The first two KILT segments above feature DJ Captain Jack, and the last three are the
Beau Weaver Talk Program. This is over 4 and a half hours
This was originally one long continuous
recording on a 10.5 inch reel of .5 mil tape. I was gone during most of the taping. I didn't use a timer. I just started recording and left.
I recorded at 3.75 inches per
second on a German-made Revox. I didn't own much in those days, but I always had at least one good reel to reel recorder.
These airchecks show a legendary
top 40 station in its twilight phase. By 1980, the days
for AM top 40 in Houston were numbered. For KILT, the McLendon
era glory days of the 1950's and 1960's were long gone.
KILT-AM was losing ground to FM and was clearly in a state
of decline. The KILT call letters would survive the new
decade, but not as a top 40 contender.
Nonetheless, the KILT of 1980 still
held a loyal following. Many people had grown up listening
to KILT, and it seemed to satisfy a more mature audience
than an FM top 40 monolith like KRBE.
Also, their strong signal kept KILT
popular with people in outlying areas. Personally, I spent
much of the late 70's in Bay City, 80 miles southwest of
Houston. FM reception there was so poor than many people
didn't even bother with it in their cars. For me, KILT was
the radio voice from home.
I was back in Houston at the time
of this recording. Going over the material, it almost sounds
like The Captain knew someone was recording the night for
posterity. Notice the "gospel" sing-a-long (in
which "AM" replaces "Amen"), the references
to KILT's wide listening area, and songs that rhapsodize
By the way, the Beau Weaver incursion
into talk radio held the same slot, 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM,
which Alex Bennett had filled thirteen years earlier.
This recording was preserved by sheer
chance. It was made long after I had lost interest in making
new air checks to keep. As it happened, my last reel to
reel machine was stolen in a burglary. I had no way to record
over this tape, so I kept it. When I heard it again after
23 years, it had acquired new value.
Although the date of these recordings
was not cataloged, I determined it by researching the presidential
primary story mentioned on the newscast. The recording begins
on March 25 and ends shortly after midnight, March 26.
A Message from Captain Jack
KILT DJ Captain Jack appears on my "Night in the Life of KILT" recordings
in the column to the left.
Below is a message from Captain Jack and the responses his message generated.
Received April 30, 2009
Dear Grady McAllister,
I noticed on your Houston radio
web site the following comment .
Going over the material,
it almost sounds like The Captain knew someone was recording
the night for posterity.
air checked my show EVERY NIGHT, not for posterity, but
to listen and critique when Id get off the air then,
plan a better show the next night.
I hope it sounded like I was having
fun .cause I did, every night. Youre
kind to include me as part of your web site and Houston
Captain Jack Rick
The New Customer Company
Response to the above message
On May 1, 2009. Robert B. McEntire wrote:
Grady, thanks for the salute to Captain
Cap'n Jack worked his butt off. Old fashioned shoe leather
and wheels on the pavement work. And it paid off in ratings.
Later as PD he was a tremendous 'boss' and leader. He could
chew your butt with the best of them, then when the issue
was settled he would you give you a big hug and grin. The
staff wanted to win for him and would go the extra mile to
do so. He was 180 degrees from so many of today's PD's who
seemingly try to manage with intimidation, humiliation and
bullying. To this day, Candea maintains his energy, people
skills and leadership in all endeavors.
Robert B. McEntire was one of the main newscasters at KILT
from 1967 until
On May 1, 2009, Bill Young wrote:
Grady...you are so right about the
"Capt." Rick is a consummate professional who always
makes everything he touches better!
He replaced me as PD when I left KILT
and it could not have been a better choice.
I also received messages from former listeners...
On May 11,2009, Greg Todd wrote:
As someone who was a teenager listening
to AM radio as I dozed off on a school night, your &;A
Night in the Life of KILT&; is absolutely priceless. I
remember every stinger, sounder, catch-phrase and reference
made by Rick &;Captain Jack&; Candea on those recordings
from &;Get down like a dog&; to &;Arrrrrriiiiiiba!&;
Its an amazing trip back in time. Thanks for posting
On May 16, 2009, Cher Ferretti Poff wrote:
Thank you so much for the memory. It made my heart skip a
beat to hear the voice of the dear Captain Jack. And yes,
it sounded like he was having fun! I never missed a show between
January through the end of October in 1980.
He humored me through the lens of my camera as I put to film
his appearances not for posterity, but for my practice. I
followed him everywhere and shot many rolls of film. I wanted
to be a photojournalist. Captain Jack was my purpose. And
later, many years later, I became a photojournalist at a small
newspaper in Winter Haven, Florida.
I have of few more photographs from 1980. If you are interested
in display purpose, I only ask for a credit line.
So thank him for me, please. Without Captain Jack at KILT
in 1980 my life would be greatly different. Let him know too,
I finally discovered who I am! They finally told me the entire
Cher Ferretti Poff
18, 2009, Cher Ferretti Poff wrote:
Dear Grady McAllister,
Thank you for remembering and including Captain Jack on your
web site. It's brilliant! I remember that night (3-25-80)
very well, as I was a regular caller.
