auction off to the highest bidder. That's what they are doing with TV. The TV broadcasters were forced into HDTV and the low channel frequencies will have to be turned back in to the F.C.C. so they can auction them off for other services. IS THAT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST? I digress. Maybe the music has died and were just waiting for the funeral.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The best effort I could come up with at KXLR was a speaker driver horn hooked to one end of a garden hose and a mike hooked up to the other end. For the money, it sounded fairly good. We had tried various coiled springs, and they sounded like springs. At the first station I worked KBBA in Benton, AR, we used a tape recorder effect from old three head Magnacorders. Some stations even used the tape recorder system with an endless tape loop. Being tape based, they weren't pratical for 24 hour constant use. In the production room, the tape reverb was used a lot. The reverb was slower at 7 1/2 speed and cranked up to 15 ips you got a faster reverb that sounded more like a concert hall. Of course, all of the engineers were of little help because they really didn't care for reverb.
Today, reverb is readly available with computer editing programs and a huge choice of effects. It will even duplicate the old "tape recorder" reverb sound electronically.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
(Pictures from the KAAY record album "Silver Dollar Specials)
Howard Watson a/k/a Ken Knight was the first Ken Knight. Howard is one of the greatest wits I have even been around. Howard can find humor in any situation. His show was full of humor and inside jokes that only employees of KAAY would understand. His music tastes really went more to the jazz and "good music" side, but he played top 40 in his own style. I suggest at this point you read previous posts by going to the top left hand corner and enter "Howard Watson" in the search box and search this blog. In those posts you will find a very brief comment by Pat Walsh.
When I became program director, during a staff meeting one day, I brought up a television program "That Was The Week That Was". It was a satirical review of the weeks national news. I ask why we couldn't do the same thing on KAAY only focus on local news. Howard took the ball and ran with it. The name "Ear On Arkansas" was a satire on channel 11's "Eye On Arkansas". The theme music was "baby Elephant Walk" (the music KAAY played over and over when it first went on the air). Howard developed most of the characters and did the bulk of the writing. A weekly 30 minute all talk radio program takes a lot of script. If you had a slow news week, it really became a challenge. Some clips of "Ear" are on this blog. Do the search. Sadly all of the Ear masters were given to University of Arkansas at Little Rock by Pat Walsh with the hope they would be properly archived. Pat told me several years ago, the tapes had been erased by the campus radio station and reused. If anyone has any of the old Ear tapes let me know. The are two 33 1/3 records that KAAY pressed that are still around. Satire is such a great form of humor. Today Fox News has a program called "Half Hour News Hour". Don't miss this program if you appreciate good satire. The writing seems to be getting better each week. Over the years Ear on Arkansas had several writers. After a while each person seemed to burn out from the heavy job of writing and producing the show. Often times at 2 A.M., a frantic telephone call would be placed to Tommy Riggs a/k/a Rock Robbins, to help fill 5 or 10 minutes. Tommy always came through with a song or bit that saved the day. Sometimes we would be forced to use a lot of the theme music opening and closing to pad out the time.
I digress from "the weird beard" as he was also known. When I became program director, Howard had a difficult time dealing with being passed over for program director. I was 19 he was older. Finally Howard left KAAY for KMYO. He tried to take the name Ken Knight with him. Pat Walsh got an injunction to prohibit the use of a name that KAAY had service marked with the state. Howard changed his name to Lynn Day. Much press ensued and I regretted Howard's leaving. The inspiration and as Paul Harvey would say "the rest of the story" needs to be credited to Richard Robinson for the research that netted this article in the Hot Springs Village Voice newspaper:
A setback for the 'Voice of the Village'
By VERLEE WALTER
Gerry and Howard Watson Twelve years ago, when Howard Watson became Len Day as KVRE's morning man, he quickly became the Voice of the Village. His distinctive baritone was a welcome addition to our breakfast tables.
The man knows his music, and knew we knew it, so his selections were geared to our past, awakening nostalgia for high school and proms and special dates with special girls or boys, turning our todays into yesterdays and our yesterdays to todays.
Planning retirement, he changed his mind when he heard of a vacancy at our local station and began a new career.
Watson came to us from where he'd been night radio man Ken Knight. To the delight of his new audience, he had a speaking engagement with us between 6 and 10 a.m., presenting "Adult Standards," an expanded version of "The Music of Your Life."
