UNDERGROUND 50KW AM: KAAY,
Originally published October 17, 2014.
If you were coming age in flyover country during the early 1970s you probably heard BEAKER STREET on KAAY AM 1090.
From 11pm to 2am every night (except Sunday), KAAY in Little Rock departed from its usual Top 40 format for BEAKER STREET – a one-of-kind “underground” rock program.
50,000-watt KAAY had a huge coverage area stretching from the Rockies to the Appalachians. An equally booming signal also went south bringing KAAY to listeners in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
Clyde Clifford was the host of BEAKER STREET. As you will hear in the video below, Clifford sounded perpetually stoned and talked over space music to amplify the effect.
BEAKER STREET had its own favorite tunes such as Legend of the USS Titanic by Jamie Brockett and Two Hangmen by Mason Proffit. Folks listened to In a Gadda da Vida by Iron Butterfly while shooting the loop, looking for munchies and locating a party.
Why did they have the cosmic space sounds on BEAKER STREET? To mask the noise made by the blowers required to keep the tube-type transmitter from getting too hot.
Here is a sample of BEAKER STREET from June 1, 1972: