Dedicated to the San Antonio radio station of the 70's that
was unique and affected so many folks.
KEXL Jock Ron Houston's Wife Needs Your Help
Ron's wife, Sheryl, needs a kidney. Please pass the word.
Ron Houston was a key player at KEXL. Later in life Ron and his wife, Sheryl, moved to Blanco, TX and Ron became a key player in helping the town of Blanco. He was Mayor Pro Tem...even did the voice overs for the Blanco grocery stores as you heard his golden voice as you walked up and down the isles. The above photo is a great example of Ron's support of the city of Blanco. :)
Ron passed away in 2009 but his wife Sheryl still lives in Blanco. Sheryl, currently needs a kidney transplant and right now there is no donor. Sam Kindrick told me about this and we both want to help get the word out. Can you help Ron's wife by either donating a kidney or telling others. Thanks! Jay
Click here to read Sam's article about Sheryl and
her need for a kidney
Thanks!! Jay & Sam
March 2013 - new audio selections thanks to Tom Teigue's saved reel-to-reel recording!!!
KEXL Jock Tom Devine A great lunch! Oct 2013
Tom during the KEXL days and a commercial he did for KEXL.
Mike Collie was the marketing and concert organizer for KEXL - Shawn Phillips was played often on KEXL. A reunion of sorts - see you there! Sept 2nd, 2013
Here's a link to a recent interview with Shawn Phillips - concert is just a few days from now ..interview..
The Sept 2, 2013 concert was amazing! Shawn is now 70 but plays and sings
as he did during the 70's.
If he comes to your town - you gotta go see him!
At the concert were KEXL Jocks - Mike Collie, Sam Kendrick, Don White.
Augie Meyers and his wife were there also - some folks that night thought I was Augie. :)
Recent KEXL Jock Sighting - Martha Martinez and Bobby Reyes - Aug/Sept 2013
Texas Legacy Music event.
KEXL jock Martha Martinez was given an award for her contribution to San Antonio radio and for her supporting local and Texas musicians.
KEXL Jock Bobby Reyes had received this award a few years ago.
I recently made friends with Ted and Janis Maxymof
- Ted owned the four Record Hole stores in San Antonio during the KEXL days
Janis was the General Sales Manager for KISS for 30 years
Here's a couple images from Record Hole - Ted was the model for the fellow sitting on the record, btw
I'm sure I've got several sound bytes of Record Hole commercials on KEXL
...and it just happened that KEXL jock Don Couser married Ted and Janis about 37 years ago now... :)
When I was a teen in the 70's, the KEXL jocks were my heroes...it's great that now many of them are good friends to boot! :)
A great find!!!! Tom Teigue had left his reel-to-reel tape recorder run and record about 8 hours of "1 day at KEXL" - amazing find! I am editing it down into smaller files for our KEXL website and will post as I create the smaller files.
Since we are just under a picture of Sam Kindrick...... Sam would jock and also be the "news guy". Here from Tom Teigue's recording is a great combo of commercials, jock talk, and Sam covering the cannabis shortage and also convicted murderer Gary Gilmore requesting a firing squad. It runs about 5 minutes so may take a few seconds to load before it begins playing.
Here are more samples from Tom Teigue's "1 day at KEXL" recording
If you were a KEXL jock or fan, let me know.
Also, if you've enjoyed this site send me an email. :) email: Jay@Jay-Pennington.com
KEXL Jock Bobby Reyes recently has been sending me some amazing photos from the mid-70's days of KEXL. Enjoy. And thanks Bobby!!
|Fall 2012 Pic of KEXL Jock Bobby Reyes and
KEXL Jock Martha Martinez
|Check out this very cute baby faced Bobby Reyes in
his KEXL T-shirt 1976!!!
KEXL ARMADILLO RACES!!!!! 1976 :)
|A baby faced Sam Kendrick!!!!!|
|KEXL Jock Alan Grimm||KEXL Jock Debbie Jecker
|KEXL Jocks - Alan Grimm and Tony Dale
||KEXL Jock - Sam Kendrick
In 1975, I was in high school listening loyally to KEXL plus Sam Kindrick started his first issue of Action Magazine. I would have never imagined then that thirty six years later I would be on the cover of Action Magazine!
Sam was extremely gracious to write
about – to help people know about – the websites I built that for the
last 8 years have helped people find their lost pets and also identify
their pets at the pound before being put down. It is a thrill
beyond description to be on Action’s cover but the goal of the article is to let
people know how to use my websites when a pet that is part of the family
(Dec 2010) A loyal KEXL listener just submitted to me these two amazing KEXL
Christmas catalogs - 1971 and 1972
- besides being KEXL related they are also fun to see the different advertisers of the time and the advertising styles - PDF files
- KEXL Christmas 1971 and KEXL Christmas 1972 (large size files so may take a couple minutes to download)
|KEXL jock Phil Cook
|KEXL jocks Martha Martinez and Allan Grimm
|KEXL Jock Allen Grimm
|(Jan 2011) This is great find and a great KEXL
story. KEXL fan Randy G. lived in Houston in 1973 but on occasion he
could pick up KEXL and recorded this particular evening of April 2,
1973 on a reel-to-reel. The recording is flawless.
'Pinball' Tim was the evening jock and then at midnight Allen Grimn
took over. This particular night 'Pinball' Tim was covering the
music of the San Francisco 60's era. I've extracted the parts where the song ended and
Tim or Allen took the airwave - it will truly take you back in time.
This is an amazing find! Thank you Randy! (I've listed
the particular commercial in the midst of the air time.)
