Happy 72nd Birthday to KXXX in Colby, Kansas

July 13, 2019

Drew’s Radio Site would like to wish a Happy 72nd Birthday to KXXX-AM 790 in Colby, Kansas. KXXX was the original radio station in northwest Kansas, signing on for the first time July 13, 1947. KXXX-FM 100.3 (later KQLS and then KRDQ) was added in 1970. Both stations are currently owned by Rocking M Media, LLC.

KXXX enjoys a huge daytime coverage area. I have personally received them on my car radio in Colorado Springs, Wichita, Topeka, and Lincoln. Those 5,000 watts on 790 travel a long way because the tower is anchored in some of the most conductive soil in the world! Country music, farm news, and agricultural information has been their format for as long as I can remember. “The Mighty 7-90” is one of few remaining heritage AM stations that’s still playing music and making money in 2019. Happy Birthday, KXXX!

Rewound Radio Dan Ingram 4th of July Weekend Special

July 6, 2019

What are you listening to this 4th of July Weekend? If you’re surfing the streams (the modern day equivalent of “scanning the dial”), don’t forget about the Dan Ingram Electric Radio Theater on Allen Sniffen’s Rewound Radio.

Dan is probably the greatest DJ that I never got to hear live. Because I grew up in Minneapolis, there was no way I could hear WABC-AM 770 during the afternoon hours. By the time it got dark enough at my location, it was already after 6PM New York City time and Dan’s show was over. Needless to say, it’s great to be able to hear him all these years later on Rewound Radio.

Besides WABC, Dan’s years on WCBS-FM 101.1 are also featured here. These are not scoped airchecks. All of the original music and commercials are included. You will hear Dan Ingram’s shows just as they originally aired. In cases where the source audio is an aircheck that had originally been scoped down, Allen has added the music back in. No doubt, this took a lot of time to do correctly. Definitely a labor of love, much appreciated by us radio geeks!

Whatever you’re doing this July 4th weekend, make sure you give a listen to this annual broadcasting extravaganza. The Dan Ingram Electric Radio Theater, airing Thursday, July 4th through Sunday, July 7, 2019 on Allen Sniffen’s Rewound Radio.

American Top 40 1970s 1980s Affiliate Station List

June 29, 2019

Did you grow up listening to American Top 40 with Casey Kasem? So did I! Each week, I’d listen to the entire countdown. I’d write down each song, it’s current chart position, and it’s change from last week’s chart position.

A few years later, I began recording and archiving these shows. In the 1990s, I worked at radio stations which ran a “Greatest Hits of the 70s” format. Since I still had all my tapes, I wanted to rebroadcast these shows. They would have fit our format perfectly. Unfortunately, this was impossible due to contractual and copyright laws. In 2006, my prayers were answered when these shows were rescued from the vaults and aired once again: first on XM Satellite Radio, then distributed by Premiere Radio Networks for broadcast on terrestrial stations.

Thanks to the Internet and online streaming, you don’t need a local station to hear these classic American Top 40 with Casey Kasem shows. You can listen whenever you like, to whichever station you prefer. Here are the most complete station lists I know of:

American Top 40, the 70s

American Top 40, the 80s

Both of these lists are updated frequently. This is important since radio stations are constantly changing formats and programming. The exact time and day of broadcast is listed. Also included are notations on whether or not a station plays the “extra” songs at the end of each hour which were not included in the original 1970s/80s broadcasts. Typically, these are songs which were on Billboard’s Hot 100 and moving up during the week of the show but had not yet debuted on the Top 40. Most would go on to become Top 10 hits. Not all stations broadcast these extras, however. If the station has a heavy local commercial load, the extra song will be deleted to meet time constraints. This is why they are called “extras.”

To me, these classic American Top 40 shows are as great today as they were 25+ years ago! Truly a treasure that has (luckily) been preserved through the years. Kudos to Shannon Lynn for taking the time to remaster these shows from their original reel-to-reel master tapes. Shannon does it right. His commitment to quality is evident in every show. Be sure to check ’em out this weekend when you have time. Until then, as Casey says: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

Columbia House Record & Tape Club

June 18, 2019

Many of us loved buying music when we were kids. Problem was, our allowance money didn’t buy much. An occasional 45 or two for 88 cents each (remember the “Tops in Pops?”), but that’s about all.