All that Rick
did, in addition to other radio duties, made him a success. I know I have the
Oiler rally from the Astrodome... remember? It was massive.
The staff from every TV and Radio station were standing on
top of their vans and all the vans were on the field... and
it was all so BIG! I think those are chrome that need to be
scanned. I'll look for them. And if found, I'll be sure to
send only jpg. Thank you.
The boys with Captain Jack in that chili cook-off pic, I think
I can identify. The one on the left is Doc Morgan, he was
on the FM side of KILT in 1980, but the one on the right is
another cook-off regular, and I don't remember his name. I'm
sorry I wasn't a better record keeper of names, but my practice
was in images that "tell a story". The Houston media
were very kind to me during that time as I seemed to "appear"
at their events. KILT and Captain Jack were my personal favorite.
Thank you for posting The Captain's image. It's how it was
in 1980 for Rick Candea.
Tom Mckenzie has sent us this from Arlington, Texas. He recorded this KRBE material sometime in the late 80's. My guess would be 1988.
Not counting an oldies recording from 1991, this is the newest aircheck on this site. In other words, it is the newest recording with music that was still new at the time of the recording. It includes New Order, the Information Society, and—can you bear it?—Samantha Fox.
Summer turns you upside down!
To help get us into an '80's mode of mind, below are
videos of three my favorite songs by The
Cars, all of them shot live in Houston.
I was a little slow in getting used to The Cars. My first
Cars album was Heartbeat
City in 1984, their last commercially successful
LP. That was the year I started to catch up on music after
neglecting it for several years.
And it happened to be a very good year for pop music.
Long time rock critic Robert Christgau wrote of of Heartbeat
With hooks recurring as predictably
as zebras on a carousel or heartbeats in a city, the
glossy approach the Cars invented has made this the
best year for pure pop in damn near twenty, and it's
only fair that they should return so confidently to
form. They still don't have much to say and they're
still pretty arch about it, but that's no reason for
anybody to get unduly bothered...
The two main band members were about my own age, but
The Cars seemed to be aiming mainly at teenagers. I had
first seen a Cars record while I was still at KIOX in
Bay City in the late 70's. I had thought, "What a
clever name. All teenagers think about cars."
By 1984 the band had matured enough for me to take them
"Magic" from Heartbeat City is one of those
songs I never get tired of. It's a car driving song if
there ever was one.
It is not about any particular subject. It alludes to
everything that is exciting: The midnight hour,
the summertime, summer magic, merry-go-rounds, and much
more that is not specifically mentioned. For someone my
age, to combine the words "summer" and "magic"
so prominently can even suggest an old fashioned movie
with Hayley Mills.
The whirling techno sound at the beginning of the song
-- barely audible on the video -- is the same sound a
flying saucer makes whenever it hovers over your roof
and takes you aboard for a ride. Likewise, "Magic"
whisks you away into an alternative universe where anything
good can happen.
"Magic" plays on, and you emerge as the magician
who drives and finally arrives at Heartbeat City.
What took you so long?
July 12, 2009
Note: If the above essay made little sense to you, listen to the songs below. Then, you'll understand.
"And now you find yourself in '82,
The disco hotspots hold no charm for you,
You can't concern yourself with bigger things,
You catch the pearl and ride the dragon's wings..."
Technical note: I shot this using a standard 50mm lens. I mention this because many digital SLR users would never think of using anything but a zoom.
When I bought my first 35mm SLR in 1980, it was a Sears camera made by Ricoh, and it came with a fast normal lens, not a zoom. I used it for most of the Galveston seawall photos on the Radio Home Page. The normal lens is good for emphasizing a main subject while throwing a background out of focus.
I kept the background out of focus by using a low
F-stop number. In the background are the rocks and surf below the Galveston
A favorite song from the 80's... I saw this video once in 1986 and did not see it again until recently. My, what blue eyes she has!
DANCING WITH MYSELF: Galveston's Hut Club at Stewart Beach in 1982.
"For all the dreams and schemes,
people are as they seem
On a hot summer night
Don't be no fun, don't forget you're young
On a hot summer night
"A sometime someone you're not
Don't wait to see what you got
'Cause you know that you're
"Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight
Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight"
This page includes radio recordings from New Years Eve, 1979, to the early 90's.
Winds of Change in the '80's
On June 24, 2009, Bill Young wrote:
It's been many years since I heard
this. Some of the guys at Bill Young Productions, the company
I founded after leaving KILT in 1981, pulled out some my
old commercials from decades ago and sent them to me this
week. If you loved rock and roll excitement, you may find
this period work fun to listen to. Had to share it with
some of you who I know will 'get it'! (check out the attached
ad for Scorpions)What a wonderful time in our industry,
a time when we were all inspiring each other to create work
that I am proud to say still gets the blood pumping! Our
company shipped out (no exaggeration here ... over 50,000
concert commercials a year) ... distributed all over the
US and to much of Canada, Europe and South America! After
thirty years, the company, with a whole new crew of talented
people, is still doing it! Thanks for allowing me to share a
very exciting time of our industry with you. Bill
I set up this Mainly '80's page so I could put more emphasis on that exciting decade.
