Tulsa TV Memories: Tulsa pop culture      

  Tulsa Radio Memories

  KVOO letterhead, courtesy of Frank Morrow

KFRU reception stamp
What's an EKKO Reception stamp?

At midnight, January 12, 1925, KFRU made its first test broadcast at 500 watts from the mezzanine of the Roland Hotel in Bristow. After a brief, but successful run, the new station, equipment and all, was abruptly sold by E. H. Rollestone to Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri in the fall of 1925.

A new station with call letters KVOO (the Voice Of Oklahoma) was then proposed by Rollestone. It went on the air June 23, 1926, with studios in Bristow and Tulsa. On September 13, 1927, KVOO officially moved to Tulsa. W.G. Skelly acquired full ownership in 1928.

KVOO reception stamp

The Roland Building today. Photo by Matt Gross, courtesy of GTR Newspapers
(Roland Building photo courtesy of GTR Newspapers)

KVOO transmitter site atop Reservoir Hill (Apache & N. Denver) in 1926
(The following photos courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa)

2 views of the KVOO transmitter site atop Reservoir Hill (Apache & N. Denver) in 1926.

Twin towers were 200 feet tall, and KVOO was 500 watts
The twin towers were 200 feet tall, and KVOO was 500 watts at that time.

Aerial photo of directional on Old Reservoir Hill in 1927

Aerial photo of directional on Reservoir Hill in 1927. Arrow pointed SE towards McIntyre Airport, located on then-new Route 66 (SE corner of what is now Admiral & Sheridan). Charles Lindbergh flew over this landmark during his visit to Tulsa on Sept. 30, 1927. KVOO's signal strength was used by pilots as a directional aid.

Pop up a view of this area today. Read about Lucky Lindy's Tulsa visit in this article at GTR News Online.

Paul Harvey recalled that as a small boy, he saw Lindbergh land at "Spartan Field" in Tulsa. He probably meant McIntyre Airport, based on historical accounts of Lindbergh's visit. Hear Paul Harvey on MP3. (Right-click and Save Target As, or just click to play). Courtesy of Joe Riddle and Wayne McCombs.

If you have the free Google Earth software installed on your computer, you can "fly" this route. Right-click on reservoir.kmz (1K), and select Save Target As to download to your computer. (Be sure to save it as reservoir.kmz, not reservoir.zip as your computer may suggest). Open the file in Google Earth, then take Lindbergh's flight from Reservoir Hill to McIntyre Airport, over to New York, on to Paris, then into outer space! (For a Tulsa Drive-in Theatres aerial tour, go to the Tulsa-area Drive-in Theatres page.)

1930 KVOO transmitter site
By 1930, KVOO transmitter (now 10, 000 watts) had moved east on Route 66 to the south side of 11th St.
between 145th & 161st E Ave., where it is today. Courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa

'Voices on the Wind' by Gene Allen


(from Guestbook 114, 115 and 177) Don Norton said:

At least THREE radio stations operated briefly in Tulsa before KFRU ("Kind Friends Remember Us") even got on the air in Bristow.

Gene Allen's book, Voices on the Wind, published in 1993, mentions all three of the radio stations authorized in Tulsa in 1922.

WEH started as a communications link for William G. Skelly's Midland Refining Company but added music in May. Allen quotes a Tulsa World story on June 1, 1922, reporting "The Midland Refining Co.-Tulsa World broadcasting station" had supplied music from new Victor Talking Machine Company records for eight young couples to dance to at the Skelly home. Mrs. Skelly then drove to the "spacious" WEH studios at "the Unity Building" (21 West Fourth Street, now the location of the Tulsa Run Office} to speak to her guests still at the party.

The Skelly Building at 23 West Fourth  is currently being quietly torn down (by the Tulsa World). This involves everything west of Arby's Restaurant (former "home" of Palace Clothiers...seen in this 1954 parade photo) to the northeast corner of Fourth and Boulder, except a loading dock for the World. No obvious remaining evidence of WEH, though.

WEH was deleted by 06/12/23; see The History of Radio site. KWGS, which began broadcasting from TU in 1947, was named after William Grove Skelly, and was the first FM station in Oklahoma.

