Wednesday, December 07, 2022

DJ Claud Pettit

 

There is something oddly endearing about this tiny book with it's awkward idioms on the inside and rear cover. I was most taken with this one, a true product of the 1950s: "The insects must be laughing at man. We developed DDT for them but saved the H-Bomb for ourselves." 

This began with the above songbook of shapenote music. There are no call signs anywhere on the booklet. So despite the radio towers drawn on the cover, it was a struggle to find information on Claud Martin Pettit. Unusually, the sacred harp material and the time period this printing appear to have no connection with the Stamps-Baxter company. Stamps appears as the publisher on a few hymns and that's all. But on the inside page I got my first hint. Under his name was noted "Arvada, Colorado". That was enough to find a memorial page on the broadcast pioneers of Colorado  webpage.

Claude started in radio before he was even a pastor. In 1943, while still in high school he worked Sundays for KFKA at their Record Stockman studios. His pastoring began in 1952 but the two careers intersected more formally in 1952 in 1955 when he became known as "The Country Parson" on KLAK in Denver. It was a country gospel music formatted program of a type that's quite rare these days.

Most of his obituaries are about his church, and bible college, almost nothing is said about his radio career despite lasting 60 years and including at least 8 radio stations. In 1960, Claud and his wife Margaret bought 1290 KEOS-AM in Flagstaff, AZ as partial owners of CLEM, Inc with another couple: Edythe Walker and Lee Walker. The walkers were owners of KLAK so you can see the connection.  But The Pettits' sold their shares in 1961. 

In 1965 they bought KWIV in Douglas WY. In 1974 they applied to build a station in Brush, CO which was granted as 1010 KCMP-AM in 1976. A 1979 directory refers to the format as "Beautiful music, relig, spec prog: farm 12 hrs; Spanish 4 rs." Sounds like a hodge podge. I also found a slightly  incongruous citation for Claud Pettit as chief engineer on the Western Bible College owned KWBI on 91.9 in Morrison, CO.

But in 1981 they sold their station again. About then most print references to the Pettits' peter out. The last note I saw was about that sale in Broadcasting & Cable. But instead of actually retiring from radio, the Pettits' bought another radio station in 1989, and became owners  of KKDD and KKGZ in Brush, CO again.

At the time  KKGZ, and KKDD, so it was his second try on 1010 and 107.1. At that time the stations were owned by G-Z Broadcasting and were dark.and the stations in receivership according to R&R. It looks like a bit of a rescue mission. But a 2009 business directory lists Better Life ministries as owning 8 stations: KYNN, KHJR, KEHT, KOAH, KHTW, KHRX, KHUA, and KYHR across Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. The citations appear to conflict.But various directories do list him as president through 2008.

Outside of radio Claud was a Trustee for Colorado Christian College (above, top center) which itself owned two radio stations and a TV station. He was the Chairman of the radio committee at Western Bible Institute. He finally retired from radio in 1991, but continued pastoring at Better Life Ministries until at least 2009 when the Denver Post profiled him [LINK]  He was 88 years old.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

News and Reviews 2022

We are now in year 17, (a nice respectable prime number) and I stand by my statement from 6 years ago... "it seems both impossible and inadvisable to have gone so far down the rabbit-hole." This blog began in April of 2005. As of this date, that works out to more than 3,375 posts, a decade-and-a-half in the making. Clearly I still have too much free time. I did a radio show on WLOY, and I even managed to get published this year on old school newsprint aka dead-tree media, with thanks to The Slingshot Collective

 
Links to all 17 years of News & Reviews:

2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015  2014 2013
2012 2011 2010 2009
2008 2007 2006 2005


Best Posts:
I started off 2022 with a dive in to an old WECS radio schedule, and some antique radio repair. Then the tale of an illegal satellite launch and a quick piece on the Glaskarten archive. It wasn't a very productive year blog-wise but I still found time for deep dives into both Herman Darewski and Jack Ruby of all people.

 
Most Popular Posts:
My most popular posts haven't changed in years.  Since 2009 the most traffic has gone to a post about Peter Tripp.  This is what I call the post that Reddit built. It remains an aberration in my web-traffic with 96k+ hits. I did eventually collate a list of all Radio Wake-a-thon records here. My 2007 post on the Career Academy of Famous Broadcasters continues to get comments from it's legion of former students. It remains a top hit on Google. In 2022 My most popular post was the one-sentence post referring to my Quarantine Takeover show on WLOY. That probably has more to do with WLOY than myself but it's good motivation to do it again.


Best Zine
With thanks to Slingshot I got to read a lot of zines while under quarantine. The best hands-down was Dynamite Hemorrhage. I want to read every back issue, I a subscription. Jay Hinman contributes to the punk cannon in the same way that Koenig and Coley did back in the 1980s. Their original writings on commerce and art rock remain the foundation of the last 40 years of punk and indie rock music criticism.