- A great definition of the KEXL format
- broadcasting from the Hemisfair Plaza
- Budget Tapes & Records
- Mention of Janis Joplin
- KEXL Kid & Pinball Tim
- Political Ad to Legalize
- Leon Russell concert $4, $5, and $6
- Mr Natural and Lew Erwin Earth News Radio
- Stereo International
- KEXL Sweepstakes
- Words that came out of the San Francisco Scene
- Allen just saying KEXL brings back the memories. :)
- Menger Hotel
- The Electric Machine & Menger Hotel
- Allen mentioning that Ron Houston will be on in the morning
- Pioneer Stereo
- Used cars and Microfilm
Notes by Allen Grimm as program director - image thanks to Gary Johnson!
Audio "Greetings and KEXL stories" from our KEXL jocks (present day)|
It occurred to me that we could get some of the KEXL jocks to call and leave voice greetings here on the website - that everyone would enjoy hearing from them again.
(Fall 2009) Bobby Reyes introducing the website and those that have passed on Thank you, Bobby!
(Fall 2009) Sam Kindrick called and left this greeting! Be sure to click it!
KEXL Ren Fest!!!! 1975
|KEXL Jock - Ron Houston
||KEXL Jock - Ron Houston
|KEXL Jock - Alan Grimm
||KEXL Jock - Michael Boykin
|KEXL Jock - Barbara Marullo
|KEXL Jock - Phil Cook
||KEXL Jock - Phil Cook
|KEXL Jock - Martha Martinez
From Lawrence Jackson "I scanned this from a 1977 Hobby Middle
May 2011 - Recent gathering of KEXL jocks!
"Jay .......here I am with Tom Devine and Mike Collie at the S.A. dj get together .......former ch.12 and KONO radio news guy Tom Ellis was there all the way from Massachusetts .......several others were there but these events are becoming smaller in participation .......hope you are doin' well!" - Bobby Reyes
Here is a great find! (Feb
Thanks to the folks at www.SanAntonioRadioMemories.com - please check out their page for lots of great photos and San Antonio radio stories.
Early origins of KEXL jocks - here Allen "Bubba" Grimm -
Thanks to band member John Colvin
Johnny Colvin and the Konfiguration - 1967
- (Jan 2010) "Found this on the end of an Electromagnets/Eric Johnson cd. Sunday nights when they used to play an album front to back.- Scott Caldwell"
This was a neat find in different ways, thanks Scott! It is a high quality recording (with echoes added at later point) of one of the great KEXL lady jocks Martha Martinez. On this sound byte Martha mentions all the names of the musicians on the recording. Bobby Reyes upon review of this recording told me that "Martha says the name Chris Geppert who is really Christopher Cross! ...did you know that?? ....Chris was a student at Alamo Heights in the 60's and, of course, won 4 or 5 Grammys for his debut album!"
Nov 2012 - KEXL general manager Rex Tackett, KEXL Jock Mando Camina and KEXL jock Bobby Reyes
Sept 2010 - KEXL jocks Bobby
Reyes and Sam Kindrick at the Teen Canteen Reunion
Sam and Babs at Ron Houston's
Memorial celebrating Ron's life. He would have liked that!
(Sept 2011) Every Sunday evening I'd tune in to KEXL's broadcast of The National Lampoon Radio Hour. Recently I found a website about that radio program. Many of the writers/performers on the Nat Lamp Radio Hr went on to become the folks of the first season of Saturday Night Live. Here's the link - National Lam Radio Hr
Hey Jay, I'm a native of SA--just came across your site and really enjoyed it. You ever run across any info about a festival sponsored by KEXL on July 4 of either 1971 or '72? Seals & Crofts and Freddie King were the headliners. It was held at an abandoned drive-in theater on the South Side. My dad owned an ice house that was part of the property and he ran concessions for the event.
I am so glad I found your Web Site I am 56 years old and I can relate big times. I mention teen canteen to my wife and she to use to hang out there to. You brought me so many pleasant memories. THANKS,: YOU GUYS ARE FAR-OUT!!.
|Crystal Y.||KEXL was the only station I listened to in my teens. I was a bit of
a rebel in my country music listening family and that only made it more
I remember (I think) that the station was on the Crow's Nest at the Tower???
It was the coolest music I had ever heard...
Thanks for the memories!!!!
Just out of my teens and in the Navy one of the guys would go home on leave and tape on 7 inch reel- to-reel his hometown radio station KEXL and bring back. On the weekends we would gather at a friend’s and play them. A low bass, natural voice DJ mix was unlike what we had in Jacksonville Florida. We called them the “KEXL TAPES” I have one and been searching for it for years for it. By chance do you have a CD of the station with is music. In this tape the DJ tried to link the songs tougher by its content, one song would relate something in the next and this went on for most of the reel. From that point I’ve always believed that the person spinning the platter use their talents to take the listener on a musical journey. Your station KEXL took the virginity of top 40 pop and turned it into album based rock and I never looked back.
|Marie||Enjoyed your website tremendously. We saw never seen before photos of Allen Grimm. Both his sons are Musicians. The Oldest is Justin, he is 26 and the youngest Matthew 23 looks exactly like him and when I first saw the photos it was hard to distinguish between Allen and Matt. We can't thank you enough for the photos.|
|I was going through a box o' stuff today and found one of the orange dove KEXL bumper stickers so I thought I'd see who else remembered and that's how I found your site. Nice to see Martha and Bobby and Bubba and Legs and Nick and everyone else again. I had the pleasure of listening to them all back then -- and eventually working with a few of them in the station's waning days or elsewhere. (I even have the KEXL is Dead t-shirt still. Yikes.) Sorry, no airchecks or anything else to contribute, including memories -- you'd think a 19-year-old would never forget but those overnight airshifts were pretty brutal even at that age. I will credit my brief stint at KEXL with my total inability to drink coffee, though. ;-) Again, thanks for pulling together such a fun part of the past.|
|Mark R.||Thank you so much for your dedication to starting and maintaining
the Remembering KEXL website. I so much miss the days of independent
radio and especially the glory that was KEXL. I was one of those 'lost
souls' who started finding meaning to things by spending time watching
and listening to Alan Grimm do his stuff down there in Alamo Plaza for
KITE Now Sounds. The music was foreign and wonderful to a 15 year old
San Antonio kid at the time (Don't ask me how I got loose from home that
late at night and all the way downtown at that somewhat tender age...).
