Buck Ritchie on KAYO “Country KO” 1150 Seattle | Sometime 1964

From the Aircheck trader’s board at our co-located sister site, Radioinsight.com comes this super-old and very rare aircheck of Country station KAYO 1150 Seattle. This is a scoped recording, however, very noticable while editing this down from the original, this morning show was very sold out… plus, notice (especially you kids…), this is NOT a ‘more music’ station by any stretch. The jock, Buck Ritchie, is really coming across like a country personality. This could be good or bad, depending upon how one looked at hillbilly-types back in 1964 in Seattle.. but he definitely fit the music and the format here.

Noteables: KAYO local Seattle news on the Hour, Mutual news on the hour and half hour, LOTS of local commericals, and not even ONE station jingle. This is dry, with a few songs per hour, and a jock that rambles on and on… Personality radio? yes. Easy to listen to? Well… not for this webmaster. But this is definitely a history lesson for anyone wondering where the Country format was over 40 years ago.

Steve West

Airchexx Webmaster, Radio DJ, News Anchor, producer and resident geek.

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44 Responses

  1. George says:


    Iam the one who posted this in the first place–not sure what sold out means?? and yes at least one jingle was used–thanks for posting on your site–yes it was a different time-but I think we agree that it is good to get this old stuff once in a while–don’t be so critical

  2. Rick says:


    Date on this airchek has to be November 6, 1964. Election was November 3rd, which is referred to both as “Tuesday” and “last Tuesday.” As I recall, it was much more common then to refer to a weekday in the recent past as being “last” Tuesday, for example, rather than the prior week.
    Enjoyed hearing this. Jock is friendly, having a good time, and society in general is slower-paced.
    Plenty of music here, too. Remember, there’s more room for chatter since the songs weren’t much over two minutes long.

  3. Kenneth says:


    This brought back memories . . . I grew up listening to KAYO in the sixties – B. Buck Ritchie, Bill Goff, “Bashful” Bobby Wooten, Gary Vance, Ed Howell and the rest.
    I could even sing along with the Bill Pierre Ford and Washington Builders jingles, they left such a mark.
    KAYO was always very heavy on personality to go along with the music, and with a strong news content, too. I also remember they usually played one country gospel song every hour. They were a Mutual affil until ’68 or ’69, when they switched to ABC Entertainment.
    BTW, “sold out” means having a full 18 minutes of ads, which was the max then. This hour came pretty close.
    This was a fun hour to listen to.

  4. Old Fan says:


    In my fathers belongings I came across some black and white photos. In the bqackground is a banner depoicting a cowboy themem and the words “Sunday Night, Buck Ritchie”. From the style of dress of the men in the audience the photos appear early 60′s vintage. Were radio personalities allowed to have naked girls on stage in those days?

    • Roger Weller says:


      I too grew up with Buck nd the others and two songs I am remembering now are, Only the moon man knows written by Buck Richey, and the clarinet polka record he used to play but the name of the musican escapes me. His clarinet sounded so clear, pure and nobody else has played that song like he did. If someone remembers who the artist is,I hope you could e-mail me.

      • O. Dixon says:


        Hi, I was looking up “Only the Moon Man knows” also, and haven’t found it yet, but I must be older than you because I used to hear B.Buck on KVI in the 1940′s. He used to play at a grange near Bremerton, and also heard him up in Ferndale for a special appearance. Would be interested if you received any more info about him.

        There’s no music like the old s__t- kicking country!

        • Don Recknagel says:


          I listened to the Buck Ritchie Show regularly back in the 1960s and even before. He sang the “Moonman Song” accompanied by himself on a guitar. He hit some real good licks with that guitar and had a deep, rich voice to go with it. It made you feel good to listen to him.

  5. Kerry Howell says:


    For those that are interested, these are the real deal. My father, Ed Howell worked with Buck Ritchie and the rest of the crew until Jessica sold out the successful format in the 80’s.
    All the radio personalities were gentlemen and enjoyed interacting with their listeners as would talk to them on the phone while songs played. It’s very hard to talk into a microphone for hours every day and come up with something to say. You have to like what you’re doing and like to talk!
    I have very fond memories of going to work with my dad on Saturdays and wandering around the station. Not only would my dad have to run the board, pick and file the 45’s for the show, play the commercial carts and select all the news items to read and keep to the format clock.
    Somewhere in a box, my mother has at least one box of real-to-real tapes from those 70’s shows.
    And yes, the teletypes in the background of the news portion were really typing new items full time.