His notoriety as Len Day overwhelms his persona as Howard Watson, man-about-town in its best sense - involved in Masonry and the Shrine Club, charities and foundations, the Hot Springs Jazz Society, and Village United Methodist Church.
Still he found time to stay in close touch with his and Gerry's three sons, and their seven grandchildren and one great grandson.,
For nearly 11 years he sat in his cluttered broadcast room amid the tens of thousands of records and cassettes and CDs he had collected, choosing the music we loved, interspersed with commercials made pleasant through his mellifluous voice.
He commuted from to the Village for five years before he found a home here to hold his treasure trove of books and music without disrupting the life of his wife, with whom he celebrated 50 years of marriage in late May.
The mention of which, is the reason for this item.
This was to have been an inspiration piece for those who have survived and taken on new life following a stroke such as Watson had in 2006 after 53 years in broadcasting.
He did a few commercials for the station a month or so ago.
However, a few hours after the joy-filled anniversary party given by the Watsons' three sons, he was stricken again - this time it was much harder on him.
As Len said of his life, "Work is my vocation, my avocation and my pastime."
Sadly, at least for the present, he is deprived of this pleasure.
It is particularly sad when bad things happen to good people, but he and Gerry have much courage and faith, and are set to fight again.
Weeks of therapy will follow his hospitalization, so let him know you're thinking of him by sending mail to 40 Herencia Circle in the Village.
Several recordings of Howard are on this blog, however, I do not have an aircheck of one of his shows on KAAY. If have one please contact me at : email@example.com.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The first day I met Pat, I'm sure his first words were something like "heard your show last night, you need a lota help". Pat became more mellow in our last few conversations. If you're new to this blog, put Pat Walsh in the search box in the upper left and search this blog. Those of you who have only heard KAAY on the radio, need to get to know someone who was there from the beginning, and became GM. Those of you who worked at KAAY, it's great to revisit those memories.
For those of you who may be thinking, "old Doc Holiday" is just living in the past and wanting to return to those glory days, I do have a life now, thank you very much. It is hard though, after you have been "The Emperor" it's mostly downhill from there. This blog was created with the purpose of gathering enough material for a book, or putting down a history of the best time in my life and sharing it with anyone interested.
As far as my obituary, all I want is "he is a Christian".
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Once there you can double click on the survey to see them larger.
Friday, July 20, 2007
From the Arkansas Gazette (purchased by the Democrat) and the Arkansas Democrat, are two press accounts of KAAY's envolvement.
Now more of the the paper from Richard Robinson (see below):
That Monday night nine stations, including two commercial shortwave stations, WRUL in New York, New York, and KEGI in San Carlos, California participated in the broadcast efforts for the government (Sorensen, 1968. New York Times, 1962).
Seven commercial medium wave stations carried the president's speech that evening. They included stations WGBS, WMIE, and WCKR in Miami, Florida; WSB in Atlanta, Georgia; WCKY in Cincinnati, Ohio; WKWF in Key West, Florida; and WWL in New Orleans, Louisiana. An eighth station -- KAAY in Little Rock, Arkansas -- joined the network on Wednesday (October 25, 1962), and began broadcasting the Voice of America programs from 11 p.m. until dawn, the period when their signal reaches into Cuba. KAAY asked to join the network ("U.S. Blanket of Words...", Kansas City Star, October 26, 1962).
This was the first time in history that private radio stations in the United States had cooperated with the government to broadcast programs from its own propaganda agency to a foreign country (USIA, 1983).
Thursday, July 19, 2007
There have been references in this blog to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the use of KAAY to reach Cuba with VOA broadcasts.
Richard Robinson has written two papers on the subject and I have ask his permission to use excerpts in this blog. Richard and I have been in touch over the years as he worked on the papers. I found his research and conclusions to be right on target as related to KAAY. I started at KAAY soon after the crisis was over. Tom Bishop the first manager was gone, Len Carl became General Manager. Jim Hankins a/k/a Mike McCormick was program director and probably the main player in this interesting story. I will have more details and excerpts in later posts. To get started , below is a promo that ran on KAAY during the crisis. It was voiced by Wayne Moss. a/k/a Sonny Martin. The writing is very obviously Hankins. This recording is a dub from the actual cart that was used on the air.