I will never forget the vibe that existed there and continued for some
time with KEXL.
The audio that you've put up on the site is a godsend to me. I really miss those times.
|Don W.||Thank you for posting this website. I took many drives between new
braunfels and san antonio in the 70s and KEXL kept me company the whole
My parents didn't care for it which made it even better. The billboards were quite pleasing as well.
|Michael T.||O!M!G! I just found your site and am overwhelmed. Let me introduce myself, I was born and raised in San Antonio, and was at the very beginning of KEXL becoming the radio station of choice. I went to school with Allen, (his Mom was my English teacher in Jr. Hi.), although he was a year ahead of me we were still 'friends'. In 71 I joined the Navy and have been gone form SA the last 40 years. I still have a KEXL poster that Allen gave me from a promotion he was doing. At one point I had a 4 hour reel to reel tape of KEXL from different times of the day when I was home on leave. Sadly it was stolen from me. I was also surprised to hear Sam Greene's voice again, he was a personal friend of mine. Although no surprised at his conviction, I am still saddened by his death. I have stories... Peace!|
I have an original hand-written review by Allen Grimm of the 1975 album "The Beau Brummels" by The Beau Brummels. The review lists all songs and his comments concerning each song and airplay. In the lower-right it is signed "Allen". The review page covers the complete back of the album cover. I bought the album many years ago (90s?) in Houston, I think from Infinite Records (lower Westheimer). Yet is was only today that I removed the review so I could see what was on the back of the album cover. When I did I saw on the back of the Allen review I saw Radio KEXL sponsoring the 1st Renaissance Fair, 27 April (no year) at 12 noon, Lone Star Pavillion, Hemisfair Plaza.
I went on the internet to find out more about KEXL and that is how I found Allen is Allen Grimm. I searched further and came upon your website about KEXL.
I have emailed you before yes I was KEXL child. I remember the Mike Love Now Sounds back in 70s or so when it was all starting. What was it...2-3 hours on a Saturday night? OMG man thanks so much for keeping this site updated. My soul warms so much when I listen to the segways and the "Nations Thinking". Those days formed a generation so unique to San Antonio. How could we have been so lucky to have both KEXL and Joe Anthony. My son who is 25 now always tells me that he is so envious of the richness of that era that we grew up in San Antonio. The music scene will never be what we had on a daily basis,never. The 71 and 72 Christmas flyers, what a cool deal. I scrolled through the PDF and did Google Earth views of the addresses. Of course all has changed. ZigZag in now either a Karoke place or a mexican restaurant, what would you find above the ceiling tiles in that place? The Knave looks like it is a Rascal's. I was a bartender and later one of the Crystal Pistol DJs in the mid to late 70s and I remember Ron Houston coming in for some beers after his work. And Alan, will never forget the time I got to sit behind him while he was working at KISS when their studio was on Main Ave. He always would moan a real low voice before the mike went hot. Well we get old and how lucky we are to have the memories, can't change that.
|Henry F.||I have really enjoyed reading your site. I got my very first radio job at the old KITE-FM in April 1967 while a senior at Central Catholic High School. John Walker (John S. Walk) was the PD who hired me as a favor to an advertiser, my girlfriend’s father; that’s John’s voice on the sign-on and sign-off bits you have. I stayed long enough to go full-time and had the 2P-7P shift for a year before I got hired by KTBC and transferred from SAC to UT Austin. Bill Gresham came over to KITE-FM after getting canned from KTSA news. I can’t remember if he worked midday or morning, but he talked Johnny Walker into letting him play “underground” music on Saturday nights from 10 to 1 AM…Buffalo Springfield, Cream, Iron Butterfly…That was the beginning of the shift to album oriented rock. Gresham left before I did and a guy from SAC (can’t remember his name) came on board and took on the Saturday night gig. I came back to San Antonio for graduate school from 1974-1976 and always listened to KEXL.|
Hey great site thanks for the memories. I noticed a picture of the 1973 crew and the Volkswagen thing winner was in there un known his name was Kenneth Poe A friend of mine .I was wondering one night while listening to KEXL someone came on and said Skip DuCharme was out on the south side working on opening up a record store and if anybody had nothing to do to stop by. Well me ans a couple of friend did stayed and talked a bit then whe took off not being in any condition to help. At least I think it happened, could be wrong though. I believe it was called Soundtown then was Country Soundtown with the back being Underground Soundtown. I don't know when but it became Flip Side which is still in business but recently moved down the street.It was at the corner of Military Dr and Commercial. Just a memory but then again could have been induced by my actions. Those were the good old days.
