Date: 31-Jul-00 08:10 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: John Hillis  
Geographical location: Way Up Far East North Henryetta
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Mike Bruchas on headsets during the breaks doing live tags: "and at all Froug's stores"
How did you find TTM? Tucked inside a bottle of Griffin's syrup
I hadn't thought about Johnny Martin's end-of-the-hour signout, "I'm goin' out to the lobby and check the net," in ages.

When I moved to Tulsa, KRMG was the radio station of choice--the best local news, (though there was at least some competition from KVOO and, sporadically, others), good weather coverage, and endless David Gates and Bread (If a face can launch a thousand ships, then why are you here?)records, proof that there are some things even less appealing than syndicated talk shows. John Erling was the 'new' guy in the morning and his "Tulsa mountains" bit was tres zany, as they say in Cushing, and puzzled a few of the natives.

I did a very brief stint as part of the early morning team during the time KXXO tried to be an all-news CBS radio affiliate. I was using an assumed name (to protect the guilty), but it was so danged early that I kept forgetting it, which was likely a source of puzzlement itself to the eleven listeners that the teakettle-power AM might have had. ("I'm, uh, uh, ah, never mind") I don't recall if I quit or they quit me, but it was a relief when the alarm clock didn't go off at 4 am. KMOD and KXXO were, I think the second FM-AM combo of stations owned by a little company in San Antonio named Clear Channel. Wonder if they ever made anything of themselves?

I've had the opportunity to work with some great radio news folks, some of whom, like my longtime amigo, the late John Holliman, were able to transition to tv. The Bobs-- Losure and Duff-- were also among these, though some days it was hard to be sure.

Date: 31-Jul-00 07:36 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Robert Walker  
Geographical location: Miami, FL
A quick Gary Busey story:

I had the great honor of being nominated for a Grammy this year, and at one of the after-parties I spotted Busey at the hors d'oeuvres table. Sidled up behind him and said "Excuse me, but aren't you one of the guys from the Rubber Band??"

He spun around with an open mouth and a priceless look on his face.

"Why, yes I am!!" he bellowed, and grinned wide.

We both laughed out loud. Time-warped him pretty good, obviously. We chatted for a while. He looked good, said he was doing "fantastic," and we had a bit of a hoot over some old Tulsa goings-on.

PS: The Grammy was for Best Long-Form Video, and Jimi Hendrix won. Can't complain.

Congrats on the nomination!

I wonder if Mr. Busey is any kind of internet guy...just added a new pic of him from G.Ailard S.Artain.

Date: 29-Jul-00 11:08 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Joe Langley
Geographical location: Lawton, OK
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Lee and Lionel
How did you find TTM? web surfing--came across it
Greetings: What a great web site and what a trip down memory lane. Greetings to frequent contributor Mike Bruchas. I remember you from TU and KWGS. Seems like you and Lee Ready and Randy Kindy were constant companions. I ran into Randy Kindy not long ago and caught up with him.

Some memories to share. My family moved to Tulsa in 1957. Children's programming in the afternoon included Spanky McFarland showing "Little Rascals" on KOTV, "Popeye Theater with Captain Hal" on KTUL and another show which was a predecessor to "Big Bill and Oomagog" on KVOO. My first visit to a TV station was my sixth birthday at KTUL to be on "Popeye Theater." I also remember meeting Spanky at the Tulsa State Fair when KOTV did live remotes from the fair. I remember the balloon head exploding, but didn't recall that being a suicidal gesture. In 1992 I was on a plane from Nassau to Atlanta. Spanky was in the seat behind me. We chatted briefly--I told him that I had met him when I was about six or seven years old. He said it must have been in Tulsa. I told him it was indeed.

