This Site Primarily Contains a Collection of Airchecks of Numerous Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) Radio Stations, Some Recorded Off The Air by Rick Burnett and Many Others Recorded or Provided by Other Contributors to This Site (see footnote at bottom). The Contribution of Recordings and Materials are Greatly Appreciated and Have Made this Site a Bookmark for Those Interested in Radio From this Era. Explore the many recordings on this site by using the menu at the left side of the screen. Should you have material to contribute, Please Email: Rick1031(at)HotMail.com Note: Substitute @ for the "(at)" when typing email address
The KANO recorded interview shows and photos below were sent courtesy of Mark Jones who worked at the station in the 80's. The correspondence on the station he sent me follows:
In 1956 Jack Lemme, who owned a Little Falls radio station at the time, started KANO radio in Anoka, MN, at 1470 on the AM Dial. The original studio and tower were located just north of the Anoka County Fairgrounds in the area now known as Ramsey. The station played Country music with a heavy emphasis on local North Suburban news and sports. I (Mark Jones) joined the station in the summer of 1981 after starting my broadcasting career with a brief 6 month stay at KLSS/KSMN in Mason City, Iowa. Soon after my arrival at KANO, the owners changed the call letters to KKKC, which all of the announcers (myself included) absolutely despised for obvious reasons. We began referring to ourselves as “K-Country Radio” and only used the call letters for I.D. purposes at the top of each hour.
In 1983 I began, what soon became my signature show on the station, “Country Conversations”. The idea of the show was to highlight local Country and Variety type bands from all over the Twin Cities, bring them into the studio, play their music, and give the public a chance to get to know the bands they went out to see at the various clubs on the weekends. The popularity of the show exploded as every local band imaginable scrambled for this free exposure and what had begun as a once per week hour long show on Friday afternoons soon blossomed into anywhere from 3-5 days per week and anywhere from a half-hour on in length depending on the appeal of the guests and the quality and quantity of the music they brought in to play.
Many guests only had cassettes which they had recorded live at a previous show. But surprisingly many of them had albums and 45’s, many of which were good enough to be added to the station’s regular music rotation. Several guests were brought back on a regular basis due to their popularity with either the listeners or myself. This is evident in the 1983 interview I am sending you with the Booth Barrels Band. This was their third or fourth time on the show. In past shows with this band every possible aspect of their music and lives had been covered and yet, as is clearly evident when listening to the interview, a rapport between us had been developed to the point where we were able to concoct a completely entertaining show out of basically nothing! This turned out to be the case with many entertainers who became repeat guests, such as national recording artists the “Wright Brothers”, particularly lead singer Karl Hinkle.
I may not have had the greatest voice or slickest presentation as an announcer, but many of my guests commented that the reason they enjoyed being interviewed by me was because I came across as a “regular Joe” who was truly interested in both them and their music. I have also always been the type of person who loved to laugh and keep things “light” and this is also evident in the interview with the Booth Barrels Band, as we are laughing almost all the way through the show.
The “Country Conversations” show also produced an offspring program in late 1983 as I hosted “Live from the St. Louis Tavern” each and every Sunday afternoon. This was another hour long show that we presented live on location from Blaine and which featured the St. Louis Tavern’s house band as well as any other act that happened to be appearing at the club that weekend. This is also the show where I first started singing with the bands. What started out as a gimmick on one of the first “St. Louis Tavern” shows quickly became a weekly feature. Soon other bands wanted to get into the act of having the “Singing DJ” appear on stage with them and I soon found myself in a different club every Friday and Saturday night performing on stage. This proved to be an invaluable promotion for the station and I was soon asked by management to inform our listeners during my Friday show as to where I would be appearing on Friday and Saturday nights to sing! These weekend appearances in the local clubs were, in return, wonderful free publicity for the station. After a successful year long run of “Live from the St. Louis Tavern”, the show was moved to the Bonanza Club in Coon Rapids, MN where the same format was used. That show lasted a year as well.
In 1984, one of the local bands that had appeared on many of these shows broke up and the husband and wife team that owned the equipment asked me to join their new group as lead singer and front man. I quickly accepted and the weekend club appearances soon changed from me getting up on stage and singing two or three songs with various different bands each weekend into me appearing with my own group for the entire four hours every Friday and Saturday night.
