Inside the KROY Machine (1970s)
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
Even though top 40 song rotations created a repetitious merry-go-round of the same hits being heard over and over, KROY was still much different than what top 40 inevitably became. PD Johnny Hyde believed in mixing art with commerce as a way of establishing station identity.
Bob Sherwood says in 2004 that Hyde allowed air talent "to make music programming decisions based on their individual abilities to sense and react to what they were doing on the fly. In my view, his management of that, while extraordinarily difficult to quantify, played a significant role in the reaching of Dwight's targets and their maintenance during John's time as PD."
So the station did what it needed to do to get ratings, but it also took on artistic directions not known to top 40 radio. For extra flavor Hyde let college students come in on Sunday nights and play whatever they wanted.
KROY had a hand-crafted sound compared to how strict top 40 playlists became in the eighties and afterward. Jocks still had a certain degree of musical input even though tight playlists began sweeping the industry since the early sixties.
Dave Williams reflects in 2004, "I think it was pretty standard in the sixties and seventies for top 40 stations to keep their current hits in a rotation while allowing jocks to choose oldies, generally determined by dayparts. What was NOT standard was that KROY played 50% oldies! Rebounds is what we called them. And yes, indeed, you could tell who was on the air by hearing the music selection only. Wonder Rabbit was famous for loving bubble gum rock which worked well for midday housewife time.
"T. Michael Jordan and later Gene Lane were masters of the much harder fare at night (Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Stones, etc.) along with some other night-only selections both old and new from artists who never became huge but whose music fit the sound of the station at the time. This is not to suggest, however, that you couldn't play Iron Butterfly in morning drive or middays. You certainly could and we did. An aside -- you would be shocked to hear how nice Barbara Streisand's 'People' could sound right next to 'Honky Tonk Women' or that Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World' blended beautifully into 'Suzie Q' by Creedence."
History of KROY
KROY's Early Years
Musical chairs between KROY and KXOA
KROY Spends 6 Years at the Top
Analysis: Inside the KROY Machine
70s mark the end of the AM top 40 giants
Tony Cox tells how FM took over
Whatever happened to KANDIE and KROY?
KROY veterans advance nationally
The return of KROY
Late 80s: KROY Shifts, FM 102 Drifts
The Eagle takes off
"KROY Story" Video Interview Series with Johnny Hyde