Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dylan XM Radio Show

Bob Dylan will have a regular one-hour radio show on XM Satellite Radio, beginning in March 2006. For more info:

Dylan Digs XM [ Motley Fool Take] December 14, 2005

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Stones Dinner

Jim Pagliasotti recently wrote about Dan Fong at Dan's "The Creative Eye" website. In the process, he told some more about that infamous Stones/KFML dinner of May 1972:



BY James Pagliasotti
Copyright 2005

There are a lot of stories I could tell you about Dan Fong. In fact, he would pay me good money not to tell you some of them.

But I will tell you this: if you care about the time when rock & roll came of age, those days of Jimi and Janis and the Who and the Stones, then I can assure you Dan was there, camera in hand and sharp eyes focused.

I know because I was there, too. Dan and I grew up together in Denver in the 50s, 60s and 70s. We were there when Top 40 radio gave way to free-form, when singles gave way to albums, when wholesome and carefully coiffed performers gave way to all those long haired freaks with guitars.

We were there when Chet Helms brought the Family Dog to town and settled in on West Mississippi; when Barry Fey began producing shows at the Denver Coliseum; when Stuart Green's Mammoth Gardens erupted in music uptown and Chuck Morris was booking Tulagi in Boulder. We heard it, we saw it, and we spent a lot of time with the people who made it happen. And, unlike many of the rest of us who were too stoned to function at the time, Dan got it all on film.

Most of his photos have never been seen before. Dan in those days was too busy to do anything but shoot them and store them away. Now he has this treasure trove to look through, and he's finally making them available to the rest of us.

As I pour over these galleries, the memories come back like a tsunami. They will for you too if you were there, or if you only imagined you were, or even if you just wanted to be. These photographs capture memories, but they can make them, too.

It was a time unlike any other and there were indeed a lot of scenes to capture, and stories to be told. Let me tell you just one of them.

When the Stones toured in the summer of 1972, Barry Fey was promoting some of their shows. He'd started out in the business a few years before by putting on a concert of the Byrds at a D.U. fraternity party and thereafter kept getting bigger, both in personal girth and the size of his shows. After the Denver Pop Festival in 1969, he became very big indeed. And, now, success hanging on him like slabs of fat on a roast, he wanted to have the Stones to dinner.

Dan Fong not only was a helluva photographer, he also was a serious chef. He'd grown up in a community of fine Chinese restaurants and this boy knew how to cook.

So Barry hired Dan to cook dinner for the Stones. He'd already done a number of backstage catering jobs at Fey's concerts, including both of the Stones' Denver shows, so it was a slam dunk. Mick wanted him so Barry wanted him and that's the way it was going to be. Barry then partnered up with all the freaks at KFML radio to give the evening some flavor, and before you knew it, it was becoming a rather auspicious event.

Keeping it a secret meant keeping it from the public. In the music business in Denver, everybody knew and everybody wanted to come, but not everybody could.

But then, that's what being a kingmaker is all about and Very Big Barry doled out the precious invitations as he saw fit. All we could do was to keep the location secret and somehow we did.

About the only way you could squeeze in a friend was to get them a job on the work crew that was going to help Dan Fong with the serving and cleaning. He'd already recruited his family and his friends at Bilotti's Pizza to help him prep and cook.

So, baby kingmakers that we were, we lined up the best looking girls that we knew to staff the party, figuring those were markers to be redeemed at a later time. I also got my friend Geitz Romo the job as bartender to the stars.

The party was held at Barry's home in Cherry Hills, which was one of those enormous Jewish modern ranch-style houses on an acre of land on Quincy just east of University. The back yard was scattered with dozens of waist-high, multi-colored paper mache mushrooms. Long low tables were set among them luau like and lanterns provided the light.

The piece de resistance was the Stones' newly minted lips and tongue logo in a sculpture some 5 feet tall, which was connected to a machine that was supposed to send clouds of bubbles out of the mouth. Unfortunately, the machine malfunctioned and all night long, this gelatinous goo kept pouring out of it, looking like nothing so much as puke.

So, the court gathered in advance of the stars. There was Barry, of course, and Cyndy, his wife at the time. Tall, blond, ice-blue-eyed Jerry Kennedy, the head of Denver's Vice Squad and Barry's security crew, was there in his captain's uniform, keeping tabs, one supposes.

There was Max Floyd of KMYR and Joe McGoey of KFML and assorted other business types that Barry wanted around. And there was Sandy Phelps and Thom Trunnell, Bill Ashford and Judy Roderick, Buffalo Chip and Reno Nevada and Brian the Super Warthog, David Shepardson and Ronnie Katz, Herb Neu and all the rest of the KFML gang, and Marcello Cabus, and me and the girls, and a host of other pseudo-celebrities.

And, behind a wall of grills and ovens, towering flames and truly huge mounds of food, was Dan Fong and his family, cooking their hearts out, while all of us awaited the Rolling Stones.

That night in those long ago times when things took place that today are actually hard to imagine, let alone to believe, Dan Fong cooked and served a 14 course sit down dinner for 100 people. And it was awesome! There was a little of this and a lot of that and oysters and duck and a roast pig the size of a small Mercedes cooked over an open pit. There were intoxicants of every sort, beer and wine, tequila and whiskey, and all sorts of other stuff, too; and there was that most ethereal of drugs: the bending of elbows with real celebrities, the once and future royalty of rock & roll.

You can bet Dan had his trusty camera handy. And somehow, in the midst of the flames and the grease and the chemistry of fine cuisine, he got some incredible shots, as he always did.

The Stones and their entourage arrived fashionably late, but well ahead of dinner. Mick was dressed in a baby blue jacket with feathers that trimmed the collar, the cuffs and the hem, which was cut off at the bottom of his ribs. It covered a sparkling silver shirt of some sort that also bared his midriff. His pants were dark blue tights and his shoes were satin slippers. His eyes were made up with sparkles and mascara. He seemed to be perfectly comfortable.

Keith was a bit out of it in those days and moved through the crowd somnambulistically, supported by two very tall Nordic women who drugged him and dragged him from place to place. Also very tall Mick Taylor was a friendly pile of blond curls, smiling and chatting and as nice as could be. Bill Wyman was sharp-faced, dark and intense, and good ol' Charlie Watts was just a regular guy.

I was sitting with him on a couch near the window, talking about jazz, and Mick was posing nearby, when Geitz the bartender yelled at me in a very loud voice: "Hey Smooth Dog! Tell that little faggot in the ballerina costume his drink is ready." Mick barely seemed to notice and smiled at me vaguely when I handed him the glass. Charlie laughed so hard that he fell on the floor.

It was one of those nights that kept unfolding like waves in the ocean, one image lapping in after another. We sat on the lawn at the long luscious tables of food and drink, with the lanterns bouncing light off faces that you knew and faces you only had imagined or seen at a distance or maybe on film. The mushrooms seemed to sway in the glow and the puke kept gurgling from the mouth of the Rolling Stones logo. Beautiful women served platters of indescribably delicious food and looked into your eyes for just a moment as though you were all they ever had dreamed of, and just as quickly they were gone in pursuit of any excuse to get close to Mick.

People that you worked for were passing out in the aisles and others that you barely paid attention to were waxing eloquent. Everybody it seemed got turned around completely and then had to reconfigure their bearings. And everybody went home happy.

Everybody, that is, except Dan. All of us first nighters and all of the staff, those beautiful girls and sharp tongued bartenders, everyone it seemed had wandered off into the night. And Dan Fong was left with a pile of pans and dishes and debris and detritus that defied the imagination of the average man among us. And having no other choice, he spent the night with all the crap and all of his equipment. And the next day, he and a couple of his cousins cleaned it all up, packed it away and took it home.

There among the equipment and the trash was his camera and his bag of lenses and film, and a couple of hundred shots he had taken that night that someday he would develop. The day that followed blended into the next and the next thereafter, and Dan Fong kept shooting pictures of the megastars and the lesser lights and some of the rest of us who peopled the portrait of rock & roll.

It was our story, and it was a helluva story, and all we needed was someone to record it. A good photographer is hard to find and so is Dan Fong. But, lucky you, you've found him.


To view Dan's work, please go to:

The Creativeye - Photography

Thursday, December 08, 2005

KFML Radio News

I finally formatted to mp3 the classic KFML Newscast of Jim Clancy and Ed Chatham reporting on the Dallas Police Bust, 1972.

You GOTTA listen to this. Click on the following link, then go to "Sound Clips." Look for the "new" icon. Click to listen or right click to save for listening later... This cast really takes you back to the spirit of KFML!

KFML-AM & FM, Denver, Colorado

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cream Reunion Concert - May 2005

Call me slow, but I just now saw the Cream Reunion Concert from May 2005. Billed as a "Great Performance" by PBS, it... is!