WGAF, Tulsa's second radio station, was licensed to the "Goller Radio Service." (Deleted by 11/20/22)

WLAL, licensed to Naylor Electrical Company at Second and Boulder, used many members of the First Christian Church because the station owner, Sim Naylor, was also a chorus leader and singer at the church. In 1924 Naylor, a native of Bedford, England, sold WLAL to the church. (The First Christian Church was again involved in broadcasting when it appeared in Weird Al's 1989 movie, "UHF".)

By the bye, WLAL was said by Sim Naylor to mean, "We Laugh A Little." On May 24, 1924, according to Allen, "The laughter stopped."

Jim Back discussed KVOO's "clear channel" status and history in Guestbook 20.

Two future stars who began as KVOO announcers: Paul Harvey and Tony Randall.  

(from Guestbook 101) Don Norton said:

In his slim but meaty book, Voices on the Wind: Early Radio in Oklahoma (the Tulsa Library has multiple copies for checkout), author Gene Allen reports that France Laux ("a Tulsa kid") was coaching in Bristow in 1927 when the manager of KVOO (in Tulsa) bought the rights to Western Union-recreate World Series baseball games that October. However, the announcer assigned to do them quit just before the first game. The station manager dispatched an employee to Bristow to find Laux, who asked him,"Can you broadcast a ball game?" Laux reportedly replied, "I don't know, but I'll try anything once!"

Allen writes that Laux got to the station "only a couple of minutes before air time". He could not read the abbreviations the Western Union operator gave him, and he had to follow the score sheet to get the players' names. He did not have time to get nervous and somehow got through the ordeal. He stayed on to become KVOO's sportscaster and in 1938 won the Sporting News' trophy as "radio's outstanding baseball announcer."

Webmaster: While searching for more about Gene Allen's book, I stumbled onto this online thesis: Oklahoma Musicians and The Broadcast Frontier by Kelly Raines (I've linked to the KVOO chapter, but the rest is accessible from that page). It paints a fascinating picture of KVOO from its beginning through the 1940s.

In Guestbook 132, Chuck Fullhart told us about (and showed pictures of) an "Oklahoma Cowboy Band", possibly the one mentioned in Raines' thesis as having began its career on KFRU (soon to become KVOO) in the mid-1920s.

Rocket Radio (from Guestbook 97 and today) The webmaster said:

"The 50,000-Watt Voice of Oklahoma" could easily be picked up on a homemade or store-bought crystal radio set powered only by the electricity generated from radio waves passing through the wire antenna.

In the 1920s, you might have built one using a Quaker Oats box. The Cub Scout kit was popular in the 40s-60s.

In the 50s and 60s, you could also buy a cheap Rocket Radio, good mainly for picking up KVOO. (In fact, KVOO was so strong, it sometimes bled through the phone cord.)

"The original Crystal Rocket radio first became a craze in the 1950s just as the race for space became an American obsession. Rockets, missiles, and the mystery of radio waves pulsing through the ether...heady stuff for young girls and boys."

(from Guestbook 149) KAKC's Robert W. Walker said:

Among the magical radio moments of my childhood was seeing, for the first time, the old KVOO xmitter building out in what was then the sticks (the south side of 11th Street between 145th and 161st E Ave) as I rode in the back of my parents' Studebaker.

I remember thinking "So that's where that man lives who sings "Kay-ay-ay Vee-ee-ee Oh-oh-oh Oh-oh-oh" all the time.

Who was that guy anyway? And could they have put a little MORE tape slap on him?

(from Guestbook 118) Sonny Hollingshead said:

Larry White was chief engineer of KAKC and KVOO, among others. He was chief engineer when KVOO moved from the radio/television facility on Peoria to its present home near Yale and the BA Expressway.

For a long time Larry and wife Velma lived in their home on the KVOO-AM tower property in East Tulsa on 11th Street.

(from Guestbook 15) Mike Bruchas said:

KVOO has an extensive antenna array (three 450-foot towers, located about 250 feet apart in a straight line, as striking as Orion's belt). I haven't been to the old KVOO "farm" in almost 25 years but it was neat and all marble and copper inside. I think they even had an ancient back-up control room there. (More techie info about the station here.)

