Carson Hosts Radio Comedy Special


November 21, 1982 / Johnny Carson’s radio program? Now there’s something to laugh at. Which Seattle station would carry such an NBC feature? Not KING AM, the NBC affiliate; folks there are so serious about news they can’t afford a chuckle, even on a holiday. KIXI AM to the rescue. After all, KIXI listeners can take a big dose of music of the 40s and 50s, why not a dash of humor from those same areas? Carson, the star of NBC-TV’s tonight show will be host of the two hour NBC radio network special, from 1 PM to 3 PM today on 880 kHz with a repeat from noon to 2 PM Thanksgiving day. The retrospective will look only at comedians associated with the NBC radio and TV networks from vintage radio days to the present. But that’s a handful. Beginning in 1932 with Will Rogers, the program will review the work of such comedy veterans as Groucho Marx, Eddie Cantor, Ed Wynne, WC Fields, Jack Benny, George Burns, Bob Hope, Abbot and Costello, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Red Skelton, Fred Allen, Milton Burle, Jimmy Durante, Bob & Ray, Martin and Lewis, Nichols and May, Steve Allen, Ernie Kovacs, Bill Cosby, Stan Freburg and Flip Wilson. Carson is quoted by the network’s press department as saying “I was fortunate to know most of the individuals whose work is highlighted. Some, like Jack Benny, Fred Allen and Groucho Marx, where my idols and I cherish many of the personal relationships with them. It’s a tribute to their unique and extraordinary talents that so much of the programs material is this fresh today as it was, in some cases, 50 years ago when first introduced.” Guy Ludwig is the executive producer of the feature, and the concepts originator.

To keep you up with the world, there’s a new musical distinction in contemporary radio formats. Industry observers seem close to settling on the word “wave” for the kind of music you hear on KYYX. It includes the already out of date new wave, dance music and elementary rhythm formula rock. What makes this important, you see, is that there’s enough interest and record sales that the most popular rock radio stations, trapped between format designations “contemporary hit” and “album rock” no longer can ignore the new music. To affirm, KISW which is number one in satisfying contemporary musical tastes, has introduced an hour of wave, at 10 PM weekdays. A related awareness of the definitive nature of the music changes also is responsible for the reassignment of Ryan and Ryan (they obviously are not wave) to KXA only weekday mornings, with Dr. rock (a wave if you ever saw one) reducing his time on KXA and taking over the morning slot on KYYX. Now listeners and jocks need not to be confused between hits of the past and hits of the present.
Rob Sherwood, with experience at KIOI, San Francisco, and stations in Minnesota, has been named program director of KTAC, replacing the 13 year veteran, Bruce Cannon. Sherwood’s first changes: a tighter playlist and a new morning disc jockey, Ken Copper who, not too surprisingly, previously was morning man at KIOI San Francisco. Gary Stewart has been promoted to the position of managing editor of KOMO radio news, replacing Lee Sommerstein who left the station recently to pursue other interests.
Governor John Spellman will be one time only host of the Sunday morning jazz show 8 AM to 11 AM next Sunday on KJJZ 1540 and KZAM 92.5… Ray McMakin, missing from action since he was dumped from the KING TV team, will return to Seattle radio as weekend host of KVI’s 7-11 Sports on December 11. McMakin has been doing high school sports for KBRO and KWWR Bremerton… KING FM previews the season of Metropolitan Opera broadcasts with Met Marathon at 11 AM Saturday.

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Victor Stredicke

Author: Victor Stredicke

Former radio columnist for the Seattle Times.

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