Not that I am under delusions that I was the source of Mazeppa's big break (he was plenty talented on his own). But here's a story. I was on the Tulsa World Youth Board my senior year at Will Rogers. As KOTV was putting together the idea for "Generation Rap" I, and others from the Youth Board, were asked to visit KOTV as advisors for the development of the show. (I was in the taping of the pilot--the first guest was Rev. Ben Hill, a black clergyman and community leader.) After we had concluded conversation about the development of "Generation Rap", I happened to make the comment that I was a regular viewer of "Go for Dough on the Early Show", not because I liked the movies or that I wanted to know "the count and the amount" in case Gary Chew called, but because of the crazy antics of the camera operator. Other employees and executives in the room turned to the station manager and said, "See. I told you." Shortly thereafter the "Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting" premiered. Coincidence?

Keep up the great work on this fascinating site.

Joe Langley

Thank you, Joe. I have a picture from Bill Hyden of "Capt. Ben" in Lionel's castle, along with Lee and Big Bill. I'll try to get it out here soon. Great stuff about Spanky and Mazeppa. It's always interesting to hear a new angle on these shows.

Date: 29-Jul-00 04:25 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Mike Bruchas
Geographical location: Washington, DC
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Fred Norman on KOCO-TV in OKC
How did you find TTM? It arose from Lake Spavinaw
In the OKIES TAKING OVER THE WORLD CATEGORY....Former Bartian (or is that Bartlesvillian) Ben Kretchmar - who worked at KWTV and KOCO In OKC and has bounced between DC and Denver in the Gannett chain - is the new Director of Operations for the *NEW* National Geographic cable channel. {PS - he is yet another old time fan of G.Sartain's antics...}.

In a 2 for 1 blue light special, his wife Martie Porter Kretchmar originally of Ozark, AR then KHEN radio in Henryetta then KGMC-TV, KOCO-TV and KOKH-TV (all OKC) then Atlantic Video here in DC, followed by Discovery Channel, TV Preview Network (in Denver) then AGAIN Discovery Channel International Operations (whew) - is the new VP of the same Fox/National Geographic cable channel!

Evidently the Geo had been pursuing both indirectly then when they heard both were related - said they could hire only one. After scouting the DC talent pools some more - they decided they needed BOTH.

Ben leaves his post at WUSA-TV here of Asst. Chief Engineer in 2 weeks, Martie to leave Discovery in 2-3 weeks.

Yup Okies or ex-Okies are takin' over the broadcast world!

Date: 28-Jul-00 06:12 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Jim Back
Geographical location: Edmond
To add to Don Cummins lore . . .

I can confirm that the Don Cummins attitude that Mike Miller described is the same one I encountered every day working with Don at KRMG. He had a positive, if irreverant, outlook on life and didn't take very much seriously. Perhaps knowing that his days on this earth would be fewer than for most of the rest of us (due to his polio) he understood the concept of LIVING for now...much like the concepts expxressed in "Tuesdays with Morrie."

He even put up with the young punk DJs and reporters who thought it funny (and VERY original!) to hide his crutches and play other pranks. Don simply got even by playing pranks of his own. You learned to stay out of his way, though, when he was hurrying down the hall trying to get to the bathroom and back before his next newscast. About the only concession he made to his condition was that he would occasionally allow someone to carry his coffee cup from the coffee pot to his desk.

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before about Don, but spelling was not his strong suit. In those days we had our "sound bites" on audio tape cartridges, much like hose 8-track tapes we all listened to in the '70s. We'd type a label to stick on the cart that included a brief description of whatever the content was, which news story it belonged to, and what the last few words were (the "outcue"). Because Don couldn't spell worth a flip -- and because he was always in a rush -- whenever he would encounter a soundbite in which the outcue was "fading applause" or "fading laughter," he'd simply type "clap clap" or "ha ha."

BTW, to Frank Morrow: No, Don was never News Director at KRMG. I think Glenn Condon was replaced by Vic Bastian. I know that Vic was replaced by Ed Brocksmith about 1970, and I replaced Ed as News Director in 1977.

Date: 28-Jul-00 03:14 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: David Reynolds
Geographical location: Vian, OK.
Web siteThe Walrus Was Crow!
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: ZEB!
Hadn't been around in a while, so I thought I'd pony up my two cents worth of weird Tulsa TV News stories....

