Saturday, January 03, 2009

KTHS KAAY Jerry Sims


First of all, congratulations on the big day on the blog! I appreciate your efforts every day, and I know that kind of encouragement helps keep you going.

I had experience with KTHS Radio back when I was about 15 or 16 years old. I wrote briefly on this about a year ago, but I thought I might fill in some blanks about it since there is some interest in pre-KAAY -KTHS.

I had a real desire to be on the radio at a very young age. I did not have any contacts in the business to even talk to about my plans. There was a radio announcer in our church (Park Hill Baptist-North Little Rock) that my Dad knew. I was aware of him only because of hearing that great voice doing narration of programs at church. He was Earl Davis on KTHS. My Dad introduced me and I immediately began to throw questions at him about radio, which prompted an invitation to visit the station, which I did a a regular basis. He had a program (I believe it was 10:30pm to Midnight) called "Razorback Round-Up".

I was amazed at the coverage that his program had. Callers from all over the mid-west, usually. He even had a fan club! He was "Pappy Davis" on his program. He did his show from a booth just off the control room (later the KAAY News room). He had his own engineer (Eddie Graham, at least part of the time), that played records and commercials for him. There was just a light over his mic that let him know when his mic was open.

Other than his country music program, they did a "good music" format they called Sonorama. They even had a newsman that prepared a fifteen minute 10 pm News for them. There was a window in the control room that gave you a view of the KTHV 11 television studio downstairs. I later was the "KTHV Weather Man" in that same studio, but the biggest kick came as I watched the radio operation then, and certainly later as Sonny Martin on KAAY. TV was fun.....Radio was exciting!

I wondered as a teenager then, how could a radio station in Little Rock be popular across a good portion of the country, when people in Little Rock did not know they existed. Well, it did exist in some more "adult" minds.

There were several of my friends, that I later worked with at KTHV, who had worked for KTHS before their television days. Among those were George Moore and Bob Hicks.

Great air-check on the Baby Elephant Walk/phone book trick. I remember we were at KXLR and were looking at trying to be competitive with the Sleeping Giant that was waking up. Later we both ended up there with them. My (our) lucky day!

Jerry Sims...aka Sonny Martin
Thanks for the great memories Jerry. I remember Earl "Pappy" Davis. I never worked with him but he must have hung around the KTHV studios and The Blue Goose. He was full and overflowing with fun. Just a great guy to be around. It was also great to be in the same building with KTHV and not actually be connected ownership wise. We were always asking some of their talent to do voice work. When we started Ear On Arkansas, we needed lots of extra voices. Gary Robertson was the son of B.G. Robertson the manager of KTHV. We discovered Gary could
sustain a great British accent. As the British invasion took place we put Gary on the air doing his British stick.
I cannot remember his air me out here.

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