Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Teasers......the Countdown Continues

I remember at KAAY we used to do a lot of teasers. Most of the contests or promotions were teased. Occasionally we had advertisers who wanted to run a teaser campaign.
That is illegal. An F.C.C. regulation requires that the sponsor of a paid commercial be identified by name. We had to watch concert advertising closely. Most promoters were only interested in selling tickets and could care less if they were identified. As time went by good promoters were anxious to have their name tagged on the spot.
Most ads were 29 seconds about the show and "another Beaver Production" was in the last seconds.

Since the contests and promos were not commercials teasers were allowed.

I don't hear many stations today doing teasers.

Is that enough YAAK?

Were You at KAAY when Ray Lincolm did Mornings?

A.J., I finally caught up with Bill Hickok (Bill Hagel) who was a deejay at KAAY for a short time in 1980...he gave me permission to share this with you for the KAAY blogspot:

"It was always my dream to work at KAAY. I used to listen at night up in northern Illinois and would dream of being on the flamethrower of the MidSouth. I quit my job in Rockford Illinois and went to work at my dad's bar while I looked for another radio job. I put an ad in one of the trades, and got a call from a former Rockford dj who was at KAAY as program director. He had heard me in Rockford and offered me the midday job. The day I got there, he was fired along with two other djs. I almost never got on the air. I remember Ray Lincoln was the morning guy at the time. Maybe you can refresh my memory as to who else was on the air back then. But finally, to answer your question, I did middays from 10am-2pm and I was only at KAAY for 8 months when I got a call to do mornings at FM100 in Memphis.

Bill Hickok
Mornings, KBMR Radio
Bismarck, ND"

Hope this helps fill a little more of the KAAY history book(s)! Happy New Year!

Creativity Comment

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "From John Gorman's Media Blog":

I agree...creativity is GONE in radio and therefor, we have "cookie-cutter radio" a term coined from the recent past due to mega-consolidation. I still search the AM broadcast band for "mom & pop" stations, hoping to hear some decent, lively, INTERESTING programming...and there's very little of that any more. There are two religious stations here in Mobile that have refused to sell out, WLVV and WMOB. Both broadcast national and local programming and are still programmed locally, with local Mobile flavor.

As for searching the FM band, it's almost all music...and, when traveling, I have only heard ONE FM talk radio station, other than a sports talk show here in Mobile on 105.5, WNSP. Not being a big sports follower, I don't tune there, but it's a lot of talk about national sports news, Mobile flavor. Other than that, with only local ad spots on radio stations, there's NOTHING interesting to tune to. I mean, how many ways can you hear a screaming car sales ad, etc.?

I'll just keep twiddling the dial...maybe some mom & pop out there will buy back the local radio station somewhere where it's not making enough cashola for the big boys and return to down-home local broadcasting. THAT will be more interesting to me, to hear what's going on several states away in a little community, rather than hear the same programming over and over again, coast-to-coast! Bud, Mobile, AL

XM/Sirius Comment

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What Happened to Sonic Salute on XM Radio?":

Good move, in my opinion, to cancel your subscription to XM! I never liked them, and liked them even less when they signed on Stern.

I'm noticing more & more when we tune to our Sirius channels on Dish Network, that now they call themselves "Sirius/XM". I've also noticed some changes in names and formats for the different channels. One of my favorites, "Jazz Cafe" is now "Watercolors", a name having NOTHING to do with jazz! One other of my favorites, the contemporary Christian channel, is now called, "Spirit", an innocuous name, at best, from what it used to be. There are other inane names given to other channels, as well.

I suppose both sides have to "tune up" their image, but I believe subscription radio has run it's course and will eventually die. I seriously dislike when someone "creates a need, then fills it", whether it's subscription radio, HD radio, HDTV, new drugs or whatever! There is no reason to be forced into something such as any of these. Bud, Mobile, AL

Countdown near

Tomorrow the greatest aircheck ever will be posted right here!
I say that because of the rarity of this aircheck. I even tried to get some of the participants to recreate a part of the event, but was never able to get that done.
This is the real thing and it was recorded off the sky-wave which makes it even better.

Get your hard drives ready. This will be one you will want to save and share.

Holidays usually mean a lower traffic count on the blog. I am counting on this aircheck to make it our biggest "hit" day in the history of this blog.

Invite all your radio friends to join us tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Countdown Contunues

Dear A.J.,

Ron Henselman claims KAAY warped his mind. I have known him almost all of my life. During the past week he has been saying he has a special surprise for the KAAY blog. He keeps saying, "What in a name? YAAK!." This is even strange for him. He keeps whistling "The Baby Elephant Walk."


Gary Wegner Another KAAY listener in Melrose Park, Illinois.

From John Gorman's Media Blog

Fifty-one years ago, Stan Freberg successfully sold radio’s cinematics to the ad community with an effectual audio promo.

By utilizing ingenious writing and sound effects, he drained Lake Michigan’s water and replaced it with hot chocolate and a mountain of whipped cream. Then six helicopters in formation dropped a giant maraschino cherry on that summit of whipped cream.

The closing line? Let's see them do that on television!

That spot was produced with a reel-to-reel, tape, a razor blade, and round pots. No multi-track, no digital read-out, no Pro Tools.

Why doesn’t radio do that today? Could it be because there’s no “creative” line-item? Who has the time to measure creativity’s role in generating revenue?

And that’s why creativity – radio’s most essential component - has gone from an asset to a liability in just one decade.

