Tuesday, February 19, 2008


In the day at KLOL, when album rock was king, we had the support of an excellent news department too.

Originally brought into being by the first News Director, Jim Hilty (me), who went on to be KLOL Music Director and later Program Director, KLOL continued to develop into a solid news operation.

Bob Wright came on board from KENR as News Director shortly after our move to Lovett Boulevard. He later hired Brian Hill as a solid asset to the news team.

The news department accessed the national wire services over at sister station, news/talk KTRH. It was up to the KLOL newspeople to dig up the dirt on the local Houston scene. And, they did a great job.

The newsroom had a main office right in the center of the KLOL complex. The news studio was a mirror image of the KLOL production studio with state of the art equipment, and Ampex tape recording machines that used big 12 inch diameter recording tape reels. The Ampex machines were about the size of today's typical washing machine, but state of the art then too.

All of the studios had two microphones for a stereo effect, and two microphone controls. Each had to be turned on or off to operate the two microphones.
The news studio control room had stereo mikes too, and these led to trouble for Brian Hill on at least one occasion.

When you hear a newsmaker's voice on the news reports, these are called "Actualities" in the business. At that time, they were recorded on tape cartridges that looked somewhat like a car's eight track tape. They were placed in a slot in a tape player, and started when a button was pressed at the appropriate moment by the newsman. The cartridges were "cued up" to the right moment for a beginning word of a sentence of a newsmaker to be heard. The tape player could have room for three or four separate individual "cued up" cartridges. All slots were usually full during a newscast.

A KLOL news story may have sounded something like this...Hypothetically speaking....
"And the mayor denied making improper advances to his intern. The mayor had this to say today at his press conference"....(Enter the Mayor's voice as an "actuality" played at that moment on tape on the air)..."I did not have sexual relations with that woman......Ms. Brewsky."

Typically, a newsman's mike is turned off during the playing of an "actuality" to let the newsperson take a breath, collect thoughts, clear the throat, or cough if needed. Its a small break in the newscast for the newscaster that the listeners aren't aware of.

Brian Hill had both microphones on when he did one particular newscast during the midday program. He was reading his news copy, started an "actuality," and turned off only one mike. The "actuality" stopped dead suddenly while the newsmaker being quoted spoke. Nothing could be heard but the dreaded "Dead Air."

Brian had forgotten to turn off both mikes. He had just turned one off, so one was still live, and everything he said would be heard on the air. I heard over the air the word "SH*T live from the newsroom. Always the consummate professional, Brian continued with the story, ad libbing the rest of the newsmaker's recorded comments and story.
I was comfortable that he heard what he said over the air, knew of his goof, was suitably embarrassed, and would turn off both mikes next time.

He continued with another story, and another "actuality" malfunctioned when he pushed the button. The cartridge misfired. It played nothing when Brian pushed the button. I heard softly, but unmistakeably the words, "SON OF A BIT*H" over the air. At that point, I knew that Brian had still left a mike on and didn't know it. He turned on a mike, ad libbed about what the newsmaker was supposed to be heard saying, and continued reading his news copy.

I got up from the KLOL broadcast console then to go tell Brian that a mike was left on. Brian had tried to play another actuality for the same story while I was getting up and heading to the news department. It misfired and didn't work either. There was a serious problem with the cartridge playing machine.

I heard Brian say on the air, "G*D DAM**T...YOU MOTHERFU**ER." The one unknown mike was still on. He was live on the air. Brian continued his newscast, ad libbing around the missing parts of the story, and acting like nothing happened after, to his horror, I had motioned with a pointed finger to the open mike switch. He turned beet red, but carried on like the pro he was and got out of the newscast by giving the weather forecast.

When a mistake is made on the air, whether it is a misspoken word or sentence, or something like this, the best tactic is to say nothing about it. Don't draw attention to your faux pas. Just act like nothing happened. This isn't always possible though. Sometimes you burst out in laughter because of what you said. I have laughed till tears came over some things that I accidentally said or heard someone else say. You laugh so hard you can't say anything else.
But, most people will not even notice, or maybe think in the back of their mind, "Did I really hear that?"

Brian said three of the seven deadly words you can't say on radio and one other doubtful expression for the FCC, all of South Texas, and the rest of the world to hear in less than 20 seconds. Brian's goof was the brunt of jokes around KLOL, but nothing major ever came of it.

I always liked to intro Brian with the line that I stole somewhere, " Now, here's Brian Hill with the news. When news breaks, Brian fixes it." (Chevy Chase?)

There was no turnover in the news department, but there was a need for a part time news person in a position that would lead to a replacement for me when I went back to an on the air DJ shift. We received lots of aircheck tapes from would be KLOL news hounds.

One of those was from an experienced newscaster named Linda. Linda was out of work after accidentally sending a confidential and unflattering letter to a co worker about her boss. The problem was that the letter was accidentally went on to the radio station subscription wire service news wire at the company she worked for. She was responsible for everything that went to the radio and TV stations. She simply pushed the wrong button. Instead of it being a closed communication to a co worker, the embarassing letter went to every radio and TV station that subscribed to the news wire service.

Jerry Lee was the KLOL station manager. He had worked his way up the ranks of the sales department to the management position and made hiring decisions for department heads, such as the news director. Although she was an excellent newscaster, Jerry did not hire this lady who applied. She didn't do badly though in her career though.
She was Linda Ellerbee, who was hired soon after the newswire service fiasco by one on the alphabet networks as a national TV news correspondent and went on to a prominent career.