In the mid 80's, I was entering into a Second Youth after pretending to be a middle aged adult for several years. For one thing, I was paying more attention
to current music and was surprised to find it as good as the music of 60's and 70's.
I found The
Scorpions worthy of special attention, and I have several albums by that German band.
Let's all thank Bill Young for sharing this material.
Personally, I can still remember other Bill Young music promotions from an earlier period. I am thinking of some ads which I did not record and which are probably lost to history that are nonetheless part of the mental soundtrack for the days of my youth.
As for my personal aircheck collection, the only Bill Young concert ads I know about are the ones for Jimi Hendrix and for the Fever Tree. Both are on the KILT Ron Foster aircheck for August 4, 1968.
Bear in mind that those commercials were cut almost two decades before that Scorpions ad. As Bill pointed out in an email, his full blown production style was not yet developed at that time.
There may be other concert ads buried among my airchecks which I have not yet noticed.
One thing I hope to do eventually is to go through all of my long recordings and cull out all the ads (especially local ads) and newscasts. They would be listed separately from the long items from which they are are cut. It's hard to find the time for all that.
If you know how to edit mp3 audio and would like to contribute to this site, feel free to edit out some short items and send them to me. If you have worked with mp3 at all, you'll find it easy to learn to edit on a computer. It is definitely easier than using a razor blade to attack a 10.5 inch tape reel on an Ampex as big and as old as the proverbial dinosaur.
Revised November 21, 2009
KAUM drives us to the edge
of the 80's: "Let's Go!"
Taped during the last hours of 1979, Rick
Lambert counts down that year's hits and rings in the new
decade. Although recorded mostly on the 70's side of midnight,
we group these New Years Eve recordings with the 80's.
Over the years, KAUM underwent periods when its format
changes seemed more uncertain and more frequent than its
rivals. The Wikipedia article
on KLOL describes the two distinctive periods
when that station battled KAUM (later KSRR) for album rock
supremacy. The two stations also competed with the KILT-FM
rock format before that station "permanently"
switched to country.
KAUM had evolved out of the old KXYZ-FM. That station
switched from beautiful music to album rock in 1969. Local
programming eventually replaced the syndicated ABC Love
format and the new call letters emerged.
As this broadcast indicates, the KAUM format had changed
drastically by the end of the 70's. These recordings show
it between its original album rock format and its role as
97 Rock (KSSR) in the 80's.
It would be safe to say that KAUM was an album rock station
during most of the time it used those call letters. However,
these recordings capture KAUM at a way station between two
album rock periods, and here we find it fighting it out
in the top 40 arena.
The inclusion of disco music is a dead giveaway that this
is no album rock format. It sounds more like the KILT-AM
of the early 80's than like the FM rock KILT of the same
You might want to compare this KAUM material to the KILT
Captain Jack airchecks on this page. I personally
recorded that collection three months into the new
For more about the early album rock days of KXYZ-FM and
KAUM, go to the Album Rock page.
These KAUM airchecks came on line for the first time anywhere on December 15, 2007. Recorded
on Phillips audio cassettes. Roger Reini sent the material
Above: A huge KLOL banner high above
Galveston's East Beach, 1983. Click for the complete picture.
Photo by Grady McAllister.
Below: The Galveston seawall,
a summer Sunday at dawn in 1982.
Below: Shot near the Flagship Hotel, the young
woman was on spring break in 1981.
One of our airchecks is missing!
On 8/4/2010 10:42 PM, Ken Tyner wrote:
Was on Houston Retro Radio web site today and cannot
find the Bob Edwards/Richard Dobbyn tape when they were on KNUZ in 1992
or 1994, I think.
Did you get rid of it or was it put somewhere else?
That aircheck is actually 1991.
One thing thing that I am trying to do is get the
materials more logically organized as I go along. Sometime during the
first half of 2009, I created a Mainly '80's page. It now includes my
five KILT segments from March 25, 1980, and the KNUZ recording you are
I realize that an apparent 80's collection might
not be the first place you would look for a recording from November 20,
I'll have to try to explain my logic:
The inclusion of the word "mainly" is a
hint that there may be some things which are not exactly the 1980's.
the Edwards/Dobbyn recording was my only item from the 90's, it seemed
to make sense to keep it with the 80's material. It doesn't make sense
to create a 90's page for just one aircheck.
That Mainly 80's page also includes a KAUM New Years
Eve countdown from 1979. Although most of the recording was made during
the last hours of the 70's, I wanted to put the emphasis on the fact that
the show was leading us into the 80's.
There are probably people who would like me to just
list all of the airchecks for a particular station on a single page, but
I am avoiding that.
I decided a long time ago that this site would never
become a shrine for a particular radio station, a particular format, or
a particular personality. And I definitely don't want shrines to mere
The KXYZ-FM of 1964 is nothing like the KXYZ-FM of 1970,
so they hardly belong on the same page.
I am trying to put the materials in their historical
context. That means organizing according to programming patterns and the
spirit of the times in which the stations operated.