Monday, October 13, 2008

Dave "Rockin" Cochran And The Voice Of Thunder

If you were a teenager or a young adult in the late 60s or early 70s and a fan of hit music
growing up in Walla Walla Washington, you would be perfectly happy turning your radio to a scratchy fading in and out station in the Tri Cities,(KALE or KORD depending on the era). If you had a good summer or night job, you could go down to the "Record Center" or later "Hot Poop"(Walla Walla's Hippest Record Store) or "StereoBird"to buy enough records to satisfy your hunger for the hits, as night fell and the Tri Cities stations followed FCC guidelines and broadcast in low power, you could turn on KTEL. KTEL,at 1490 khtz, was one of three local AM radio stations and one of only two that were allowed to operate at night. It was also the only one to play rock and only at night. Dave "Rockin" Cochran was prime time night Disc Jockey. He was actually working in the daytime as well playing country music and what not. Dave Cochran had a voice that would boom into the radio and as such you would think that he could shout from one end of town to the other without benefit of a microphone. The station consisted of a fly and spider infested ramshackle hut under the big radio tower on the outskirts of town, but to listen to Rockin Cochran, you would have thought it was a palace on a hill as you could hear some of the greatest music ever played. His lifestyle was a topic of frequent discussion at schools. Cochran would play teen music from 8:00 until 10:00 and hard core FM style rock from 10:00 until 11:00, I would hear groups like "10 Years After" and "Quicksilver Messenger Service", it is no wonder that I was bitten by the radio bug. Dave was assisted in the hour off that he got for dinner by first Steve Lloid and then Mike Turner. At 11:00, it was time for the Star Spangled Banner and sign off. This was, afterall, Walla Walla.


Anea said...

My dad and I enjoyed this post very much! :) He is currently visiting me here in Texas while working on his next book (and some other projects as well). My dad popped a giant grin at mention of the "record center" and said "my god, I hadn't thought of the record center in ages!".
Hope you are well!

Gary Leigh Smith said...

I grew up in Walla Walla, from my birth in '53.
I remember KTEL because my mother worked there, and I listened to the rock and roll at night. My brother is six years older and he was a big fan in the years '59 - '65 so I listened too, in the late hours in our bedroom.
Thanks for your posts! I remember Burl Barer too!

Mike Barer said...

Thank you for your comments, Gary. I always enjoy bringing back memories. I don't know if we can ever bring back the "good old days", but we can sure write about 'em.

Linda Sue said...

Does anyone know where Dave Cochran might be now?
I've asked on facebook on the Walla Walla page, hoping someone might reply and I received an email with this wonderful article!
I was lucky enough to be the mysterious Miss Q, because I twice bumped the record playing while Dave was on the air. I was the voice giving the breathy, echo "Ohhhhhh, Daaaaaave....." in his program opening with the jumbo airplane landing... Many of us miss him and would love to let him know that we do!

Anonymous said...

I was friends with Dave many years ago when i was married to a guy from wallawalla Dave and my ex husband were best of friends , Dave was into trains back in the 70s and his house was all set up with toy trains on tracks was fun to see. Last i heard he was still in walla walla and was married i think or has a girlfriend my son comes down and visits his dad and they still see him i think.He was one of a kind that's for sure!!

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Stephen Lloid said...

Dave and I had some good times together on KTEL. Sadly he passed away at couple years ago.