Tulsa TV Memories GroupBlog 264
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April 15 2008 at 11:19:25
Name: Gary Chew
Topic: Lesser Known Modern Harmony
Comments: Adding to Woody's list. The Axidentals; The Signatures,
that included an early member of the Four Freshman; The Blue Stars of Paris;
The Swingle Singers; New York Voices; The Mel-Tones with Torme; Manhattan
Transfer, of course; The Free Design, a one-LP-group that had two sisters
and two brothers in it (all of the same family); another all male quartet
inspired by Stan Kenton called (as I remember) The Modern Men, or something
like that; and one more I can conjure: a fairly large SATB choir called (I
think) the Russell Garcia Vocal Choir. I have that one on a Bethlehem LP
titled, "Sounds in the Night." One of the stand outs on this one is "I Lead
A Charmed Life."
Russ Garcia's orchestral music can be heard in the promo for the
Plenty Scary Movie. It's from a track called "Nova
(exploding star)" on his "Fantastica" album.
April 15 2008 at 10:51:05
Name: Lee Woodward
Topic: Modern Harmony
Comments: The names of forgotten modern or jazz harmony groups
can grow exponentially. Mention has been made of the Anita Kerr Singers and
they were very fine. Another group of ladies called the "King Sisters" were
also very fine. They were part of Alvino Rey's Orchestra. They had a big
hit with "Temptation". I had to go dig through my 45s to make sure about
that. I also found another group of women called, "The Womenfolk", They had
a brief popularity, particularly with a Tom Paxton song called, "The Last
Thing on My Mind". Their harmonies were not purely modern, but interesting.
If I had one of those new hi-dollar turntables that can plug into my PC and
send samples along to the Webmaster, we could all share some of these rarities
not found on YouTube, etc.
turntables are getting pretty cheap. When I replace my 1977
SEVCO-purchased Pioneer manual turntable, that's what
April 15 2008 at 00:58:08
Name: roy lee
Comments: Latimer's painted the place up really nice a couple
of years ago and looked like they might open but it's never seemed that way.
They have always sold sauce in the Northside grocery stores but I've never
actually eaten there!
Wilson's is in full effect with their makeover and it's still just as good
as before. Stutt's is also right down the street and on my list. She does
great barbecue and I haven't been in awhile.
By the way, Wilson's hot is pretty damn hot and mixes well with the sweet.
It's easy street if you mix it. Trust me.
April 14 2008 at 20:21:45
Name: Mike Bruchas
Comments: Thanx, Sherry - boy, am I embarassed re Edwin's
brother. I am too danged old.
April 14 2008 at 17:53:27
Name: Frank Morrow
Comments: Is Latimer's BBQ still in Tulsa? Here's my favorite
story about the place:
One evening my TU roomate, Dave, and I took Eddie Morris to Latimer's Bar-B-Q
in the Black part of town. Latimer's had great food, but highly seasoned,
as Dave and I found out the first time we went there. Latimer's barbecued
bologna was particularly popular. That is what we ordered.
It is in the choice of sauce where Eddie got into trouble. Dave and I ordered
mild sauce, remembering our previous experience with medium. We suggested
Eddie follow our example, but he said he liked hot sauce. We were aghast.
We begged him not to do it. "The medium sauce will blow the top of your head
off," I warned. "For God's sake, don't try the hot sauce!" Eddie wouldn't
be deterred. We pleaded with him to no avail. Finally a glance exchanged
between Dave and myself indicated that we'd just sit back and enjoy the fun.
The food came. Eddie dove right in with a big bite. Immediately his face
turned red. The red turned to purple, and he started sweating profusely.
He also couldn't talk. We didn't know whether we should laugh or call 911.
(Actually, we didn't have 911 back then.) Eddie dove for the water, and I
could swear that steam came out of every visible orifice. It's no telling
what emerged from the invisible ones. When asked if he was Okay, Eddie could
only nod. He wasn't about to let us enjoy his defeat. He tried a few more
bites, then finally capitulated. It certainly was not pleasant for him, but
it gave us a good source of yarns to spin when we got back to the frat
April 14 2008 at 17:43:56
Name: Frank Morrow
Thanks a lot for the post-HI-Los history. Because I entered the Navy in mid-'57
and spent most of the next decade overseas, I missed out on the music you
mentioned. I guess I have some buyin' to do.
April 14 2008 at 13:12:00
Name: Sherry Fincher Davis
Topic: Edwin Fincher
Comments: Greetings! In reply to Mike Bruchas, Edwin's brother,
Glenn, is still alive and well and is a music minister at some church in
Okmulgee (I think). He was a music teacher at Monroe Middle School until
he retired a few years back. Both of Edwin's parents, Earl and Eva Jo and
his brother and sister, Glenn and Janice, are still living. He and I have
four children; James, Jason, Sara and Todd and he and Tami have a daughter,
April 13 2008 at 11:16:01
Name: Scott Linder
Comments: John, thanks for your nod to Anita Kerr. Yes, she
and her singers did countless jingles and station music packages as well
as providing vocal backgrounds for hundreds of recordings in Nashville and
LA. Anita has quite a nice website with lots of history, photos, etc.
Comments about Anita Kerr from
"...one of the most talented and professionally accomplished women in the
history of popular music."
"...in 1965, her quartet's album, We Dig Mancini!, beat out the Beatles'
Help! for the award for 'Best Vocal Group Performance'...(the former of)
which many Space Age Pop fans with plenty of listening time under their belts
rate as one of their all-time favorites."
Added some Anita Kerr CDs to the Bulletin Board.
April 12 2008 at 23:57:50
Name: Barry Robb
Topic: J Cook - Riverbend in the
Comments: This is all too scary...
Too many people remember... AAAAAAAAH!
Good to hear from you again too! Hope you're doing well.
