Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Zealand's 'Radio Kidnappers' Pays Tribute to Bob Crane and KNX

Bob Crane and Pat Boone entertain Alan Hall
(standing), who was visiting from Napier, New Zealand.
Photo taken June 7, 1961 / KNX-CBS Radio.
Photo courtesy of Alan Hall. Used with permission.
In the spring/summer of 1961, a young man from New Zealand, Alan Hall, journeyed to America for a vacation abroad. All of 20 years old, he had never been out of New Zealand before. Having listened to KNX broadcasts out of Los Angeles regularly in his hometown of Napier, Alan wrote to the station, telling them about his ensuing trip and asking if KNX could recommend a family in the Southern California area that might be willing to host him during his stay. KNX did more than offer help Alan find local room and board. They took the adventurous fellow under their massive CBS wing and planned out a full Hollywood itinerary for him, which included his coming into the station and being interviewed by Bob Crane, Pat Buttram, and Ralph Story. KNX also arranged, through the president of Radio Recorders, for Alan to watch a recording session.

On June 6, 1961, Alan Hall was Bob's in-person guest on "The Bob Crane Show" over KNX, and Bob asked Alan why he chose to venture so far away from home and visit America. Alan answered, "To have a good look around and listen to as much American radio as I can." American radio, including KNX, had really influenced him, and he had wanted to experience it for himself. When Bob asked if he had gotten to listen to his show back home in New Zealand, Alan admitted, "No, unfortunately, but I listened to it yesterday morning and really enjoyed it." To that, Bob replied with his usual dry wit and a wry smile, "I've noticed your whole attitude has changed."

Dean Mardon, program producer and presenter for Radio Kidnappers, an Access Radio station broadcasting in the Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, listening area had received a recording of Bob Crane's KNX show when Alan had been the in-person guest. As a radio personality and musician who appreciated Bob's work in broadcasting, Dean decided to produce a tribute program about Bob Crane, featuring Alan Hall's 1961 KNX interview. After several months of hard work, the program was completed. It aired on Saturday, July 7, 2012, in Napier, New Zealand (Friday, July 6, 2012, in the U.S. and Canada). The program is simply terrific, and we can't thank Dean and Radio Kidnappers enough - not only for all their hard work in making this program available, but also for their strong and ongoing support of Bob Crane's induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

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