Cream history, info about the concert, clips and links at:

Great Performances . Cream Reunion Concert | PBS

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Infamous KFML Dog Graphic

(KFML Graphic ran in Denver's "Straight Creek Journal," 1971)

The KFML webpages have been recently updated. A gem that has been added is the infamous KFML dog graphic that ran shortly after the station got underway in 1971.

For more KFML images, please go to:

KFML Photo Gallery

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Greatful Dead Hour

Here's a fine interview of David Gans of "The Greatful Dead Hour" about the show:

Gray Areas Interview With David Gans

Friday, November 11, 2005

KFAT Online!

One of the very last commercial freeform stations... "KFAT is the only dead radio station you can listen to on your computer..." You gotta listen and read sections like "KFAT Memories"...

Radio successor KPIG is still alive and doing well. Check them out, too.

KFAT Online

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bonnie Raitt: 'Souls Alike'

The audio interviews are lackluster (not because of Raitt), but there's some good stuff here, especially Bonnie's beginning years in the late 1960's:

NPR : Bonnie Raitt: 'Souls Alike'

Friday, November 04, 2005

Radio's Loss of Local Relevancy

[ Following article courtesy of The Oakland Tribune and RedOrbit ]

Radio Fans Lament Loss of Local Feel

By John Geluardi

FOR THOSE of us who remember life before the Internet, MP3 players, satellite feeds or, gasp, cable TV, radio was our most vital connection to the outside world. It was our link to current events, culture and things that made our communities unique.

Broadcast radio was the ultimate accessible medium. Because there were no pictures, listeners had to participate with thought and imagination. Radio was a loyal companion and a ready escape hatch in the family den, by the bed or in the dashboard of our first car. It brought us breaking news, local sports and the latest hot song by a variety of musical artists.

Longtime Bay Area listeners, who regarded their favorite disc jockeys as friends and neighbors, say they can remember with remarkable clarity the voices of local radio personalities like Red Blanchard, who broadcast his variety show from the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and Dr. Donald D. Rose, whose raucous morning program aired on KFRC. Then there was the steady flow of smooth "soul" music from KDIA and the freewheeling, alternate programming of KTIM.

But in the last several years, broadcast radio has steadily lost listeners while paid satellite radio subscriptions have skyrocketed. Those who are dissatisfied complain that traditional radio has become too corporate, there are too many advertisements and musical playlists have become generic and predictable. Critics say the radio industry is failing to develop a following among young people who have a plethora of entertainment choices and aren't as loyal to their local stations as their parents were.

Radio has taken a huge hit when it comes to young listeners, says Quincy McCoy of Richmond, author of "No Static; A Guide to Creative Radio Programming.""Go up to someone between the ages of 12 and 20 years old and ask them what their favorite radio station is or which disc jockey they like the most, and chances are they won't have an answer for you," McCoy says.

The signs of trouble are undeniable. According to Arbitron's most recent annual report on radio trends, the average listener in 2004 spent 19.45 hours a week tuned into radio, down from 20.45 hours in 2000.

While that may not seem like a huge drop, those numbers have the radio industry very worried. Clear Channel Communications, a radio giant that owns 1,200 stations nationwide, including 11 stations in the Bay Area, was so concerned about the loss of listeners that executives began a "less is more" policy that drastically cut advertising time. The move resulted in a modest increase in overall ratings, but at a cost. The company's second quarter radio earnings showed a $65 million loss compared with 2004.

And there was more bad news for radio. Sirius Satellite Radio recently announced it has doubled its subscriber base to 2 million listeners in the last year. Subscribers pay about $13 a month for more than 120 channels -- all of which are commercial free. Sirius executives say they are confident subscriptions will jump even more early next year when the hugely popular shock jock Howard Stern leaves terrestrial radio behind for satellite.

While radio is eager to attract young listeners, it has turned its back on the 55 and older crowd. There is little programming in the youth-oriented Bay Area that reflects the tastes of older listeners.

"I grew up listening to music on the radio in the 1950s," says lifelong Oakland resident Jan Bossetto, 65. "My husband and I listen to KFRC sometimes because they have a lot of 1960s music, but they've completely got rid of anything from the 1950s."

Bossetto quickly adds that she still relies on stations such as KCBS 740-AM and KGO 810-AM for local news and information, though she would like to hear more programming geared toward adults. Radio is losing listeners because it's not as spontaneous or locally vital, says McCoy, who has worked in radio as a programmer and on- air personality for the last 30 years. A series of actions by the Federal Communications Commission is responsible, he says, starting with the Deregulation of Radio Act in 1981 and ending with the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

The actions all favored corporate consolidations and shortchanged local listeners, McCoy says.

"In the old days, every radio station was required by the FCC to go to the public and ask what their concerns were and then do shows about them. Things like local crime trends, education and transportation were typical issues," McCoy says. "There was more emphasis on local news and local editorials. Now stations don't have a news or public affairs department."

Because of the consolidation of so many stations, radio programs are often recorded in one location and sent out to stations in as many as 100 different markets. And what is heard on the radio is increasingly controlled by survey group research used to develop uniform playlists. Even the disc jockeys are affected. The available pool of creative on-air talent has drastically shrunk because consolidation has greatly reduced the need for local on-air talent.

It isn't all bad news. Some corporate-owned stations such as KFOG 104.5-FM (97.7-FM San Jose), which is owned by Susquehanna Radio Corp., and Alice 97.3-FM (KLLC), owned by Infinity Broadcasting, heavily emphasize local promotions. KFOG promotes local musicians such as Chuck Prophet, The Rowen Brothers and Tea Leaf Green. The station also holds an annual popular fireworks show Kaboom, which has attracted thousands of people since 1996.

"All of our programming decisions are made at the local level," says John Peak, program director at Alice 97.3. "Especially with the Sarah and No Name (Alice's morning show). We do a lot of man-on-the- street stuff and on-site, live broadcasts."

But for some listeners, local promotions aren't enough. Scott Guitteau, 45, of Richmond came of age listening to free-form radio in Southern California. Such programming usually was characterized by a fair amount of political content and diverse musical playlists that included new artists. After moving to the Bay Area in 1981, Guitteau became an avid KFOG listener.

"The jocks had personality, and they played a lot of new music," he says. "But around 1987 the programming became stagnant or my taste in music diversified."

Guitteau, who remains a regular radio listener, mostly tunes into KPFA 94.1-FM, a Berkeley-based listener-supported station that's part of the Pacifica Network. The station has a strong focus on local issues, and the programming includes a variety of music. He says after listening to radio for free most of his life, paying for satellite radio seems like a sacrilege.

"I don't mind donating to KPFA, because it interacts with the community by broadcasting local politics, local activists and local artists," he says. "It contributes much more to the community than a big fireworks show every year."

KFOG Program Director Dave Benson says there is some merit to listeners' complaints about the dearth of local radio, but he says there are still a lot of locally programmed stations that are heavily focused on their communities.

"KFOG is probably one of the last music stations that has an actual live news person who does local news on our morning program," he says. "And the station has raised millions of dollars for local food banks as well as money for music programs at local schools."

RedOrbit - Technology - Radio Fans Lament Loss of Local Feel

Saturday, October 29, 2005

KRNW-FM, Boulder


I was having a nostalgia attack one evening and came across your web pages featuring KFML and KRNW. I was a part timer at KRNW from 1971 to 1975. In order to get my foot in the door, I had to agree to work the Monday evening classical programs (the Evening Salon and Evening Concert) for free. Bob Wilkinson, the station owner, was never willing to relinquish the 6-10 PM Monday through Friday time slot for anything other than classical music. While the chamber music and symphonies were on the air, I would listen to all kinds of great modern music on the other turntable.

Eventually, I was able to play whatever I wanted on a Friday evening program from 10 PM to 2 AM. Bob had a wonderful Jazz library and I usually devoted the last hour or two of the program to Jazz. I also substituted for Michael Muirhead quite a few times in the afternoon.

The studio was up the stairs at 1410 Pearl Street in Boulder across from a recording studio. Bob had a stormy relationship with the landlord as well as other business people in Boulder. After a plumbing incident that caused some damage to the hardware store below the studio, we moved to 1428 Pearl Street. This was a newly remodeled building. There was a night club on the top floor. KRNW was on the second floor. About a year or so after the move the station was sold to the KBCO people.