  6. Kenneth says:


    Oh, Kerry, PLEASE try and dig out those tapes!! I remember listening to your dad as a kid. Wasn’t his theme a Floyd Cramer cover Al Hirt’s “Java”? And I wonder what happened to the “Walk of Fame” that was outside the building – now THAT should be at a museum somewhere, although it probably fell victim to a jackhammer. I even still have my “KAYO Kountry Klub” membership card somewhere.

  7. Ron says:


    Its old home time .. my dad was “Bashful Bobby Wooten” and I have the same memories as Kerry although being a recent high school grad at the time, I didn’t get to KAYO that often. He sent me some tapes of his show while I was in VietNam and even did a radio show there back in 1967.

  8. Richard Shuman says:


    Hi Folks,
    All this talk about Buck is really something.
    I knew him well, as a matter of fact he taught me the very first chords and the first song ever on the guitar.Which ended up being a second career for me now for 47 years. He also played mandolin,”I think it was his first instrument also the fiddle .We,the families,the Shumans,Don,Diana,Bruce ,Cyndi and me Richard with Buck,Paulin and Brent, spent weekends at our cabin on Point Monroe,Bainbridge Island,WA….Thanks for the memories……..Richard

    • Ken Morrison says:


      Richard – Do you (or does anyone out there) know how to get in touch with Buck’s son Brent or any other living family members?

      My grandfather was Morrie Morrison who ran Morrison Records. He recorded a few of Buck’s songs and I have been looking to locate a living Ritchey family member for quite some time.

      I still have the reocrds!

      Ken Morrison

  9. Jeff Zale says:


    Could it be the same guy? I found some photos in my fathers stuff recently. A Big banner on the back wallin the photo says “Saturday Night with Buck Ritchie”. The banner displays a south West cactus motif. The crowd is all men in suits and skinny ties. In the foreground is an attractive young lady taking off her negligee. This had to be somewhere in the South King County area. Did Buck evere host adult shows?

  10. Penny (Howell) Kafflen says:


    Kenneth,
    Thank you so much for remembering our dad — and what a great memory you have: his theme song for his entire radio career was “Java” by Al Hirt!

    Kerry and I could sing the words to every country song from the dawn of time until about 1973/4, as the radio was always on in our home. And we knew when we heard “Java” at 8 PM that our dad was on his way home.

    One of the highlights of his time at KAYO was the shows at the Opera House. We kids were able to attend a few, and I met Minnie Pearl, Tom T. Hall, etc. I still have a photo taken with Freddy Weller (from Paul Revere and the Raiders).

    More KAYO trivia: Andy’s Diner, just down the street on 4th Avenue South, is now Frank’s Diner here in Spokane.


  11. Hi, KAYO FANS!

    I’m Gene Larson, who worked with all the guys you’ve mentioned at KAYO from March 1972 to September 1975. I was the “weekend guy” who worked the ungodly 12:00 Midnight Saturday nights to Noon Sunday shifts, then 6:00pm Sunday nights to Midight. Weekdays I worked with the other guys in various capacities and did Superstar interviews at the Opera House as “Granpa” (or “The Old Timer”).

    I will never be able to forget those “golden days” of radio and each fellow-jock I had the pleasure of working with. I’ve saved all of my interviews. I remember getting Star bits to play for Ed Howell when he did afternoon news for the “GOODNIGHT,ED” news ending. THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIENDS!!


    • I’m searching for “Golden Days” broadcaster named John R. Forrest (Johnny). I am hoping that Gene Larson might remember him. His accomplishments include: News broadcaster on KOL (1960 to 1969), news broadcaster KFKF Bellevue (1969 to 1971), playwright of two Suspense Theater plays (“Mission Completed” starring James Stewart, 1949, and “The Daisy Chain”, 1961). He wrote a hit tune, a pop ballad called “Blue Tears”, recorded on Golden Crest Record Label and aired on AM radio in 1960. John was also known for broadcasting the Seattle Seafair Hydroplane Races during the 60′s—-BEFORE Pat O’Day acquired that gig. I have commented on various radio sites, including KOL, but no one remembers him. Sadly there is very little documentation about him on the Internet. In desperation and frustration to give him “credibility”, I created a web site for him on Footnote. I also addedd him to my own web site (photo gallery); which is http://www.MaiaSantell.com. (John Forrest died in 1971 and the young age of sixty-three.)