I'll post more about what I have been doing over the years after I left Tulsa
radio some other time... as if anyone is really interested. But, I am back
in radio in Spokane,WA though. We live in Coeur d'Alene, ID. Google it and
ya'll see why.
April 12 2008 at 23:18:41
Name: J Cook
Comments: Barry, I was there at Riverbend in the 70s as well
as J Henderson. Anyway, just wanting to say hi.
April 12 2008 at 23:02:24
Name: Gary Chew
Topic: Hertz and the
Comments: Hey, John: Yes, I think you're right about that.
My ear's memory is saying yes to that, too; just as my eyes' memory (without
fondness) remembers a former pro running back leaping hurdles to get to his
Hertz rent-a-car and into the driver's seat.
April 12 2008 at 20:56:24
Name: John Hillis
Topic: Anita Kerr Singers and
Comments: I recently ponied up a few bucks for access to the
radio aircheck and arcana archives at
of the unexpected things they have there are large collections of station
jingles, including some beauties done by The Anita Kerr Singers, which were
really quite masterful compositions sometimes as short as three notes ("W-L-S"),
sometimes full-length songs that got released in their individual markets
For me, the aircheck of Dewey Phillips, the DJ in Memphis who played Elvis
for the first time, was worth the cost of admission (anybody sells beer by
saying, "if you can't drink it, freeze it and eat it," is aces by me), but
there is also a jingle for KSFO, the Gene Autry station in San Francisco
featuring Mel Torme and the Johnny Mann Singers. Just a little bit of talent
in that studio to sing a few call letters!
Of course, Dallas was (and I guess still is) a hotbed for jingle production--with
a group of very specialized singers who were capable of making all kinds
of sound for commercials and jingles, such as the epic, "KVOO, Weather
Listening to those ancient air checks of the radio of my youth, I'm stunned
by how much stuff is going on in a simple "20-20 News," Teletype in the
background, telegraph key sounder between stories, big reverb on the "dateline"
the music beds and lead ins and outs to keep the kids from moving the dial
--it all showed somebody was working really hard, especially back in the
day before tape cartridges, when everything was run off reel-to-reel, much
less the random-access "instant replay" digital machines of today. Top 40
Newscasts were noisy and exciting back then...a good reason to put on a Hi-Los
LP to calm down.
And speaking of jingles, didn't the Hi-Los do the original "Let Hertz put
yooooou in the driver's seat" jingle?
April 12 2008 at 16:25:32
Name: Scott Linder
Comments: Let's not forget about the Anita Kerr Singers in
the 60s. Their "Mellow Moods of Love" and Grammy-winning "We Dig Mancini"
albums on RCA were first-rate. They were arranged and conducted by Marty
Paich. The group consisted of Anita Kerr, Dottie Dillard, Gil Wright and
Louis Nunley. Sadly, these recordings have never been re-released on CD.
Jack Campbell often played them on "Sleepwalker's Serenade".
Anita and I exchange emails from time to time. She has lived in Switzerland
for a good number of years...
April 12 2008 at 14:53:46
Name: John Boydston
Comments: I'm very sorry to read about Edwin's passing. I
only knew him by what he wrote on these pages - and he usually made me laugh
or think, sometimes both.
He seemed to have a real knack for saying only what needed to be said, and
nothing more, which is a rare talent indeed.
April 11 2008 at 23:38:51
Name: Barry Robb
Topic: Playing my guitar...etc.
Comments: After all these years, there is still somebody around
who remembers the Riverbend happy hours. God, I had hoped the contrary were
true...I'm just sorry you remembered the dive, much less my guitar playing
in the small hours. Did you have to mention it?
I wish it were true what Jackson Browne wrote in one of his songs, "...that
somehow it seems it could (should) be easier to change the past."
Sadly enough, Jeff, I still play.
Good to see your blog. Hope you're well, too.
April 11 2008 at 16:34:48
Name: Marc Hall
Topic: Movie promo taken as "terrorist threat"
Comments: I wanted to pass this on, it may interest you and
it may not. I just thought it was funny to see how things can get blown out
of proportion .
These are the links to the Muskogee Phoenix articles related to the thought
to be "terrorist threat" against Muskogee .
The BREAKING NEWS article :
The actual story that ran in today's paper :
April 11 2008 at 14:38:14
Name: Donna Jones
Topic: Autographed Postcard
Comments: Hey..My dad ask me to see if I could find any info
out here about this postcard he found among his mothers things..it is exactly
like the one under The Sons of the Range...Cy, Geo, Tex,
Kenny and is Autographed by all four on the back...is there a place for
this? Also a 5x7 postcard from KRLD CBS of someone called the Stamps
April 11 2008 at 13:42:27
Topic: Four Freshmen
Comments: Frank Morrow...
You touched my musical muse in bringing up "The Four Freshmen." Their kind
of harmonies were not unheard of even in the mid to late forties, but they
indeed, took over the shop for "Modern Harmony" in the early fifties. When
I was at North Texas State, there was a men's clothing store on the square
that played their records all day long. They even had a monthly "record washing"
which I participated in; being the `expert' from radio.
Then came the group that blew everyone away, "The Hi-Los". Frank shouldn't
have stopped with the Hi-Los though, as two of the mainstays of that group,
then founded the quintessential vocal group, "The Singers Unlimited." That
would be Gene Puerling and Don Shelton. They in turn, brought in the amazing
Bonnie Herman and Len Dresslar.(the voice of Tony the Tiger.) They then started
doing over-dubbing on up to four tracks and created heart breaking harmonies
not heard before except by the rare choir that would do anything modern.
Of course now, the vocal choir "Chanticleer" owns that domain.
I have five LPs of the Freshmen, seven by the "Singers Unlimited." I also
have "Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross" as well as "Manhattan Transfer." However,
when they sing just good straight Gene Puerling-type arrangements, the winner
of them all...to me is "Take 6." They can do some amazing things with those
six voices. Honorable mention to "New York Voices", "Evening in December"
and many others you never hear of.