Some of the names of the other announcers were:

Kate Fortin (6-10 AM)
Dave Nettles (the Audio Radiance program)
Russ Mallot
Stan Rheaume
Michael Allbright (on air name was Michael Kow 2-6 AM)
Rick Schultz (went on to KHOW-FM in Denver during their brief foray in to Jazz)
Michael Muirhead (chief announcer)

The weekend people were:

Jason Sherman He was a manger of some kind at Tulagis (a Boulder night club)
Rick Stott He owned a business called Trade a Tape and Records in Boulder
Kenny Weissberg

I could come up with some interesting stories about all the wonderful people involved with KRNW. I also had my own moments of notoriety. Thanks for your efforts devoted to Free Form Radio. I am enclosing Bob Wilkinson’s obituary from several years ago. I don’t remember the person quoted in the obituary. He may have been the classical program announcer. It is possible I had a memory lapse. After all I was one of “those longhairs”.


James Kellogg

Monday, October 24, 2005

Carlin's 7 Words & etc.

NPR interview of George Carlin on his latest book and a lot on his original "7 Words You Can't Say on Television" (1973):

NPR : George Carlin's Iconic Look at 'Life'

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A List

[ Originally Posted at the Freeform Radio Forum: 23 Apr 2005
Post subject: A List (T's Recommendations) ]

Today I was thinking about Ashford's discography from the link that Malcolm provided a few months ago. I decided to share my list. This is a relatively short one composed of those artists that I think are consistently good, from early in their careers until present (if alive).

Los Lobos (except for "This Time")
Steve Earle
Haggard (especially in the early 80s, "The Way I Am" and "Big City")
Pearl Jam
Alan Jackson
Vern Gosdin
Dwight Yoakum
Rolling Stones
John Hiatt

- T


Changed my mind about the Stones; I haven't bought a recording of theirs since "Goat's Head Soup" except to replace earlier vinyl with CDs. Same reason Dylan's not on the list. - T

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mott The Hoople

NPR's got a short audio retrospective on Mott The Hoople at:

NPR : Mott The Hoople

(Mott The Hoople - first album, 1969)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Firesign Theatre

[ Originally Posted: 12 Apr 2005 at the Freeform Radio Forum
Post subject: Firesign Theatre ]

The Firesign Theatre has all of their stuff up on the Net for sale. The fun part about their website (aside from seeing all the albums I missed), is sampling their clips.

The website is at: FIRESIGN THEATRE

FT clips are at: FT Audio

(my favorite FT album of all time... I'm also a big fan of Nick Danger!)


Malcolm, is that the one with "your first three words in Turkish" on it?
Let's see...
"He's gonna be OK folks and ready to play.. BE-E-E-AT TH-E-E REA-AP-P-PER!!"

"That's a mount"
"No, it's a butte"
"And right purdy too"

"OK folks. fun's over. Back in the bus"

I suppose it wouldn't be as funny if I heard it all again. I kind of like the snippets I remember and the feeling they give me. T


Hey, T ~

Call me weird, but I still like to listen to FT. Yeah, the snippets are still easily digestible. But, once or twice a year I will relisten to one of the FT albums (now CD) that I have and still get a kick out of it. Some things are dated, but their work now has an added dimension of time. They take me back to those days when we interwove Firesign Theatre comedy into our freeform shows.

Try it out. Especially their earlier work (pre-1976). Not to say that they haven't continued to be good. I'm just not as familiar with their stuff past 1976, so I can't recommend it. Going to their web page, I see that most of their recorded work I have yet to listen to! I hope to do that at some point... - MALCOLM


OK Malcolm, I'll give 'em another listen. I use, "OK folks, fun's over; back in the bus." Nobody has ever recognized it as a line from FT (or at least hasn't said so. I could probably glean another phrase or two. T


I found myself doing the same kinda thing the other day. Someone was saying:

"Who's responsible?!"

And I found myself in automatic response saying:

"Communist Martyr's High School, that's who."

Of course, of course... NO ONE knew what I was talking about... - MALCOLM

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Public Radio Tool

[ Originally Posted at the Freeform Radio Forum: 08 Apr 2005
Post subject: ]

Freeform still exists in scattered pockets... In the U.S., you can find freeform shows mostly on non-commercial FM stations. A good tool to use to scour public radio is at:

Monday, August 15, 2005

KFML Stones Dinner 1972

[ continuation of an original posting "Remembering KFML" at the Freeform Radio Forum, early 2005 ]

There were lots of ground breaking performances in Denver/Boulder, but I have a feeling you have forgotten some of the amazing things that happened at Mammoth Gardens. Also, Malcolm, where is the "recollection" you were going to share? - Bill


Well, Bill, I never thought this day would come, but here it is. It is an opportunity to get an answer to a question I've always wondered about:

I was one of the part-timers who programmed the station while you guys were out eating with the Stones and then going to concert somewhere in the Spring/Summer of 1972.

One of the other part-timers came in to relieve me. I forget his name(Rick?). I remember he wore a western cut denim shirt with pearl snaps and had a Quicksilver patch sewn in on the yoke of the shirt, inback of the neck. I liked the look of that set-up so much, I did the same thing later on. I still wear denim shirts (no western cut in Santa Barbara, unfortunately) once or twice a week on average. I love the feel.

Anyway, he comes in and says he made it over to the dinner and was talking down about you guys arranging to have dinner with the Stones and then not eating at the same table. I always wondered about that. First of all, the bad-mouthing, then whether or not it was true or just what he thought he saw.

Now at long last I get the answer. Is that the dinner you were referring to above, that was on the lawn? What was it that that the other part-timer saw?


(we exchanged some private emails about it, then...)

OK, here's the deal, probably a bit less vitriolic than yesterday, you know how adrenilin goes. I have little recall of your misguided misinformant. My experience is that most grousing and griping comes from jealous souls who feel left out of things, always at the hands of others. Meanwhile, what they're afraid of is that we see through that to the feelings of personal worthlessness that they secretly harbor.

Now, we did not "arrange" to get ourselves to that party. Our attendance was requested because folks generally liked having us in the mix, because interesting things generally happened when we were around. I don't know why, but they just did. The only time I ever had to beg for anything as when I was sent to ask/beg, whatever, 50 tickets to the Denver Pop Festival. What a trip that was, then I got the tickets. Remember that. Our prescence was asked for.

We sat at different tables in order to spread and absorb the energy going around. Thom and I sat with Charlie, I think, then Bill joined us. After a while, we were all wandering around the house and the yard anyway. Maybe he didn't sit with any of us, because nobody wanted to.

It was just one of many great days and nights that we participated in thru the years. Don't always take the negative for truth. Put the little S-head in touch with me if he needs to be straightened out, or hurt him worse by simply ignoring him.
I'm sure I had more to say. I'll pass it along when it recycles.



Ah, sorry you lost the original vitriol ... What you say about grousing and griping coming from jealousy is right on. Here's a few more details/observations from my perspective:

I wish I could remember the guy's name. I remember him as a good guy. Matter of fact, I can't remember anyone at KFML that I didn't like or at least respect, except for maybe McGoey. But, as years passed, I got to understand where he was coming from, too.

As part-timers, we were always jealous of you guys who had the consistent gigs and the glory. So, I'm sure a lot of that was coming through that night. For my part, I felt I had my jealousy under control, though. For instance, I wasn't bummed that I missed a dinner with the Stones. I was just happy to be freeforming at prime time!

In defense of the guy whose name I can't recall (he was a part-timer like me and, I believe, rising up in the ranks at the time [spring/summer 1972]), he may have been negative about the dinner knowing I was somewhat of a persona non grata at that point. I can't recall if this was before or after the strike, but if it was after the strike, then his tone to me would make perfect sense.

Anyway, this guy said the full-time staff was asked what you wanted to do with the Stones and someone came up with the idea of a dinner. It was a total respect thing. The only negative this guy telling the story injected was the deal about how the Stones sat at one table and you guys at another. For some reason, that really stuck in my memory and I've occasionally -- at the oddest of times -- wondered about it. It did not fit my picture of what we all amounted to at KFML...

... Isn't the Internet great? Here we are basically 33 years later trading memories! Thanks so much for getting in the mix, Bill. - MALCOLM


But the point you're missing, and apparently so was he, is WE WERE NOT A SEPARATE TABLES!!!! Stones were spread around tables and so were we. How else would I have have been close enough to enjoy the sight of the lovely (and whacked) Anita nod out in her plate? Believe me, there were groupies, real and wannabees, guys who were close to the center of things and various and sundry Stones tour people. We were all intermixed. Again, I don't know where your boy was, but Thom & I were at a table with Bill & Charlie. Kreizenbeck, Sandy and others were at different tables. And, we were asked for an idea that wouldn't be too corny for the guests,(more on this a little further down. Sorry, it just jumped and I don't know how to get it back. Read it just after "for the guests" and "God, what an....." God, what an idiotic thing for this guy to carry around a lie about all the years.