The only way radio can be saved is to entertain its listeners and sell its clients’ products to them. To do that it must restore the art of playing to one’s imagination. and, dare I say it, throw in some localism.

Monday, December 29, 2008


The button is almost set to be punched at TEN-NINE-OH Radio. I hope all of the blog readers will check back on January 1st. You won't be disappointed.


Ron Henselman W9FT Melrose Park, IL

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Instincts Comment

I read your comments about having the right instinct to play certain records. I found this out the hard way. We had an oldies station, WFYR, in Chicago who decided to have a live first anniversary show in 1974. It was in the evening. I was asked to schedule the music to be played. They told me to schedule a sequences of two fast and then one slow record because that way people would be more likely to dance. I guess my idea of fast songs isn't what the audience thought was good dancing music. The lesson I learned was not to use the records which were my own personal favorites. Very few people danced, and I felt it was my fault because I knew nothing about dancing. I was an amateur trying to do the job of a professional. It's not as easy as everyone believes. I wonder if any of our readers have ever had a similar experience? Jimmy Clanton and Fabian were the guests that night, and somehow I managed to forget to tell them I was responsible for the dancing part of the show being a flop.


Ron Henselman Melrose Park, IL W9FT
Dances are never as easy as they look. It takes more than just instinct. Then there are some groups who will not dance regardless of the music. If I were doing a one time only dance, I would try to learn as much as I could about the audience. In preparing for a wedding reception dance, weeks before the event, I ask the bride and groom all sorts of questions....their favorite music, etc. When I started the dance, someone came up and ask where the Cajun music was. NO ONE had mentioned the grooms side of the family was largely Cajun. Fortunately, wedding reception dances are short and pay well.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


(Double Click on photo to enlarge)
One of my friends found this 1930 KTHS QSL on the Internet. You might have it already, but I thought I would send it in case you didn't.


Thanks Ron. Anyone familiar with QSL cards will recognize this is a very elaborate card based on promoting Hot Springs.

If you have read any of the histories on this blog you know KAAY used to be KTHS in Hot Springs. The frequency was moved to Little Rock and the power increased to 50,000 watts.

This card is a very sanitized version of Hot Springs. For many years open gambling wad gangsters were the main reason for tourism in Hot Springs. The educational TV
service for Arkansas AETN had a great history of Hot Springs that covered the ins and outs of vice in Hot Springs. Check their website, it might be available on line.

Thanks again Ron this is a great piece.


I always felt I had an instinct for playing the right record at the right time. It seemed to be easier at night than during drive time. By playing the right record I mean the right tempo, the right mood of the song etc. Or course feedback from the telephone always helped. I think most good DJs had or developed this instinct. I don't know how the DJs doing voice tracking can even come close. They do try all kinds of tricks to make it seem live but it's not. When a significant news event happens or a drastic unexpected change in the weather all demand "live" DJ interaction.

This instinct became even more important during the disco age. The ability to get the audience dancing and keep them dancing and know when they needed a slow song break was key to a good club or portable D.J.

Friday, December 26, 2008

DXing, Shortware, and KAAY

Gazmik has left a new comment on your post "Comment":

"The thrill of hearing a signal from far away has never gone away. I wonder how many others have tuned across the AM radio dial at night to see what they might hear?"

It wasn't just the AM dial. I had a Hallicrafters receiver of my grandfathers (WA0MIZ) that I used to scan across the shortwave spectrum late at night. There was nothing quite like sitting there with nothing but the glow of the radio dials and the vacuum tubes and the warm sound of the tube amplifier. If there was anything that I wish that I had to remember my grandfather, it would be that Hallicrafters receiver.

He worked with groups such as Handiham and was constantly helping young people get into amateur radio. So that receiver went to somebody that needed it.

I didn't have the patience to get good at Morse Code, so I never went any farther than my novice license. I did get my First Class commercial license. But my interests turned to computers and data communications, so I even let that lapse.

But there are still the memories of those "adventurous" days of exploring the radio spectrum. Now with computers and the internet, communicating with people and listening to radio stations half way around the world doesn't seem to be such a big deal.
I don't remember any of the DJ staff being involved in ham radio. The engineering department was a different story. At most of the stations the engineers were from another planet. They hated rock and roll and what the stations were becoming. KAAY was different. Several of the engineers participated in our KAAY Komando Basketball team and seemed to be fully on board with that we were doing on the air. There was a crank telephone with a direct line to the transmitter. You could reach down and crank the phone and talk to the engineer on duty.

The comment on the internet diminishing "DXing" is very interesting. I have often wondered what KAAY would have been like, with computer production and the internet.
It could have been like the advent of FM. Ownership of KAAY was very slow to move into FM. This might have been because Pat Walsh was not pushing hard enough.

Today we see radio, tv and especially newspapers not very effective moving into the digital age. I have pointed out previously several radio personalities who have made the premium side of their website becoming very profitable. It flies in the face of the experts who claim people will not pay for internet sites. The secret is that the content must be of value to the consumer. Newspapers especially are so tied to their business model they can not see the future. Ad revenue is declining, major papers are for sale and the New York Times has already sold off their broadcast properties to try and keep the paper afloat.

The "Google Search" is the DXing of today. The boxes don't glow with vacuum tubes, but you can still buy some very expensive tube amplifiers if that's what melts your butter. AM top forty radio is gone, probably never to return. Today, anyone with a computer and an internet connection can have their own online radio station. Internet radio is a whole new animal with a few companies making stand alone internet radios.