I moved to New Braunfels in 1972 and lived there for almost twenty years working with Ed Wood, David Speck and Gary Morrow as Galley High Productions and Pran Audio Visual. We had a club, a studio, high magnitude electronics and a cool place on the Guadalupe where Guadalupe Green was born. We were good friends with all of the KEXL Radio Team. In addition to having fun together we recorded the Lone Star Long Live Longnecks radio campaign featuring Creative Director Woody Roberts and the talented Gordy Ham and Ron Houston – and many more great characters. I wish I had the many tapes from those sessions that went on for years. When KEXL was being squeezed out we helped produce a wonderful outdoor concert featuring Sean Phillips and there was a Live Radio Program with Michael Murphy that Don White organized in the studio at Trinity University. Another time we had Black Sabbath in Landa Park in New Braunfels – a benefit organized by KEXL for Meals on Wheels. It was sad to hear about Ron’s passing. He was as creative and expressive as anyone I ever new – and a warm human being. Glad to hear Augie’s on the mend. The website is a terrific collection of materials that provide proper testimony to the wonderful personality and programming that was KEXL. Seeing all the pictures made me cry. Someone once said: “You can leave San Antonio – but you are just camping out”
A blast form the past. I grew up in San Marcos. I will never forget hearing Two Hangman by Mason Profitt the very first time, on Allen Grimm’s show.
|From Bobby Reyes - "…….in 1972, KEXL and KSAT sponsored a concert on ABC and listeners could hear the stereo broadcast on KEXL ………the man wearing the headphones was Rick Maden of a clothing store called Mr. Naturals, and the woman is Susan Turner, and I’m trying to track down which electronics store she was affiliated with, that’s why there is a stereo system displayed …….Mike Collie was an account executive at KEXL and I was truly jazzed out to see these photos ! "|
KEXL related links posted by others:
A great resource for radio folks to network back with past friendships and other radio folks is Jim Rose's website http://news.jimroseremembersradio.com A large number of radio folk get Jim's email reminder each time his site has new information - email@example.com Jim has been kind enough to mention my KEXL website a number of times which has helped in creating a KEXL reunion of sorts. Thanks Jim! I recommend checking out his site.
For memories of San Antonio radio of the 50's, 60's and 70's you should check out the website by Paul Kirby www.SanAntonioRadioMemories.com
Why I've put this website together:
On my 13th birthday - Friday Aug 13th - I was given a portable cassette recorder and a clock radio. I started running through the radio stations on the clock radio to find something to record on the new portable cassette recorder and came across a station playing some Firesign Theater - it was a very young KEXL - and I started taping things off the radio over the years for my own enjoyment - definitely not high quality with it being a portable mike pointed at the speaker of a clock radio - a lot of the time I wouldn't even tape a whole song - but I'd be trying to capture the magic that was KEXL. That was 30 years ago but I kept those tapes in a box all these years thinking that someday I'd be able to transfer the audio tape to digital to be able to be nostalgic for a bit. - Jay Pennington
In the Fall of 2007 I purchased hardware and software from DAK to digitize, edit, and even burn to CD from original cassettes - http://www.dak.com/reviews/2020storyt.cfm?Ref=G&PM=CACD&type=GSrch&Srh=cassette_to_cd
It has been an extreme thrill to hear things I taped 30-35 years ago. It is a slow process but I wanted to save some of the gems that happened between the songs during the KEXL days. I'll be adding these gems here from time to time as I work through all the tapes.
One thing that has really struck me when listening to commercials for big name rock stars coming to San Antonio was that tickets were $2 and $3 !!!!!
This was one of the first KEXL bumper stickers - made of that heavy vinyl
- Ron Houston - talking about the magic of KEXL
- One of the early station ID's (Sept 71) - KEXL - reflecting the sound of a nation thinking....with possibly Nick St. John announcing that Nikita Khrushchev has just died (Sept 11, 1971) ....(unfortunately poor recording quality on my part.)
- Sunday nights were more open ended than just the standard music/jock format - things like playing a full album, concerts, Dr. Demento, the Forth Tower of Inverness, and the National Lampoon Radio Hour (30 mins) with a lot of the first year SNL cast before SNL existed....This sample is actually on a Friday evening with Nick St. John covering what the upcoming Sunday night schedule was. It does give you a feel of how the station was.
- (new) Before it was officially called KEXL it was KITE - Allen Grimm was on board at KITE transforming the format into KEXL. A new KEXL fan friend of mine is Randy Getz who at the time lived in Houston and Austin but picked up KITE and later KEXL at night and recorded about 50 hours of air time over the years onto his reel-to-reel. Randy will be sending over selections for our KEXL site. Here are two of his recordings from Oct 1969 - the sign on each day of KITE and the sign off each night of KITE.
- Here is a neat commercial for a KEXL sponsored Midnight Movie Double Bill of scary films.
- Nick St. John and Sam Kindrick in the morning!!!! (with mention of the KEXL mascot Samueleto)
- This is KEXL (slightly warped, but still.....)
- Allen Grimm doing a song list into National Lampoon Radio Hour
- a commercial for KEXL's Olde Time Radio Program Programme - The Lone Ranger - sandwiched between music
- Bob Dylan's Sarah into a KEXL jock stating that today is January 1, 1977 and KEXL is doing a countdown of the top albums of 1976 - Frampton Comes Alive being the top album for 76.
- Lew Erwin - Earth News Radio - with Firesign Theater and Wolfman Jack
- a locally made commercial for the first album made by Loggins and Messina with references to local record stores
This was a real find!
Thank you to Nick's ex-wife
Sharon. Action Magazine January 1977
- this neat segment was a great example of KEXL's free format - (it's a 2 minute segment so a bit longer to download) - it starts with a Michael Murphy song to Ron Houston (Ron also mentioning Sam Kindrick and The Morning Show) to one of my favorite Rod Stewart songs (that is not very well known). Listening to it felt like I'd gone back in time. :)
- Although I didn't have a favorite KEXL jock, Nick St.John was one of several I fondly recall. Here is a sampler
Pics from Nick St. John's memorial service - July 12, 2008
- KEXL jock Tom listing songs and also Trinity's Drama workshop
Nick St. John / Aubrey Cook sadly passed away June 23rd
from a battle with cancer.
