Dave Critchfield
David Critchfield on his 50th birthday, 2001.

The David Critchfield  Collection

When this Collection went online (March 3, 2002), we didn't know that David Critchfield had passed away in December 2001. He contributed this material to REELRADIO in June, 2001, and wrote about his aircheck collecting hobby at that time.

"It was a major life changing event being turned on to rock 'n' roll radio at summer camp on Orcas Island of the San Juan Islands, Washington, in August 1962 and especially being influenced by CFUN/Vancouver but also by the other top 40 legend in this area at the time, KJR/Seattle. From then on I probably listened to radio at least 8 hours a day. Later added to my listening were CKLG and KOL. Now four of my lottery numbers are 7-9-13-14 (for CKLG, KJR, KOL and CFUN). So far I haven't come through with them.

Majored in Communications Radio/TV at the University of Washington, Seattle. Work in radio only got as far as KCMU (at the time), the 10 watt giant serving the U-district and maybe part of Ballard (Seattle neighborhood) if the wind blew right. Went to work for the phone company instead due to interest in better job security. That applied when it was the Bell System. Now telecom is every bit as competitive as radio.

Avid aircheck collector, moving to higher fidelity and unscoped circa 1985. Taped a lot in the 60s but didn't let the tape run and regret only having lo-fi taping equipment then as the 60s certainly remains my favorite era. One personal favorite: Dale Dorman, especially when he was still at KFRC/San Francisco.

Very interested in tapesponding with aircheck collectors around the world, especially from the UK, Australia and New Zealand in addition to the U.S. and Canada. Also very much in to collecting studio quality jingles

For radio related, one big highlight for me is the day in September 1976 that Dr. Don Rose graciously gave me a full tour of KFRC when it was still at 415 Bush Street. Much like a pilgrim visiting Mecca!"

The Repository thanks David Critchfield for sharing!

[Descriptions by David Critchfield unless otherwise credited]

G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 44.1 Kbps (16 Khz)
Re-creation: David Gell, Radio Luxembourg Top 20, 1963 (43:31)
. . . The Beatles just don't exist, as far as America is concerned . . .

FROM UNCLE RICKY: Visitors (see COMMENT) have suggested this recording is a re-creation of a 1963 Radio Luxembourg broadcast. To our knowledge, this was unknown by the contributor. We are publishing his description as originally submitted.

[Description by David Critchfield]

The source for this exhibit was Russ Horton, who says this was from the original master tape! This remains a well preserved piece of history. When listening to Radio Luxembourg from just about anywhere in Europe, it faded in and out terribly due to its "208" frequency, so it is fabulous to hear it so clearly from that era.

David Gell Excerpted from:
Who's Who in Radio Luxembourg

Canadian-born David had an incredibly early introduction to the world of broadcasting — he first stood before a microphone when he was eight years old! Born on August 23, 1929, David pursued this ambition further when at high school in Calgary. When he left school he became a full-time staff announcer on CFAC, Calgary's top radio station. David graduated with two degrees, in Political Economy and Commerce. David was foreign correspondent in Paris for Station CFAC, and traveled extensively throughout Europe. In 1955 a vacancy arose at Radio Luxembourg for a summer replacement DJ, and so successful was David during his three-year stint that he was asked to stay on permanently. Today he is a freelance, but does the major part of his work for Luxembourg including some enormously popular record shows.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 44.1 Kbps (13 Khz)
PAMS Series 26 KJR Seattle Sampler, 1964 (02:09)

. . . Heaven help the foes of Washington . . .

Description by Uncle Ricky

Here's a short sampler of PAMS Series 26 ("Let's Go America") for KJR, Seattle. These jingles were originally part of the first custom package for WABC, New York. Shortly after the New York debut, the expanded series was also sold to KFWB in Los Angeles.

We don't know the actual date when KJR started airing these, but are guessing 1964, a year after they appeared in NY and LA.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7 Kbps (10 Khz)
Gary Shannon, KJR Seattle Top Ten of 1969 (06:44)

. . . I can't wait for the Seventies . . .