And how often do you hear any of these groups on radio?
Almost Zero! But hey! I know you love me a bunch of Jay-Z !
P.S., You can find some these groups on YouTube.
April 11 2008 at 12:55:46
Woodward & King Lionel
Topic: Edwin Fincher
Comments: We are saddened to hear about Edwin. He was a favorite
at KOTV and one of those individuals who kept the mood light in the studio;
I meant "light" in both ways in which he was expert in that department.
He astonished me one day some few years ago, when I pulled into a gas station
at 31st & Sheridan. I had not seen him in years, he came up and re-introduced
himself,(not needed) and handed me a twenty dollar bill. I was astonished
as he told me that I had loaned him that years before and he had felt badly
that he had forgotten to repay me. But, that was Edwin.
He always laughed when I called him Marty Feldman when we were joking around.
He was unique and I know his friends and family will miss him. Our
April 10 2008 at 18:44:09
Name: Sara Fincher (4/10 email)
Topic: Edwin Fincher's Memorial
Comments: There will be a memorial service for Edwin Fincher
on Saturday, April 19th, 2008, at 2pm. It will be held at the Mark Griffith
Memorial Funeral Home, Westwood Chapel, at 4424 S. 33rd W. Ave., Tulsa, Oklahoma.
All are welcome.
April 10 2008 at 15:34:07
Name: Sara Fincher (4/9, 4/10 emails)
Comments: Hello. I'm Sara Fincher, Edwin's daughter.
The family would like to let you know that he passed away this evening, April
9th, at 6:40 p.m. at St. John's Hospital from heart disease. Funeral arrangements
are pending at Mark Griffith Memorial Funeral Home's Westwood Chapel on 33rd
We all agree that Dad would have wanted the folks who frequent Tulsa TV Memories
to know. It was the one online community that he was glad to be a part of.
Television was his life.
I'll keep you updated on the funeral service information as it becomes available.
Anyone who wants to attend will be very welcome.
April 10 2008 at 11:17:03
Name: Jeff H
Topic: Dick Schmitz and Barry Robb
Email: A nickel short at the Sears
Comments: I just wanted to mention that there is a nice article
about Dick Schmitz in the April issue of
magazine (pg. 27).
The Barry Robb that has posted here recently has to be the same Barry Robb
that lived at Riverbend apts. in the mid 70s. If so, you have to remember
the Friday night "happy hours" at the clubhouse and the late night sing alongs
with you and your guitar. If that's a little fuzzy you must remember the
dive you invented at the pool "The Barry Robb" Great times in those days,
we only left the complex on summer weekends to go buy more beer.
It was great to see you post and hope all is well...take care!
April 10 2008 at 09:41:38
Name: Frank Morrow
Comments: Until the Hi-Los quietly came upon the scene, the
Four Freshmen were considered the most advanced vocal quartet in the jazz
world. Even after the Hi-Los demonstrated their consummate superiority, many
jazz aficionados would sniff that the Freshmen were purer. What they either
wouldn't admit or didn't know was that the Freshmen's favorite singing group
was the Hi-Los.
In a way, the Hi-Los destroyed the medium. How could any subsequent group
top them? They were as far out and perfect as you could go.
April 10 2008 at 01:56:27
Name: Anne Pace
Topic: Edwin Fincher
Email: a_m_pace at hotmail dot
Comments: I had the privilege of knowing Edwin from the day
he met Tami, who has been my friend for many years. I also had the honor
of being at his side shortly before he passed. He was full of life to the
last, and kept us laughing until the final hour. He taught me to love television,
love life, and above all to love and honor family. I was glad to have him
as a part of my "extended family." Thanks for everything, Edwin!
April 10 2008 at 00:25:04
Name: Dave Harmon
Comments: I drove my grandmother to the TG&Y store in
Utica Square and she asked what kind of a store was 'To Go & Yo?'
She thought the periods after the letters were 'O's....HAW
Regards from Tall Chief Cove.
April 09 2008 at 21:16:49
Name: Mark Hershey
Comments: Ahhh, yes...Golden T!
My father, George Hershey, worked for TG&Y's Central Sales Promotions
division in OKC for many years as a graphics artist. CSP (later known as
CSPi because of objections from Chicago Screen Print in...Chicago!) was
TG&Y's advertising and promotion arm, much like their Central Fixtures
Mfg. (store fixtures) and Central Merchandising groups.
Dad made some of the Golden T mock-ups and models used for photographing
for ads. The most memorable to me was a partial car battery he carved which
was later used to create a mold that was used to make dense-foam models on
the battery racks in stores.
Dad created most of the TG&Y Kids window art for years...TG&Y had
Back-to-School, Christmas, and other seasonal promos. I remember most his
fabulous Santa Clauses, year after year. And there was the Back-to-school
Homework Computer promo one year, inspired from a Boy's Life story. I used
to go to work with him as a kid sometimes and pester Jim Boyd (the Friden
Flexowriter billing machine operator), and various folks who ran their
silk-screen printing presses. A very nice and tolerant lot; all always very
kind to me.
Dad was something of a cut-up at work and wreaked havoc on ocassion with
fellow employees. One of his talents was crazy voice characters, which he
did occasionally on WKY.
Thanks for the Golden T mention...brought back memories from years ago.
April 09 2008 at 21:12:42
Name: John Hillis
Comments: One of the (many) crappy things about getting older
is losing friends. Though I hadn't seen him in 30 years, I'd count Edwin
I don't know if the non-TV folks realize how amazing it is for someone to
spend all those years in media in one place. It speaks well of Edwin's skill
and his sense of humor that he did, and was well respected.
My recollection of Edwin will always be of the long-haired kid on the headsets
at KOTV with a quick remark and a passion for good lighting, and, as Mike
said, living his own life.