#1 A few days after starting "Six in the Morning" last year, LeAnne Taylor apparently had a bad cold, and came to work one morning full of cough medicine. Fortunately for her, Rick Wells was off for the day, replaced by the unflappable (?) James Aydelott. Well, James was doing the weather when all of a sudden, you hear Mrs. Taylor HOLLERING at some one across the set. James gets this odd look on his face, and the camera cuts to LeAnne laying face down on the couch, either laughing or crying. Seems someone had come in for a cooking segment with baked goodies, and in her altered state, LeAnne just shouted at them to bring her some. She said, still buried in the cushions, that it was the most embarrassing thing she'd done in her career.

#2 (a short one): On KTUL a few months ago, there was a story about a particularly brutal murder. OK, the story's through, graphics for the weather come up, and a shot of an un-named weather boy. He says, straight to the camera: "Well, at least the weather's nice!" I kid you never.

Your webmaster is set to appear on "Six in the Morning" next Thursday at 8:45 a.m., so maybe I'll ask LeAnne about that. ;-)

Date: 28-Jul-00 12:03 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: John Boydston
Geographical location: Atlanta, Ga
Web siteDaddy A Go Go
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: John F. Naugahide
Anyone recall Gary Busey's first post-Mazeppa foray into show binness? Seems like I remember seeing him in a DX commercial around 1973. DX was a gas-station chain, and Busey played the service station guy, back when service stations offered service. His big delivery line was "I can be very friendly." It was a classic Teddy Jack Eddy delivery with the implication being "I'd just as soon kick your ass, but if I have to 'I CAN be very friendly.'"

I'd like to hear the story of how Mr. Busey and Mr. Sartain hooked up in the first place, and whether they are still in touch today. Anyone know if Mr. Busey is aware of this site?

What was DX thinking?!

Date: 28-Jul-00 03:20 AM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Jana S.
Geographical location: Tulsa (of course!)
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: G.Ailard S.Artain, Leon Russell and Cy Tuma
What memories this brings back! Just like it was yesterday driving down the "Restless Ribbon" in my '68 canary yellow Camaro and who do I pull up next to?? None other than Teddy Jack (by himself) driving a VW with windows down, music blaring, and banging on the steering wheel to the tunes! I followed him for a couple of rounds around the ribbon. What a character!

Then some years later, I was waitressing at the Boston Avenue Market. The place was PACKED, and in my section sits Gailard and Gary Busey! What a treat!! Gailard in his "Hee Haw" attire, Gary with the ball cap smokin' a stogey! Like I stated, the place was hoppin' that night, and the boys ordered a pitcher from me. On my way back to the table, guess who spilled most of it on Gary B?? He was very understanding, however, I was so embarrassed and apologetic while trying to dry him off! (Maybe he enjoyed the drying off part!!)

I read in the paper on Tuesday that Leon had been hospitalized in Nashville. Does anyone have an update? Another memory lane flashback, when he used to jam down at the Magician's Theatre (another great favorite or mine -- both the Leon and Magician's!) If you read this Leon, get well soon!

GREAT SITE! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK -- And thanks for the memories!

Jana works in the same "Command Center" as your webmaster. When I heard this story, I kept bugging her until she typed it in!

I can't seem to find any more info on Leon right now...

Date: 27-Jul-00 07:04 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Mary Ann
Geographical location: Cushing, OK
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Mazeppa, who else?
How did you find TTM?  An article in the Tulsa World
As I read Mike Staniford's account of the infamous balloon, "Barnabas" on Spanky's Club House, I remember begging my mother to send in a postcard with our guesstimate of the time and date of Barnabas' demise. I wondered if Mike remembered that the prize was a puppy.

In recent history, as I loaned one of "The Lost Tapes of Mazeppa, Vol.1" to an Oklahoma newcomer, I said, "This is why we are the way we are." I blame all the unusual behavior of anyone in the Tulsa TV viewing area on our mentor, Mr. G. Ailard S. Artain. The first time my brother and I tuned in his show on Channel 6, we thought some how, some way, someone had taken over the station, and we liked it, we really liked it! Thanks for the memories.

