The Vasthead Masthead

Houston Retro Radio

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Added June 7, 2012

"Hi Grady,

"Found this old air check from 1970 and thought you might like to hear it. Have followed you on your web site and Twitter for a long time. Keep up the good work. "

Chuck McCann, A.R.E Network, Austin, Texas

KNUZ, Houston, 1970, Chuck McCann

Tom McKenzie Recordings from the 1970's

I received the following recordings from Tom McKenzie of Arlington in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He recorded these KRBE & KILT airchecks at Texas locations far from Houston.

Added January 25, 2012

KRBE, Houston, 1976, Shotgun Cook

Added October 26-29, 2011

KRBE, Houston, 1977-1, Roger W. Garrett

KRBE, Houston, 1977-2, Roger W. Garrett

McKenzie wrote this about these recordings:

Here are two airchecks of the legendary Roger W. Garrett on 104 KRBE.  KRBE was not limited to playing current top 40; they also played some previous hits and album rock.  It was really fun listening to KRBE.  The dial was not very crowded in the '70's and their signal could at times easily be heard in Corpus Christi.  I regularly listened to the station from the Dallas / Ft. Worth area with my Pioneer SuperTuner.

These clips have some static as I recorded them in a car around Giddings, TX.

KRBE, Houston, 1975 or 1976, Wizard

Later, Tom sent the above recording of Wizard, another KRBE jock from the 70's:

Attached you will find a file with airchecks for KRBE's "Rock 'n Roll Wizard".  The first two songs were recorded in early 1975 and the rest sometime later that year or possibly in 1976.  This latter portion was recorded from here in Arlington, TX, which is some 250 miles away.  Try to do that now with all the stations on the air.

KILT, Houston, 1979, Captain Jack

Tom also sent this KILT recording of Captain Jack:

I listened to your 1980 Captain Jack clips which reminded me that I had a recording from one year earlier of the good captain.  I spent the summer of 1979 in Port Mansfield, and KILT was the station I listened to . . . The captain is definitely having fun here. 

Hope you enjoy, and good luck in finding a great job.  I can see you are a great professional.  Also keep up the good work of giving us vintage radio clips.

When I first heard Mr. Blue Sky, a song on this recording, it seemed to call for an end to the gray, constantly drizzling winter of 1977-1978. The sun didn't come out for four months — at least that was how it seemed to me.

I first heard the song on KILT. During the last years of the decade, I spent most of my time working at KIOX in Bay City . That's only 80 miles southwest of Houston, and the KILT reception is very good.

Port Mansfield is much further down the coast, and it is one of the last coastal towns before the border.   If you are ever curious about the weather in Port Mansfield, it is on my Gulf Coast Weather page.

KRBE, Houston, Papa John, 1976

KRBE, Houston, Tom Rivers, 1977

These two airchecks arrived with this message from Tom Mckenzie:

It's my pleasure to send you these pieces from my "library".  I want to share the best of what I have as apparently there is very little of this history published on the net.

You know the migration of music from AM to FM has been a lengthy process, and apparently now music is going to satellite and internet.  Subsequent generations will be further and further removed from what we were fortunate to experience. 

I believe that technological advances, especially the FET which greatly improved receiver sensitivity, hastened the popularity of FM.  As I remember it, FET's started appearing on the scene in about 1974-1975.

I have attached a couple more airchecks for you, Papa John is from 1976 and Tom Rivers is from 1977.

Tom originally recorded these items on cassette and did his own transfer to mp3. The files are small enough that he was able to send them in regular emails.

By the way, I still have my last remaining cassette deck. I keep it around in case someone sends me an aircheck on cassette. If you need me to copy some original cassette airchecks, please get them to me while I still have a cassette deck.

Fortunately, more and more people know how to make mp3 recordings from tapes. It makes it easier for me when I don't have to pick up a tape at the post office and mail it back. Nonetheless, feel free to send me a raw tape, either on cassette or reel-to-reel.


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Unless otherwise indicated, all commentary and photography on this site are by Grady McAllister.

On October 28, 2008, Bill Young wrote:

Spent some time today on your web site ... wow!