April 09 2008 at 18:38:31
Name: Mike Bruchas
Comments: Nooooo - well he lived his own way. Any more info
on his passing would be of interest.
His bro I think pre-dated him maybe 25-30 yaers ago in passing - believe
that he had taught theatre tech in Tulsa schools but can't remember.
I worked with him at 8 and at 6 and with his former wife, Sherry, as a weekend
fill-in at Starship 25-26 years ago at the old location.
MAINTAIN, old son, MAINTAIN....
April 09 2008 at 16:45:29
Name: Steve Bagsby
Comments: And don't forget all those "Golden T" brand products
to get you through all sorts of daily woes. I remember the automotive stuff
(Oil, Brake Fluid, etc). Anybody remember any other "Golden T" stuff?
April 09 2008 at 16:15:43
Name: Derick Snow
Topic: Edwin, RIP
Email: studiosound at yahoo dot
Comments: J. Edwin Fincher passed away today, I thought you
folks at TV memories should know. Edwin was a great storyteller and I've
had great fun working with him. He helped to design the set and lighting
for my little show here on TPS, Quick Draw Derick and worked with me in many,
many other venues through the last eight years I knew him. He was just about
the most unique, "bizarre" character I ever knew. I'll miss making Edwin
sounds around my work. I loved that guy!
Heres the last picture I took of Edwin:
Some of Quick Draw Derick, that Edwin helped me out on:
Draw Derick Episode 2
Cox Cable Channel 20
This is a terrible shock. Just today, I had sent Edwin an email about
a newer, computer-based approach
to the video realizations he had created for MAINTAIN in 1973. Thank you,
Derick. Our deepest condolences to Tami and the family.
Here is a
done by Derick last night during Open Mic at the Gypsy Coffee House in memory
Derick also helped Edwin get this realisation to us for the
MAINTAIN page eight months ago. It's a fitting
way to remember Edwin.
April 09 2008 at 15:53:31
Name: Gary Chew (via email)
Gene Puerling obit
First LP I bought with the Hi-Los (Rosie Clooney, too) was at Donnelly Music
Store in beautiful downtown Blackwell, OK. Too hip! I think it was 1956,
Nobody even got close to Gene's ability to write parts for voices, in any
20th century genre. The Hi-Los will always be a vocal group ahead of their
time. Chanticleer, out of San Francisco, is the only other vocal group, other
than The Singers Unlimited, that could cut a Puerling arrangement.
Having perfect pitch was a requirement, I think. The melody was constantly
being shifted from one voice to another in that ensemble and your ear never
lost the sense of the melody in a Puerling chart.
Not long after I moved to Sacramento, I was listening to KJAZ-FM (when it
was still on the air with good jazz) in Alameda, CA on cable FM when the
afternoon man had a long live interview with Puerling. I thought I'd died
and gone to heaven. I had the pleasure of interviewing Don Shelton (tenor),
of the Hi-Los and The Singers Unlimited, some years back when he did a vocal
ensemble workshop for students at Sacramento State. A very nice guy, who
blows a fine alto saxophone as well.
(If there's anybody in Tulsa who knows how to get this info to Jack Campbell
(formerly of KVOO), please send it on to him. He's a big Puerling fan, as
Back in Blackwell and 1956, Mr. Donnelly didn't like the Hi-Los when I'd
play a side of theirs in his store. He said none of the chords they sang
resolved. And I suggested, with a slight stroke of (hopefully) humor, they
also sang lots of parallel fourths and fifths which really made them
Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries, I've heard.
April 09 2008 at 01:36:51
Name: Frank Morrow
Comments: When in doubt, consult the Internet:
The company was organized by Rawdon E. Tomlinson (ca. 1883 1948) of Frederick,
Enoch L. "Les" Gosselin (1901 77) of Cordell, and Raymond A. Young (1904
2002) of Kingfisher. When they met at a trade show in Oklahoma City in 1932,
they individually operated variety stores throughout the state. In 1935 the
three men pooled their resources and formed a firm known as Central Merchandise
Corporation to build a warehouse in Oklahoma City. The storage facility allowed
them to purchase bulk quantities directly from manufacturers rather than
from wholesalers such as Butler Brothers. When Tomlinson, Gosselin, and Young
opened their first jointly owned outlet in 1936, the company's name came
from the initials of their last names, placed in order of their age, with
Tomlinson being the oldest. On February 1, 1946, the business incorporated
under Delaware laws as T.G.& Y. Stores Company.
April 08 2008 at 19:44:06
Name: Michael D. Trout
Topic: T G & Y
Email: michaeldtrout at earthlink
Comments: Another joke name I once heard was "Tulsa, Galveston,
and Yokohama." Since I didn't know what it really stood for, I started repeating
April 08 2008 at 18:47:01
Name: Mike Bruchas
Topic: T G &
Comments: I had always been told that it was for "Toys, Games
& Yarn" - never knew it stood for original owners' names!
April 08 2008 at 18:44:59
Name: Mike Bruchas
Comments: As mentioned here before from hearsay and working
for a while at a DC outfit financed by Hooby Lobby - after TG&Y's collapse
- Hobby Lobby was beget. Mr. Green (never sure of spelling and forgot his
first name) - was an exec with TG&Y and his knowledge of manufacturing
outlets//suppliers in the US, South America, and Asia - helped him create
Hobby Lobby from the ashes. With a lot of hard work.
It IS or was Oklahoma's largest employer. His kids and chosen younger execs
run it today. And yes, they made it a very successful Christian-work ethic
run business. They also fund a great variety of Christian groups and colleges.
Kind of like the secular DonRey Media fortune is contributing to national
shrines like Mount Vernon and a zillion other college campuses - including
The Mardel Christian Office Supply spin-offs are the Green kids, I hear.
April 07 2008 at 19:18:13
Topic: What did "TG&Y" stand for?