The future is in the hands of those who will grasp current technology and figure out how to make a buck.


Dear A.J.,

It seems like it has been quiet around the blog lately, so I thought I would write a couple of lines. I hope everyone had a great holiday. Even though things haven't been going all that well for me, I realized just how lucky I am compared to many people out there.

Christmas time has always been a special time for me. Many of us think of this time of the year as mainly a religious event, yet others only think about what Santa Claus might bring them. High school was a time in my life which wasn't always pleasant. Christmas time seemed to bring out the best in everyone; even the nastiest teachers found some goodness in their hearts at Christmas time. I'm still thankful for that. I taught an electronics class at the local college this past semester, and I remembered to show my students that same kindness at the end of the semester. I wasn't very popular with the ladies, so high school was not the best time of my life. My popularity finally excelled when I was out of school. Too bad it took so long.

Many might remember those colored pocketed folders which could hold papers such as completed homework. Some of the guys in my class used stencils to write their girlfriend's names on the front of the folders. My folder had it's own little message: KAAY, 1090 KC. One of the guys in my homeroom noticed my folder. He said, "Your girlfriend Kay spells here name funny." I told him KAAY was a radio station. He looked at me, and he said, "What kind of a guy would be going steady with a radio station?" I simply stated, "Only somebody very weird." My comment seemed to shut him up. I decided if that was being weird, then I enjoyed being weird. It seemed logical that only a weird person would be making recordings of far away radio stations playing rock and roll. Now it seems strange how other people actually enjoy the recordings I made forty-six years ago. Some ladies have told me they find my weirdness my most interesting quality because it is actually entertaining. Maybe recording KAAY was the start of all of it. Thank you KAAY! The thrill of hearing a signal from far away has never gone away. I wonder how many others have tuned across the AM radio dial at night to see what they might hear? Some of the big signals from the past are gone, but there are still some interesting stations out there. This is the time of the year when one might hear some far away stations at night due to the lack of lightning crashes (static).

You recently asked what kind of Christmas music we heard throughout the years. Everyone has probably heard "Sleigh Ride" by the Ronettes. I was one of my favorites. One night I heard a station in Mexico playing a Spanish version of the song, and it sounded like it was the Ronettes. If I ever find the tape, I'll make an MP3 of the small amount I recorded.

Happy Holidays,

Ron Henselman W9FT Melrose Park, IL

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I've been looking for a Christmas Greeting for this blog

There is so much stuff out there.....all my friends are forwarding very good things. However, when I glanced at the photo above I thought it was just another stock photo. Then I read the story behind it and discovered that it is a lot more than a copied photo. Here is the story form my friend and accept it as my Christmas wish to all of the readers of this blog....MERRY CHRISTMAS - A.J.

It was around Christmas and I had just purchased my first digital camera, a Casio Model 10. I don't think it even had a zoom lens, but I wanted to try digital photography. Katy and I were birding along Tampa Bay in what was a new nature area converted from an old city dump and mud flats where Roseate Spoonbills were likely to congregate and feed at low tide. Walking back to the car, I noticed the palms silhouetted against the purple and orange sunset and snapped this picture, one handed as I recall. I didn't expect very much. I just wanted to see if anything would show up.

When I downloaded the picture into the computer and really saw the full 480 x 360 image for the first time, I noticed the star, shining brightly for all to see. The palms and the star reminded me of Bethlehem and the Christmas story. I opened up MacPaint, added the vertical and horizontal rays and the text at the bottom and made the image into my first home-grown electronic Christmas card. Every few years, I rediscover my Christmas folder in my computer's archive, electronically dust off the image and share it with others.

Like most people, my own faith has been shaped by many deeply personal experiences over many years. The meaning of the Christmas story, at least to me, can be shared with anyone - no matter what their country, religion or preferences. It is a simple message of inclusion and acceptance. What people of all faiths can share and my sincere wish for you and your family in this holiday season:
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men...


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Happened to Sonic Salute on XM Radio?

The only thing I specifically tune in for on XM is the sonic salute Friday afternoons. They do a great job of saluting a great top 40 station from all across the nation. They use the original jingles, often airchecks of the jocks. It's 4 hours of great memories of some of the great stations.

This past Friday the program was not there. It was listed on the website program schedule but not on the air. There was no mention on the air.

I emailed them and got an email message back that I should email the programming department. I really don't have time to be on the email merry-go-round.

I think I will simply cancel my subscription to a service that is obviously going down hill since the merger.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another Newscast Aircheck

I don't think this is worth posting because it sounds like it was recorded with a microphone. I removed as much hum as I could. You might want to listen to it for your own pleasure. It is probably from the summer of 1963.

Sorry, I could not get the blogger MP3 player to work. Click on the word PLAY below to hear this clip. It's short and edited. It is Rob Robbins doing news which means it probably ran in another jocks show. Whenever possible the jock on the air never did his own news with the exception of overnight. This was during the time when the 5 minute newscast was at :45 and headlines at :15. I'm sorry we could not hear the record at the end of the news. The hot clock instructions always called for the best, hottest, most uptempo song out of the news. Jocks could choose from the first two or three records in the bin.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

KAAY Kissing Countdown

Hello A.J.,

Ron Henselman claims KAAY warped his mind, but I'm not so sure. He often played the attached KAAY clip to me though. He called it the "Kissing Countdown."

