Thursday, May 03, 2007

KHAT on a flag pole

Flag pole sitting is an American tradition. For the most part Flag pole sitting died out in popularity in the late 1930s. It had peaked with the extreme stunts of Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly. In 1924, Alvin went to Atlantic City and sat atop a flagpole for a record 49 days. 20,000 easily entertained people watched.

Radio of course has always had trouble letting a joke die. We drag that crap out forever squeezing out every possible guffaw until it's desperate and painful to listen. So it came to pass that 20 years after the joke was a dead horse, KHAT radio personality Roller rehashed it. the year was 1958 and he spent 211 days and 23 hours sitting on a flagpole at a Ford car dealership in downtown Phoenix. His twist on the crank move? It was in a Ford Fairlane mounted atop the pole.

It was dumb enough that area rockabilly artist Al Casey cut a song about it. Casey never became a big name, I think his career peak were his few TV seasons playing in the studio band on Dean Martin's NBC variety show. His local fame really comes from his time in The Sunset Riders, the then house band for KRUX disc jockey Ray Odom on his Arizona Hayride shows.

KHAT was a relatively new station at the time having only signed on in the late 1950s as a daytimer. They played country music well into the1970s when they killed it for news/talk as KPHX. N?T didn't stick for them (like many daytimers) So about a year later they went Regional Mexican. In 1982 they got a repreive from the FCC and were allowed to begin night-time operation at a reduced wattage, directional. they run Air America these day harkening back to their breif mid 70's News stint.