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Crash Collins interview in 1975 about Houston and KLOL


Dennis “Crash” Collins is a legendary figure in the 101 KLOL history.

Tragically Crash died of cancer in 2011, just a year after he was interviewed for the upcoming KLOL documentary. Now, the iconic Houston radio DJ lives on through his appearance in the doc and this interview we’re listening to today.

Crash’s wife, Roxana Marx Collins, sent me this amazing piece of history back from the mid-1970s.

On October 1, 1975, Crash, talked with an unknown interviewer about his life, the Houston music scene and K-101 as it was known at the time.

“I would say Houston is a hard rock town and I like hard rock. Houston needs some more groups like ZZ Top.”

– Crash, 1975 interview

I pulled some of Crash’s quotes about KLOL at the time.

“It’s a blend, that’s what makes KLOL hopefully different from the other radio stations in that we play Led Zeppelin and then we come back with Quincy Jones into some other vein and it all hopefully mixes together to satisfy everyone.”

K-101 signed on the air in 1970 as a progressive, or free-form rock radio station. That meant the DJs played whatever they wanted, when they wanted. In fact, they even played from genres other than rock.

Here is the playlist for KLOL in 1971 for example.

As Crash notes, by 1975, the progressive format was dying across the country. The playlists were becoming more formatted.

In the KLOL documentary, we talked with the creator of the Album Oriented Rock (AOR) format, Lee Abrams. His AOR format is what many stations morphed into from the progressive world. AOR is the kind of rock station KLOL became at the end of the late 70s.

KLOL, as Crash says, was starting to go in a more formatted direction, but was still faring better in the ratings than many other progressive stations across the country at the time of his interview in the mid-70s.

“I don’t have complete control, but as far as it being a playlist, there is no playlist,” Crash said in the 1975 interview. “The control comes in…is to what albums are put in and what albums are taken out. The format of 101 has tightened somewhat since the beginning, because in the beginning, no one knew really what it was going to be, it was a progressive radio station, because this was five years ago. And progressive radio was a big deal.

Former KLOL DJ Greg Thomas sent us an air check from November of 1979. LISTEN HERE

“Over the years, progressive radio has faded a lot. A lot of the metropolitan areas across the nation, the progressive radio stations that started out, prior or just after KLOL, have lost their ratings. And actually KLOL is in a very unique position at this point that we’re playing and programming the music we are and still maintaining our audience. Which leads me to believe the Houston people have a lot of good taste…[laughs]…no…that they are into a lot of different things and can sit down and listen to Led Zeppelin and enjoy it, and they can listen to Herbie Hancock and enjoy it, they can listen to Grover Washington Jr. and enjoy it.”

You can listen to Crash’s 1975 interview thanks to the Houston Public Library which archived it for us.

Crash being interviewed in 2011 at his Katy home for the KLOL documentary.