Best Radio Show:
I'm still hooked on The Primitive Show on WVKR. I keep trying to make contact for an interview but no luck so far. On that topic I saw that Chimurenga also is now running a radio program and I'd really like to chat with them about it. Maybe I need a section on most-wanted stories.

 

Top 10 Records of 2022
Usually my top 10 is comprised of full-length albums, and is format agnostic. The definition of "full-length" is totally at my discretion as to number of tracks, or album length in minutes. But generally EPs, Singles, Re-releases, and demos get sifted down the the notable list. Aside from all that preface, our obvious descent into dystopian collapse has made for a great year in music.

  1. Chat Pile - Gods Country
  2. Pile - All Fiction
  3. Society - Pollution
  4. Gospel - The Loser
  5. Cronies - Slow Wrist Grave Shift
  6. Wire - Stepping off too quick
  7. Idiot Child - Idiot Child
  8.  Ken mode - Null
  9. Nerver - CASH
  10. Crowd of Chairs - Defluencer

 

Notable mentions: Ashenspire - Hostile Architecture, Weeping Hour - Drone (single),  Negative Capability - Negative Capability, Gilla Band - Most Normal, Chatpile - Tenkiller Soundtrack, Human Impact - Imperative (single),  Sppn - Lucifer on the Sofa, Russian Circles - Gnosis, Pyrithe - Monuments to Impermanence, Black Magnet - Body Prophecy, Melvins Bad Mood Rising (single),

Monday, August 29, 2022

Who the hell is Bill Thailing?


 Bill Thailing was a long time fan, trader, collector and dealer of comics, newspapers, radio programs, magazines, pulp magazines, books and ephemera in Cleveland, OH. He published his own catalog for decades and it in turn became a collected piece of ephemera. Purportedly his day job was as A railroad worker. His wife was Zylpha Thailing. More here.

There is no complete bibliography of his works. But we do know that he also wrote for other zines. But he numbered and dated his quasi-annual catalogs so we do know about how many there were, and about how long the catalog was in publication. Issue # 217 is dated for the years 1982-1983, Number 218 is the last issue I'm aware of but it's cover is undated. His want lists are also numbered. Issue # 215 for example is dated (1977 - 1978) but notes at the bottom of the cover "Combined with want list #30) so the numbering is not 1-to-1. 

Especially earlier in his career he included radio programs on his want list. Recently Bill Thailing's Wantlist #23 popped up eBay. It's dated 1963-1964. So this would correspond to some fairly early catalogs. So I thought it' be interesting to record and make that list searchable. He notes below the list "The above recordings can be either on discs, or tapes, of all speeds and sizes. They must be from the period prior to 1943 except for the starred (*) dramas which can be of later vintage. Trades arranged.

I've added a date column for context and completed the program titles in brackets for easier searching.. Some of these are very common, well archived programs like Tarzan. Others are totally obscure like Holly Lobby. From the mix of soap operas and suspense dramas I'm guessing this list is not driven by his personal taste alone. See below:

Title
Dates
[New] Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (B. Rathbone)
 1939 - 1946
Against the Storm
 1939 - 1952
American Album of Familiar Music
 1931 - 1954
American Radio Warblers
 1937 - 1952
Believe it or Not
 1930 - 1932
Campbell Playhouse
1938 - 1940
David Harum
 1936 - 1951
Eno Crime Clues
 1933 - 1936
Grand Central Station
 1937 - 1954
[The Romance of] Helen Trent
1933 - 1960
Hobby Lobby
 1937 - 1949?
Jack Armstrong, [the All-American Boy]
1933 - 1951
Let's Pretend
1934 - 1954.
Lights Out
1933 - 1943
[The Story of] Mary Marlin
1934 - 1945
Murder by Experts*
1949 - 1951?
One Man's Family
1932 - 1959
Professor Quiz
1936 - 1948
Road of Life
 1937 - 1955?
Sammy Kaye's Sunday Serenade
 1940 - 1950?
Stella Dallas
1937 - 1955
Suspense* 1940 -1962
Tarzan of the Apes
 1932 - 1936
Tom Mix [Ralston Straight Shooters Club]
 1933 - 1943
Vic and Sade
1932 - 1944
Young Widder Brown
1938 - 1956
Aldrich Family
1939 - 1953
Backstage Wife
1935 - 1940?
Betty and Bob
1932 - 1940
Columbia Workshop
1936 - 1947
Death Valley Days
1930 - 1940
First Nighter
1930 - 1943
Guiding Light
1937 - 1956
Hilltop House
1937 - 1957
I Love a Mystery
1939 - 1944
[Yours Truly] Johnny Presents
1949 - 1962
Life Can be Beautiful
1938 - 1954
Lorenzo Jones
1937 - 1955
Mercury Threatre [on the air]
1938 - 1939
Mysterious Traveler*
1943 - 1952?
Orson Welles (almanac, show, commentaries)
1941 - 1945
Right to Happiness
1939 - 1960
Rudy Vallee (Fleischmann's Yeast Hour, Royal Gelatin) 1929 - 1939
[Jackson] Southernaires 1940 - ?
Take it or Leave it
1940 - 1947
This Amazing America
1940
Valiant Lady
1938 - 1946
The Whistler*
1942 - 1955
Others
X

 Please note that the final inclusion on his list is "others"as it is on everyone's  list whether they type it out or not. I think that's just because he's open for trades.


