Buck Buchanan at KNUI, KORL & K-108|
My name is Buck Buchanan and I just wanted to check in and let everyone know that I am doing just fine, but bummed out about the cold weather in California. I started in radio in Los Angeles in 1966, working as a newsman for one of the greatest "Top 40" radio stations in the market. It was KBLA. I had the chance of learning my trade from some of the best Rock Jocks in the business. Many of the names might not be know in Hawaii, but I thought I would give them the credit they were due, as they were the impetus for my establishing my "radio style."
I worked as a newsman for Emperor Hudson, of Hudson & Landry fame. He had the greatest sense of timing and on air humor of any disc jockey I have ever heard. There was Dave Diamond, who was clearly as radio star in Los Angeles in the 60's and 70's. Humble Harv was doing nights for us and shook up the market with his one-of-a-kind style. Harvey Miller (Humble Harv) fell onto some bad times when he killed his wife and ended up in prison for a few years. He got out and went back on the air, but never re-established himself as the personality he had been. I then moved to a KGIL, where I was one of the traffic pilots, flying a Cessna 172 in the mornings and afternoons, doing traffic over Los Angeles.
It was then that I finally finished my college education and knew that I had to come back to Hawaii. I did mornings at KNUI for about 18 months, had a ball and decided to take an offer from Tad James, then general manager of KORL. I did the afternoon drive show at KORL for about five years. "People Power" radio was one of the first controversial talk stations in the country. We started our mornings with Tom "Dynamite" Dancer. This guy was had a style all his own. If he didn't like what you had to say, he would blow you up with a stick of "Dynamite," thus the name Tom "Dynamite" Dance. He was originally from the south, spend years in the Navy and then got into radio in Hawaii. He was one of my dearest friends. He passed away from cancer a few years ago.
Handsome Howard Hansen was our mid-day guy. He was one of those "female" charmers, who had a huge audience. He shocked Hawaii when he did shows about sex and other "over-the-top" subjects. It was then my turn. My show, along with Dancer's was the most controversial on the air during that period of time. You might hear a drag queen from Hotel Street one day and Mayor Frank Fasi the next. My newsmen at the time were the best I have ever worked with. John Henry Russell, formerly from the Mutual network sounded like God on the air. There was also Hal Briggs, who was one of the best.
One memory that I can't forget was the times of Watergate. It was the biggest story of the year. I would have Joe Nellis, Chief Counsel for the US House of Representatives on with me on a weekly basis. I also got to know Pete Rodino, who was one of the key Congressmen from the Select Committee to Impeach President Nixon. I had Congressman Pete Rodino on the air with me from Washington, just as he was going into session to vote to impeach when ABC Network broke in and Richard Nixon resigned. I got Pete Rodino back on the line and he informed me that the committee had voted to impeach. Timing was everything. I feel like I was a part of history.
The times at KORL were some of the best radio I have experienced. The 1970's were a ball. I disappeared in 1976, moving to Pennsylvania to become a National Program Director of a Northeast corporation that had seven station in various states. I also did the morning show for about three years in the Pittsburgh area. What a shock it was coming from a trade wind day to temperatures of -13'. Try buying a winter coat at the Ala Moana Shopping Center !! It was a wind breaker. It was also the first time I had been in snow.
My father, the character actor, Edgar Buchanan, star of Petticoat Junction passed away in 1979. It was then that I decided to come back home to Honolulu. I purchased K-108 radio. I brought back Granny Goose and "It's a Beautiful Day in Hawaii" Bill Edwards to do mornings for me. Noel Grey did out mid-days, Bill Thompson (KKUA) did afternoons. I also had Ron King with us. It was the best radio line up that Honolulu had seen since the good old days of KGMB.
I had a problem. I found that my radio partner had embezzled all of our money and left for the mainland in the middle of the night. Since the money was gone and getting payment on radio advertising was usually a 30 - 60 day process, we simply could not hold on. My staff all stayed with me, working the last few weeks for free. I sued the guy that took the money, won the law suit, only to have him declare bankruptcy. We closed the doors of the station and I took my family to Los Angeles.
It was in Los Angeles that I joined Emperor Hudson in the mornings at KRLA. A little blue humor got us both bounced out of there. I then took over the afternoon show at KRTH AM-930, which was the RKO oldies station. I remained there until 1991. The station was sold for some 25 million dollars to a Spanish interest and the station is still doing Hispanic programming.
I am now a Senior Production Manager at Earthlink Network, which is the 2nd largest Internet Service Provider in the world. I do all of they video's and produce shows, which we take to our 8 call centers around the country, three times a year.
I have four daughters. All grew up in Hawaii. One of my daughters, Kaui lives in Laie with my three granddaughters, Lehiwa, La'akea and Keha. I will be back home to Hawaii when I retire, or the job runs out.
Thanks Buck for sharing your memories - mel
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