October 1973-The newest entry into the radio sweepstakes, the most ambitious undertaking in FM rock programming, the emergence of old staid,
automated WFAA-FM into the vibrant,new, personable KZEW_popularly and euphemisticly referred to as "the Zoo", not entirely because of all the
hair on the staffers.
And a zoo it is also because station manager John Dew has managed to corral an impressive array of talent, many coming from his former station,
WWWW in Detroit.That station was rated number two in the Motor City with a progressive rock format, and Detroit is a heavy town.
Dew has his work cut out for him.In Detroit he brought his station up from twelfth to second but most folks here weren't even aware of the
existence of WFAA-FM.
Freak program director Ira Lipson, also one of the former Detroit crew, is primarily responsible for how the station actually sounds.And it sounds
good.Lipson hates jingles and hokeyness of any kind, so the station is determined not to insult their listeners' intelligence.
The news is in the same lowkey manner.No taped teletype machines in the background, no big introduction, just a fresh approach to news that
actually relates to people's lives.(The Zoo would never run story about a plane crash in New Zealand, for instance.)"We broadcast the kind of news
you don't get anyplace else," explains Lipson.
In the first few days of broadcasting, the news department-Guy Gibson,Laurel Ornish and Martin Lowy-had a story on how a group of Ft. Worth
women are trying to deal with the problems of rape, a tongue-in-cheek look at government's unsuccessful attempts to get motorists wear seat belts,
and an interview with the New York Dolls.The news department uses passages off popular records to make editorial comments or underscore certain
The jocks play a lot of music between newscasts too, at least 17 minutes of each 20 minute set.They never talk down to their listeners-or over the
Jon Dillon, who is to Dallas progressive radio what Morton is to salt, was coaxed out of retirement to join the Zoo.The Kid has the freewheeling all-
night shift, and if you've ever had to stay up all night to make a deadline you know how nice it is having a friend play nice music for you.
The Zoo had to replace all WFAA-FM's old Frankie Layne and Prez Prado albums with heavier stuff-new,of course-so none is all scratchy yet.That's
nice.And the addition of a new 100,00 watt transmitter will make their signal sparkle as far north as Tulsa and south to Waco.
Their current schedule is as follows:
6-10 am Ken Rundel
10-2 pm Mike Taylor
2-6 pm Mark Addy
6-10 pm Gary Shaw
10-2 am Mark Christopher
2-6 am Jon Dillon
David Hefner and Dave Thomas handle the weekend chores.Thomas is a contributing editor of Buddy as well as a familiar voice to listeners of
The Zoo broadcasts at a frequency of 97.9 mHz, close enough that they call it "98 FM"
"They say that it's all happening at the zoo,
I do believe it, I do believe it's true,
At the zoo, at the zoo...."
Buddy October 1973
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 of
frequency of 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