Every now and then it’s time to go way back, to before the days when FM was in vogue when AM was king of the hill, and disc jockeys puked their way to the top.
They also ripped off each other’s names in different markets.
This starts out with the Charlie Tuna show. Now, is this THE same Tuna who was a staple at KHJ in Los Angeles? You decide, but the voice is different. Processing? Charlie doesn’t puke, but the guy who comes after him does… yikes, did all the top 40s of the era sound like that? No wonder AM Top 40 got a bad rap.
We’re critical, yes, but overall this is an excellent aircheck for several reasons. First, this is PERSONALITY radio. Jocks using sound effects, shouts, special jingles and everything. And a warmth to this station that you can’t capture in today’s lumbering FM monoliths (and you sure as hell can’t pick up an Oklahoma FM station in Iowa – unless there’s an E-skip opening).
You listen, then comment on what you hear. Better or worse than today?
72 thoughts on “Composite: KOMA 1520 Oklahoma City | 1966”
Okay, before I make my comments, it might be important to point out that my introduction to AM top 40 radio began in the early 70s when the whole puking phenomenon didn’t seem to be as prevalent as it was in the 60s. so, whenever I hear 60s airchecks they generally sound kind of cheesy to me, but in this case, the cheese factor is multiplied by about 50. “Well hello there baby. this is the Weeba show with a hip-high stack of shellacs working for you until 7:00 this evening.” the line is cheesy enough, but when puked is even more tough to take. don’t get me wrong, I’d still take this style of radio over anything that’s out there today, but I wouldn’t take it over the fantastic AM radio that I heard in the 70s. That said, I may have been spoiled because the AM stations that I heard on a daily basis were WABC, WNBC, WFIL, and several smaller music stations which were also quite good. Yes, I know, AM radio was on it’s way out in the 70s, but remember that WABC (the primary station that I listened to every day) was still the #1 station in NYC until the later half of 1978.
finally, about Charlie tuna…I noticed that all of the songs seemed to be playing a little fast so, unless KOMA was speeding up the records at this time, the whole aircheck may be playing too fast. if it is, I suspect that slowing it down to the proper speed would make this Charlie Tuna sound much more like the KHJ one, so I don’t think that it is completely out of the realm of possibility that it could be the same guy.
According to 440 Satisfaction,KOMA was Charlies first radio station job.
Actually, Charlie Tuna (real name: Art Ferguson) previously worked at KGFW in his hometown of Kearney, Neb., and he also worked a year at KLEO in Wichita, Kan., prior to his KOMA stint.
AM radio seemed to hit the high-water mark around 1975, a year before most stations even thought of throwing in the towell and responded to FM competition by tightening up and streamligning their formats, in most cases leaving the talent and creativity intact. You were certainly fortunate to remember AM radio like that. I also grew up with 70s AM (mid-late 70s), and sometimes I’m astounded by what I hear from the 60s.
In many ways, today’s radio mimics the best of the way radio was presented in the 70s, only with most of the talent’s freedom to speak taken away (where there is ‘talent’). One thing is certain by listening to this aircheck… the 60s were further away from the 70s than the 2000s are from the 70s… at least in the way radio has matured. And I find that to be a very strange observation.
That is the real Charlie Tuna (whose real name is Art Ferguson — but of course you knew that). He started in radio at 19 years old, and he started at KOMA in OKC. And that is his voice. You could always contact him through his website (charlietuna.com) and ask him to confirm it. But it’shim. (Excellent site, incidentally — thanks for the airchecks.)
KOMA was not his first station.
Tuna worked in his hometown in Nebraska at a station and in Wichita, Kansas.
I lived in Oklahoma City at the time. This is the Charlie Tuna of KHj, KROQ (when top-40, KKDJ, and many other stations.
Charlie Tuna’s first radio job was in Wichita, Kansas. He was “Billy O’Day” at KLEO 1480 AM. He then went on to KOMA.
Trust me instead. Prior to KLEO (as Billy O’Day), he worked at KGFW in his hometown of Kearney, Neb.
Charile Tuna was the best DJ I ever heard – period. Those days the DJ was an entertainer. We would get KOMA after dark where I was – Alpine, Texas.
Charlie certainly didn’t start on KOMA. He started on the night shift. I remember hearing him his first night on the air. I lived near Ft. Smith Arkansas and KOMO didn’t come in very well but I could pick it up from time to time.