Cora Friedberg Amateur Radio W9COR

Elmhurst, Illinois
The player for this clip is in the upper far right.
Thanks so much for this clip. I would like to put a date on it. Any ideas? Also, I am not sure which Rob Robbins this was. Help anyone?
My voice does appear on the into itself. My best guess is summer 63.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Chistmas!

I will be making a conscious effort to wish everyone

a Merry Christmas this year ...

My way of saying that I am celebrating

the birth Of Jesus Christ.

Christmas Music at KAAY

We always had a selection of Christmas songs that were added to the Hot Clock during the Christmas season. Some of the same basic standards are still around today. "Jingle Bell ROck", Rockin Around The Christmas Tree" "Rudolph" etc.

These songs have had amazing staying power. This is the first year, that I have not been treated to "Grandma Got Run over by a Raindeer" or the Barking Dogs and "Jingle Bells". Perhaps I am listening to the wrong stations.

For commercials we never used religious Christmas music for backgrounds.

Christmas was a great season at KAAY except for D.J.s and engineers that had to work Chirstmas day and evening.

What are your radio Christmas memories?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good News at KATV

Lancer has left a new comment on your post "Some Good News at KATV":

Found a photo online of the KATV tower progress at

It is about midway down the page, should be on the air by end of January for testing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Comment on "Dit dit dah"

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Dit dit dah":

Well, A.J., Bencher made some really nice units, as well as Hi-Mound and Vibroplex (the latter is mfr'd. here in Mobile, AL!). Here are a couple of sites that may help in some early units:

And, I have to apologize: the term "iambic paddle" really isn't descriptive of the Morse code key, just the type paddle used on some automatic keyers. If you need more info, I'll be glad to forward more websites for classic keys! Bud, KC4HGH, somewhere near Mobile, A......................................................................

The one we had at KAAY was a Vibroplex.

Bobby Darin Remembered

From Johnnie Rabbits' blog:
Bobby Darin died on the operating table of a heart attack this week in 1973. Darin's health took a fatal turn, when his mechanical heart valve that had been implanted two years earlier clotted. (a known risk of prosthetic heart valves) He died on December 20, 1973, following surgery. While the operation was in itself successful, Darin's overall health was very poor and his body functions were shutting down. Darin's career took off with “Splish Splash” in 1958 and continued with many other strong hits into the early sixties. He had a minor comeback in 1966 with “If I Were a Carpenter” and then had a final hit in 1967 with, “Lovin’ You.”
Even though Bobby Darin gained fame with rock and roll hits, my favorite stuff was the big band arrangements on "Clementine", "Anne all covered with Ice" etc.

Here is a video from the Johnnie Carson Show. Notice the piano work:

Record Shops and KAAY

I have written several posts about Stan's Record Shop, 728 Tesas Street, Shreveport, LA. Do a search of this blog for some very interesting posts.

Ron had sent me an aircheck of XELO a 150,000 watt station in Mexico. Listen to the player in the upper far right. (There seemed to be no limit to wattage in Mexico) This check reminded me of another record shop we advertised for on KAAY. It was Floyd's Record Shop, Ville Platte, LA. We always spelled out V-I-L-L-E P-L-A-T-T-E Louisiana. Interestingly Floyd's Record Shop is still there and tour buses go out of their way to visit Floyd's. If you read through the history: you will find a reference to advertising on KAAY.

Global Warming

It's hard to buy global warming when it snows in New Orleans. Here in Alma AR today we are having an ice problem. Let's hope the power holds because only one local radio station has any kind of emergency power. Television has taken over as the source for emergency information.

The aircheck to the far right is from Ron Henselman W9FT Melrose Park, IL. It was recorded during the Christmas season. The PSA is from Dan Diamond a voice many of you will remember.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dit dit dah

A.J., the device is called an iambic paddle (or a semiautomatic key), versus a "straight key". I've also noticed that many of the newscasts archived here use the Morse Code character, "dit-dit-dit-dah", which is the letter "v". Wonder if that was intended, or did it just sound good?

For some more understanding on the letters versus "dit" and "dah" relationships, as well as more information about the above keys here's a nice website:

Have fun! Bud, KC4HGH, somewhere near Mobile, AL
Sorry that name doesn't ring a bell. Name some manufacturers. I can see it plain as day but I can't recall the brand name.


KOMA in Oklahoma was always one of my favorites. In the aircheck posted to the far right you'll hear production music and news style very similar to KAAY. The tones before the dateline and after are well known to hams. Most newsrooms used these "bugs" in their newscast. It is a device used by hams to send code faster. It is a vertical key that when pushed to the left (I think) generated a solid tone. When pushed to the right generated short dots that trailed off. These tones were generated live. THere were lots of adjustments on the bugs and of course weekenders would get them out of adjustment.

This aircheck comes from Ron and here is his comment about the check:

I know the attached clip isn't fit for airplay either for that reason, but I cleaned it up the best I could with Cool Edit Pro. I thought you might get a kick out of hearing the newscast.

The attached recording was made by me on November 7, 1962 in Melrose Park, IL from a transistor radio.

Ron Henselman Melrose Park, IL


This is the type question Pat Walsh could have answered in a second. I have asked this before, so let me repeat it. Someone out there has the answer.

RIchard Weithan a/k/a Buddy Karr started the first Toys for Tots marathon broadcast from Toy Hill. The question is who succeeded Richard, before Matt White a/k/a Sonny Martin took over and did it for years.

If you have the answer please email me at

Sunday, December 14, 2008

DRM.....Do You know about them you care?

