KTKT DJ Hall OF Fame
Towards the end of 1967 and at the start of 1968 KTKT GM Phil Richardson and PD Bob Holiday knew they had to take steps to counter the erosion of the younger portion of KTKT’s audience to their new top 40 competitor KIKX. In an effort to refresh and update the KTKT format nothing was held sacred. For starters the entire KTKT DJ line up at the end of 1967 was very different from the past as six of the seven regular air shifts were now manned by new voices. Long time morning man Jerry Stowe was now doing 9 am to Noon. The only hold over from the Color Radio era that did not leave KTKT or change air shifts was PD Director Bob Holiday in the noon to 3 pm slot. But by early 1968 Bob would take himself off the air to devote his full time attention to programming duties. Bob then moved Eric Michael from the 6 – 9 evening slot to the do the noon to 3 pm shift More shifting in the evening and overnight hours would soon occur to counter the inroads KIKX was making with the mostly younger night time radio audience. PD Bob Holiday felt that the Johnny Rabbit - Wolfman Jack presentation was best suited to the overnight audience moving him to the midnight shift. Bob Townsend – temporarily on midnights since starting at KTKT a few months earlier then took over the 6 to 9 pm shift. Frank Casanova – who had a loyal and faithful night time following from his nights at KOLD - he also enjoyed immediate success connecting with the younger audience while at KFIF and KIKX - an audience that KTKT was battling to win back from KIKX was then given the important 9 pm to midnight duties. With the new DJ staff in place Bob was able to concentrate on his PD duties.
On the programming side Bob developed a new faster paced and less cluttered on the air sound using a new PAMS jingle package known as Series 33- Fun Vibrations. For the last several years KTKT had been using parts of several other bits and pieces from several PAMS packages that included Series 18 Sonosational from 1961 and Sono- Magic from 1962. With these new PAMS jingles as the centerpiece of the refreshed format other on the air changes were made including shifting the top of the hour news report to 35 past the hour- this placed the newscast five minutes before the KIKX 20/20 news report at 40 past the hour – a replay of the old Todd Storz five minutes sooner approach when he moved the hourly news to 55 during the fifties. News head lines at 30 past the hour were shortened and tightened up and heard near the top of the hour. The sounder used between news stories was given a newer updated sound - as was the familiar KTKT electronic time chime used during all between the music time checks. Another big on air change took place after Bob rearranged the KTKT hourly clock changing a few of the stop sets and placement of spots to allow a couple of back to back to music segments. Bob even added a couple of Drake style liners touting this much more music face of KTKT. The familiar top 40 show on Saturday morning was dropped after Joe Bailey left for his active military duty in 1967.
The new KTKT top 40 chart was still published weekly but would now debut on the air without fanfare on Saturday. Along with all of these changes put in place by Bob was the total dropping all of the on air references to Color Radio and Color Channel 99. The station would now be known as 99 - KTKT. The only remnants of Color Radio left at KTKT after the start of 1968 was found near the bottom of the weekly printed chart - the Color Channel 99 slogan remained in the lower left corner next to the best selling album list. When the weekly printed chart was redesigned during August of 1968 this logo was then dropped. All references to Color Radio at KTKT would then be gone – signaling an end to an era that began May of 1957.
6am – Don Hinson
9am – Jerry Stowe
Noon – Eric Michael
3pm – Mike Nardone
6pm – Bob Townsend
9pm – Frank Casanova
Midnight – Johnny Rabbit
During the summer of 1968 Lee Poole left KTKT for a stint at KLIF Dallas, Texas taking Johnny Rabbit with him. Rick Biocca – previously at KIKX doing overnights takes over the midnight shift at KTKT. Bob Holiday leaves KTKT next during the late summer of 1968. Bob is replaced as KTKT PD by Dan Gates - who returns from KIKX. It should be noted at this point that KIKX had a management shake up during the very late summer of 1968. General Manager Mark Parr left KIKX and radio entirely at this time to purchase and operate Herb Smiley’s Ember Club on East Speedway. Parr changed the name of this venerable Tucson night spot to “The Here And Now Club. KIKX owner John Walton puts new management in charge of KIKX along with a vastly reduced operating budget. Walton who had been subsidizing the many contests, concerts and other high profile promotions at KIKX with money from other many of his other business efforts – including his Texas oil interests – decreed KIKX would now stand on its own ad revenues. With the fear of dwindling or disappearing paychecks many employees of KIKX scattered fast. Following in Dan Gates footsteps were Roger Galloway and Bob Lee who had been doing news at KIKX joined the KTKT news department at this time.
