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Thread: TM Stereo Rock automated Top40/Rock format in 1970's-early 80's

  1. #1
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    Default TM Stereo Rock automated Top40/Rock format in 1970's-early 80's

    Literally my first exposure to FM radio, other than hearing the elevator music stations played in offices, etc was stumbling across what is now KABZ 103.7 Little Rock AR on a multiband radio my Dad owned back in 1974. The station was a "adult rock" station, called K-Kick 104 (KKYK) and had an automated sounding format. KKYK dumped the automation in 1976 and had live jocks after that time, but another station I recall in my childhood-- KWTO-FM 98.7 "Rock 99" Springfield MO-- could be received at my Grandmother's place in Berryville AR. I recall "Rock 99" having that format until at least 1982, since KWTO-FM was still automated with the two songs, and backannoucing.

    I discovered earlier this year after some radio-related web searchers that format was called "TM Stereo Rock" and came out an outfit in Dallas, called TM Productions. KKYK from at least 1974 (perhaps earlier) to 1976 used the "TM Stereo Rock" format, and KWTO-FM did the same until sometime in 1982. Another local station, KOTN-FM 92.3 Pine Bluff AR (later KFXE, and now KIPR) had flipped from elevator music to automated rock in 1978 (and later flipped to live and local country in 1983) but it wasn't the same announcer (Jon Borders) doing the backannouncing so I believe in retrospect that TM wasn't programming KOTN-FM/KFXE. KKYK and KWTO-FM were the only two stations I recall hearing TM Stereo Rock in the wild back in the day.

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    Drake-Chenault were the big guns of automation back in the 70s. I was a fan of the Hitparade (all one word) format, basically soft-AC today. They also had Solid Gold, XT40, SuperSoul and Great American Country. I am sure they had others.

    There is a nice tribute site, http://www.drakechenault.org/

    D-C was great in the midsize markets, where a station could sound like it was inthe big metros.

    cd

  3. #3
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    Prior to TMSR on 103.7 Little Rock, the station (KARK-FM and later KARN-FM) aired "Solid Gold" from D-C according to a guest blogger on the Mighty 1090 website. Perhaps KARN-FM 103.7 flipping to the "KKYK" and TMSR was a response to KLAZ (and even KAAY 1090). This was way before my time, I have vary faint memories of the TMSR days on KKYK 103.7 Little Rock.

    http://mighty1090kaay.blogspot.com/2...ck-and-fm.html

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    While Christopher is correct about Drake-Chenault, I do remember TM. Besides automated programming, TM, like Drake-Chenault, PAMS, etc, also made jingles for radio stations.

    [Whether good or bad for radio and society in general, we know that Bill Drake had a major influence on radio in the 1960s. RKO (CKLW, KHJ, KFRC, WHBQ, et al) became the big gun in Top-40 when Drake was the head of programming.]

    Back to the subject at hand, I do remember those automated formats well.

    Fritze, I also remember KAAY. Bleeker Street was popular many miles away from Little Rock. The signal was never that good here, but I was *not* a big fan of that show.
    Danny
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  5. #5
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    I remember quite well, growing up in the Springfield, MO, market, KWTO being "ROCK 99." (98.7 FM). I can tell you what I remember about it. It (seems like it) played what folks now call "classic rock" back in the 70s and early to mid 80s. Their bumper stickers seemed to be everywhere! After KXUS 97.3 came to Springfield in 1985 with that format, it seems ROCK 99 began to soften. It gave up its ROCK 99 slogan and went with "99 hit FM" and played a more top-40 format. It drifted to an even softer format when it became "The Heart." This drift was happening between 1985- to the 90s. At some point, it seems it went to a sports format, then tried to revive its old ROCK 99 format before finally returning to its current sports format as JOCK 99 (I guess a play on its ROCK 99 name). In the late 80s and early 90s, the Springfield market began to add more stations, and competition came along with it. I guess KWTO FM was just trying to stay relevant! There is a KWTO AM too at 560 KHz; it was country ("56 Country") until flipping to news-talk in the early 90s.

