Tuesday, November 1, 2011

KLIF (Dallas): Top 40, 1954-1972

KLIF in Dallas ("The Mighty 1190") stands among the most celebrated stations in Top 40 history thanks to radio industry legend Gordon McLendon. He ran KLIF like a flame tank across the North Texas plains, commanding, at times, an audience share of over 50 percent. Among the station's widely copied promotional practices was the type of compilation album I've discussed previously, featuring representative playlist entries and DJ head shots on the cover. Volume 6 of the "KLIF Klassics" series, which was released in 1972, captures the station at a cruxpoint. McLendon had only just sold the station (for a bundle) the previous year and the Mighty 1190 eventually found itself sputtering amid changing radio industry terrain.

The tracklist reveals a station attempting to cover all of the newly emerging format bases while grappling for a unifying sound - tricky business in the crossover-oriented early '70s, when fragmentation masqueraded as a cheerful olio. (Not evident in this album is the station's concurrent attempts to behave like an MOR station and cash in on the housewife market by featuring a daytime Feminine Forum-style "sex talk" show with Dave Ambrose's Girl Talk). DJs featured on the back cover: Mike Selden, Cuzzin' Linnie, Dave Ambrose, Jim Taber, Paxton Mills, Chuck Murphy, and Michael O'Shea.

Tracklist: "Band of Gold" (Freda Payne), "Oh Girl" (Chi-Lites), "Too Late to Turn Back Now" (Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose), "I Gotcha" (Joe Tex), "Easy Livin'" (Uriah Heep), "In the Summertime" (Mungo Jerry), "Garden Party" (Rick Nelson), "Help Me Make It Through the Night" (Sammi Smith), "A Horse with No Name" (America), "Timothy" (The Buoys), "Join Together" (The Who), "Stick Up" (The Honey Comb), "Walking in the Rain" (Love Unlimited), "I Saw the Light" (Todd Rundgren), "Popcorn" (Hot Butter), "On My Own" (BW Stevenson).