Thank YOU, Mary Ann.

Date: 27-Jul-00 01:48 AM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Frank Morrow
Geographical location: Austin, Texas
For the two Mikes: Did Don Cummins replace Glenn Condon as head of KRMG news?

Were Bob Parkhurst, Mack Creager, Marvin McCullough, Keith Bretz, Doc Hull, and Larry Strain still there at KRMG?

Date: 26-Jul-00 06:11 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Mike Miller
Geographical location: Vienna, Virginia
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Buck Cummins
To Mike Bruchas. Sadly, Don Cummins is no longer with us. I worked with him at several Tulsa stations and had nothing but fond memories. I pulled the following from my unpublished book:

There were happier moments as well. Upstairs at KVOO Radio, I was reunited with Don “Buck” Cummins, a practical joking deejay I had known from college, who also worked at KTUL. Cummins possessed a deep resonant voice and was also a polio victim, after being crippled at age seven. Unlike me, Cummins had not made a miraculous recovery. However, he did not let his braces inhibit his sense of humor. “I do better with women in the summer,” Cummins frequently joked. “Wintertime in the back seat, those braces are too damn cold.”

As if by magic, Cummins’ sense of humor, obscured his handicap. One evening, Buck called and invited me to come up to radio control after the television news. “A woman up here wants to make love to you,” Cummins explained, in his vibrant tones. To my amazement, an attractive young redhead was sitting in the control room when I arrived. Cummins escorted us to the record library and locked the door from the inside. The girl began to disrobe. When completely nude, she sat on my lap and whispered, “Are you an announcer or a newsman, Mike?” “A news reporter,” I replied, in my most authoritative voice. Suddenly she jumped up and began putting on her clothes. “Sorry, I only screw announcers.” It was all a Buck Cummins prank!

Cummins spent fifteen years in Tulsa radio before embarking on a political career. He was elected to the Oklahoma Senate as a Democrat in 1978. Tragically, in 1982, at the age of forty-four, he died of a heart attack. (During a memorial service at the Capitol, Sen. Gene Stipe of McAlester eulogized Cummins. Stipe said, “He demonstrated to one and all that a handicap was really a state of mind, and really didn’t exist unless you recognized it as such.”)

Date: 26-Jul-00 05:36 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Mike Bruchas  
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Gary Chew on "Go For Dough on the Early Show" on 6!
How did you find TTM? Blue light special at LooBoyle's 11th & Xanthus store....
Is KRMG icon, Don Cummins still alive?

This is kinda 6 degrees of separation from Don Cummins. My first apt. out of TU I shared with Wayne McCombs on 7th Street by Delaware - I think we paid $96 a month in rent!

I roamed thru it last year with Mike Ransom - looks like it became a crack house. It has been torn down or will be torn down for the new Hardesty Sports Complex that while re-invigorating that part of Tulsa, also erases a lot of history.

It was owned by Shirl Cummins - Don's uncle and I think at one time a local Tulsey musician. Don's niece was the "resident tenant". Randy Kindy of KRMG and Rick Christensen lived next door in a more dilapidated 4 plex owned by Finis Smith's wife. Randy introduced me to Don at KRMG once - when on a visit and I told Don his uncle was my landlord - he said, "So what!" and gruffly went back to his business. Heard Don was that way but always respected him as a news guy.

Speaking of former state senator Finis and tag agent wife Doris Smith - Randy Kindy's one time landlords - when the infamous tag agent scandal broke in the 70's or 80's - it was amazing how many stand-ups by news crews took place in front of that dilapidated house. Someone later tore it down and put up another cheapie apartment which I am guessing now has been leveled. I also remember some dumb tenants finding some sweaty sticks of dynamite (sweat being nitroglycerin!) under the floorboards of the upstairs back porch. The apartment had one time been rented to some wannabe Native American radicals. The apartment dwellers took the sticks downstairs and put them in the garbage. Must have been OLD OLD stuff because I never heard of any Tulsey garbage trucks exploding! Me - I would have called the TPD Bomb Squad.

