Today's "Soul on the Air" feature is a great hour of soul from St. Louis' KATZ from September 1968. I'll make my technical disclaimer at the outset this time: the volume level on this one is pretty low, so make sure to turn it up so you can enjoy (although, unfortunately, "Stay in my Corner" ends up very bass-heavy - maybe turn it down then); and Part Two starts off with a fragment of the ad from Part One, followed by a brief gap before Part Two begins in earnest.
KATZ, along with KWK, was St. Louis' leading soul station and its roster included DJ/producer/singer/radio exec/media professor/newspaper columnist Bernie Hayes, the awesomely-named Robert B.Q. (think about it for a second and you'll get it), the mononymous Gabriel and today's featured jocks, Jim Gates and Lou "Fatha" Thimes, Sr. KATZ flipped its R&B format to its FM branch in the 1980s and now exists as a gospel station on the AM band and as a hip-hop station on the FM band.
"Gentleman" Jim Gates' long career in the radio business continues today, with Gates doing a Saturday show on St. Louis' adult urban contemporary station WFUN-FM ("Foxy 95.5"). Gates was early evening jock on KATZ until some point in the early '70s, when he moved to East St. Louis, Illinois' WESL-AM, where in addition to becoming a vice president, program director and part-owner of the station, he would go on to figure into the history of hip-hop, as he was one of the first R&B disc jockeys in the nation to give "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang any significant airplay. (Interestingly enough, one of Gates' sons is hip-hop artist DJ Needles, who at one time had radio shows on KATZ and WFUN!) I'm not sure whether Gates' tenure with WESL was continuous from the '70s through to the notorious, unceremonious firing of the WESL staff in 2007 to make way for the station to change to a sports format under the calls WFFX; any information would be welcomed. I don't know as much about Lou Thimes, Sr., except that he had a long tenure on St. Louis radio and that his son, Lou, Jr., would follow him into the radio business (Lou, Jr. was also one of the R&B and gospel jocks fired by WESL last year).
Incomplete and confusing history aside, today's aircheck finds Gates rolling into the final 45 minutes or so of his show and then handing off to "Fatha" Thimes, who's doing a live remote at Gil's (sp?) Drive-In Lounge. There's a lot of good stuff here, including the Dells' "Stay In My Corner" in its 6-minute glory, good Smokey Robinson & The Miracles sides, James Brown's "Prisoner of Love" from Live at the Apollo, Vol. 2 (over which Gates provides great patter), a commercial for Muddy Waters' Electric Mud LP and some chatter between Gates and some high school girls ("fine, fast foxes," he calls them, amending it shortly thereafter to "fine, fast, foxy heifers") who were visiting in the studio. Thimes' segment includes a plug for the black-focused newspaper, The Sentinel, Gene Chandler and Barbara Acklin's then-hit duet "From the Teacher to the Preacher" and Alvin Cash's "Keep on Dancing." (I heard this classic funky 45 for the first time when I first heard this aircheck!)