Runaway Radio 101 KLOL documentary VOD video on demand

How Donna McKenzie turned off 101 KLOL


Texas Radio Hall of Fame member and former 101 KLOL DJ, Donna McKenzie, relived some great tales from the legendary Houston Album Oriented Rock (AOR) station.

In the second episode of Runaway Radio Rewind, a new video podcast put on by the KLOL staff members that were there, McKenzie talks about how she got the job at the station and how she then turned it off.

Here is a portion of what McKenzie talked about on the podcast:

I was working at Z-107 [KZFX] which was a classic rock station that was the first classic rock station FM in the nation. And so it became a real competitor to KLOL and I was doing afternoons there and that was the time when Dayna left KLOL, Danya Steele, left KLOL and she went to California. So she called me, she called me and she said listen you know I think you would be a good fit and I would you know we’ve been talking about you. Are you interested? And so I was on maternity leave at the time, I just had my daughter, and so I took a meeting with the program director at KLOL at the time and that didn’t work out. I think it was, I don’t think it was too close to me just for having had a kid. And you know he actually asked me you know how how do you think having a child will, you know, affect your work because we are very hands on. We’re out all the time. And I was like even the president has kids anyway so it was about a year and a half later, new Program Director, and I wound up meeting him at a show.

And so I met Ted Edwards who was the program director there at the time and he invited me to lunch and he said he’d been you know listening. So began a conversation of what would it look like for you to work at KLOL. And I basically got the offer I couldn’t refuse.

So it was really it was a hard choice too because KLOL had a really aggressive reputation and I had been really comfortable for seven years in the role that I was in already. But the challenge was just too good to pass up. It was too it was too good to pass out and they were huge marketers I mean they did real splashy…you know Doug Harris is a genius. You know he had he had the city of Houston in the palm of KLOL’s hands. So joining that legendary team was just something that I had to do. And so the transition was from going to this beautiful shiny new skyscraper studio that was built by the Disney Company to KLOL which was like you don’t even wanna know what’s in the carpet. KLOL was firmly back…just go way back to 70s AOR, you know hanging out, sit down console, super old grimy bored you know tight space.

It had such this rich old AOR you know heritage feel to it but it was just he was like really super laid back when it made it feel what I had been doing prior feel quite corporate. And so I really liked that that was really cool. It was this laid back that the first week I was on the air I somehow turned the radio station off with my foot.

I think I just recrossed my legs. You know.

[She thought she was on the air] until people were calling saying I think you’re off the air and we were off the air. And so I go down the list and I call the engineer and he’s like he’s at lunch I’ll be there in a little bit. You know, comes back in and turns the station back on. But, it was, it was put together in such a way that a jock could actually turn it off with, you know, moving around just moving around. That was that was fun. That was funny. I didn’t get in any trouble over that one but I didn’t do it again.

[If a DJ knocked a station off the air in today’s world] you’d get canned so fast. Well, first of all, no one would build a station like that right now. But it was legendary and you could just feel the history in those hallways and in that building.