Monday, November 10, 2008

KXXK "The Groovy One" (1968-1971)

Interview with Dick Roth conducted November, 2008

One of things I've enjoyed about this blog (and my accompanying Web site,, is meeting so many people who used to work in radio, and were a part of these recordings. What's been equally exciting is meeting so many people who have helped me locate some wonderful hidden gems.

Case in point: Last month the local Austin paper did a nice feature on my Web site. As a result I received a wonderful e-mail from a gentleman who asked if I would be willing to give a good home to some radio records he had.

He's a local salon owner, who had a long time client named Don Selden. Don was a professional percussionist by trade who, along with performing with the Dallas Symphony and local jazz bands, would often work on radio station jingle recordings in Dallas. What this wonderful, generous gentleman had to give me were three 10" records, containing over 40 different jingles for Dalllas radio station KXXK - featuring his friend Don Selden.

Sample of KXXK jingle (circa 1968-1971)

According to Mike Shannon's wonderful tribute site to Dallas/Fort Worth Radio:

KXXK, Dallas. Call letters established 5/25/1968. Format: Adult Contemporary (fashioned after WPIX-FM in New York, according to Jack Darden; a "watered-down KIXL, with light pop hits," according to Art Riley.) Owner: Dawson Communications Inc. (purchased 4/4/1968.) Notables: Roy (Royce) Applegate aka Jimmy Kemper (later a character actor,) Joe McChesney (PD; known better as "J. Morgan Van Buren" on KBOX in the mid-1960s,) Jack Darden (5/1968-11/1969,) Marshall Martin, Lee Bales , Charlie Whitaker (OM,) Dick Roth aka Dick Marshall, David Hultsman, Art Riley, Irene Runnels , Lynn Christian (SM.) Remained located at Suite 257B in Exchange Park, and upgraded power to 60,300 watts "circular polarization," as the station called it. Transmitter was in the basement with the studios, and the tower was mounted to the building's roof...despite being dangerously close to Love Field flight patterns!

"The KXXK disk you are referring to is very clear in my mind as I had a slight hand in it at the time," said former station disc jockey Dick Roth (aka Dick Marshall). "In late 1968, Gordon McLendon of McLendon Broadcasting had brought me back to Dallas from KABL AM/FM in San Francisco, CA where I had been working weekends as a newsman, DJ, and automation/control room engineer. I had just gotten out of the service and worked at KLIF/KNUS through the summer of 1969 when McLendon wanted me to go down to KTSA/KTFM in San Antonio to help set up their Shaffer Automation system. I was to work on the air, and be the assistant Chief Engineer for Coleman Barber who was the current CE. The problem was that the job didn't start until January of 1970. So Lenny Henderson (cousin Lenny), who was working the night shift at KXXK and I literally swaped shifts at the end of the summer. He came to KLIF, and I went to KXXK."

At that time, KXXK was owned by Dawson Communication and was being managed by Moe Gardner, engineered by Lee Bales (a McLendon alum), and programmed by Joe McChesney (from WRR and another McLendon alum). "Because I sang for one of the PAMS of Dallas 'Jingle Groups' once or twice a month, and Joe valued my opinion, on my second day of work, Joe, Lee and David Beckham, (one of the stations 'board ops'), called me into the production room to listen to those jingles, and let me hear the new campaign and direction the station was going to take. We listened to the entire package and collectively decided which jingles to recomend to Moe Gardner as the start-up rotation."

Janie Fricke and I both sang for PAMS and TM, together and at different times during the sixties and seventies, however I didn't have anything to do with the production of these jingles. The lead female voice on these jingles sounds like Peggy Lauren who was one of the other people that sang in our circle. There were several, (interchangable) groups singing in those days and you couldn't always get them all together at one time so there were often 'subs' in each group at any given session."

Roth left the station in early January, 1970. In 1971, KXXK became KOAX - a beautiful music station. The successful format would last until 1985. The station then went through numerous format changes, and is known today as KLLI "Live 105.3."

1 comment:

Timmy said...

Great jingle. A little laid back, but then, THAT was the idea, right?