Earlier I had asked a georgous, single teacher (female) to go with me, but she declined saying some one else had already assured her that he could get them in. Sometime during the evening, I was asked to go pick up a package which I did. The driver and I got, and fortunately found a space right the driveway. There we sat making certain that what we had attained was of suitable quality for us and the honored guests. I looked up in time to see this girl and her "date" walking toward the gatekeeper, who, after listening to about 30 seconds of bs, turned them around and away they went. I couldn't resist calling her around 4AM, to tell her I had witnessed her disappointed and reminded her to choose more carefully if another such occasion arrived Oh, I finally remembered the last part of my rant from yesterday. I do not deny that we managed to take up a lot of room whereever we went. [quote][quote]Wesuggested the idea of a back yard party, decorated with da tongue, etc. We didn't plan it, the property owner, deeming it to be the best idea he was likely to hear, had it put together. Sorry, I don't hang crepe paper!

People just seemed to noticed when we appeared in places. I also admit that I still know people who will not speak to me, based on some of my ill advised behavior back then. That's OK. I have survived Cancer surgery, radiation and a heart attack. I will get by with or without them. Hmmm...sounds like a line from a song. Blahblahblah...gotta go. B


Oh shid oh dear..ain't this grand, all this activity?! Bill, a couple days ago you mentioned the great shows at Mammoth Gardens; I'm afraid I missed it. I heard the stories [Cream, Hendrix (I think), others) but it was closed when I arrived (or soon after). I hear it opened again several years ago and is, once again, a great venue. I did catch some great shows at Ebbets Field (thanks CM) but missed out on Mammoth.

Thanks Malcolm and BTW I've been meaning to compliment you on the black background and format of the website for a couple weeks--looks great. T


Thanks T, thanks Bill.

No, I get it about the separate tables. If anyone is at fault for carrying around a lie, it is me. The guy who got it wrong told me about it that night in the KFML studios, 33 some odd years ago, and I've wondered about it ever since.

That's one reason I dig the Internet so much. We can have this give-and-take and flesh out some of the history. It should not be lost!

Good one about the babe... - MALCOLM


I probably should have started a new topic for this one, but I have some great memories of Kinky's stuff on KFML. He has recently announced that he is seeking the governor's office of Texas, running as an Independent.

Who can forget such Friedman classics as: "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven; and Your Buns in the Bed." and "[/i]They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore[/i]."

Also reminds me of a couple other artists who you could hear on KFML, David Bromberg, Louden Wainwright III, and Martin Mull (and the Fabulous Furniture). Good stuff, Good Luck Kinky. T

Friday, August 12, 2005

Remembering KFML

[ Originally Posted at the FFR Forum: 12 May 2004
Post subject: Memories of KFML-FM Denver by:
Dan Yurman 43N 112W -7 GMT
"Our mountains are high and the emperor is far away" ]


KFML-FM was a top-rated radio station in Denver,CO, from 1971-1973. During this time its "free form" music format, which featured album cuts and long music sets, catapulted it to the top of the ratings charts among the 18-34 age group.


I was KFML's first newsman. I was hired in Spring 1971 because I mixed music with the news. What I didn't know was my so-called innovation wasn't unique. A fellow named Shadow Morton had tried it the previous year in San Francisco, but it was a hell of a hit in Denver.

Like any radio job, the way to get it was to submit a demo tape. I asked for and got studio time, albeit late in the evening. Lucky for me, I brought along a splicing block, white grease pencil and single edge razor blades. For those of you who live in the digital age, this is how we put stuff together on tape in the old days.

I put together two or three five minute spots using news stories I'd written for a Denver community newspaper called "Chinook," which was published by Patrick Dolan and occasionally illustrated by Phil Normand. Mixing music, sound effects, and voice together, I figured the station would either love it or hate it. The next morning I met my future boss Thom Trunnel, who looked up from his coffee and said, "you're hired. You're the only one who used music."

KFML was so new, and so strapped for cash, the UPI wire was taken out. I had to develop all the news from scratch. Since "rip & read" was gone, I produced a series of news reports first thing each morning and put them on carts (like old 8 tracks) in a rack with descriptive titles for the DJs to use with their shows. I'd get in about 6 AM and have the day's material produced by mid-morning. Then I'd start working on material for the next day.

Our youth oriented audience with an age range 18-34 had a distinct "alternative" flavor, and was not interested in the usual news about car crashes, blood-and-guts crime, and national events. What was popular was what we would call today "lifestyle" news, and our listeners loved it. I would listen to the music the DJs used on their shows and then take the current play list material and mix it into the news spots. I recall King Crimson, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Dan Fogelberg, among others, as being popular.

In addition to lifestyle news, there were also the issues of the day including a number of things left over from the 60s. These were the war in Viet-Nam, drugs, and so on. Frankly, some of this stuff didn't fit in with lifestyle news, but some of the other radio stations didn't have the staff, or the nerve, to cover them.

For instance, a series of reports that put us on the map were revelations of racially motivated beatings of black inmates by white guards that took place at the Lowry AFB stockade. An Air Force officer walked into the radio station one day with a secret tape recording of one of these incidents. Needless to say, the lid blew off at Lowry with newspaper headlines in the Rocky Mountain News. The Air Force later conceded the problem and commented that while the news coverage was fair, they also felt it was "overplayed." For this series of stories, the station was nominated for a George Foster Peabody Award, the "Pulitzer" of radio news.

However, life style news and the real world sometimes collided, and if I had it to do over again, I would have tried to develop more balance between the two. Unfortunately, I was only 24 at the time, and lacked the wisdom of 54 which is where I am today (2002). After one of these reports DJ Bill Ashford was so astonished he grabbed an Emerson, Lake, and Palmer album and played one side all the way through.

A saving grace was that some of the more popular pieces we aired were not only news, they were also satire after the tradition of Paul Krassner. I think I had more fun with these types of original material than almost anything else.

That's what made working at KFML worthwhile. It was just great fun! Where else could you go, every day, and blow the minds of 100,000 people with whatever came into you head that morning? I think that's why the DJs were into it because they got to put together music sets that were second to none compared to the rest of the radio universe. For these reasons, I enjoyed working with the entire KFML staff.

Like all good things, my time at KFML eventually came to an end. After that I worked as a freelance journalist for the Straight Creek Journal and several other publications. I helped organize the first two Capital Hill Peoples Fairs with Denver Police Officer Dick Alligood. The fair endures today more than 30 years later and is a signature event in Denver.

In closing I recall that being the newsman at a top-rated radio station had great social benefits. I got invited to a lot of parties, and people who didn't know my name would recognize my voice. This "celebrity" status was mind blowing.

When I saw recently found Dan Fong's famous KFML publicity photo, I sent it to my family and friends. I'm not sure what they think of all this, but I know what I think. KFML was a blast.

This is KFML news.


Thanks for sharing this, Dan.

The format you developed for KFML News not only worked well, it was progressive and creative. What other radio station DJ could play his/her news whenever they wanted to? Since the news was on cart and we did not have established times set aside on the broadcast clock to air the news, we could fit it in however best it worked for our sets. It gave us DJ's tremendous freedom to freeflow our freeform!

Flowing out of music into a music bed used for news was incredibly effective. I believe listener tuneout was minimalized because of this. Certainly, using news in this way faked out the Arbitron hour stats.

BTW, I have three full newscasts circa Spring 1972 I plan on uploading to soon. Jim Clancy and Ed Chatham's work.

Please stay in touch. - MALCOLM


I regret that my tapes of that period were lost in a move years ago. I was pleased to see you mention Vince Scelsa at WFMU-FM. I had the opportunity to sit in on several of his all night Saturday night shows in the winter of 1969. About 3 AM we'd make a run for cheeseburgers at the local diner in South Orange, NJ, by puttting on the entire side of the Stones '2000 Light Years from Home."

After leaving KFML in 1972 I worked as a free-lance journalist for the Straight Creek Journal, Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal, Capital Ledger, and several magazines. I also helped start the Capital Hill Peoples Fair with Dick Alligood. I left the Denver area in late 1975 after getting a masters degree in city planning and changing careers.

We tend to romanticize experiences from our early years, but I'm glad the better memories are the ones that last.

I still care about the music, and the news.

Dan Yurman 43N 112W -7 GMT
A Time Traveler from the Age of Steam


Hey, Dan ~

I wasn't good about keeping airchecks until about 1977 and then I kept them religiously! As a consequence, all of my classic freeform work is lost forever, but I have a fairly large library of my days as a "progressive rock" jock... Not nearly as rewarding!

If you are so inclined, you might like to read "FM" by Richard Neer. He worked with Vin for a good number of years and there is a good amount of material about Scelsa and his contributions in the book.

I enjoyed reading that book, but I'm still at ground zero with books about FM radio: there needs to be a good one about freeform -- totally in the spirit of what we did...

