Sunday, August 19, 2007

KYW-1100/Final Hours..Saturday AM June 19, 1965

The following is one result of my trip to Cleveland last Thursday. Bill Barrett was the TV-Radio writer for the old Cleveland Press for many years. He was probably the leading broadcast columnist in his time..Here his column is a lighthearted look at KYW-AM 1100 all night DJ Jay Lawrence and the upcoming changeover from KYW/WKYC, which took place at 5AM Saturday, June 19, 1965. This column was written Friday, June 18, 1965.

TV Radio

Bill Barrett


Jay Lawrence, the all-night disc jockey at KYW-Radio will check in for his regular shift Friday midnight working, as usual for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Co.

Promptly at 5AM Saturday morning Jay will become an employee of the National Broadcasting Co. and the call letters of the station will be changed to WKYC.

The Broadcasting entity known as KYW--Radio and Television--will go whisking off to Philadelphia in the Big Swap ordered by the Government. The Phildelphia stations, owned by NBC, come here with new call letters.

Jay Lawrence alone will be in the saddle at the moment of change. I would'nt be surprised if the responsibility of the occasion is beginning to bother hin just a bit. Should he change his voice a little? or sneak in some music by Montovani? Or change his name to Larry Jason? And how is he going to avoid urging us to have a K-Y-Wonderful Weekend?

You can see that old Jay has his problems all right. Having to change horses in mid-program so to speak. but that K-Y-Wonderful couplet is'nt among them.

I suppose if I ever thought about it at all before I got this assignment, I figured the voices that sing all those promotional ditties came from real men and women right there in the studio. I imagined them lounging about the building between singing about the weather and the news and all, sipping hot tea and resting their voices which go all day, all night seven days a week.

Well, that's not the way it is at all. These little songs are on records. They are called jingles, and the whole batch of them is called a jingle package.

KYW will take its jingle package to Philadelphia. I imagine they'll come up with some new jingles, like:

KYW is tickled SILLY to be here again in dear old PHILLY!

To be done fortissimo, of course, with guitars and cymbals and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

To Get back, though, to the "K-Y-Wonderful" be advised that the new station, WKYC is having a new package made up featuring the new call letters. You will note that the key letters are "K-Y". We may expect inspirational ditties like:

Don't touch that knob gang just stand by
for fun and games on old KY!

The whole idea, as I understand it, is to retain the familiar "KY sound." If all goes according to plan, you'll be able to close your eyes, clench your fists occasionally (if you're an old fuddy-duddy like me) and listen, it'll be as if KYW never left town.

With the probable exception of Jim Runyon, all the radio performers are expected to stay--from Martin and Howard through Jay Lawrence.

All this and the familiar bong*BONG*bong of NBC. It's almost too much.

Copyright 1965 Cleveland Press

Jim Runyon apparently wanted nothing to do with NBC at the time. He almost immediately left for WCFL-AM 1000 Chicago where he became the announcer for the "ChickenMan" comedy vignettes produced at CFL..He returned to AM 1100 in the 1970's when it was WWWE..

I know there is an aircheck out there of the changeover..Would love to hear it..


  1. I had heard an aircheck when WTAM was broadcasting their 80th anniversary special a few years back. Where it was being described as the Westinghouse suits leaving and the NBC suits coming into the building. So I wonder if maybe WTAM would ever post that or make the whole special available.

  2. There *is* an aircheck of the was presented as part of WTAM's 80th anniversary show a couple of years ago. Talk about theatre of the was a "party" atmosphere with General David Sarnoff entering the building at 5:00 to ring the NBC chimes.

  3. Hey WIXY, we're on the same wavelength! :)

  4. Tim:

    WIXY and anonymous are correct--an aircheck of the changeover, hosted by Jay Lawrence does exist, and it was part of the WTAM special.

    I have a copy of it, if you'd like to send an email I can get it dubbed (oh no--is JimOhio going to coem after me?)

    Also, I had a post on the Listening Party forum at the PD's website about Runyon's treck to Chicago. It wasn't so much that he didn't want anything to do with NBC as he wanted MORE to do with KYW's PD Ken Draper, who was recruited to program WCFL.

    Draper brought a bunch of Cleveland people with him to form the nucleus of 'CFL. Besides Runyon, Draper grabbed DJs Jim Stagg (KYW)and Ron Brittain (WHK), along with ad man/KYW production manager Dick Orkin.

    Orkin and Runyon eventually teamed on the Chickenman series--which Draper green-lighted for air on WCFL.

    It wasn't long after that WCFL knocked off the Chicago Top 40 giant WLS, which caused WLS to drop its "personality" format and adopt a streamlined Top 40 format programmed by John Rook.