But all good things must come to an end and all of this was no accept ion. Actually the winds of change had started in September of 1984 when KKKC’s sister station KTWN-108 FM was sold to Sun Belt Communications. The format was quickly changed from Jazz to soft rock (this would eventually become the oldies station Kool 108, but that was further down the line). This change in format caused an uproar with the Jocks on the FM side and many of them made a hasty exit. Two of the KTWN alumni who hung around were station manager Tom Pelissero and announcer Doug Solem.
I have no idea how any of the following things happened, and quite frankly my hands were too full to care between my regular daily radio show, the “Country Conversations” talk show, the Sunday “live” shows, and Friday and Saturday nights with my new band (not to mention that I was busy planning my wedding which took place in June of 1985). But in early 1985 the following changes occurred; KKKC once again became KANO, the station offices and studios were moved from rural Anoka (Ramsey) to the “Bridge Court” building in downtown Anoka, and both Tom Pelissero and Doug Solem jumped ship from the FM station and joined our little family at KANO. Tom became the station manager and quickly implemented Doug as the Production Director and new morning announcer (bumping me to afternoons). However the biggest jolt to rock my world didn’t occur until July of 1985 when the stations format was changed from Country (which had suited it just fine for over 30 years) to what Tom Pelissero referred to as “listenable music”, which was a mix of light pop and…you guessed it…JAZZ!
As you can imagine the “Country Conversations” and “Live from the Bonanza Club” shows were quickly dropped. I continued on doing the weekend gigs with my band, however the promoting of the radio station at those shows abruptly ended because…well…what was the point? I was still allowed an occasional celebrity interview, however those were kept short and sweet as is evident in the “Williams & Ree” interview from 1985. These guys had become friends of mine over the previous years due to their appearances at the Sportsman’s Shows in St. Paul and subsequent promotions on the Country station. I was embarrassed to have to limit them to a measly 10 minute interview and I think their disappointment shows through as well.
But we managed to still make it an interesting ten minutes anyway, although you can tell that my mind was clearly somewhere else. As if that were not enough, I was soon informed that my voice and “style” were no longer suitable for the new “sound” and that I would have to change it if I wanted to continue my employment with the station. I struggled for about nine months trying to sound “mellow” and “smooth”, but that just wasn’t me.
My tenure with KANO finally came to a very bad ending in the late fall of 1986 with hard feelings shared by all. But, when I think back on my five plus years with KANO, the memories are mostly positive. I met some wonderful people both at the station and because of the shows I hosted on it. It also made it possible for me to become a singer and performer which is something that I had always wanted to do.
I have no idea what became of KANO after I left, but I do know that they have changed owners and formats many times, never again really enjoying the success that they had with the Country music and local programming. I will always remember it as a great little Country station. I had many great times working there. I was able to touch a lot of lives and I assure you that many more touched mine. If my work and those wonderful shows, both on the air and off, are remembered fondly by even a few people, then it was all worthwhile.
1983 KKKC old Studios with Karl Hinkle of the Wright Brothers
KANO 1985 New Studios shown on St. Judes Ad
KANO Studios in 1985 with Mark Jones at the board and Tom Pelissero standing.
KANO 1985 photo of new studios with Williams and Ree. Mark Jones in the middle.
The airchecks on this not for profit web site were recorded off the air. The recordings on this site provide historical examples of Twin Cities radio and are intended for purposes of archival preservation and for research. Additionally, the recordings can be used by vision impaired visitors to get an audio perspective of radio history. These recordings are not intended to by used by others for commercial purposes.
Some of the airchecks are off reel to reel tapes that were recorded off the air by the web site creator. In May 2006 the recordings started to be converted to MP3 and shared here. In addition to this web site creator's recorded aircheck collection, there are also many airchecks that were recorded and submitted by friends and acquaintances, or contributed by other collectors. Sources are cited, if known. The contributed recordings from friends and contributors of both airchecks and other material are greatly appreciated. Without their help, the site would have many less pages of radio history. The recordings of the contributors to this web site who recorded them off the air may show up on other sites. This site does not charge any fees to listen to the posted recordings. The purpose of this site is to provide radio history and intended for purposes of archival preservation and research.
Windows Media Player works well to play these MP3 files, and depending on your internet settings, will start streaming the file once the link is clicked, Some files are large and may take time to open. Should you have any aircheck of Twin Cities radio stations, let me know and I may be able to include them at this site. Contact me at Rick(at)HotMail.com --- NOTE Replace "(at)" with @ when typing email address