As the years progress it’s getting increasingly more difficult to find original airchecks prior to the 1980s. Original, in that a recording hasn’t been posted somewhere else or isn’t a dub of some other master copy. Today, we have one for you!
KFI, in the late 1970s and early 1980s had a signature sound and some programming aspects that set it apart from everything else on the AM dial. First, they took a page out of RKO General’s playbook as far as how KHJ had sounded up to about 1977. Their jocks were good for one-liners and brief intros or outros and right into the next element. The jocks were encouraged to be funny and be themselves and the music was straight-ahead Top 40 from the hard rock cuts to the soft stiffs. Note a couple of things with this. First, throughout this recording, each commercial break is remarkably consistent: just TWO commercials and then right back into music. There are no jingles heard here, but there is one KFI ‘whisper’ shout done by a group of female voices. Very tasteful and used sparingly.
The master copy of this was digitized from a tape source, although we do not know if it was reel or cassette. The original person who shared it with our Contributor’s group said that there was no other copy of it available anywhere. After searching our sources, indeed, we don’t see this come up online at all.
The recording is remarkably clean and sounds very much like it did coming out of your typical AM radio speaker in 1979. KFI’s engineers must have been wizards. The audio chain was remarkably crisp. As with most stations on the West Coast, KFI used no reverb. They didn’t have to. The mic processing was nearly perfect. This is probably as good as AM radio could possibly sound. The only other station that I can compare this to, as far as the audio chain, is KFRC San Francisco from the same time period.
A NOTE ABOUT SUPPORT
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Bob Jones is from Tucson, Arizona. He has contributed a number of important airchecks of the Tucson market, and of our late friend John Mack Flanagan. Bob Jones occasionally comes across new airchecks, most of them real gems from the 1960s and 1970s. Jones is also the creator of the Tucson Radio and TV Broadcasters History Facebook Group. Broadcasters from the Tucson area wishing to join should visit the group homepage for more information.