Machine Gun Kelly, KTNQ (Ten-Q) Los Angeles | April 8, 1978

1020 AM Los Angeles Dave Sebastian The Real Don Steele Charlie Tuna Jackson Armstrong M.G. Kelly KFVD KPOP KTNQ KGBS

Springtime, 1978. Top 40 radio was really playing it all. Kansas. George Benson. the Bee Gees. The Atlanta Rhythm Section and more… All the important action was still on AM. You got all the music, plus the news, traffic reports, huge contests with lots of money, or in this case, a special screening including a limo to pick up the winner, the soundtrack, and some cash to spend. How about THAT!

This is the short-lived but INCREDIBLE Ten-Q! The Gunner is on till 10 pm and trust me, NOTHING on FM radio in any format today sounds as good as this night show heard from Los Angeles at 1020 khz. Absolutely NOTHING!

No long descriptions, just a quick note to thank our Contributor at Big Apple Airchecks for this. Again, Matt Seinberg comes through!

1020 AM Los Angeles Dave Sebastian The Real Don Steele Charlie Tuna Jackson Armstrong M.G. Kelly KFVD KPOP KTNQ KGBS

Aircheck #1,335 since May 2, 2002!

Come visit my store on CafePress!


  1. Aardvark

    Wow! It is a shame that no station sounds like this any more. Not even the top rated “oldies” station in New York City can beat this. I wish this track ran several hours instead of just 37 minutes!

    • Robert

      damn straight! I don’t know why a classic hits station can’t have the energy, tympani sfx, uptempo jingles (i.e. “MORE SOLID ROCK!!”) like WLS used in the early ’70s instead of a wimpy AOR approach. just my 2c….

      • Because pimply faced consultants still bottle feeding say that jocks talking up over records turns off listeners. They’ve been saying that since 1980!!! And look where we are!

        • Calradiopd

          Well, if we’re going to look where we are, I suppose we can start with KRTH, Los Angeles, which just tied for #1.

          Consultants are virtually non-existent the past decade, since the last wave of consolidation. The bigs have VPs of programming for specific types of formats within their chains…not at all unlike the days of Drake and Drew at RKO.

        • Calradiopd

          And another thing (while I’m waiting for my last comment to get moderator approval). What you guys are asking for is for a 2015 FM station to borrow the sound that killed 1978 AM stations.

          If the target audience is 25-54 and you’re aiming for the middle that’s—let’s round it up to 40. That person was born in 1975, went to high school from 1989 to 1993 and has no point of reference for a 1970s presentation.

          I addressed the consultants issue in the previous post….but yes, they have been saying that since 1980. News flash: The listeners have been saying it since 1960….they want more music and less everything else. Look at L.A.. KFWB gets 5 years at the top and is beaten by a leaner, meaner KRLA, which gets two years at the top and is beaten by an even tighter KHJ. In 7 years, we’ve gone from 30 second jingles to three, from 90 seconds worth of blabber to 7 seconds tight over intros.

          And what beats KHJ 7 years after that? KLOS. Three in a row, no talk over intros, no jingles. Jocks who talked to the listener, not yelled at them.

          Personally, like this sound or I would not be here. But I’m way out of the demo and an atypical listener even back in the day. We can talk about how they don’t make radio like this anymore—and they don’t—but let’s remember that KHJ only had 12 good years before it all went gooey—15 total in format—-and fa mere four years from birth to the best book from which it was all downhill.

          KIIS-FM has been top 3 for 33 years and counting. The kids (actually just adults born after you and me) are alright.

          • Gary Kerns

            It didn’t surprise me to learn that KIIS-FM has been in the top 3 for the past 33 years. I live way back east (West Virginia, to be exact), but it just stands to reason that an FM CHR would have such a high ranking. I believe KIIS-AM was Top 40 back in the late 70s. I’ve alluded to KLAC in several of my posts. It’s a sister station to KIIS-FM. I know at one time KIIS-AM was 1150. Though this is neither here nor there, KLAC is the LA Dodgers’ flagship station, and it was the Angels’ flagship when they won the ’02 World Series.

          • calradiopd

            Gary: If that were true, than every FM CHR in the past 33 years should still be huge. That’s simply not the case. KIIS-FM is a rare accomplishment.

          • Gary Kerns

            I didn’t mean to give the impression that every FM CHR is a huge success. several things make this point. Cutthroat competition among FM stations, satellite radio, and all the new gadgets for listening to music. I must say, I think the number one Top 40 station of all time was WABC-AM in its prime. I firmly believe no station before came close to it, and none now or in the future ever will. Anymore, all I listen to radio for is news and sports, but once in a great while, I’ll hear a song I like. I think, if I HAD to choose a contemporary format, it would be country.

  2. Gary Kerns

    That truly was the golden age of radio. Far better than anything that’s been out there since about August of ’78. That’s when I all but turned my back on Top 40, now known as CHR. There have been few songs that I’ve liked in the interim, but damned few, I’ll tell you that much.

  3. Jeff in Sa-ra-so-ta!

    I miss that radio station. It was, after all, “LA’s ONLY Radio!”

  4. Ross Ewage

    I remember l020 in its first top 40 incarnation as KPOP in l959. at that time, it was basically a daytimer but could operate when KDKA l020 Pittsburgh PA was off the air. KDKA signed off for equipment maintenance on Sunday night/Monday morning l2-5 am Eastern time which was 9 pm to 2 am Los Angeles time. so KPOP would come back on for those 5 hours. it wasn’t until years later that l020 Los Angeles got a power upgrade to 50,000 watts and was allowed to operate 24 hours a day.

  5. Gary Kerns

    Wasn’t KRLA (1110) a powerhouse at one time? I know they had a long stint of being an oldies station (oldies are now called “classic hits”). At, I taped part of a Don Steele-Wolfman Jack aircheck. That was from KRLA in the fall of ’86. They “sang” along with Eddie Hodges’ “I’m Gonna Knock on your Door”. Well, not so much sang as made noises in accompaniment with the music.

    • Calradiopd

      KRLA’s oldies format in the mid-late 80s got survival numbers, nothing more. Their last big book was 1981, with Art Laboe programming a blend of oldies and currents heavily targeting Latinos. Before that, 1969 was the last good book.

  6. Al Stidham

    It doesn’t get much better than this. MG Kelly oozes talent and Ten Q really rocks!

  7. Lou

    Does anyone know who the PD was at 10-Q the time of this aircheck? What was the rest of the lineup at this time? Anyone know?

    • Calradiopd

      PD was probably Mike McVay. The Real Don Steele was in his last few weeks at this point. He quit upon hearing that Storer planned to take the station Country (they ended up selling instead to a company that went Spanish). He was replaced by Jack Armstrong.

      The exact lineup was in flux through most of 1978. I know Andy Barber was there…Dave Conley too…Charlie Tuna joined in September.

  8. Gary Kerns

    Machine Gun Kelly was in a 1978 summer-themed movie. I don’t offhand remember the title, but I do know Lee Purcell was in the cast. I’m sure would have all the info. Again, I don’t remember all of the details (the only time I watched it was in the summer of ’84), but he either made an on-camera appearance, or, at the very least, his voice was heard on the radio.

  9. David Siders

    In my dreams I was as good as MG Kelly. Thanks for bringing us this great piece of radio.

    • Gary Kerns

      That movie I mentioned in my last post was “Almost Summer”. It was released in ’78, and I presume it wasn’t made long before.

  10. Elaine Triplett

    I have been listening to MG Kelly on the radio since I was 5 that was ? years ago

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.