Thursday, March 12, 2009

Freddy's on KSTP-AM

Today 1500 KSTP-AM is a conservative political talker. Minneapolis is a pretty liberal city which explains why their ratings are typically half that of WCCO-AM. But in the 1980s they were a much more mixed talker under Hubbard broadcasting. They were the station that gave Jesse Ventura a talk program in 1988. In the 80s who thought he'd have a political career? More here.

But today I look back to KSTP-AM circa May 1960. In 1928 a share-time between KFOY-AM and WAMD-AM ended in a merger. The resulting station was KSTP. They ran some NBC syndication but were a full-service MOR outlet for most of the 60s which was in my mind a non-format. MOR is what we now call Standards or nostalgia and full-service means you have block programming.

What sent me on this flurry of research was the last 30 seconds of an 1981 Jack Teagarden LP. I knew the LP was recorded live at Freddy's Cafe in Minneapolis by KSTP. Freddy's no longer exists but they had comedy, jazz, live entertainment of all kinds. They were a night club in the classic sense. I don't know who recorded his program but in catching Teagarden at the end of his career they captured a now famous DJ at the beginning of his. The hosts of that show was Leigh Kamman.

Leigh Kamman started out just a jazz fan and got a gig at WMIN-AM as a janitor. he moved to WEBC-AM in Duluth in 1942. He left that to to do AFRN programs out of KOA-AM in Denver during WWII. He went to New York City in 1950 and did a jazz program on WOV in New York.

In 1956 he blew back into Mineapolis and picked up work at WLOL and KSTP and he hosted show's at Freddy's. The jazz shows at Freddy's were broadcast live on KSTP. This program evolved over time to become a regular late night gig for Kamman called The Jazz Image on Minnesota Public Radio. That program ran from 1973 until September 23rd 2007. Kamman retired at the age of 85.

If you have any question of Jack Teagarden... He was a man of red hot jazz in his era. Try this old 78s on for size.