KTKT DJ Hall OF Fame
The biggest change for KTKT during 1969 may have been a change that took place at another Tucson station. Growing impatient with the rate of success KIKX is having battling KTKT owner John Walton made another general manager change at that station during the early spring of 1969. Soon after the management change KIKX abruptly drops top 40 and goes to an easy listening format that includes a lot of beautiful music. This move shocked the staff of KIKX and jarred the KIKX audience. KTKT is now once again unchallenged for the ratings crown – for now at least – as Tucson’s leading top 40 music station. KTKT continues their top 40 format during 1969 but tones down the sound and delivery. The Fun Radio format put in place late 1967 and early 1968 is updated by a more relaxed presentation. The PAMS Fun Radio jingle package is replaced by a new PAMS jingle package called Series 36 - The New Generation. These changes result in KTKT carrying on as a top 40 station but with a new more gentle and mature approach. On the technical side KTKT adds newer and more modern processing equipment to the transmitting chain during 1969 – even adding a mild reverb – all of which improve the over all on sound the station.
The KTKT DJ line up would also continue to change 1969. While I am unable to fill in every blank and document the line up changes in detail I can provide a pretty good overview of what takes place during 1969 at KTKT. Here is a breakdown by timeslot.
6 – 9 AM: Starting with the morning drive shift Don Hinson leaves very late 1968 or early 1969. Don would go on to be very successful doing mornings at country radio station KLAC in Los Angeles California for 18 years. When Don first leaves KTKT afternoon drive jock Mike “Boy” Nardone takes over the morning shift. A few months later Nardone leaves KTKT during early 1969 for southern California. To take his place KTKT adds Lew Jones in the morning slot. Lew had previously been at the top 40 leader in Albuquerque New Mexico KQEO doing the afternoon drive for several years.
9 – Noon: Jerry Stowe – a member of the KTKT DJ staff since the spring of 1960 soon after 24 hour operations began – left KTKT and Tucson to return home to North Carolina. I am not sure who took over this spot right away but after a few months Jerry was finally replaced by Lou Waters. The morning line up of Jones and Waters was promoted as “have a Lew –Lou of a morning at KTKT”. A few years later – after KTKT and a stint at KWFM FM Lou Waters moved from radio to television to be a news director and anchor for KVOA TV 4 in Tucson. He later held the same position at KOLD TV 13 in Tucson. Lou left Tucson to be one of the original anchors at CNN when that network launched June 1 1981.
Noon – 3 PM: During the spring of 1969 Joe Bailey returned to Tucson after completing his military obligation. Instead of going back to his old 6 – 9 pm slot Joe takes over the noon to 3 pm program.
3 – 6 PM: Early on in 1969 after Mike Nardone drops down to do morning drive KTKT PD Dan Gates returns to the air doing the PM drive slot. By the summer – during June of 1969 John Mack Flanagan - who been at KIKX until the format change during May - joins the KTKT staff and immediately takes over afternoon drive. John would remain in this spot for about 4 years building up a big following and enjoying great ratings. Dan Gates stays on at KTKT devoting his full attention to his PD duties. After Tucson and a short stint at KRUX in Phoenix as PD John goes on to great success during the 70’s at KFRC in San Francisco.
6 – 9 PM: Bob Townsend leaves KTKT early during 1969 and creates a spot for Eric Michael who was “bumped” out of the mid day show by Joe Bailey’s return.
9 – Midnight: Frank Casanova holds down this time period until mid August of 1969 when he departs for California. Lee Poole – aka Johnny Rabbit – who recently returned to Tucson from Dallas takes over this shift.
Midnight to 6 AM: Rick Biocca who came on board during the summer of 1968 leaves KTKT during the summer of 1969. Tom Lang - another refugee from the KIKX format change – takes over this shift during the summer of 1969.
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.