Wednesday, June 19, 2013
I'd liked to see more photos -- the deadtree bar sounded worthy -- tabletops too -- give us a FEEL (we all have God-given FEELINGS lalala --) for your endeavors.
Wishing you well!
‘THO I DIDN'T USUALLY DO IT THAT WAY, I combed my hair down in front of my face to kinda hide the eighteen rude stitches across my forehead 'cause I'd crashed my red MGA roadster on the Pacific Coast Hiway the weekend before, and so when I went to meet "Fitzgerald" at the Country Maid on Jay Street across from the Elks Temple I was pretty self-conscious 'cause Charlie (Weiss) said Ed Fitzgerald was going to be the Station Manager of the yet-to-be, new, underground FM radio station, and I oughta ask him for a job.
Fitzgerald and I met and he didn't seem to care about my face (hey, it was radio…) and after we talked for a while he said I would be the Program Director and a morning Jock. The first thing I told him was we had to keep the station on the air overnight all night because the people who would be listening would need us to be there, no matter what. He said we didn't have the money and I said some body'd work for free 'cause it's OUR music, and we just HAD to be there for the listeners.
The other thing I said was it had to be "FreeForm" -- no rules -- the guys (no girl Jocks yet) had only "two" guidelines; they had to KNOW the music, and they had be able to speak in (mostly) complete sentence -- and don't cuss and be able to read the cue-cards, if there were any. I told them that if they could weave the Beatles and JS Bach together and make it work, then go for it. That was late Summer in '68, but [TIME SHIFT] Charlie (Weiss) and I had already been doing something like it in 1967 at KERS, the little FM 10-watter at Sac State. I'd been the P.D. there my last one or two semesters before graduating in the Spring of '67, and we had started listening after midnight while we cleaned up the station to Larry Miller on KMPX, an FM in San Francisco. KMPX was a foreign-language station by day until Miller came on at midnight. He agreed to work for $45 a week at the station so he could “do his thing”, and “his thing” was playing OUR music--mostly album cuts, hardly ever the "hits" -- and he was so cool that WE just had to do it at Sac State in the evenings from 9pm ‘til ShutDown which was at midnight. In those days “Big Daddy” Tom Donahue had stopped doing Top-40 AM radio in San Francisco at KYA and was looking for something more meaningful, and when he heard Miller he knew that was the new way.
Having graduated from CSUS I now booked a voyage on a student charter boat from New York to Europe at the end of the infamous and now legendary Summer of '67 (the "Summer of Love" in San Francisco, where Scott McKenzie had sung "…be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…") I traveled around Europe for seven months in a green VW camper and then came back to California in the late Spring of the following year ('68) and went to San Francisco to get "my" job at that degenerate underground hippie communist-alternative radio station KMPX where Miller had pioneered the format. On that particular day I was hitch hiking across the City and a longhair guy slowed down and picked me up and said "Where ya goin', Man?" I said "KMPX". He said "Far f-ing out Man, me too; my Old Lady works there. His name was Chandler Laughlin and he was becoming Travus T. Hipp, busy spreading his iconoclastically sardonic alternative newscasts from San Francisco eventually to Sacramento and Nevada via his Cabale News Service, which is still oinking these days on on KPIG.] But back to the story.
Yes, it was all coming together.
To KMPX we went. Far out.
But there was a problem:
Travus and I got there and went up to the station, and all the hippies were sitting in a big circle on the floor having a meeting. By the time they finished they all had decided to go on strike. Right there. Right then. A strike. Artists versus Management. Rats!! The ship was sinking. What'll I do now?
I figured I could scab (be a strike-breaker) and become part of the Next Wave, but I knew that would be disloyal to the "movement", whatever that might mean. That day, somewhere in the din I somehow heard that all the hippies were going to move from KMPX over to KSAN, which indeed came to pass.
Except for Larry Miller. He didn't get the job. "Big Daddy" Tom Donahue, the short, notably wide DeeJay who was just born for radio with a set of pipes that could rattle the bolts loose on your Volkswagen--Donahue became the Program Director of KSAN. Donahue often gets the credit for “inventing” the “underground” format, but we know that Larry Miller is the guy who actually paved the way.
Through some twists and turns I inched my way toward KSAN only to be vanquished and circumstantially banished and bruised from that goal along the way.
Yet that way led to Sacramento, and Fitzgerald at the Country Maid, and on November 8th, 1968 KZAP was born. It’s a good story, but it can get long in the telling. I need more than 5,000 characters. Maybe I can continue it in a later letter.
This is part of the quasi Book I've Never Written.
Nice to have you along.
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