By the way, as far as I know, KLOL news was the only radio news department to have its own T Shirt, which is pictured at the top of this blog.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Here is my KLIF 1190 AM press pass issued by the Dallas Police Department in 1969 and signed by Charles Batchelor, who was Assistant Dallas Police Chief when JFK was shot in 1963, and my KLOL FM (K101)press pass signed by the Harris County Sheriff's Department's Sheriff Jack Heard in Houston in 1973. Jack Heard was the only person to ever serve as the City of Houston's Police Chief and Harris County Sheriff. These passes were necessary to enter press conferences and to cross police lines into crime scenes and other ordinarily restricted areas.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I don't know a lot about his group except that that they were European and they sounded Emerson, Lake and Palmerish.
I do like the mouse and the egg artwork though.
"Illusions on a Double Dimple" was the only Triumvrat LP that I recall receiving while at KLOL.
Ed Beauchamp really liked this album. It got a good amount of airplay at KLOL.


Here is a medium size Ringo Starr Vintage rock T shirt. I believe that this came out to promote Ringo's "RINGO" Album. I have two of these.

"Ringo" was the only solo album on which all of the ex Beatles performed. He got a little help from his friends John , George, and Paul. Although they were never in the studio at the same time, the mark and sound of the Beatles is present throughout the album. That is especially true of the unmistakable guitar work of George Harrison, particularly on "Photograph" and "It Don't Come Easy."

"Ringo" was released on November 2, 1973 in the USA and on November 9 in Great Britain. It stayed on the charts for thirty-seven weeks. It was in the top ten for eight weeks and at its peak was number two at Billboard Magazine.It reached number one on Cashbox and Record World.

Ringo sang "Photograph," a song co-written by George Harrison and performed by both on the Ringo LP at the "Concert for George" on November 29, 2002, at the Royal Albert Hall, London on the first anniversary of Harrison's death.

The lyrics of the song hauntingly brought back memories of George.
"Ev'ry time I see your face,
It reminds me of the places we used to go.
But all I've got is a photograph,
And I realise you're not coming back anymore.
I can't get used to living here,
While my heart is broke, my tears I cried for you.
I want you here to have and hold,
As the years go by and we grow old and grey."

See Ringo in his latest incarnation on the "Storytellers" series on VH1 Classic.
He has many stories about the day.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Some of my favorite record company vintage T shirt artwork can be found on T shirts from George Harrison's Dark Horse record label, which was first distributed by A & M Records. These T shirts had George Harrison's Dark Horse logo on the front and an interesting logo on the back.

The inspiration for the Dark Horse logo came from a label on a tin box Harrison saw on one of his many trips to India.

Harrison had recorded for the Parlophone and Apple labels under a contract terminated in 1976. All his subsequent recordings were released through Dark Horse. This started with Thirty Three & 1/3 in 1976 and ending with the posthumous release of Brainwashed in 2002. Harrison's Dark Horse back catalogue was remastered and reissued in a box-set during 2004. These, and releases of other artists, have been distributed in turn by three record companies:

A&M Records (1974-1976)
Warner Bros. Records (1976-1992)
Parlophone (starting 2002)

The logo features the seven-headed horse Uchchaisravas, a common figure in Indian art and mythology. Harrison was the proverbial dark horse in going for a solo career after having been overshadowed among The Beatles by Lennon and McCartney, despite his creating several of the band's more popular later songs (such as "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something"), and being the first ex-Beatle with a number-one ranked solo album (All Things Must Pass in 1970).

I am fortunate enough to have four of these vintage rock T shirts and am happy to show them to you.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Here is my vintage Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" Rock T Shirt. The album was released Released September 15, 1975 and was an immediate KLOL favorite.

The album was recorded between January–July 1975 at Abbey Road Studios in London, England. My favorite cut on the album was the tribute to former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."

My "Dark Side of the Moon" T shirt (not pictured nor in existence anymore)finally wore out from wear. Thank God for the record company T shirts we got at KLOL. KLOL airstaff used to joke that they eliminated our clothing expenses because they were the only shirts we ever wore with our blue jeans.


I started to title this blog the "Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder Revue Concert Vintage
T Shirt."
But, the fact is that it isn't a T shirt.
This vintage rock promotional shirt was actually printed by the promoters on an insulated long underwear top. Dylan's promoters spent more than the average amount of money on printing these promotional shirts because of the type of garment it is.
This long sleeve top has three buttons on the front at the center top. Printed on the right side is "Hard Rain" "Ft. Collins, Colorado.
Take a look at the back for the concert line up of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bob Neuwirth, and Dylan's good friend and mentor Jack Eliott.
This concert tour was in late 1975 and 1976. I originally had two of these shirts, but one got a couple of small rust stain spots on the front many years ago. I can't believe now that I actually used the other slightly spotted shirt to wax my car and then threw it away.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Working at an album rock station was heaven. Meeting rock stars, playing their records, talking to the town on 100,000 watts, and getting paid for it too. There were also the front row concert tickets and other great things.
I have paid for the front row tickets over the years with some hearing loss, but I wouldn't give back a minute of the fun. Every one from the day will recall that it wasn't a good concert unless you came out with your ears ringing and it sounding like someone had stuffed your ears with cotton when you talked.
One of the big benefits of working at KLOL was the promotional T shirts that record promoters gave to the staff. 1969 to 1979 were the golden years of vintage rock T shirts, and I own some true classics.
I am posting pictures of some of the really great recording artist promotional T shirts that I got while at KLOL.
Some of my vintage T shirts, such as the original Grateful Dead Skull and Roses, Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, and ELO's ElDorado were worn until they became see through shirts and fell apart. Others have weathered the years in fine fashion.
ZZ Top is at the top of my favorite vintage rock t shirt list.
ZZ Top was without a doubt the greatest hometown Houston band. ZZ Top really broke out of Houston when they opened for the Rolling Stones in Hawaii. We always were big fans of the home town boys, and KLOL airplay showed that fact.
I remember the excited call that I got from Billy Gibbons when he told me about their big break.
I will be adding more T Shirts as time permits.

