Geo’s Media Blog. (Retro Radio In Dallas) 6/04/18. #4 in 2018.

Back in the day when FM wasn’t cool, Jim Hilliard the CEO of Fairbanks Broadcasting, paid almost two million dollars for KVIL-FM in Dallas which local broadcasters at the time thought was exorbitant. It later sold for eighty-five million, but long before that we had to figure out how to get the folks to come over to the FM band.
What we came up with was so unique that within a few short years, some version of it was heard all over America. What was so special about KVIL was its special jingles, the likes of which Dallas had never heard before, it’s outstanding aggressive air personalities, the locals claimed we overpaid them but seeing as most of them are in the Texas Radio Hall Of Fame, I think not. It did giant promotions which had the whole town buzzing, including one that had the listeners giving us over a quarter million dollars. Mostly though, KVIL simply played classy music for the beautiful ladies of Dallas whp we adored. (to hear our first year as America’s first Adult Contemporary radio station, simply click on the link at the bottom.) On air, we treated the lovely ladies of Dallas like they were potential candidates for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
The way we promoted our new creation was by using spectacular billboards that made our on-air staff at KVIL look bigger than life. All of our billboards were created in Indianapolis by Norm Wilkens with a great artist named Lotsy. Lotsy not only did our boards in Dallas but he also did some award-winning ones for our stations in Indy, Philly, Boston, and Palm Beach. However, in Dallas, our first big billboard campaign consisted of one billboard. Not to worry though, we placed that billboard right where it would do the most damage, outside the studio window of KLIF so that whenever KLIF’s morning man looked out at the sunrise, what he saw instead was Ron Chapman staring back at him with a shit-eating grin on his face. (1st billboard below)
Of all the billboards we put up though, some of which are shown below, none of them were more controversial than the one promoting our Elf in the afternoon, Mike Selden. (pictured on top) Who could have predicted that his billboard would end up across the street from a nunnery? I mean what were the odds of that?
The Church, of course, was very upset with us and demanded that we remove the offensive billboard immediately. However, KVIL’s mandate was only to do what our listeners told us to do so we asked them for their thoughts which necessitated them driving by the board before being able to comment on it which caused some problems leading to the newspapers and TV covering the situation. Eventually, due to popular demand, we finally moved Mike’s board to another location which the Church was nice enough to publically thank us for doing.
However, the billboard that was the most fun of all was the one that upset all the other radio stations in town. This one appeared in full color on the front page of The Dallas Times Herald with a headline that read, Mayor, Moonlights on KVIL. The billboard featured Ron Chapman and Wes Wise with the slug line, Wise with Ron. On the board, Ron was toasting the Mayor with a KVIL cup of coffee, and the Mayor was handing the keys to the city to Ron.
Oh and don’t get me started on the insurance nightmare we had with our billboard at the freeway exit to downtown Dallas. This one read, “The Big Swing is to KVIL” and featured scantily dressed young ladies taking turns swinging several stories high above the traffic. This was happening during Ron’s morning show, and It turned the exit into a parking lot. The bad news was that before long the police were yelling at us and demanding that we bring the girls down. The good news, however, was that once again we were on TV and in the papers.
Then, there was our billboard that inflicted a lot of damage on one of our fellow broadcasters. In the quest to get the folks to get the folks to move from AM to FM, KNUS were doing their part with the younger crowd, but shortly after KVIL became #1, they made the mistake of putting up a bunch of billboards claiming that they were the Top Banana in Dallas. This pissed off our owner Richard Fairbanks who retaliated by buying up all the locations in front of their billboards to post what you see in the black and white photo below. Sing along with me now or better yet, click on the KVIL jingle link at the bottom of the page to hear ’em all…

“It’s a shame
what’s happened to radio
but they can’t afford
to do it anymore

“It’s a shame
they can’t hire
a section of brass
be so much class

“But they can’t afford
to do it anymore
It’s a shame.


Perfection is the only unattainable goal worthy of your pursuit.

Great acts may go out of style but great songs seldom do.

I wonder what America would be like if we had as many political parties to choose from as we do radio stations and cars.

Nobody ever talks about how easy it was to become rich, they only whine about how poor they were when they started out. I guess they’re hoping that we won’t notice them not sharing their good fortune.

If females are wonderful, why won’t mothers let them anywhere near their young sons?

I loved that 15-year-old Brynn Cartelli won The Voice. I was beginning to think that I’d I lost it because the judges only seemed to like the singers who howled and did runs.

Speaking of The Voice, I wonder if Ed Sheeran would have any chance of making it through the blind auditions?

I wonder who it is at the networks who decide what we see and hear on the news and maybe even more importantly what we don’t? I’d like to tell them about how Walter Cronkite would do it because I believe he’d kick their ass.

The smartest thing a good director can do is stay away from the spotlight.

Laws aren’t about doing what’s right; they’re just laws.

All that counts is who gets to call the shots not who gets the credit.

Jim Hilliard once told me something that is very evident today. “It doesn’t take any brains to buy a radio station, just money.”

Does it offend you as much as it does me to subscribe to something only to discover that they’ve automatically jacked up the price because you had the special introductory rate which you were never aware of?

Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it bad.

One of the realities of consolidation is that when you add up the ratings of the radio stations a company may own in a given market, more often than not they don’t equal what one of their stations used to have.

I see that the Red Sox still have the best record in baseball. Go, Sox!

As KVIL ends, may I present the beginning.

A short story about #Billboards in #Dallas, #JimHilliard, and a few #LifeLiners about radio are above. Comments about so much more @ On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.


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