Down the street to the West on the corner was Schmidt's Antiques - which originally was a general store/feed store owned by Bob Welch's grandfather. Don't know if it survived the "clear cutting" of that block for the Hardesty Sports Complex. Bob is now a producer at CBS Sports and formerly a KTUL photog who joined the '70's exodus West to California - following Mike Denney, David Finch and Toby Brown.

Date: 26-Jul-00 03:25 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Erick
Geographical location: Tulsa
Regarding Mr. S.Artain's query on the late John the best of my recollection, he passed away sometime in the spring of '94. At the time, he was co-anchoring the morning and midday newscasts on KJRH. He died of a massive heart attack some 30 minutes before he was to go on the air with the morning news. I remember watching KJRH news that evening, and seeing how the news team, particularly Jerry Webber, was devastated. I found the same reaction, although it was less of a shock, when Jerry Webber succumbed to a long battle with cancer in late '98. Watching a story on his life, it was alarming how his body withered away so quickly. He had long resigned from doing daily news, but was still doing a series called "In the Heartland". The Jerry Webber I remembered, so strong and confident, had lost probably lost 30 pounds, and his face was sunken in. His voice had also taken a toll. Just by listening to him talk, you wouldn't know he was suffering from such a horrible disease. He was very sure of his ability to defeat it. What a sad loss, both men.

Date: 26-Jul-00 03:14 AM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Frank Morrow
Geographical location: Austin, Texas
Hillis Bell, Jr., was "Willy the Hillbilly" at KFMJ. He is now living in Larned, Kansas, where he owned a radio station for many years. He married Marilyn Caldwell from the Class of '51 at Central. Marilyn performed many times in the Central Opera Club, on "The Experimental Theater of the Air," on "KVOO Day," and in the Daze.

Date: 25-Jul-00 10:34 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: J. B.
Geographical location: Jenks
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: John Chick and Bob Hower
How did you find TTM? Found it due to Tulsa Memories the show
John Chick was a morning staple at our house. Every morning we'd watch as he showed local talent on the televison. Joel Duvall was a regular on the John Chick show and a local boy from Jenks. It was a sad day when the world lost a man like John Chick. Although Bob Hower was a lot like him. Both men were wonderful on and off the television. Happy to sign autographs or to just say hello to youngsters. It's a shame that my kids have to grow up without such wonderful men to start and end their day with. I'm not into What's the Deal or Sports shows, so where are the great personalities who can make you care about them and your community? Tulsa needs one, that's for sure!

Date: 25-Jul-00 12:14 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: G.Ailard S.Artain  
Geographical location: LA, CA
I was saddened to read "the late John Hudson" ... is there any more information? Was he in Tulsa? I always thought he was a very talented man and I liked him. I'd appreciate any information about him.

Date: 25-Jul-00 12:14 AM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Lee Woodward (via email to the webmaster)  
Geographical location: Tulsa
I am surprised that I haven't mentioned one of my favorite characters from KOTV memory. Especially since his sons were and are a part of Tulsa radio history. I speak of the one and only "Hillis Bell, Sr.!"

One son was the program director or sales manager of KAKC and the other son I have known for eons is Dan Bell, super salesman for KRMG 740. There may even be a third son.

Anyway, Hillis was a real character. He was an older man when he somehow wangled a job as a "booth announcer" with KOTV. He was not an announcer, but there he was! I do know that at one time he was one of the finest piano accompanists in the business and at one time was the accompanist for an operatic tenor of some repute, named "Gino Bentonelli!" Actually, his real name was George Benton and he was from Oklahoma City. In those days one did better by assuming a foreign name.

It is my understanding that Hillis liked the grape as well as becoming a golf addict! Two combinations that proved his undoing. He told me that his fingers became too fat for him to play the piano well.

I'm sure there are better informed people than I to tell his story. I just remember him as a wild man. Very funny and given to impromptu things like painting his shoes with gold paint! He wore those shoes forever. I think he then went into the "bar business."