Comments: Having noticed a few references to the TG&Y
stores in this message board, I was curious to know what exactly the three
letters stood for.
From Wikipedia: Tomlinson,
Gosselin and Young (not "Turtles, Girdles, and Yo-Yos").
Most recent reference: the Brookside T.G.&Y.
April 07 2008 at 18:58:31
Name: Michael D. Trout
Topic: My experiences with Tulsa
Email: michaeldtrout at
Comments: Hello, everybody. I stumbled upon Tulsa TV Memories
about a year ago while seeking information about Fantastic Theatre. I was
.I could never have imagined an Internet version of my childhood.
My first encounter with broadcasting was about 1960, on
Big Bill & Oom-A-Gog. Among the children in
the studio was my Cub Scout Pack 35. It also happened to be my birthday,
so Big Bill asked me to stand and be recognized. I did so. Fortunately, my
father filmed this at home by pointing his 8mm movie camera at the television
screen. We have saved this little bit of history on video tape, although
its of poor quality and lasts only a few seconds. I also recall that
Big Bill gave birthday kids a six-pack of Pepsi. To me, it seemed
like a lifetime supply.
About 1967, I met Bob Brown, when my best friend Mike Deibler got a brief
gig playing piano in the nightclub in the University Club Towers off Riverside.
Bob played guitar, if I remember correctly, and there was a female vocalist
and perhaps a bass player. Mike and I were all of 15 or 16 years old. His
mom and I were allowed in to watch, and I thought getting a free soda (well,
back then I called it pop) was about the coolest thing that could
happen. Mike and I had been warned that we would be receiving no booze. Bob
hadnt been on camera with KOTV for very long, but I liked his work.
Anyway, it was a real quiet crowd, with the group playing simple pop standards
as background music. To tell the truth, it was kind of boring. During one
of the breaks, Mikes mom told him that his mouth was hanging open like
a fish and it looked awful the way the lighting was set up. Shes
right, I told Mike, but he replied maybe thatll be my trademark
when I make it big.
Mike was an amazing guy, and I was privileged to have him as a friend. A
brilliant musician with a brilliant mind, Mike was sometimes difficult to
keep up with. At about age 13, Mike was a major factor behind Hamilton Junior
Highs success with a full-blown version of Bye Bye Birdie, which received
nationwide attention. Mike also served as the accompanist for the Tulsa Boy
Singers for a while. We grew apart in 1970 when he moved to Dallas and I
moved to Arizona. As the years went by, knowing his talent, I started to
wonder when I realized I was hearing Elton John and Billy Joel on the radio,
but not Mike Deibler. I last saw him in Tulsa about 1975, and he had changed
a great deal. I suspected a drug problem. I never saw or heard from him again.
He killed himself in Spain about ten years later, but I never learned any
About 1969 or 1970 I appeared on Bob Howers quiz show for high school
kids, representing Will Rogers High. During the interview that he conducted
for the contestants, I said that I was an amateur astronomer and was planning
to major in astronomy (hah! How naive I was then
.) In the final round
the four-student teams were allowed to confer amongst themselves. The final
question of the match came to me: Who was the Polish astronomer who
first claimed that the earth rotated around the sun? Without conferring
with my teammates, I shouted out Copernicus! We had won, and
the place went nuts. Hower asked me how I knew that, and all I could think
of in reply was Thats the only Polish astronomer I know of!
After graduating from Rogers in 1970, my first broadcasting job was at KWPR-AM
in Claremore in the summer of 1973. I was a disc jockey, news reporter, and
commercial producer. It was a great place to work, with incessant practical
jokes. When reading my first newscast the program manager set the bottom
of my copy on fire. He was impressed by how I still read all the copy by
remaining calm and just reading a little faster. Unfortunately, the job
didnt last longa new manager came on board and announced that
the station was losing too much money, so the layoffs began. After graduating
from the University of Arizona in 1974, I worked with Sonny Hollingshead
at KXOJ-AM in Sapulpa for a couple of years (1975-1976). For most of that
time I also worked as a backup newscaster at KMOD-FM.
Im sure Sonny will agree that KXOJ was a real learning experience.
There were a grand total of three people working there: owner/manager Mike
Stephens, Sonny, and me. Mike and Sonny handled all the programming and
engineering; Mikes wife put the logs together. Sonny was on the air
for most of the day, researched and wrote all the news, helped me out with
programming, and did a dozen other jobs that kept the place on the air. I
disc-jockeyed afternoons and evenings and recorded all the public service
announcements. I also handled the Sunday broadcast.
I mean I really handled it. I arrived at 6 A.M. Sunday, unlocked the building,
and cued up the first of many pre-recorded religious broadcasts. KXOJ was
an MOR station, but Sunday was all religious broadcasting; mostly preachers
spreading the word, but also a fair amount of religious music. Actually,
there was a pre-recorded OU football report stuck in there somewhere, but
some might argue thats religion too. KXOJ had a well-worn but very
serviceable recording studio, and sometimes a preacher would come in to do
a live performance, often accompanied by live music. That could get pretty
entertaining at times; I well remember the woman who came in to speak in
But most Sundays I was alone in the building and never saw another person
all day, until I shut the transmitter down, locked the door, and went home
at 6 P.M. Usually, at least once each Sunday there was a 30-minute gap between
pre-recorded sermons which I would fill by playing religious LPs. No
announcements (I never said a word all day), just music. There was an
ever-growing library of religious LPs that I could choose from. I wasnt
very familiar with it, so I just picked the stuff that looked good.
In those days, a fair number of LPs would arrive in the mail that I would
describe as heavy metal for Jesus. We would toss them in the
library for me to look over on Sunday. I found them a little more interesting
than most of the other religious records, and I would try to play a song
once in a while. I had to select carefully, as our audience was thought to
be primarily rural, conservative, and very traditional.