Monday, January 14, 2008


The KLOL logo has undergone many changes. The station called itself "K101" for several years. It had a running radio logo, with a leafy substance in the "0" on the logo. That went when upper management decided that the leafy substance was contraband of some sort.

The big change came when San Francisco station KIOI (101.1 fm) sent a letter from its attorney threatening to sue for trademark infringement. It seems they had trademarked the "K101" logo. All of our bumper stickers and t- shirts had to be changed from K101 to KLOL.

The example of the sticker shown at the top is a motorcycle helmet reflector with the old K101 logo we had. The original size is 1 and 1/12 inches by 4 inches

If you have any other KLOL bumper stickers, KLOL t shirts, or related KLOL stuff, please send a photo to me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I know that KLOL had some problems with the FCC in the 1990's because of some of the on the air content and got a big fine. KLOL in its formative days in the mid 1970s had some problems with the FCC in its formative days too.

But, in the case of its problems after moving from the Rice Hotel to 510 Lovett Blvd. in Montrose, it was a technical issue. Our broadcast signal at 101.1 FM was interfering with airline and control tower communications at Hobby airport.

Technically speaking, our signal was radiating in the first harmonic 10 megacycles up in frequency onto 110.1 megacycles (110.1 FM) . It was interfering with important landing communications that used that frequency. The pilots were hearing KLOL on their aircraft radios and not the control tower communications. The FCC gave us a 7 day deadline to clean up the problem, or they were going to shut us down cold. No more KLOL until we could correct the problem.

Assistant engineer Bob West and the chief engineer were at their wit's end, having gone throught the big 100,000 watt transmitter from front to back and finding nothing. They also tore the studio equipment apart. The deadline for us going dark was fast approaching.

We had about an hour left on the final afternoon before we were to turn everything off when Bob West did a walkthrough of the studio in a last ditch attempt to find the problem and fix it.

We used an old time cathedral radio as part of our logo on bumper stickers and T-shirts, and a real radio of this type was used in our reception area as the on the air radio monitor for the off the air staff to listen to. It was an old relic 1930s which had FM reception added by someone.

I the last few minutes before going dark, Bob West went over to the old radio and on a hunch, turned off the radio. Like magic, the problem was solved. As it happened, the airplanes flew over the KLOL studios and the old radio on their landing and take off paths to and from Hobby airport.

The old radio in the reception area was the culprit. As the planes flew over the building and the radio relatively close, they were close enough to pick up the interference that the old radio was radiating straight up in the short distance from us to them to interfere with the airplane's two way radios.

The FCC got off our backs, and we replaced the innards of the old radio with a modern FM receiver. I don't know if Bob got a bonus for figuring this out, but he sure deserved it.

Radio studio and transmitter engineers are really unsung heroes and are often taken for granted at a lot of stations. Through their maintenence and tweaking the equipment, they keep the place on the air in more ways than one.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


The biggest star who visited was George Harrison. He was on tour and visiting Houston with jazzman Tom Scott. At the same time he visited Houston, Elton John released "Lucy in The Skies With Diamonds." Many rock stars listened to KLOL during their off time while in town, and that was exactly what George Harrison was doing after his concert.

He called our night jock, Levi Booker. He asked in his unmistakeable Cockney accented voice, "Who sang that song?" after Levi played it on the air. Apparently he had never heard this version of the Sgt. Pepper classic. He said "I had a little bit of something to do with that song coming into being." Levi thought it was a put on by some KLOL listener. Levi didn't believe he was really talking to George Harrison.

Levi said, "I know the real George Harrison is in town, and he isn't you. If you're the real George Harrison, come down to our studios. I won't believe it otherwise." He discussed the idea with Tom and they decided that it would be a good promotional opportunity. George said that he would be there soon.

Soon, there was a knock at the door, and it was George Harrison and Tom Scott. George and Tom stayed several hours talking to Levi on the air. One part of that conversation was about money and happiness. George had plenty of the former, and was working hard on the latter.

Levi told him that he believed that money would give him personal happiness, if he could ever get a lot of it. George disagreed. Levi said, "Tell you what George, Give me $100,000.00, which was a ton of money at the time, and I'll show you the happiness it will give me."
I believe that George was actually considering doing exactly that. He took his time in responding as if he were considering conducting some kind of experiment in human behavior.

But, unfortunately for Levi, George said, "You wouldn't want the problems that would come with that money." "I can't do that to you." Levi said, "Try me George, do it to me George, do it to me." But, Levi received nothing, except a good time on the air with George Harrison, and we all got a great memorable experience.

Monday, January 7, 2008


I had a very good relationship with the Who and their manager, Bill Curbishley. He had previously managed The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (that goes back a way), Thunderclap Newman, Marc Bolan, and The Who. He is still in the management business.
He was the exclusive manager of the Who. His company later managed Judas Priest, in addition to Robert Plant, and Jimmy Page, after they left Led Zepplin. I had a standing invitation to his beach house in Spain.