... to those ends, I have been working on a book about freeform. I've waited many years for a bigger name, higher profile person to write it, but I'm afraid we're dying off to fast for me to be assured that it's gonna be done.

That was the primary motivating force behind getting this website together... to link up with other freeformers and mine the digs... Thanks for being part of this effort!

May The Longtime Sunshine Upon You! - malcolm


I began the evening searching for the Starlite Ramblers. I stumbled across a cassette I had recorded of "Ain't It the Truth" and thought I'd see what was out there. I thought of an old friend, KFML, and here I am.

Memories...Quite a few, suprisingly I guess.
How about a couple hours of ocean sounds during the afternoon when the AM only was just getting started.
Scotty's morning music.
The benefit for Sandy Phelps (as I recall she cut herself in a chain saw accident).
Bill's alter ego, Dumptruck O'Neil
Ashford getting mad at complainers when he played country...once he answered by playing, "You're Just a Jive Ass."
Speaking of lyrics, I heard Harry Nilsson's ode to unrequited love on KFML, "You're Breakin' My Heart"
Hope this message revives this string. T


T ~ I had forgotten about Dumptruck O'Neill. Just the way Ashford said the name with a gravelly roll was funny... Bill's show always seemed to be a community affair. There were always people around him while he did his show and then there were those of us at the station who just liked his energy... One Friday will always stick out in my mind (maybe there were many and I'm just bunching them all into one). Bill must have really been looking forward to the meagre paycheck McGoey was doling out (Spring 1972). Bill'd blast ZZ Top's "Just Got Paid" over the studio speakers so loud, you'd think they'd loosen from their moorings! Thanks for jarring some memories... ~ malcolm


T ~ Also posted two links to more Ashford bio info and KFML memories on the FreeFormRadio Blog. A gem at the tripod site is a portion of a Super Warthog aircheck... ~ malcolm


Malcolm, I was pleased to see your quick response to my post; given that there was no action for several months, I imagined there would be no reply.

Thanks for the link to Ashford's present life. I'm struggling a bit with the idea of Bill on a talk radio format but hey...maybe someday I'll see if I can't find the station on the net and give a listen.

I left the front range in the mid-late 70's and was working as a wilderness ranger in the High Uintas in NE Utah. One night scanning the radio dial (when out of the high country), I picked up KFML when the skip was in. I called Ashford and had a good chat and requested a tune or two that I think he blew off. What I remember most about him--and what set him apart from others, then and since--is that he was just himself, not a radio personality; whether he was happy, mad or sad, his feelings shone through on the radio. Most uncommon.

I enjoyed reading his discography and have many of the albums on his list, mostly because of the years with KFML, including 60,000,000 Buffalo and Zephyr (I've got Sunset Ride, which I believe was the last album they recorded before Tommy Bolin left). Pretty sure I saw both these bands at Tulagi's. Oughta write more about the music, but this feels like enough. Good conversing with you. T


T ~ There's a forum function that enables you to receive messages when a reply is posted, so it's pretty easy to see when there is a response. Take a look at the check boxes at the bottom of the thread. I check-in anyway to see who may have surfaced... A call from a ranger station in the Uintas would have made my night. I'm sure Bill got a good hit from your call. We all were not into fulfilling requests much in those days. We were on a track and riding it at full speed. Also, I must admit, when you're a young man you just don't appreciate what you have until many years later when you can't have it back... Zephyr's I'M NOT SURPRISED remains one of my favorite tunes of all time. First time I played it was on KFML and I continued to play it at other less well known stations throughout the '70s.... ~ malcolm


Lost the site for awhile, Malcolm. I was a bit confused when my link took me to Legendary Surfers. Ah, but now I'm found.

About a year ago I posted a note on the AOL site for Denver suggesting the possiblity of a KFML and Friends reunion--no response. Be kinda neat to reserve a room in some club, play KFML music and visit..I can almost hear Rick Cuhna's "Damn Sweet Woman" ringing through room (I don't know maybe followed by Rioppelle's "Red Ball Texas Flyer"). T

BTW, I'm still with the Forest Service and back in Colorado after many years away (mostly AZ).


T ~ I had to change the location for the FREEFORM RADIO site. It was costing me, so I just relocated it under the umbrella of my surf writings site. That costs me nothing... You will not end up the only one confused. Hopefully, others will quickly refind the site like you did... A KFML Reunion would be great! I can think of a number of supporters that could really get into it. I think the lack of response to your idea last year is only because -- so far -- there hasn't been a major connecting spot for former station people and listeners. Sandy and some others had a KFML website going for a while, but it has been down now, or only password-accessible, for about a year... I'm hoping the FREEFORM RADIO site can fill in the void, not only for KFML, but other freeform stations of the past (and the few freeform programs of the present), as well... - MALCOLM


... Today I was thinking about one genre of music that Jerry Mills often played (at least I'm pretty sure it was Jerry)-- English, Irish and Scottish folk-rock. KFML introduced me to Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson and the great Fairport Convention album "Leige and Lief." Steeleye Span, JSD Band from Scotland, Shirly Collins and the Albion County Band (a collaborative that included the who's who of English folk-rock like Richard Thompson). T


Greetings. I discovered this forum yesterday and find myself intrigued. First, I am out of the talk radio business, thank God!! When I moved my family back from Michigan to Colorado Springs in 1990, I visited a few people, including Harry Tuft and Meredith at Swallow Hill. I tried unsuccesfully to re-establish with some of my old workmates, but found them distant. I realize I "took a lot of space" back in the day, but no more than a few others I could name. Anyway, I finally worked it up one day to drive to Denver. I parked at the corner of 3rd & Filmore and just cried for about 15 minutes. I'm not sure if it was for a life wasted or for great times unimaginable these days. People and adventures unavailable and probably unsurvivable now. I've paid my price physically...Lung cancer leading to major surgery & radiation almost three years ago and a couple of other things I can only attribute to excessive wear and tear. I found that I have been out of warranty for some years. Anyway. the good, the bad and the ugly, it was my life and I don't regret most of it. Your postings are a bit old, so I have no idea who will see any of this, but life is OK in Florida, if you allow for the 5 hurricanes last year.
- Bill A.


Bill! Great to be contact!

Thanks for posting and sharing. Admittedly, ours is a small group, right now, that check into this website/blog/forum. But, then again, as freeform programmers we were always a rare breed. I'm hoping the numbers will improve and by using the Internet, we can get reconnected with many of our old compadres if only to share some memories and -- why not? -- airchecks.

If I can find the necessary time to learn the technical details, I hope to have clickable audio that we can all listen to on our PC's and/or download to burn.

Sandy had a KFML website up for a while. Now, the only thing besides this site that gets into any KFML stuff is the one tribute page from KIMN and the one on Tripod (one in the same?). Links to it are on the blog, if you haven't seen it/them. There's a picture of you behind the control board and some audio of Superwarthog.

I think Sandy can get you in touch with Thom, if you are not already. Let me know if you need her email address.

Please keep the communication coming! - MALCOLM


NIce to see you check in, Bill. Sorry to hear of the serious health problems and hope you stay in remission. In keeping with Malcolm's remark about freeform programmers being a rare breed, it appears that listerners are a rare breed too. How the chrise did you guys pay the bills? I could only make so many trips to Budget Tapes and Records in those days (I think they were a sponsor).

Oh well, somebody once said, "you can never go wrong underestimating the American public." With respect to popular music, I've certainly found that to be true. T


I just reread this message string and there were a couple references to 1972. I'm pretty sure that was the year the Rolling Stones came to Denver on the "Get Yer Ya Yas Out" Tour.

Myself and several friends camped out at the old Denver Coliseum for tickets and got seats on the floor about 12 rows back from the stage. I remember Ashford playing sets of Stones music that evening before the concert. All of us down on the floor spent the whole show standing on our seats. What a nite...come to think of it...what a nite

I saw them again several years later up in Ft Collins, one of those stadium concerts. Chrise, that day like'd to never end. Hot, tired, too messed up..waited too long and the Stones weren't into it either. Big difference in two shows. I never went to another stadium concert again. T


... As fate would have it, I have a story to tell about that night, but I'd like to defer to Bill, first. Whatcha remember of that day, Bill? - MALCOLM


For me, most Stones days and the night before and after were generally a blur. I remember a really amazing part with ALL the Stones in Barry F's backyard. I was so secret we had to drive to a pick up point, where we poured ourselves into a van and taken to the party. That, I suppose, was to keep us from leaking the site. Naturally it got our and people began arriving in cars later, and were absolutely turned away. Dinner was served on low tables which afforded us the opportunity to sit on the grass. I think I remember there being one Stone per table. Keith came with Anita Pallenberg, who litterally noded out in her plate of food. Keith pull her up by the back of her hair, probably saving her from drowning in whatever it was we were eating. I remember a really huge replica of the tongue hanging in the air. As you would expect, a very surreal evening.
And very naughty.