KVOO's 50,000-watt transmitter site, courtesy of photographer David Halpern.

(from Guestbook 117) Dave Harmon said:

In '73, I flew a Bonanza from Torrance to Tulsa in one day, meaning I was pretty tired when I got to Harvey Young Airport. It was dark, starting to rain and I am holding a gas can out in front of the engine trying to get it to smell the gas that was not in the wings.

I made a downwind approach to the North on the East side of the airport and I am looking to the left when suddenly the entire cockpit is lit up with a brilliant bright red light...I had just missed the KVOO towers on my right. I went ahead and landed and went in and talked to Harvey...but not before I swept out and deodorized the cockpit.

(from Guestbook 149) Jim Ruddle said:

Another bit of useless information, prompted by Mr. Hillis' mention of KVOO.

In the olden tyme, before tape and reverbs, the staff announcers at the station, on hiring, were instructed in the proper way to identify the station. It was not "K-V-O-Oh," but a distinct elision of the "V" and the first "O." It came out "K-VO-Oh." Dat's what management wanted, and dats what management got.

(from Guestbook 27) Frank Morrow said:

Sleepwalkers' Serenade

Hollis C. "Doc" Hull did "Sleepwalkers' Serenade" for a long time (in the 50s) starting at midnight on KVOO. It featured music, sneak voices, and Doc's dry voice, with wit to match. He was extremely popular, both on and off mike. During the program Doc would often refer to his day job, which was working in a funeral home which he called the "Body Shop." Doc did dialogs with a character called "Terry the Termite," which was Doc's voice speeded up and recorded earlier. The show was sponsored by Tulsa Camera-Record. He would have some munchies with him each night which he always claimed to have been purchased at "Aunt Bertha's Sweet Tooth, Cheerful Kitchen." Doc later moved over to KRMG to do the evening shift. Few people probably realized it, but Doc was also a Justice of the Peace. He showed his office/court room to me one night.

Before Doc did the late night show on KVOO, Walter Teas was host, and the program was called "The Worry Bird Club," featuring the raucous call of Woody Woodpecker. I'm not sure of the years or how long it ran until Teas got a daytime shift.

Doc Hull on Sleepwalkers' Serenade with Frank Morrow, 1951Hear Doc Hull with Frank Morrow and colleagues on "Sleepwalker's Serenade", Central High KVOO day, 1951 (courtesy of Frank Morrow)

"Sleepwalker's Serenade" is on the 1952 Tulsa radio schedule.

Sleepwalkers' Serenade openingHear the echoey "K-V-O-O" station ID, then the jazzy blues noir opening for Sleepwalker's Serenade with Jack Campbell, 1966.
(courtesy of Joe Riddle and Wayne McCombs) RealPlayer info

(via email, 2/11/2005 and GroupBlogs 180 and 255) Scott Linder said:

Jack Campbell's "Sleepwalker's Serenade" theme was part of a PAMS jingle package recorded for KVOO circa 1966. The theme was recorded in Dallas at the PAMS studios. Yes, the theme is very Mancini-ish with rather dark and dense chords scored in lower brass and french horn, with straight-muted trumpets, reed and xylophone accents. The rhythm parts are very much in the background, consistent with recording practice at that time... drums recorded with a single overhead mic, etc. The session was mono.

KVOO engineer Mo Billington did a loop-edit omitting the vocal intro. Jack often used this as an underscore before a toss to news, etc. I often started Jack's theme just as he was pulling-up in the parking lot on the south side of what was then "Broadcast Center" on Peoria. He would stop by the record library, grab a couple of LP's, say "hello", enter the booth and open his mic during the last eight bars of the sax solo.

The KVOO PAMS package consisted of 28 mono cuts. They ran the gamut from show IDs to generic weather, sports and seasonal bumpers and intros. The only personalized cuts were the Jack Campbell "Sleepwalkers" theme and a intro for the "Coffee with Jay" morning show with Jay Jones. All other cuts were re-sings of standard PAMS arrangements. The PAMS package was purchased as part of the new "Solid Gold" identity for KVOO in the late sixties.

As far as I know, the "Sleepwalkers" theme was not a stock track, and was done as a "custom" for KVOO and Jack Campbell. The PAMS master tapes in the KVOO library consisted of two 10.5 inch reels of 1/4" tape recorded at 15ips, full track mono.