Anyway, here's to you Hillis, wherever you are.

Frank Morrow did mention Hillis Bell as playing ”Willy the Hillbilly” on KFMJ in Guestbook 27 ...Frank, any more about Hillis Bell?

Date: 25-Jul-00 12:05 AM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Lee Woodward (via email to the webmaster)  
Geographical location: Tulsa
I have had no luck with some friends on the Web in trying to remember the name of an as yet unmentioned talent on KOTV back in the 60's or 70's. The name of his character was "LORENZO." Oddly, he patterned his clown character as a dead ringer for the famous "Emmett Kelly." He also did his show as a "mime." I'm sure he must have written all his scripts which required an off-cam announcer, but I can't remember anyone who read them. Gary Chew said he didn't and also didn't remember him. I don't think his bits were that long and may have just been used inside some shows. Anyway, I think the fellows first name was Jerry and I'm sure a TTM devotee can clear it up and perhaps even a photo will show up? If not, I'll send one of Emmett Kelly I did in pastels some years ago. As I said, they were one and the same except the "hat!"

Date: 24-Jul-00 11:14 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Margarita and Randy Ess
Mike, we really enjoyed your site! Hope all is well and we will be talking to you soon. Margarita and Randy Ess

Thanks, Margarita!

Date: 23-Jul-00 08:55 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Sonny Hollingshead
Geographical location: Sand Springs, OK
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Former Co-workers John Chick and Cy Tuma
How did you find TTM? Tulsa World
Great Website, Mike! Thanks to all for the memories.

My story...graduated from Charles Page H.S. in Sand Springs. During high school I was in an Explorer group at KELi. Forrest Brokaw was our sponsor from the station. After high school, I went right to work at KXOJ-AM, Sapulpa. Ed Livermore had just sold the station to Mike Stephens. It was an R&B station for the next two weeks, then MOR for the rest of the time I was there.

In early 1977, Dave Jones (overnights at KAKC in the mid-60's while attending Memorial High. Graduated from TU. Anyone know where he is now???) helped me land an announcing job at Channel 8. Others on the staff were Chuck Blaker (Scott's little bro), Dick Van Dera, Cy Tuma, and John Chick. It was a great staff and a great time.

I left Channel 8 in 1981 to help Dave Jones and others kick off KGCT Channel 41, Tulsa's all-news television station with subscription TV at night. The news portion lasted for one book. The John Chick Show One Wednesday afternoon co-owner Ray Beindorf called the news staff together and let them all go. My favorite from that group was the late John Hudson; a truly fine man! Others on that staff included Mark O'Connell, Gloria O'Connell, Glenda Silvey, John Hamill, and Beth Rengel. The supporting cast included a young intern from ORU named LeAnne Taylor.

Six months and lots of syndicated shows later, the owners leased the daytime portion of the station to a religious group (Praise the Lord during the day, scrambled sex movies at night!) and I returned to Channel 8's Engineering group.

In 1983, after a six-year hiatus, I returned to radio part-time at FM96, KRAV. Worked there and at AM-1050 sister KGTO off and on until 1986 or '87. I also worked at KQMJ Magic-99 (with Scooter Segraves) in the late 80's, then returned to KRAV. I worked weekends there until the ownership change in late 1996, at the same time I left Channel 8 to begin a new career with Williams Communications. I did occasional shifts at "Mix 96" KRAV and STAR-103 until last fall.

I've got lots of stories. Here's a quick one:

Clint 'Duke' Baul, et al (photo courtesy of Mike Bruchas) John Chick did live on-camera spots during his early morning country music show in the mid-late 70's, before MS ended his career and took his young life. One morning he was discussing the eternal attributes of the particular pair of Tuf Nut Jeans he was wearing , which had extra loops for tool belts.

John's words: "and this pair has extra loops for you guys with BIG TOOLS".