Then Tuna went to mornings, was heard by Larry Lujack who was on his way from Seattle to Boston at WMEX and Tuna went there then KHJ.
The way I understand it, the name “Charlie Tuna” was first used by Chuck Hanks (Chuck Dann – Chuck Riley) who was the News Director at KOMA but upon occasion pulled a relief shift at the station and so he used this “non de plume”. When Art Ferguson came to KOMA, he adopted the name.
By the way, Chuck Dann went on to the west coast to do VO’s.
Charlie Tuna (same one) is currently doing weekends on KRTH (K-Earth) in Los Angeles.
Sadly, Chuck Hanks passed away in May 2007 in Los Angeles after a terrific career as a voice over professional. His younger brother, Michael, is still in LA doing voice overs.
Michael Hanks (Dan Charles) worked at KOMA around 1972.
He attended the University of Oklahoma when
I did. I listened to him quite often. He had a smooth, great voice even when young.
As he said, WKY was the top station in the market. I was offered a job at KOMA, but when I saw the facilities, KOMA was like a shack compared to a mansion. I chose WKY. I wanted to work at the top station, not the most powerful.
You understand correctly.
10 years ago, when I moved my vinyl & reel-to-reel collection to CDs, I could think of no reason to keep the ~30 7″ reels of airchecks I’d collected over the previous 40 years or so. Collected from my employers’ trash cans in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle (ok…ok: KSWO 1310, KRLD 1310, KOCO TV5, KGNC TV4). Some from AFRTS (CSB-218 Lajes Field … Wiesbaden … Hofn … etc.) So I chucked the reels in a Dumpster. How very, very, very stupid of me. Lots of names I don’t remember, but some on this site’s “Featured Jocks”.
Hint: NEVER DISCARD ANYTHING! You people with 2″ quadraplex airchecks of newsreaders and weatherchicks … put it on blu-ray, etc. But don’t throw it away!
I don’t, any more.
So you did a stint in the Azores? I too was as CSB218, but probably before you were there. My 15 months was spent as an all night D.J.
I’d freak out if you were to respond and you could enlighten me with some AFRTS / Azores gossip. [ jay_] [bacchus@] yahoo.com
I First heard KOMA in 1961 while traveling From Kansas to Colorado. was addicted until they went off the air in the late 90’s. nothing was better than KOMA in the 60’s Flat out nothing the best music great personalities/\. Nothing has been as Good since. Notice Please, All who thrive on FM now, Something called ‘THE NEWS’ every 20 minutes extended at the top of the hour. EVERY HOUR 24 HOURS A DAY EVERYDAY!!. Notice on this small sample, they announced someone having puppies to give away. NO!! how common! thats right itwas common & accesible to everyone. The market exists for this type of broadcasting today. the advertising dollars are there, Because WE ARE STILL HERE!! Think about that next time you have a meeting wondering where those hidden (?) markets are & how can we possibly increase our advertising revenue. Your sitting on & stiffleing a gold mine. & remember what history has taught you. Someone will be bold enough to take that step. Will It Be You? It’s not the past, It’s the untapped right now.
I still believe that KOMA, in its early Top 40 days, was the greatest station in the history of American radio.
I started listening in 1958, when I discovered KOMA when surfing the radio dial as a high school senior in Boulder City, Nev. The station came in amazingly strong every evening before sunset and the signal remained as strong as the nearby Las Vegas stations until a half-hour or so after sunrise.
I still remember the station’s original DJ lineup (after the format switch to rock ‘n’ roll):
6-9 a.m., Hot ROD RODDY Riff (yes, the same Rod Roddy who later became Bob Barker’s announcer on “The Price Is Right”)
9 a.m.-noon, Real GEORGE WILEY.
Noon-4 p.m., KIRBY KANE Caper.
4-7 p.m., Sweet Daddy RON THOMPSON.
7 p.m.-midnight, Dapper DON HODGES.
Midnight-6 a.m., JERRY PAYNE. (On Wednesday mornings, they had an automated “Silent Sam” program).
When I went to college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., because of KOMA’s night-time directional signal, I was only able to pick up KOMA in the last hour or so before the transmitter switch at sunset, as well as early in the morning after the switch back to non-directional at sunrise. In addition, I could pick it up loud and clear when WLAC (a 50,000-watter in Nashville at 1510) signed off the air for transmitter maintenance from midnight to 5 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
Then, after graduation, I got a job in Casper, Wyo., and again was able to listen to KOMA’s amazing signal from before sunset to after sunrise — sometimes as late as 10 or 11 a.m.
