440: Satisfaction - In depth
Mark/Max says (October 2003):
The stations I've worked:
KBBA Benton - Went into Chapter 7 in the 90's and now KEWI.
KAWW-FM Heber Springs - Sold and now a rock station. AM (1370) may be dark.
KZLE-FM Batesville - Owner's father died and owner soon followed.
Competitors across the White River bought them out.
KCJC/KWKK/KCAB Sold by previous owners, and operated today under improved management with many of the people I worked with over a decade ago.
KOMS-FM Now under Cumulus banner, it was under LMA when I worked there.
AWESOME coverage even for a Class C. Considered to have the tenth largest FM coverage "footprint" in North America.
KDDK-FM is now KHKN-FM and recently changed to Classic Country format, something I openly hinted to several in radio just months before the change occured.

My first gig at KBBA, then a 250w daytimer on 690AM, was a true learning experience despite my Vo-Tech training at Metropolitan under both Bill Harris and Bob Gay.

Case in point? 1982, my graduation year, had a case of bad El Nino weather, causing a warm autumn and spawning many series of severe storms with it. I covered a news story which made lead on Arkansas Radio Network the evening of 12/2/82 when a tornado struck the Alexander community, between Benton and Little Rock. One fatality was reported and it took hours for me to gain access to speak with an official.

This set the stage for Sunday, Christmas Eve of the same year. I worked alone that afternoon in the humid weather with temps in the mid-70's, rather unusual for Arkansas which has a white Christmas usually once each score. It began to darken with the building landlords from the furniture dealership upstairs paying me a visit and pointing out a cloud formation. It was a large funnel cloud we looked inside, spinning sideways and counter-clockwise in classic cyclogenesis (funnel/tornado formation), and if development continued, it would surely cause problems SOON! I began to tell my listeners what I had just seen, but told them no warnings had yet been issued. In the next minute or two, the transmitter went down, followed less than a minute later by a call from Benton Police reporting of a touchdown just south of town (the area where the tranmitter was sited!)

I began frantically trying to see if I could bring it back up, and thank God the problem was temporary! When back up, I sounded the EBS tone and warned the city to take cover, especially Bryant and Alexander to my northeast, the direction of the storms. I had no argument from anyone due to the previous outbreak still fresh on their minds. One of these touched down and destroyed a church near Stagecoach and I-430 in Little Rock, and later struck the White County community of Rose Bud. This outbreak was considered among the Top-25 worst weather outbreaks of the 20th century by meteorologists of the Little Rock NWS office.


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