Life was so much simpler in the days of top 40 KAAY. No internet, emails, digital technology. All the Ampex's had tubes. I think one of the newer models we got was solid state. The console was tube and had rotary knobs for the faders.

There wasn't much taping of music off the radio because the quality wasn't real good and the jocks talked over the music intro to the songs.

What is amazing to me is a record cost a buck. Today a download from Itunes cost a buck. The record did have a flip side which was usually filler. Occasionally, the DJs rebelled and like the flip side better and made it a hit. No flip sides on iTunes.

The record companies are so paranoid about digital music the dreaded DMR surfaced fully supported my Microsoft. (DMR-Digital Music Rights).

So what does the future hold? Here is a great article that is lengthy but does give us real insight into the future:

Friday, December 12, 2008

WHBQ Featured today on XM

I think they have moved the starting time to 4 PM central. WHBQ Memphis is the featured station today.

I wonder if they have ever done WMPS?

My Favorite KAAY Jingle

We had lots of jingle packages at KAAY. Pams, TM, and others. My favorite is a Sonovox jingle in the player to the far right. We did several edits to shorten it and even had an instrumental version. To me it needs to be the full length.

I knew the jingles were working, when you would drive the mobile unit down the street. Kids would see it and sing "KAAY Tune Ten Ninety" back at you.

Jingles were extremely important to stations and advertisers. They built images for both that live on to this day. Stations and advertisers are missing a great opportunity. Coke for years was so good at it that one of their advertising jingles became a top 40 hit. Then they started using current artists to do a jingle in their style. Today, if a station has jingles they are shotgun type that do nothing to build an image. Today's programmers are so orentated to seeing how many songs they can play in a row. They will never be able to beat the Ipod so why not get back to building an image for a station that is so good, listeners will devote some of their time to the station.
Here is the link for recording:

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Comment on Comment Killer":

Hello AJ and Bud and everyone else. I saw the discussion around the CD-R's and agree, that's why I still have my vinyl. For hitting the website, it's more of a routine check to look for Beaker Street clips. But I still like seeing the other info & discussion.

Bruce, Houston, TX

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Comment on Comment Killer

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Comment Killer":

Well, A.J. I'LL comment! It floored me to know that CD's are curruptable, but, then, anything can and will be!

I've found that some stuff I've downloaded to CD will not play on a CD player, but will play on the CD player of a computer.

I also have many cassette tapes that have been stored for a number of years...about 20 or so...and I can still pull one out, put it in a CLEAN machine & still enjoy the recording, BUT, if CD's are going to deteriorate before the CDs, then I may transfer my CDs over to cassette! Bud, Mobile, AL

Comment Killer

Wow. Yesterday's discussion of CDs was a real comment killer. No one seemed to have a comment and hits were down.

Today is one of those days I woke up without a direction for this blog. I often depend on comments for a direction. They give me an idea on where to go.

We have talked about Toys for Tots which started with Richard Weithan a/k/a Buddy Karr and I asked who did the next Toys For Tots after Richards tragic death. No one has answered so let me ask it again and ask that you leave a comment on the comment line below.

Approximately 50 people a day visit this blog and leave without leaving a comment. Today even if you have nothing to say, just click on the comments and say "hi".

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How Good Are CDs

Dear A.J.,

I feel I should caution everyone of the readers about homemade CD's. I read in AARP Magazine how the CD's and DVD's we burn on our computers only have a life of about five years. I did not believe this statement when I read it. I thought if one were to store this media at a constant temperature, he or she could count on it being in good shape for many years to come. I was very wrong.

I created a CD of all of the 45's of my favorite singer Janie Grant. I did this in 2002. I saved all of the WAV files on two of my hard drives, but I did not have them on my main computer which I am using right now. I decided to convert one of the CD's to MP3's to use on this computer. When I tried to rip the CD, I was shocked when the last six tracks showed corrupted data. The CD was bad. I supplied Janie Grant with many copies of the CD, so her family could play them over and over. I wonder how many of them are still useable.

You might remember how much effort you and I put into the Rob Robbins CD which was created by my friend Richard at WEEK-LP FM. It was corrupted, yet it had only been played once. My Janie Grant CD didn't have a scratch on it. The CD's deteriorate for reasons which are not all that obvious. I won't go into the reasons, but there isn't much we can do about it. I have many hours of shows of Dick Biondi on WCFL doing a show called "In the Beginning." The CD's were created by my friend Richard from my original tapes recorded in 1970. I am going to check those CD's because I have a feeling they might have deteriorated just like the Rob Robbins CD. I will report back to you. It is fortunate Richard still has my original tapes of those shows.

Once one gets a good CD made from one of his or her tapes, it might be wise to back it up on some sort of magnetic media; otherwise, the risk of loss is great.

I just wanted to bring this up because of your offer to create CD's from tapes. That is a very wonderful offer. I'd just like the readers to know they need to back the CD's up with other media if they expect to be able to listen to the material many years from now. On the other hand, many of my tapes are falling apart, so the CD's are the best option for now.

How many other readers have had their homemade CD's deteriorate?


Ron Henselman W9FT Melrose Park, IL
Thanks Ron for your comments and suggestions. I have been recording CDs for many years and have not experienced much loss. I think the problem may be more in the computer creating the CD and/or the computer reading it. Sometime I find a new computer has problems reading a CD created on an older computer. If I take the cd to a regular cd player it works fine. I always archive material in the CD audio format. There is a "redbook" standard, which often older computers did not comply with.

I find that failure is seldom in the media. Sometimes cleaning a perfectly clean looking CD or DVD works wonders.