By the way, I have quite a nice recording of the entire KVOO PAMS package.

As a late-teen I visited Jack Campbell during many of his "Sleepwalker's Serenade" and "Music for Pleasant Dreams" shifts at Broadcast Center in Brookside. ( Remember those "bubble-windows" on the second floor? ) The announce booth was then on the west side of master control and sported a home-brew console, two Western Electric 639B mics, RCA turntables with Grey arms and GE VR series cartridges and a couple of Magnecord PT63 tape machines. The booth was later moved to the east side of master control and the equipment was up-graded to a Gates Stereo Yard console (running mono), a Sennheiser 421 mic, the RCA tables and Gates cart machines.

Jack Campbell at KVOO-AM, July 20th 1969, courtesy of Scott Comstock
Jack Campbell on Sleepwalkers Serenade the night of the moon landing, July 20, 1969. (By Scott Comstock)

The booths fed one input of the master Collins console in Master Control which also sported four RCA tables with "Cobra" arms, two Gates consoles, and two Ampex 300 full-track tape machines all backed by seven racks of support gear, Langevin DAs and many dual-pin patch bays with tie-lines to everywhere ( including "Convention Hall" and the Philtower Building PA for playback of music during the Holidays!! ) All monitors in Master Control and the announce booths were Bozak and were spec'ed by engineer Harry Rasmussen who later owned Sound Unlimited in Brookside .

(The "Cobra" pickup arms on the turntables in Master Control were Fairchilds. The large "cobra head" feature accomodated three cartridges: microgroove plus lateral and vertical transcription, and were rotated into place via a knob on the end of the arm shell. Pat Tobin, long-time KVOO engineer, designed a custom arm-rest to replace the somewhat flimsy Fairchild version.)

Before the station went to carts, all spots were cut to 10" discs by Jack Moore on a Westrex lathe located behind the control room of the recording studio.

The MOR and classical music library was astonishing....rows of LPs and early 16" transcriptions...all cared-for by librarian Tubby Young. Tubby swore me into Tulsa Musician's Local 94 in 1964...yes, I'm still a member... He was President of the Local for many years, and we had many conversations about music and his career and experiences at KVOO.

As my visits to the station increased, I became acquinted with many members of the staff who taught me a great deal about electronics, radio, production and music. Chief Engineer Jack Bushnell... engineers Ernie Frisco, Les Nichols, and Mo Billington...announcers Jay Jones, Don Gilbert, Dick Charles, and Bill Ryan...and last but not least, announcer Jack Campbell. Jack has had a profound impact on my appreciation of music and production. We remain friends to this day, and often exchange recordings and chat about our experiences at the station and his days as "The Old Sleepwalker"......sponsored by Gray's Jewelers and the then-new Accutron Watch. Jack used to do a "time check" for Accutron wearers. And, of course, there was the nightly poem riddle.... Jack recently sent me two now out-of-print Anita Kerr Singers recordings which he often aired. Gee, it was great to hear them again after all these years!! Incidently, Jack's son recently gave him an iPod so that he can easily archive his favorite music.

(from Guestbook 129) Steve Bagsby said:

When I was a kid, it seemed like Jack Campbell and Jay Jones were the "Voices of Tulsa". I once got to tour the old Peoria studio as part of Boy Scout Explorers project. If I ever build my own "Mad Scientist Laboratory", I would want it to look like that.

KVOO postcard
Click for larger view of the KVOO Peoria studio built in 1954.

Monitor (Take 2) by Dennis Hart

(from Guestbook 160) John Young said:

Does anyone here remember an NBC radio show called "Monitor"? It aired on NBC Radio from 1955 to 1974 or so. I had heard my parents mention it a few times in the past and about how great a show it was. I came up with this site: MonitorBeacon.net. It has history, photos, audio clips (some of which are 30 minute segments) and other interesting information. What stations carried this radio show in Tulsa? Does anyone know?

KVOO-AM was the NBC Radio affiliate from the 40s through the 60s.

The Monitor "Beacon" ID is unforgettable; hear it at the above link.

