Wink Martindale, 980 KFWB Los Angeles | June 2, 1965

980 Los Angeles KFWB

Wink MartindaleDate of Recording: 06.02.1965
Station: 980 KFWB Los Angeles
Format: Top 40
Featured Air Personality: Wink Martindale (WHBQ, KFWB)
Contributor: Big Apple Airchecks
Post Date: 12.03.2017
Airchexx Entry: 1,530

The KFWB Principal of the Year contest has just two weeks to go!…

Curator’s Notes:

If you thought Wink Martindale seemed a little ‘stiff’ on the WHBQ “Saturday Morning Dance Party” from 1956, here’s a different side of Wink. Martindale is doing the morning show on KFWB and this is a music intensive show with a very upbeat presentation!

The “Principal of the Year” contest is in full swing. Is there a station doing a similar promotion today, in the U.S. or Canada? Also, this comes with an obligatory PARENTAL ADVISORY for advertisements of Winston Cigarettes and numerous beer commercials. Who woulda thought it would be legal for either, especially in the morning show?! But this was 1965 and the FCC had yet to ban cigarette advertising just yet.

Wink tells us the date about midway through this high quality recording. Wednesday, June 2, 1965. It’s not often we get that kind of confirmation of the exact date inside the recording. This aircheck arrived with just the date of 1965 on it.

Engineering note: This recording is yet more proof that between a full 15khz bandwidth allowed by the FCC and decent, wideband AM radios – they all were back then, AM radio sounded pretty good, and without the background tape noise, this would be better quality than digital HD. Think about THAT you AM naysayers!

980 Los Angeles KFWB


  1. CalRadioPD

    Wink sounded stiff at ‘HBQ and silly here. Two years after this aircheck, he moved to MOR KGIL in the San Fernando Valley and found his real sound, smooth, friendly and knowledgeable about the artists. After four years at KGIL, he went to KMPC in Los Angeles for eight years, where he sounded great and established himself as one of the best personalities in MOR and later Adult Contemporary.

    • I’m not sure that Wink sounded silly here. While I certainly heard him doing syndicated MOYL, I compared this Top 40 approach to his prior work and that of other of his contemporaries and thought he sounded pretty good in context at KFWB. The WHBQ aircheck from 1956, IMHO, sounded almost contrived. That’s not to criticize, in 1956 anything like this where Elvis was interviewed (in pieces and likely on reel splices pieced together in production) was amazing to the teen audience. Stiff or not, Martindale had a hit show that was all about the teen audience’s music and artists. Very novel for that time in history, as radio was just getting away from network and Big Band programming.

  2. ron kay

    It’s amazing how many Stiffs they programmed. 17 minutes scoped and only one hit. Even their spots were more familiar than the music.

    • Well hello Rockin Ron! Have to agree with you. I have the unscoped master in front of me. Playing the whole thing this morning before editing, that was my FIRST observation. No wonder KHJ came along with Bill Drake’s streamlined formula of playing PROVEN hit records and kicked KFWB to the curb, although it took a whole year to get to #1 because KFWB was so entrenched. Calradiopd will probably have some clarification on that, but I really agree. Lots of hit artists, but songs that certainly didn’t stand the test of time. I only recognized two of them and I thought I had a pretty good handle on 60s hits!

  3. Gary Kerns

    Several things. First, this sounded almost as good as FM. I used to listen to “American Country Countdown” hosted by Bob Kingsley. Gene Weed, who’s mentioned in this aircheck, subbed for Mr. Kingsley a time or two. In the Firestone spot (14:24),heard “where the rubber meets the road”. I didn’t know that phrase was used that long ago. This ‘check was made eight days before my 2d birthday. Wink Martindale, as most people know, went on to become a game show host and had a hit in 1959 called “Deck of Cards”.

    • Yes he did. I specifically leave ‘music’ alone, as anything in that direction draws attention from the labels. However, on that note, you are 100% correct. Wink recorded a 45 rpm single with “Deck of Cards” on one side and I forget the song on the other. Just a couple of words about that. You are aware that “Deck of Cards” is a pop song but also an highly religious song as well? When I got to talking to Jack Parnell one day about Wink (the two are close friends), Parnell said that Wink has always had a strong faith. The two even belong to the same church. Wink is a native to the Memphis area, and although I don’t know where he lives now, back in the 1950s, he did live in the Shelby County area of southwest Tennessee.

    • Gene Weed – “The Weedy One” as he was sometimes called. Yep. Well known and highly respected in the L.A. area for a long time. I also thought his voice on ACC was perfect for the tempo of that Country Countdown. Hey, I didn’t know you got into 80s/90s “New Country” too? So did I! It was as if Rock/Pop picked up where it left off in 1979!!! At least to me it did, and added in the traditional sounds. That time in Country has now come and gone but it sure was good while it lasted!

  4. CalRadioPD

    Not a year. KHJ was number one in six months. And KFWB had already been losing to KRLA since 1963. KHJ passed them both by the Fall ’65 book.

    Incredibly, though, when KHJ launched, Bill Drake sent Music Director Betty Brenneman down to Wallich’s Music City and told her to buy two copies of everything on KFWB’s playlist (available at Wallich’s) that week. That was where they started from, and then made adds and drops in subsequent weeks on their own. KHJ didn’t publish a Boss 30 until July 9, more than two months after they launched.

    As for the music on this ‘check, KHJ played “Last Exit To Brooklyn”, “Silhouettes”, and of course “Mr. Tambourine Man”.

    And Rockin’ Ron Kay is a radio god who should have been at KHJ.

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