by Alex Cosper
In the early nineties Mancow Muller was Wild's morning host and made headlines with a Bay Bridge stunt meant to mock a Bill Clinton incident that backed up traffic because the President demanded a haircut. Mancow moved on to Chicago radio and after landing mornings at Q101 his show went into national syndication. Z95's morning show was Gene and Julie, who became the morning show at KIOI (Star) in the 2000s. KMEL claimed a new morning show in 2001 with the Baka Boys, which only lasted six months into 2002, succeeded by Chuy Gomez.
In the mid-nineties the battle for the hits became interesting as KSOL changed owners to Evergreen Media, who flipped the format from Spanish to contemporary hit radio. The new hit station in 1994 was KYLD, known as Wild 107. By the end of the decade, after a few ownership changes, not only was Wild beating KMEL, but both stations were owned by the same company. AMFM was the leading radio company at the time and in 2000 became Clear Channel, which continued to be the top radio company through the middle of the decade, owning KMEL and KYLD. Also appearing in the late nineties CHR battle was Bonneville's KZQZ (Z95), which flipped to classic rock as "The Drive" in 2002 (they tried mixing marginal pop with Led Zeppelin and it didn't work then they changed to country, which also got low ratings, so it became "Max" in 2005).
KMEL's morning show throughout the nineties consisted of (MC) Sway and (DJ) King Tech. It all started in 1991 when they won a DJ battle that rewarded them with a 15 minute live mix on KMEL. After that, the station kept asking them back until they finally became the regular morning show. The show gained such a massive following that it went into national syndication beginning in July 1994. In the 2000s they are now heard in about twenty markets, with an estimated audience of 11 million listeners. The Wake Up Show, is a syndicated dance mix featuring Sway, King Tech, DJ Revolution and Carmelita, which began national syndication in 1996. They've added to their notoriety by issuing a series of mix shows on CD called Sway & King Tech Wake Up Show Freestyles. As of 2005 the series is up to volume eight.
Alternative Radio Changes
Live 105 has been known throughout the nation as an influential alternative rock station. The station has gone through many changes since its inception in October 1986 as Live 105, which succeeded "Hot Hits," although the call letters have remained KITS all along. Because KITS was not winning the top 40 battle at the time with KMEL, Steve Masters began experimenting with modern rock on his evening show. The reaction was so positive the entire broadcast schedule switched to modern rock under the Programming of Richard Sands. Masters and other Live 105 personalities such as Mark Hamilton, Aaron Axelson and Spud, were responsible for discovering and launching airplay for several core format artists during the eighties and early nineties.
After CBS Radio purchased Live 105 from Entercom, programming from sister alternative San Jose station KOME shifted to Live 105 in 1998. This meant Howard Stern was the morning show until the end of his contract in late 2005 before moving to Sirius the following January. Also moving from KOME to Live 105 was Program Director Jay Taylor, who stayed with the station until 2003. KWOD graduate Ally Storm also transferred her midday show to the new Live 105, which began to take on a more industry-favored rock sound. Live 105's heritage had been a diverse sound, with emphasis on experimental music that did not mimmick popular trends. This included a lot of European keyboard dance music as well as hard rocking punk groups with plenty of humorous novelty songs thrown in.
The definition of the word "progressive" has taken on many meanings in the radio industry over the years. Usually the definition is stretched to fit an national industry format. But if one defines the word in its original sense, which was a sound beyond the normal mainstream that embraced more enlightening or challenging music, then the spirit of progressive radio lives on at KPFA.
San Francisco FM Dial 1990
San Francisco AM Dial 1995
San Francisco FM Dial 1995
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