    • Mrs. Dan Williams says:


      Hello Gene Larson, and everyone from the Old KAYO Land.
      Gene Larson may remember me, since his father lived just a half a block from where my parents lived in West Seattle. After Dan Williams left KAYO, he worked at KEED Country in Eugene, Oregon for quite a few years, when Don Lane gave him a job there. (Remember Don Lane from KAYO ???) He even worked at Magic94, playing contemporary pop, and when he retired from there in 1997, he went to work at a radio station in Florence, Or. Unfortunately he passed away in 1999 due to cancer. He would have worked till he was 100 years old, if he had his own way. I have boxes full of memorabilia from KAYO days. Old pictures, (Including those of Buck Ritchie, Bobby Wooten..) And many posters etc. Someday I hope to make a web site dedicated to those years and publish all the pictures. So many memories….

      • Gene Larson says:


        Hello, Mrs. D. W.! Just remembered to check back here and saw your reply. I’d really love it if you were to put up a website of KAYO memorobilia, I have very few photos, etc. from the station. I only have some audio memories (EX: The April Fools Day when Buck Ritchey and Lan Roberts from KOL switched stations for each other’s programs). I also found my original Star interviews on cassettes and made them into a four CD set, just to help preserve them. I’d kept in touch with Don Lane right up to the night before he died. And lost track of your dad. I also lived where my dad was and remember the night that YOUR dad made a great meal and invited me over for that feast before I went to work that night. WHAT A COOK!! There are very few of us “KAYO-ites” left and the only one I’m aware of, beside myself, is Gary Vance, who I’m still in contact with. How wonderful it is to know that someone still remembers our KAYO days. Keep in touch! GL

        • Mrs. Dan Williams says:


          Hello Gene Larson,
          Sorry I could not write sooner, because I have been quite busy with taking care of my sister and other family chores. I figure in another month I will be completely moved to my new home in Washington State, then I can get started with the webpage, and post all the pictures from KAYO. I have a huge album full of pictures of Buck Richey, and Bonnie Guitar among others. HAd many reel to reels of Kayo broadcasts, which I hope I can find among the stuff I have been moving.I hope to post a lot of the memories. Before he passed on I started a webpage for DAN but never completed it here is the URL: http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/prodigy/784/dan.html
          I am sorry to hear that Don Lane has passed on.I wasn’t aware of it. His wife Joy must still be in Oregon. I believe they lived in Gresham. Don Lane was program manager at KEED in Eugene, when he gave the midnight shift to Dan. Sometime after we moved to Eugene, Jessica called Dan one day, all the way from Alaska. She wanted to know why Dan moved to Eugene. He told her “You sold the station in Seattle (KAYO) and I figured I better get me a job somewhere else” Jessica told him that he did not have to go because she already had a deal with the new owners of the station that DAN was to have a job at the radio station. Then she said that in any case he would never be without a job, because she had a job for him at the TV station in Alaska. Well, it’s a long story, but Dan and Jessica go way back before she had KAYO and Dan was working for her in Moses Lake, WA. Too many stories… some make sense and some don’t. Anyway, I am glad you read my first message. Soon, I hope I’ll get that webpage up and running…. take care…..

        • Mrs. Dan Williams says:


          I just remembered the new crew that Jessica had hired when KMPS turned country. Remember Ben Peyton? and the rest of the crew he brought with him from somewhere in Illinois or Ohio? or .. Indiana ? Remember Bo Wiley? After we left Seattle, we did not get much news about what was happening at KAYO. But, Andy Thompson the chief engineer was also taking care of chief engineering for KEED in Eugene, OR so he would be in town and sometimes come over to the house for a burger dinner. So, we were able to get some news from him. Unfortunately, when the new crew came in, all the old timers one by one was either let go, or some chose to get jobs in other radio stations. KAYO General Manager John DiMeo acquired the rights to KAYO call letters and had the KAYO radio in Aberdeen, Wa. I listen to it whenever I can. here’s the obit for John DiMeo; http://www.funeralalternatives.org/keepsake.asp?GBObitKey=1112&ObitKey=1112

          Dan used to correspond with country stars like Bill Anderson and Sonny James. I once heard Bill Anderson as he was talking to Dan on the phone, and someone must have asked Bill Anderson who he was talking to and Bill interrupted his conversation with Dan and said; “I am talking to Dan Williams at Country Kayo, you know the first ever all time country music radio….” There will never be any radio station like KAYO, or memories of those olden golden days….

          • Phil Gray says:


            Hi, I remember Walt from Moses Lake. I was a kid who lived in Ephrata and hung around KSEM when they were out on the island. Bill Newland, Roy Robinson and Walt among others who put up with me. We moved to Burley, Idaho in 1959 and I got a job at KBAR (Jessica’s first station) while in high school.
            I wound up in John Day, Oregon where I own the station her.
            Great times, those in Moses Lake and some great People!


