This aircheck was originally posted on YouTube by Ryan Scriver, whose description reads; “recorded on to reel to reel off the radio in South Shore, South Dakota on January 5 1964” In its original form, frequent signal drops render it largely unlistenable. Not one song is spared the wrath of static, signal pollution and volume drops. Nonetheless, the original aircheck is amazing, as it was surely recorded during daytime hours under less than optimal ionospheric conditions. For KOMA's signal to reach South Shore, S.D. Located in the northeastern corner of the state, near the Minnesota border, wasn't out of the ordinary. KOMA had a tremendous reach with its directional antenna array and 50,000 watt transmitter. To do so during the day, was in fact quite impressive.
Music and radio were both undergoing a number of changes in 1958 when Storz Broadcasting Co. bought KOMA, Todd Storz, owner of Storz Broadcasting, was of course the man who invented the “Top 40” radio concept. He introduced the same format at KOMA that he had used at all Storz stations, though two other OKC stations beat KOMA to the Top 40 format, (KOCY and WKY) leaving KOMA the odd man out. In 1961 KOMA went to a totally automated format. This January 5th. Aircheck in all likelihood captures an early moment during KOMA's return to “live” programming, which would have taken place on or about New Year's Day 1964.
Drake-Chenault's “Boss Radio” format killed off this type of radio shows. Storz stations did follow a format, but as you can tell by this aircheck, things got a little loosey goosey at times. It's a Tuesday, pre-Beatles, British Invasion. It's elephant joke day and Don McGregor, like most KOMA disc jockeys is hitting his cues like clockwork, even as he stumbles with some of the jokes sent in by listeners. “How do you make an elephant float?.... a can of soda and two scoops of ice cream.” It's corny as hell, but after all it's Oklahoma, not Southern California. The song selection is an eclectic mix of soul, ballads and rockers... a little something for everyone in less than thirty minutes.
I restored all the music and as much of the deejay banter that I could, I cut two commercials that ran way too long (one for an appetite suppressant that wouldn't air today) In all there were about three minutes of air time that weren't salvageable. This aircheck captures a rather sedate and milquetoast period in the station's history. KOMA wouldn't really hit its stride until the following year, with its classic period coming between 1968-72. KOMA reached out to New Mexico and the Western States nightly read all about it here: http://dirtcitychronicles.blogspot.com/2010/12/western-skies.html