Norm Gregory Radio Scrapbook: Buck Ritchey Obit, 1973 (Pt 1)

by Norm Gregory on June 24, 2011

in 1973, Radio Scrapbook

In 1943 a former carnival entertainer from Missouri named Buck Ritchey arrived in Seattle, hired on as a DJ at KVI radio, and went on to influence the local country music scene. KVI was the leading country music station at the time. Twenty two years later he moved to KAYO. KAYO had dropped their Top-40 format in 1963 and switched to country. Ritchey was also a musician having played with big country stars plus recorded a few country singles. Buck was 58 years old. (A Seattle P.I. obit can be seen here)

By the way the KAYO call letters now belong to an Alaska FM station. “KAYO – Country Legends 100.9 Wasilla, AK”


Buck Ritchey, mid 1960s, on KAYO, Seattle


The Doxie scanner used to create this digital copy of a musty clipping.

Scarpebook RitcheyObit

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Norm Gregory June 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I came across this piece on KAYO in Billboard, March 27, 1965.

2 Dan Packard June 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Ah Norm, this is the greatest and most authentic air check I’ve heard in years. Buck Ritchey – what a great talent! I recall how loyal Kountry KAYO’s listeners were. The station did a terrific job super serving its audience. I also remember one time when the KAYO jocks traded places with the KOL jocks for a day (early 1970’s ?). It was so funny and strange hearing Buck trying to fathom the rock ‘n roll on KOL.

Oh, radio was so creative and original back then. Thanks for posting this timeless treasure.

3 Norm Gregory June 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm

I think Lan and Buck switched in the mid to late ’60s.

April Fools Day, 1972 (or ?), KJR and KVI switched complete air staffs. I remember going down to the Tower building to do afternoons . . . and Morton went out to KJR to play rock ‘n roll records. I think he had more fun than I did.

4 Ed Bennett June 26, 2011 at 10:36 pm

It was 1970 (my senior year in high school) Buck would make comments like ” you kids call this a song?” He was blown away with the Youngbloods, “darkness darkness” “Hey, listen to that pickin” In the meantime at KJR, Hardwick pushed the wrong button and Pat,s voice comes on with “and now from all request KJR” then he stops the tape and say,s “how about that, I finally got to shut up Pat O’ Day, thats something I have been wanting to do for a long time”

5 Norm Gregory June 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I think I gottcha Ed. Harkwick was on KVI playing a tape of O’day?

I remember Al Cummings in the early ’60s breaking down rock ‘n roll records on KING from his roadside Aurora Avenue studio. He would play songs like Del Shannon’s “Runaway” and pick up the needle in the middle of the song to do some analysis.

6 Ed Bennett June 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm

No. This was done during the April fools stunt when KJR and KVI traded jocks. I remember the full page add in the P.I. with the cartoon jocks. Some teenage gall asked Dave Clark if he was once a KJR all American and Jack Morton was wondering if any of these rock freaks play golf? A little over a year later Morton went to KOL.

7 Norm Gregory June 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Okay. . got ya Ed.

I was among those who switched . . was that ’71 . . ’72?

I went over the tower building and did afternoons. Morton went over to 26th Avenue S.W. and played rock ‘n roll records. I think he had more fun.

8 Dan Packard June 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Ok, so just to try to get this straight for the historical record . . . KJR and KVI swapped jocks on April 1, 1970. So as not to feel left out, KOL and KAYO also swapped announcers on the same date. Is that right?

Now, the more I think about it, I wonder who originally came up with the idea for this zany promotion? I remember Lan talking about it for a week or two beforehand on his morning show.

What was so bad about KVI Norm? Too many Gene Autry songs, lol. I really can’t remember exactly what they played, since every time I listened then, they always seemed to be talking, blah, blah, blah . . .

9 Norm Gregory June 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm

It was that early . . .1970?

I can’t remember who or whom had the idea.

Lan wasn’t doing mornings in 1970. He had left the previous September (and wouldn’t return until June of ’71 – to do mid-days) Emp was doing mornings between June ’69 to April ’74.

I moved to afternoons Sept of ’71. So I think the April Fool’s switch was April 1 1971.

Yeah . . the KVI play list was, in the context of the times, pretty lame. I tried not to be too negative about it on the air.

10 Craig Harris August 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I have recently met Big Dave Clarke at a health care center in Des Moines WA. He gives a sermon at every meal in the dining room. I didn’t know who he was but I could tell he was a good speaker within a couple sentences. He finished by saying “if the good Lord is willing and the creek doesn’t rise too high we’ll meet again and in the words of Duke Kahanakmoke: Aloha!” That’s when I knew he was some one special. He told me of the Spanish Castle, Roy Orbison, KVI, and KJR.
Let me know if you wish to contact him.