        • Hello everybody,

          Speaking of Seattle radio, nostalgia, KAYO and airchecks, if you have any memories you want to share with the growing readership at SeaTacRadio.com drop us a line, comment on the posts or use the Forum page on the website. We welcome all stories, pictures and audio to keep those golden days of Seattle radio alive.
          Thank you for listeniing.

      • Joe Levack says:


        Just thought I’d drop a note …I was working in Algona with my band (sequoia) and I got off work to go down to Kayo in the early morning to be on the air with Dan…Had a great time and still have that tape somewhere…Worked with Jim and Gary, R C Bannon to name a few and the last 24 years with Gerry Andal…thanks…Joe

  12. Tom Williams says:


    I remember the old days of growing up with the country KAYO club. I remeber the picnics and train rides and all the feasts that they used to provide to their fans. I remember Buck Richie when he used to holler YaHoo Mountain Dew and i still till this day have the hat that I won at one of the picnics. The whole crew back then was the best group of people ever. I will never forget the pleasure they gave to me and my entire family. I also will never forget how well they treated my brother after his return from vietnam. My brother was wounded real bad and we took him to the Kayo Picnic. The response that he got from the crew, Bashfull Bobby, “B” Buck Richie, Ed Howell. All of these people were great and radio has not been the same since. I miss them all.

  13. Gene Larson says:


    OOPS! I think you’re correct on John’s passing, Maia, sorry.

    Gene

  14. CLARK CORBIN says:


    DOES ANYONE REMEMBER DAKOTA WILLIAMS. HE WAS MY STEP FATHER, AND HE ALSO WAS A DJ AT KAYO. THE SONG THAT ALWAYS PLAYED WHEN HE CAME ON THE AIR WAS FROM BUCK OWENS, CALLED “BUCKAROOS”.

    • Brian Lord says:


      Clark, I remember hearing Dakota Williams. Did he work at any other stations besides KAYO? I assume he has passed away. What was his real first name? Jason would be happy to add his listing to “Air Staff” at SeaTacRadio.com

  15. Cliff Garrison says:


    I have 78 RPM record that was recorded by Buck Richey on one side “The Talkin’ Blues” and Harry Long “Sioux City Sue”. It was recorded when they both worked at KVI during the late 40s and early 50s.

    I remember Buck, when he would make a public appearance and he would say, “Let me hear them Boo’s.”

  16. Bill Taylor says:


    The air check from 1964, which includes the Bill Goff newscast, brought back a lot of memories — both about KAYO and KVI.

    As a high-school kid, and aspiring radio newsman, I visited KVI during a Christmas vacation break in 1962.

    Mr. Goff was KVI’s news director at the time, and I recall that he was very gracious, patiently answered all my questions, gave me a tour of the station. We parted company as his shift ended at 1:00, and Buck Richie arrived to take over news duties for the afternoon.

    Buck, of course, went on to great success at KAYO, and after KVI, Bill Goff had an equally successful run as KAYO’s news director.

    In the mid ’70s, when I was part of the news department at KVI, we hired Bill for some weekend shifts. It was a heady pleasure for me to be the guy who helped “break him in” on the board in the newsroom.

    The business was smaller then, Seattle was still a colorful port town (not the small San Francisco it has since become), and Mr. Goff was the same gentleman and pro that I remembered from my visit with him during the Christmas season in 1962.

    And, one more thing: I did work a shift as Buck’s newsman, in 1968, when I was at KOL.

    KAYO and KOL switched DJs as an April Fool’s Day promotion. Buck didn’t think much of the rock music, but the behind-the-scenes banter between the control room and the newsroom was great fun.

  17. Dave Watkins says:


    Brings back memories — we lived in Olympia in the early 40′s and I remember listening to his country music program in the afternoon. Still like the OLD country music he played.

  18. Susan says:


    Oh, I am so happy I found this website. I keep remembering Buck Ritchey and Bobby Wooten. Bobby did some appearances at my father-in-law’s furniture store and I met him a few times. Old Man Mose.. do you remember his name? Bock and bobby always referred to him that way.

    I listened to KAYO radio almost from the time it became KAYO, and enjoyed it all of the time. We didn’t have a TV, so Radio was my only entertainment. I remember the day Seattle had the morning earthquake, and Buck was on air. Suddenly there was a noise, then nothing. A moment later my house started shaking. I was so worried, because it was a pretty bad quake, and was delighted when Buck came back on the air. I think his words were something like this: Well, folks, I think we just had an earthquake.