Monday, August 22, 2022

RADIO EUZKADl

It's very difficult to write about the Basque as an outsider not speaking Euskara. Because very few people speak Euskara there's very little editing to information webpages. Even within the rigid machinations of Wikipedia the data is poor. Their article about Radio Euzkadi is a first person diatribe dated to 2011 about the 2008 cessation of broadcasts. It's not exactly high quality source material, but let's start there.

It explains some history, I'll convey the tale with some additional historical background. President José Antonio Aguirre, fled the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in 1940 and lived in exile in Paris, Berlin, Belgium, Sweden and eventually New York and Uruguay. (The article refers to him simply as "the Legend often" He had been dreaming of a way to use mass media to reconnect the Basque people, to promote their language and culture. He died still in exile in Paris in 1960 after starting that very project. 

Their first transmitter was acquired thanks through a joint project between the Basques of America, and the Councilor of the Basque Government, José María de LaSarte and collaborated on a way to smuggle a transmitter into Europe. In 1946 Aguirre used his diplomatic credentials to smuggle radio equipment into Marseille. The story claims that French government was informed but officially was not aware of their activities. Twenty-four hours later the boxes arrived in Donibane where Joseba de Rezola received the equipment.After being quickly assembled it's first announcer was Ander "Luzear" Arzeluz who played a recording of ezpatadantza bizkaina.

It also recalls a tale about a Parish priest of Mouguerre (Laburdi) who hosted the station in his own home in a later period of it's operation. After strong pressure by the French authorities under the Francoist government their eventually yielded and Radio Euzkadi was shut down.

From a 2008 cache of their website "www.eitb.com/radioeuskadi" I was able to recover a complete list of their frequencies and locations (below). Their original website disappeared in 2008. This would be from shortly after the peak of their era. In 2015 they launched a new page at "www.eitb.eus/es/radio/radio-euskadi/" with completely different content.

Band Frequency  Center  Coverage  Country
AM 962 KHz
Estibaliz Araba Araba
AM 756 KHz Ganguren (Artxanda) Bizkaia Bizkaia
AM 819 KHz Miramon (Donostia) Gipuzkoa Gipuzkoa
FM 87.9 MHz
Herrera (Laguardia) Arabako Errioxa Araba
FM 90.1 MHz  Ioar (Sta. Cruz de Campezo) Arabako egoaldea Araba
FM 89.7 MHz Txibiarte (Amurrio) Aialako arana Araba
FM 90.9 MHz Zaldiaran (Gasteiz)
Gasteiz Araba
FM 92.4 MHz Demiku (Bermeo) Busturialdea Bizkaia
FM 91.7 MHz Ganeta (Bilbo) Bilbo Handia Bizkaia
FM 95.7 MHz Garbea (Balmaseda) Enkarterriak Bizkaia
FM 103.2 MHz Oiz
 Durangaldea eta Lea Artibai Bizkaia
FM 96.6 MHz Pico del Moro (Carranza)
Enkarterriak Bizkaia
FM 95.7
Elosu (Bergara) Leniz eta Urola  Gipuzkoa
FM 90.5
Igeldo (Donostia) Donostialdea Gipuzkoa
FM 96.5
Jaizkibel (Hondarribia) Bidasoaldea Gipuzkoa
FM 98.2
Karakate (Elgoibar) Deba Garaia Gipuzkoa
FM 96.9
Ollaun (Tolosa) Tolosaldea Gipuzkoa
X 99.4
Usurbe (Beasain)
Goierri Gipuzkoa
X 98.0
Txindurreta (Zarautz)
Zarautz
Gipuzkoa

We do know why broadcasts ceased in 2008. At 11:00 AM on December 31st, 2008, the headquarters of the EITB Group in Bilbao, Radio Euskadi was bombed by a terrorist group called the ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna). They used a van loaded with 220 lbs bomb materials parked close to the offices. One person was injured. The force of the blast blew out the windows of the glass facade and smoke covered the six story building. An hour before the detonation, a caller warned Bilbao firefighters. More here and here.  In February 2009 Ibai Beobide was arrested for the bombing. More here.