From the KTKT Newsroom
1968 also held many changes in the KTKT newsroom as News Director Jerry Chambers leaves for KCUB very late 1967. KTKT news department newcomer James R Hood takes over the duties as news director in addition to doing the afternoon news reports. John C Scott who came to KTKT from KAFY in Bakersfield CA during the summer of 1967 continued doing the morning news. Roger Galloway joined KTKT news during the late summer of 1968. Galloway who had been News Director at KIKX left that station after seeing his KIKX mobile news unit vehicle repossessed from the stations parking lot at the Sands Motel. Galloway who had previously worked at KTKT doing news during 1965 brought his very unique on air style and delivery back to KTKT. Another refugee from KIKX – Bob Lee- also joined KTKT news at this time to do weekends and odd fill in duties.
James R Hood - who had previously been doing the news at a radio station in Southern Illinois - tells me his KTKT story during a recent email interview:
Well, let's see here. It's been a long time since I thought about this but I believe I arrived at KTKT late 1967. My first shift was doing the newscasts 2-6 p.m. and Mike Boy Nardone was the PM drive jock. John C. Scott was doing news in the mornings. If I'm not mistaken Jerry Chambers was the News Director but left right about the time I arrived. I had recently graduated from Southern Illinois University and was working at WJPF in Herrin, Illinois when a guy named Phil Richardson called up and said he was the GM of KTKT in Tucson and asked if I was interested in moving to Arizona. I was more than a little interested. For one thing, I had run afoul of certain mob-connected figures who shall here go unnamed and had been advised that it would be good for my health to get out of town. It all had to do with stories I had written about bombings and suspicious fires at bars and what in that part of the country are called roadhouses. There had also been some interesting (and still unsolved) deaths of hotel and nightclub owners.
Phil's offer sounded pretty good and I arrived in Tucson a short time later only to find that a couple of characters named Pete Licavoli and Joe Bonano were going at it pretty well in Tucson. Covering more mob wars was not what I had in mind but it makes for good copy.
When I got to KTKT, everyone thought aggressive news coverage meant chasing every fire truck and covering every accident. I tried to add a little to the mix. There was a lot going on around Tucson involving anti-war protests, strikes by farm workers and some rather mild civil rights dust-ups, also a colorful mayor whose name now escapes me. We even had a contingent of yippies. I covered as much of that type of thing as I could and got on the wrong side of the local cops, who were aghast that I arranged to meet Jerry Rubin at the airport and drive him to wherever he was going. Actually, Rubin didn't have much use for me either, but that's another story.
I had grown up listening to KXOK and WIL in St. Louis - two of America's great rock stations - but I thought they had nothing on KTKT. Mike Nardone, Lee Poole, John Mack Flanagan, Lou Waters and Frank Casanova were as good as it gets if you ask me.
Bob Lee and I also worked up a Sunday-night show called "Controversy" which combined rock music with the week's news. As I recall, Eric Michael and Lee Poole helped me with the production end of it, though I may be leaving out a few others.
Beats me when I left but it was probably about three years later. I loved the station but was finding Tucson a little off the beaten path. I got a chance to be part of the crew that converted KPHO in Phoenix to all-news format and jumped at it. All-news is not the greatest format to listen to (to put it mildly) but it's kind of challenging to produce and the move turned out well for me.
From Phoenix, I went to Los Angeles, Denver, New Orleans, Kansas City, San Francisco, New York and Washington, DC, working in print and radio but mostly with AP. I later started Zapnews, a fax-delivered news service, and now own and run a web site called ConsumerAffairs.com, a consumer news and complaint site.
For a real in depth first person account of the Tucson radio and music scene of the late sixties please take time to read The Frank Casanova Story elsewhere at this site.