Taped by David Critchfield using a KENWOOD AM/FM receiver, SONY reel to reel component deck and SONY 7" reel at 3 3/4 ips, hence the tape quality survived much better after over thirty years on the shelf! Noteworthy for the nighttime 5,000 watt KJR reception from Bellingham, about 90 miles north of the KJR transmitter on Harbor Island, Seattle.

The AM atmospheric conditions certainly add ambiance recalling the days before ubiquitous FM, cable or satellite reception of today. About four years later I met Gary Shannon in person at KJR when I was doing a communications term paper at the University of Washington, and I must have the interview with him on tape somewhere. Gary gave me information about the history of KJR and some insights into the current state of the station at that time. In a walk around the station, I remember meeting Kevin O'Brien, on-the-air at the time, who later became the PD at WNBC (if I remember correctly.) He was constantly turning the turntables slightly to verify that the 45s were cued up properly (amazing to remember when it used to be 45s!)

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G2/5.0 compatible STEREO TOP STREAM 64 Kbps (10 Khz STEREO)
KYYX Seattle Radio Hall of Fame Weekend, 1979 (29:18)

. . . cut it out, I'm doin' a legal station break . . .

Description by Uncle Ricky

Contributor David Critchfield also recorded this exhibit, using his SONY TC-209 cassette recorder and his SONY STR-6055 AM/FM receiver, purchased in Tokyo in September 1972, and still working at the time of his death in December, 2001. David wrote that this recording was "scoped mostly by using the pause button" on the recorder. This presentation was mixed to smooth some of those rough edits. The Seattle Radio Hall of Fame Weekend was broadcast by KYYX on March 31 and April 1, 1979.

David also wrote:

"Wall to Wall Zingers on the tape. We have Lan Roberts, Larry Lujack, Tom Murphy, Jerry Kaye, Pat O'Day and Burl Barer. Irreverence is largely the main theme."

David's original recording included the closing song, which was restored for this exhibit. And according to Dan Packard of Portland Radio Guide, this reunion was automated and pre-recorded. It ran on their automation system. Dan wrote that "the voice tracks were recorded in a couple of different sessions with program director Tony Stone (he's the laughter in the background in many of the takes). One session was recorded after a big dinner and bar session at Seattle's El Goucho."

Remarkably, only a few seconds of this exhibit are duplicated in our September, 2001 presentation of The Seattle Radio Crazies Reunion from Ultimate Radio Bootleg, Volume III.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7 Kbps (10 Khz)
KJR Seattle, 59th Birthday Special, August 15, 1980 (01:19:08)

. . . Swing with the Big Nine Fifty for music that is nifty . . .

Description by Uncle Ricky

Taped by contributor David Critchfield, using his SONY FM-SW-MW "cassette corder CF-370S", purchased in Tokyo in November 1978. It was still working at the time of his death in December, 2001. I'm sure David would be delighted to know that we saved this contribution for the week of the 90th birthday of KJR in 2011.

This is a sensational production, obviously created with a genuine appreciation of the subject matter. Our invented and imaginative host Mr. KJR takes us on a fascinating audio tour, beginning with a short history of the Puget sound and Seattle and through the early years of KJR, right up to the first day of rock 'n' roll in 1955. According to this presentation, the ABC Radio Network started at KJR, and KJR was THE FIRST "Top 40" station on the west coast, inspired by Top 40 pioneer Gordon McLendon.

The ONLY disappointment here is that the program is incomplete, and it ends just before a Story Lady punchline! It stretched over two days, and David's contribution is a composite edit, ending in 1969, though the program was announced to continue through 1980. Listen for the clever parody of Volare, and some truly rare and early jingles, along with cameo appearances from former KJR jocks, including the late Mike Phillips. But before that, we are shocked by the Hindenburg disaster, and treated to classic Abbott & Costello and the Origin Of The Lone Ranger.

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G2/5.0 compatible STEREO TOP STREAM 64 Kbps (11 Khz SIMULATED STEREO)
Paul Barsky, WCAU-FM Philadelphia April 28 1983 (46:44)

Play Scoped This Exhibit 'SCOPED (19:24)

. . . Would you like to see something? I do my own special flashdance . . .

