I worked at KRMG during the late 70s...I think 76-78? My shift started at 3:30pm and I did traffic reports, followed by newscasts until midnight.
I remember Ed Brocksmith saying "we have this great broad in the traffic". Johnny Martin was the greatest. Later I was promoted to midday! Bob Stevens and I did the noon news where I was known to say almost anything that would enter my head...somewhat dangerous at that time.
When I would take over in the morning, John Erling was finishing his show and we would have a brief interchange (on air). This was during Nixon's book writing year and John asked me if I knew where you could find Nixon's book...I said I don't know, maybe in the fiction section. Boy, did we get letters and phone calls over that. A very interesting time to be in radio...
I just remembered a funny...or not so funny...incident that happened to me while at KRMG.
When Johnny Martin was on vacation, I would do his all-night show, big band music and all. Truckers calling in, too.
Watson Jelks, who was the crazy morning man before John Erling, would come in the studio 15 to 20 minutes before his on air shift and sort of organize, I guess. In those days, a lot of live spots were done.
Watson was behind me pulling records. I opened mike after warning him and preceeded to read the 60 second spot. I don't remember who the sponsor was, but the tag line at the end was "located at Crystal City Shopping Center." I read, with Jelks blowing in my ear: "located at Crystal Shitty Shopping Center."
Red-faced, I had learned to just go on and listeners maybe would not hear what I just said, but no! Jelks said, "did you just say what I thought you said?"
Future mornings with that same spot and Jelks in the room were never the same. I just use to sweat.
The greatest thing for me about working in Tulsa was getting to do the afternoon weather with Jerry Vaughn and the gang at KRMG. I would listen to him and (alter ego) Arlton J. Do Right as I rode my bike home from Junior High... then one afternoon in 1984 I was on the air with Jerry doing the weather!...it was a great thrill....anyone know where Jerry is now??
Anyone still remember his sign off each day..."Hang in ever so lightly and ever...so ever-lovin tightly... straight ahead!"
I really enjoyed working with the entire news crew at KRMG as well as with the late David "It's nine o' clock. Set your Waterbury" Stanford. Occasionally he'd bring his roommate's dog (a beautiful yellow Lab named Griffin, or Grif) into the studio while David did his talk show. Grif would always sit under David's console and David would always tells his listeners about Grif's "smile."
Apparently one night Grif decided to move his bowels while he was in David's side of the studio. David was always a relaxed, professional and very placid man but I had never seen him so mad as I did that night.
I also remember my meeting the great Johnny Martin. It was pretty
intimidating because he always kept his studio darkened, so I had a hard
time adjusting my vision going from harsh neon hallway lights to a completely
darkened studio. Both of them were such nice men and I do miss them.
I remember one election night in the early-to-mid 70s, Don Cummins was anchoring our election coverage on KRMG, and Jim Bunn was at Democratic headquarters and I was at the Republican HQ (or vice versa). Don is trying to keep everything running smoothly, while trying to anticipate where the next report is to come from. Jim and I both called in on the 2-way about the same time and Don called for one of us by name when he meant to cue the other. Anyway, he apologized to the aucience and tried to say, "Sorry folks, I got my Jim's mixed up." Instead, what came out was, "Sorry folks. I got my Back and my Bunns mixed up."
It was pretty funny at the time, but to this day I've wondered if he didn't do it on purpose.
Where are those KRMG voices of the 70's - Don Cummins and Ed Brocksmith?
(from Guestbook 5) Jim Back said:
Since we've kind of drifted onto radio for awhile, here's an interesting story about KRMG. Those call letters, of course, stand for Kerr-McGee. The station license was originally assigned to the late U.S. Senator Robert S. Kerr. It signed on the air on Dec. 31, 1949.
The story we always heard is that he wanted a radio station to match the one owned by his friend/competitor W. G. Skelly, which was KVOO. When AM radio was in its heyday the FCC assigned a few stations around the country as "clear channel" stations, meaning they were authorized to operate at the maximum allowable power of 50,000 watts and there would be no other stations anywhere else assigned to their frequency. The theory was that these stations would assure that people in rural areas could hear radio entertainment without interference. The rest of the stations had to share their frequencies with other stations in other parts of the country.
So KRMG had to be shoehorned into its 740 MHz frequency without interfering with a Canadian clear channel station and a Houston, TX local station, both also at 740. Kerr wanted his station to serve not only Tulsa, but also Oklahoma City, so he aimed the station's signal southwest from its tower location near Mannford. It took (and still takes) six towers to direct the signal correctly.
After extensive testing, station lawyers and the FCC attorneys concluded that most likely the signal never did comply with the legal pattern and that someone connected with the powerful Senator and "done whatever he needed to" to get the license approved anyway.
So KRMG is probably one of the only radio stations in the country that has FCC approval to be out of FCC compliance.
As Jim Back noted KRMG was for Kerr-McGee, owned by U.S. Senator Robert S. Kerr and his oil partner, Dean McGee.
KAKC was for Avey, Kellough and Condon. Sam Avey was a Tulsa entrepreneur, owned the old Coliseum on 4th Street and Cincinnati (or Detroit) that burned down in the 50s, think Kellough was a local businessman and Glen Condon was news director at KRMG in the early years. I believe this is correct, it was all part of a unit on Oklahoma history we took in the sixth grade mandated by the state. For some reason, this has all stuck with me.
Oh my God, if there's going to be some KRMG on your marvelously growing site, you're gonna run into me, again. Ubiquity in broadcasting is not uncommon.
I got there just before they changed their format to chicken-rock (MOR, or middle of the road).
I can always remember when I worked there by simply remembering one of the years I was on Radio 74 was in 1974.
Dick Andert, Jerry Vaughn, Watson Jelks, Bob Losure in news, Ed Brocksmith was the news director. Rita Thomlinson (her name then) was the Traffic Director, before she went into sales.) Ron Blue, the manager. Gerry Swanson, the owner.
Johnny Martin relieved me on the air every evening at 8. What a guy!
I got to start Johnny's opening theme, "Basically Blues" with the Buddy Rich Band, I think it was. I also coveted the music he got to play.
P.S. Dick Andert has been a police officer on the LAPD for many moons, now.
(from Guestbook 15) Jim Back said:
You probably don't realize this, but even that TV dinner at the top of your home page has a Tulsa tie.
The Swanson family sold the company (and the rights to the name) to Campbell Soup in the early Sixties. Each of the Swanson kids got a share of the fortune.
Young Gerry Swanson used his share to get into the radio business; he bought KRMG and moved to Tulsa and create Swanco Broadcasting (later renamed Swanson Broadcasting).
At its height, the company consisted of KRMG and KWEN in Tulsa, KKNG in OKC, a station in Wichita, one in New Orleans, one in San Antonio, and the Texas News Network.