The Kevin McKeown Collection

Kevin McKeown says he's been lucky enough to be in interesting places at interesting times:

College radio was the starting point... I was one of the late '60s crew who turned Yale's WYBC-FM into a pioneering progressive rock station. Meanwhile, I paychecked as a Boss Jock at WNHC, New Haven, and worked overnights for a while with my radio idols at WPOP, Hartford.

Between 1971 and 1973 I took my combination of progressive rock music tastes and top 40 formatic sensibilities to WPLR, New Haven, in one book pulling a clear majority of male 18-34 listeners in the metro...a 52 share. I left for California, where I was FM morning DJ, news anchor and then operations manager of KGB FM&AM. I came to L.A. in 1976 to be station manager, later general manager, of KROQ FM&AM, and have lived here in Santa Monica since.

If you're thinking "didn't I work with that guy?", other stations included WDEE, WCDQ, and KWST; I've produced programming features for KLOS and KFOG.

These airchecks have languished in a closet while I was creative director of an ad agency, owned a recording studio, and, for the last decade, created radio ads for TV networks and program syndicators. I'm glad to have the opportunity to share them. Thanks, Ricky!

[Descriptions by Kevin McKeown - Thank You, Kevin!]

Rockin' Robin Scott, WIL, St. Louis, 1961 (5:16)

"WIL, number one in town -- more of the best, less of the rest"

Right from the opening "Live, from Entertainment Central!" I think you'll agree this is a classic of early 60's high-energy Top 40, complete with drops and a super-'verb button. The production voice is Dan Ingram, and the "Swing, swing, swing, swing along with the DJs you like best" promo identifies not only Big Dan but Ron Lundy as part of the airstaff. I seem to remember suspecting that Robin Scott and the infamous Bob Dayton might even be one and the same, making three WABC All-Americans-to-be on this aircheck.

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Frank Stickle, WMCA, 1964 (7:29)

"You heard it FIRST on WMCA!"...

Beatlemania was at its height when weekend Good Guy Frank Stickle rolled tape on November 1, 1964. Get the flavor of local New York radio with newsman Frank Costa's intro, then remember the days when "the happiest station in the nation" played about half English rock.

The live spots were edited out before I got the tape, but you'll get tastes of such local staples as Barney's Boys Town and Castro Convertibles. Lots of vintage production elements, too, including jingles and breakers remarkable for their simple enthusiasm, and that famous WMCA news sounder.

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WNHC Station Presentation, 1970 (5:38)

"Amazing! But how did they do it?"...

There's no narration in this station presentation for WNHC, New Haven, Connecticut. It was probably the first, and perhaps the only, station presentation created by splicing together extremely brief snippets of actual airchecks so as to tell their own story about the station's image, intended audience, and promotions.

Some of the voices you'll hear went on to far greater fame; "JJ Philips" became JJ Jordan, group programmer, and others like Pete Moss and Bob Michaels are still active in New England radio. This presentation was controversial in its day... not only because of its non-narrative format, but because of the inclusion of one of those live radio phone contest nightmares featuring a word you're STILL not allowed to say on the radio.


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Still more to come from the Kevin McKeown Collection!

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