Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Wishing you good thoughts during this restless night.

Friday, August 19, 2005

KJHK Lore - The Lou Reed ID

Here's another KJHK relic: The Lou Reed ID. Like many of the artist ID's in the studio, No one seems to remember how it got recorded. There are four possibilities:

1) A field recording was made at a concert venue.
2) A production room recording was made following a live in-studio interview.
3) An ID was recorded over the phone.
4) A reel of tape may have arrived from the record company as part of a promo package in support of a album.

There are several well-known examples of field-recorded KJHK IDs: drops from the members of X, and the Go-Go's were recognizable as field recordings by the amount noise in the background. Our Lou Reed mention is recorded in quiet surroundings. So it's not a field recording.

We had a few phone IDs. My favorite was from Patti Smith, who identified the station correctly, but seemed to say "in Lawrence Canyon" instead of Lawrence, Kansas. Phone lines have limited fidelity and Lou is obviously in front of a microphone and not a handset.

I can't rule out a visit to Sudler annex. Lou played in Lawrence and Kansas City in the late 70s and early 80s, but it seems unlikely that Mr. Velvet Underground would be available for the college radio handshake tour. He just didn't need it.

That leaves the fourth option: the promo tape from the record company. The probability of this was reinforced by the fact that KJHK had other unsolicited IDs in its collection: Ace Frehley from KISS and Nikki Six from Motley Crue. We never played KISS or Crue records so why did we have the IDs? For years I never knew. I figured they were bogus. When I located some copies of these old IDs, the Frehley ID was included and after listening to it again and then seeing an interview with Ace on VH-1's "When KISS ruled the world" I am convinced that we had the real Frehley on tape.

I believe the KJHK Lou Reed ID was a gift of sorts from his record company and that he spent an afternoon in the studio reading a list of similiar IDs for stations all across the country. They were mastered to Reel-to-reel tape, dubbed onto five inch reels and distributed. A few stations like KJ treasured them. I suspect most were discarded. If you know more, drop a line.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Keep the Dead Air Coming

I had the dead air dream again...

I was back at the radio station. This time the country format included Van Halen records and nobody thought it was strange. I took the controls in the air studio and settled in for my air shift. The song ended before I cued up the next one on the playlist. It was on reel-to-reel tape of all things and I had no time to find the correct cut. I hit play and fired up the first number. I was cueing up the next song (also on reel-to-reel) when I noticed the first tape ran out. I scrambled to keep the silence to a minimum but lost the battle.

I've been out of radio for almost ten years, but my sub-conscious maintains that dead air is my worst nightmare. That dream re-occurs a couple times a year. I'd much rather dream about silence on the air waves than something really bad, like losing a loved one. So word to my brain, keep the dead air coming.

Here's a practical joke you radio people can play on a co-worker. Brad Olson pulled it on me back at KKCJ in 1994 and I have to admit it was a good one. Wait until the jock on duty leaves the air studio to go to the bathroom or have a smoke. Go in and turn the studio monitor all the way down. Panic and hilarity ensues when the jock returns to total silence in the control room. Hardy-har!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Hidden history revealed - The REM/dBs station I.D.

I took time recently to figure out how to hook up my dad's vintage Nakamichi 500 cassette deck to my computer. I've got a stack of old cassette tapes that will wear out eventually and I wanted to dump the audio into my hard drive and convert the highlights to .mp3.

While listening to a tape from the KJHK era (1984-1987), I found this station I.D. with elements of R.E.M. (probably Mike Mills) and the dB's telling you that you're listening to KJHK.

I had doubted in a previous post that anyone from REM did an interview the day of the Hoch auditorium concert (September, 1984) until I uncovered this audio relic. I don't know how I could have forgotten about it. The cart stayed in the air studio and was played hundreds of times over the next few years. Now it appears that they did make it over to the shack at sudler annex for a brief interview and an improvised recording session that featured a harmonica version of the Andy Griffith theme in the background. I've got a couple of other station I.D.s and perhaps I'll post a few more for your listening pleasure.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Elvis & Emmy Lou

Former KJHK jock and Shawnee Mission North graduate Joe Kellogg ('84) saw Elvis Costello and Emmy Lou Harris last week in Chicago and posted this synopsis:
Gigantic purple velvet curtains as a back drop.

No opening band, 8pm Elvis and the band walk out and with no introduction or chat and immediately jump into 30 minutes of all “Attractions” era songs.

8:30 Emmy Lou comes out and they sing together for and hour, not all her stuff, not his stuff . . . I think they even did a Hank Sr. song! If Elvis wasn’t a part of one of her songs vocally he was playing.

At one point Elvis announces they’re really going to get into the country music and rattles something like, “not the country music you’re thinking of, not like that Toby Keith, you know I saw a picture of Toby Keith the other day holding a martini glass and I thought . . . . that’s so un-American” I loved that quote.

9:30 Emmy Lou leaves and Elvis kicks it up a notch with another 30 minutes of more recent songs.

10:00 They leave (but barely for a minute) before coming out for what turned out to be an hour long encore . . . an encore that included Emmy Lou. She sang with Elvis on all his songs and they sounded great together doing his stuff. It looked like they were having a blast doing Pump It Up! He was even doing schlock rock type guitar moves. They also sang the Stones’ Wild Horses which sounded cool. They ended with a war protest song . . . somber but a cool way to end.

All said and done Elvis was on stage non-stop playing from 8 till 11, never taking off his bright blue jacket or tie. Definitely got the $15 worth.

Thanks Joe!