One day I found a new LP that was a heavy metal for Jesus version
of Shakespeares Othello. Yes, you read that right. How bad can
that be? I thought as I cued it up, noting with pleasure the long play
time. But as it went out over the air, I began to get nervous. The music
was loud and not all that pleasant, and the vocalist was borderline screaming.
The lyrics seemed to have little to do with Shakespeare and less to do with
Jesus. I was seriously thinking about fading it out when the vocalist howled
out an obscene phrase that I wouldnt say in the worst bar in Newark.
I yanked the tone arm off the record so violently it almost came off in my
hand. Luckily, I had another LP cued upfortunately something like
Favorite Hymns by Lawrence Welkand I had it on the air
in seconds. I sat down and waited for the phone to ring off the wall, calculating
how many minutes I had left in my job.
And waited. And waited. Nobody ever called. Not even Mike, which amazed me
since I figured he was probably getting irate phone calls at his home. The
incident was never mentioned, and I never touched another heavy metal
for Jesus LP.
One day I noticed there was an alarm clock in the studio. Since there was
also a large couch there, a one-hour tape playing, and nobody expected that
day, you can guess what I was thinking. I must admit that over the years
I took more than one nap.
And you can also guess what happened once. Fortunately, the silence after
the tape ran out woke me up, and I ran into the control room and had another
pre-cued tape on the air with minimal dead air. Again, nobody called.
Perhaps Sonny can remember the day we blew a transmitter tube. I was reading
the news when there was a flash and bang, and then I wasnt on the air
any more. Sonny and Mike crawled into the transmitter box and discovered
four tiny grey feet; the rest of the mouse had vaporized. We had to order
a new tube from Minnesota and were off the air for a day or two.
When Sonny or I went on vacation, Mike would hire another local jock to cover.
I dont remember them all, but one was Stan Tacker, who seemed to be
working all over the dial. I also remember Kathy Kronister (Im probably
spelling her name wrong), who I think may have been at KAKC.
With KMOD, I typically got an oh-dark-thirty emergency phone call at home,
informing me that I needed to have a newscast ready to read on the air at
6 A.M. It wasnt too difficult except that my voice wasnt at its
best then. One morning Stan Tacker and I arrived at KMOD simultaneously,
both of us expecting to do the news. The half-asleep news director had called
me, then called Stan, forgetting she had just called me. Stan said it looked
like he was more awake than me, so I went back home.
There was a weekend jock at KMODI cant remember his namewho
started his shift at 6 A.M. We worked out a pretty good on-air banter for
those early mornings; if anything, he was groggier than I. He insisted on
starting every shift with Harry Chapins WOLD. The owners,
San Antonio Broadcasting, told him to mix it up. So he started alternating
WOLD with Take it to the Limit by the Eagles. SAB
ordered him never to play either song again, he made some on-air comments
about SAB, and that was the end of him.
In late 1976 I quit both KXOJ and KMOD and went to work at WABY-AM in Albany,
New York. NBC Radio was starting an experimental 24-hour news broadcast called
the News and Information Service. WABY had signed on, to become Albanys
first 24-hour news station. We did six minutes of state and local news on
the hour and half-hour.
I handled the 6 P.M. to midnight shift at WABY alone. I enjoyed it a lot;
it was a crash course in New York State politics and Albany machine corruption.
No naps here. One night I was doing my shift when a horrific blizzard
hitthe still-legendary 1976-77 blizzard that buried Buffalo in 12-foot
drifts. The station was located in an old house and the doors were all warped.
Snow started blowing under the doors and drifting into the control room.
I stuffed some rags under the doors but the wind was so intense, and the
snow so fine, it made little difference. Looking out the windows, it looked
to me like the whole city was shutting down. I began to get a bit alarmed
when I realized that the Amtrak main line right next to the building, normally
very busy with rail traffic, had been silent for an hour. The station manager
called to see how I was doing, and told me to tough it out until my replacement
arrived at midnight. I was wiping snow off the control boards when I realized
the heating system couldnt keep up and the temperature was dropping.
I put on my coat and stuck it out. For an Oklahoma boy, it was a real
introduction to a New York winter.
It was a lot of fun, though, with just as many practical jokes as at KWPR.
Of course, working night shift I didnt get to see very many other staffers,
but when I did it was quite the zoo. When I went off at midnight we switched
to pre-recorded newscasts, and the fellow who took over from me just ran
the boards. He previously had quite a lucrative government job, and broke
into radio in order to meet girls. Yeah, right. I must confess
that I was somehow involved in the panoply of sound effects that would sometimes
go on the air at around 3 A.M.
I was laid off from WABY under mysterious circumstances, then went to work
for WWOM-FM in Albany. An early version of a fully-automated light-rock station,
WWOM was a big letdown for me. All the music and commercials were on carts,
loaded into about 20 carousel cart machines. An early computer (this was
1977) selected the songs and played them. Even the station IDs were automated.
Once in a while I gave a weather alert, but mostly my job was to watch the
machines go round and round and call the engineer if something went wrong.
Nothing ever did.
After a short time, I quit WWOM. I eventually ended up at an electronics
manufacturing firm, where I settled into technical writing as a career. Making
infinitely more money than I ever made in broadcasting, Ive stayed
with technical writing for more than 20 years. In 1991, I returned to
broadcasting part-time at WMHT-FM in Schenectady, New York. An NPR affiliate,
WMHT played mostly classical music, with some public-affairs stuff. WMHT
was located in a former World War II hand-grenade factory, which we shared
with WMHT-TV Channel 17, a PBS affiliate. I had done a lot of volunteer work
for Channel 17 over the years, so I had a lot of contacts and getting the
job was easy. My job was rather mundane, just working the boards on the 10
P.M. to 6 A.M. weekend shift. Union regs prohibited me from speaking on the
air. If I got too bored I could wander over to the TV control room and chat
with the two guys on duty there; usually the three of us were the only ones
in the building in the wee hours. But it could get challenging, juggling
satellite feeds, carts, RTR, cassettes, simulcasts with TV and other NPR
stations, fundraisers, and DAT on a split-second scheduleespecially
with weather alerts, of which there seemed to be a lot. And yes, there was
some nappy time, although no comfy couch or alarm clock.
