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Sacramento Radio History
Top 40 Battle of the 80s
by Alex Cosper
Take a virtual tour of Sacramento at SacTV.com
see also American Radio History
see also KZAP,
KROY shifts, FM 102 drifts and then returns
After Rick Gillette left for Detroit in 1987, the station's sound then began moving toward more variety, which started to resemble KWOD. FM 102 also made a series of personnel changes that brought Mark S. Allen into nights and Shelley Morgan into late nights. But as the station moved away from the familiarity and consistency that took the station to the top of the market, FM 102's ratings fell
dramatically from double to single digits. KWOD even beat FM 102 for the first time in the spring of 1987. KWOD again scored the market crown in the three way battle for the hits in the winter of 1988, with KROY being the runner-up in both cases.
In 1989 KROY led the CHR race in town under the ex-KWOD team of PD Tom Chase and MD Mr. Ed Lambert. Chase also hired Jay Walker aka "Iceman," who had worked for him at KWOD. But personnel changes struck KROY under new ownership of Great American Broadcasting and programming went to Sean Lynch, who was a successful programmer out of Portland,
OR. Scott Mitchell (pictured left), remembers, "Was at KROY 1980-1982...FM102 in 1983 Middays and Production under Billy Manders, then under Gillette before going to KITS (Hot Hits 105) in San Francisco. Came back for a brief stint to asst PD/music research/pm drive at KROY 1987-1989. Under Commonwealth, the best year (1987) I ever spent in radio was beating FM 102 in target demos 18-34 women with no promotional budget at all-the only thing we had was a team that came together in promotions, street presence and the on-air trips we gave away provided by the record companies. I remember the GM at FM102 asked me just what we were doing over there cuz they were throwing MONEY away in their promotions and KROY had nothing. Then Great American bought KROY and systematically dismantled everything we had done. Gotta tell ya-that HURT." Mitchell eventually moved on to KSAN in San Francisco and in 2008 does mornings at KRSH in Santa Rosa.
In 1989 PD Brian White took FM 102 back to its churban dance roots as market dominance returned to FM 102. KWOD began falling far behind FM 102 in 1988.
By the end of 1989, both KWOD and KROY had fallen far behind FM 102. Lynch was replaced in 1990 by Jeff McCartney, who had programming success in other large markets. McCartney became KROY's final Program Director before the station flipped formats later that year. In the early nineties FM 102's programming team of PD Dr. Dave Ferguson and MD Chuck Fields came close to posting double digit Arbitron 12+ numbers for the station again.
After KWOD's ratings collapse in the Spring of 1988, it only had a few hot months as a CHR including July 1989, but for the
most part failed to compete. Hunter left in September 1989 for KHQT (Hot 97) in San Jose and was succeeded by a new programming team
headed by Gerry Cagle. He had programmed RKO stations including KHJ Los Angeles (in the 70s) and KFRC San Francisco
(in the early eighties). He also had notoriety in the radio industry from writing a novel called Payola. Cagle kept the format at KWOD straight CHR until
April 1991 when his Program Director Adam Smasher convinced him to start mixing in modern rock tracks. The format officially went "modern rock" or
"alternative" in 1993 after Cagle's departure, making FM 102 the lone champion of contemporary hits.
FM 102 prevailed in a lawsuit with KWOD over supposed slanderous remarks about KWOD made in 1989 on air by Chris Collins. His last day on FM 102 was November 5, 1991 after twelve
years at the station. In 1992 Collins filed a huge wrongful termination suit against KSFM, claiming drug abuse among management personnel,
which he did not conform to, but the parties ended up settling out of court. Collins briefly did a talk show on KSTE (650 AM) but later became a
sports commentator for the San Jose Sharks on KFRC then CEO of Digicast Corporation in Seattle.
© Alex Cosper. All Rights Reserved.