Our prayers go out to the family and friends of Nick's.
David Doerr made the historic recording of the last 4 hours of KEXL on the air. In light of Nick's passing, David
sent me this clip of Nick chatting with Allen during that evening if you were trying to recall Nick's distinctive voice.. Thanks David!
Ron Houston passed away Oct 7,
2009 of a heart attack.
Gordie Ham via Barbara submitted this mp3 of
Ron/Gordie having some fun doing a commercial for KEXL
- local KEXL commercial for a Taj Mahal concert - lots of interesting references / unfortunately with the sound of a parent in the background fussing - I need a parent filter!
- KEXL jock Lloyd Lopez talking about Allen "the flash" Grimm singing and raising armadillos and mentioning KEXL's phone number 690-9090
- This was in the middle of a KEXL cassette. I'm not completely sure if KEXL played the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre but this clip has a jock doing a scary intro to the actual Radio Mystery intro - if you were a fan of this mystery program then you'll enjoy hearing this even if it wasn't on KEXL. Maybe someone will recognize the intro disk jockey's voice and let me know if it was a KEXL broadcast.
- local KEXL commercials - Levis' at House of Jeans fading into KEXL Midnight Movie Jesus Christ Superstar.
- during those days, KEXL would play some very unusual commercials for 7up.
- Ron Houston talking about the Mother Earth News playing early each morning at 6:15 am "kind of a Farm Report". Sample starts with a "hippy" version of Okie from Muscogee plus promo for club Midnight Special.
- Allen Grimm - nice block - Allen sandwiched around a Britannia Jean commercial for Joskes - then doing the weather and then mentioning upcoming songs by Willie, ELP, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John plus giving away tickets to Bad Company concert in San Antonio.
- KEXL is "giving away the radio station" - one listener per week could have one hour on the air to be a KEXL jock. - (starts off a little warped)
This was the car decal - photographed off a car's back windshield then digitized and then colorized and multiplied...done a number of years ago. (There was also a horizontal version of this decal.) Where can you pick up one? (Nick)
- The Dr Demento show was a regular KEXL feature. The Dr. is still around and still producing shows and has a website www.drdemento.com . Since his programs are part of our memory of KEXL I've compiled just a couple quick sound bytes together.
- An unusual Dr Demento / UTSA personal connection. I attended UTSA starting in 1976 and graduated from there December 1979. While I was attending UTSA they decided to have a student-wide vote for a mascot for the young university. On the first student-wide vote the armadillo won. However, for some reason we had to have a second student-wide vote - and the armadillo won again. However, for some reason we had to have a third student-wide vote and that third time the roadrunner won. However, for some reason we didn't have to have a forth student-wide vote. Now on the Dr. Demento show you could call in a request for a song and sometimes the Dr. would play throughout the nationwide syndication the actual call the caller made. I guess I didn't want to make a mistake when I was calling in so sometime in 1978 I recorded my request onto tape and then must have called up the Dr.'s request line and played the tape of myself instead of speaking live into the telephone - I warped the end of the message of myself which seemed to fit with the actual popular Dr. Demento song being requested - "Hey babe, you wanna boogie." / and "Don't leave your records in the sun" ("Boogie" and "records" by John Hartford on his album Aereo-Plain) I didn't remember doing this till just now playing that part of the cassette about 30 years later. It's a little out there for my own controlled self/personality but I must have wanted to get it on the air badly enough. I'm actually imitating the actual song pretty well and today looking up and listening to the original John Hartford song I'm wondering if the Sling Blade character was influenced by that song too! Go UTSA fighting Armadillos! :)
- The Morning Show with Ron Houston and Sam Kindrick - aka ........
Thanks to Gordie Ham for this photo!
- Here is a nice segment - KEXL jock Martha Martinez mentioning the National Lampoon Radio Hour then leading into a commercial for the 1st annual ZZTop Bar-B-Q and Barn Dance.
- January 23, 1973 - Nixon goes on live television to announce a treaty that will end the war in Vietnam. Very fortunately I had my cassette recorder handy and taped that off of the TV. Phil Cook did the news for KEXL and later that day I taped the KEXL news coverage as well which also included reference to LBJ's death at the same time. Listening to it now, it strikes me on different levels including comparing it to the current Iraq war and what the news will be like when that ends.
A recent EBay acquisition. Not sure of the date - it would be early because of the Menger Hotel
but probably not in the very beginning because of the Quadraphonic reference.
How many FM stations exist in San Antonio now?
The other guys / the other side.
- Seems KEXL jocks and staff had a softball team....do you recall the name of the team?
-This is a really nice time block - December timeframe - Nick St. John, a couple interesting local commercials, a KEXL Listening Post mention, the KEXL Christmas Book contest, and great music. (this is a longer download)
- Lloyd Lopez mentioning the club Playpen North then a KEXL made commercial with Ron and Sam for Boots and Saddles Western Discothèque
- KEXL made commercial for a Halloween party with Allen Grimm at the Playpen North
- For Halloween, another KEXL scary midnight movie.
Nick's T-shirt courtesy of his sister Denise Cook
- A Sunday evening staple would be the latest edition of the National Lampoon Radio Hour. I think it actually did start out as an hour long but then switched to 30 minutes (still calling itself "radio hour") Normally made up of multiple skits, every once in a while it would be one 30 minute skit - ie. Moby Dick and Sluts From Space. NLRH's Moby Dick is a musical, of course, and you should recognize John Belushi, Brian Doyle-Murray (Bill's older brother), and possibly Harold Ramis. I sampled a few places here an there in the Moby Dick story.
