1984 was the year everything changed. Up until that year, my ambitions were not much greater than acquiring a set of Cragar mags for my car, or scoring a decent seat every time Sammy Hagar came to town.
I enlisted in the Air Force in January of 1984 and moved on with my collection of concert photos, ticket stubs, stereo and Ruth Hutchinson cassette tapes. Little did I know that I would have a use for some of that stuff one day. 16 years later, I started on a quest to hunt down more KSHE recordings to add to my small collection. Although living in Collinsville, Illinois had been another part of my life, I never could get KSHE out of my system. There was nothing else like it. KSHE had introduced me to what became the core of my love of rock music, and so in 2001, the long and tireless pursuit began to seek out the KSHE I remembered and the KSHE I never heard. If someone asked me what I remember about attending a rock concert such as Styx at The Checkerdome in 1977, I would tell them I drank half a fifth of cheap vodka on the drive there, threw up and passed out at the show. As for the concert, I have no idea what happened. However once the search of KSHE’s audio past turned into a book, I was asking such questions to others.
At times, the answers I got from those who attended and organized some of KSHE’s most celebrated events such as the Kite Flys and Birthday Parties contradicted others. The passage of time - and for some the use of drugs - blurred KSHE’s history. To help to find the answers, the voices of many were tracked down, in addition to newspaper accounts, vintage recordings of KSHE broadcasts and photographs.
For decades, St. Louis teenagers installed an AM/FM stereo in the dash of their first car, snaked the wires through the interior and gave 94.7 the honor of breaking in the speakers. Thousands of kids, including myself, participated in this unmarked rite of passage, yet little had been written about how this station has affected the lives of so many. For the last eight years, I have spent some time reflecting on my teenage rite of passage and my life before 1984. I have been fortunate to see many photos of and hear many stories that few have been able to hear of KSHE’s past. Now it’s your turn. Enjoy!
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“One particular moment in my life that illustrates the power of KSHE Radio and the influence my father garnered around Saint Louis at the time was shortly after I was 16 and could drive. While pulling up to the airport to drop my father off for one of his many trips to Los Angeles, to work with our sister station KWST, something occurred as we pulled up and were unloading his luggage. The car in front of us was unloading a passenger and my father yells out “Chuck!” It was Chuck Berry being dropped off by his driver. Mr. Berry comes over and gives my father a hearty handshake and a bear hug. They discuss where each other are going and determine they are on the same flight. I quickly get an autograph which I still have to this day. As he departs, Chuck says to his driver, “Do you know who that is? Why, that is Mr. KSHE, that is the dude that runs the show here in St. Lou!” I was stunned. Here was the legendary Chuck Berry excited and almost giddy to have bumped into Shelley Grafman, and even more excited to be flying out to LA on the same flight.”
David Grafman, Page 9
Pages 10-15