I’ll always have fantastic memories of a fantasic station. I wish some station(s) somewhere would revive the format that made KOMA such a legendary station.
hi that is charlie tune on koma 1520 just one of the many stations hes been on
hi the last on the aircheck johnny dark and there were many but he beats em all sounds alot like cklw johnny mitchell from the 60s
One of the great Storz stations!
This certainly does sound like “THE” Charlie Tuna from KHJ. Puking or no puking, radio and the jocks back then was entertaining and way better than the crud we are offered over the airwaves today. No personality offered now.
Oh, thanks for the memories. KOMA was the first station I ever worked at. I was attending college at Oklahoma University, working at the campus radio station. I applied for a job there — I had no experience, and wasn’t very good. I interviewed with newsman Chuck Dan and he gave me a job as a news stringer for the Norman,Oklahoma area. I received $1 for every story I submitted that they used. I didn’t make much money, but boy did it look good on a resume!! I had one “live on the scene report.” I used that KOMA job to land a job with American Forces Radio in Vietnam while I was in the Army.
This air check was about the time I was in college. It was early 1966.
And you are right about the “pukers” as that was required.
One note, one of the jocks on that was Dale Webba – He had been at WKY Radio in Oklahoma City before switching to KOMA. KOMA had 50,000 watts and had one heck of range, but WKY usually was number one in the metro Oklahoma City ratings during that time.
Back in ’62 or so in Illinois, I remember listening to them late on stormy nights to hear if a tornado carrying them away would have a Doppler affect on their reverb. 🙂
In Ron Jacobs amazing oral history “Inside Boss Radio”, Charlie Tuna told the story of the time that the KOMA PD brought a cassette of KHJ into the weekly DJ meeting and he was simply blown away. He stated that he never heard such a rapid fire sound on any station. As this aircheck demonstrates, the PD then applied certain formatic elements to give KOMA a “boss” sound. After a brief stop in Boston, Tuna did make it to KHJ in Nov 67 handling 9-noon.
I listened to KOMA beginning in about 1962 in Campbell, NE. Then in 1965 I was in Pingree, ND where surprisingly to me KOMA came in loud and clear. It was a station we could only pick up at night but that’s when we partied. There’d be 5-10 carloads of us out in the boonies partying with all the radios on 1520. The Rumble’s shows were advertised big time back then and I think they still do shows in NE. Not as good as the Stones but about as old as they are now. lol Earlier in 1965 a buddy and I went from Hennesey, OK to Oklahoma City when we got rained out from cutting wheat for a couple days to check the station out. After asking a bunch of people where the station was and not finding anyone that knew or wanted to help us we went back to Hennesey. May have been the NE. motorcycle plates as Sooner fans not real fond of Husker fans. In 1985 my wife and five year old drove our 77 Civic which only had an AM radio from L.A. back to NE. and when in the Rockies I remembered KOMA as we were very bored and got more bored as it had become a news station. What a let down that was. Great memories though.
KOMA was a great place to work in the mid 60s. I was there in the sales department and durning that time the 6 to midnight slot was filled by Buddy King. Don McGregor was there at that time also in the afternoons. You may recall the jocks would sponor dances in towns all across the plains North from OKC. Several of them made much more money at that than their salary. One time the book keeper called McGregor in and asked why he had not cashed the last 4 or 5 months of paychecks. He looked in his brief case and found the checks then replied he just “forgot”. The time period I speak about was 1967-68. The news director was William Engler. The one thing I will never forget was the attempt to automate the station with the Shaffer System. What a mess that was, no personality and it lasted only a short time before they went live again. The system was operational from about late 65 through 66 Lots of good memories from those years.
was there ever a dj by the name of bobby box who hosted koma at night
Grew up in Roswell, New Mexico. Early 60’s KOMA was all we got at night. (KBIM went off at sundown…) What a station! It was important and special! August 15, 1964 I began radio career, worked KRSY (Krazy Radio) Roswell, then KPET La Mesa (Meesa) Texas, KCAS Slayton Texas and KLBK Lubbock Texas. After Vietnam (1968) I was in Tucson (KHIT, KIKX, and then KTKT) company transferred me to Phoenix (KRUX) then San Francisco. Been here 40 years, KFRC, CBS, KWSS, K1O1, KSFO/KYA,KBIG. 36 years two months. Just wrote memoirs. Lots of memories. From 45s to the computer. John Mack Flanagan
John… Amazing how many greats show up here!!! One of my favorite airchecks on this site is you getting painted ‘blue and white’ for a local high school on KFRC. Thanks for checking out the site and I sure wish you were doing that on the radio up here in the northeast where I can hear you today. Its just a barren wasteland now. Thanks for being one of the greats and making radio worth listening!