- Here is an opening theme for the National Lampoon Radio Hour.
Some commercials played on KEXL:
- When you were little, did you go down to Brackenridge park & the zoo and ride the train?
- KEXL commercial mentioning two landmark businesses you may have frequented.
- A public service announcement from KEXL
- local commercial for Tokyo House Massage.
- buying land from SA Sam Greene - tape is a bit warped
- the new club BoJangles (Allen)
- Sprite...the movie Billy Jack...then Coke
- Ron in the morning - just a good example of what a great radio voice he had.
- Two movies of the time with musical ties - Billy Jack and Friends
- A KEXL jock mentioning that at that time (70's) there were people just then getting FM radios.
- When I first started listening to KEXL we were still in the midst of the Vietnam War. John Denver had recorded a poem/story called The Box which was in the form of a children's story protesting war in general - KEXL would play this on occasion. When I first heard it I don't think John was quite famous yet with his folksy style of music. He released it on his "Poems, Prayers, and Promises" album - the lyrics can be found at THE BOX LYRICS Before I was later somewhat turned off by John's "country boy" and "Grandma's feather bed", The Box really hit home.... with us being in midst of Vietnam and the other song writers as well writing protest songs during the time. As far as I can research this, there was only just the one recording of The Box which didn't have any background music just John's narration. What seems quite unique about my cassette recording is that it seems that an instrumental part of Elton John's "Funny how young lovers start as friends" is the background music with Elton singing the song just as soon as John is finished. Since this was the days of vinyl my guess is that Elton's song had his vocals and piano on say the right channel and the other instruments were on the left channel - so possibly the KEXL jock was being creative and played on one turntable Elton's right channel only (non-vocal channel) with John Denver's The Box playing on the other turntable - when John's poem finished they turned Elton's right channel on to hear his singing and piano. Making the two separate songs seem like one. Nick, could that be the way it was?
Allen Grimm (next 4 photos thanks to KEXL Jock Bobby Reyes)
Allen "The Flash" Grimm
Allen Grimm (and Allen's long time friend Gary Johnson)
Nick St. John
- Contests: KEXL had a number of contests and giveaways over the years. During the KEXL Summer Sweepstakes one year I remember I won a 10 speed bike and a waterbed (although the waterbed turned out to be 4 pieces of plywood and the waterbed bag). A big contest was when they gave away a Volkswagen Thing.
- Way back when, radio stations didn't have CDs and digitized recordings but played vinyl records that on occasion had skips. CDs can have skips too but you don't often hear those except for maybe some college radio stations with a small budget.
- Firesign Theatre - The reason I stopped the dial the first time I came across KEXL was because they were playing a Firesign Theatre cut. To me they weren't fall down funny like the National Lampoon Radio Hour could be but for me Firesign always had a fascination and humor. Here is a part of their skit Deputy Dan. A new public service comic book written in Spanish about Deputy Dan is being discussed...this is a larger part of the skit. They are still around btw, www.firesigntheatre.com
KEXL jock Nick St. John wearing a favorite KEXL T-shirt during a KEXL skateboarding event -1976
- photo by fellow KEXL jock Bobby Reyes.
Thanks to Carol Aiken she had some of Nick's own tape reels - here is Nick promoting the 1st Annual Skateboard Surfari.
From October 2007 to April 2008 Nick would correspond with me about the ol' KEXL days.
Sadly Nick passed away June 2008 due to a long battle with cancer.
Oct 2007 - Sam Kindrick was nice enough to tell Nick St. John about this site and then Nick had been emailing me some of the history of the station and his experiences. I plan to include a lot of that as Nick was a key jock and he was there at the beginning of the station. I think most people who fondly remember KEXL would like to hear more of the things that happened behind the scenes. As to the origins of KEXL it first was KITE-FM that had an adult easy listening type format. Nick wrote "We changed the call letters to KEXL, and began tinkering with the music. At first we did little things like substituting the Beatles version of Yesterday for the version we had been playing by Frank Sinatra. We started slowly adding cuts from new albums by previously unheard of artists. Love Song by Elton John, Danny's Song and Winnie the Pooh by Loggins and Messina mixed in between the Tony Bennetts and Rosemary Clooneys of the old format. Since Top-40 stations only played the most popular singles there was a wealth of new music on albums that had never been played on radio before, and we soon found our niche. We dropped more and more of the Engelbert Humperdinck's and Tom Jones's for selected softer cuts from the Moody Blues, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Seals and Crofts, Brewer and Shipley, the Doobie Brothers, Joni Mitchell, Boz Scaggs, Judy Collins." Shortly after I read this I was digitizing one of my earliest KEXL tapes and came across a splice of time that really seemed to be part of that time period where they were substituting a "Beatle song instead of a Frank Sinatra version and playing a softer cut of Joni Mitchell". The second commercial in this time splice would definitely fit with the KITE-FM audience but maybe not the KEXL audience. ...plus a mention by the jock, Mike Callaghan, that he was subbing for a vacationing Nick St. John. (a longer download than normal)
- Brad Morrison has informed me that another KEXL jock alumni, Martha Martinez is currently at a sports talk station in Houston. KFNC 97.5 FM. Thanks Brad! Brad was fortunate enough to have been one of the "giving the station away" fans who got to be a jock at KEXL for one hour on a Sunday evening. Lucky dog! ;) We've started corresponding lately because of this site. Besides both being affected by KEXL in our teens, we found out recently that during those teen years we lived a few streets from each other, that we attended the same high school just different class levels, and that we both got Computer Science degrees from UTSA - same instructors, just a few years apart from each other. Brad also contributed the play list for the last hours of KEXL (see below).