    Edited to add: there is a ROCK 99 aircheck from the mid 70s on the net, for those who like trips down memory lane, or who just like to hear what radio sounded like 35-40 years ago. http://radiostud.blogspot.com/

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    Wow, what a trip down memory lane! My first real experience in radio while in high school (1969-1971) was what I learned and was allowed to do at WIOU-1350 AM and WKMO-93.5 FM (now WZWZ-92.5), Kokomo, IN through a radio club sponsored by the stations. Around 1969, WKMO installed a new Schafer automation system http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schafer_automation_system and switched from a beautiful music format to Drake-Chenault's Hitparade (daytime) and Solid Gold (nighttime). Somewhere I still have some pictures (35mm slides!!) of the automation system. After being taught how to rewind the music tapes (reel-to-reel) when they reached the end, I was allowed to perform this duty while attending weekly radio club meetings at the station. After rewinding the tape on the deck (there were four music tape decks that rotated), that tape was placed back in a box on a shelf and the next tape (numbered in order) was cued up on the tape deck so it was ready to go the next time the rotation got to that particular deck. It was such a 'mechanical' setup, but in those days it was so fascinating to watch, switching from deck to deck, or to a cart machine with the ID, or to a cart in one of the carousel units which played the prerecorded commercials or weather/news updates. While most types of rock music were still popular on AM radio, this was part of my earliest experience in hearing top-40 music in stereo!

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    Steve, did you listen to WLS very much? That was my favorite Top-40 station, especially during the few years John Rook was programming the station.

    I remember ads in Broadcasting magazine and Broadcasting Yearbook for Schafer in the 1970s .

    This has been a very interesting thread.
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    Danny, yes, I did listen to the "Big 89, WLS." It was the most popular Top-40 in my area at the time. But I also had a craving for stations that weren't quite so predictable, plus I loved Motown music. With this in mind, I was also a big listener of WCFL-1000, "The voice of labor in Chicago." (Chicago Federation of Labor) And I really enjoyed CKLW-800, Windsor/Detroit because of their local interest in what was coming out of the "Hitsville" house known as Motown Records. I couldn't get enough of it.

    At night, due to their 50 kW signals, some of my favorites included WABC-770, New York (overnight guy Jay Reynolds was from WIFE-1310, Indy); WRKO, Boston http://wrko.org/; KAAY, Little Rock; KOMA, Oklahoma City http://www.komaradio.com/komainfo.aspx ; and WLAC, Nashville. At the time, all of these stations seemed bigger than life!

  9. #9
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    My sister and her family used to live outside of Boston. WRKO was always a welcome listen, even though they did play the same songs a lot every day; common for Top 40 back then, but despised in radio today. Once when I was in high school, one of our teachers was going to Boston, and I kindly asked him to pick up a WRKO Survey (this was early 1976), and he obliged. WAXY 105.9 here in Ft. Lauderdale tried to emulate WRKO (both were RKO General stations) for about 4 months in 1974, dropping its oldies format for Top 40; with Y-100 already a smash hit, and WMYQ running high (even 560 WQAM & 790 WFUN were still T40), it did not last, and back to automation oldies it went.

    As to KOMA 1520, I may have only caught it once, around our sunset (obviously, since I am in Florida) in 1974 or so; however, back around 1998-99 when KOMA-FM 92.5 was online and had "The Wax Museum" with Larry Neal, I was often ready for each 5-hour show with three C-90 cassettes. Nice to hear those "stiffs" that other oldies stations ignored. I have some of those songs taped/CD'd from those days. Wax Museum ended maybe 1999.

    cd

  10. #10
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    Steve, the programming was not all that was predictable about WLS. In this part of the US, the WLS signal was generally strong and clear from dusk to dawn (except during Aurora).

    WCFL was usually covered by KTOK OKC. CKLW was usually mixed with or covered by XELO and/or PJB. WABC was often a non-show, very weak, or mixed with KOB. (WCBS was always the strongest NYC station here.)

    I once heard George Klein (friend of Elvis and WHBQ DJ/program director) say that Elvis and his buddies listened to WLS in Memphis at night sometimes.

    I was also a big fan of Motown music. Actually, I think most young people were in those days.
    Danny
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