Your friendly webmaster, Steve West
John, any chance you knew Vic Greer aka Bruce Greer? He worked in Roswell about that time and then moved to Odessa, TX to KRIG. He had lots of good things to say about Roswell and radio there. Vio was a strange one, but a great friend
Don’t think so, but it’s been so long. 50 years this year! Hope to return to Roswell August 15th for 50th anniversary of 1st show. Haven’t been there in 20 years!
I went through Roswell ONCE… on a Greyhound bus! Lovely way to see the country, which I don’t know if it is possible anymore, since it seems nobody is safe out there these days. But I don’t think we stopped. The stop before it, if I remember correctly, was Santa Rosa… I’m getting all off topic.
50 years since your first broadcast. Surely that deserves some kind of an award? That you got to be a part of the greatest era in radio history, and survived to tell about it! For me, my first broadcast was in 1980. I had already arrived to late, but it sure was fun for a long time.
I sent this next note in an email to you, John, the reason your comment took so long to show up is that I approve all comments before they show up on the site. I’m sorry, I’ve been feeling very ill for the last few days and have not spent the time that I should on the site to approve comments or anything else. My apologies. Now, go enjoy some airchecks!! – Steve
So many memories of KOMA! I lived and breathed that station. August 1979, just before I left KFRC San Francisco (my 15th anniversary in Radio) I was back in the engineering shop (I never went back there) and I met an engineer from KOMA! It was terrific!! I tried to tell him how much that station meant to me, how important it was to my life! Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers, Elvis they all came from “Yours Truly K-O-M-A”. “The Kissing Tone” ‘If you’re a loyal K-O-M-A listener, at the sound of the tone, kiss your Sweetheart!” Man tha was something! I spoke of KOMA once on the air in the 1990’s and a guy called me; he grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico he said his high school won the “KOMA School Spirit Contest” KOMA came to town with 3 bands, he understood exactly what I was talking about. In 1966 not long before I got drafter into the U.S. Army, Dale Weeba the P.D. Of KOMA offered me a job! I could have died! I was mornings 6-9 a.m.and Music Director of KLBK, Lubbock Texas I told Dale I was going to be drafted (my draft board kept callin me) sure enough I was drafted in November 1966. To have said, “KOMA” on that 1520 frequency would have been everything to me. … Alas it was not to be, but in my heart KOMA was always (and IS always) a part of me!
Was John Timm still the engineer in 1979 at KOMA?
I used to listen to KOMA late at night when we would visit my grandparents in Sedona, Arizona back in the mid-seventies. I was always amazed at how that station would really boom in from that far away! Sounded as close as a local station. Glad I got to hear it in it’s heyday.
I found KOMA about 1956, I was living in north central Kansas about 30 miles from Nebraska right in the middle of the state. There was nothing up there. … I had a little red “Rocket” crystal Radio, I was 10 and tuning around way up on the high end of the dial. First station I found was XERF, Del Rio Texas, they played weird black music (not Blues or ‘Hit’ music like Little Richard … Weird music) and fire – breathing preachers! They knew Jesus, Then I found KOMA, it was Country. Country was big in those days; “Young Love” Sonny James, “Fraline” Bobby Helms. KOMA always announced on the top of the hour I.D. They were “Broadcasting from atop such-and-such building in downtown Oklahoma City” (it was an insurance company deal…) it sounded so good! The station sounded so BIG xnd good! Later in the early 60’s when I moved to the southwest I loved to go to El Paso, KELP was a Gordon McLenden station (he and Todd Storz invented Top 40 Radio) KELP did a thing during the top of the hour news, they broadcast cities and conditions and temperatures coast to coast (Boston Cloudy and 56, Chicago Sunny & 62, Denver Partly Cloudy and 59, Los Angeles 72″ it sounded so good! Wow, Radio was special. Then I visited my cousin Loretta, we were sitting in my dad’s car talking, talking, talking it was 1957 before my dad died Easter Sunday of 1958,Loretta and I stopped talking … Looked at each other … Looked back at the Radio … And back at each other … ‘What’s going on.!.!’ KOMA was plying the same song over & over & and over; “Catch a falling star” Perry Como KOMA had been playing that song and that song only from Friday and it was Sunday evening! KOMA was changing from Country music to the Hits. Jimmy Jones had a song called “Handyman” the chorus said “Come-a, Come-a, Come-a”, the KOMA version said “Coma”, Coma, Coma” for Coma in Oklahoma”. From 1957 until the U.S. Army at the end of 1966, I lived and breathed 1520AM.