And here is the opening of one of Richard's papers:
"THE UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY USE OF COMMERCIAL RADIO STATIONS DURING THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS"
By Richard C. Robinson
This study focuses on a little-known event that happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. The United States Government, through its United States Information Agency, asked ten commercial radio stations throughout the country to broadcast Voice of America programs to Cuba in Spanish. Broadcasting began with the speech by President John F. Kennedy on October 22, and continued from late-night until dawn each evening for a period of more than three weeks. Examination of previous literature revealed little on this subject.
The study was conducted utilizing a number of sources. They included the "Internet," newspaper accounts, government publications, oral history transcriptions, books and interviews. Research revealed that this was the first time in the history of the United States that the government utilized commercial broadcast media for propaganda purposes. Government used a number of methods to provide the official point of view of the United States to the people of Cuba, both prior to and during the period of crisis. Even though some publicity was generated about the effort, apparently most of the people in the United States were not aware of persuasive techniques employed by their own officials.
The findings raise a number of questions for the news media. President Kennedy was criticized for his "manipulation of the media" during this period. While Kennedy and U.S. officials praised the radio stations for their help and "patriotism," there should be concerns over how a democratic government can issue official propaganda messages through "free market" media outlets. This study could serve as a historical reference for future research about government control and media manipulation.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
First, let me explain my relationship to Eddie Graham. He is my father in-law, as I am married to his daughter, Frances Anne. Pat Walsh once told me that Eddie had an uncanny spell on broadcast equipment. According to Walsh, "equipment would simply refuse to malfunction in his presence." That's true, although sometimes as soon as he left the room, it would fall apart. Carolyn (Eddie's wife) retired from teaching elementary school in the Bryant School District in 2000 and Eddie sold his stations (KVRC AM 1240 and KDEL FM 100.9) and retired in August 2002. They bought another home just outside Arkadelphia, and added on additional space. These days, Eddie and Carolyn are active in First United Methodist Church, the Clark County Fair Board and other organizations. Eddie is a long-time member of the Arkadelphia Rotary Club. He hunts and fishes every chance he gets, which is often. In their spare time, they visit their children and grandchildren. The eldest son, Doug, is married to Margaret, and they have three children - Maddie, age 4, and twins William and Aaron, age 2. They live in Evergreen, Colorado. Fran and I live in Martin, Tennessee. Fran teaches dance classes and I am on the communications faculty at the University of Tennessee at Martin. We have no children together, although I have a daughter from a previous marriage. Larry and wife Gayle live in Franklin, Tennessee (outside Nashville) and have two children, Landon, age 16 and Bailey, age 12. Eddie and Carolyn are quite busy, and have been described as "salt of the earth" people. I know of no one who would disagree.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Here’s an aircheck from the early morning of June 2, 1974, received on the skywave at my home in There’s some fading, but the signal is usually good and sometimes downright awesome, strong as a local station. The jock is Don Marcus and he’s cranking out the jingles and the hits including some “hard core rock’n’roll at the 50,000 watt Mother of ”. Since the jocks usually assumed the names of the LIN board members, who this really was is anybody’s guess. , north of .
The aircheck starts with the opening for “Beaker Theater” at 2:00am, followed by the overnight rock format from 3:30-4:30am. Note the nighttime Voice of promos – “greetings to the Great South” and later to “Cuba, , the and the .” KAAY loved to use big voices on its imagers, you’ll hear Gary Gears on several of them and also that of WLS/Chicago morning newsguy Lyle Dean on the News IQ contest promo. Answer the news IQ questions and you could win $10.90! I figure that’s about $45 in today’s dollars.
As always, I’m eager to trade KAAY airchecks, especially Beaker Street. Contact me at
Here is the aircheck:
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
We liked to give things away at KAAY. There were always a couple of major contests running and lots and lots of record giveaways. "Name It and Claim It" "Spin It and Win it" "Nap it and Grab It" and I am sure there were others. Once we produced contest intros for every record giveaway phrase we could come up with.
We also liked to give away radios. Pictured above is an actual tiny 8 transistor radio. It measures slightly over 2 inches square. Very small for its day, mid 1960s. Most transistor radios were only six transistors and about 4 times larger. Pat Walsh made several trades for them. Not an easy item to trade out because of the consumer demand.
If we were on the air today, we would be giving away iPhones. (Hmmmmmmm Rush Limbaugh is doing that).