The Who really knew how to have a party. Dom Perignon Champagne always flowed from the fountains. Just dip your glass under the falling Dom Perignon, and you were in business. Plus, no expense was spared when it came to the food.

The Who came to Houston many times, and I always went to the after concert parties. One party, after the "Who By Numbers" concert got out of hand. It was at a ballroom at Houston's Galleria Hotel. The single "Squeeze Box" was being promoted to Houston radio and press. The place was packed.

The party organizers hired some scantily clad entertainers from a local exotic club to entertain. They were making attempts to play "squeeze boxes," small, primitive accordions, as they covered their upper bodies with them while onstage.

Things began to get out of hand when a roadie from the group went on stage and joined the fun. Apparently, after having too much Dom Perignon, he attempted some indiscrete advances toward the scantily clad girls. Houston Police, who were providing security, moved in and things started getting crazy.

As the commotion increased, I said to my ex wife, "Lets get the heck out of here while we can." It was too late because the police and hotel security closed the doors and no one was going in or out of that room.

Who bassist, John Ethwistle, tired to intervene and calm the situation down, but was arrested by the police instead. It was the proverbial "No good deed goes unpunished." He was taken to the station house by the cops, but he was never booked. He was released to his manager after signing autographs for his many police department fans.

Not every Who event was so extreme. Most were fairly sedate and reserved affairs. Every one was always well mannered. I jetted to Dallas, for a concert review for KLOL of the Who's latest concert when Roger Daltrey released his solo album, "Ride a Rock Horse." Dom Perignon flowed again and no one else ever got arrested at any other Who event that I went to.

The Who members were forbidden to give any individual on the air radio interviews while they were in town for the "Who By Numbers Show." However, Keith Moon had met KLOL's Jackie McCauley while he was in town.

There was a phone call to her while she was on the air the next day after the concert and party from a person with an English accent who called himself, "Keith X." He called himself "Keith X" since no official interviews or phone calls by Who group members could be done.

She only would talk to him on the air at KLOL. No off the air interaction. There was no doubt in anyone's mind who he was and his intentions soon became obvious . He tried to convince her to go out with him when he was there. He begged and pled, and then tried whining and moaning to convince her. But, she declined.

KLOL AND JETHRO TULL- A good concert goes bad for 1 DJ

One memorable concert was when KLOL presented Jethro Tull. The KLOL DJ emceeing the concerts always had a couple of backstage passes. The DJ/emcee on this particular show brought his live in girlfriend backstage. Everyone on the KLOL staff was surprised to learn several days later that his girlfriend ran off with the band's bass player.


KLOL DJs got paid to emcee and introduce many KLOL sponsored rock acts when they came to Houston. Here I was, having fun, meeting rock stars, and getting paid for it. Is this a great country or what?

I remember emceeing Genesis, when Phil Collins was the drummer and Peter Gabriel was the front man. This was the tour that promoted "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway."

Genesis was one of the first groups to use stage props in their performances. This was an innovation. When I was on the stage, before the curtains opened, I met the group. Peter Gabriel was wearing a black motorcycle jacket for the act. As I turned around to walk away to the microphone, I walked into a black motorcycle jacket wearing person. I almost knocked him down until I grabbed his arm and said, "excuse me."
I was embarassed as the band laughed. I had walked into a mannequin onstage wearing the same kind of motorcycle jacket as Peter Gabriel. I was really embarassed when I said, "excuse me" to a stage prop.

After getting the concert started, I went to see the group's manager to get paid for my appearance. He was in the concert hall's office. The show was a sell out, but I guess that a lot of tickets were sold at the door because when I went into the room where he was, there was a pile of crumpled bills on the desk where he was counting and sorting them. The pile of crumpled cash was at least a foot high and three feet wide. I knew I was in the wrong business when I saw that.


KLOL played a major part in the national rise to stardom of Canadian group "Heart." When I was music director of the station, I got a call in 1976 from a cross country truck driver listener who told me about their album that he heard while in Vancouver, B.C. and about their big Canadian fan base. He asked if he could bring a copy of the Canadian release of "Dreamboat Annie", their first album, to the station. I gave it a listen while he was at the station and gave him about a dozen new really good lps in a trade for his Canadian LP.

The LP was an immediate hit with the KLOL airstaff and got lots of airplay. As far as I knew, KLOL was the first station in the country to play their debut lp. The album was released generally in the U.S. not long after that, and the rest is history. KLOL was later awarded a gold record as recognition of its contribution to the group's rise.


There were few rock acts passing through Houston in concert that were not sponsored by KLOL FM.
The phrase "KLOL Presents" was at the beginning of more concert ads on the station than I can remember.

Some of the notables were The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, The Who, Genesis, and the list goes on. KLOL and its Houston audience were also the springboard for several artists going on to successful careers.

Bruse Springsteen and his band immediately come to mind as a breakout act in Houston. He was treated just like any other musician passing through any other city as he and his group toured the rest of the USA. But, this was not the case when he came to Houston. He was shocked and surprised by the reception he received every time he went to KLOL and by the reception of the City of Houston as a result of our talking him up and playing his music prominently on KLOL.
He was treated like a star when he was in the Bayou City. It wasn't like this anywhere in the Country...nowhere.

KLOL sponsored most of his early concerts at the venerable "Liberty Hall" concert hall. It was a small club, but it was standing room only when he played there in his earliest pre-stardom days.