Also try using different "readers". Sometimes Nero will open a file that Windows Media Player will not. I use Adobe Audition which used to be Cool Edit Pro. It works very well at reading and burning CDs. It will also extract audio from video files.

When you do have a failure try another computer or player. Then, if it still is not working try a free program called "Isobuster". In most cases it can retrieve material from damaged files. It also works well with DVDs. In fact, I use it more for DVDs because I have more problems with DVDs.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thanks and I need more!

Many thanks to those of you who have contributed recordings to this blog. I look at this blog as a great way to preserve history that might otherwise disappear. I always encourage readers to record and save any of the material posted here. That way it has a better chance of surviving. If you have a recording on tape or cartridge and have no way of transferring it, please contact me and I will be happy to transfer it for you and provide you with a CD of the material. I can play any speed tape, and any format including broadcast cartridges. As you know this material is now rapidly deteriorating and needs to be transferred before it is lost.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

My Least Favorite Production Elements

I have put together a collection of what I think are the worst production elements we ever had. The common thread is they all say "Kay Double A Y". Aside from that, I don't like a lot of the inflection and even some of the music elements.

These did not air long, when it was discovered the audience was hearing it as " K W A Y". That was disastrous to a new station.

Player is on the far right and should anyone want to save these the link is below:


Remember Pearl Harbor !

Saturday, December 06, 2008

More Cuban Missile Crisis

A.J., I'm not familiar with international regulations or U.S. law regarding the use of stations for propaganda, but I think it would have been an honor to broadcast on the side of freedom.

During WW II, our Ham radio frequencies were "requesitioned" for the usage for the war effort (and other reasons, I'm sure), but were returned for our usage after the war was over. Many Ham radio operators went into the services as radio operators and practiced their craft for the military.

I'd have to do some research as to if standard broadcast stations were restricted, as well, but I don't think they were. Needless to say, this would be an interesting walk down radio history! Bud, Mobile, AL
You are on the same channel as most of us at KAAY at the time.
There was not as much distrust of the government as there is today. Also, those of us in the middle of it, realized the Cuban Missile Crisis could have easily been the start of nuclear war.

Cuban Missile Crisis

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Cuban Missile Crisis Promo":

One other comment, A.J.: some people in this country would see a commercial station lending it's outlet for such as KAAY did as "government control" and "a fascist take-over" of a station. I say, with something potentially harmful-looking that close to our border, it should be justifiable and patriotic.

With China and Cuba drilling for oil practically within sight of our Florida coast, and our own government NOT allowing us to do so, is outright ignoring of our rights and our OWN resources by our elected officials...something that WOULDN'T have happened 40 short years ago...and, I'm sure, this same government wouldn't want to "interfere" in other societies' or country's "broadcasting borders"...sheesh!

We have sent generator techs in several areas like Cuba, Haiti, etc., after hurricanes, etc. They are put in a limo van with no windows and ferried to and from jobs, never allowed to sight-see. It's no wonder people in those countries, et. al., want the truth and freedom!

I say, if a U.S. signal bleeds over the border, so be it! AM, FM or Shortwave (which, the latter is mostly the case), let the power flow. We get a LOT of interference from Cuba on 710 AM at night here in Mobile, as it is....Bud, Mobile, AL
Remember that VOA requested all the stations involved to "volenteer". KAAY asked to join in. When you read Richard's paper you begin to understand why stations might have felt intimidated. KAAY was apparently not on the original list because of the call letter change. It was Jim Hankins a/k/a Mike McCormick who contacted the government since station management and the LIN president were unavailable. Fred Gregg, LIN President, was not happy at all about the decision until he was invited to the White House for an award. (Read previous posts about Cuban Missile Crisis>


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Engineers hams?":

I would like to get in touch with some Hams who are engineers, from the "good old days" who appreciate tube equipment! Bud, KC4HGH at:

Bud, near Mobile, AL

Friday, December 05, 2008


I don't write much about sales. I should, because without it there would be no commercial radio. At KAAY we had anywhere from 2-4 salespeople, along with the General Manager and sometimes jocks would do some part time sales. The sales department was often at odds with programming, until many of the sales people started coming from the programming department. Then programming folk discovered sales were not easy. Here is an interesting blog with a great story for those of you who might still be in radio:

KAAY Song Intros

We always had a set of song intros. There were changed seasonally. Jim Hankins a/k/a
Mike McCormick who was the first program director, wrote and produced the "sound" for the station. This would include all the song intros, i.e. oldies, #1 song, Discovery,
etc. Then there were the contests, news intros, traffic, etc. Today I have selected two intros. Sorry I can't identify the voices. However, I believe I was at KAAY at this time because the announcers say kAay. With the emphasis on the first A. When KAAY first started most of the jocks and even some promos would say Kay double A Y. Mike realized people were hearing K W a y. Since in the South W is pronounced double yah.
To correct this, he insisted we all say and produce the k A a y. The player is to the far right and the link below for recording:


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Cuban Missile Crisis Promo

I have written many times about the Cuban Missile Crisis. If you need to be updated just use the search box in the upper left, enter Cuban missile crisis and then click search this blog. I have added a promo from 1962 voiced by Wayne Moss. The promo was probably also used as an intro to throwing the switch to the VOA. Player in far right.
If you need a link to record it:


Comment on Felix McDonald

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Felix McDonald":

A.J., I'm pretty well convinced that guys like Felix are getting fewer and farther between... lotsa solid-state stuff going in and not much tube gear anymore, EXCEPT!... when Hams rescue the transmitters and resurrect them for Amateur radio usage! Check this link out:

This came from here: and the main page:

I have talked to Paul Courson, WA3VJB, before, on AM and he has extraordinary audio! And, such a gentleman on the air! He was quite accomodating to me, picking my peanut-whistle signal out from amongst the "big boys" and made me feel welcome (I can only run 40 watts from my Kenwood TS-140S). He, and others, try to rescue these fine old transmitters from the scrap heap and put them back into service. They may not be the newest, or the prettiest, BUT, with some TLC and P.M., retuning to the lower Ham band(s) and lowering their power to our lower, legal levels, these transmitters will last 'way past our lifetimes!

