Thursday, October 25, 2012

The WFAA Early Birds

WFAA-AM was home to the long-running morning program, "The Early Birds", hosted by John Allen. It was broadcast from from the Santa Fe Railroad Warehouse in Dallas, TX. they called it "the penthouse ." Back in those days 820 kHz was a day share with WBAP-AM and WFAA took over at 7:00 AM, starting each weekday with The Early Birds. It was not like modern morning zoo programs. This was a full-blown variety program. The show premiered on premiered March 31st 1930 and celebrated the quarter century mark with a 25th Anniversary Album in 1955. More here.

WFAA itself only signed on in signed on in June of 1922. It changed frequencies a couple times but starting in 1938 it moved to 570. The share agreement was truly bizarre. WBAP Radio would broadcasting on 820 from midnight till six AM. Then WFAA took over till noon and WBAP broadcast the afternoon slot and WFAA took over again until midnight. Apparently WFAA thought it was worth working for every minute of clear channel signal time they could get on 820. To further complicate this nonsense, they aired NBC network programming on 820 kHz and ABC network programming on 570 kHz. To signal the frequency changes on air WBAP staff always rang a cowbell. John Allen hosted the program for it's entire run. Guests included Lynn Hoyt, Katy Prince, Frances Beasley, Terry Lea, Louise Mackey and Dale Evans. He had a number of co-hosts over the years including Bob Shelton, Emcee Jimmle Jefferles, Bert Noyd, Emcee Norvel Slater, Announcer Eddie Dunn, Board Operator Red Lucas and many others. They had skits, stand up comedy, an orchestra, an awkward number of black-face routines and a live studio audience.

In 1945 they debuted an FM simulcast on W5X1C on 94.3. The arrangement continued until the early 1960s gradually adding their own programming until they became an MOR station. On May 1, 1970, this messy and senseless share time arrangement came to and end. WBAP paid $3.5 million dollar to WFAA to buy them out. WFAA was relegated to 570. They dropped the WFAA call letters in 1983 becoming KRQX. The call sign still lives on as Channel 8 on the TV band.