Blake Lawrence on KKBQ Houston | 1985

Here’s an aircheck that’s most definitely worth posting here! Broadcasting in AM Stereo, KKBQ, known as “Hot 79Q” is a serious Top 40 contender.

You have to have been there. In 1985, there was, for a time, a resurgence of AM top 40 as a handful of stations nationwide tried to come back as music stations while pushing the then FCC endorsed C-Quam AM Stereo system. It sounded great on the stations that did actually go stereo and many of these stations had fantastic sounding streamlined CHR formats! Unfortunately, the AM stereo experiment was an utter failure, mainly because of the failure of the industry and radio manufacturers to promote or even mass produce receivers capable of receiving AM Stereo. Kinda like today’s HD Radio, aka IBOC (which stands for In Band, On Channel), so this is a familiar situation.

KKBQ – long gone now as a Top 40 station but the scoped ‘check you’ll hear here was as good if not better than it’s FM competition!

This one’s not in stereo, sadly, but the aircheck itself sounds good enough to have come straight out of the studio skimmer!



  1. Nick

    The WXLO aircheck is interesting. I’m not positive about the date of the check, but if it’s accurate, it is just around the time that Bobby Rich took over. His changes hadn’t yet materialized. Rich took the station in a slightly more AOR direction, playing some album cuts not normally heard on top 40 radio. He brought in the likes of Su O Neil and John Laraby (sorry for the incorrect spelling). Morgan’s first night on WXLO (probably a practice run if you will) he identified himself as “Uncle Fred.”

  2. I liked this aircheck! I was told some years ago that the reason why 93-Q and 79-Q had slightly different CHR formats from each other was because of FCC regulations wouldn’t allow for a full-time simulcast. So they went with different airstaffs for each station, but simulcasting “The Q Zoo” in the morning. This arrangement would last until 1987 when the AM staff was dismissed.


  3. Brady Castleberry

    Even in non-stero this check sounds great. A shame the couldn’t keep the AM stero going.

  4. Jeff Scott

    I would like to make a small correction to Robyn’s comment above. The airstaff of the AM began to be trimmed down and merged in the summer of 1985, when simulcast rules were relaxed. Most were NOT let go…openings were largely by attrition. I was transferred to KSDO-FM in San Diego in July 1985, returning to 93Q about 20 months later as “Shadow Stevens” in PMD, following Ron Parker’s departure. Blake Lawrence had been moved to middays on 93Q following Gary Michael Knight’s departure. The AM did actually have separate music lists…being geared a tad older than the FM. Lander’s girlfriend, Patty Hamilton, did the music logs by hand on the AM. The FM used a slightly more sophisticated system…the early “Selector” computer program and was directed by Lander’s music guru Jon Hartman. 93Q was one of the early CHR’s that used callout research for its music rotations. 79Q’s was largely done by “gut!”

  5. Jeff Scott

    In listening to the aircheck, I can tell you this was from the late summer early fall of 1984. I was doing full time “swing” on the AM and FM, and Blake Lawrence (who actually plugs my Saturday night show on this aircheck) was doing middays on 79Q, Barry Kaye (formerly PMD on KRBE and KILT)did PMD on 79Q.

    About two weeks after this tape, Barry Kaye left to program in Corpus Christi, Blake was bumped up to PMD, and I went to middays on 79Q. Fun memories. Inside info: during the first contest break you hear, the caller was what we impolitely referred to as a “contest pig.” She called in constantly!

  6. Jeff,

    Thanks for additional info. 79Q sounded musically like a forerunner to the CHRUrban format that would become more popular from the mid-80s onward.


  7. Blake Lawrence

    Wow, surfing the net and accidentally finding an aircheck of yourself is a trip! Jeff Scott probably remembers most of the names and shifts more accurately than I do…he always did have an amazing memory for those facts. 93Q PM driver Ron Parker convinced Lander to hire me for afternoons on 79Q in October ’84. Parker became PD of 79Q and moved me to middays, and then I got to stick around even after the AM began simulcasting the FM 100%. I did swing and, for a hot second, PM drive until Ron Parker came back to that shift after a very brief moment as PD of KEGL/DFW. It was shortly after that that I was hired to be the first PD of KZFX/Houston, which was my final gig in Houston before relocating in ’88 to San Francisco, where I would eventually work at the same radio station (KFRC) as…once again, Ron Parker! And now here in New York, I can turn on CBS-FM at night and hear…Ron Parker! He follows me everywhere, LOL.


    Hey Blake – You’re forgetting that before all of this we actually crossed paths briefly at WHYI Miami. I think we did, or am I dreaming that one?
    Wow, what a trip stumbling across this aircheck tonight.

    As Jeff put it, definitely the fore-runner to the pop churban of the later 80’s and early 90’s that I did programming Power 92/Phoenix.

  9. Brady Castleberry

    I enjoyed the music and Blake Lawrence’s presenatation on this check. By today’s standards the format definetly had a rythmic lean, though I doubt you would here any of those tracks on today’s rythmic stations.

    It’s intresting to note as a I write this in 2011 that KOOL-FM in Phoenix is running the same “Guess the Cash” contest with there segments produced very similar to those of 79Q

    I also enjoyed the sounder used as Blake makes his sign off. Thanks Blake and 79Q for outstanding radio!

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