You've got a lot more air checks than I ever saved ... and some good ones too. Love hearing Barry's scoped check and KO's intro to "In the still of the night" is a classic! Wish we still had talents like those guys still around.

You may not be aware that I brought Jim Wood back to KILT for a few months. He already had some serious health problems but was a very soft spoken and kind man. His choices in life had taken a toll and he spent a lot of time being 'in character' .... but he was really a very gentle man.

But thanks for keeping the work we all love alive!

Bill Young, Bill Young Productions

Bill Young was program director of KILT at the time of most of the KILT airchecks. His voice appears in many places on this site, including numerous commercials and the intro for the Alex Bennett show.

Bill Young also did the midday show at KILT, and you'll find his airchecks on the Mainly '60's page. The Jim Wood recording is also on the Mainly '60's page.

Hudson & Harrigan

Added December 24, 2008

KILT, Houston, June 15, 1977,
Hudson & Harrigan

I can't remember where I got this. Enjoy!!!

Glen Ashworth
Lebanon, Oregon

PS Any more KENR airchecks around?

I never recorded Hudson and Harrigan myself, and this is the first H & H aircheck to appear on this site.

When the first Harrigan joined the late Mac Hudson in 1968, I never dreamed the names would still be a major franchise 40 years later.

Apparently this material has previously appeared on the internet. I don't go out of my way to collect airchecks from other sites, but I will use them when people send them as mp3 files.

Even though I rarely listened to the show, the chatter on this recording brings back some personal memories.

H and H mention the massive street flooding which had struck Houston a year earlier. During that period, I had to drive 80 miles each way for my night job at KIOX in Bay City.

I lived on a Montrose area street that never flooded, but it flooded that day. I decided not to even attempt my absurdly long commute to Bay City.

That decision didn't win me any points with the radio station, but it turned out to be right one. When I drove to work the following afternoon, I noticed abandoned vehicles all along South Main. If I had tried to drive in the deluge, I would have never made it beyond my own street.

This aircheck also mentions the recent appointment of Harry Caldwell as Houston police chief. It was around that time that he appeared on my Sunday night talk show on KIKK.

Please bear in mind that I am no expert on the Hudson and Harrigan franchise and the various personnel changes over the years. I do remember that the show started with the late Hudson Mac Roach, and I also remember listening when he was trying out the first Harrigan.

Beyond that my memory is vague. In my adult life, I have never been a regular morning drive listener. Whenever I have to experience a day with 6:00 A.M. in it, I am in no mood to listen to the patter if a DJ duo or nineteen minutes of commercials per hour.

I do know that there have been various other Hudsons and Harrigans and that KLOL's Stevens and Pruett were some sort of breakaway continuation of an H and H team. I am also fairly certain that this 1977 aircheck does not contain the either the original Hudson or the original Harrigan.

Hopefully, the few facts I have stated here are correct. Perhaps somebody who knows the entire history can write me a brief summary.

Grady McAllister

On November 2, 2009,Bill Bradley wrote:

Grady I'm sure someone else has already let you know this, but the 610 AM KILT Hudson & Harrigan clip from 1977 is Mark Stevens and Jim Pruett (before anyone knew their real names) of later fame on 101 KLOL. Love your site keep up the good work preserving Houston's radio History!

Bill Bradley

My response:

Thanks for the information. You are the first person write to me about this. Because of the date, I am not surprised to hear that it is Stevens and Pruett.

Grady McAllister


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Mainly '70's


KULF, Houston, A Compilation from 1972 & 1973

Use this link to listen to all of the materials at once. Individual cuts are listed and described below.

Bob Green, program director of KULF in 1972 and 1973, sent this material from Houston. KULF was one of the several incarnations of AM 790. (For a more general background, please see "All Receivers Are Go" in the column to the right.)

Even though I was not a consistent KULF listener, all of the DJ's that Green mentions are familiar to me — at least as familiar as the KILT personalities of the day. The AM 790 of 1972 placed a heavy emphasis on personality in both its DJ's and its newscasters.

That gave the station a glow that looked very different from the industrialized Demand Radio style of 1962.

And yet, I don't recall hearing any abrupt, all encompassing format change at a single time.

