Bill Tash Having Fun
Bill Tash having fun
(date unknown)

Bill Tash, 1995
Bill Tash, 1995

The Bill Tash Collection

Former DJ and now Broadcast Engineer Bill Tash of St. Petersburg, Florida, has been storing hundreds of reel-to-reel airchecks for years. Most of them are from the Great Lakes area (Cleveland, Toledo, and Detroit).

Bill's radio career began at WZAK and continued at WABQ, WXEN, WZZP, WLTF-FM and WJW radio in Cleveland. Bill has worked in television engineering since 1985.

Bill writes:

"Imagine my horror when I put some of these old tapes on my reel player, and discovered they barely played, oxide falling down onto the table! I've been desperately trying to save these sounds and am transferring them to CD whenever I can. Some of the tapes have survived better than others.

Back when I recorded these, I was positively anal about high quality recording! I even designed and built my own AM radio detector, designed to produce full-bandwidth audio without that nasty 10Khz whistle. The result was some of my aircheck tapes actually sounded like studio recordings."

Exclusive!The higher-fidelity recordings of AM stations after 1965 were made by contributor Bill Tash utilizing his custom high-bandwidth AM detector. These "from-the-air" recordings are the best recordings of AM radio stations we've been privileged to feature at this site. They are comparable to airchecks taken from station air monitors. Amazing!

The Repository thanks Bill Tash for sharing!

[Descriptions by Uncle Ricky unless otherwise indicated]

G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 16.2Kbps (8Khz)
Mad Daddy Pete Myers, WJW Cleveland, 1958 (52:00)

. . . Here in the land of Ooh-bla-dee, Mad Daddy giggle jiggle with all the glee, clappin' and flappin' to make it happen . . .

Mad Daddy Pete Myers, 1958
Mad Daddy Pete Myers
(©1963, E.C. Productions and Mad Magazine)
On New Year's Eve 1956, the "House of Moondog" was back in business at WJW (850) Cleveland, when Pete Myers (1928-1968) arrived at the former digs of Alan Freed's rock 'n' roll party. Freed had left Cleveland for New York in the fall of 1954. Myers became known as "Mad Daddy" in 1957.

Mad Daddy also left Cleveland for one shift at WNEW, and a more successful run at WINS in New York, but not until June 1959 after a stint at WHK. Sadly, Mad Daddy took his own life in October of 1968.

This exceptional and very rare recording of WJW in 1958 features Myers' trademark rhyming rap, and lost "blues and rhythm" treasures like Service with a Smile, Greasy Chicken and Teenage Machine Age. And we are treated to an obscure single by Mad Daddy himself, I Love a Practical Joke, performed as The Joker.

Here it is - the true roots of American Top 40 radio: An outrageous disc jockey, with a maniacal laugh, playing "race music". It's no wonder that some older folks were terrified by the sounds coming from their radios!

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7Kbps (10Khz)
Mad Daddy Pete Myers, WHK Cleveland, June 25, 1959 (43:14)

. . . They got the pop and the bop and the rhythm and the blue . . .

Mad Daddy Pete Myers, 1959
Mad Daddy WHK Fan Club Photo, 1959
After WJW, Pete "Mad Daddy" Myers moved across the street to WHK where his show evolved to include the recorded elements heard in his later work at WINS/New York.

"Bubbles" sound effects and the frequent use of tape echo were common, as were unusual music beds. In this aircheck, you'll hear the WHK time tone and CRC Series 8 jingles, in addition to a fair amount of distortion. (Apparently, Mad Daddy really was SHOUTING into the microphone!)

His playlist expanded too, no doubt at the direction of WHK, to include some pop-based hits of the time, and distinctly non-Blues & Rhythm artists like Jimmy Clanton.

In addition to the one-of-a-kind performance of Pete Myers, a short WHK news report is featured, along with a truly classic commercial for "Light, Refreshing Pepsi-Cola, the sociable refreshment."

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32Kbps (16Khz)
Mad Daddy Pete Myers, WINS New York, 1964 (44:26)

. . . boppin' and blastin' funny-farm broadcastin' . . .

Pete Myers' first New York City appearance as Mad Daddy lasted one night on WNEW in 1959, after which "Mad Daddy" was asked to go undercover as mild-manned Myers, a straight-laced WNEW MOR jock.

He did much better in 1963 when he began a two-year run on rival WINS. In this aircheck, we hear much greater "Top 40" influence than we heard at WJW and WHK, though the WINS playlist must have been broader than that of WABC and WMCA at this time. Mad Daddy was singin' and swingin' (straight jacket and all) from "Sponge Rubber Tower" until WINS changed to news in 1965.

Following WINS, Myers returned to WNEW. He took his own life on October 4, 1968.