In March of 1993, the Albany area was hit by its second-worst snowstorm in
history (worst was the blizzard of 1888). I had worked the Saturday morning
shift at WMHT and on my drive home the snow was just starting to come down.
The forecasts were ominous, describing what was coming as a major
hurricane, but with snow instead of rain. All day the snow came down
so thickly it looked like a heavy fog, and by mid-afternoon there was nearly
two feet on the ground. It usually took me 30 to 40 minutes to get to WMHT,
but this night I decided I would give myself two hours to get there for my
Sunday morning shift. I started clearing my car at 6 P.M. and had it ready
to go an hour and 15 minutes later. Then I heard a news report that the
Schenectady County Sheriffs Department had declared a blizzard
emergency zone and that anyone driving anywhere in the county would
be subject to arrest. The last two or three miles of my drive, as well as
WMHT itself, was in Schenectady County. And the snow was still coming down
as heavily as ever.
I call my boss at his home (which was in Rensselaer County). He didnt
know about the emergency declaration, but I told him that I was psyched up,
my car was ready, and I was willing to drive to WMHT. I figured that Id
be able to talk my way out of an arrest, being sort of connected to the media
and all, but I wanted to be sure he was aware of the possibilities.
He gave me some good news. The evening board guy that I would take over from
was worried about being arrested as soon as he drove away from the building.
He had been talking with the TV crew and they had all agreed they should
stay put. They ransacked the building and found several cans of Spam, along
with a leftover sausage pizza and some ice cream in the employee refrigerator.
They then called station management and volunteered to remain in the building
by themselves and keep both TV and FM on the air for as long as it took.
I was relieved. Looking at all the snow outside, I felt that getting arrested
was the least of my worries on what would be a long, agonizing drive through
a total whiteout.
The next morning the snow stopped, and my neighbor and I went outside to
help each other clean the snow off our cars. Of course, first we had to find
our cars. Just about four feet had fallen. We had to interrupt our shoveling
to help a guy dig out his four-wheel-drive F-350 pickup, which he had driven
into a six-foot drift. The good thing about the storm was that it was in
March, so all the snow was melted away within a couple of days.
I worked weekends at WMHT from 1991 through 1996, even though I got a full-time
job in New York State government starting in 1993 (yes, I worked seven days
a week for three years). After a major promotion into the New York State
Tax Department, I finally bid WMHT-FM goodbye and left broadcasting. I miss
it a lot, but I dont miss the tiny paychecks. Maybe someday
Thanks for all the great stories, Michael. I, too, remember the 6-pack
of Pepsi on Big Bill as being a coveted prize. I'm trying to remember which
Cub Scout Pack I was in. I'll check my old uniform tomorrow.
I believe Bob Brown was playing music with Dick Schmitz of KAKC as "The
Bugs", maybe a few years before your story.
There were some good radio preacher stories
in GB 26.
April 07 2008 at 15:32:31
Name: Mike Bruchas
Topic: That Mudd
Comments: It is CHEAPER here via the TTM link to Amazon than
what I paid for it - with a $5 off coupon - at a Borders.
It is a great book that will make ya laugh. Buy it here!
PLACE TO BE)
April 07 2008 at 10:21:33
Name: Frank Morrow
Email: frankmoratiodot com
Comments: I'm old enough to have heard the great sportscasters
from the '40s to the present. It was magic to hear the voices of people like
Ted Husing, Harry Wismer, Red Barber, and Bill Stern. Stern specialized in
dramatic presentations, particularly for football games. One person told
me that he once took a portable radio to a game that Stern was broadcasting.
The man couldn't believe the liberties that Stern was taking with what was
actually happening on the field. Stern also had a weekly network program
in which he told stories in a very dramatic way. TV killed Stern. His dramatic
style and descriptive license didn't fit in with his normal presentation.
I also remember the local men who did Tulsa sports such as Dave Manners (Oilers
baseball in 1941), Jack Charvat (Tulsa Tribune and KTUL), John Henry (KVOO
and TU football), and Mack Creager (KAKC and KRMG.)
Charvat's efforts mainly consisted of doing the evening 10:15 sportscast.
Henry did a similar program. His calling of the TU football games was terribly
boring. A friend of my Dad's told me that, if he wanted to take a nap, he'd
put a TU game on the radio. Creager was at KAKC and KRMG when I was there
and was a fun person to work with. He was capable with any sport.
Later on in enjoyed the efforts of Tony George who did the Oilers' baseball
games and TU basketball games on KOME. I still have a reel-to-reel recording
of his calling of a TU-St. Louis basketball game in 1955. He was very good
at providing a description of what was happening on the court.
Hal O'Halloran, like Creager did both TV and radio. I recall his play-by-play
radio broadcast of an Okla. A&M basketball game against Kansas during
Wilt Chamberlain's days as a Jayhawk. Kansas was practically unbeatable,
but A&M won in an incredibly close and exciting game. Hal was so excited
by the game that I feared for his health. I thought that a heart attack or
stroke surely was to happen. He almost lost his voice numerous times.
Coming to the present, I think that TU's Bruce Howard is the best I've heard
in providing descriptive clarity, insight, supporting information, and emotional
excitement. It's not easy to describe what's going on in a fast-moving game,
but to insert other information at the right times without losing game continuity
is very difficult.
Harry Wilson and I once took a tape recorder to a high school basketball
contest in the '50s to practice calling a game. Harry wasn't so bad, but
I was terrible. For one thing I couldn't remember the names of the players.
I quickly found out that I'd better stick with regular news and announcing.