His manager, Mike Appel sent Springteen music to us that other radio stations didn't have, such as a reel to reel demo copy of "The Fever," and his Christmas song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." The fever really took off because of KLOL airplay. One of his shows broadcast on KLOL became a bootleg album classic. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed played an eight song broadcast show on KLOL FM, on the afternoon of 09 Mar 1974 at KLOL's studios Studios in Houston, TX. The late Ed Beauchamp was the KLOL personality who was overseeing the broadcast. The performance included an acoustic "SOMETHING YOU GOT." There was also a lengthy interview of Bruce by Ed. The complete broadcast is available in superb quality on several bootlegs, including:
· The Lost Radio Show (Kiss The Stone Records)
· The Lost Radio Show (Red Line / Post Script)
· The Lost Radio Show (Whoopy Cat Records)
· The Lost Radio Show Remastered (Pablo Records)

Friday, January 4, 2008


During the cold war, Americans were taught to rely on the Emergency Broadcast System for emergency information on such trivialities as nuclear attack. Most of the people in Dallas turned to KLIF news for their radio news and information on EBS alerts.

When KLIF radio's news department was notified of an emergency alert test, the newsperson receiving the off the air alert notification had to verify whether it was a test or the real thing. There would be a code word in the alert that was to be compared to a code word in a sealed envelope provided to all stations across the country. This code word would verify the validity of the notification's being either a test, or the end of the world.

I was the only newsman on duty on a weekend, in 1970 or 1971 or thereabouts when a seemingly routine EBS alert was issued.
This alert meant that if I opened the envelope and if the word "Impish" from the alert I received matched the word in the sealed envelope, it was time give the nuclear attack warning to the public and then to kiss everything goodbye.

The KLIF and KNUS studios and downtown Dallas were 25 or so miles, as the crow flies, from Carswell Air Force Base. Carswell was a Strategic Air Command B52 base, from which we always had nuclear armed B 52 bombers flying in the air worldwide. It was a cherry of a bull's eye for Soviet Thermonuclear bombs. 25 miles is no distance at all for a couple of 100 megaton H bombs. If nothing else, Dallas would also get a big nuke tossed at it just for good summertime Soviet nuclear fun.

I opened the sealed envelope and saw the code word "Impish" written on it. That definately was the code word corresponding to the day's date on the alert then. Seeing the codeword "Impish" on the alert, and the corresponding code word "Impish" on the code word list confirmed that this was not a test. Hmmmmm. Not good.

I went into the KLIF control room and showed the DJ on duty the confirming paperwork. We were trying to decide what to do. Do we broadcast this nuclear alert? Is it real? Will it send the city into a panic, whether it is real or not? Is there some government official we can call to verify that this is real? Well, no there isn't. Do we hang around here, or is it time to hit the road?

Making an executive decision, we decided that we were not going to run this nuclear attack alert. I did not believe it was real. Neither did the Jock, who I believe was Weaver Morrow. It was authentic, and from the U.S. Government, but was it real? There is a difference.

I had this gut feeling that there was a mistake. It wasn't just an optimistic, head in the sand belief, it was a genuine belief. It was just a gut feeling. Even so, what did it matter if we broadcast a nuclear attack warning to an unsuspecting Dallas population? When you heard it over the radio, you had a minute or two to dig or get into the biggest hole you could find before eternity set in from an unexpected bright midday sunrise or two in the western skies in the direction of Carswell AFB?

We called the program and news director after deciding the alert was bogus, and they seconded our decision not to broadcast it yet.

A few minutes later, the U.P.I teletype machines were ringing constantly with a news alert like a frantic hotel guest at the front desk looking for the concierge. The U.P.I was confriming whether or not we would be seeing nightfall this evening. The tension was as thick as Grandma's molasses (as Dan Rather might have said) in the fabled KLIF newsroom as the story began to be printed on the newswire. The breaking story began to arrive, "Bulletin.....Bulletin.....Bulletin..... The Emergency Broadcast System sounded an emergency alert warning today........"

The United Press International teletype news wire service said that the Emergency Broadcast system had experienced a malfunction. Someone had accidentally entered the incorrect codeword on the alert that radio stations from coast to coast received today. There would be no thermonuclear attack, at least, not that day.

It may be discomforting to those of use who depend on the EBS alert system today to find out that about 70 percent of the radio and TV stations from coast to coast disregarded the Emergency Broadcast Alert, and did not air it as we chose not to.

Fortunately, there have been some major changes made in the alert system to prevent this from happening again.


You never knew who was going to walk into the door at KLOL. It could be anyone from George Harrison to a KKK member. We were not the darlings of the Klan. Life was certainly inteteresting.

Psychic Uri Geller paid a visit to the radio station when we were at 510 Lovett Blvd. in Houston. He was famous for things from what seemed to be common parlor tricks, to mind reading, to bending spoons by rubbing them. He did a demonstration of all three. I got some spoons from the break room, and he easlly bent each spoon completely backwards by gently rubbing them between his fingers after I gave each one to him. I was impressed. He said that anyone could do this. Taking this as a challenge, I shocked myself by picking up a spoon, placing it between my own fingers, rubbing it, and watching it bend in my hand before my own disbelieveing eyes. I could never repeat this feat again. It was our spoon too, not a magic prop.

News Director, Bob Wright, took him into a production studio to do a full interview with him. He told us that taped radio interviews never turned out well because something always happened that made the audio tape unusable. Bob got a new reel to reel tape out, and put it on the big Ampex recorder. He tested it, and it worked fine.

