Twin Cities Minnesota 1970s/80s Radio Commercials

I’ve had several requests to include local and national radio spots in my various aircheck exhibits. Some do contain a commerical or two. However, many are scoped airchecks, so the commercials were edited out when the original recording was made. But I do have some unscoped tapes which contain the commercials which originally aired as part of the broadcast. These will be presented here in no particular order of station, or date. Most are from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota during the 1970s and 1980s, since this is where I grew up. If you’re looking for something specific, use the “search” box. I’ve tagged each clip with identifying information to make it searchable both within the site and via the search engines. This will be an ongoing project and will be updated regularly. If you like old radio commercials, be sure to check back often!

#1 – Schaak Electronics – Presidents’ Day Sale. Schaak Electronics was a local chain in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota during the 1970s and early 1980s, founded by Richard L. (Dick) Schaak. The unique sound effects used at the end of their radio spots is extremely memorable and is heard here.

This spot was voiced by Schaak Electronics president Paul Ginther and tagged by Chris Edmonds. It aired on KDWB-FM 101.3 during the 6:00AM hour on February 12, 1982:

KDWB_FM_Schaak_Feb_12_1982

#2 – Sound of Music – Presidents’ Day Sale. Sound of Music was another local Twin Cities stereo and electronics chain. It was one of Schaak Electronics’ two main competitors. (The other was Team Electronics.) Sound of Music eventually evolved into Best Buy which of course is now a major electronics retailer across the United States as well as in several other countries.  True to their roots, Best Buy’s corporate headquarters remain in the Minneapolis suburb of Richfield, Minnesota.  This spot aired on KDWB-FM 101.3 during the 7:00AM hour on February 12, 1982:

KDWB_FM_Sound_Of_Music_Feb_12_1982

#3 – Mount Frontenac. Mount Frontenac was one of the area’s top skiing destinations. (Others included Buck Hill in Burnsville, Mankato’s Mount Kato, and Trollhaugen in Dresser, Wisconsin.) Though it aired on KDWB-FM 101.3, the original production was done at WCCO-AM. It aired during the 7:00AM hour on February 12, 1982:

KDWB_FM_Mt_Frontenac_Feb_12_1982

#4 – Iten Chevrolet – 1982 Chevy Rebate Sale. This was about the time car rebates were first introduced. It was in response to the 1981-82 recession which took a steep toll on new auto sales. $500-750 cash back doesn’t sound like much now, but it was a big deal back then. Available on Cavaliers, Celebrities, Chevettes, and Citations! This commercial is voiced by KDWB-FM 101.3’s Jack Hicks. It aired during the 7:00AM hour on February 12, 1982:

KDWB_FM_Iten_Chev_Feb_12_1982

#5 – 20th Annual Twin Cities Autorama World of Wheels. This was an annual event, held at the St. Paul Civic Center. Check out the list of celebrities who will be in attendance. Plus, see Smokey and the Bandit II for free! Agency spot with tag provided by Jack Hicks. This aired during the 7:00AM hour of February 12, 1982 on KDWB-FM 101.3:

KDWB_FM_Autorama_Feb_12_1982

#6 – Bill Withers for the American Express Card. American Express presented a series of radio commericals featuring popular musicians of the time. The story line told how they were unknown, worked hard, and made it in the business. Once they had “arrived”, they obtained an American Express card as proof of their success! This aired on KDWB-FM 101.3 during the 7:00AM hour on February 12, 1982:

KDWB_FM_Am_Ex_Withers_Feb_12_1982

#7 – Pickwick, International – Help Wanted. Pickwick used to be a huge national distributor of discount records and tapes. Perhaps you remember their “Top Hits of 197_” records and 8-track tapes? You could buy them for betweem $2-3. The only catch was that it was NOT the original artists singing the songs! But they had other releases by the original stars. Mostly older “catalog” material by musicians who had been big stars in the past and were starting to fade away.

KDWB-FM 101.3’s Ed O’Brien voices this :30 second spot. It was recorded during the second hour of “American Top 40” (8-9PM) on September 16, 1978. Speaking of 8-tracks, the source tape here is actually a Realistic Supertape 90 minute 8-track cartridge!

