Sacramento Radio History

by Alex Cosper

Take a virtual tour of Sacramento at

see also American Radio History

see also KZAP, KROY, KSFM, KWOD, KRXQ, KNDE, K108, index

KZAP Rides to the Top

In the early 80s under the direction of Chris Miller then Les Tracy, KZAP soared to the top of the Sacramento ratings. The popularity of the album oriented rock format crafted by Lee Abrams combined with unique jock personalities made KZAP a household word. KZAP's orange cat logo could be found everywhere and the music was simply rock at its most powerful, fueled by albums like AC/DC's "Back in Black." KZAP rose to double digit market share with a cast of personalities that included Tom Cale, Bob Keller, Charlie Weiss, Tim Bedore, Jon Russell, Jonah Cummings, Bob Galli, Curtiss Interruptus and Kevin "Boom Boom" Anderson.

Anderson was one of Sacramento's all time most controversial radio personalities. He had come from Top 40 station B-100 (KFMB) in San Diego. In between radio gigs he worked at his then wife's father's gas staton in Pine Grove about 90 minutes outside Sacramento, where they were saving money to build a house on their 5-acre property.

Anderson recalls in 2010, "One day after work, one of the other gas jockeys told me a DJ on KZAP had just quit - on the air! Sensing opportunity, I contacted KZAP's PD, Les Tracy. It wasn't hard - he was listed in the phone book. He had me come in on the overnight show to do a live audition. Thank you, Bob Galli, for letting me horn in on your show! I was quickly hired for weekend duty. Not long after, the midday show opened up when Tim Bedore was fired ... I lasted about 2 weeks in middays before Les Tracy switched me with the morning guy, Bob Keller. And thus, a legend was born ..."

Boom Boom says the way he got his name was by complete accident. "I was on the air one weekend," he says, "when I found myself coming out of a commercial break with nothing to say. Wanting to spice things up a bit, I referred to myself not as 'Kevin Anderson,' but as 'Kevin Boom Boom Anderson.' There was no purpose behind it other than to goof around and eat up 5 seconds of dead time. But what I hadn't counted on was the fact that the KZAP staff was playing a softball game at the time, and was listening to me on their portable radios. The next day, when I came in for a meeting, everyone greeted me with: 'Hey Boom Boom!' I figured it would be smart to roll with it."

One of the themes to Boomer's morning show involved the winos surrounding KZAP. "The elevator in the building was used as a wino bathroom - which was why all the employees used the stairs," jokes Boomer, who is also being serious. "The winos were a problem because many of them lived in the park directly across the street. It's now known as Caesar Chavez Park, but back then it was 'Wino Park.' I have fond memories of doing weather reports on the air, saying: 'It's 73 degrees under the wonderful wino trees.' 2010 update: A recent visit to the park revealed that it's still frequented by winos, and it still reeks of urine."

Inevitably, Anderson's "Jimi Hendrix choke off" bit got him fired. He resurfaced at top 40 station KPOP in the afternoons but it was short lived. "It ended when I was fired for not agreeing to keep all my sets to 10 seconds or less," says Anderson. He later went on to have one of the most successful morning shows in Sacramento history on KRXQ.

The age of rock: KZAP vs. KRXQ in the 80s/90s

KPOP changed in 1986 to 93 Rock and experienced a few rocky years in the ratings. 93 Rock finally caught up with KZAP in the ratings by 1988. For the next few years it was a see-saw battle as 93 Rock, under the direction of PD Judy McNutt and MD Pamela Roberts, catered to a younger rock audience while KZAP moved toward adults who had grown up with the station. But it became obvious by January 1992 that KRXQ had won the war when KZAP flipped to country and became KNCI-FM (only to change in a swap to KRAK-FM two years later). The air line-up would remain solid for years at KRXQ featuring Pat Martin in middays, Charlie Thomas in afternoons and Pamela Roberts in evenings. KZAP had consistency with Bob Keller in middays and the Godfather Bob Gallie in afternoons. Other KZAP personalities of the era included Bill Prescott in mornings, who was succeeded by Pat Still. Bob Keller eventually ended up on The Eagle, the Godfather went to Cool 101 and Pat Still went to KWOD and then KNCI. In the early to mid-nineties Laura Ingle was a popular evening voice on KRXQ. Being the host of the local music show, she was also well-known by local bands.

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