I’ve enjoyed your work, especially on KFRC, for years…both live back then and on tape now.
I’ve also enjoyed reading your memories of a station that I, too, listened to while a child growing up in Kansas.
The reason I’m replying is to fill in the blank…I believe the building that KOMA was in early on was the Globe Life and Accident Insurance Building downtown.
One signal at night. Imagine it. One signal, only 1520AM, KOMA Oklahoma City (Moore. Oklahoma). Freddie “Boom Boom” Cannon, only KOMA. Way, way, way out there north of Dalhart, Texas ONLY KOMA playin’ the Hits, it was something!!
Yep, same Charlie Tuna. My brother was Chuck Dann at KOMA and did the evening show 1961-63 and later in 1965 using his real name as news director. One day, a jock didn’t show up so he filled in on the shift as “Charlie Tuna” from the television commercials. A new jock named Art Ferguson had been hired and Chuck passed the name onto him. Dale Wehba, a long time OKC radio personality also jocked at WKY across town. Puking was the sound of the day in the 60s and well into the 70s. Everyone did it to some extent. Not sure why but I suspect it had something to do with listening to one’s self for 5 hours a day while attempting to have a lower voice, which most humans don’t possess. Interestingly, KOMA was never dominant in the Oklahoma City ratings 5th place was not unusual. WKY held that top spot for many years. Later KTOK. However, to anyone who listened to rock radio at night in 33 American states and 4 continents, the Big 1520 was King.
-Michael D. Hanks (Dan Charles KOMA 71-72)
Michael D. Hanks VOiceovers, Los Angeles
Chuck Dan! Wow! Chuck Dan was The Man in the southwest in the early 60’s. Heard him all the time. Don’t remember too many KOMA jocks; of course I spoke with Charlie Tuna in the early 60’s then I saw him at KHJ in Los Angeles in 1977, he remembered our conversation. What a great guy! The great jocks were like that; great people (Dr. Don, etc.) I went to the KOMA web site in the early 2000’s it was basic just text, they stated KOMA was automated 1961 to 1963. We didn’t care as long as we got Roy Orbison, Everly’s, Elvis. They had “the Singing Clock” (Coma time, twenty after nine-sung). The Kissing Tone! “At the tone, kiss your sweetheart!” (Lived for that Kissing Tone!) KOMA was BIG! Dale Weba offered me a job in 1966 but I got drafted. I thought Dale Weba was the greatest! (“Viva La Weeba, Baby!”) thought his name was “Del” called him “Del Weba” in my memoirs. John Mack Flanagan
I share many of the same memories of KOMA, beginning when the station first switched to Top 40. Chuck Dann was one of my favorites, and Charlie Tuna is still a Facebook friend, as is longtime KOMA program director/DJ Deane Johnson. And of course, I recall “the kissing tone” and the “singing clock” and other features and jingles. Not to nit-pick but Dale’s last name is spelled Wehba. Great memories!
As John Bagwell and Mike Hanks stated, WKY was the ratings leader in Oklahoma City, not KOMA-AM. KOMA’s reputation is based on its 50,000-watt signal beamed to the west and the memories of people in Colorado, New Mexico and other western states that did not have a local top-
WKY was still dominant when I worked there in the mid-1970’s. For the most part, that awful “puking” had ended, and I think Mike’s evaluation of why jocks did it is correct.
As someone once said, “the only way KOMA is going to beat WKY is if WKY signs off permanently.