KDWB_FM_Pickwick_Sep_16_1978

#8 – Oxy 5 “Penny Wise and Pimple Foolish.” I don’t think there’s a person alive who was a teenager during the late 1970s and doesn’t remember the Oxy 5 spots! An authoritative, slightly evil voice warned us that unless we dug deep in our pockets for this powerful potion, our face would resemble a pepperoni pizza for years to come! A new product at the time, Oxy 10 is also mentioned here. This was an agency spot which aired on KDWB-FM 101.3 during the second hour of “American Top 40” (8-9PM) on September 16, 1978:

KDWB_FM_Oxy_5_Sep_16_1978

#9 – Sound Inn – Credit Connection by Phone. Here’s a rare recording featuring the Sound Inn Moose! These guys ran a heavy schedule during “American Top 40” during the spring and summer of 1977. Anyone who listened to Casey Kasem on KDWB during this time will remember these spots. Hokey, but very effective. After 37 years, I still remember “8-7-4-zero-zero-zero-6.” This aired during the 3rd hour of AT40 (9-10PM) on June 5, 1977:

KDWB_FM_Sound_Inn_Jun_5_1977

#10 – Hurrah! By request, here’s one of the infamous Hurrah! radio spots from the summer of 1977. Hurrah! was a local discount clothing chain in the Twin Cities. They had stores in most of the major shopping malls.

There were at least 2 versions of this commercial produced. The original version featured just one girl singing the recital number with a generic ad. It first aired in early 1977. This version was released a few months later and highlights the current sale items. It features an “older” girl, a “younger” girl, and a “studio technician” who cues the younger girl. It was an agency production with tagging on this cut done by the legendary True Don Bleu.

Hurrah! ran a heavy schedule on KDWB-FM 101.3 during Sunday night’s “American Top 40” broadcasts. I just happened to be recording AT40 (minus the commercials) and heard this come on the air. Since I liked the spot, I grabbed the 8-track cartridge and jammed it back in so it would record! This is why the first 4 seconds are missing. You can hear the tape kick in at the beginning as the capstan roller engages. It’s also why the left channel is slightly louder than the right. 8-tracks can be a real pain when it comes to crosstalk and getting the levels to match between the left and right channels. In any case, this commercial is rare and I feel lucky that the tape has survived nearly 37 years. This aired during the second hour of AT40 (8-9PM) on June 19, 1977:

KDWB_FM_Hurrah_Jun_19_1977

#11 – Pioneer Car Stereo “Tape Eater.” Thanks to Tom from Radiotapes.com for donating this one. He says it came from a reel of Pioneer car stereo spots which aired on WWTC during 1981. This was the funniest one on the reel, but apparently never aired on the station:

WWTC_AM_Pioneer_1981

#12 – Minnesota Department of Energy – In the fall of 1978, the state of Minnesota released a series of PSA announcements on energy efficiency. This was just before the Iranian Revolution and resulting gas crisis of 1979. These aired on KDWB-FM 101.3 during “American Top 40” when there were no spots to fill the local avail windows. There are two cuts here, both of which aired during the third hour of the show (9-10PM) on September 17, 1978:

KDWB_FM_MN_Energy_PSA_1_Sep_17_1978

KDWB_FM_MN_Energy_PSA_2_Sep_17_1978

#13 – Macho Clothing – Ed O’Brien voiced this spot for a local discount clothing store. It aired during the third hour of “American Top 40” (9-10PM) on KDWB-FM 101.3. September 17, 1978:

KDWB_FM_Macho_Sep_17_1978

4 thoughts on “Twin Cities Minnesota 1970s/80s Radio Commercials

  1. Howard Luloff

    I remember the old Schaak Electronic ads from the 70s and 80s that had the weird sound effects. That was really creative. Since you’re posting old Twin Cities radio ads, I was wondering if you have an old A&W ad from the early 70s that I remember hearing on WDGY with the opening line “Oh we’re the Burger Family from A&W.” The ad ad still sticks in my head more than 30 years later and I still don’t know the rest of the words to that jingle.

  2. Drew Post author

    When I was 16-18, I worked for Burnsville K-Mart. Our Personnel Manager was Dianne Priebe. Tom Priebe was her husband. I don’t recall what his title/position was, but I remember he was a big honcho with Schaak. I spent quite a bit of my K-Mart paychecks on home/car stereo and CB equipment from Schaak during those days!

    I don’t remember that one, but I do remember the “A&W Root Beer’s got that frosty mug taste” jingle. This was the mid-late 1970s, when A&W Root Beer was first marketed in grocery stores. “A&W Root Beer’s got that frosty mug taste…only A&W’s got that frosty mug taste…” Well, not so much. My grandma used to buy the real deal in gallon jugs from Charlie’s Drive-In on 43rd & Hiawatha. No comparison!

    If anyone has the “Burger Family” spot that Howard mentioned, please let me know! Thanks!

  3. Bob

    Thanks Drew, I really appreciate those commercials! Hearing the Oxy 5 spot made me shiver; after 30 years I could still almost recite it verbatim.

  4. Drew Post author

    Me, too. I also remember the 1980s Oxy 5/10 commercials that were a spoof on “Space Invaders.” It was called “Face Invaders” and each zit was a “star.” “The Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, the North Star…don’t play games with these Face Invaders…OXY-CUTE THEM with Oxy 5!” They ran on American Top 40 after Watermark sold to ABC and they began inserting network commercials with the shows. 1982, I think (?)

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