Something New: Everything BUT Radio!

Even true Radio Geeks like us have lives beyond radio…right? Because life in the radio world is kind of slow right now and there’s not much going on, I have created a new category topic: “Everything BUT Radio.” Alternatively, this could be titled “Drew’s Irrelevant Non-Radio Ramblings.”

Consider this the “pot luck” of Radio Geek Heaven. You never know what’s going to turn up on here! The only stipulation is that it will NOT be about radio. If I come across something that I think may be interesting to the group, I’ll post it here. I’m 52 now, so I figure I better start posting this stuff while I can still remember it all!

Kmart In-Store Music Tape Christmas 1974

Here is one of the most bizarre things I have ever come across on YouTube. Someone has unearthed a reel-to-reel tape containing Kmart’s in-store Christmas music from 1974:

The music selection changed very little over the years. I worked at Kmart during high school (1980-82) and remember hearing many of these same songs. The “Kmart is all the things a great store should be” jingle was still in use then. Announcer voice sounded the same. “Smoking is not permitted on the sales floor. For your safety and convenience, smoking is permitted only at the snack bar.” By this time, the reels had been replaced with large gray cartridges. They looked like a severely oversized 8-track tape. Playing time was 2 hours. Then, the song sequence would repeat. If you were a Kmart employee, you knew every song on the tape and how often it would play during your shift!

A Day in the Life of a Domino’s Pizza Delivery Guy

Nearly every radio person has had other jobs at one time or another. Sometimes, this is to supplement the ridiculously low radio salaries. Other times, it is because one is “in between radio jobs” (the polite term for “I got fired”) and needs money NOW to pay the bills. As was the case with me back in 1986. For approximately 2 months, I delivered for Domino’s Pizza of Shakopee, Minnesota.

Dominos_Name_Tag

This was really not a bad gig. I was given a regular paycheck plus cash nightly as reimbursement for my car expenses. I drove a 1973 Buick Century which only got 12 miles per gallon, but the price of a gallon of gas in 1986 was only 90 cents. It all worked out. Delivering pizzas was still a safe way to earn a living back in those days. Saturday nights were the best. Most of my deliveries were to house parties. People would invite you in and tip you well. There was no shortage of drunks making “bad orders” (nobody home) on the weekends, so lots of free food for the crew to enjoy. If a pizza was undeliverable, it came back to the store and we got to eat it! “Crew pies” were a Domino’s Pizza fringe benefit that we all looked forward to. Oh, and the free name tags 🙂

Rewound Radio Dan Ingram 4th of July Weekend Special

Allen Sniffen and his crew comes through again with a GREAT Rewound Radio holiday weekend special! “The Life & Times of Dan Ingram: In His Own Words” airs on Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 12 Noon Eastern Time. It’s a big SIX hour tribute to one of the greatest Top 40 radio personalities the world has ever known. At the conclusion of the program, “Dan Ingram Electric Radio Theater” will begin. Continuous Dan Ingram airchecks all the way through the 4th of July. Don’t miss it!

Rewound Radio WABC Memorial Day Weekend Special

Looking for something to listen to this holiday weekend? Check out Rewound Radio’s “WABC Rewound 2016”, now through Memorial Day. Enjoy original Musicradio 77 WABC Shows with everything that was included when they aired the first timn: the DJ’s, the commercials, the jingles, AND the music!

Allan Sniffen and his friends did a GREAT job with this! In cases where the original airchecks were scoped, the music has been restored. Not only was the music added back in, but it was compressed and processed correctly to give that authentic AM radio sound that we all knew and loved back in the day. I have been listening on my smartphone via the small built-in speaker. This sounds almost exactly like the pocket transistor radios on which these Musicradio 77 shows were heard in the 1960s and 70s!

Dan Ingram, Cousin Brucie (Bruce Morrow), Harry Harrison, Ron Lundy, Roby Younge, George Michael, Johnny Donovan, Herb Oscar Anderson, Scott Muni, Bob Dayton, Bob-a-Loo (Bob Lewis) Charlie Greer, Frank Kingston Smith, and many more. They’re all on Rewound Radio this weekend. Give it a listen!