- The Ladies of KEXL - Just being a jock on the FM band at that time was a rarity as KEXL was one of the first successful FM band stations. I'm thinking that there is a story to be told of the historic times of FM's infancy and the Ladies who were KEXL jocks. Martha Martinez, Barbara Marullo, ..... I'm hoping to get more info on this subject.
- Jan 2008 - Just heard from Barbara "Legs" Marullo !!!! I asked her how a radio person gets the handle "Legs":
Barbara "Legs" Marullo
During the early years of KEXL I was a teen who was supposed to be sleeping on weekday nights by say 11:00...but at midnight if you could turn the radio volume low and not turn on any lights you could hear the continuing radio serial The Fourth Tower of Inverness - the continuing spooky, eerie, imaginative & odd adventures of Jack and the Madonna Vampira. Just recently I found where you can purchase a download of all the episodes - http://www.zbs.org/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1 Each night's story was about 7 minutes long and they have all 7 1/2 hours of the entire serial http://www.zbs.org/catalog/
Nick St. John mumbling the morning news so much so that the other person in the
booth was laughing hysterically the whole time.
Nick St. John news (1971) plus a great Budget Tapes and Records local commercial
********* Jan 2009 entries *******************************************************************
Sadly Nick passed away the summer of 2008. A long time friend of Nick's, Carol Aiken, had some reel-to-reel tapes of Nick's that she has kindly let me borrow to digitize for our KEXL website. One real gem in the group was a tape that Nick made, a resume of sorts I'm guessing, where during a shift on the air he recorded what he was saying over the air as a song would end or begin. This "Air Check KEXL" tape ran about 14 minutes long so I've divided it into four 3 1/2 minute segments. It's high quality as opposed to my cassette recordings. Thanks again, Carol!!!!
1 - One of many things you can catch in this one is a mention of the KEXL Skateboard Surfari plus a Beatles reunion rumor
2 - It was ok to say Wimp back then...plus KEXL Rock and Roll concert phone line...Nick talking to album giveaway winners over the phone..
3 - Within this 3 minutes is a reference to a new release called Frampton Comes Alive before it became the phenomenon. According to my bud David Doerr he said that album was released Jan 6th, 1976 which gives us a good date point for this reel-to-reel recording of Nick's.
4 - The last portion of the evening's program with a couple seconds of Lou Erwin's Earth News Radio..
The Beatles had split up ~1970. John was killed in 1980. During the 70's there were always rumors or attempts to reunite the Beatles. In early 1976 there was a fellow who offered John, Paul, George, and Ringo a large sum of money to play together again - Nick mentions it here.
Seems there were plants in the KEXL studio....plus a camping public access commercial. (Nick)
When my own son was a teen and pre-teen he would get really excited about a song on the end of a CD that wasn't mentioned in the jacket - a secret song! When digitizing the Nick St. John Air Check tape I found a 5 minute segment of Allen Grimm's at the end after Nick's recording finished. A secret song of sorts. It seems that Allen had used the tape first then Nick reused the tape but didn't use the tape as far as Allen had earlier. Allen's 5 minutes was extremely low volume and contained a loud hiss so it is not the same quality as Nick's above. In this segment near the end Allen mentions what we used to call San Antonio College. I've worked with this segment but it still is lower volume than normal and still with some hiss - but it's worth playing.
Barbara Marullo just emailed me an explanation about what Air Checks were all about - Those "air checks" worked like this. We put in a cassette in a cassette recorder when we went on the air. It was called a skimmer and was wired to the microphone switch. When we switched the mic ON, it automatically started recording until we turned the switch OFF. That's why you have a little music or spot (commercial) coming and going. Most of us always air--checked our shows, mostly to re-listen to ourselves and see what kind of job we did, or just because we liked to listen to ourselves. Heh heh. Of course, they came in handy when we were looking for new jobs, which jocks did frequently in those days. We would then take the best-of-the best-of-them and build a new reel or cassette to try for that new gig.
*********** end of Jan 2009 entries ********** but keep scrolling down! :) *****************************
The National Lampoon Radio Hour (60 minutes the first season, then 30 minutes but still called Radio Hour) had many of the SNL first year's cast before SNL existed. Once in a while the whole 30 minutes would be one story such as Moby Dick and one of my favorites Sluts From Space where aliens are attacking the very moral fiber of the men of planet Earth because the aliens just happen to look like very beautiful women! Only Timmy (the local non-attractive smart boy in town) can save Earth!
Still missing: I'm still in search of some of my
cassettes that had things such as:
- KEXL poor man's concerts - playing the songs of an artist during their San Antonio concert time.
- The KEXL armadillo races
- The National Lampoon Radio Hour additional episodes.
- I believe it was Sam saying ...this is K E X L ....KEXL for short, but not for long
- Why KEXL was shut down always seemed a mystery - they would say the numbers weren't good enough, yet there were a LOT of extremely loyal listeners. KEXL was unique in its format, not just another top 40 station. It filled a need no other station was. Another excerpt from Nick St. John's book - "The next three years at KEXL were something beyond my descriptive powers to portray. It became a freewheeling roller coaster ride of success. As the radio station changed we began to experience a phenomenal and astounding response from listeners. The enormous gap in popularity between FM and AM began to narrow. And in San Antonio radio I once again wound up in the catbird's seat. I had the best job at the best station in San Antonio. Hell, for a while, it was the best job in the whole country. We not only began to make a profit but other radio stations around the country began sending programming executives to San Antonio to learn what we were doing so they could duplicate it in other parts of the country. We were doing things on FM radio that no one ever thought possible. We were making a profit and our share of the ratings was slowly but consistently growing upward toward the AM stations." Yet the beginning of the end was around April of 1974 when management decided to have KEXL broadcast just in the evening hours and return to broadcasting KITE-FM (adult contemporary) during the daytime. Here is a response letter from management regarding the change.
