Tulsa TV Memories: Tulsa pop culture      

KAKC, the Big 97

Tulsa Radio: KAKC

KAKC surveys on TTM Flickr

Memories of KAKC by Stacy Richardson

See the KAKC Solid Gold Album and hear 13 minutes of KAKC air checks with Lee Bayley!

See a large version of a Top 50 KAKC chart in Photo Album 2, courtesy of Steve Suttle! Plus: photos of Steve Suttle, Robert W. Walker, Dave Shaw, Tom Gordon, Dale Davenport and a 1970 Big 30 chart.

Rick "Montana" Lepper sent in a couple of KAKC IDs. He was a KAKC jock in the 70s.

Uptempo KAKC jingle in .wav format

Slower KAKC jingle

Week of December 17, 1962

(from Guestbook 2) Mike Bruchas said:

Dick Schmitz of Irving Productions (from Tulsa Magazine) Dick Schmitz at KAKCHow about a companion Tulsa RADIO page? Ole T-town had more than it's share of stars. You should try to run a companion site!

Isn't Dick Schmitz still running Irving Productions on 21st Street in Tulsa...He runs a stable of current and former radio voices in Tulsa!

(He also was a KAKC DJ back in the early 60s!)

Dick was recognized as a "Tulsa Radio Icon" in 2004 by the Tulsa Press Club.  

Scooter Segraves did several tours at KAKC (WHAT A STATION IN ITS DAY!) and I hear is in the LA bayou country these days.

Indeed he is...

(from Guestbook 15) Scott "Scooter B" Segraves said:

Scooter Segraves Location: Lafayette, LA

Favorite Tulsa TV show: Uncanny Phlegm Fester
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: "Young" John Chick
Stupidest local commercial: Lynda Sundered-Turkey
How did you find TTM?: Truly bad kharma:

My brother-in-law, Andy Anderson of Harrison AR, showed me your stuff, which I am spending a very pleasant afternoon of vacation visiting. Saw a lot of familiar names...but where's MIKE MILLER? He was with Buck Cummins, Lyle Batchelor, Gary Chew, Don Kimmel, Tony DiCristofano, Tommy Thompson (where is HE?), Tom Vaughan, Tom Carter, Richard Silverman, Lynn Lugenbeal, Bill Koch, Bill Giorda, and me at KWGS; then at KTUL-Radio, KTUL- TV (and maybe KOTV). JIM BETHEL???? Enjoyed Jim Back's reminiscences of the U-Need-em- Tires voice -- when I returned to Tulsa in 1987, I had a major chicken-skin attack when I heard that (known to me to have died several years earlier) voice saying "Gary...Henry...Chevrolet.......Sand Springs"--shouldn't do that to someone who's within six years of having a heart attack. (see the KRMG page for Jim Back's story about Jim Wheaton)

If you're ever down in The Valley of The Crawfish, check me out "on the way home" (3-7PM, just like always) on Hot Country 99.1 KXKC.

On January 16, 2002, Scott underwent successful quadruple bypass surgery.

Scooter was recognized as a "Tulsa Radio Icon" in 2005 by the Tulsa Press Club.  
Read more and hear Scooter's message in MP3 on the 2005 Tulsa Radio Icons page.

(from Guestbook 185, 6/10/2005) Scott "Scooter B" Segraves said: (responding to webmaster's query)

Email: gbasilautroisX@netzero.comX

Yeaux, Mike...still down here in The Valley of The Crawfish...no longer playin' da hits; been off air since this past November, honcho'ing all the commercial and station-imaging production for Citadel Broadcasting's 5-station cluster. Will be leaving here sometime in September, to move nearer 90-year-old Mom on Bull Shoals Lake in north Arkansas. Been trying to get some station in that area interested in a still-capable DJ, but nobody's biting. So after all these years, I may have to blow my whole life plan and get a REAL JOB!!! Not quite ready for "the 168-hour weekend" just yet.

Thanks for the interest. Tell the folks back there they'll always be a big warm spot in my heart.

(from Guestbook 101) Robert W. Walker said:

Scooter Segraves is one of the most brilliant creative-on-the-fly minds I have ever witnessed. He mentored me when I was a green high-schooler who got a first break at KAKC; he gave me my second step up the radio ladder when he hired me at WHBQ/Memphis. His energy and mind-blowingly fast, weird humor have been sheer marvels for the 35 years I have known him.

I am THRILLED that they fixed his ticker.

(see Robert W. Walker below)

Hear Scooter back in 1970! (courtesy of Steve Suttle)     Hear Scooter circa 1970! (courtesy of Steve Suttle)

(from Guestbook 20) Mike Miller said:

Reading your radio memories page reminded me of the fun days of early KTUL-Radio Turley. Back in 1959 and ‘60, I was late night jock and news reporter at the “Radio Tulsa”, located in Turley, beneath the transmitting towers. DDT (Daddy Deepthroat), aka Bob Gregory was ' news and program director. Others on board included Gary Chew, Les Parsons, and Jay Jones.

