K108 in the 70s and 80s
by Alex Cosper
Take a virtual tour of Sacramento at SacTV.com
see also American Radio History
see also KZAP, KROY, KSFM, KWOD, KRXQ, KNDE, K108, index
K108 grabs the baby boomers
For those who preferred a more classic rock sound and didn't like the bouncy bubble gum oldies on KHYL, the choice tended to be K108 throughout the eighties. The station had a very ingrained "mellow rock" image in Sacramento, which had been their heritage. What was different in the eighties, however, was that they took on a more calculated hits approach and kept the flavor of the music a blend of pop and rock recurrent hits along with a vast library of oldies. Perhaps the hardest record they played was "Listen To The Music" by the Doobie Brothers.
The station consistently wound up in the top five, which was helped by the familiarity of long-time talent Dusty Morgan, Tom Nakashima, Dave Allan and Phil Brooks. Some may recall Craig Andrews, who did weekends and fill-ins in the late eighties. Art Schroeder programmed the station from the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties before moving on to a similar position in San Diego.
The K108 story began in June 1974 when KXOA-FM debuted its newest format -- "Super Stereo K-108." The original air staff included Dusty Morgan (by way of KMEN San Bernardino), Les Thompson (their first PD), Ed Hamlin (from Salinas) and Jim "Night Train" McLain (just in from KAFY Bakersfield).
Dusty Morgan says, "Super Stereo was put together by legendary Program Director Ron Jacobs, who at the time was programming Willet and Mike Brown's two stations (KGB AM and FM) in San Diego. The format was basically Top 40, but the listeners could enjoy...evolving FM radio. That was pretty much the planned concept. After a few unsuccessful months of playing the hits - 108 evolved into what was to become a heritage legend in Sacramento radio during the last part of the seventies and the early nineties. During its run as one of Sacramento's big dog stations - General Manager Phil Melrose and Program Director Art Schroeder were steady, guiding hands at getting and keeping 108 always in the top numbers."
In the mid-eighties, Art Schroeder had left for a programming gig in San Diego, while Melrose was promoted to President in charge of all the expanding Brown Broadcasting stations from San Diego to San Francisco and Utah. K108 continued to show strong ratings in the late eighties, but after the winter of 1988, they only hit an eight share one more time a few years later.
One of the things that made K108 stand out from other stations, was the use of their mascot the "Mellow Beaver." It was actually a beaver costume worn by many. Dusty confirms: "There were many, many guys and one woman who suited up as the Mellow Beaver. Our very first Beaver was a young kid who'd just moved up from San Diego where he'd done some chores for Ron Jacobs at KGB. Another of our early Beavers was a young guy who'd just come into our shack on Loma Vista Drive to do some 'go-fer' assignments for Art Schroeder. That skinny fellow went on to be the other half of the successful KGNR and (later) KFBK morning news duo - Dave (Williams) & Bob (Nathan)."
Bob Nathan actually told stories on KFBK about an event in the mid-seventies involving a PR appearance of Linda Lovelace at an adult movie theater in North Highlands. "I recall," says Dusty, "there was this long line of guys waiting to get her autographed picture. When Bob (the Beaver) stepped up to Linda's table...she busted up laughing so hard she had to stop signing for a few minutes. Everybody just cracked up at the sight."
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