Thursday, January 01, 2009

Here IT is .....The Greatest Aircheck of All TIme

I can't seem to get any of the blogspot mp3 players to work this morning, so I am just giving you the link which should play on everyone's computer. You can and should save this aircheck.

Why is this the greatest? I have always looked for this. Even KAAY apparently did not save any of the Labor Day Weekend change from KTHS to KAAY. I have written about this several times on this blog. This was the most unique call letter and format change I have ever heard. Playing Baby Elephant Walk over and over was not so unique. Lots of stations played a record over and over. Reading the Little Rock phone book was. As the clip starts you hear some of the phone book reading. All of the air people, took turns at 24 hour shifts over the weekend. This clip is very early in the weekend. I know this because of the produced "YAAK" bit. YAAK is, of course, KAAY backward. After about the first day, KAAY was introduced with production elements.

As you can hear this was recorded off the skywave which really gives authenticity to the recording. What are the odds of someone recording this? What are the odds of getting a recording so early in the change.

Several years ago, I tried to get George J. Jennings who was news director on the original staff to recreate the event but he never did.

I can not thank Ron Henselman W9FT Melrose Park, IL for this recording. It was on reel to reel and the tape oxide was deteriating. He worked hours on restoring this great aircheck.

Please leave comments to thank him for all his work and his willingness to share this with everyone.

Here it is:

Here are some comments regarding the recording from Ron:

Hello A.J.,

I had just turned fifteen eight weeks before I made the recording. You heard the whole event, so maybe your description of the transition is more accurate than what I remember. I think I made the recording seven hours before the official change of call letters. It was around 10:00 or 11:00 at night when I made that recording. I'm pretty sure I listened on the hour to verify they were still using KTHS as the call letters. This was a big deal if one was a radio DX'er. They announced "Tune in at 6:00 AM tomorrow morning for a big surprise. If you can't hear the mighty ten ninety during daylight hours, then tune in tomorrow night to hear the surprise." I listened to the station until about 1:00 AM, but then I had to go to bed. I couldn't hear anything the next morning, so I had to wait until close to sundown. They were already doing regular programming as KAAY when I was able to receive the station via skywave the next evening. I liked top forty music at that time, so my ear was glued to the radio for most of that evening. The tape I used was recycled. It was labeled, "Paul Grove Sunway Vitamins Show 1955 WCKY." I recorded over the existing material. Tape was too expensive for a kid to buy, so I was very lucky when Gary Wegners's father Wally gave us a bunch of used tape he found. Acetate tape was probably all that was available when that tape was manufactured. Some of the tape my sister bought in 1959 was made from different material, and it survived much better.


Ron Henselman


Len Carl said...

Many fond memories. Thanks for sharing this. It was a great day and I was there.

Len Carl

Amazing Grace said...

I always wondered what happened to my favorite radio station, KTHS. I listened from 1951 to 1954 to the late night jazz program hosted by Jonny Holliday. I went on a trip to Canada in August-September of 1954 and when I returned home, the program and station no longer existed. I've often wondered what happened to Jonny. He and his program are the reason for my lifelong love of jazz from the age of 14. Thanks for clearing up a mystery.

Anonymous said...

Great catch of radio history, Ron! Would we all be so fortunate. But, then again, if we were, we wouldn't have this much-anticipated teaser! Thank you so much, Ron, for sharing this with us! And here's hoping we can find more KAAY recordings for 2009! Bud, Mobile, AL