The late night jocks at several Tulsa radio stations formed a “drinking club,” called “Knights of the Knight,” Others included Scooter Segraves of KAKC, Larry Strain of KRMG, Jim Hill (I think) of KOME and a few others, mostly former TU students who had worked at KWGS. On Fridays, after sign off, we’d gather in the studios of KRMG, drink large quantities of beer and record our babble. Then we’d play it back to hear how stupid we sounded. In our drunken state, it sounded funny.

The “Knights” crowning achievement was our on air prank of playing the same, obscure record, simultaneously, on three or four stations. We’d set a specific time, and I would listen to Scooter to take my cue to start the record.

One night I heard Segraves cut in during the tune to say: “Punch around the dial, you’ll hear this record on all the stations.” I nearly fell off my chair.

(from Guestbook 32) Lee Bayley said:

Beau (or Bo) Weaver at the mic, 1970Other KAKC jock notes. Beau Weaver is in LA doing a lot of voice work...many of the Saturday morning cartoons feature his voice. Robert W. Walker is a big name in Miami radio and internet ventures. Steve Suttle is an attorney and weekend Oldies jock in Albuquerque. Steve Hatley died in Albuquerque in a motorcycle accident. "Tiger" Dave Shaw died in Hawaii a few years ago. Jim Peters has had success with his acting career. Tom "Count Gordonski" Gordon was promoting records in St. Louis the last I heard. Don Bishop is still in the Tulsa area but I'm not    sure with whom. (Webmaster: Don is working at KRMG today) I lost contact with Randy Castle and Johnny Lane but last I heard they were on KHOG in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I have lost touch with Dan Stone. Bobby Otis and Bill Terry were headed west years ago.....

Robert W. Walker(from Guestbook 45) Robert W. Walker said:

Well, well, well. There's much to tell, and little time. Hate to come back in touch with you with the following, but...There's no easy way to put this: my friend, colleague, sharer-of-the-heartiest-laughs-of-my-life, that High Master of Rant, and Ranting Master of High — Tom Gordon - has left the planet. He died yesterday (?) or the day before. Jim Peters relayed the news to me tonight. Count Gordonski's last incarnation was as a courier in the St Louis area. He contracted pneumonia, refused to slow down (much less quit smoking, no doubt), and eventually had to be forced to a hospital by his wife Vicki. There, he weakened further and then.. he is gone.

Peters has written an obit which I will try to relay to this site as soon as I can get it from him.

And then we'll catch up on happier matters. For now, please excuse me, I'm stunned.

Tom Gordon

Casey Morgan passed along this remembrance of Tom Gordon by Jim Peters. What was it like to party at KAKC in the Trade Winds in the 60s? Find out.

        Jim Peters

Robert W. Walker and Jim Peters today. Another shot in Guestbook 185.
Jim Peters and Robert Walker in L.A.

Jim Peters (real middle name of Coldren, never used on the air) was one of the 10 people fired from KAKC in a controversial event around '69 or '70. Jim and Robert W. Walker produced and managed legendary band Cargoe in the early 70s  (more about Cargoe below). He was back in Tulsa by October 1974, and worked for KELi in the mid-70s. He moved away again, and, after stints in Kansas City and Miami, returned to Tulsa in the late 70s. Some time after that, he worked for KTFX.

(from Guestbook 190) The webmaster said:

Here's a fascinating, in-depth article by TTM contributor Frank Gutch in Austin's Pop Culture Press: "The Story of Cargoe". Cargoe (originally "Rubbery Cargoe") was a legendary band of the early 70s from Tulsa who had a real shot at national stardom. The article is loaded with Tulsa lore.

The cast of characters includes current-day Tulsa musicians Bill Phillips and Max Wisley, and former KAKC DJs Robert W. Walker and Jim Peters, who produced and managed the band (Jim did some writing for them as well).

After reading this amazing story, you may want to hear an album described in the article: Cargoe Live in Memphis!

Added 6/6/2009: The Japanese reissue of their first album is intermittently available: Cargoe.

Bob Duff(from Guestbook 59) Bob Duff said:

Do you remember 970 NEWS AT 970 BEFORE THE HOUR? We hit the newscast at ten minutes ten sections before the hour, or 9 minutes and 70 seconds, hence the 970 bit. I also remember driving the jeep mobile news unit with the call letters painted on the side in toy blocks and, of course, the forerunner of the ever popular vans, the Chevy Greenbrier. Jim Peters took over as News Director shortly after I arrived on the scene, replacing Harry Wilson. Wilson, the last I heard, was working for the Chamber of Commerce in Oklahoma City.

Also read Robert Walker's comments. Very sorry to hear of the passing of "Tiger" Dave Shaw and Tom "Count Gordonski" Gordon. Loved working with them, as well as Robert, and though I lost track of them over the years considered them friends.