The show I went to in Ft. Collins was an unannounced (officially) tune up concert in a gymnasium and was probably the best show I ever attended, by anyone any time, well maybe with the exception of Otis Redding and his band at the National Guard Armory building in Lumberton N.C. in 65 or 66. From there the Stones played LA next and eventually came back for that sloppy stadium show you saw. I attended ever concert they ever did in and around Denver, but the third one I remember almost vividly was the "Some Girls" show at Folsum Field. I ended up in one of the backstage trailers, talking country music with Mick. I was made very comfortable while Jerri Hall laced up Mick's leather pants. All of a sudden, a photograper bounced into the trailer and said to Mick and Me..."awright you to, stand together next two the wall for a press shot. It turned ou to be the ONLY shot with a radio guy to be used in any trade mag during that tour. I'm looking at it hanging on my wall right now. God, did I look rough. - Bill A.


Great stories, Bill. Would have liked to just ride in the vapor trail in those days.

The 72 concert was opened by Stevie Wonder. As his set progressed he was led from instrument to instrument around the stage, playing keyboards, guitar, drums--'bout everything I guess. The Stones toured with Billy Preston and Bobby Keyes.

That concert was top three, along with The Who, touring Who's Next and the Reunion Tour with Dylan and The Band. Keith Moon was still alive then and I remember he had a quiver full of sticks. As he splintered pairs of sticks, he'd throw 'em down on the snare head and they'd spin off toward the crowd. Dylan did rock versions of Blood on the Tracks. All nite long he said only 1 thing, "Nice to be in the Rockies." T


There were lots of ground breaking performances in Denver/Boulder, but I have a feeling you have forgotten some of the amazing things that happened at Mammoth Gardens. Also, Malcolm, where is the "recollection" you were going to share? -


[ continued in: "KFML Stones Dinner" ]

More Jack Nitzsche

NPR has done another review of Jack Nitzsche:

NPR : Jack Nitzsche's 'Hearing Is Believing'

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Radio Free Phoenix

Posted at the Freeform Radio Forum: 09 Mar 2005
Post subject: Free Form Radio is alive and well at


I've been reading the treads on Free Form Radio and would like to let everybody know about Radio Free Phoenix. Broadcasting on the web out of Phoenix, Arizona, Radio Free Phoenix brings back the style of Free Form Radio that existed in one form or another in Phoenix with KCAC, Underground KDKB, KSTM (The Storm) and other great free form stations of the past. We have a full airstaff of Phoenix vets like Andy Olson (KSTM, KZON KSLX); Liz Boyle (KDKB, KSLX, KOOL) Dave Cooper (KYOT, KJZZ) Lee Powell (KDKB, KSTM, KSLX) and Pete Michaels (KSTM, KLPX (Tucson) There's also a great article about the station in the Feb 5, 2005 issue of The Phoenix New Times:


Andy ~ Thanks for the heads-up. I went to the website, cruised around a bit, and also read the Times piece. Congratulations! It sounds like you have a contemporary freeform station actually in operation. I especially liked that you trace what you are up to back to Bill Compton. Unfortunately, I am having difficulty connecting in order to hear what you are doing. Are you having server problems? I will try again and expect to eventually listen. Keep with it


Thanks AO, I too had trouble listening, but spent a few minutes looking at the archived playlist--great stuff. I had to smile to myself when I saw Firesign Theatre on the list; that brings back memories...blurry ones, but memories nonetheless BTW, I'm an Arizona boy too, alum of Yavapai College and UofA. C ya T


Here's a message I received from Andy Olson about the connection issue with RadioFreePhoenix:

Hi Malcolm,

Thanks for checking out the Radio Free Phoenix site. As for connection problems, I haven't discovered any myself. It seems the biggest connection problem is with Windows media player (depending on what player and operating system one has). The guy at the New Times who wrote the article could never pick it up at the New Times. It seems they have such serious firewalls in place they can't access any streaming audio. Can you explain your connection problem. I'd like to know. Perhaps the server acts different depending where the connection is coming from.


Andy Olson

P.S. You have a great site. Thanks for holding up the torch for Free Form Rock. I discovered your site through a google page search that was made by a German listener who connected with the Radio Free Phoenix page.


My original problem connecting must have been because of the firewall at work (University of California, Santa Barbara). When I came home and tried connecting, I had no problem whatsoever. Fun listening!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

J. Parrets, M. Murphey & S. Fromholz

Originally Posted at the Freeform Radio Forum: 30 Jan 2005
Post subject: Others Deserving Recognition

I'd like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Jeff Parretts (apologies if I spelled your last name wrong, Jeff) formerly of radio station KDKB in Phoenix, AZ. Jeff hosted a show he called The Sunday Night Spectrum in the late 80's that moved away from the FM playlist and very nearly achieved freeform. I used to record his show, then make cassettes (I know, flintlock technology) of my favorites: Steve Earle, Nancy Griffith, the Smithereens, Gear Daddys, John Hiatt, Shawn Colvin, Texas..ah that's enough, you get the idea.

I don't know where you are now, Jeff, but your efforts were appreciated by me. T


T ~ Thanks. I searched on some various spellings and came up with a Jeff Parrets currently involved with a little-known current freeformer KCDX-FM, Florence, Arizona. Check the blog for further info.


That's great, thanks Malcolm. Jeez I wish a few more people would get involved. Based on our exchanges the last month, I've thought of sending personal messages to Ashford, Steven Fromholz, and now Jeff Parrets and see if they might like to partake.

As I was telling you, I saw Michael Martin Murphey (he reminded us about the "e" in his last name; the proper Irish spelling) at the Bass Theatre in Ft Worth. The Bass is an absolute jewel, an updated take on a European opera house, complete with 4 stories of balconies. The acoustics are outstanding. Jerry Mills is not playing with him, he's touring with three excellent musicians (and I shouldn't have started writing without looking up their names), lead guitar and hammered dulcimer, bass (both electric and stand-up) and fiddle. Good show. Michael, if you should ever log into this forum; I think you should cover the Badger Clark song Spanish is a Loving Tongue. It would be tough to do it better than Emmy Lou, but I can't think of a male artist who could do it better. T


T ~ I still forget the "e" in MMM's name. Old habits... People GO to websites out of a need -- whether it's information or to buy something or curiosity, etc. People come BACK to websites because the sites are updated -- new merchandise, new info, latest controversy, etc... I know we've had a very good number of people who have visited the FreeForm Forum and left no discernable footprint. That's OK. I think that over time, as people who lurk get to see that actual reconnections with freeform and their past compadres can happen using this site, there will be more participation... Just in this first year of operation, I've been able to renew friendships with my old pal Jim Clancy (KCFR - KFML - CNN), get to re-know Dan Yurman (KFML), communicate a lot with Moe Armstrong (KSAN - KUNM), trade mail with some of my old KCSB pals, and meet a new one (you). So, for me it has been worth it. When the word gets around and past freeform programmers see they can do the same with the people they want to connect with, there will be more repeat visitors and participants. ~ m


We're not all dead, some of us just look like it. Let's face it, war is hell. FYI, I spoke with Frumholz last year (I think) and he is leading wild water trips for city types in West Texas. He sounded great. I have great stories, but I can't tell them til either he or I is/are gone. Like Hunter Thompson. When I was at KHOW in Denver, we used to have the phone number at his favorite bar in Aspen. If we didn't over use it, we were allowed to call him for comments on whatever. He was a great occasional voice on the radio. - Ashford


Hey Bill ~

Sorry to hear about the Doctor's checkout. He was certainly a cultural hero.

I sent Fromholz an email about two weeks ago, but no reply. I've never met him, but wanted to let him know we were thinking about him. The email address I sent to is:

... Got it from his website. He's in cahoots with a rafting outfit HQ'd in Taos. I rode down the Rio Bravo with those guys in the early 1990's. Fun people.

Read a bit about health issues with Fromholz, while I was at his site. Happen to know anything more about that?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Tom Donahue brief bio

The Mickster at WNTI (North NJ and NE PA) did a decent but brief bio on Tom Donahue at:

Public Arts : Tom Donahue...300 Pounds of Solid Sounds (2005-02-19)

Holland, Dozier and Holland

In my mind (or, I should say "my ear"), the best songwriting trio ever... They had a unique way of working together... Here's a recent interview with the three who helped make Motown great, complete with whole versions of some of their most popular hits:

NPR : Songwriting Trio: Holland, Dozier and Holland

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Charles Laquidara

Charles Laquidara was there at KPPC-FM (Pasadena, CA) when Tom Donahue took over and changed the station's programming to make it Southern California's first freeform station in 1967.

