Tulsa TV Memories      

Tulsa Counterculture of the 70s

Webmaster: I'm presenting the following two articles from the Dec. 1973 Tulsa Settler to you exactly as they were printed, punctuation and all, to give you a feel for the small tabloid newspapers that were available free at record stores and head shops in the late 60s-early 70s.

The Tulsa Settler, December 13-27, 1973 issue

KTBA Starting Line-Up...

by Gary Parker, Political Editor, from
"The Tulsa Settler", Dec. 1973

You can't tell the players without a program. At KTBA the players (jocks) are the program. Each one is personally involved with the music being played. Which may answer a question that has been bothering a lot of you. Therefore, for you who are interested, we present a sketch of the KTBA DJs. With this you may be able to get some idea as to why KTBA is the way it is.

Stacy Richardson, 7:00 AM-noon. Stacy does local news and is public service coordinator. He came to Tulsa from KLIF of Dallas. Stacy is the one who wakes you up in the mornings without hitting you over the head or kicking your butt.

Denny Delk, noon-5:00 p.m. Denny is the older brother of one of the station's founders. He has what is known in the music trade as a fine set of pipes. He has also worked at KRMG as well as KNOW in Austin (big deal). Denny is the music director.

Don Cook, Doug Bowling and Rob Wilson

Don Cook, Doug Bowling and Rob Wilson

Don Cook, 5:-9:00 p.m. Don is the program director. Don is the result of being an Air Force brat, rock singer, and Top 40 announcer. Don was the first to come to KTBA and has had a major part in its development.

Rob Wilson - 9pm-2am - Rob has worked at several stations in the Tulsa area covering a wide variety of formats both AM and FM. His expertise in the production room makes him a valuable contribution to K92 in creative commercial content.

Doug Bowling - 2am 7am - A product of the prolific KVRO in Stillwater, Oklahoma State's training ground that has turned out some of the top broadcasters in the nation, Doug, despite being barely into his 20s comes to K92 with experience in countrypolitan KCNW, Tulsa and top 40 KHOG in Fayetteville.

Jess Baldwin - weekend man also product of KVRO in Stillwater.

In short, the jocks at KTBA do professionally have some of the best pipes (voices) in the Tulsa market area. They are working at doing what they want to do most, being the best they can be right now. They feel they have something to offer Tulsa radio in the way of a great difference. They want to be to radio what the Tulsa sound is to rock.

CSN&Y, Zappa on KTBA's turntables. Photo by Jay Gilbert
Crosby, Stills & Nash and Frank Zappa were on KTBA's turntables in late 1973. Photo by Jay Gilbert

K-92 Activates Tulsa's Audio Liberation

by Gary Parker, from "The Tulsa Settler", Dec. 1973

In the dictionary the word "metamorphosis" is defined as "a change of physical form, structure or substance especially by supernatural means." In the Tulsa radio scene KTBA-FM is defined the same way. The difference between the way KTBA was and the way KTBA is now came about by no accident but was the result of hard work and a super effort.

As short as 10 months ago KTBA was an automated news, music and sports station. It served the Broken Arrow listener in much the same way KTOW is directed towards Sand Springs. In early spring '73 the station's management made a challenging decision. The decision was to change the impetus of the station's format from a "following FM station," to a "leader FM station." Together with the arrival of Don Cook, the program director and a talented group of DJ's the change began to take place. The plan, according to Don, "was to simply do something on a consistent level that had never been tried in Tulsa before." The "something" was "progressive music."

By "progressive music" the station means music which is on the leading edge of change; music that is ahead. For KTBA this will include rock, country, western, contemporary and all of their combinations. Even classical music fare is to be considered in the future. By definition, this means the music will be "Fringe Music" but not all "fringe music" is progressive. It has been KTBA's unique ability to discern between these two points which has won them a growing band of dedicated hard-core followers.

All of the DJ's at 92.1 FM feel they have never been closer to an audience than the one at KTBA. Don Cook says, "The station attempts to turn the audience on has responded to turn the DJs on. By turning the audience on the staff tries to educate and inform the listener. In doing this the KTBA audience stays on top of the current albums and trends without expense or risk of record purchase experimentation. The audience has responded to turn the staff on to records and groups the station has missed. The interplay of information has been good for both the station and its listeners; and is the reward for a job well done by the KTBA staff. By not being limited to one style of music the reception of the station has continually grown and the audience with it.

The DJs have been impressed with the intelligence and flexibility of their listeners. Any listener, long or short term, will notice the style of the station is thematic; that is the DJ will develop a musical idea during his show between the natural breaks. The DJs say, "the audience has been quick to pick this up and frequently call in to suggest an album cut which usually blends in with the theme being aired." The DJs only agree to play a cut if they are sure they can get it in.

The station has also tried another new idea for young Tulsa radio, "concern". The station's concern is a natural outgrowth of its format i.e. "it tries". Anti-drug spots, listener concern and the Hitchhiker program are good examples of what the station is trying to do. The station also plans to continue to present innovative programs like "National Radio Lampoon" audience participation events, and midnight movie specials. The Fantasia special at Southroads Cinema was one of the best the city has had.

The KTBA audience can look for more from their station in the future. The staff hopes to give both Tulsa and themselves the gift of stereo sound for Christmas. This will add a sorely missing dimension to the station for its listeners.

Starting Sunday evening will be a pre-recorded show from England called "Hands Across the Water." The show will feature current European rock groups. The show will be so current the KTBA listened will hear album cuts before the release of the records overseas.

Recorded and live concerts will become more regular on KTBA. The live Labor Day concert of Leon Russell is a good examle of what is being attempted. The recorded concerts will be recorded similar to the Bob Dylan series te station ran recently. Other recorded concerts will be made of groups playing around the country and then syndicated into a series. The performances heard will never see an album groove.

Also the staff is looking forward to presenting more live interviews with performers who are in the area. The live Dr. Hook interview (?) is a preview of coming attraction. The audience can look forward to a live session with Steve Marriot of Humble Pie when they are in town soon.

So KTBA, the peoples' radio, gears up for 1974. Their success has been the product of hard work and concern. Programming has never been sacrificed for sales. For the listener, this means a continuous effort at providing good entertainment. KTBA is certainly the station ahead.

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