Mind you, I also worked for KLF, this Gordon McClendon station, and he runs this enormous anti-everything movement on the station. If a song mentions the word Mind that's a Drugs Song and if you mention Skirt well that's a Sex Song, so the poor guy found himself with an almost entirely instrumental station. I think even "Tequila" is banned out there (KLF is in Oklahoma) as 'conducive to a permissive attitude to alcoholism'".
(John Peel, talking to David Phillips and Michael Gray in Oz 6, August 1967)

The above quote comes from one of John Peel's first UK press interviews, but it would appear that either Peel or his interviewers muddled the facts. Peel did indeed work for a station owned by radio entrepreneur Gordon McLendon, but this was KLIF, not KLF, and it was located in Dallas, Texas, not Oklahoma City (the station Peel worked for there being KOMA). KLIF still exists but is now a talk radio station; when Peel lived in Dallas it was the city's leading Top 40 station. He refers to it in Margrave of the Marshes, first as a listener:

During the day I listened to the pop stations KLIF and KBOX, as did, it seemed, almost everyone in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Apart from the occasional terrible novelty record....KLIF and KBOX played wonderful music, with KBOX seeming perhaps a little more juvenile, a little more downmarket. As a guide to how good the music was, Lightnin' Hopkins had a number-one chart hit on KLIF with "Mojo Hand". If that means nothing to you, it's time to make some serious adjustments to your life . (p.151)

Nancy [his then girlfriend] and I went out most nights, spending the evening driving around listening to Russ Knight, the Weird Beard on KLIF or going to a drive-in movie. (p166)

After Beatlemania had struck America, KLIF was the station which gave him the chance to break into radio, as Sheila Ravenscroft relates in her section of Margrave of the Marshes:

After John made a call to KLIF to correct Russ Knight, more commonly known as the Weird Beard, on some point of fact about Liverpool, Knight - or should that be Mr. Beard? - hired him as the show's official Beatles Correspondent. John was, after all, from somewhere near Liverpool, so it stood to reason that he would be the first person that John, Paul, George and RIngo would call whenever they were in need of a confidant....(pp.209-10)

The effect on his personal life was dramatic. He describes it in the outline biography at the end of the book::

Mobbed in downtown Dallas by over 2,000 screaming teenagers. Several months of bizarre sexual activity that transcended most fervent masturbation fantasies. Dangers of above. Flight from shed in which II was living to home of one of my regulars. Death of her father and mother and our subsequent marriage. She was 15, I was 26. (p.399)

As these quotes might indicate, Peel was still insecure, personally and professionally, despite his sudden celebrity. Being KLIF's "Beatles Correspondent" was not a full-time job and it was only after he and his wife had moved to Oklahoma City ("just ahead of [the] police", p. 400) that he began his career as a full-time disc-jockey on station KOMA.

Nonetheless, Peel's association with the commercially successful and popular KLIF may well have helped him gain employment with the pirate radio station Radio London, which was backed by Texan businessmen and used jingles recorded by the same Dallas-based production company, PAMS. According to one account Radio London, known as "Big L", had begun by modelling its broadcasting style on KLIF, which used the slogan "Big D", so Peel's short sojourn on KLIF was not simply an introduction to pop radio. In the end, it was also crucial for the development of his British career.


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