After the KMPX strike in 1968 and the move of Donahue and Crew to KSAN, Laquidara moved to freeformer WBCN-FM (Boston, MA) in 1969.

He's got a content-rich site, complete with audio clippings and biographical info at:

The Big Mattress

"The Big Mattress" was a morning show Laquidara developed, beginning in 1972, that became a Boston favorite for the next 2 decades and more.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Tribute to Steve Sellman

In its first decades on the air, the University of California at Santa Barbara’s student radio station KCSB-FM was in many ways defined by one man.

He began as a volunteer student engineer at the station’s beginning, in the mid-1960’s. He was there as a student engineer and newsman during KCSB’s most historical times – the three riots and the burning of the Bank of America branch in Isla Vista (adjacent to the UCSB campus, in 1970) and the station shutdown by overzealous local law enforcement goons. He saw the station through the 1970’s when he became the first paid non-student Chief Engineer. He was there during several power increases, frequency changes and even Federal Communication Commission scrutiny in the 1980’s.

He helped thousands of students during the course of his quarter century at KCSB. He was friend to all. His good nature and little boy smile were infectious.

His name was Steve Sellman.

You may not have heard of him, but anyone who has listened to KCSB in the past or today owes Steve on one level or another. He was not only part of that pioneer student group who got the station going, but later acted as an unofficial pilot for the station during waves of different student broadcasters during the 1970's. These student and community leaders had their own ideas of they wanted to do, but were smart enough to listen to Steve when he would patiently rundown the history behind why things were the way they were.

I was one of those young broadcasters Steve helped in the Christmas season of 1969. Steve was not much older than I, but had already been with the station for awhile and was already considered an engineering resource – the student engineer to call when you had a technical problem. Steve showed me how to operate KCSB's broadcasting equipment and gave advice when I said I wanted to pursue radio as a career.

“Get your First Phone,” he said simply. It was probably standard advice, but it was solid because back in those late 1960’s/early 1970’s days, broadcasters were licensed by the FCC. Most announcers, DJ’s or jocks just had a “Third Phone” – Third Class Radiotelephone Operator’s License. You wrote to the F.C.C., got a study guide, took the test at a big federal building in the closest major city and, passing, you then you could broadcast legally. Inspectors would come by (usually at random or if there had been complaints filed) and inspect the transmitter, engineering meters against the logs and compared signatures against posted licenses. The First Class Radiotelephone Operator’s License was lots better than the Third. With it, you could legally operate any radio or television station in the country by yourself. You were, in essence, an engineer of record. Your marketability greatly improved along with your capability.

Well, years later, when I came back to KCSB to do some political documentaries, Steve was still at KCSB. In the decade since I had been gone, I got that First Phone and put it to good use in both radio and television, as announcer, DJ, even engineer myself. For a short and very lean time, I even had a tower climbing business where the First Phone was nice to flash around.

Steve welcomed me back and we renewed our friendship. He had become the station’s first full-time employee as Chief Engineer. In that role, he not only maintained all the broadcasting equipment, but trained many of the students and non-students that came through the radio station each academic quarter. Perhaps most significantly, he provided a sense of continuity to the ever-changing personnel roster of the station and the programming schedule which reflected the flux. In essence, he was the station’s history.

As fate would have it, I went on to become KCSB’s second full-time employee, as the station’s first (and only) professional General Manager. In our first year working together as manager and engineer (1983-84), Steve and I and a good number of talented student and community leaders achieved great financial stability for the station – achievements that continue to benefit KCSB to this day.

In our second year as the professionals at KCSB, the relationship between Steve and I began to become strained. This was not because of a change in him – Steve was one of the most changeless guys I’ve ever known – but because of a strategic shift of focus on my part. My first year had been dedicated to improving the station’s fiscal position and it’s amazing what we did in just one year. In the second year, I wanted to improve KCSB’s inner workings – most especially upgrading our technical facilities.

I won’t go into the details of all of this. It doesn’t much matter, now. I will say, however, that from 1985 onward, there were a series of running pitched battles between Sellman and I (Yes, somewhere along the line, my view of Steve had shifted, too, so my references to him did likewise. Steve became Sellman). It was mostly because Steve had grown too comfortable in his job over the years and it was hard to get him to do the work necessary to upgrade the station. “Lazy,” I think, is too strong a word, but it does come to mind.

Also, Steve had a real interest in what I considered “dinosaur” equipment rather than the latest digital technology. He was an analog guy living in a world going digital. Rather than spend time learning the latest developments, he would spend hours trying to make old equipment work in a fast-changing technological landscape. It may be that, in the goodness of his heart, he was still locked into a mode where he felt we had to save money for the station in any way we could. The reality was, though, that that had been the situation in the 1970s, but it was no longer the case by the mid-1980s.

The worst part of the differences in opinion over KCSB’s engineering between Steve and I was that he used his natural affable character and loveable personality in winning over a series of student leaders in opposition to me, personally. Because they were around for only four years at best, the students never did fully understand the struggle that was going on internally.

In the meantime, with the help from our parent organization the Associated Students of UCSB, I made it possible for KCSB to once again be a primarily-run student station while still providing a place for non-students to take part and contribute. It may seem like a big boast, but I am comfortable in saying that I gave KCSB back to the students of UCSB. On top of that, this was during a time when Sellman was using many of the station’s student leaders against me.

Nevertheless, I kept the pressure on Steve to either get with it or get going. He finally chose to leave the station on the eve of his dismissal, at the end of the 1980s.

After Steve left KCSB, and with the help of the Associated Students Executive Director Tamara Scott, I changed the General Manager’s job description to be more of an advisor than a manager, giving back the GM role to the students where it had originated. On the engineering side, I used half of the savings of no longer having a full-time engineer, to contract a very capable part-time engineer interested in digital technology. The other half I plowed into digital equipment and facilities enhancements.

With the station finally on a course I had set for it 7 years before, I left KCSB to pursue my career elsewhere. While I feel I did a lot for KCSB, I can’t help but look back with a good degree of sadness at the destroyed friendship between Steve and I and wish it had been otherwise.

THE END: Steve – born Steven M. Sellman -- died suddenly on August 26, 1998 at his home in San Diego. he had complained of a severe headache and announced his intention to check himself into a hospital, but he never made it out of his room and was found dead at the foot of his bed the next day. The cause of death was listed as "stroke" on the Death Certificate. Steve was employed not only at UCSB, but also by stations in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Diego counties. He was active in the Society of Broadcast Engineers. He was survived by his son, James K. Sellman of Idaho Falls (, mother Lynn Sellman of Camarillo, and former wife Ann McCreery. A longtime friend of his is J. D. Strahler (

Not surprisingly, Steve left behind a mound of outdated studio audio gear, test equipment and tools which the San Diego Chapter of the SBE helped the family sort through the gear and dispose of. A memorial was held in heavy rain and attended by Lee McGowan (KYXY), Mike Tosch (KPBS-FM), Bob Gonsett (CGC), Jim Sellman and Jim's mother Ann.

Whenever I think of Steve, I remember him as a friend -- a good hearted man who played a huge role in the early days of KCSB-FM, Santa Barbara. If you are ever by Storke Tower, on the UCSB campus, you may still hear his footsteps on the stairs or spot his ghost riding the elevator up to the top...

Friday, June 24, 2005

XERA, Ciudad Acuna

(XERA-AM, Ciudad Acuna, Mexico - Transmitter Tube)

I still maintain we need to include Wolfman Jack as one of us.

Although he began at XERB, Tijuana, on the West Coast, by the later 1960's, he was also being broadcast over other Mexican powerhouses like XERA, out of Ciudad Acuna, across the Rio Bravo from Tejas. It was his rebroadcasts over XERA that I was first introduced to The Wolfman while going to college in Arkansas, in 1967-68. That's how far that signal went: straight across the mass of Texas and on into the backwoods of Ar-Kansas.

Check out the transmitter tube. "Can ya dig it, baby?!"

Western Electric 320A tube

Monday, June 20, 2005

Remembering Budge

Budge Thelkeld recently left us.

Budge was the creative genius behind Denver's HIGH STREET, aired weekly over KFML in the early 1970's.

There is a tribute thread to Budge at the FreeForm Radio Forum, at:

Budge Thelkeld, R.I.P.

Also, there is a "RememberingBudge Blog" at:


Please share some memories of Budge with us. His Denver HIGH STREET days are of particular interest to those of us from KFML.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Jim Hawthorne - Early FFR DJ

Jim Hawthorne was an early freeform disc jockey before freeform (as we know it) was clearly defined and programmed.