One thing that was usually true from the 50's through the early 80's was that the station aimed at a more mature audience than the reigning top 40 stations.

When did KTHT become KULF? My own recollection is that early one evening I was driving by St. Joseph Hospital near the I-45 overpass south of downtown Houston. I was not very far from the KTHT studio in the Central National Bank Building. I was tuned to the news on that station. At the very end of the newscast, the announcer stated that KTHT had become KULF on that very day. (I tend to think that this was in the fall of 1969. If you have the exact date of the change, please send me a note.)

Bob Green describes these KULF recordings as follows:

Here are several airchecks and other cuts from KULF circa 1972. The fact was that the MUSIC on KULF (essentially chicken pop/MOR mix) didn't, by it's nature, define the station. Incredible air personality-entertainers and self effacing production helped give it definition ... your entertainment station.

Here are the cuts included:

Cut 1 & Cut 2: Bits from the Joe Bauer Show: Joe was definitely the most talented air personality I have ever worked with.

Cut 3: Jim Tate aircheck. Wonderful guy & talent

Cut 4: David Fowler: A STYLIZED newscast!

Cut 5 & Cut 6: A few of over 100 "Jim Tate — your friend in the Morning" promos we did, No script — we just winged it. And as for the "singing"— my apologies.

Cut 7: Three Promos for a Tate feature from Dick Orkin: "You had to be There."

Cut 8: Promos for the "KULF Big Balloon Race" at Astroworld.

Cut 9: Assorted "Show & Tell" promos (same way as cut 5) cross promoting our outdoor campaign.

Cut 10. Two promos for "Vacation in Spain" giveaway.

Cut 11: "People to like music by" promos

Cut 12: Ron Morgan Birthday surprise. Ron had a "spot" indicated on his log, but when he hit the cart- this is what happened. Next is a "Simon & Gar" promo for Ron. Chutzpah continued with my "singing."

Cut 13: Jim Tate rode the Dexter Freebish Coaster at Astroworld to beat the record for the Guinness Book. Here's the ride condensed to 2 min.

A Roundup of Airchecks from the '70's

These airchecks came from other people. The undated items seem to be from the early 70's. I determined the names simply by listening to the material.

In the case of K.O. Bayley, I had to look up the spelling on the internet. Please let me know if there are any errors.

KILT, Houston, Barry Kaye #1

KILT, Houston, Barry Kaye #2

KILT, Houston, Captain Macho with K.O. Bayley

KILT, Houston, K.O. Bayley #1

KILT, Houston, K.O. Bayley #2

KILT, Houston, K.O. Bayley #3

KNUZ, Houston, 1970, Chuck McCann

KNUZ, Houston, 1970, Scotty Morgan

KENR, Houston, 1972, Scotty Morgan

KILT, Houston, June 6, 1977, Beau Weaver

KRBE in the Mid 70's

KRBE, Houston, Summer of 1975

Former Houston area resident Roger Reini sent this material from Michigan. Reini states that he appreciated "the clip of Buddy McGregor" even though he is "too young to remember him in his heyday."

Reini recalls hearing that "Garner State Park" anthem on an oldies show around 1979 or 1980. According to Reini, that could have been either on a program MacGregor had on KQUE or on another oldies show on KULF.

Reini's continues:

Web master's commentary: It's hard to imagine the 70's without the National Lampoon. I was a long time subscriber, and I've managed to keep a few issues. I still have the issue with "Sargent Shriver's Bleeding Hearts Club Band" as well as the Lemmings and Radio Dinner phonograph records.

They contain materials which wouldn't pass muster for today's Political Correctness. The publication took shots at all parts of the political spectrum and always managed to reach new heights in low taste.

I remember that 3-D issue. The 3-D idea is a fad that comes back from time to time but never seems to stick.

A few days before I received this aircheck, I saw the 3-D movie Beowulf (2007). Unlike the old 3-D glasses, the theater gave me ones with light grayish lenses. The old kind of glasses used a red lens and a cyan lens. (Cyan is the color of the border around the column you are now reading . It is also called aqua.)

The National Lampoon had a real radio program for a time. I remember hearing it on KLOL in 1974.

Added December 3, 2007

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