[Thanks to The Hank Hayes Collection for background.]

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7Kbps (10Khz)
Jim Runyon, KYW Cleveland, June 1965 (29:53)

. . . This is a Runyon named Jim . . .

Jim Runyon
Jim Runyon
When ex-marine Jim Runyon left his midday gig at KYW in Cleveland, he joined programmer Ken Draper at WCFL in Chicago. Cleveland is where he met Dick Orkin, and you will recognize Runyon as the announcer for the classic Chickenman comedy series created by Orkin. Jim Runyon died at the age of 42 in 1973.

This aircheck demonstrates the somewhat schizophrenic evolution of this station to what eventually became WKYC. KYW was emphasizing personality and "selected" Top 40 hits (and at least one "easy listening" stiff, represented here by Vic Damone.)

Dave Hull, at that time at KRLA in Los Angeles, appears in a PSA as Chairman of the National Disc Jockey Committee supporting The Breath of Life month; and we are reminded that in 1965, it was still OK to buy your beverages in TIN cans: "stackable, packable and never-go-backable!"

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7Kbps (14.5Khz)
Jerry G., British Countdown, KYW Cleveland, 1965 (55:46)

. . . We're gonna miss those jingles - but not that much . . .

Jerry G. Today
Jerry G. Bishop today (courtesy of KPOP Radio, San Diego

Jerry G. Bishop began his broadcasting career as a morning DJ in Evanston, Illinois, and in 1964, his success on Ken Draper-consulted KYW led to "Jerry G. and Company", his own weekly TV show. He covered The Beatles' cross-country tour in 1965 and 1966 for NBC and Westinghouse broadcasting. He joined Draper at WCFL for a time, and then Jerry went into TV full-time, winning three Emmy Awards as TV Performer of the Year for SunUp San Diego on KFMB-TV. He returned to radio in 1991.

As of July, 2001, Jerry G. Bishop was the afternoon-drive host at KPOP (Adult Standards) in San Diego. He and his wife also operated two restaurants in San Diego.

This aircheck features The British Countdown followed by 20 minutes of the regular Jerry G. show on the evening of June 17, 1965. Assisted by bushels of drop-ins and sound effects, Jerry exudes fun and good cheer with one gag after another. In an apparent reference to KYW's upcoming change to WKYC, he quips, "We're gonna miss those jingles - but not that much", following a particularly awful KYW weather jingle.

Jerry Bishop passed away on September 15, 2013. He was 77.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32Kbps (10Khz)
Jay Lawrence, KYW Cleveland, Ohio, June 1965 (01:03:19)
Play Scoped This Exhibit 'SCOPED (39:52)

. . . I play it the company way, man - I'll butter any bread you tell me to butter . . .

Jay Lawrence, the overnight host of The JayBird Show on The Great K, says he's met the new owners — the fantastic, wonderful, marvelous, exciting, lovely new owners — and KYW is about to become WKYC pretty soon. The change took place at 5AM on June 19, 1965, and Jay was on the air when it happened.

Lawrence is a true showman, undoubtedly influenced by Joey Reynolds and Adam Sandler — except Sandler wasn't born yet! Who else kept a guitar in the air studio so they could sing the Baseball Scoreboard and birthday songs? Listen to the parade of upcoming features! Yes Virgina, this was called a radio SHOW.

Picture of
Jay Lawrence, 2009
You'll also hear Jim Runyon, Harry Martin and Specs Howard on promos. A few goofy jingles, and two funny, goofy records are included. Jay also has an extended conversation at the end of the hour with Harve Morgan, and Ken Cartwright is heard with a truly late edition of KYW news.

If 440:Satisfaction is correct, this very same Jay Lawrence was working in the 21st century at KTAR in Phoenix.

Do NOT copy, trade or sell this recording. Duplication or distribution is a violation of REELRADIO Terms of Service.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7Kbps (14.5Khz)
Jack Armstrong, WKYC Cleveland, 1967 (28:44)

. . . Delicious yellow coat . . .

Jack Armstrong, 1967
Big Jack Armstrong at a remote broadcast, 1967
Even though he is frequently remembered as the fast-talking night jock on WKBW in Buffalo, N.Y., Jack Armstrong (aka: John Larsh) made his first high-power appearance on 50KW WKYC (formerly KYW) in Cleveland, Ohio.

Jack left WIXY in Cleveland and was offered the prime nightime DJ shift at WKYC when Jerry G. joined Ken Draper at WCFL in Chicago. Jack broke his contract at WIXY and could not call himself "Jack Armstrong" at WKYC, so initially, he was just Big Jack. Later, he called himself Jackson W. Armstrong. This aircheck is most likely from January of 1967, and Armstrong would have just been hired. It features Jack and his sidekick The Gorilla, and a few PAMS jingles.

