Friday, December 28, 2007

My Radio Daze- Dallas Radio and KLIF AM

I, like most people who lived in Dallas in the mid to late 50s and 60s, grew up listening to radio giant KLIF AM. The DJs there were highly regarded celebreties. When KLIF had a public event and their DJs were there, the place where it was held was always jammed and overflowing with people. They were still riding the wave of being the number one station in Dallas when the Beatles had five songs on the top 40 at once.
KLIF had a well respected news department and stellar news men. KLIF had a newsman, Ron McAlister, stationed coincidentally at the triple overpass when Kennedy was shot, and his live report that began as it happened, "It sounds like someone is shooting off firecrackers," was the first on the scene live report of that fateful day.
Gordon McLendon was the genius of radio promotions. He brought in Jimmy Rabbit as a DJ and placed overturned cars next to Dallas streets with a sign on them saying "I flipped for Jimmy Rabbit."
There were many stunts and promotions done during each ratings period. Gordon once had a million dollar check hid in a bottle somewhere in Dallas and gave clues to where it was. Many yards were dug up to homeowners dismay. The prize decreased in value daily, and by the time it was found, it was worth $10,000.00. Even my father went out to look for the million.
While I worked at KLIF sister station KNUS, I got to see he inner workings of some of their promotions on KLIF. During one spring ratings period when dave Ambrose was program director, the station had a contest to give a listener a $100,000.00 house. This was 1969, and at that time thatamount of money would buy a mansion.The contest was geared to last two months. You can imagine the shock, dismay, and chagrin of the radio station, from the owner, Gordon McLendon, to the entire airstaff when some lucky listener won the house on the first day of the promotion. They had to come up with smething else quick.
Rod Roddy worked at KLIF during the time I worked at KNUS.

1 comment:

Wayne said...

Just to correct something above: Ron McAlister was working for KBOX during the Kennedy Assassination and the quote you have for him for KLIF actually occurred on KBOX. He later went to work for KLIF.

He was in a KBOX mobile news unit just ahead of the motorcade and was looking in his rear-view mirror when he filed his first report.

Gordon McLendon was at the Dallas Trade Mart and filed a phoner from there when word reached the Trade Mart that Kennedy had been shot.

-- A former KLIF/KNUS employee