    He had run outside. I don’t blame him for that.

    Anyway, Old Man Mose got to come to the station and meet artists once in a while, and guess what. He got to meet Johnny Cash! They shook hands, and then later that night Mose was at our house and he told us about it. I asked him if he had shaken hands with Cash. He said yes, so I shook the hand that shook Johnny Cash’s hand.

    Does anyone remember Buck’s song “Only the Moon Man Knows”? We were pretty poor in those days, so I didn’t get to buy a copy of it. I heard that he had told his wife that it was to not be sold or given away after he passed away. I would love to have the words to it, if I couldn’t’ get a copy of it somehow.

    Amway, I read the entries, and got very nostalgic. Wonderful website.

    • John Purser says:


      Well, if this don’t beat all. My connection starts many moons ago when a radio guy named “Mad Man Moscowitz” came on Sunday nights and I’d listen to him up in Lynnwood WA. I couldn’t stay up for his whole show (was and am a morning person) so I’d set the cassette to record him. The next day I’d listen to the rest of his show and any great songs I’d keep. This was in the early 1990s and as a child of “top 40″ radio I’d never HEARD of many of these artists.

      Jump forward about 20 years and I’m going through my music collection, on disk now of course, and I see all those old Moscowitz songs with “Unknown” as the artist and I start a web search to run them down. One of the last is a song I called “Only the moon man knows”. I learned it was a children’s rhyme by Kathy Reid-Naiman. My girlfriend knew it as a childhood favorite but had never heard it sung. I plowed through google, amazon and youtube looking for that voice signing this song. A side track got me to some fellow named Buck Ritchie singing “The Slave” and I was pretty sure it was the same guy but couldn’t find that one song.

      That brings me here and I read all the way through this long thread and the very last note, written just 12 days ago, tells me I’ve got the right guy!

      Thanks Susan. I hope you check back here. I left my e-mail address if you have trouble finding the words.

      John

  19. Ron Magers says:


    I’m currently a news anchor (early and late) at WLS-TV in Chicago. In 1964 I was a college kid pulling a weekend shift at Country KAYO in Seattle.
    My most vivid recollection is hearing Bobby Wooten and Buck Ritchie banter on the air with the topper going to Bobby.
    “You know if you was to put B. Buck’s brain in his belly button it’d rattle round like a bb in a rain barrel.”

  20. Mandy says:


    Im looking to see if I can find one of my late grandfathers music recordings from the late 1930-1947. He sang on the buck Ritchie radio show his name was Lloy “Dike”Gallauher.

  21. Gordon Brashler says:


    I remeber Buck from his days at KVI. We used to go to a dance in Snohomish called Kinney’s Barn dance and buck would come out there occasionally. I remember that he died of cancer, lung cancer I believe. When he got cancer he didn’t hide it, but kept his listeners informed with ongoing updates on how he was doing. He was a cornball, but popular. I, like some others, would like to get a copy of the words to “Only the Moon Man Knows.” I live in Arizona now, but still remeber the good old Washington days. Also I go by my real father’s last name now, of Smith, and not my step dad’s last name of Brashler.

  22. jessica says:


    My great grandfather passed and I inherited a very old box of pictures and in it was an autographed photo of buck richey is there anyway to find out what it is worth. Even if it isnt worth anything it is still really cool

  23. Marie says:


    I remember seeing Buck at the Puyallyp Fair back in the 50′s. We listened to him every night when he was on KVI,he was very strict about not playing songs such as “Back Street affair”etc. Also his phrase “who, what, where and when time” when he did the station break.

  24. Lew says:


    Remember listening to Buck kidding around with ”Old Grey Goat”Harry Long the morning guy on KVI I believe during the War.

    He and Harry played Kinney’s Barn dance in Snohomish in the 50s.

  25. Bernice Ericson says:


    I was never connected with radio, but I do remember B Buck very well. He and Bobby Wooten were real personalities and they were SO lively on the air. I remember when Buck had cancer and his updates. He helped take cancer out of the “whisper about it” category and enabled people to face the illness far more openly. Didn’t Wooten retire to a chicken farm somewhere? Good, good, memories. Seattle was a smaller, better, city then.

  26. Gordon Heggenes says:


    I was slightly acquainted with Buck. He was a great human. I was once at a concert at the Opera House with a friend, who was at a barber at the shop where Buck got his haircut. Jack Roberts, the booking agent also knew us, and asked us if we would like to watch backstage. Who wouldn’t? Buck saw us back there, and came over and said, “What are you two jerks doing here?” That was Buck!

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