- Unfortunately KEXL ended. The play list for the last few hours, thanks to Brad Morrison & David Doerr! If you get a hold of Bobby Reyes or Tom Scheppke I think they have a nicely produced (with graphic) CD set that is the last 3 hours of KEXL on the air.
- David Doerr has the ultimate recording of the last three hours of KEXL. If you would like a CD of the MP3 copies of the last three hours of KEXL please contact firstname.lastname@example.org They are $10 each (including postage). I definitely recommend it to get the whole feel of the station and the feel of those last few hours - jocks showing up in the studio to talk about the fun times they had and how special the station was - some upset about it being the last few hours - jocks calling in from the Village Inn where the KEXL is Dead official party was happening...and to hear the music of the time that was far from top-30 type music.
Part of Bobby Reyes' collection:
- If you are going sequentially through the downloads, I hate to finish the page with the End of KEXL. I'd rather finish the downloads with the Start of KEXL for me - the first time I heard KEXL - my first recording from KEXL and what caused me to stop turning the tuner from station to station on the clock radio looking for something to record on my new portable cassette recorder - it was Firesign Theater playing on KEXL ( www.firesigntheatre.com ) and then a bit later some Beatles with Ron Houston on the mike. When the tuner hit the KEXL station they were playing something so different so odd so fascinating I had to stop and listen/record. Firesign Theater on KEXL.
At some point in time, the Express-News printed
in their paper a colored page that could be ironed on to a T-shirt. As
you can see it wasn't the most successful but still rather clever being part
of newspaper print.
BTW, I FOUND MORE TAPES!!!!!!!
Scroll to the bottom to continue with the sound bytes. :)
From Nick St. John -
(one of the key jocks at KEXL and who was there to help mold the station before it was even named KEXL.)
The backside of Nick St. John at a KEXL skateboarding event - 1976 - photo by fellow KEXL jock Bobby Reyes
"Jay, what a great thing you put together...Boy, did that take me back for a moment to a more simple carefree time! Thanks for the memories......since I listened to the clips, I have reminisced often back to the good ole days of being a teenager....What a great time and great radio station that was!" ---Juli Kahn Ottea
"Jay, please include my favorite quote from Sam Kindrick when he was at KEXL "I'm wired 'n inspired... and want to thank you for being an American." I still think of it and say it to myself just for motivation." - Sam Meyer
I found about 6 more KEXL era cassettes in a different box.....currently digitizing them....check back soon for additional gems! - Jay
Another of Nick's T-shirts, courtesy of
his sister, Denise Cook. Thanks Denise!
(Spring 2009) I was at an Augie Meyers concert the other day. From a distance, folks say he and I look like twins. Augie's ponytail is a few inches longer :) Augie said he heard that Ron and Sam were going to have a KEXL reunion. I hope that happens and I'd love to help!
Augie Update -May 2010- Great news! Augie Meyers recently had his kidney transplant operation. The word this morning is - "Augie is doing fine. He is at home resting. He'll be recuperating for 4-6 weeks. The new kidney is working!" Here is the link to the Feb article in Action Mag when Augie was in need of that kidney
(Oct 2009) I was an extra in the Western film "The Legend of
Hell's Gate" shot at Enchanted Springs outside Boerne - release date Nov 2010.
In the saloon was a framed drawing of Sam Kindrick with friend. I had to get a photo of me and Sam. :)
KEXL jock Bobby Reyes and my friend Brad Morrison have sent me a list of KEXL jocks in no particular order and their last whereabouts:
Bobbie Reyes - working for Clear Channel in San Antonio
Nick St. John - sadly passed away June 2008 from cancer.
Sam Kindrick - Action Magazine - Bulverde/Bergheim and San Antonio www.ActionMagSA.com
Ron Houston - sadly passed away Oct 2009. He was Mayor Pro Tem of Blanco and the voice of KLRN
Allen Grimm - unfortunately has passed away
Barbara Marullo - Dallas, Texas
Skip DuCharme - has a gourmet coffee shop in Missouri
Woody Roberts - San Antonio
Frank Faulkner - San Antonio Library
Martha Martinez - Houston, Texas
Mando Camina - San Antonio
Gordie Ham - (KEXL marketing person) lives in Oklahoma
Don White - San Antonio - Matchframe Technologies and ten-eighty, inc - www.1080.com
Tom Devine - San Antonio / Austin - musician
Debbie Jecker - San Antonio
Tony Dale - San Antonio
Phil Cook - whereabouts unknown for now
Mike Collie - lives in San Antonio and sells insurance to bands and musicians across Texas and in Vegas
Bob Crowley - Arlington, TX providing newscasts for a radio network called Audience Bakery
Jesse Younger -
- Here is another KEXL station identification piece - not warped this time! :)
Nick St. John's non-KEXL reel-to-reel tapes - the ones that say (long) do a Save Target As:
KONO Aug 20, 1968:
Paul Venema - 1968
KONO Air Check 1968
1st tape (long)
2nd tape (long)
2nd Air Check
KABH-Midland-Air Check-1965 - (long) This is not your KEXL style tape, but it really is special capturing an innocent era, LBJ's early Great Society efforts, radio jingles, the Gemini NASA program. Not a KEXL style but a real treat to listen to.
My site for lost pets in San Antonio www.SApets.com Boerne www.BoernePets.com and Bulverde www.BulverdePets.com
A songwriter/singer friend of mine www.stringman.net