In 1969, when I was 14 years old, something wonderful happened to radio in the Dallas area. It was the advent of underground rock stations with the debut of Jon Dillon at KFAD 94.9 (Arlington/Cleburne) and soon after KNUS (Dallas) with Mother, Mike “Murphy” Erickson and other radio hippies. KNUS was a sister station of AM’s KLIF, the Mighty 1190.
Even in our early teens, we were very picky and snobbish about the music we liked.
KLIF was very good for a top-40 AM station. They would play The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, local bands such as Kenny and the Kasuals, Mouse and the Traps and others. In between, we had to suffer through The Supremes, Bobby Goldsboro, Jeannie C. Riley and other pop music that my friends and I were not too fond of. Even in our early teens, we were very picky and snobbish about the music we liked.
KFAD was the first “progressive rock/freeform” radio station in the Dallas area and KNUS was not too far behind. It was a whole new world of music. Instead of hearing a song or two by a band, we were hearing complete albums. These stations also introduced us to bands we had never heard. Bands like If, Soft Machine, Caravan and others that mostly remained mostly obscure along with Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and others who remain popular to this day.
The disk jockeys were free to play whatever they wanted. It was not unusual to hear a set of music with The Dead, Pink Floyd, Dave Brubeck and Mozart.
The disk jockeys were free to play whatever they wanted. It was not unusual to hear a set of music with The Dead, Pink Floyd, Dave Brubeck and Mozart. These guys were masters at the art of the segue, the ability to seamlessly blend one song into another. Murphy had his Saturday Night special that was always a treat. One evening, we were treated to Orson Welles’ original broadcast of The War of the Worlds.
After a couple of years, KNUS switched to a top-40 format. Tim Spencer was on the air the last night. This is from a post by him on http://myradiodaze.blogspot.
Glad I ran across this blog. My name is Tim Spencer and I was a mere 14-years-old when KLIF’s Hal Martin (Michael Spears) hired me to do Sunday mornings on the old progressive KNUS. My first stint there only lasted a few months thanks to my inadvertent airing of a caller (who I later learned was Rod Roddy**) cussing me out on the phone with a variety of f-bombs. My second time there ended when Bart McLendon took the station Top 40. Bart asked me to work one more weekend. Uh, oh. On Sunday evening I pulled all the little yellow and red stickers off the prohibited songs and had a grand old time playing them. Hearing Arlo Guthrie calling the FBI bastards was kinda unusual for radio in 1971. Also made a few choice comments about the impending change. Well, it seems that Bart McLendon was having a dinner party and had the station on! Exactly one hour and thirty-seven minutes into my shift, Bart and the P.D. (whom I only recall as, “Mother,” walked in. Bart’s only words were, “Get your boots on and get out.”
** Rod Roddy went on the achieve fame as Johnny Olson’s replacement on The Price is Right. His gravestone has the famous line “Come on Down!!”
Although these stations have gone away, there is still a way you can hear some of the music played on them by going to http://www.beatsense.com/
There are still some of us that remember the great daze of early FM rock radio.