WMFU has a tribute page to Hawthorne, going so far as to say he was the "first freeform radio DJ ever." I'm not sure about that. His approach was and continued to be mostly in the comic realm. If you listen to his aircheck from KXLA-AM in 1947, you will hear freeform elements, however, and Hawthorne's creativity and wit are undeniable.

Appreciations go out to WFMU for rediscovering Jim Hawthorne. The tribute page is at:

Jim Hawthorne - The First Freeform Radio DJ Ever

Jim Hawthorne's website:

Jim Hawthorne Website

Saturday, May 21, 2005

KMPX & KSAN Archives

(Moe Armstrong, one of many former staffers with updated info)

With its wealth of archival material, there's no better freeform website around than "Jive95," the repository for KMPX and KSAN memorabilia, history, archives, graphics, observations, rants, and updates on former staff members...


Monday, May 02, 2005

Jack Nitzche

I've always liked composer/producer Jack Nitzche's work. Here's a link to info concerning a CD compilation of his better known pieces. There's also a link to his artistry with the James Gang on "Ashes, The Rain and I."

NPR: All Songs Considered

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Roky 13th Floor Elevators

Nice audio history of Roky Erickson, of the 13th Floor Elevators, post-psychedelia:

NPR : Tracing Psychedelia's Roky Roots

Friday, March 25, 2005

Friday, March 18, 2005

Scott Muni, R.I.P.

On September 29, 2004, the legendary New York disc jockey and freeformer, Scott Muni, died at age 74.

Muni's career in New York City spanned almost 50 years and included several radio stations including WMCA-AM in the late 1950s, WABC-FM in the early 1960s and freeform stations WOR-FM (1966-67) and WNEW-FM beginning in 1967.

As an on-air talent and Program Director at WNEW-FM during the 1970s, Muni became known for his iconoclastic and alternative approach to programming as well as his unique interviews with the most prominent rock stars of the time.

At the time of his passing, Scottso had been working at New York's WAXQ-FM (Q104.3) since 1998.

Some Scott Muni text links:
A Small Victory
The Firecracker Explodes
1010 WINS Obit
Yahoo Obit
What His Friends Said (includes audio)

Some Muni audio links:

WOR-FM, July 1966
WOR-FM, Oct. 1966
WOR-FM, April 1967
WNEW-FM, 1985

Thursday, March 17, 2005

B. Mitchell Reed, WMCA, 1965

Before B. Mitchell Reed joined the ranks of us freeformers most notably at KMET, in 1970's Los Angeles, he was a highly rated Top 40 Jock.

I stumbled on this aircheck of his last Top 40 show on WMCA-AM, New York, March 20, 1965:

REELRADIO - The Rob Frankel Collection!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Before I actually got into radio myself, in 1967, I was influenced by a number of radio people -- non of which were freeformers. I've previously mentioned the guy who inspired me to get in radio, LeMar Simms -- better known as Lee Baby Simms...

... Well, there were others like Cousin Brucie, Bob-A-Loo (Bob Lewis), Joey Reynolds, Scott Shannon, Wolfman Jack and... for storytelling: Jean Shepherd.

Just stumbled on Tom Higgins' tribute to Jean. Please go to:


Thursday, March 10, 2005

BOB FASS - WBAI, Thu. 12-3:30am


By David Hinckley for The New York Daily News

When he walks into a room, the first thing Bob Fass does is turn on the radio.
"And the second thing I do," he says, "is change the station. Then I change it again, and again, until I admit that nothing I find does it for me."

Bob Fass is 72, an age at which many people feel their radio has abandoned them. But Fass' case is different. He has been on radio himself for more than 40 years and still is, midnight to 3:30 a.m. Thursday on WBAI (99.5 FM). His "Radio Unnameable" is just that, a show on music and politics and whatever is on his mind.

"Radio at its best," he muses, "takes you from the known to the unknown. It incorporates a part of someone else's experience into your life. It's like the way Bob Dylan takes an experience everyone is having but not understanding and puts it into a context where it makes sense."

The Dylan reference isn't random. Forty-odd years ago, Fass was one of the first hosts to interview Dylan. But he doesn't define his show by its celebrities.

"I used to put six or seven people on the phone," he says. "The guy from the Bronx would say it was starting to rain. The guy in Brooklyn said the skies were clear. Then the Bronx would say, 'Listen to that thunderclap,' and Brooklyn would say, 'Yeah, I felt it here.' You got the feeling of a network of the whole city."

Radio alone among media can create that immediacy, Fass says, but radio seems increasingly to value it less - even WBAI. "There are still some great shows on 'BAI, like Ibrahim Gonzalez, the computer show and Jay Smooth," he says. "WBAI's news is still the best, because it has maintained its independence. The women's shows are quite good. But some of the programming has narrowed."

As an unreconstructed progressive, Fass is happy to hail the good old days at WBAI, when it mobilized opposition to the Vietnam War and introduced music later scooped up by stations like WPLJ for great commercial success.

But he's not living in those days. He sounds more outraged over lawyer Lynne Stewart being convicted of abetting terrorism last month than over LBJ.

"Bob is still the real deal," says his friend and colleague Mike Feder, now on Sirius radio. "His energy, intellect and dramatic passion for things alternative and political are undimmed by the years and the mileage."

Fass' broader lament about radio now is that it has lost the droll, understated wit of Bob and Ray or the elegance of Henry Morgan and Jean Shepherd.

"Shepherd used to have trouble with the suits because they said he couldn't sell soap," Fass muses. "Today, Rush, Drudge and all of them, that's what they do. They sell soap. Air America wants to sell soap."

He decries modern radio's "artificial excitement."

"You tell someone to s-w in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Okay. But does that tell us anything about the human condition? Al Lewis used to sell medicine for traveling carnivals. When they got to a town, he'd burn a log on Main St. Everyone came to look. But all he was doing was selling them medicine. That's radio today."

He also hears a hardening of the national spirit.

"There's a lot of hate radio," he says. "I mean the bitterness and the anxiety you hear constantly about the new people moving in on the block - or toward anyone who doesn't fit into what the Bush people present as the norm."

NPR, he says, is better, to a point. "But it gets on my nerves because it's so unspontaneous. You have the feeling if someone giggles, there's a management conference on whether to edit it out. It has to be so polished. It condescends to the listener."

He's happier with WFUV, WFMU and college stations that don't sell soap. He also finds rap encouraging. "It's an extension of what Woody Guthrie and the folk troubadours did," he says. "You can see why it's so powerful and so important."

Holding to this perspective rarely makes anyone rich, Fass included. Last month, his friends held a kind of rent party for him, and he talks about the cost of living in the city as one who could be torpedoed by it.

But he doesn't regret hitching his ride on radio. "When I was 11, I used to pretend I was on the air," he says. "I don't know if I thought it could ever be a job. But the notion of sharing an idea with unseen people was a magnificent thing."

[ New York Daily News online edition:
New York Daily News - Entertainment - David Hinckley: Radio's last radical ]

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Friday, February 11, 2005

KCDX-FM, Florence, Arizona USA

Based on a thread T and I have been discussing at the forum, I looked up "Jeff Parrets" and came upon KCDX-FM, a current freeformer... The Rock and Roll Report Radio Spotlight is on: KCDX FM Florence, Arizona USA

Saturday, February 05, 2005

"Texas Trilogy" & Steven Fromholz

This is an item that grew out of an email correspondence T and I have been having at the FreeForm Radio Forum... Steven Fromholz writes about "Texas Trilogy" and his career:

"Texas Trilogy", by Steven Fromholz, Texas Singer/Songwriter

Thursday, January 27, 2005

XERB and Wolfman Jack

(XERB Studios, Rosarita, Mexico - Late 1950's)

Wolfman Jack was not technically a freeform jock, but his shows certainly weren't the norm, either. Broadcasting throughout the 1960's on mostly AM stations, Wolfman arguably became the best known DJ of the era. No matter who you were, you heard him at one time or another -- some of us, many times! Here's a site that has links to Wolfman websites and Mexican radio station XERB history:


Monday, January 24, 2005

KDKB-FM First Day

"At noon on Monday, August 23, 1971, I went into what would become the main production studio of KDKB in the old Safeway building (Jim, the engineer, had not yet completed work on our master control room, the “engine room” as we called it.) This was the day appointed for us to unveil the new station in all of its glory. I shut the door to the studio and placed “On The Way Home” on the turntable. I said a little prayer and turned off the ocean sounds. The Buffalo Springfield sang, “When the dream came, I held my breath with my eyes closed. I went insane like a smoke ring ay when the wind blows.” KDKB was born. And I was the luckiest person on the face of the Earth."
-- C. Dwight Tindle