I post and I never get it right, sorry. I stated I spoke to Charlie Tuna ‘early in the 60’s’. No, no, no! You know Charlie Tuna wasn’t at KOMA ‘early in the 60’s!’ He got to Oklahoma City sometime in 1965. What I meant to say was: I spoke to Charlie Tuna early in 1966 (I was at KCAS, Slayton Texas – We called it “K-TEN” it was 1050 AM) When I left K-TEN in June 1966 for KLBK, Lubbock; K-TEN was #3 in the Lubbock market, I was #2 in afternoons. Anyway Charlie Tuna and I spoke for about :45 minutes. When I saw Charlie at KHJ in 1977 he remembered our conversation. He was a great guy. Very down to earth. John Mack Flanagan
John Mack, we from Roswell miss John Flanagan and the Flanagan Shenanagan Show on KRSY
John, It’s been very enjoyable reading your posts and following your years in radio, especially the KOMA years. You came to my attention when Jon Ross posted a comment on the Message Forum of the roswellhigh64nm.com website. He was challenging us to remember John Flanagan and the Flanagan Shenanagan Show. He worked with you at Krazy. To bad our class was too slow to schedule the 50th reunion on August 15 instead of Sept 11 ; there are a lot of people who’d like to see you.
Thank you Web. Your words mean a lot to me. Roswell and New Mexico are everything to me. I met my wife, Joann Shields in Roswell (we’ll celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary March 7th). I graduated High School, started in Radio, got drafter for Vietnam all from the “Land of Enchantment”. I owe everything to New Mexico, and of course KOMA! It was vital. What would we have done without it? No “Monster Mash”, Four Seasons “Sherry”, it all came from KOMA. Coma in Oklahoma. I lived & breathed that place. Very special. Very, very special.
Not to be disrespectful, or hurt anyone’s feelings (I’m not like that) … but … Oklahoma City didn’t mean anything to me. WKY meant even less. Out there in the Pecos River Valley of Southeast New Mexico 850 miles from KOMA we had one question: ‘Is Roy Orbison, The Everly’s or Elvis coming out of the Radio speaker?’ That’s all we cared about. I never wanted to visit Oklahoma City, see the turntables, the microphone, the towers of KOMA. I’d much rather visit Tularosa, Mescalero, Ruisoso, Cloudcroft, the towns of Southern New Mexico where I heard KOMA on those lonely two lane roads. I knew way, way, way back there (maybe the late 50’s?) that KOMA wasn’t #1. I didn’t care. At least 3 times we thought KOMA might disappear, what would happen to us without KOMA? No “Monster Mash”, “Sherry” by the Four Seasons.
September 1966, before I got drafted into the U.S. Army October 1966, my wife and I drove to Dallas. KLBK Lubbock paid our way, I did the play-by-play for the football game between Lubbock High and Richardson a suburb of Dallas. We were way out west of Dallas coming in from Abilene, Texas when we picked up KFJZ in Ft. Worth, God! They sounded good!! Then we heard KBOX, Wow! BIG sound! News on the hour had a “sounder” then dateline, then the story! It was awesome! THEN, KLIF the #1 station. How do you pick a favorite station? We came from a place with ONE Radio station (KOMA) at night. I didn’t know what to do?? I wanted the hear all three at once. No telling what else was down there?!? …. Small aside – KLIF was in a 1920’s filling station. The station News Cruiser was parked under the studios where had huge tinted windows. On the column under the studios was an intercom. You could speak to the control room! Oh God it was exciting! What trip! For a Radio freak, it was Heaven.
One last thing, and I’ll stop being a pest. KOMA came off the ionsphere and there was a “hissing & phasing” on the signal. I loved it! It was like Radio from the moon! Sound today is too perfect! Once I had a date with my future wife Joann (I met her when I was 13 in 1959) she lived 8 houses down from me at 400 S. Sequoia. My mom & I lived at 416. Joann’s best friend Joy Lee lived at 412, across the street and up a couple of houses. I cleaned up for our date, put on clean clothes and laid down for a quick nap. I was tired! While I was asleep, the sun went down, and KOMA came in. I had left my Radio on. I awoke and heard “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” Righteous Brothers and in my groggy, sleepy mind I thought a choir of angels had landed on Sequoia Street in my bedroom! By now you’ve heard the song a thousand times, but remember the 1st time you heard it. God it was something! That ‘Wall of Sound’! Wow! What a night! What a moment!
