Note: The links on this page work properly now-I'm still updating pages 1977-1989
Shortly after Ira left W-4 in Detroit and joined John Dew in Dallas, he called W-4 DJ's Mark Addy and Gary Shaw, trying to convince them to move to Dallas to be on the proposed "Zoo." I was PD at W-4 after Ira left. Mark and Gary told Ira they wouldn't come unless I did, too. So he asked me and I accepted.
As soon as I got to Dallas, Ira and I toured Texas, listening to other DJ's, trying to find some local talent. We found Mike Taylor in Austin. Mark Christopher (Underkofler) applied for a job. Ira also like some local Dallas DJ whose name I can't remember. But on our "practice" day he excused himself. Nice move, fella. Instead, we found JD, Jon Dillon. And that was our original air staff. Oh -- and Jamie Friar and Suzette Smith doing news and part time DJ's Joan Green and Rob Dayton.
About two weeks before we went on the air we started messing with the automated system that ran the programming for the "beautiful music" format that was then on 97.9. We would keep the same weather forecast in there for many days in a row. We let "dead air" happen periodically for 5, 10 minutes or more. And we took 2 of the 3 tape decks out of service and kept the same tape on the one working deck so the station kept repeating the same 50 songs in the same order. We did all that to try to steer the Belo Board of Director's wives away from the station before the format was switched. As far as we could tell, they and doctor's offices were the only ones listening.
I signed on the station on September 18, 1973 and the first song played was Simon and Garfunkel's "At the Zoo."
How it started-By Ken Rundel
Ken Rundel... actually, the first voice on The Zoo played Simon & Garfunkel's "At the Zoo" as the station begin broadcasting from Communications Center in Dallas. With a 97.9, nearly 100,000 watts of power and the backing of what was then The Belo Broadcasting Corp., the station went from "beautiful music" WFAA-FM to KZEW-FM, aka The Zoo.
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