(from Guestbook 102) Frank Morrow said:

NBC chimesDidn't NBC carry over to TV for a while the three bongs that they used on network radio as the last thing heard before they turned over the air time for the local station break? This sound became instilled in American culture. The these three notes were used occasionally to represent broadcasting itself.

I remember that for many years the chimes were played rather slowly, about three seconds worth---not more than five---starting at five seconds before the local announcer was to begin his call letters. Later, just about the time TV started up, they started speeding up the notes, so that it took about half the time as the original notes.

I also have a vague recollection of KVOO having a set of chimes in the announcers' booth to be used when necessary.

(from Guestbook 102) Lowell Burch said:

I believe the KVOO NBC chimes are up in the Hale High School Library. They certainly have their own sound, so mellow. Makes me wonder what type of alloy was used to make them.

Lowell later found three pages on the NBC chimes: The NBC Chimes Machine, NBC Chimes, and The NBC Network Chimes...everything you conceivably might want to know...and you can hear them, too.

(from Guestbook 129) Don Norton said:

In 1950 (that's 53 years ago, kids!) I worked for several months in the KVOO newsroom as an intern under the redoubtable Ken Miller ("Pioneer Radio News Editor of the Southwest" in his publicity). At the time he was trying to develop a Paul Harvey-type opening for the 10 p.m. news (before the first commercial) and he pretty well ruined Bill Cardin's style doing it.

The news then was read by Cy Tuma, Roy McKee, Johnny Ryan (nee Trigg), and any other announcer. Carl Boye was the morning news editor.

(from Guestbook 25) Jim Ruddle said:

I doubt if many people know that (future Tulsa TV news anchor) Cy Tuma worked as a staff announcer at KVOO radio under the name "Paul Shepherd." Of course, he also played clarinet with the Eggs at Eight combo, which included Tubby Young on bass.

Cy with Tex Harper, George Maras & Kenny McMeins (1946)
Cy at KVOO with George Maras, Tex Harper & Kenny McMeins (1946)

(from Guestbook 15) Lowell Burch said:

Correct me if I am wrong but I believe that KVOO was originally located in the Philtower, hence the antenna of old. When you drive by, remember Paul Harvey, Bob Wills, Will Rogers, Gene Autry and a string of other greats walked through those doors to broadcast prior to and during the early days of Tulsa TV.

KVOO Oil Night Club, 1938
KVOO studios were located on the 23rd floor of the Philtower in 1938, the year of this souvenir.

KVOO moved from the Wright Building to the Philtower in 1934.
The frequency changed from 1140 to 1170 Kc on March 24, 1941.
Power increased from 10,000 to 25,000 watts in 1931, and then to

50,000 watts in 1943.

(from Guestbook 191) The webmaster said:

In 1938, announcer Bob De Haven corresponded with L. Ron Hubbard in his pulp-writing, pre-Scientology days. Hubbard's writing philosophy was presented on KVOO, March 10, 1938.

(from Guestbook 28) Frank Morrow said:

KVOO's announcers told me---and occasionally said on the air---that they had to include, "Philtower," on their top-of-the-hour station breaks in order "to pay the rent."

In Guestbook 97, reader Don Norton recalled visiting KVOO-AM in the Philtower a few months after the attack on Pearl Harbor (Dec, 7, 1941). He noted that KVOO was heard fairly regularly in the South Pacific. Frank Morrow and Jim Ruddle also tell personal stories of the mood in Tulsa at that time.

(from Guestbook 34) Frank Morrow said:

In the 50s, the main attempt of radio to meet the TV challenge was to come up with slogans and self-congratulatory promos. For instance, in 1951, KVOO had its receptionist answer the phone with, "Wherever you go, there's radio. KVOO."

(from Guestbook 39) JoeC said:

Herb Jepko! Let's all sing...

"We're the Nitecaps, Nitey Nitecaps, and we hail from everywhere...
But we meet and greet and reminisce, when we broadcast over the air..."

I used to throw a Tulsa World paper route in the early 70s. KVOO carried that show before KVOO went country.