I’m assuming you’ve been here:
I’d love to do KOMA blog site. No$$$. I’d like people to share their memories of KOMA, first date, first kiss. My buddy Steve Rood up in Seattle, he was Dr. Don’s board operator (engineer) at KFRC, Steve and I are a few weeks apart in age and did life the same except he never went to Vietnam (I did) and I never got divorced (50 years March 7th. Met her in 1959 when I was 13) Steve knows of my love of KOMA(I spoke of it all the time) Steve went on vacation 1962, Colorado, discovered KOMA, loved it! Steve said in some areas (boondocks) we’d “have been sunk without KOMA”. What would we have done without KOMA??? No 1520??? No ‘Kissing Tone’!!! You don’t understand; I grew up ‘way out there’ as I call it, north central Kansas, then southeast New Mexico, nothing. Tatum New Mexico 90 miles east of my hometown (Roswell) just a two lane blacktop and truck stop (fuel/restaurant) KOMA was vital. ONLY signal we got. God Bless KOMA and the people of 1520! John Mack Flanagan
Great stuff, John Mack… any more memories, keep’um coming… It’s like listening to you on KRZY
Web, I love you like a brother, you are a New Mexico boy and fellow member of RHS (Roswell High) but you missed by one call letter! It was KRSY not KRZY!! Ha Ha! But we were all “Krazy”. There was KRZY, Albuquerque, KRSY, Roswell, KRSE, Farmington and KRSI Espanola. KRSY was the only 24 hour station in my hometown but it was Country. Webb Pierce, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young but when the sun went down it was KOMA! You could drive to the mountains 70 miles away (West) it was KOMA all the way. All those Roy Orbison hits and Elvis early 60’s (after the Army). Never realized KOMA was automated 1960-1963, a machine was doin’ all that. That was it. All we got; KOMA.
I’m back with more KOMA. Haven’t posted in a while. Anybody else out there with KOMA on their mind??? Come on!! Let’s hear it!! Just recently found short clip of akOMA 1961 (36 seconds??) recorded in Great Bend Kansas. God it sounds good!! BIG sound, it’s news I think?!? 20 some degrees in Oklahoma City. Whistle, phase and harmonic on signal. Love it!! “Radio from the moon” I call it. That sounds is there in my head. It will never leave me (I hope. Unless I get Alzheimer’s Ha Ha) I Love KOMA!!! 1960-1963. (Before British Invasion) John Mack Flanagan the New Mexico Boy.
Hey John Mack… So great to hear you back at KOMA !!!!! We all love your stuff ..keep it com’n ……
I grew up in Fort Scott, KS in the eastern part of the state. We could hear KOMA fairly well at night but not as well as people directly to the west and north of their transmitter could. We lived a bit to the east.
KOMA was one of my earliest “must-listens”..in fact, I discovered them around 1960, during their automation days. That was what kind of fascinated me about them….the fact that they had the same jingles as WHB (in Kansas City) had, but the DJ would say the same thing over the same song two or three times before he seemed to say something different. When we got our first tape recorder, I sent a 3” reel of tape to Billy Adams (a deejay at KOMA that I liked) asking him about this and a couple of other questions, by voice via the tape. He responded in kind, including about 5 minutes of the automation output that was going on the air at the time he made the response. I thought the automation was pretty fascinating, but I could see why other listeners (not radio geeks) wouldn’t like it so much.
One night I started listening as usual, close to sunset, when KOMA blasted into town, before the pattern change when their signal strength was reduced somewhat (at least where I was), and I heard “Church Key” by the Revels. I believe it might have been on Chuck Dann’s time doing the automation because the song ended, Chuck Dann outro’d the song, there was about 5-seconds of dead air, and the whole thing repeated….song, Chuck Dann outro and dead air. This whole cycle repeated for about 2 hours before someone fixed it. Not long after that, they were no longer automated.
I mentioned a few posts back about visiting Dallas, we heard KFJZ Ft. Worth and KBOX and KLIF (#1); we did not hear KXOL Ft. Worth. Dallas was a Radio Town! Lots of Great Radio! I would have gone nuts there. We had nothing in southeast New Mexico. Only KOMA at night. 200 miles east and north to Lubbock, 200 miles north and west to Albuquerque, El Paso was 200 miles west and south. Nothing but KOMA down there at night.
Hey Flappy ! Boy have you had a career. Ever since you sang in that barbershop quartet at RHS I kinda knew you going into music or radio somehow. Ever hear from Earl Johnson?
Charlie Tuna has passed away. RIP Charlie. A lot of people loved you and your voice. A Broadcasting Giant! Huge in LA, and of course on the air at KOMA 1965, 1966. I mentioned I called Charlie early 1966, I loved his show and KOMA! God did I live and breathe that station!! This morning I found out John Rook died, another Giant; programmed WLS Chicago. John Rook was a Big Man. I don’t want these people to ever be forgotten. Charlie Tuna..John Rook together now at that Big, 50,000 watt Station in the Sky. John Mack Flanagan
John Mack.. closer to many people’s heart even, I just learned that Ron Jacobs passed today. This year has been brutal and its only March. I think the news is only an hour old at this point.
