The Rock and Roll Alturnative debut May 18, 1980

George Gimarc has posted his very first Rock and Roll Alternative show on Soundcloud. It was May 18th 1980 and the KZEW audience was in for a surprise. Uploaded yesterday on the 34th anniversary of that airing. Does this mean that we might have a weekly surprise from George? Follow "ReelGeorge" on soundcloud.

George describes this post, "Nervous as hell, and fresh outta NTSU, here's the way the R&R Alternative debuted on KZEW on May 18, 1980. Sounds like I was going way over the top to try to sound like a serious broadcaster, and miles away from what I would turn into. Yeah, an uncomfortable baby picture in sound, but there it is. Man, was I raw and unschooled. Recorded on the day that BOTH Ian Curtis (Joy Division) died and Mount St. Helens blew up. We didn't hear about Ian Curtis for another few days. The show had been on KNTU in Denton since '77 but this was the first in Dallas, and the first with this new name: Rock & Roll Alternative."

KZEW Labella and Rody Morning Drive - July 12, 1983 Video

Thanks to Youtube's retrotxnc, another Labella and Rody Morning ZOO video has surfaced. Mislabeled as from 1985, this video is from a little earlier. After a little research with help from the Steve Dehl reference, the mention of a Texas Rangers 15 inning game and the calender shot in the video. It confirms that this one was actually filmed on July 12, 1983.

Looking back in the ZOO archives, I have found audio from later that same day, as John Rody joins Jon Dillon for the ZOO Noon Feed.

Listen to Dillon and Rody July 12, 1983 Noon Feed here

ZOO Year 1975

1975 was another year of live music from KZEW, as many shows from the Travis Street Electric Company and the Electric Ballroom were aired over the ZOO. Many of these concerts can be found circulating on the internet these days, plus a few notable concerts that were not aired.

January 9, 1975 - The Eric Burdon Band live KZEW broadcast from the Travis Street Electric Company.

Eric Burdon 01-09-75 Concert Promo

Peter FramptonFebruary 5th 1975 - Peter Frampton was in town supporting Johnny Winter at Dallas Memorial Auditorium for their 4th of February show. The next night, Frampton makes local rock history with a live KZEW broadcast from January Sound Studios. The live version of "Do You Feel Like I Do" from this performance became an instant hit as the number one requested song on the ZOO for 1975, causing Frampton album sales to soar in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, nearly a year before Frampton Comes Alive was released. KZEW's Mark Christopher jokes, "Jeez, Peter Frampton should STILL be mowing Ira's lawn to this day to thank him!"

Peter Frampton 02-05-75 January Sound clip 11:37

Rush AdFebruary 27th 1975
Rush comes back by popular demand
to the Travis Street Electric Company.
1975 Tour Program

Rush 02-27-75 Concert Promo

March 3-5, 1975 - Led Zeppelin rocks the Metroplex at the Tarrant County Convention Center Arena on March 3rd and at the Dallas Convention Center on March 4th and 5th.

Led Zeppelin 03-03/04-75 Concert Promo

Led Zeppelin 03-05-75 Concert Promo

KZEW-FM Founder Ira Lipson Will Take His Place in the Texas Radio Hall of Fame


Congratulations goes out to KZEW's Ira Lipson who will be inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame this year. It's about time.

I found a ZOO clip with Ira, who would many times fill in for the jocks who were either out sick or on vacation, under the air name Ira J. Cook. He even had a daily show on the ZOO for a while in '77.

Ira J. Cook 03-16-76 Aircheck 0:40

It Sure Beats Working! by George Gimarc


November 1974 - Meanwhile over at Lake Highlands in North Dallas. High school student George Gimarc writes an article for the school newspaper on the subject of radio. Researching the story, he interviews DJs at KZEW, WFAA, KVIL, KAFM and KLIF. George says, "it was my first stumbling step into the industry."

Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996

Be sure to check out the new book by ex-ZOO Disc Jockey Bob Shannon,"Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996". It tells the story of 58 of the top radio legends in the business for the fifty year period post World War II.

Bob Shannon was only with the ZOO a short time in 1977, but has remained close friends with ex-boss Ira Lipson to this day. In this audio excerpt from the book, with introduction by Ira himself, Bob tells the story about the day at the ZOO when the news came in that Elvis had died.

Elvis, Sam and Dewey

ZOO Year 1974

'The ZOO Wants You' adKZEW began the year by bringing live music to the ZOO listeners. First the ZOO brings you "The King Biscuit Flour Hour" every other Sunday night at 9pm. Then on Monday nights in cooperation with ABC television, the ZOO and WFAA channel 8 brings "In Concert" TV simulcasts (a Dallas-Ft.Worth first). On Saturday nights at 10pm is the ZOO Saturday night concert with a hour of recorded live music.

The Poor People's Concerts were at midnights after a local appearance of a nationally known act, later known as the Concert Replay and Concert Echo.

The ZOO had the phone company hard wire twin (stereo) hi-fidelity lines to January Sound Studios and various venues including The Aragon Ballroom (later became The Electric Ballroom) and The Travis Street Electric Company. The ZOO would air live concerts from these venues for years to come.

KZEW 25 years ago today...Feb. 2


It was Groundhog Day 1984 at about 6:30am when I dragged myself out of bed. Back in those days, I wasn't much of a early bird, but it was my birthday and I didn't want to miss a minute of it. After all it was a milestone, my twenty-fifth. I gazed over at the glowing blue dial of my Marantz and could hear the faint KZEW elephant trumpet at low volume. I reached over to turn it up, I realized that LaBella and Rody was on. Being an night-owl, it was a rare occasion to catch the ZOO's morning team. I quickly popped in a cassette and hit record. I soon hear John LaBella and Mike Rhyner, but no John Rody. Rody was famous for being late. I continue to record, not knowing this very recording would go out over the DFW airwaves once again nearly 25 years later.

ZOO Year 1973

KZEW's first print adKZEW's first print adTuesday, September 18th, 1973 at 6:00AM,
Ken Rundel keys his mike, "Welcome to the ZOO... are listening to KZEW Dallas-Ft.Worth." The first song played was Simon and Garfunkel's "At the Zoo." Ira Lipson remembers, "There was a huge buzz in the air. We were ready to launch The ZOO. There was so much positive energy flowing through the station that we probably could have levitated if we wanted to. Ken Rundel launched us at 6 AM and we just kept soaring. Sure, there were a lot of little things that needed to be fixed, but the feeling was fabulous. We broadcast more than music that day --- we broadcast energy and confidence. The station was a gas to listen to. And the listener response was instantaneous. The ZOO was gonna be a monster." Gary Shaw also remembers that day, "The ZOO went on the air on my mom's how could it fail?" Not only that, but the ZOO went on the air nine years to the day from when the Beatles played Dallas on their first U.S. tour. On the down side, the ZOO began on the third anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death.

KZEW is Created

mixerIn the summer of 1973, John Dew left W4 Detroit first to go to Dallas to talk about a position at Belo Broadcasting. John then calls Ira Lipson and asks him come to Dallas to talk to the Belo bigwigs. Ira leaves W4 and heads for Dallas, while Ken Rundel takes over as W4's Program Director. Reports state that John Dew and Ira Lipson originally came to Dallas to work for WFAA-AM and not FM, but the FM radio craze had just begun, even cars now had FM. John and Ira had already brought Detroit's W4 from number 12 to number 2 in two years, and this zookeeper believes someone saw opportunity. Dallas had an FM station, at the very center of the dial, in the 5th largest radio market in the country, that was not being fully utilized.

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