As of July, 2001, Jack Armstrong was morning drive host at WMQX-93.1 in Greensboro, N.C., where he was for several years. He passed away March 22, 2008 at his home in North Carolina.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7Kbps (14.5Khz)
Chuck Dann, WKYC Cleveland, January 1968 (25:34)

. . . Am I that easy to forget? I hope not . . .

When we first opened this exhibit (7/8/2001), all we knew about Chuck Dann was that he appeared at WKYC in 1967, and he didn't make the "Power Radio" lineup on February 1, 1968. We believe this aircheck is from January, 1968.

Thanks to our great friends who have further identified Chuck Dann as Chuck Riley, later at WIBC in Indianapolis and now a nationally-known voice-over talent. (see COMMENT, below).

Otherwise, this is an outstanding (condensed) aircheck and Dann is smooth and personable. It's really the last hurrah of WKYC personality Top 40. One year earlier, there was no reverb, but REVERB is ON in 1968, Big Jack is gone, (Davey Diamond is in - is this THE Dave Diamond?) and there's a talk show at 11PM!

(1) Jingles: PAMS Series 33 (Fun!) is featured prominently, as is an all time favorite Voices of PAMS acapella jingle. (2) Spots: Classics for the YoungMobile, Petula Clark for Plymouth, Newport Cigarettes, Campbell's Soups, Budweiser and Jenos Pizza. Is that Dick Cavett on the Excedrin headache spot? Cavett did a lot of radio work in the 60's, it seems.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32.1Kbps (16Khz)
Chuck Dunaway, Power Radio Debut, WKYC Cleveland, 1968 (15:52)

. . . You are about to witness radio history . . .

It's a "new and vibrant concept of radio entertainment"!

The debut of Power Radio was heard on WKYC Cleveland, at 3:05 PM (following the NBC news, of course!) on February 1, 1968.

Chuck Dunaway (WABC, KBOX, KLIF, KILT, WIXY and WIXZ) is featured. Compare the energy level on this 'check to the Jim Runyon KYW aircheck.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7Kbps (14.5Khz)
Wild Child Dick Kemp, WIXY Cleveland May 1968 (26:51)

. . . What is this? Honey? Little Bobby Goldsboro? Mercy! . . .

Wild Child Dick Kemp joined WIXY in 1967 when Jack Armstrong jumped ship for WKYC. Previously, Kemp had been a popular jock on WYSL in Buffalo, N.Y.

In this remarkably clear and noise-free aircheck from an 11PM hour in May, 1968, WIXY is using a single acapella, (WIXY Plays More Music) and a chant for the ID. The ever-present reverb remains as a reminder of the station's pioneering Top 40 history. And Wild Child Dick Kemp had the best act on the radio. Rival WKYC was never able to better WIXY in teens.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 44.1Kbps (20Khz)
WXEN Cleveland becomes WZZP with Bill Tash, 1977 (11:24)

. . . Starting at noon today they're going to rock music . . .

[Description by Bill Tash]

Bill Tash at WXEN, 1977
Bill Tash at WXEN, 1977
A sleepy little 16,000 watt FM radio station in a major market, happy to be delivering multi-ethnic programming (polkas, waltzes) to an ever-dwindling Cleveland, Ohio audience, gets the word from the owners at Booth American Broadcasting (Detroit) that the format would be changing to Rock. The entire WXEN staff was about to be fired (all except for one engineer... me).

Public protests by the station's staff fell on relatively deaf ears. A few of the ethnic language "program producers" scrambled to claim a tiny Sunday morning public-affairs time slot offered to them on this new rock station, and that is how the first day of this radio station began on Sunday morning, March 13, 1977.

Around 12 Noon, after the former station manager Kalmann Novak broadcast some spirited dialog to his Hungarian listeners, WXEN became ZIP-106. (Kirk Russell is featured here with the opening set.)

The call letters were soon changed to WZZP to better reflect the 'ZIP' image, and a new 50,000 watt transmitter also came online, to complete this solid rock station's new image in Cleveland. As the long-term studio engineer for both the ethnic and rock operations, I had the extraordinary experience of destroying a firmly embedded mainstay station and building a rock success. I will not soon forget the mental and physical highs and lows this project created. The last time I checked, WZZP had become WLTF, and was playing "Lite Rock".

[Note from Uncle Ricky: This composite also includes a few sets from contributor Bill Tash. This engineer was a jock, too!]

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Additional Exhibits in The Bill Tash Collection...
Jim Jackson, CKLW Windsor-Detroit, 1971

The Bill Tash Collection has been part of REELRADIO since November 5, 2000

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