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The Birth of the KADY Twins

The two stations were called the Kaydee Twins, and they were heard in the St. Louis area until 1965 when financial problems and a strong labor union shut them down.

Station KADY went on the air April 3, 1958, licensed to St. Charles at 1460 Kc. The corporation’s president and general manager, Harlan Moseley, Jr., who was a former advertising executive with Young & Rubicam, announced in a press release that the station had received permission from the F.C.C. to start program tests on that date, and it was decided to air programming from 5:30 a.m. until sundown. The transmitter and studios were about three miles north of St. Charles on Highway 94 at Route B in Boschertown.

 

Within a couple months of sign-on, KADY’s ownership changed hands and the corporation’s treasurer, William Cady, took control by purchasing Moseley’s shares. He started planning the expansion of the company to include an FM operation, and KADI-FM signed on December 11, 1959, at 96.5 Mhz. Cady was also a former ad man, and he hit the streets in October with an advertising rate card for both stations two months before the FM station was even on the air. His creativity shown in the card’s editorial content:

“With the many conflicting claims made today by competing radio stations, one thing stands out - it’s not the numbers in an audience, but rather the purchasing power those numbers represent, that counts.

“More than 50 percent of the mail received at KADY-KADI carries postmarks from St. Louis County postal zones or municipalities, where the average income is over $7,000; where almost 20 percent of the families own two or more cars, where almost 72 percent own one car; where almost 75 percent have had some high school education or more; and where the population has increased by 40.5 percent since 1950.”

KADI-FM had its transmitter in the city of St. Louis’ entertainment district at Grand and Olive atop the Continental Building. Unlike its AM counterpart, KADI was not required to sign off at sundown, and its program day ran from 5:30 a.m. to midnight.

The AM signal was simulcast during the hours it was on the air. At 5:30 a.m., listeners of both stations heard the news and duck report. Another duck report was aired at 4:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Most of the rest of the FM programming consisted of the sort of musical shows normally associated with early FM radio: “Stereo Album Time,” “KADI Matinee,” “Melody Lingers On,” Candlelight and Silver,” “Lamplighter’s Serenade,” “Starlight Symphony,” and “For Dreamers Only.” News was broadcast hourly on both stations.

In late 1962, the stations were sold again to another broadcaster, Rodney Erickson, who owned interest in a station in Syracuse, N.Y. He resigned his job as president of a television distribution company to devote all of his time to his radio stations.

Aubrey Williams took the job as manager of the local stations, but it appears, in retrospect, that Williams and Erickson were in over their heads. Employees of both stations sent a telegram to the F.C.C. on February 14, 1964, saying they would shut down the stations unless management paid all past-due and current wages in full. They made good on their threat the next day, and it was several days before management could get back on the air using temporary employees.

Williams told newspaper reporters the stations were two weeks in arrears on wages but negotiations were taking place to bring workers back.

KADI-FM remained off the air though, due to “technical difficulties.” There are conflicting reports in area newspapers and F.C.C. files regarding the life of KADI-FM after the shutdown, but according to F.C.C. files, authorization was granted to the owners to keep the station off the air through January 1966.

But on January 21, 1965, members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers who worked at KADY walked out because they had not been paid in over a month. Owner Rodney Erickson ordered interim manager Homer Griffith to shut down the station so “financial reorganization” could take place.

(Reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Journalism Review. Originally published 10/03)