Bobby Patterson, sick one of Dallas’ great singer-songwriters, unhealthy hasn’t listened to KKDA-AM (730, physician Soul 73) since owner Hyman Childs dismissed him and the other legendary soul men and women in May. But on New Year’s Day, he began getting phone calls telling him to turn it back on. And what he heard startled him: After 42 years as Dallas’ premier R&B and soul station, out of nowhere the station had gone to an all-Korean format.
“But I’m not surprised,” says Patterson. “I figured something was up.”
According to Federal Communications Commission records, the license switched hands four days before the new year: Childs’ Service Broadcasting Corporation, which also owns K104 on the FM dial, transferred its right to broadcast on 730 AM to SKR Partners, the president of which is Richard Kim. Radio Insight reported yesterday that Childs sold it for $1.9 million. Its new HQ is on Royal Lane near Stemmons Freeway, in Asiana Plaza.
Childs — who bought the station in ’76, and who never speaks to the media on the record — sold KKDA-AM without warning. The only heads-up came in the form of the farewell you see above, which was posted to the station’s website Tuesday. And while only Willis Johnson remained following the May purge and the switch to automation, its demise is significant enough that council member Dwaine Caraway is considering calling for a boycott of Childs’ other property.
“People are confused,” says Patterson. “This station was like a voice in this town for the black community, and they can’t believe that it’s gone.”