Harry Wilson  Harry Wilson caught up with us in Guestbook 179

Roger Borden
Roger Borden

Beau Weaver told us that Roger Borden passed
away on March 14, 2006. Jim Peters remembered
Roger in Guestbook 209.

Roger's family owned Borden's Restaurants.

Steve Suttle said via email:

Great site! I wonder how it took so long for me to find out about it.

Still love radio and those 60s oldies.:
Steve Suttle

I listened to Scooter yesterday after finding the KXKC link off your site. It was a hoot to hear him again - same smart-assed tinge to his voice. I don't know why you undertook this project, but it sure is neat. I hope you find Robert Walker and Jim Peters. I'd love to talk to them again. (Webmaster: Done!) I don't know if  you've ever heard of J. Paul Huddleston, but he was the news director at KHJ. Of course we all listened to airchecks of him and as broadcasters are wont to do, we all ended up trying to sound like him. Bob Losure, Jim Peters and many others who did news at KAKC had that pounding style.

Steve, thanks for the great KAKC tape, parts of which are migrating out here to the web site.

News from around 1970Listen to Steve's news report on a hijacking with a local interest! How many anachronistic references can you spot?

News from around 1970  Listen to a high roller play "Stocks and Bonds " on the Steve Suttle show!

(from Guestbook 19) The webmaster asked:

Here is a radio question that just occurred to me...didn't one of the early 60s DJs have an imaginary sidekick named "Chauncey"? I seem to remember a contest to draw what Chauncey looked like.

(from Guestbook 19) Jim Back replied:

Chauncey was a sidekick of "Big 97" D-J Don Kelly. (Actually it was Don's voice). So his was a one-man two person show: Kelly & Chauncey. Don got out of the top 40 rat race and moved to Cushing, where he bought a radio station. He still lives there I think.

(via email to Mike Bruchas) Don Lundy said:

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 (sp?) 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.

(from Guestbook 34) Frank Morrow said:

Radio in Tulsa had become rather stagnant in the mid-‘50s. TV was gobbling up the audience and advertising revenue. The networks were becoming less important, with a lot of shows being “sustaining,” meaning unsponsored. With the exception of the 10 o’clock news and sports and "Sleepwalkers’ Serenade” on KVOO, there was little or no attempt to sell the evening hours. They were ceded to TV. The word circulated that some stations were being run for the sole purpose as tax write-offs.

Occasionally, a station would try something desperate, such as KOME’s becoming an all-classical music station for a while, complete with a host with an English accent. KRMG maintained the usual all-pop music format with laid-back, personable disk jockeys, although it did try something new with its Newsmobile. Don Bishop of KAKC (photo by Lee Bayley)   KTUL and KVOO clung to their slowly dying radio networks. KFMJ general manager Lawson Taylor steadfastly maintained his minimalist music format under which the disk jockeys were allowed only the briefest of introductions to the records---title and performer only. He also had programs where the “hosts” said nothing at all.

Into this comfortable malaise KAKC exploded. Somewhere in late 1955 or early 1956, the station was sold to out-of-town interests, and the new owners proceeded to convulse the market. They hired some experienced announcers such as Vic Lundberg, Greg Chancellor and a man who had previously worked at KVOO. They immediately began calling the station “The NEW KAKC.” They had various publicity stunts such as playing the same record continuously during the broadcast day. Another innovation featured newscasts which were placed five minutes before the hour, thereby getting the jump on the other stations and their networks which still featured news on the hour.

Dick Evans patchThey also had wise-ass promos which poked fun at the other stations: “This is the NEW KAKC, the station that doesn’t run-down at sundown,” referring, of course, to KFMJ, a daylight-only station. Lawson Taylor was incensed at this breach of capitalist etiquette, but his protests to the general manager of this rash upstart paid no heed. (This was rather hypocritical of KAKC, because it had to reduce its power in the evening hours.) Another station break said, This is the NEW KAKC---the station others imitate, which we appreciate. (click on the patch for more about KAKC's Dick Evans)

What brought about the next change, I don’t know, but the programming changed to pander to the young audience, with the format being dedicated to the slowly emerging rock music, the Top 40, and the “Big Five Deejays.” (Elvis Presley’s first big hit did not occur until 1956.) The DJs were younger and used a high energy, fast talking delivery to increase the excitement level.

The change worked. KAKC shot up to the top of the polls. The station didn’t need Brother Conley any more to pay the bills. Interestingly, when I returned to Tulsa for a few months twelve years later, the station was still calling itself, “The NEW KAKC.”

These, naturally, are observations from someone who was on the outside and working at competing stations. I would love to hear from Dick Schmitz and others to hear "the rest of the story."

Trade Winds West
(from Guestbook 5) Mike Bruchas said:

...Does KAKC still live - at the Trade Winds? I am lost in the 70's again....

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