We went into the production studio to listen to the taped interview, and Uri was right. The interview was there; however, as the voice of either Bob or Uri would be heard as the interview progressed, there would come blank tape silence in the middle of what was being said, and then voice again. Voice, silence, voice, silence.... This repeated itself throughout the whole interview session. The tape was useless for broacast. It sounded like one side of the reel to reel tape had been bulk erased. We tried it on two other Ampex recorders, and it was the same story. We then did a test recording on the tape and it worked perfectly.

Bob was with URI the whole time during the interview and until he left the building.
He was never left alone for a second. Uri still is a mystery to me.


During the early days of President Nixon's Watergate scandal, soon to be disgraced Attorney General John Mitchell was Nixon's close advisor and front man. One of the first press conferences that I attended for KLIF/KNUS was held by John Mitchell during a short layover at Dallas Love Field.

His wife, Martha Mitchell, apparently knew of her husband's involvement in the break in of the Democrat's national headquarters by G. Gordon Liddy and his friends and the ensuing Presidential attempted coverup. She made cryptic late night phone calls to the national media about the case.

While not directly implicating her husband, she named names of those who she believed should be investigated and doings that she believed should be looked into by the FBI. Her frequent calls became the brunt of late night talk show hosts. She was not taken seriously. After all, would Nixon and his Attorney General really be involved in any criminal activity?

The media assembled at the press conference seemed to be making a concerted effort not to ask Mitchell about Martha's late night calls. I didn't feel the same way. I finally was called on and asked Mitchell to comment about Martha's calls. He blew me and the question off completely with a smirk and a grin.

Not being one to take no for an answer, or worse, no answer at all, I asked the question three more times. The other members of the press finally began to take an interest in his not answering.

I never got to personally see how he responded to the Dallas media's line of the same question to him because I was escorted from the press conference room by Mitchell's staff. I never found out if I made the White House Enemies List because of my having the audacity to ask him the question. It turned out that Martha was right.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


KLOL Program Director Jim Pruett a.k.a. Tony Raven had always been a gun guy. He owns a gun store in Houston now even as he still dabbles in Houston Radio. His dabbling in guns had some interesting consequences such as what happened below.

KLOL was located in the Rice Hotel. The Rice Hotel was the premier hotel in Houston in the early 1970s. Many celebreties and world notables stayed there or spoke at one of the many conventions that were held there.
While KLOL was at the Rice Hotel in downtown Houston, Tony decided it was the right time to add to his gun collection. So, he left the office one day to go buy a classic Winchester 94 rifle. He didn't return right away as he was supposed to. When he finally returned to the station offices, he told us that he had been detained by the U.S. Secret Service. He was bringing his rifle purchase back through the parking garage to the office to keep there until he went home. The problem was that Richard Nixon was in the hotel at the time giving a speech, and the presidential bodyguards didn't take kindly to anyone packing heat in the building while Nixon was there. They turned him loose when they determined that he didn't know that Nixon was in the building.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Oddly enough, While I was at KLOL FM my first outside job offer came from Rick Rawlinson, who was the current station manager of KLOL. He called me into the office and offered me the program director job at KRLY FM. He had just accepted the job of General Manager there, and had just moments earlier gave notice to the KLOL ownership.

I didn't take the job offer seriously, in fact I didn't take it at all. Rick Rawlinson went to KRLY and dropped dead shortly after, the victim of a sudden heart attack. That was the end of the plan for AOR at KRLY. There was a KRLY station format change, but not to AOR, a general housecleaning of on the air staff and accompanying firings shortly after his death. So, there I would have been, a new kid in town, in a place with no family,and without a job. But as my boss Tony Raven (Jim Prutett) told me time after time, "Radio gigs come and go. When a gig ends, you've just gotta go out there and find another one." This is what Tony excelled at. That, and ratings. He owns a gun and sporting goods store in Houston now.

Another job offer came from a Lake Charles, Louisiana radio station. It was KGRA FM and it was owned by an oilman named Harold "Spook" Stream. He had just married country singer Lynn "I Never Promised You A rose Garden" Anderson , and felt like he was on top of the world. He was looking for an AOR Program Director, and I had been recommended by a mutual acquaintance record promoter.

I drove over to visit him and review the plans for the soon to be on the air radio station. There were good prospects discussed.

However, on the way out of town, I went into a bar for a cold one, There was a big Confederate flag hanging on the wall behind the barkeeper, and a several glass counter displays in a corner of items for sale by a grandmotherly, frail, and gentle looking white haired woman. It was KKK books and Klan paraphenalia for sale . As I walked around the glass counters looking at the items for sale, I began joking and chuckling about the items that were for sale behind the glass. Being the only person with long hair there, I really stood out, let alone joking about Klan things. Out of nowhere, grandma sprang to life like Quantrill's Raiders on the attack, and told me to stop laughing because what I was chuckling about was, "Serious Business, Son." At that point, several bearded and burly leather clad men got up from a table and began to approach me in a menacing manner. I left immediately, never to return to Lake Charles. As for the radio station, it was a success on its sign on.

Another job prospect came from El Paso, Texas. A concert promoter recommended that a station manager at XEROK AM in Juarez call me for the program director position. They flew me out to El Paso, and showed me a great time while I was there. XEROK was going AOR and needed a P.D. A big plus was its 500,000 watt power. It was to be called X-Rock. This was ten times the power allowed to AM stations in the USA. In fact, the station used a 50,000 watt American Transmitter to drive the half million watts that the station put out. It covered most of the Southwest USA. To give you a real life example of high power transmitters, consider this. I was once in the transmitter building of KTRH AM in Baytown, Texas once. 50,000 watts, its output, is alot. You could hold an unplugged four foot long florescent light bulb in your hands in the transmitter room, and it would light up by itself from the RF coming from the transmitter. I would not want to live anywhere close to the X-Rock transmitter.