11 Norm Gregory August 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I never met Dave . . . probably never actually seen him. But I certainly remember him on the radio. He was one of the many guys who attracted me to live local radio.

I think I may have some audio of Dave’s work . . . I will see if I can dig it up.

Thanks for the comment.

12 Craig Harris August 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

I remember a TV talent show on channel 13 that was hosted by “B. Butterball Buck Ritchie”. I think the show was produced at an auto show room in Tukwilla. I remember Bonnie Guitar being on that show. One time they talked about her daughter who had a record that got some air play. Was her name Alexys?

13 Norm Gregory August 17, 2011 at 10:10 am

You got me Craig. During that time . . . this would not be something I would have watched. I remember Bonnie Guitar (couldn’t they have come up with a better name? Ha), but wasn’t a fan.

14 miws November 3, 2013 at 10:31 am

I realize I’m a couple years late to this thread, but Buck Ritchey happened to cross my mind this morning, and this came up as one of the results by Googling.

My memories of Buck, start back at around the late ’60’s, when I would have been in the 9 to 10 age range, and my Dad listened to KAYO on our only radio, one of the leather bound portables.

Dad, my older by three years Brother, and I made a few visits down to the KAYO Studio on 4th S, and go up to the back window of the Broadcast Studio.

One particular time, Dad brought along a flask of Whiskey for Buck, but he had just gone off the air and left. No problem! Gary Vance gracefully accepted it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Actually, what brought back this memory of Buck, was thinking about the time change this morning, and the term “chronometer” for “clock”.

Buck used to say something to the effect of; “….according to the ol’ chronometer on the wall…”, when giving the current time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mike

15 Norm Gregory November 3, 2013 at 10:35 am

Thanks for remembrances Mike. I didn’t know or listen to Buck much. I was on “another format” back then. And had, I sadly remember, a very narrow approach to radio and music at the time.

Much appreciate you taking the time to type.

16 SUSAN STEVENS April 10, 2014 at 5:10 pm

I WAS THINKING OF BUCK RITCHEYS SONG JUST NOW BUT COULDNT FIND IT
I STARTED LISTENING TO KAYO KOUNTRY MUSIC ABOUT WHEN IT STARTED PLAYING COUNTRY BECAUSE ONE OF MY UNCLES WAS A CW SINGER FOR MANY YEARS AND HE GOT ME HOOKED
THE MOST MEMORABLE EVENTS IN MY KAYO LIFE WAS WHEN MY FATHER IN LAW > AN ADVERTISER ON THE STATION WAS INVITED TO VIST THE STATION AND MEET JOHNNY CASH AND GOT TO SHAKE HIS HAND WOW I GOT TO SHAKE THE HAND OF THE HAND THAT SHOOK JOHNNY CASHS HAND
THE OTHER ONE WAS DURING THE BIG QUAKE A FEW YEARS LATER
WE WERE STILL IN BED LAZY AND LISTENING TO HIM AND THE MUSIC THEN THE HOUSE STARTED SHAKING AND I REALIZED IT WAS AN EARTHQUAKE BUT THE RADIO WENT DEAD ODD SO A FEW MINUTES LATER A VERY SHAKEN RITCHEY GOT BACK ON THE AIR AND ANNOUNCED THAT THERE HAD BEEN AN EARTHQUAKE AND HE HAD LEFT THE BUILDING WOW
MY RADIO STATION NEVER CHANGED FOR MANY YEARS
SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS AND NO PUNCTUATION MY KEYBOARD IS ALL MESSED UP

17 Jim Carlson December 4, 2016 at 10:37 pm

OMG. The memories. I first became aware of Buck in winter of 1942-43. While working as a farm hand and waiting for the school bus, from 8 to 8:15 on KVI, where he had a 15 minute solo segment. Played the guitar and sang. His voice wasn’t great, but was distinctive, in the same way I’d label Johnny Cash.
One song that I recall Buck singing was “Zoom zoom, cuddle and croon….something something……but why the moon man….something… only the moon man knows.” That song has ragged me my entire life.
I particularly recall his banter with Harry Long, at the transmitter on Vashon Island. They continually made reference to “bee-yew-ti-full Vashon Island”, which impelled me to move the family there about 1961. Too late I learned that there were more druggers, hippies and gays on Vashon, per capita, than anywhere else in the state.
He also came up with weird phrases, one of which was,
“It’s now ….xx. am on my E-flat Chronometer.” Ah yes. He passed way too early.

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