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Sacramento Radio History
by Alex Cosper
Take a virtual tour of Sacramento at SacTV.com
see also American Radio History
see also KZAP,
See The KROY Story Video Series at SacTV.com
KROY Veterans Advance Nationally
By the mid seventies one of the top radio chains in the country was RKO General, which owned monster
hit stations like KHJ/Los Angeles and KFRC/San Francisco. Dwight Case, who had been GM at KROY since
the mid sixties, left KROY for Los Angeles in 1972 to become President of RKO which was in the same building as
a rising industry trade magazine called Radio & Records.
The magazine was founded in 1973 by Bob Wilson, a KROY employee under Dwight in the sixties. Wilson went
on to be PD at KDAY/Los Angeles, where he transformed KROY's Dr. Becker into Bo Donovan for afternoons.
Wilson later hired Paul Drew, who had programmed RKO stations KFRC and KHJ in the early seventies and
became RKO's National PD. The magazine's first location was on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles in the same
building as the RKO people such as Bill Drake, Gene Chenault and Dwight Case.
As the seventies unwound,
the radio industry began to regard Radio & Records as the "industry bible," while Billboard
became thought of more as a street publication. It was R&R more than any other trade that began coining
format terms such as "Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR)" and "Adult Contemporary (AC)." R&R also became the definitive
trade magazine in the industry that grouped stations in panels and assigned "reporter status" to stations
whose airplay contributed to their national charts. Wilson sold the magazine in 1979. Inevitably, in 2006 Billboard bought
R&R then discontinued it in 2009.
A National Concept from Roseville
Several Sacramento and Bay Area air personalities were heard all over America from the mid-seventies through the early nineties
via Concept Productions. It was a national radio syndication firm based in Roseville founded by former Fresno PD Dick Wagner.
Elvin Ichiyama was head of programming. The firm delivered full programming to dozens of radio stations with big reel to reel tapes sent by mail each week. Jocks would
come in once a week and lay down voice tracks for an entire week based on pre-programmed music logs. In other words, they had to
pretend they were talking over music and the vocal tracks would be mixed with music later.
"It was the hardest work I've ever done," reflects Dave Williams in 2004. "I had to track a full week's worth of 'shows'
with nothing whatsoever to work with except my name and the titles of the records. No time, no weather, no local flavor,
no news references...nothing except the vague and occasional holiday season to talk about. Just the name of the record
and the artist. I did know a little about country music at the time and it helped but God, I dreaded those sessions!"
Many of the jocks actually got fan mail. "I, too received fan mail from all over the country," says Martin Ashley, who worked
for the company from 1975-1988. "But one of the strangest things I encountered was the interview I did for a Fordyce, Arkansas
newspaper. A feature writer called with questions about the station, yet I couldn't really blow the 'syndication' cover by telling
him I didn't even know where Fordyce, Arkansas was! Then, there was the time I visited one of the Concept stations near Key West,
Florida while I was on the air! It was very strange to hear yourself doing a full radio show in some town you've never been to,
talking about Big Pine Cay and road marker 95!"
© Alex Cosper. All Rights Reserved.