The cameramen and the floor director (I think they were John Heatley, Clint "Duke" Baul, and Richard Wilson) hit the floor. A few seconds later, a startled and puzzled John Chick realized what he had said and started laughing, but somehow made it through the slide tags at the end of the spot...("you can get them at the Hub Shop in Barnsdall... GOOD MORNING MABEL!!")

Again, this is a great web site, and thanks to all for the memories. Keep up the good work Mike!

Thank you for the visit and the great story and info, Sonny. Please return!

Date: 23-Jul-00 10:47 AM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Chuck Fullhart
Geographical location: Tulsa
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Mazeppa, Lee and Lionel
How did you find TTM? Tulsa World article
This is a great site, Mike. Keep up the good work.

My first "real" job in Tulsa radio came after being hired as the night voice at KWEN, by Steve Hammonds, who was an old college friend, and whom I have since lost track of.

Reading the postings in the guestbooks brought back a lot of memories.

I grew up on Tulsa television as a kid in Bartlesville. I can remember being on the Uncle Hiram show on KVOO when it was still in the Akdar Shrine buidling downtown. But coming up the steps and seeing the old KRMG studios with the glass window that looked out on the street was just like Valhalla, and I was hooked.

I also remember going to the Johnny Wills noon broadcast in the old bus garage that KOTV had converted to a studio in the early 50's, and did that several times since my grandfather was a big country music fan. I even got to shake Leon McAuliffe's hand as the band stood at the garage door that went out to the alley, at the end of the show. Does that date me, or what.

The site brought back a bunch of memories of the people that were at KRMG and KWEN in the early 70's. I had replaced Terry Young at KSPI as the afternoon man, and yes, Stillwater does have an afternoon rush hour, you just have to look for it.

Terry was going back to Tulsa to work at KTBA, Bill Hyden's station, if I recall correctly, and the staff knew that he had really hit the big time.

Little did we know that Terry was working in a converted garage at 11th & Harvard.

KWEN, in those days, was the step child of AM sister, KRMG, and was actually KRMG-FM, when I started there. It was reel-to-reel 8" tapes, and the hardest thing was the getting the spots to play on cue. The breaks were scheduled with an old computer board, or the predecessor of what would pass for one today, by putting in pegs that told the automation machine when to pick up the cue from the tape at the end of the timed music, and go to the next carousel that had all the spots in it.

As I recall, there were only about two people who would fool with the thing, so the spots were always about 3-4 minutes late, and the required station ID was always outside the 2 minutes before or after the hour, that was required by the FCC.

There were ways to fool the machine, and being alone there at night, I quickly learned how to work the computer board, and make it think that a break was scheduled after the time it was supposed to break.

There was no way to go live, it was all automation. which made it a little hard to handle when there was real severe weather in the area. KRMG was a great weather station then and now, but getting a storm warning on an automated FM took a few minutes, and a couple of times, we could look out the patio windows to the west and actually see the funnels at the same time. Automation was a great way to save money, and of course, this was the wave of the future for all FMs.

Johnny Martin and Gary Griffith were the night people that were on air on KRMG, and Martin kept us in stitches all night with his off air comment about the management, and his forgetting to cut the net off when the wine commercials ran. Oklahoma was experiencing "liquor by the wink" in those days, and of course, the net spots on wine eventually corrupted the morals of Tulsa.

Johnny Martin, Gary Griffith, Ken Greenwood, Ron Blue, Steve Hammonds, Jim Back, Bob Losure, Susan Bunn, Ed Montray, Bob Harvey (who did announce duties at KVOO-TV- for years before he retired and got an easy job in radio), Ed Brocksmith, Vic Back, and a host of others are names that came back to me when I read the site, and many other that I have probably forgotten about.

Martin would never answer the doorbell when it rang at night. His line about "...going to the lobby and checking the net..." which he used prior to the newsbreak at the top of the hour was no joke.

KRMG and KWEN were on the 23rd floor of the Liberty Towers building at 15th and Boulder. Somehow, these strange ones would occasionally get past the security guard at the door of the parking garage on the first six floors, which wasn't much of a problem, because Barney Fife was usually asleep in the guard shack anyway.

