KROQ Los Angeles Radio History
by Alex Cosper

see also American Radio History

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Los Angeles Radio History


Many alternative radio stations across America have been inspired by KROQ as one of the most influential stations of all time. The station's annual events such as the "Weenie Roast" in June and its Christmas festivals in December are among the most anticipated shows in Southern California. KROQ has been a leader in breaking new acts and elevating music careers.

A tale of two KROQs can be understood as an early 70s AM top 40 era and a late seventies on FM modern/alternative era. Licensed to Pasadena, the station's 106.7 FM history began when KPPC FM, which had been on the air since 1962, changed ownership in 1969 when Pasadena Presbyterian Church sold it to National Science Network. In 1972 1500 AM flipped from country KBBQ to top 40 KROQ, whose owners purchased KPPC FM from National Science Network in 1973, as the call letters became KROQ FM.

KROQ hired Shadoe Stevens as its program director and architect of a new cutting edge rock format. The station ran into financial trouble when it was unable to pay for a Sly & The Family Stone concert it sponsored, so concert promoter Ken Roberts was awarded a share of station ownership in 1974. He had agreed to pay the band in exchange. But the station faced continued financial difficulties as the station fell in debt and paychecks began to bounce. Stevens and most of the air staff walked out as the station shut down for over a year.

Stevens and others returned to the air when KROQ was relaunched in 1976, as Roberts took a more prominent leadership role. One of the early hired of this new incarnation was Rodney Bingenheimer, who would go on to help discover and launch the careers of many artists of the punk/new wave era. He became known as "Rodney On The 'ROQ" as well as the "Mayor of Sunset Strip." Some of the bands in which he gave early airplay include The Ramones, The Stray Cats and The Go-Gos. Rodney remained with the station through June 2017. He then went global with a show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

After the departure of Stevens in 1979, programming was headed by Rick Carroll. In that period the station mixed classic rock with emerging modern rock. By 1980 the format moved mainly toward "Rock of the Eighties," which became the name of the brand marketed by Carroll's consultancy. Carroll consulted about a dozen other stations around the country using the slogan. Some of those stations throughout the eighties included 91X in San Diego, The Quake in San Francisco, KYYX in Seattle and KPOP in Sacramento.

Infinity Broadcasting purchased KROQ in 1986 for a record $45 million. Infinity merged with CBS Radio in 1997 and then Entercom bought out CBS Radio in 2017. Kevin Weatherly joined as program director in the early nineties. Others on the programming team have included Gene Sandbloom and Laura. The morning team "Kevin and Bean" consisting of Kevin Ryder and Gene "Bean" Baxter began on December 31, 1989. In 2009 the show went into syndication among a handful of markets.

KROQ has been a launching pad for many national careers. It was the flagship station for the nationally syndicated radio show Loveline. The show began in 1983 with hosts Jim "Poorman" Trenton, Swedish Egil and Scott Mason. The following year a new feature called "Ask a Surgeon" appeared, featuring USC medical student Drew Pinksy, who was later referred to as Dr. Drew. The doctor stayed with the station until 2016. Ex-MTV VJ Riki Rachtman replaced Poorman in August 1993. Adam Carolla joined the team in October 1995, then went on to do The Adam Carolla Show in 2005.

Dusty Street worked on air at KROQ from 1979 to 1980 then 1981 to 1989, as well as KWST and KLOS in the interim years. She told Playlist Research on January 26, 2018, "KROQ was the station I spent the most time on. It was the first 80s Alternative station although when I got there in '79 we were playing the Eagles, AC/DC and Sex Pistols, Talking Heads and Television. It became obvious we needed to pick a lane and Punk/New Wave was the newest thing in music. Having come from the first "Underground FM" station in SF I was excited about being on the cutting edge of the newest music."

KROQ Personnel

1970-1978 Mike Schweinsburg (PD/MD KROQ AM 1974-1976)
1972-1973 Charlie Tuna, KROQ AM
1972-1973 Steve Lundy
1972-1972 Dick Lyons
1972-1972 J. Paul Huddleston (news)
1972-1972 Paul Oscar Anderson, KROQ AM
1972-1986 Ken Roberts
1972-1972 Frank Jolley
1972-1972 Jay Stevens, KROQ AM
1972-1973 Ed Kerby, KROQ AM
1972-1973 Sam Riddle, KROQ AM
1972-1973 Jimmy Rabbitt, KROQ AM, also 1976-1978 KROQ FM
1972-1974 Leo McElroy
1973-1974 Flo and Eddie
1973-1973 Ron Johnson
1973-1973 Lee "Baby" Simms
1973=1973 Ed Ziel
1973-1974 Les Perry
1973-1974 Shadoe Stevens, also 1976-1980
1973-1974 China Smith
1973-1975 Jim Taber
1974-1975 Greg Shannon
1975-1975 Bob Taylor
1976-1977 Bob Gowa
1976-1977 Zachary Zenor
1976-1979 Brent Kahlem
1976-1978 Kevin McKeown
1976-1979 Al Ramirez
1976-1979 Frazer Smith
1977-1977 Jerry Kaye
1977-1977 Darryl Evans, also 1980
1977-1977 Michael Gwynne
1977-1982 Stanley Sheff
1978-1985 Rick Carroll PD, also 1988-1989 PD
1978-1978 Bob Sala
1978-1979 Alex Lacy
1978-1984 Jed the Fish, also 1985-2012
1978-1979 Julie Squirle
1979-1979 Dan Carlisle
1979-1979 Russ O'Hara
1979-1985 Sam Frees
1979-1989 Larry Groves
1979-1981 Alan Lohr
1979-1981 Chuck Randall
1979-2015 Scott Mason
1979-1980 Dusty Street, also 1981-1989
1980-1980 Shana (LaVigni)
1980-1983 Frank Bennett
1980-1983 Peter James
1980-1980 Jerry Longden
1980-1989 Freddy Snakeskin, also 1990-1993
1981-1982 Craig Carpenter
1981-1985 Robert Roll
1982-2000 Richard Blade
1982-1993 Poorman
1983-1990 Swedish Egil
1983-1990 Farley Malorrus
1983-1989 Katie Manor
1983-1985 John Logic
1984-1985 Bill Scott
1984-1986 Raechel Donahue
1984-1990 Ken Fusion
1984-2000 Kirk Memzer
1984-2016 Dr. Drew Pinksy
1985-1990 Lee Albert (legal commentator on Love Line)
1985-1992 Lewis Largent
1985-1985 Eddie X
1986-1986 Rick Stuart
1986-1991 Van Johnson
1987-1987 J.J. Jackson
1987-1990 Tony Bernardini
1987-2015 Boyd Britton
1987-2000 John Frost
1988-1988 Michael Halloran
1988-2006 Trip Reeb
1989-1992 Andy Schuon
1990-xxxx Gene Baxter (part of Kevin & Bean morning show)
1990-1991 Virgin Kennedy
1991-2004 Tami Heidi
1991-2015 Lisa May
1991-1991 Mark the Whiffle Boy
1992-2003 Wayne Jobson
1993-1994 Thomas Guide
1993-1993 Oz Medina
1993-1996 Frank Murphy
1993-1996 Riki Rachtman
1993-xxxx Gene Sandbloom (APD)
1994-2005 Matt Smith
1994-1998 Chris Hardwick
1994-1999 Jimmy Kimmel
1995-1995 Tim Virgin
1995-2005 Adam Carolla
1995-2012 Lightning
1996-1997 Zeke
1996-1998 Jason Bentley

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