KSUG The Lake 101.9 Heber Springs Arkansas

Just wanted to give a quick shout-out to Ali and Joe Sugg who made their dream come true earlier this week. After months (years?) of hard work, Arkansas’ newest radio station became a reality on Monday, May 9, 2016. KSUG-FM, better known as “The Lake 101.9” serves the Heber Springs and Greers Ferry Lake area 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

The format is Classic Hits. Effective radiated power is just 9,400 watts, but the antenna sits 1,268 feet above sea level. As you might guess, coverage is fantastic for a Class C3 FM. With a car radio or other sensitive receiver, KSUG’s signal is easily listenable 50+ miles from the transmitter.

The Lake 101.9 does not yet stream online, but that’s coming soon. In the meantime, if you happen to be in Central Arkansas, be sure to give this new station a listen. Here at RadioGeekHeaven.com, we LOVE it when local, independent owners put new radio stations on-the-air 🙂 Congratulations, Ali and Joe!

Prince Rogers Nelson, 1958-2016

Prince_Street_CroppedLike most of you, I was first surprised and then horrified yesterday morning when I learned of the passing of Prince. He was only 57. Nobody expected or predicted this.

“Little Red Corvette” came out a few months before I began my first radio job. On the day I started my first CHR gig, “Purple Rain” was at it’s peak position of #2. The “Purple Rain” soundtrack was sitting at #1 on the album chart. Over the next 15 years, I would play a lot of his music on various stations across the country. Truly, he was a one-of-a-kind talent.

I was never a major Prince fan. Even so, I always felt a connection with him because we grew up less than 20 miles apart. As a baby DJ coming out of a Prince song, I would often say “Prince is great, isn’t he? Of course! Prince is from Minnesota!” I never met the man, nor have I ever been to First Avenue. I didn’t get the chance to see him perform live. Because of this, the “connection” is difficult for most to understand. But if you’re from Minnesota, you get it. Prince was one of us.

Power Mobile CB Antennas

Another week, another question regarding mobile CB antennas. A few days ago, I received the following e-mail:

“What can you tell me about power antennas for CB radios? I would like to get one for my vehicle so when not in use it is safely tucked away. Thanks, Bob.”

These were offered as optional equipment on cars of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was part of a package which upgraded the standard car radio to an AM/FM stereo unit with built-in CB radio. Some also included an 8-track or cassette tape player. The antenna was usually mounted on the right front fender, retracting into the fender when not in use. It looked like a standard radio antenna except for a gray plastic “capsule” in the middle. This capsule protected the loading coil which made the antenna electrically longer so that it could be used on the CB frequencies. Performance was so-so. Using the same antenna on three very separate frequency ranges (AM, FM, and CB) compromised it’s abilities. In addition, the mounting location gave this antenna a slightly directional signal pattern. A quality dedicated CB antenna mounted on the trunk lid or roof of the vehicle would easily outperform these all-in-one models.

General Motors in particular installed quite a few of these in their intermediate and large cars. I’m trying to find a photo but no luck so far. As for where to find one for your vehicle, I’m not sure. Does anyone know if these are still being sold as aftermarket equipment? If so, please let us know. Thanks for writing, Bob!

Can You ID this Vintage 1970s Mobile CB Antenna?

Letters! We get letters here at RadioGeekHeaven! Actually, e-mails. Annette wrote recently, asking about an item she found in grandpa’s basement:

“Hi Drew,

I came across your site while I was trying to find out some information about a vintage CB antenna I found in my grandfather’s basement. It’s a model CB-320 new in its original packaging and I can’t find anything about it anywhere. I’ve attached a photo as well. Can you help me determine what its value might be, if anything?

Thank you.”

CB-320_1

CB-320_2

CB-320_3

Believe it or not, I have never seen one of these before. Can anyone help Annette and I identify this vintage mobile CB antenna from the 1970s?

Mike Kronforst Passes Away at Age 71

Cue the intro to Elton John’s “Funeral for a Friend.”

Recently, a great broadcaster passed away. Michael Kronforst passed away at the age of 71. Mike was my Placement Director at Brown Institute in Minneapolis. 33 years ago, it was he who found my first radio job at KNAB AM/FM. During his 41.5 year tenure at Brown Institute/College, Mike helped literally thousands of students begin and advance their broadcasting careers. You can view his obituary notice here.

In 2009, Mike was inducted into the Pavek Museum’s Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Be sure to watch the video.

In addition to giving me my start in radio, Mike was a personal friend of mine. In recent years, we had reconnected on Facebook. Just like the rest of us, he enjoyed sharing old radio stories as well as talking about the future of the industry. Mike never missed a Conclave! He will be sorely missed. Thank you, Mr. Kronforst, for all you have given us over the years. Rest in peace, sir.