Dave at KEIR-FM Dallas, 1966
Dave Mitchell (18) at his first job in radio at KEIR-FM Dallas

Dave at KFWR in San Angelo, Texas, 1971
Dave at KFWR in San Angelo, Texas, in 1971.

Dave Mitchell 1998
Dave Mitchell today

The Dave Mitchell Collection

After growing up in suburban Dallas in the 1950's and early '60's, listening to legendary stations KLIF and KBOX, Dave Mitchell shunned his parents' plea to become a third-generation banker. Hearing the great talents in Dallas left no doubt in Dave's mind as to what he wanted to be. How he managed to talk his father into using his college money for broadcast school he has since forgotten — but he thinks a lot of whining and crying was involved.

Top 40 radio was the greatest influence of his life in his formative years. At night, Dave switched to KOMA in Oklahoma City and WNOE in New Orleans. WLS also put a great signal into North Texas.

In 1966, after graduating from Elkins Institute in Dallas (where Rusty — now RushLimbaugh was a schoolmate), he made the long trek through every one-horse market in Texas and Mississippi before landing his first major market Top 40 gig at KONO in San Antonio, in 1972.

It was 1979 before Dave was able to make it back to his beloved Dallas where he worked at KMZK, KXVI, and KAAM. Next came stops in Charlotte (WLVK, WRHI), and Miami (WIOD, WBSS, WKIS) in the '80's.

Like most jocks, Dave found himself "between jobs" more than once. In 1984 he took a "temporary" job working as a traffic reporter for Traffic Patrol Broadcasting, which was later purchased by Metro Networks. He's was with Metro in Miami for 16 years. To his knowledge, he is the only person to have had his fair work on every English-language station in South Florida (over 40). Being a traffic anchor allows him to still be in radio, but with a job stability unknown at radio stations.

Dave returned to Dallas-Fort Worth in 2000, still working for Metro Networks, doing traffic and hourly newscasts on KAAM-AM, WRR-FM, KRNB-FM and KKDA-AM.

Still, there are times Dave fantasizes about buying a 250-watt AM in a single-station market and trying his hand at recreating the Golden Era of Top 40. Who knows? To quote the young boy in Angels in the Outfield, "...it could happen." As of 2009, Dave is semi-retired and living in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Repository thanks Dave for sharing!

[Descriptions by Dave Mitchell]

G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 16Kbps (8 Khz)
Charlie Van Dyke, KLIF Dallas, 1968 (11:13)

. . . the big switch is coming to KLIF . . .

[Description by Dave Mitchell]

This exhibit includes two 1968 airchecks of Charlie Van Dyke on KLIF in Dallas. The first I recorded myself on August 3, 1968 from my bedroom in Lewisville, Texas, just outside of Dallas, while home with my parents between jobs. I was 20 at the time. Charlie was 19. Even then, his pipes were fabulous.

The Hamm's Beer spot is classic, but much of the music KLIF was playing that afternoon was not. The Distortions? The Flavor? Aesop's Fables? Who were these guys? Notice the promo for the Cowboys vs. Bears 1968 Hall of Fame game. In those days, KLIF was the flagship for the Cowboy radio network. The voice of the Cowboys, Bill Mercer, was one of my broadcast school instructors.

The Big Switch was quite a promotion, dreamed up by Gordon McLendon. I remember everybody was asking if KLIF was "going country." Actually, the entire air staff traded places, for a day, with the air staff of KFJZ in nearby Fort Worth. You can read more about it at Steve Eberhart's History of KLIF site. This aircheck also includes Charlie's "blue skies, green lights" signature sign-off that he used in all the years he was at KLIF.

 The second aircheck begins at 6:04 and was recorded in January 1968. Here again is Charlie, on a Saturday show, unsure of who is following him, but nevertheless honing the skills that would someday take him to Boss Jock fame. The newsman is Frank Haley, another one of my instructors in broadcast school in 1966.

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Rudy Rocha, XEROK El Paso, December 1972 (5:23)

. . . from the world's most powerful rock station . . .