Description by Uncle Ricky with notes from contributor David Critchfield

This comes from Tom Konard of Aircheck Factory. Unfortunately, it was a summed mono recording of a stereo radio station (you'll hear the out-of-phase carts, particularly in commercial sets) so anything you hear that sounds like "fidelity" is, in fact, teased out of the phase-challenged mono recording, stimulated with some simulated stereo, and processed to sound like a consumer-grade recording of a great CHR FM — HOT HITS WCAU-FM.

Paul Barsky made big radio news in Philadephia about this time. The Barsky Show was a successful property, and hit music with personality was the Number One radio story, all over again. Dave Solomon with 98 NEWS is tight, concise, contemporary and perfect for the format.

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G2/5.0 compatible STEREO TOP STREAM 64 Kbps (11 Khz STEREO)
Don Geronimo, WBBM-FM, Chicago, May 1984 (09:11)

. . . When are they going to do marital aids day at Wrigley Field . . .

The local papers have reported that Don Geronimo has a "mild heart condition", which provides Geronimo with several good bits in the opening minutes of this WBBM-FM show from May of 1984. A rich variety of drop-ins and jingles is also included!

This was one of contributor's David Critchfield's favorite California Aircheck offerings. The exceptionally nice editing is the work of George Junak.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32.0 Kbps (16 Khz)
London and Engelman, KMEL San Francisco April 28 1986 (41:17)

. . . I was coming out of a commercial, and I lost a pint of blood . . .

Taped by David Critchfield, during a trip to San Francisco, using a SONY WM-D6C which is still functioning today.

The original cassette appears to have suffered some from sitting on the shelf for fifteen years.

I like Sue Hall's voice.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32.0 Kbps (10 Khz)
Wolfman Jack, WNBC New York, August 1985 (46:33)

Play Scoped This Exhibit 'SCOPED (18:23)

. . . If you care to rebut, be at Cousin Edna's this Sunday . . .

This exhibit was recorded by Dave Christensen, and taped off a satellite feed at KING, Seattle.

In 1985, Wolfman Jack was recorded for presentation overnights on WNBC. But, this aircheck has a surprise — the LIVE "announcer on duty" was Lee Chambers. Lee is heard with the weather, promos and some commercial announcements, and even gets introduced by The Wolfman. Milt Fullerton is the G-E-C newsman.

Contributor David Critchfield wrote that the missing channel on the Mel Carter song is due to WNBC. The backup singers are way, way back...

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32.0 Kbps (16 Khz)
Dan Taylor, WNBC New York Time Machine 12-26-1987 (42:12)

. . . I use good quarters when I play the machines here . . .

This one is from Dave Christensen, and was taped off a satellite feed at KING, Seattle.

So smooth and glib — but even Dan Taylor can have a bad day - first "Stay" by Maurice Williams doesn't start, then the cart breaks! Then, "I want you to hear Maurice Williams fly across the room!" Even on big time WNBC!

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Lan Roberts, KJR Seattle 1968 Class Reunion October 11, 1988 (46:33)

Play Scoped This Exhibit 'SCOPED (24:43)

. . . There was Larry Lujack, who got fired for playing a recording of Hitler during a Volkswagen commercial . . .


David Critchfield taped this using a SONY SRF-A100 AM STEREO receiver in normal mode (narrowband as opposed to wideband.) David wrote:

This cassette also appears to have lost high end quite a bit now from 13 years on the shelf. I always struggled to reduce or eliminate static when taping at my house due to all the electrical interference in the house and neighborhood.
I must have been able to work at home that day and get much of the reunion unscoped. I have seven other two hour cassettes unscoped of the rest of the day including Emperor Smith, Mike Phillips, Bobby Simon, Jerry Kaye, John Maynard, Charlie Brown, Pat O'Day, Tom Murphy, Gary Lockwood and Burl Barer.


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The David Critchfield Collection has been part of REELRADIO since March 3, 2002.

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