Oh yea, it was AM only.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
If you can identify him please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a brief pause and then you hear a brief segment from Clyde Clifford that is not Beaker Street, just regular programming.
Monday, July 09, 2007
and equalizing this clip. It was recorded
in 1962 by Gary Wegner in the Chicago area.I think this offer was before I started to work at KAAY in 63 so that would make it
1962. This is a very early (per inquiry) spot. It doesn't mention who the record is from and the money goes directly to KAAY. Later, when I joined KAAY we were running Custom Records spots. Custom, out of , did "cover" or "sound alike" versions of the hits. The PIs generally ran at night. There was 40 combs for $1 and on and on. Len Carl, the manager when I started became known as the PI king, in that he did most of the voice work pitching the junk.
The jocks mostly looked down on the PIs but they brought in money as KAAY was getting started and established. In those days, selling top 40 radio was still a difficult task. Many advertisers looked on top 40 radio as a medium for kids.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
I Grew up listening to KAAY in the late '70s in North Little Rock and loved it. I had a tiny hand-held radio that I dragged along for everything I was doing. It was one of several things that later pushed me to get into radio. Today I work in Miami and occasionally, when co-workers and I are talking about radio stations we heard growing up as kids, I try to explain the many things that made KAAY so cool.
Thanks Michael for the comments. I found that listeners were very loyal. We had competiton, HiFi KAJI, they advertised "HI-FI" and WE were always yelling more music. Both were lies. The listener loyalty had little to do with the music. It was what was between the music that made the difference. It was getting out all over the state. It was constant fun. The Djs were having fun and transmitted that to the listener.
When FM came along, it was all about the music. How much can you play without interuption. What do they have to show for this? The Ipod. Non-stop music, no DJ, no news, no contests, no fun. The difference with Ipods and today's radio, is that anyone can be a DJ. With a small investment in equipment, anyone talented or not, can have a podcast and be heard world wide. But the market is too fragmented. Do any of you know a good podcast? Let me know. I use a podcast service, but I use it just to have a way of linking audio to this blog.
By the nature of it, podcasts are not live. And here is another key ingredent. KAAY was always live. We had a play list. We simply rotated 45s (records for you young folks)from the front to the back. The DJ had the liberty of going down three or four records in the stack to find the record that fit the moment. Same way with the oldies. He could pull his own selections.
I always had a certain feeling for what to play next. That feeling continued through the disco era. I seemed to know what to play next to keep them on the dance floor. I did a class reunion a few years ago and played all the music off computer....what a terrible feeling. I did have a snow machine that blew snow on the dance floor. That was kool.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Thanks to Ron Henselman for a lot of work cleaning up,
and equalizing this clip. It was recorded off the skywave
in 1962 by Gary Wegner in the Chicago area.
The voice you hear is the first Buddy Karr a/k/a Tom Bigby.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Read the awards and info about Day For Decision by going to the upper left hand box and type in Day For Decision and then search.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Tom Bigby has left a new comment on your post "The First Buddy Karr a/k/a Tom Bigby":
You never know what one might find on the internet. My son found this and passed along the URL
The Bio for me is wrong, not sure but it might have been the Bio for the second Buddy Karr...the Picture is right, the aircheck is right..(damn was I bad)..
Still working for CBS Radio as a Corp. Programming Consultant...almost to the end of a great 25 years with the company..
Living in working in New York and ..
Regards to any of you that were part of one of Americas great radio stations
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Hello Everyone, I am Nancy's neighbor I am emailing you with some sad news. Nancy went into the hospital on Tuesday June 26th to have her lung drained of the fluid from the pneumonia she has been fighting since March. Nancy called my husband and told him she has 4 to 6 months to live. She has cancer everywhere in her body. He sister is coming today July 1st to pick her up to take her home to Bay City to die. My husband (Grady) and I (Cynthia) went to see her Friday. She does not have about 4 to 6 months. She has gone done hill very quickly. She cannot focus or remember anything. Our hearts are broken and I am having a very hard time dealing with this news. I Love her very much and I have known her for only 9 years and she has been a joy in our lives. She was so helpful in our times of need and was a grandmother to my son. She was literally my second mom. Please pray for Nancy. Please pray she does not suffer. I do not know who all she used to email as we cannot get her to remember. Please pass this on to her friends.
Please pray for Nancy and her son Dean and all those who love her.