Friday, July 25, 2008

Filling in the blanks & the rise of KKYK, KSSN, KLAZ

Dave Montgomery sent some additions to a previous post:

AJ, the Wikipedia write-up about Clyde Clifford was good and accurate as best as I can remember. But it painted over some of the internal issues and the giant industry shift to FM that was going on during this same time period.

When Jim Tandy came in as GM after Pat’s departure, Jim’s charter was to get the station moved from West 7th street into the new studios at Cottondale Lane. Tandy was a big city GM, coming from WSIX in Nashville, and he may have had a good business mind, but he certainly did not understand the Little Rock / Arkansas market. He acted like a “big market guy comes to a small market”, had an abrasive personality and huge ego. During his brief tenure staff tension was thick. Also during his tenure, the newly launched LR FM stations were getting ratings traction, and KKYK KSSN and KLAZ were sucking up listeners as fast as you could change the dial. The days of the AM powerhouse were fading.

More of Dave's comments later. Just a bit of my memory of the studios. The West 7th street studios were chosen because it was an old doctor's office. Perfect for a radio station because it had lots of small rooms. We had to do almost no internal or external changes. It was in a a great neighborhood; diagonally across from the State Capitol. We did put in a very rinky dink sign. I always hated the sign. Part was do to the sign restrictions of the area but it was still poor. It finally wound up at the transmitter. Eddy Graham did most of the wiring and setting up of the control room and production studio. The Cottondale Lane studios were built from the ground up for a radio station, but as Dave pointed out, FM was making a big move in audience and KAAY had passed on an early chance to get in on FM. This was probably more of a corporate decision, than Pat Walsh. More later on KAAY's late arrival into FM.

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