Enter Columbia House: 11 records or tapes for just $1.00. It sounded too good to be true. But you did it anyway because, what the heck, it was worth gambling for a dollar. (And later, just a penny!) So, you filled out the form, put it in envelope with your dollar, and sent it off to 1400 North Fruitridge Avenue in Terre Haute, Indiana.

A few weeks later, a LARGE box arrived from the previously-mentioned address. THIS WAS PURE MAGIC! It was true! You didn’t get ripped off after all! Excitedly, you tore open the box and there was the mother lode: 11 brand new albums of your choice! (Or 8-tracks, or cassettes.) Unbelievable! Time to lock yourself in your room, turn on the stereo, and not be seen for days!

Later, you realized those “8 more selections” you agreed to buy came at a grossly inflated price. But for today, you were on top of the world. You were in Record Geek Heaven and enjoying every minute of it!

Bonus points if you can remember all 11 of your introductory selections. In the spring of 1977, these were mine:

1) Boston – Boston
2) Chicago – Chicago IX (Greatest Hits)
3) KISS – Alive!
4) KISS – Destroyer
5) KISS – Rock and Roll Over
6) Barry Manilow – Barry Manilow (I)
7) Barry Manilow – Barry Manilow II
8) Barry Manilow – Tryin’ to Get the Feeling
9) Barry Manilow – This One’s for You
10) Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle
11) Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees

In a world filled with instant .mp3 downloads (legal and otherwise), kids will never know the sheer ecstasy of coming home from school, seeing that big brown box on the kitchen table, and ripping it open. Cheers, Columbia House!

The First Radio Firing & Unemployment Benefits

June 17, 2019

One of my radio friends contacted me yesterday. She had just been fired and needed advice as to what she should do next. Those of us who are seasoned vets know that being fired is just a regular part of the business. As one of my favorite PDs in Iowa told me, “You ain’t no real broadcaster until you’ve been fired at least 3 times!” My friend is new to this business, however. She’s only been in radio for a few years. This is her first termination. Naturally, she’s panicked, emotional, and wondering what she did wrong.

Because this is radio, the station is contesting her eligibility for unemployment benefits. This also comes with the territory. Out of all the times I was fired in radio (there were several), I can only think of two times when management didn’t attempt to deny my claim. In one case, the station had been sold and the entire airstaff was let go. There were zero grounds for contention there, especially since the owner apparently failed to pay state unemployment taxes on my behalf. I learned about this when I went to apply for benefits. That was a fun day. In the other case, management didn’t bother to contest because the program director who had fired me was himself terminated for cause shortly thereafter. Trying to explain that to the Division of Labor might have become a bit messy.

In every other instance, the station attempted to deny my benefits. Some would stretch the truth while others would outright lie in order to stop me from collecting what was rightfully mine. My favorite was a Florida entity which claimed “theft of station equipment” as grounds for my dismissal. The item in question was a frequency spectrum analyzer which the chief engineer had reported missing. It was later returned, but damaged. I had no use for this piece of equipment. However, our weekend jock who just happened to be operating a pirate FM station in his spare time found it a very useful tool in the calibration of his illicit transmitter. It was my word against theirs. My benefits were denied.

Why do radio station owners/managers routinely contest legitimate unemployment benefit claims by their former employees? The first reason is money. In most states, the employer’s unemployment insurance premium is determined in part by their claims history. The more claims, the more they pay. So there is an incentive to contest all claims against the station, valid or otherwise. The other reason is ego. The radio industry is full of egomaniacs. Some of them eventually end up in the GM chair. If the disgruntled former employee has an axe to grind, it becomes a grudge match. Management/ownership knows the unemployment benefit process better than the average jock who has just been terminated. Within the state system, there are a limited number of appeals available for denial of benefits. Once the appeals process is exhausted, the ex-employee has 2 options: drop their claim or hire an attorney and pursue civil litigation against the company. How many unemployed radio folks have the resources to do this? Very few. Management/ownership knows this, so they use the process to their advantage.

Back to my newly-fired friend: I told her to hang in there. “It’s not you, it’s the business.” She’s quite talented as well as extremely good at asserting and promoting herself. Despite the extremely tight job market for air talent today, I don’t think she’ll have any problem finding another job. Consider it a blessing to be out of a bad situation. I’ve always said “Why would you want to work for someone who doesn’t want you working for them?” She’ll be fine. If you’re reading this and happen to be in the same situation, things will work out for you also. Again, “It’s not you. It’s the business.”