Monday, July 03, 2006

George Carlin's Hi-Fi Club

Nobody seems to remember that George Carlin got his start in radio.

Comedians George Carlin and Jack Burns worked at KXOL from 1959-1960. It was there in Dallas that they developed an on-air percursor to their two man act. They started performing stand-up at The Cellar Club in Ft. Worth. In 1960 Station Manager Earle Fletcher gave the two an ultimatum, "radio or nightclubs." Carlin and Burns picked nightclubs and were on The Tonight Show within months.

George Carlin was born on May 12, 1938, in the Bronx, New York City. He grew up in Morningside Heights. He ws a highschool drop out eventually enlisting in the Air Force. The Airforce left ihim in Shreveport where he became a newscaster and DJ at radio station 1480 KJOE (now gospel outlet KIOU-AM) while still serving in the Air Force.

He stayed in radio, and after his discharge in 1957 he moved to Boston where he joined radio station WEZE. Over the next few years, Carlin had many radio jobs, and in 1959 he met newsman Jack Burns at KXOL in Fort Worth, Texas. Teaming with Burns in the early 1960s, he moved to Hollywood where he came to the attention of Lenny Bruce who aided his rise to fame.

When Jack Burns left the team to work with Avery Shrieber, George Carlin began to make a name for himself as a stand-up comedian, and during the decade became a fixture on television, appearing on the Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, and Merv Griffin shows, and writing for Flip Wilson. His first comedy album, Take-Offs and Put-Ons, came out in 1972.

that same year his "Seven Words You Can Never Use on Television" routine got him arrested at a Milwaukee concert. The charges were thrown out by the judge. That same bit later became the foundation of all radio obscenity law as the crux of a Supreme Court case, FCC v. Pacifica Radio, whose station WBAI in New York City broadcast the bit.

Station KMNY, the current occupant of 1360, opened up a slot Sunday afternoons to commemorate the frequency’s golden past. Mike Shannon, a veteran broadcaster in DFW. and co-host John Lewis named the program "the Hi-Fi Club," a revived show name from KXOL that was once hosted by comedian George Carlin back in 1959-60.