April 07 2008 at 09:25:28
Topic: KOTV Reunion 1997...PHOTOS
Comments: If you're like me, most times you skip the WHAT'S
NEW section on this site and barrel right into the BLOG.
A few months ago, I unearthed the photos taken by myself and a couple of
other contributors at the 1997 KOTV Reunion held at the now closed 'Fountains"
restaurant. Mike Ransom and I bantered about as how best to make them available.
Turns out, that my unused FLICKR account was the perfect place and so, yesterday,
I uploaded them, added names to guide you.On the WHAT'S
NEW page, you'll find a link that will take you to them.
Sadly, many of the people attending back then are no longer with us, but
many are the names that you have seen written about on this blog. Also of
course, is the fact that all have friends and relatives who might enjoy seeing
If you know of anyone who worked for KOTV from its start-up through the 90s,
let them know about it. And if you have ever wondered what some of these
people you have read about here looked like? Here's your chance. I hope you
If you are one of those folks who go straight for the GroupBlog, here
is an easy way to keep up with What's New on TTM. If you use Yahoo or Google
or AOL for your email online, subscribe to TTM here:
April 06 2008 at 15:57:43
Name: Mike (again) Bruchas
Topic: Edwin &
Comments: Hate to say it but on the East Coast - I got all
sorts of AM and FM signals with my various radios. Have a Grundig Satellit
(German spelling) radio that is NOT a sat receiver but is purty darned good.
I think car radios of today pale to the car radios we had in the 70's for
DXing. My 1969 Opel AM and add-on Standard Radio FM converter (the latter
bought at Radio, Inc.) - probably were the best that I had in any car for
Used to know a music teacher who drove his 1955 Olds forever because of his
AM/FM sound; this was in the 1970's in Chicago area. It WAS a fantastic GM
product for sound.
April 06 2008 at 15:17:35
Name: Mike Bruchas
Comments: Yep the ABC TV perennial The Ten Commandments, the
Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, Soylent Green and that great pic with
Orson Wells, A Touch of Evil, showed the diversity of what he could do. I
think his last acting gig was in that movie with Arnold Schwartzenegger and
Tom Arnold - TRUE LIES.
He did Bible readings to tape that are hawked on all the religious channels.
I worked at a studio maybe 20 years ago in DC that he did NRA spots at, then
very sharp in anything he did.
His last few years were struggling with Alzheimer's and in court, some wacky
neighbor in L.A. was suing him for imagined damages to their adjacent house
(his had been there 40-45 years) "caused by his land" or something silly
like water run-off. It was a gambit to fleece Heston.
Though I did not agree with a lot of his political stands - I appreciated
April 06 2008 at 15:10:10
Name: Mike Bruchas
Topic: Richard Widmark + Roger
Comments: Sorry to hear that actor, Richard Widmark, died
at 93 last week. He briefly had an NBC NYC cop series, MADIGAN, back in the
late 60's - it was re-vamped from a movie that he starred in with (then hubba
hubba) Inger Stevens as his slutty wife. Think he was killed off in the movie
but resurrected for TV.
Also died last week was writer/producer Abby Mann - who did a lot of movies
but I think was also the creative brains behind, KOJAK.
Thru our TTM Amazon links or at your local library - get Roger Mudd's
PLACE TO BE - Washington, CBS and the Glory Days of Television News.
Mudd was at CBS from 1961 to 1980 before moving to NBC. It's a great book
of anecdotes and life-long friendships. No, he and Dan Rather are no longer
buds. Nor is Bob Gregory mentioned in there; it was a time of great newsroom
growth under Bill Small, so I am sure Gregory had a great time there!
Roger Mudd is 80 but still can crank out great stuff. He said he left CBS
in DC in 1980 but never reentered the building till 2006, when he started
April 06 2008 at 02:49:59
Name: Preem Palver
Topic: The Death of Charlton
Comments: Charlton Heston died last night at age 83.
During most of his career, Heston, like Hepburn, never really acted, but
just played himself. However, his was a bravura turn in TOUCH OF EVIL. And,
as a dedicated dystopian with the greatest of fears for the future, I will
forever be grateful for his work in SOYLENT GREEN.
Heston had little in the way of acting chops, but he had that titanic "Presence"
the camera adores.
Don't forget his bitter, existential hero in "Planet of the Apes". He
acted in quite a range of productions over his lifetime
Reporter). He took part in the 1963 civil rights march in Washington,
D.C.---and also one in
City in 1961 (just over halfway down the linked page).
April 05 2008 at 00:46:11
Name: Paul Royse
Topic: Old channel 8 video
Comments: Does anyone know how I would get a copy of a newstory
done on channel 8 at Christmas 1978??? Thanks!
There are only a few snippets of film left from that period, not a systematic
archive. Sad to say, it's unlikely, though not impossible that anyone has
that specific video footage.
April 04 2008 at 10:15:39
Name: Barry Robb
Email: cdacoffee at msn dot com
Comments: I worked at afternoon drives at: KMOD, KXXO, KTOW,
KGOW, KVOO and KTFX. I now live in Coeur d'Alene, ID. I'll write more
April 03 2008 at 18:58:43
Name: Frank Morrow
Topic: Radio coverage
Email: frankmorat iodot com
Comments: Edwin, several years ago I sent in a
map of radio
station coverages in the '50s. It has all the stations including their
coverage if they have to reduce power at night. I can't find it in the archives,
but I'm not too good at this computer-internet-blog stuff.
If you can't find it either, I'll re-send it when I return to Austin from
Tulsa next week.
It's just below, and on the 3rd page of the TTM Flickr site, which can
be found on the Photo/video page.
April 03 2008 at 01:12:08
Topic: Previous GroupBlog
Archived GroupBlog 263.
Once again, we are switching back to a different host that seems to be
responding faster than last time we tried it.
Back to Tulsa TV Memories