Oh… dovetailing nicely to some of your recent email comments, I was in Memphis last week and over the weekend. KAAY Little Rock comes in. Weakly but solid. It’s all conservative Christian preaching and music now.. but I think you knew that already.
Hello Friend. Had to come home to this very important KOMA site to report the Good News! Sat Sept 3rd 2016 I will be the 1st inductee into the new Airchexx.com National Radio DJ Hall of Fame, Beacon Falls Connecticut. The induction will take place at the Daly (daily) City Community Center 3 pm here on the southern edge of San Francisco. I have lived here 41 years! (43 in the Bay Area). Very humbling experience. John Mack Flanagan
KOMA people!! This has been a Big Time! Old buddy in Tucson, Bob Jones rolled a lot of reel-to-reel tape in the 60’s&70’s. He just sent me WLS Chicago 1969, KIKX/KTKT Tucson 1968, WQXI Atlanta (Bob lived there…) and KOMA!! 1963!! I was in high school listening! Surfer Bird, the Trashmen; You Don’t Own Me, Leslie Gore; The Kissing Tone!! The phase and harmonic is there coming off the isonosphere, Just the way I remembered it! What a Giant station. Automated, lots of screw ups, we didn’t care. John
Great Stuff, John Mack .. Keep post’n & throw a few airchexx our way…!!!
Hello ‘Coma in Oklahoma’ people! Just posted a piece on Facebook about WLS, Chicago. There was a Sweet Spot on the Az/New Mexico line for 50-100 miles you could pick up WLS. That huge signal coming off the ionosphere, wow! It was something!! I love those big signal AMs. KOMA was our only station at night. 850 miles away. Loved, “Yours Truly
K-O-M-A ” A friend in Tucson sent me some air checks; KAAY “The Big K” Little Rock also tremendous! Check it out if you can….John Mack Flanagan
I worked at KOMA. I did overnights in 1975,and research director in 1978 when Tom Birch was PD. Monster signal. Once I got fan mail
with a photograph of a submarine from the DOD, it’s crew was listening to 1520 way out in the pacific. They couldn’t give their location, because it was classified.
I just reread all my posts on KOMA, it’s 4:45 am. When you’re retired you get to do that. Anything the hell you want. I’ve been on hospice. I come off in two weeks. Was supposed to have died two months ago! When I came out of the hospital they gave me 2 weeks to a month to live.!Heart Failure has triggered Kidney Failure. I am living on BORROWED TIME. Aren’t we all?? Pray for me. I’ll pray for you, KOMA people gotta stick together. John Mack Flanagan
John Mack Flanagan! Great career! Praying for you buddy. Lived seeing all your KOMA comments. I did a couple years there and being on that night pattern was power! Loved my stay there.
John – I grew up in Tucson and also loved KOMA at night. Chuck Dann . the kissing tone and fab jingles. Loved it all. I also enjoyed your Tucson career at KHYT, KIKX and KTKT. Got lots of air checks and am always looking out for more.
My husband,Joe Salvador, worked at KOMA in 1966. Station was in Moore. Dale Wehba, Charlie Tuna and Joe and I lived at English Village Apartments in Moore. Bobbie Davis was also a disc jockey there. NEVER had so much fun in our lives. What a bunch of wonderful, fun people. When Carlie and his wife and 2little babies got the offer to go to LA we all helped him financially make the trip. Everyone at the station did everything together. Sure miss those days. Many have passed on…Charlie Tuna, Bobbie Davis that I know of and I’m sure everyone else is retired by now. Joe and I moved from OKC to Dallas and then to Las Vegas where he did a sports talk show at Caesars Palace.
Bruce-You are correct. My older brother (jock names Chuck Dann, later Chuck Riley) used Charles D. Hanks, Jr, his real name, as KOMA news director in the middle 60s. When Art Ferguson arrived from Kansas, he needed a fresh airname. Since Chuck had only used it once on a lark to pull an airshift when someone called in sick, he offered it to Art. Also it was true that Chuck spent the last 28 years of his life in Hollywood working freelance as the comedy and drama voice of network television, signature voiced many TV and radio stations, VO’d a lot of syndicated TV promos, narrated many TV and radio documentaries, cranked out dozens of movie trailers and did multiple national ad campaigns, read-a-long books, etc. He passed away on May 10, 2007 at age 66. I miss him every day.