The reasons for the bombing were mixed. Some political groups saw EITB as co-opted by the Spanish government and ineffective at preserving their culture. The ETA had a much more radical agenda and had it's supporters. It's hard to determine the alliances of something this large and complex. But the ineffectiveness of Radio Euzkadi is measurable. Their ratings were down. You can see that trend line below:

They did recover form the 2008 bombing but in a diminished form.  Their listenership continued to decline thereafter. In 2004 the station peaked at 259,000 listeners. From that time forward trend continued downward. and, according to the general summary of the EGM in March 2011, the audience was down to 151,000 listeners. 

Also from the old Radio Euskadi wbsite was a timeline of Basque radio.

  • 1925 - The first radio station of the Basque Country is created in EAJ 8 Radio San Sebastian
  • Radio Club Vizcaya and Radio Vizcaya are created in the 20s. After buying the company Union Radio, it will close these Bizkaia radio stations
  • 1930 - Radio Bilbao, Radio Vitoria and Radio Pamplona are created in the decade.
  • 1950s -  The radios of the organization called "Movimiento" will be created. La Voz de Guipúzcoa, La Voz de Álava, La Voz de Navarra, Radio Juventud de Bilbao, Radio Juventud de Eibar and Radio Tudela.50 decade Parish radio stations are created. Segura Radio, Loyola Radio, Arrate Radio, Tolosa Radio, Monasterio Radio, Irurita Radio and Berruete Radio. The Basque government's Euzkadi Radio will broadcast its information and opinions from Venezuela.
  • 1964 Church radios were closed by the Madrid government. A year later, Loyola Radio returns to F.M. in the band
  • 1960s - Donostia, Bilbao and Pamplona Public Radio will be created. Also the Donostia radio station of the Spanish Radio Nacional channel.
  • 1970s -  RNE of Bilbao will be created. And through Loyola Radio, under the name of Radio Adour-Navarre, special programs towards the North will begin
  • 1980s - Arrate Radio starts its broadcasts again. Also Euskadi Irrati and Radio Euskadi. The Cadena SER channel will return to Vitoria-Gasteiz, with a new FM radio station
  • 1990s - The rest of the Basque Country's radio stations were created.

EITB recovered from the bombing quickly. They remain the leading media group in the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain with four domestic television channels and five radio stations. But their five radio stations Euskadi Irratia, Radio Euskadi, Radio Vitoria, Euskadi Gaztea and EITB Musika only add up to 300,000 listeners per day.

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Blisard Brothers

 

Don and Norman Blisard were the Blisard Brothers. One promotional photo shows them in cowboy hats with a mandolin and a guitar standing in front of a microphone bearing a KUOA badge. Their parents were Ben D. and Mary Blisard of Gainsville, MO. Don was born February 22nd, 1919 and his younger brother Norman was born in Corral, ID August 3rd, 1920. The duo are obscure enough that Hillbilly-music.com only has a stub. 

Their radio program was on 1290 KUOA-AM in Siloam Springs, AR. The date it aired is uncertain, but their songbook was printed in 1945. Their songbook was published in shape note which is rare enough to narrow things down. The publisher is given as "The Blisard Brothers, KUOA Artists" at 50¢ a copy. More notably the introduction was written by Albert E. Brumley a prolific printer of shape note music into the 1960s.

KUOA started at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville first signing on in 1923. The station was acquired by John Brown University in 1933 who ran it as a christian station mixing Southern Gospel, and other religious music with preaching programs. The founder and first president of the eponymous university, John E. Brown Sr. was a long time radio enthusiast and this was far from his first radio station having owned KFPW previously and had a program on KMPC

The surname Blisard isn't common. Despite that random hits are few. There was  George C. Blisard of Waco, TX writing in the Sylvania newsletter from the service department of Cogdell auto supply advising on the repair of radio sets in 1942 and 1944. A relative perhaps.  A Thomas A Blisard Sr. testified in the HUAC, the House Investigation of Un-American Propaganda Activities in the United States hearings. He gives his birth date and place as 1880 in Philadelphia. But his statements were about Stalin on the radio, not southern gospel. Random searches produce Blisards, but no clear connections. The mystery endures.

Benjamin Donovan "Don"  Blisard was a landscape painter even back in the 1940s. He has some renown even now for his works. Because of that we know that he died in 1989,  his grave is in Aurora, MO and that his wife was Imogene. Hispainting style is similar to Charles Wysocki, which might be how they both ended up on jigsaw puzzles. 

I did find one relevant clipping from the Arkansas Times from January 13th 1969. It helped fill out the family tree a bit. Rex Wayne Blisard of Siloam Springs, son of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Blisard was killed in Vietnam January 9th. He had been born July 15th, 1949. He was survived by his parents (above) and his siblings Dale and Lana; his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Robinson and paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Blisard all of Siloam Springs.