Happy Birthday KK

Hello and welcome to Monday. Here is another rare post outside of my usual Wednesday and Sunday posts.
Today I’m going to celebrate a special birthday of an old friend, who also happens to be a radio personality. Her name is Kristy Knite but she is also known as KK. She currently works the mid day shift at 97.7 HTZFM and has a following of devoted listeners.
I first came across Kristy 28 years ago, when she worked at Q107 in Toronto. I called up in either late January or early February to request a song and she put me on the air. I was surprised to hear myself an hour or so later and I recorded it. Unfortunately the tape is long gone but I remember that I said during the call that I wanted to be a rock star when I grew up. Just for the record, the song in question was Leader Of The Pack by Twisted Sister.
In April I had written a letter to her in brail and she responded favorably. All though she did tell me that she couldn’t understand what the dots were, but there was the printed text of what I said between the brail lines.
At the time, my favorite band was Twisted Sister and I asked for them to be played in regular rotation again. This was despite their latest album at the time, Come Out And Play, being a significant stiff, compared to their breakthrough album Stay Hungry. Unfortunately it didn’t work out but I started calling and she would talk to me and explain all about how everything worked at the radio station at the time. For some reason I had this thing about wanting to hear the ID’s and she thought it was strange too but she explained the proper terminology and she played the ones I wanted to hear. I remember the cart machines and having the opportunity to take a tour of Q107 and playing with the carts. They would store all the ID’s and commercials and there were about 6 cart machines in the control room and 3 turn tables for all the records. When you cued up a record you spun it backwards to the beginning of the song and wen you would play the song you just hit a button and it fires up. The same thing is with the carts but to cue them up just run them to the end of the ID. When CD’s became the normal format of music to be broadcast on radio, it wasn’t vary obvious to me because it sounded the same as the records did, minus the pop and clicks. In a way, the compact disk brought a radio stations method of playing a song to you. You just press play and the song starts.
I was also amazed everything we here comes out of a board. It had so many buttons on it that if I was to work at a radio station I would have to know where they were and what to push when. Otherwise, I would probably screw things up badly. Everything is controlled by buttons: the music, the carts and even the microphone switch. It also had sliding nobs for the volume, in case the announser wanted to do a sweep. This is when the announser would talk until the vocals start on a song. Some people refer to it as nailing the post. This is used in Top 40 radio a lot but not as much in rock radio.
She also took me to a famous recording studio in Mississauga Ontario called Metalworks Studios. The studio is famous because it is basically owned by the rock band Triumph. It is also where Guns n’ Roses recorded parts of their Use Your Elusion albums and other bands have also recorded there as well. Once again, I was to see another board, which also had buttons and sliding nobs, which were faders and also controlled how much reverb came out on the music.
I also remember the session I was in on was for an unreleased song by Kelly Partland and the song was called someone to hold. We were there when the drum tracks were being recorded. I was given some of the recording tape to take home with me and I was surprised that tape as wide as that existed. Oh, it was what was called back then real to real tape. Basically, you would thread the real into the spool and the tape would be in another spool. You put the two of them on a tape machine meant to play reel to reel’s and it would spin around untill one spool was empty and the other one was full of tape. Then you turn it over and do it all again. This was the standard tape for: radio stations, schools and recording tape before cassettes, digital audio tape and compact discs came along.
During the week I would go to school and on weekends I would look forward to going home from school and waiting for her shift, so I could call her and talk. I would sometimes get on the air and get a chance to show off some of my talents with my voice or request a song. I could always make her laugh when I did other voices and I enjoyed doing that and still like it to this day. She also realized how much of a fan I was of the music I liked and I would comment on some of it. When Def Leppard released Hysteria in 1987, I got a chance to comment on it and I said that I liked it. I even did the beginning of the song Excitable on the air. If you know the album and the song itself, you know what I am talking about. Once again, I made her laugh.
In February 1988 I finally got the chance to come to Q107 to go on the air for an hour and I loved it. I even got to pick what songs I wanted to be played that night. I remember that the last song I played was the original version of Tear It Down by Def Leppard. I even played I’m The Man by anthrax. The show I was on was called The Power Factory and it specialized in hard rock and heavy metal. That is what I was a fan of and always have been.
In May 1988 Kristy moved on to 97.7 HTZFM and I tried to stay in touch but life got in the way. At first it wasn’t a problem and she even took me to see Def Leppard in concert on June 11th at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. After that we lost touch because I became wrapped up in my own life.
Despite the lost contact I have always tried to listen to her show when I could and I was happy when she became Music Director for HTZFM in 1995. I knew how honest she was and I had all the confidence in the world that she was going to do a good job.
When she left radio in 1999, I was not happy because I didn’t get a chance to say goodby and it really hurt for a while. However, 3 years later she came back in 2002. I gave her a call and she remembered me and we talked for a couple of minutes and that was it for a while.
During 2003 she also started calling me Blind Gordie and obviously it stuck with me because of the name of this blog and my future email address. She has made me aware of some of the machine of the music industry when I was young and I never forgot it. I will always remember the days of goofing around on the phone and just being silly.
She is working at 97.7 HTZFM and still is as entertaining as ever and as she turns another year older I am also going to turn a year older in exactly a week. I will have more on my own birthday next Sunday.
Anyway, happy birthday KK. I have never forgotten the old days and I’m glad life is good. Hope you keep rockin for many years to come and keep having as much fun as you can.


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