The anamorphic arrow above is adapted from a slide shot in Galveston in 1980. The arrow, which pointed to the 61st Street fishing pier, is no longer there. Hurricane Alicia may have destroyed it in 1983. This arrow image is the emblem for all of The Vasthead web pages.Above:December, 6, 1980. A Dallas TV reporter on the Galveston seawall while covering the 1980 Dickens on The Strand.
Below: The Galveston Seawall at dusk, December, 1980. This time exposure was shot on a tripod set up just across the street from Jo Jo's Restaurant (now a Denny's). The tallest building on a pier is the Flagship Hotel, built in 1965.
Above: Freeway Manor Park, Houston suburbia, June, 1964.
Below: Clear Lake, January, 1984. Click image for a wider view.
I took this picture with Kodachrome 25.. To shoot in that light with that film is to put yourself under a handicap.
It was a Saturday in January, 1984, and a typical winter day for the Houston area: Humid and cool, but not really that cold.
I took this shot from a moving paddle wheel boat on Clear Lake. A wedding ceremony just ending, I had the urge to step outside. With my large Sunpak flash still charged, I shot this entirely on impulse as I spotted the "17" marker.
The flash seems to have been just enough to brighten up the number and separate it from its drab surroundings. There is not much other color, but if you look carefully, there is an American flag flying in the distant background.
Revised December 14, 2012.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all commentary and photography on this site are by Grady McAllister.
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Below: December, 1980. The Buccaneer Hotel, one of the historic landmarks
in Galveston. Built in 1929, it was demolished on New Years
Above: In 1980, the Last Days of Disco had begun
Houston Retro Radio is hosted as part of VASTHEAD.COM.
The Vasthead also includes The Galveston Arrow, a site featuring news, weather, tourism, and photography for the Galveston area.
Galveston's KILE Radio in the 1960's
Darrell Hendrix was a B.O.I. ("Born on the Island") KILE announcer in the late 60's. Darrell mailed us his own 1969 airchecks already organized into mp3 files. They arrived from Nebraska, a state where hurricanes hardly happen.
By the way, 1969 was also the year when Glen Campbell and songwriter Jimmy Webb looked at Galveston and catapulted its name into a top ten hit.
My guess is that the first aircheck was recorded on June 13, 1969, since it was the only Friday the 13th that year.
Check out Darrell's Galveston Radio Stations page on Facebook.
More KILE air checks
A local station for Clear Lake City: Girl DJ's and all that jazz
This aircheck features Linda Allen. I never talked to her personally, but she was one of several obscure DJ's I heard during the pre-dawn hours that particular summer.
Who was Linda Allen? I doubt that was the exact form of her name on her birth certificate. Even in 1968, it was unlikely that a woman working the all night show -- probably alone -- at a suburban radio station would have used her real name.
Of all the FM stations, I tended to give extra attention to KMSC. Located in Clear Lake City near NASA, it was in my part of the Houston area. I visited the studio on at least one occasion while still in my teens. I tended to think of it as a local station for southeast Harris County and the bay area.
As this aircheck indicates, KMSC played up its proximity to the space program: "Overlooking NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center from luxurious studios..." That also explained the call letters.
John "Shorty" Powers, the NASA voice for early manned space launches, held an interest in the station at one point. When I was about 16, I called the station, and Powers picked up the phone. That was when I first learned that it is not all that hard to meet a celebrity.
This 1968 recording was made at a time when I only listened occasionally. Jazz is not my strong suit, and I actually listened much more during its early history, 1965 and 1966.
At that time, KMSC sounded more like a cross between KXYZ and KQUE. The staff included KXYZ veteran Jeff Thompson, all night man Hert Porter, Gordon Bassham (who I knew later at the University of Houston), folk music aficionado Jim Bell, and Bob Elton, a DJ who became station manager during its Jazz Age. All the while, much was made of the NASA connection, and KMSC even staged its own "real time" coverage of manned space launches.
KBTL has a very specialized format
Roger Reini sent this material from Michigan.
Houston Retro Radio is hosted as part of VASTHEAD.COM.
You can also access these pages by going to http://houstonretro.com.
Added April 16, 2010
Remembering Richard Dobbyn
Thanks to Ken Tyner for sharing this material. This is the first new, previously unpublished, radio station recording I have received in almost two years.I never met Dobbyn myself, but my memory of him goes back further than most people. I was just twelve years old, and I used to listen to him doing a two man DJ show on KXYZ.
Most people remember him from a later period when he did news on KILT and on KIKK.On my news and talk radio page, you hear Richard Dobbyn, then news director at KILT, covering the Kennedy assassination as a hard breaking story.
There is also a gory KIKK aircheck in which Dobbyn talks about a rape victim's throat cut "ear to ear."
This site has a recording of Richard Dobbyn late
in his career. You hear him doing news on a 1991
KNUZ aircheck with Bob Edwards (Bob Parker).
Below: The Galveston Strand Historical District, March 13, 2010.