The big plus...the most powerful AOR station on the planet. But, power aside, there were some definite minuses with El Paso. I like lakes. Not just lakes, but big lakes. The nearest fresh water lake was over 100 miles away in New Mexico, and it was a pond compared with the Texas reservoirs I was used to. It was big enough for water skiing, but everything is bigger in Texas. It didn't take me long to decide that although El paso was a nice town, a quick look across the river into Juarez showed its third world characteristics like cardboard houses.

It didn't help either that when I drove over to Mexico, the first thing I saw on the side wall of an overpass in Mexico was a big PRC (Mexico's Communist Party)sign painted on the wall, complete with a six foor high hammer and sickle on it. And, this was the fist sight just across the river as I entered into our neighbor to the South.

After saying, "Let me think about this," I went back home to Houston. I took very little time to weigh the pluses and minuses of the new station, and decided that I did not want to move to this desolate and far away outpost of Texas.


The KLOL 101.1 control room at the Rice Hotel in Houston was a like a scene from a good movie. It had the requisite rock posters, and a hanging indian sheet that you had to push aside to get into the control room. It was right behind the reception area in a room that was about ten by eight feet. I believe it used to be a janitorial closet. It had the requisite double studio doors, two turntables, a good sound system, and all the LPs you could handle. The station was on a growth cycle and starting to get ratings in the Houston/Galveston market.

Some of the people who were full time on the air at one time or another while I was there were: Tony Raven, Pat Fant (Dr. Wax), Jim Hilty (me), Jackie McCauley, Ed Beauchamp, Steve Nagle, Cy Statum, Jay Teakle, Leonard "Leggs" Liss, Ken Noble, and Ken Terry. Emil "For Real" Guillermo, who was a Harvard student did a brief stint as an intern on part of the all night show for a while. He went on to co-anchor PBS's national "Morning Edition," and was later a regular columnist for the Big Honolulu newspaper. Frank Jauber and Chapman Mott were also there. Chapman did "Skythoughts," an astrological feature that I never fully understood any of. It was way to far over me. Steve Nagle became a personal injury lawyer in Austin. I became a lawyer too in Michigan. Ed Beauchamp passed away in 1984 or 1985 while living in Dallas. If you ever lifted a Foster's from Australia, you can thank his grandfather for that experience. He started the brewery there.

You could hear Bob Wright, the KLOL news Director, who came to us from KENR,and Brian Hill, who were subsequently our news hounds and news department.

Jerry Lee, from Eden Texas, took over the reins as station manager after his predecessor, Rick Rawlinson, left for KRLY to compete with us. Rick died shortly after leaving KLOL. Jerry Lee left KLOL after his 10 year retirement vesting, and went to San Diego's KFMB to be General Manager there.

If you were one of the 101 staff or know anything about the whereabouts or anything about the other staff members mentioned, please leave a comment.

This station had a real direction, which KNUS in its most progressive mode, did not. All of the air staff had confidence in themselves and confidence in the growing future of the radio station. By this time, the progressive, album oriented rock format had caught the name in the trades as AOR. Our tower was eventually placed on top of a fifty story building, and at 100,000 watts, we covered the South Texas area well.

Our radio logo mascot was a run away unplugged cathedral radio with feet and arms in motion. It was on t- shirts that cost a dollar and one cent and on what had to be hundreds of thousands of free logo bumper stickers. We got plenty of good phone calls from our listeners. Lots of people grew up with KLOL in its good rock and roll days.


The time finally came to close the door on KNUS FM in 1972. I got a call from Tony Raven a.k.a. Jim Pruett of later noteriety in Houston Radio, who was the program director of KLOL/101.1 FM. Rick Rawlinson was the general manager of KLOL at the time. There was a decision that "Mother's Family" radio needed to start a full fleged news department and I was the candidate for the job.

We closed the deal. I gave notice to the KNUS management, and left to become KLOL's first news director. I fit all of my worldly possessions into the smallest U Haul Trailer, and took the 250 mile trip down I45 to Houston, Texas. I was the roommate of Robert A. Knowlton, who was late of the KLIF news department, and was now a KULF newsman. He was a former room mate in Dallas. We used to trade vehicles in Dallas sometimes on Saturdays for a change of pace. He got to take my 1967 Corvette for the day, and I took his Triumph Bonneville 650 cc motorcycle for a day long spin.

KLOL was the sister station of news/talk KTRH AM, the real money maker of The Rusk Corporation. Walter Cronkite worked one of his first early radio jobs there as did Dan Rather. There were still acetate pressings of KTRH News in the hotel basement storage area with Walter Cronkite doing the news.

On my first day at KLOL, I did my new employee paperwork which was handed to me by Tom Jacobs. Tom had worked at KTRH since the 1930's and was the control room board operator during Orson Wells' Mercury Theater War of the Worlds broadcast. The station was owned by John T. Jones, who was the nephew of Jesse Jones, the Secretary of Commerce during the Roosevelt administration.