Martin left it up to Griffith and me, and I think later Don Cummins, to answer the doorbell when it rang. Usually, I would go back throguh the KWEN studio side and look out the front door to see who was at the KRMG door before deciding to let someone in.

Most of the time, it was someone like Bob Lafitte, the night engineer at the transmitter, who did Lafitte's Inn from 12AM to 6AM, and who could never find his key to the studio. But occasionally, it would be some wide eyed fan who wanted to talk to Martin. Johnny wouldn't even order the food when he and his wife went out to dinner because he was afraid that someone would hear his voice and recognize him.

I remember two or three fires that took place in the Liberty Towers apartments while I worked there. The elderly women who populated the building were always throwing their garbage down the 25 story chute with live cigarettes in the trash. The trash would inevitably get stuck in the chute, and the fire department would have to come out and pull the fire out the chute.

I was just coming to work one day, listening to KRMG, because I was too poor to own a car with FM radio in those days, when Jerry Vaughn said the building was on fire again, and he was leaving the studios. It was about 30 minutes or so until someone at the transmitter, which is located in Mannford west of Tulsa, realized that there was dead air, and that there really was a fire, and finally put on some recorded music until Vaughn and some others could get to the transmitter and start all over again.

KWEN just stayed off the air because we had no alternate site for broadcasting, and I think we were off for about three days.

The building owners came in and sprayed some sort of deodorant to mask the smell of the fire, but it took out a lot of the apartments in the floor above us and below us.

I later moved to KBJH, later KCFO, and learned radio 101 all over again. From putting the cement blocks in place on the transmittter shack, to putting the soundproofing in place for the stuido walls, was a real experience.

I later left the high-paid world of broadcasting and went to work for Bob Davis at Media Five, and learned what it was like to eat meals on a regular basis. Bob was then still producing and directing Billy James Hargis's TV shows, and I learned that there was a different side to broadcasting besides radio.

In 78, I went to the dark side of the media, and started selling advertising for Newspaper Printing Corporation, and am still in the business today working for Trader Publishing, but once you have worshipped at the Shrine of The Golden Transmitter, I don't think you ever really leave

This is a great site, Mike, keep up the good work.

Thanks, Chuck. Your note is chock full o' great stories. Please drop in anytime.

Johnny Martin mentions Bob Lafitte in one of the sound bites on Tulsa Radio, page 5, on this site.

Date: 23-Jul-00 09:41 AM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Chuck Fullhart
Geographical location: Tulsa in the 60's and 70's
Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Mazeppa, Lee and Linonel
How did you find TTM? Tulsa World article
I just read Jim Back's comments about the Guy's Potato Chips tag line, "It's a treat to eat Guy's."

When I had just started out in radio at KSPI, in Stillwater, I had the same experience. I thought that because I was the new kid on the block, that Gene Ragsdale, who the PD, was pulling a joke on me.

I had called the GM, Bil Platt, at home, and after stopped laughing long enough, he assured me that, no, it was real, and they meant it to be serious.

I recorded the tag, but it took several takes to get it to the point that it sounded serious enough to go to air.

Date: 22-Jul-00 07:45 PM (on Tulsa Time)
Name: Webmaster  
Just archived Guestbook 45 - take a look! This is #46.

We are back on the htmlGEAR version of the Guestbook. It seems to be working well again. By the way, if you made it here from the old Geocities site, go to the NEW Tulsa TV Memories main page...lots of new stuff since January!

Tulsa TV Memories was featured in the Sunday Tulsa World on 7/16/00, so we had lots of first-time visitors to the Guestbook, including 60s KAKC jocks Robert W. Walker, and Jim Peters via his forwarded note remembering Tom Gordon, another great KAKC DJ of that era who passed away recently. We heard from Terry Burcham of the Rogues 5, a group that often played "Dance Party". The Uncle Hiram Show from KVOO in the 50s was remembered again by "Elmer the Clown", aka Noel Confer. Many other arcane and out-of-the-way topics came up, too. Don't miss them!

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