John Hillis(from Guestbook 39) John Hillis said:

Herb Jepko came out of KSL in Salt Lake City, a 50kw blowtorch owned by the Mormon Church. He wasn't on Saturday overnights because of Mormon religious programming. Decades before Seinfeld, he did 36 hours on the air a week about nothing: essentially old folks and other insomniacs and non-sleepers and whatever they wanted to talk about. I think he had a couple of cardinal rules--no religion, no politics. A lot of nostalgic recollections, and very looong calls.

In the mid-70's the Mutual Network, then owned by the founders of Amway, put him on nationwide. I think he got about 70 stations, which wasn't as bad as it sounds because probably most of Mutual's affiliates were daytimers that weren't on the air after dark.

Sponsors were as hard to find as big-power Mutual stations, however, and Jepko was pulled from the net and replaced by a harder-edged host out of Miami who was just pulling out of bankruptcy--Larry Zeiger, nom de air, Larry King.

Webmaster: Larry King replaced Herb on Mutual in 1978 (after the interim reign of legendary overnight broadcaster Long John Nebel).

Visit Joe Buchman's Nitecaps.net/audioclips.htm to read more and to hear "The Nitecap Song". According to his appendix to Sounds in the dark, a history of late night radio, Herb's Nitecap Radio Network was carried on KVOO from October 1969 through September 1971.

That's when I heard the show on my Zenith transistor radio. To me, it seemed exotic, originating from distant Salt Lake City and lasting into the wee hours, which I rarely inhabited in those days. Funny, I liked both non-controversial Herb as well as his polar opposite, Joe Pyne, in that time period.

Google Groups (the new home of Usenet newsgroup archives) has many comments about Herb and his show.

On February 17, 2010, Rollye James broadcast on XM Channel 158 a Herb Jepko tribute program with Dr. Buchman. Listen on MP3. I believe I heard a reference to this very KVOO page by Rollye! More about the show at Nitecaps.net.

Illustration by Gailard Sartain (courtesy of David Bagsby)

Illustration by Gailard Sartain

Hear a 1968 KVOO news opening in Guestbook 187 (courtesy of Michael Dean)

(from Guestbooks 2, 5, 24, 89 and 110) Mike Bruchas said:

Coming to Tulsa in Aug. of '69 - I listened to KVOO every morning . It was MOR (middle of the road) and NBC. Vince Paul was the morning man - I believe followed by Jay Jones.

KVOO carried the Cards games and we had so many St. Louis escapees in the dorm at TU - you could hear the Cards games off radios from room-to-room in some hallways. LOYAL fans! (St. Louis was the parent team of the Tulsa Oilers in those years)

Long before KVOO was country - it had Bob Wills and his Playboys on every day at noon performing live. KTUL radio was only a 5000(?) watt AM but tried to compete with its country bands - like Al Clauser (later he was Uncle Zeke on the Uncle Zeb Show) and the Oklahoma Outlaws.

Wasn't Jack Cresse the long time KVOO Programming Director?

Does KVOO still broadcast in AM Stereo - they were one of the first, though the AM Stereo thing never caught on.

(from Guestbooks 41 and 89) Roy Byram said:

My home was one block east of the KVOO radio xmitter on 11th st.

Remember when KVOO radio went country/western? (about 1971) The first DJ was Billy Parker. He and a gang of C/W types held court at a cafe on, I think, 11th Street towards downtown. Anyone remember the name?

 Billy Parker at KVOO Read about legendary country musician and award-winning KVOO DJ Billy Parker, and his 90s radio podner, writer John Wooley, and Western Swing.

(from Guestbook 129) Si Hawk said:

Every time I browse your site I get overwhelmed with thoughts about people and stations that were really great. There's very little here about KVOO, really the granddaddy of radio systems for the area. I came across a great picture of the news team at KVOO in 1976 and thought I'd share it along with the various people in the picture. If you or someone else can recall some additional information, I'd love to read it.

1976 KVOO news team, courtesy of Si Hawk

At left is Neil Kennedy who had previously reported for the Tulsa Tribune (I believe) before coming to KVOO. I've since heard him reporting for KRMG.

Next is Jack Campbell who had been with KVOO for years (long before it was Country). Jack hosted a show I used to listen to in the early 60s called "Sleepwalkers' Serenade", I believe. His professional delivery was the real heart of KVOO news.

