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Clyde Clifford of Beaker Street
1090 AM KAAY Little Rock


Broadcast Engineer Dale Seidenschwarz began working for KAAY in Little Rock, Arkansas at a time when the FCC required that an engineer be on-site while a transmitter was live.  To save the station from paying two 3rd shift employees, Seidenschwarz adopted the name Clyde Clifford from a station Board Member and began playing records over-night to keep the station on air.  Clifford cloaked the noise from the powerful 50,000 watt KAAY transmitter with spacey effects that would soon become his signature sound.  Emanating from the moonlit fields of Little Rock, Arkansas, his show Beaker Street quickly developed a broad following of dedicated listeners across the United States and beyond. 

Extended tracks and psychedelic effects made Beaker Street unlike anything on Midwestern radio in 1966.   Clifford's laid-back approach to broadcasting was a stark --and welcome-- contrast to the high-energy commercial jocks on air at the time.  The psychedelic rock music he delivered to his attentive late-night listeners blew the airwaves open for all kinds of music that had not been considered for radio play before.  Beaker Street is widely recognized as the first underground music program in the Midwest.  The nightime signal of "The Mighty 1090" KAAY extended from Little Rock north into central Canada and south into communist Cuba.  Reaching out through the wee hours of the night, Clyde Clifford became the voice of the America's heartland.

Like a signal from another planet, Beaker Street broke through the formulaic wall of mid-century commercial programming with an unprecedented freeform approach to broadcasting.  Clifford connected with his listeners in real time-- without a script or much of a plan.  His spontaneous decision making and intimate approach to radio quickly made him one of the most popular personalities in the Midwest.  Clifford recognized the power of broadcasting to connect listeners hundreds of miles away and his voice became the thread weaving them all together.  Clifford's success on KAAY opened the doors for freeform broadcasters nationwide.  In 2014, Clyde Clifford's real world alter-ego Dale Seidenschwarz was inducted into the Missouri Music Music Hall of Fame.  His radio program Beaker Street liberated radio from the rules of commercial broadcasting and opened the doors to spontaneity and experimentation on air. 


ARTxFM and KUHS present
Clyde Clifford of Beaker Street, 1090 AM KAAY Little Rock
2016 Grassroots Radio Conference Keynote Address
Low Key Arts Center
Hot Springs, AR
Saturday, October 8, 2016
7 PM Dinner
8 PM Keynote Address
$10

RSVP HERE

             


ARCHIVED BEAKER STREET BROADCASTS

KAAY: Clyde Clifford, Beaker Street, June 26, 1970

KAAY: Clyde Clifford, Beaker Street, June 1, 1972

KAAY Beaker Street Radio Intros



BEAKER STREET HISTORY

KAAY Feature on KTVU February 14, 2005

Beaker Street with Clyde Clifford

Encyclopedia of Arkansas: KAAY

1090 KAAY Blogspot




























          
          



          






           Header photograph: KAAY 50,000 watt AM transmitter
          
































































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