Many of these Hams were (and some still are) broadcast engineers that have a love and appreciation for older equipment and hate to see it scrapped.

Personally, when I get my Drake TR-4 on the air (and later, my Johnson Viking II), I'll have a little more power for "ancient-mode" operating...maybe one day, I'll be fortunate enough to grab one of the big 'uns and build a shack for it (and me?). AM still rules! Bud, Mobile, AL


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Budweiser Jingles":

I have the 45RPM record that has the vocal on one side, and the instrumental on the flip side, of the long Budweiser Malt Liquor jingle. Happy to send the mp3

Please, I would really like to have it.


Engineers hams?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Were DJs Hams?":

Loads of us had Ham Licenses as well as First Class FCC Licenses back in they day.

Comment of Very Important Aircheck

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Very Important Aircheck":

And, VERY cool music, too, as I noted in another entry! By the way, A.J., mentioning The Mod Squad also reminded me of another cool music track: that of Police Squad, with Leslie Neilson! Here's a YouTube link:

This a Police Squad intro...and, even though this isn't radio-related, I believe it's one of the funniest shows ever aired! Bud, Mobile, AL
vdog has left a new comment on your post "Finally Found It":

A tradition that started on KAAY is still going strong today. It is the Toys for Tots campaign at toy hill in War Memorial Park. It will be Dec. 5th-7th. Bob Robbins has kept this drive alive after all these years. It was originally done by Sonny Martin (Matt White). Bob must have taken it over when he was still at KAAY.
Actually, I think it goes back before Matt was at KAAY. Richard Weithan a/k/a Buddy Karr started it. I am not sure who did it between Richard and Matt. Can someone fill in the gap?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Production Music

A.J. no longer do you hear the spectacular music on radio, as heard here on this (and other past) promos. Seems like all you hear is the latest (c)rap artist(?) offering or such other cruddy "popular" fare as a music bed. Maybe I'm gettin' old, but maybe, just MAYBE, I prefer quality music, like found on this promo!

I certainly hope more of these are found; if THIS was played on modern radio, maybe I'd listen to more MUSIC stations! Bud, Mobile, AL
Glad you noticed. The production policy at KAAY was NOT to use background music of the same type we played. NO ROCK & ROLL. The only exception is for a record shop or a performance that required rock and roll. Even the drag strip spots used a stylized, looped background. We had a library of big band, jazz, movie soundtracks, etc. That's where the music you heard on this promo came from. Also, several cuts from different albums might be used. The Tom Perryman IDs used this type music. It was usually a secret known only to the person who produced the spot and you rarely shared it with others. You showed off your production talent by finding just the right music. The end of the spot or promo was always an obvious stinger to indicate the end. Every spot or production element had a great stinger.

Dick Biondi & More

Dear A.J.,

Once you asked me why I listened to KAAY and not WLS. I told you I liked Dick Biondi, but KAAY played some different music. KAAY seemed more personal to me; I liked the sound of the announcers better than the stuff on WLS. Dick Biondi is still here,and each year he collects toys and money for Christmas gifts for poor kids. If you look at the attached photo, you will see what Dick Biondi looks like now. Dick is on the left. Ronnie Rice, who is the lead singer of the New Colony Six, is in the middle and my friend Mike (Waldo) is on the right. I like going to Dick Biondi live broadcasts because I win all of his trivia contests. Dick Biondi was nice enough to write to me when I was in Vietnam. KAAY was just plain fun and that's how I'll always remember it.

When Clark Weber was doing the Emperor Weber routine, his friend Ron Riley had his own group on WLS. Ron's counter-part to the commandos was called Rebel Ron's Raiders. I don't think he ever offered membership cards. Clark Weber, Ron Riley and Art Roberts were all ham operators working at WLS as announcers during the emperor era.

Very Important Aircheck

(The player for this post is on the very top of the stack of players at the top of the page)

This may be my most valuable aircheck. Actually, it's just a promo. It's a promo that has a short clip of the voice of each of the original jocks that started KAAY.
The first Doc Holiday, the first Mike McCormick and so on. This is long for a promo 1:49. I am so thankful that it was done. To my knowledge, this type promo was never done again. In a year many of these voices were gone and replaced with another Doc Holiday etc. The guys moved on the bigger stations. The promo is a take off on a TV show "THe Mod Squad". Sonny Martin The voice on this promo was probably John K. Anderson a/k/a Jack Grady. If anyone can confirm that please let me know. Listen closely to each voice. They are short clips that at least give you an idea of each voice. The player is on the far right and please save this on your computer with this:


Monday, December 01, 2008

I Need Your Help!

