Bob's Career in Radio

My radio career started officially on New Years Day of 1968. I had just graduated from Draughon's School of Radio in Little Rock. Filled with the energy of a twentysomething, and armed with my FCC 3rd Class Radio Ticket (with BROADCAST ENDORSEMENT) I was eager to become a . . .


(Yes, it's the 1977 renewal certificate, but they take the original when you renew)

My first radio job was at KOTN in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, working with one of the Great Ones, Mr. Buddy Deane. It was Top 40 radio in it's finest hour. The "Electric Sixties" were giving way to the "Psychedelic Sixties" and new avenues of musical expression were forged on a daily basis. It was probably the most exciting time in modern music history, and I was very fortunate to be on the cutting edge of this exciting medium. We didn't play the hits, we made them!

I worked there for about 8 months before moving over to KPBA, also in Pine Bluff. After only working there for a couple of months I got a job offer to work in Rogers at KAMO as DJ and News Director which brought a higher salary. I was getting married so I needed more income. KAMO was owned by Leon McAuliffe, the steel guitarist for Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. Bob's drummer, "Smokey" Dacus, was the General Manager of the station. The station utilized "block programming", so we would have all sorts of music played during the day. I played the rock format and held a 1PM to 6PM time slot. The turnover rate in radio was always high in those days, as station managers worried that their announcers would become stale, so DJ's tended to move around a lot. I was no exception and got the axe after about 10 months there.

Lady luck was with me and within a week I got a job in Ft. Smith at KFPW, working for manager Jack Freeze, who was mayor of Ft. Smith at the time. The format was Easy Listening but that didn't bother me for a couple of reasons. First, I grew up on the old standards from listening to my mom play and second I was now married and had a baby on the way and really could use the income. I ran the 10AM to 4PM slot at KFPW for several months when an opening became available at 5,000 watt KWHN right there in town. The General Manager was Glenn O'Neal and the format was Top 40, right up my alley. And, as luck would have it, a 100,000 Watt Stereo giant, KMAG Radio had been having considerable financial troubles for some time and the owners of KWHN bought KMAG and we began simulcasting our two stations. I was moved to the 3PM to Midnight (sign off) slot and hosted the "1320 Club". KWHN broadcast 5,000 watts unidirectional to sunset, then switched to directional until signoff. We had 4 large towers lined up in a row and pointed our signal directly into the heart of Texas. Meanwhile KMAG was broadcast from atop Mt. Magazine (highest elevation in Arkansas) with 100,000 watts in glorious stereo! My Abritron Ratings were going through the roof and at about the same time I started my Album Review program.


I did a nightly Top 10 countdown immediately following the 10PM newscast which took me to 11PM. Album review ran for one full hour right up to sign off. I played everything and anything I wanted to as long as it was an album cut. I was on every major record label's mailing list and received literally hundreds of new product every single week. My show was on at the same time as Clyde Clifford's famous "Beaker Street" show on 50,000 watt AM KAAY, broadcasting from Little Rock. Sometimes during an evening's broadcast Clyde and I would be talking on the phone together and decide to play with our listener's minds. We would both play the same song at the same time and freak out the channel surfers. Boy! Those were wild times and did I get some strange mail!

I worked at KWHN/KMAG for about five years. After that I did a brief stint running the graveyard shift at KISR in Ft. Smith, but radio had changed a lot by then. There were formulas and playlists. Radio personalities were "out" and automation was "in". It just wasn't the same and there was no way I could have topped my prime years at KWHN/KMAG. I finally called it quits for radio and my new career as a recording engineer prompted me to move back to my hometown in July of 1976 and establish my lifelong dream of having a recording studio in the hills of Arkansas.

Since that time I have only had a couple of excursions into the field of radio announcing. The most memorable was when I teamed up with my old pal Ray Miller, and we produced "The Bob and Ray or Ray and Bob" radio show, which aired for exactly one year. You can read all about this show by clicking here.

For the complete story of my years in radio broadcasting, go HERE !


KOTN Radio in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
KWHN/KMAG in Ft. Smith, Arkansas
KISR-FM in Ft. Smith, Arkansas
The Bob & Ray Radio Show in Mountain Home, Arkansas

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