Thanks to Jesse Jones business acumen before becoming Commerce Secretary, no Houston bank ever went under during the great Depression. This place had some history. The Jones family were also extremely loyal to its employees. I had never seen employers like this. I could have stayed there as long as the Jones family owned the stations. That was job security to the extreme, a real rarity even then.

KLOL was on the fifth floor of the venerable Rice Hotel, a Houston landmark. KTRH was on the fourth floor. But now, this area of downtown Houston was in some blight and you were approached by all kinds of street people as you walked from a distant parking lot to the station.

News was still a big requirement by the FCC in 1972, and I was responsible for all newscasts and the coordination of public service programming. KTRH and KLOL were both CBS News Affilliates. I was given a copy of the CBS News Standards and Prectices manual. It was the bible of what a CBS affiliate newsperson should and shouldn't do. Things such as checking every story you dig up by verifying its truth and accuracy from at least one other confirming source (two was even better), and not editorializing your own opinion in news writing and reporting. These quaint qualities have been somehow disregarded in news reporting today. I get nostalgic for true news reporting every time I pull out that dogeared pamphlet that I still have even today.

One really fun story that I had as a news man was when I called the survivor of a lightning strike and talked to him about his experience for a news cast. He wasn't injured, but had to make me hold for a few minutes while he got still molten pocket change from out of his pants pockets. I believe I actually talked to him before the medical personnel got there.

I was the News department until the mid day DJ slot opened at KLOL when I went back to DJ work.


The one liners and practical jokes off the air among McLendon's DJs wasn't limited to the programming staff. There were on and off the air antics in the KILF newsroom such as the memorable two below.

News stories were written by the news reporter on the typewriter on individual pages that were 8 inches wide by about 10 inches long. The newsman was responsible for writing the 12-15 stories to be delivered during a 5 minute newscast, which included a sixty second commercial.

Newsmen at KLIF generally held the stories in their hands in a stack all together and had them organized by priority. As a newsman finished reading a story, he would take it off of the top of the papers he was holding together upright in a reading position, and begin the next story.

As this veteran newsman, who will be nameless was doing the news, and was into about the second story, another KILF newsman took out a cigarette lighter, walked over to him, and set the entire newscast he was holding on fire from the bottom as he held it on both sides. This was really news "hot off the press."

He didn't miss a beat. He turned his arm to the side in a sweeping motion and threw the flaming news copy across the room as he continued to deliver the news without missing a beat. He adlibbed the remaining ten or twelve burned up stories from memory without missing a single word or story. He became a KLIF legend.

In another KLIF News practical joke, one of the KLIF DJs hired a waitress from the Cellar, a nightclub right across the Street rom the KLIF Golden Triangle, to pay a visit on a KLIF Newsman as he delivered the news on the air at the top of the hour. She approached him as he was on the air as she began to remove her clothing and unbutton his clothing. He was unfazed, and did not even stutter as he finished the live news cast. An ultimate professional. Another KLIF legend was born.

These are a couple of things that made working for the McLendon stations so interesting.

KNUS FM- Mike Selden and Paxton Mills

Paxton Mills was the evening DJ at KLIF when he also took the title of Program Director of KNUS after Jimmy Rabbit left.He didn't have much program to direct because the format was freeform radio. He made sure that everyone had a third class FCC license, adhered to the McLendon phlosophy and policies, and followed the FCC rules. He did make the personnel decisions though.

Pax had gone to Thomas Jefferson, the same high school I went to, but was a year or two behind me and Mike Erickson, another KNUS DJ. Mike went on to work as P.D. of an Oklahoma Station, and is now at the NBC TV affilliate in Wichita, Kansas working in computer technology. Pax was engaged to Leslie, a pretty and very wealthy oil field drilling supply heiress Dallas Debutante. They eventually married and divorced.

Pax loved the name "Paxton." He thought that he had the exclusive Dallas franchise on the name and was distressed to learn that someone who was named "Paxton" Moore was an instructor at El Centro College in Dallas. He believed he stole the name from him. If he were still around today, I would tell him to Google "Paxton."

The only other funny quirk that Pax had was the pronunciation of Des Moines. It always came out "Dez Moynes." He really got kidded about the continual mispronunciation. He never got it right.

I had tried to get hired on at KNUS for some time, and fortunately for me, Pax hired me for weekends and then the regular all night shift. I had gotten a taste of radio by screening calls for Robert Knowlton's late night talk show on KLIF. At least I had a prior paying job in radio before going on the air.

Pax eventually lost his job at KLIF, and it took a while for him to find another, but he went on to success in Denver.

Mike Selden was a new hire at KLIF. He had been working at KFJZ AM, the popular top 40 station in Fort Worth. He told me that he had realized his dream by getting his job at the "The Big Klifford", which he affectionately called KLIF both on and off the radio. He was appointed program director at KNUS in addition to his KLIF responsibilities. Mike worked a two hour shift from noon to two at KNUS just for fun. I followed his shift.
Mike was one of the most down to earth people that I ever met in my radio career. He was a brilliant ad libber both in person and off the air. He was the life of the party in the daily coffee room sessions on the 2nd floor of the McLendon Building where DJs informally met to bounce snappy one liners off of each other. You were bound to be left in stitches as the DJs all tried to top each other's jokes.

For a while, I went with the girl who was a granddaughter of the man who invented the potato chip, and whose grandfather's last name is found on one certain consumer item (not potato chips by the way) found to this day in just about every American kitchen. Mike called her "The Potato Chip Queen." She, Mike, his wife and I ran around together a lot.
I was saddened to learn that both Paxton Mills and Mike Selden have passed away.