[Description by Dave Mitchell]

Texas-born, Chicago-raised Rudolpho "Rudy" Rocha, Jr. (a.k.a. "The Roach" -- perfect for the Cheech and Chong era) was one of the debut jocks as 500,000 watt XEROK (licensed to Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico) went on the air in late 1972. He was my newsman at KONO in San Antonio before he left to take this gig. Rudy also did time at KLIF in Dallas shortly before that station's demise. He later returned to KONO.

The interesting thing about this station is that alternating sets were done in English and Spanish. Spots were done the same way. The hourly ID says "El Paso" but the quarter- hour ID's (Mexican-legal) were "Ciudad Juarez." The PAMS "Rock of Chicago" jingles were re-done as the "Rock of the World."

By the way, the voicer drops are done by late Chicago personality Gary Gears.

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G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32Kbps (10 Khz)
Chris Cooper KONO San Antonio TX March 2 1972 (8:18)

. . . flashing blue lights in Chicago mean you're about to be arrested . . .

[Description by Dave Mitchell]

I figured up the other day that I've worked with about 400 on-air people in my 40 years in radio. If I had to choose the one I thought was best, I'd pick Chris Cooper, hands down. Chris had tremendous timing, a great voice and a sense of humour that could easily crack me up either on or off the air.

Tragically, Chris died about three years after this aircheck of a heart attack. He was only 29 and the heart condition was probably brought on by the rheumatic fever he suffered as a child. He had just finished a gig in Milwaukee and was driving to Houston with his family to a new Top 40 job. They were stopped at a restaurant in St. Louis when Chris suddenly died. Had he lived, I believe he could have become one of the greatest of our craft.

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G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 16Kbps (8 Khz)
Dave Mitchell, KONO San Antonio, April 7 1973 (4:37)

. . . talking to some strange, wired weirdoes . . .

[Description by Dave Mitchell]

This was my first major market job and I worked the all-night show full-time while working my way through Bible College, studying to be a Pentecostal preacher (no joke!)

In those days, KONO (The Big 86), did a perennial flip-flop with KTSA for the #1 rating in San Antonio. They had Drake jingles, and we had WLS jingles and The Alamobile — a remote studio in a mobile home, with full-length windows just ripe for a drive-by shooting.

The equipment was poor in the Alamobile, and none of us jocks liked it. At 6'7", I couldn't stand up straight in it. I'll never forget the note tacked on the board in the KONO control room by Charlie Scott (now Steve Sellers) after a nightmare weekend remote: "WCFL doesn't have an Alamobile, and their numbers are BIG."

Listen closely for the voice of KCBQ's Matt Guinn on the voicer drops.

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G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32Kbps (8 Khz)
Ken Sutherland, KROY Sacramento, July 1974 (3:34)

. . . that song excites my follicles . . .

[Description by Dave Mitchell]

Tall, red-haired, and super hot on the air, Ken Sutherland was, in my estimation, a major talent that should have been in a major market.

I worked with Ken (as Ken Douglas) at KONO in San Antonio in 1972-73 after he arrived from Tulsa. He took over the all-night show when I went to evenings.

KROY (1240, 1KW/250w) was still one of the major players in California Top 40 Radio in those days. The jocks took the use of the double-entendre to a fine art. A lot of this stuff seems tame by today's standards, but in 1974 it was on the edge.

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G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 96Kbps (10 Khz)
The TM Song, 1978 (05:26)

. . . Robert W. Grabowski . . .

[Description by Dave Mitchell]

This was produced by TM Productions of Dallas in 1978 and may be the greatest jingle demo of all time. The last 90 seconds contains a "logo battle" that is awesome, but cannot be fully appreciated unless heard in stereo. It sounds like the singers were working on "overload". I've often wondered how many takes it took to make this presentation.

A fantastic re-sing of this production classic, titled "The Eastman Anthem", has been online in The Gary Edens Collection since January 14, 2001. I'm surprised "The TM Song" has not appeared previously.

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The Dave Mitchell Collection has been part of REELRADIO since February 28, 1998!
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