Third is Ramona Huffman, who anchored at KOTV for several years before overseeing the construction and management of the broadcast facilities at Rogers State College. She has since passed away;

Fourth is Tom Moffit, who had come from KAKC news back in that station's hayday.

Fifth is News Director Alan Lambert who had previously done weather on KVOO-TV. After Ramona's death, Alan left KVOO and took the reins of the broadcast facilities at RSC. He also has hosted the "Big Band Saturday Night" program on KBEZ-FM.

Marti Coffman is next. Marti always gave each news report a smooth and dynamic delivery, the epitome of professionalism.

Seventh is Jack Moore who had been with KVOO since the '50's I believe. Jack was a man of many broadcast credentials. You'll even find him listed as the engineer on a number of music albums produced in Tulsa.

Eighth is Si Hawk. He left KVOO to be the first morning drive host for KBEZ and later went to KJRH for a number of years.

(from Guestbook 152) Alan Lambert said:

I remember Jack Moore well! I watched him record Charlie Daniels in the old master recording studio at KVOO on the second floor of Channel 2 (We called it KVOO Broadcast Center in those days.) Charlie was doing British rock in those days... before he went country.

Jack later joined us in news... we had quite a crew. We had one of the largest radio news staffs in Oklahoma history.

Jack gave a bunch to not only KVOO but certainly to the Tulsa Press Club and the Gridiron (his whole family has). Goodbye Jack Moore.

(from GroupBlog 263 and email) Barry Robb said:

I just discovered the great KVOO page on this site. Memories and emotions keep flooding in. I worked in Tulsa during the mid 70s at KTOW, KGOW, KXXO, KMOD (I was on the very first staff hired when SA Broadcasting turned it back on doing album-oriented rock. I worked 12 mid-6 am on weekends. I think Ted Terry did the graveyard during the week. Jim Smyrl was their first PD), and KVOO. Then in the late 70s/early 80s at KTFX before moving to Oklahoma City where I worked at KOMA (1999-2001) with the likes of Danny Williams, Kent Jones, Ronnie Kaye and Fred Hendrickson.

I saw the Big Country news team picture in front of the news vehicles with Alan Lambert and the rest of his news gang. That picture was taken when I was on the air at KVOO. Many of those guys did the news on my show. I worked the 3-7 pm shift. I can't believe I was a part of that great station in its heyday! Looking back now, I can see what an honor that really has come to be.

I was there only for a year or so. But I thought you might want to know. So here is who was on in 1976 when that news team picture was taken as I remember. I am not remembering who was on the am and mid-morning shifts very well though. So, I might have the am shifts off a little since I didn't have to be at the station for my shift until 12 noon and it has been 32 years ago too. But I believe the jock line-up at the time I was there (1975-1976) was:

Jack Fox (am drive), Jay Jones (mid-mornings), Barry Robb (afternoon drive 3-7 pm), Ralph Everly (evenings 7-12 mid), and Billy Parker's All Night Road Show (12 mid-5 am). I think that's right, but I do know the afternoon and night line-up is right.

Demi Rosenthal doing the news at KVOO

Dave "Tex" Irwin at KVOO

Both photos courtesy of Mike Bruchas, circa mid-1970s

(from Guestbook 52 and 152) John Hillis:

Favorite Tulsa TV show or personality: Beally Pahkah (as the English DJ on KVOO would pronounce him)

Jack Moore was a class gent, and KVOO was pound-for-pound the best radio newsroom in town in the late '70's, no small praise when you consider the calibre of KRMG in the days of Jim Back, Ed Brocksmith and Don Cummins.

KVOO in the Big Country Days would have put a commercial or promotion of personal appearances in front of the Bagsby Bros. "Talahina Hula"--a nifty piece of steel git work that makes me smile every time I play the (legally downloaded) mp3. Can't wait for the "abum" to be released.

That Englishman was Garry Kemp. He was a memorable on-air talent at KWGS-FM in the 70s before his KVOO stint. He started on British pirate station Radio Caroline in the mid-60s. Hear a couple of sound checks with Garry at The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. I met him at the 2004 Tulsa Radio Icons event.

Garry told us more about his career at the webmaster's request in Guestbook 185.