Much like the post below, this is a Thanksgiving promo produced about the same time. I need your help identifying the first voice. The second voice you hear is George J. Jennings. My best guess is John K. Anderson a/k/a Jack Grady. The player is on top on the right. For saving the link is below:


Finally Found It

I have been looking for this since the starting of the Thanksgiving season. On your far right is a player with what Mike McCormick a/k/a Jim Hankins called a "seasonal". It was a production element to set the stage for the season. Note this one runs 1 minute and 20 seconds. Jim wrote this and it aired as KAAY had been on the air barely 3 months. The voices are newsmen B.Bruce Jenkins and George J. Jennings.

Here is the link if you want to save it to your computer:


WCFL Music Charts

I am always interested in music charts. They tell so much more about the station than just the music they played. For example, look at these charts and you will see pictures of many of the great music jocks as they moved back and forth between WLS and WCFL.


Hi AJ –

A little more “backroom” stuff – you mentioned WCFL as being one of your favorites.

In the ‘70’s, KAAY used a consulting engineer to help develop the sound of the station and work specifically on the audio processing of KAAY and its new sister station, KLPQ. We hired Jim Loupas, former chief engineer of WCFL to come to Little Rock and work us on various aspects of the sound of KAAY and KLPQ. During this time, I became friends with Jim, which continued through my ITC days.

When Jim first came to KAAY, I have to admit being a bit nervous about what he would say about how the station sounded. It turned out that he was highly complimentary and he helped us get some of the things we had wanted; specialized audio processing equipment and better microphones, for example. Jim was already familiar with KAAY’s big RCA 50kW transmitter (WCFL used the same model), and most of the studio equipment we were using was already on his “A” list. We spent hours talking about how he did things in Chicago, which was a first rate learning experience for me.

Jim could talk ratings with the PD, he could talk sales with the Sales Manager, operations with the GM, and he could also talk technical with us engineers. He knew it all, and he moved easily between all the major disciplines within the station’s hierarchy.

Jim Loupas’s website is and you can read about his principles of loudness versus ease of listening.


Dave M//
Very interesting. I never knew of this. How did he get along with Pat Walsh?
I never heard Pat mention this.

Bill Drake Passes

Bill Drake, who set the tone at hundreds of pop stations with a radio format that placed music — rather than disc jockeys — at the center of the broadcast, has died. He was 71.

Drake died Saturday of cancer at West Hills Hospital in the San Fernando Valley, his domestic partner Carole Scott said. He was 71.

At the height of his career as a radio programming consultant in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Drake championed a streamlined format that came to be known as "Boss Radio," which made announcers' personalities secondary to the Top 40 hits they were spinning.

Under Drake's guidance, radio stations such as KGB in San Diego, KHJ in Los Angeles and KFRC in San Francisco shot to the No. 1 slots in their markets by promising more music and less chatter.

Drake, whose given name was Philip Yarbrough, was born Jan. 14, 1937, in southwest Georgia and began his professional radio career as a disk jockey and later program director at WAKE in Atlanta.

His name was changed to Drake because the station wanted a name that rhymed with the call letters, according to a biography on Drake's Web site.
Obviously, KAAY was never a Drake station or even tried to imitate the very successful format.

Mike McCormick a/k/a Jim Hankins started the biggest lie KAAY ever told..."we play much more music" . Actually he had the turntables speeded up slightly but that did more to make the other stations sound slow. We never ever played more music. We had more promos, contests, commercials, intros, etc than anyone else in the market.

We finally gave up on saying we played more music, when a rating came back with us as number one while playing more than 18 commercial minutes per hour. Add to that the religious block, the farm block and the news, it's a wonder we had any music listeners at all.

Felix McDonald

Long time Chief Engineer for KAAY. He goes back to KTHS. If my count is correct, he worked for 5 or 6 owners of KAAY.

Much has been written on this blog about Felix.

Here is just one great comment about Felix: for sale

The domain is for sale.
This rare 4 letter ".com" is now available! $7100 OBO plus escrow**.

WCFL Comment

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "My Favorite Radio Station WCFL":

Hi AJ -

WCFL canned Draper in 1972 and brought in John Rook as a consultant - that's how 'CFL was able to coax Lujack away from WLS.

It was during this stretch that 'CFL beat WLS in the ratings (the one-and-only time). I believe Rook was gone by 1975, and by March 1976, WCFL was playing beautiful music - with old Uncle Lar' reading liners 4X per hour!

Yes, WCFL was a GREAT station that will live forever in our airchecks!!
Thanks for the time line. Being out of radio, and into TV sales, I was just a listener. So of the difficulty of CFL reaching its potential may have to do with the ownership, which at the time I believe was the Chicage Federation of Labor.

Translation of Post Below

Gazmik has left a new comment on your post "Translation Please":

Using the "translate" on the Google toolbar:

"On the day he heard the dobliu. Upon arriving at seven or eight o'clock in the evening the signal was lost until you could not hear more. It was then that sintoniz√°bamos the keyeyeiguay.

"At the end of 66 a guy named Clyde Clifford said it was very rare that a program was beginning to midnight: Beaker Street. Unlike other DJs, spoke very slowly with a background of music and spatial sounds unusual, put to music that you could not hear at any other station. Underground. Many of those rare songs later found their place in what is now considered Classic Rock. The program lasted until 77 but already to end the FM Clifford had taken almost all the listeners into the stereo. KAAY became a religious music station.

"Even today can be heard on the Internet Beaker street and there's a blog on the KAAY that has an interesting history of the involvement of the station at the VOA broadcasts to Cuba. Clifford also has his blog, though not much talk about music."