KVOO Big Country The Big Country jingle  (courtesy of Wayne McCombs and Joe Riddle)

KVOO Big Country

(from Guestbook 149) Steve Bagsby said:

I was listening to a tape of a Cain's Ballroom remote from 1957-58. Bob Wills had come back to Tulsa and had merged his band with his brother Johnnie Lee. Johnny Ryan was working the remote and at the and of one the segments, an announcer back at the studio says -- "This is KVOO Tulsa - Oil Capitol of The World".

Noel Confer today(from Guestbook 149) Noel Confer said:

Knowing that most of you think and talk about me a lot, I am prompted by this talk of K-V-O-O to make a confession. I know some have been waiting for it.

Johnnie Lee Wills, Tulsa Stampede, 1951 For the 1948 Central "KVOO Days," I was assigned noon broadcast of Johnnie Lee Wills from Cain's. It was, of course, live. Some of you know and most have heard, that a live "goof" became history. Done and lost forever. I had several live breaks selling something or other that adorned lots of "simulated diamonds." I, however, pronounced it each time as "stimulated diamonds."

Later I excused my mistake with "simulated": "SIMULATED!? I never heard of the word 'simulated' and I don't know anyone who has!!" It was just my luck to say that to my old friend Jim Ruddle, who, of course, replied, "I have," and then proceeded to give me the proper definition. I haven't spoken to him since.

Note the misspelling of Johnnie Lee's name on the 1951 Tulsa Stampede program above.

The CD "Band's a Rockin'" (sound samples at Amazon.com) is the 1949-1951 Wills band, partially recorded at KVOO.

KVOO scheduled Johnnie Lee after midnight on the 1947 Tulsa radio schedule.

The end of KVOO-AM


(from Guestbook 108) The webmaster said:

Driving home from a night shift, I just heard Bob O'Shea on 50,000 watt KVOO-AM acknowledging many names from KVOO's long history, such as Harold Stuart, Jay Jones and Billy Parker. These were KVOO-AM's final moments of existence.

I heard the last three songs ever to be played on KVOO-AM: "Hello Out There" (Billy Parker), "T-U-L-S-A, Straight Ahead" (Asleep at the Wheel) and "Take Me Back To Tulsa" (Bob Wills).

At midnight, May 15, 2002, KVOO-AM was signed off after 75+ years on the air and transmogrified into KFAQ (mostly amped-up syndicated political opinion, plus news).


(from Guestbook 169) John Hillis said:

John HillisRadio stations, particularly the big heritage ones like KVOO, built up a lot of connection with their communities over the years; and even with migration of audience to FM, there's a sense of loss when one of these blowtorches has to wither from a business sense from what it was.

The greatest part of the audience mostly doesn't care, but for many listeners dating back even to the days when KVOO was a voice you could ride all the way to the Texas line by day and much farther by night, the sadness is very real indeed.

While it would be probably fiscally impossible to have KVOO soldier on as a music station, serving a shrinking population that isn't likely to grow under the best of circumstances, there's still a little hole in the ether around 1170, amongst the syndicated talk stuff. Sounds odd to say, especially for a town like Tulsa that prides itself on being able to re-invent, tear down, and build up again, but Evolution is sometimes much overrated.

(from Guestbook 169) Billy G. Spradlin said:

...I miss KVOO-AM, it was my father's favorite station and we used to have "radio wars" in the car when I was teenager. My brother and I would badger him to tune it to KELi or KAKC for a couple minutes and it never failed that my father would flip-flip-flip it back to 1170.

(from Guestbook 158) Lee Woodward said:

Carl Gregory lamented the lost archives of KVOO-AM Radio; as did I some time back concerning all the Rare and Lost Monday night broadcasts of the Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra. I do know that the President of the local Musicians Union (Tubby Young, at that time) had posssession of them. You wouldn't believe the talent roster over the years. Wouldn't those be a find?

(from Guestbook 118) Big Carl said:

I am really sad to see Big Country 1170 KVOO gone. In my Mom and Dad's old house, they had an intercom with an AM/FM dial indicator radio in it. After 40+ years of being dialed into KVOO, it would not pick up any other stations. I miss this station very much.

Courtesy of Joe Taylor
1982 bumpersticker courtesy of Joe Taylor

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