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Jimmy Rabbitt, KROQ AM/FM Los Angeles | November, 1976


This is a very unique aircheck in the sense that it probably illustrates what Freeform Progressive Rock radio really sounded like at it’s apex in the mid 1970s. Now, we’re not sure if this was a special show or if this was the actual day-to-day format of KROQ, but we do know a few facts. First, KROQ is an AM 1500/FM 106.1 simulcast. Second, Jimmy Rabbitt is a jock known better to Texans than those in Los Angeles (in fact, he’s in the Texas radio Hall of Fame). Here, Rabbitt is very long winded, playing songs of many different genres, then (in his second break), talks about this being his final night – or maybe it was his ONLY night on KROQ, saying, “this was a fun experiment…”. He complains about listeners calling in and saying Creedence is a Country group! Admittedly, this aircheck shows KROQ anything BUT a Rock station, with the exception of the lead in song by Donovan – “Hurdy Gurdy Man”.

Compare this with an earlier aircheck on this site – Charlie Tuna on KROQ AM 1500 from June 1973. Here, there are no liners, no jingles, in fact, no production elements AT ALL. Just Jimmy Rabbitt and his music. Its a station completely without ‘personality’ (or more precisely, it’s all personality with no real format). And either way, its something that current KROQ fans should listen to, remembering that this station has been around in some form for a very long time with the same call letters catering to the same basic age group. And that’s something that makes KROQ a very interesting and unique radio station.

Courtesy of Contributor Frank Davis.







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15 Comments


  1. Rabbit style is so iconic, sounds drunk. He’s brilliant. Heard him once at a Country station, he used the same cool phrases and pacing, it was awesome. Telling little stories.

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  2. What you hear here was what KROQ sounded like at the time. But there’s a lot to that story.

    The KROQ on the Charlie Tuna aircheck ended in the fall of 1973, when KROQ bought KPPC-FM and it became KROQ-FM. The two simulcast a hybrid of hits and album cuts until financial troubles took the combo dark in late 1974.

    In 1976 the owners were given an ultimatum by the FCC…return to the air or surrender the licenses. They went back on, hiring Shadoe Stevens (ex-WRKO, KHJ KRLA and KMET) as PD. He devised the approach you hear on this aircheck.

    As for being better known in Texas…nah. His only high-profile gig in that state was at KLIF in Dallas from 1964-1968. From there he went to KCBQ, San Diego and then on to L.A. where he was at KRLA, the ABC FM network, KMET, KROQ and (for three days) KHJ (a gig he got because he was so hugely popular among L.A. teens and young adults, but that he lost because KHJ wanted him to be completely different).

    It was only in this incarnation of KROQ, however, that Jimmy slowed his delivery way down and allowed his native Texas drawl to surface in his voice. And he did do shows drunk there, by his own admission (Christmas Eve 1977 is a classic).

    KROQ changed from within by the addition of a Sunday night special show with Rodney Bingenheimer, who started playing punk and new wave tracks around ’77. By 1979, KROQ hired former KKDJ PD Rick Carroll who took them to the “Rock of the 80s” format that made them huge.

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  3. Brad (Sandy Beach) was a good friend. He literally put the station back on the air after it had signed off. Luckily in time to save the license. I believe this was well before Shadoe Stevens entered the picture. There was no production values,because it was likely there was no production studio at that time. Rabbitt is better than this, it’s great to hear him but he was unusually compelling at every format I ever heard him do. Before he just started screwing around he was clearly one of the best. His work at KLAC was among his best. Combining the ultra hip delivery & pacing from his rock days, with an incredible knowledge and feel for the music. A true radio enigma. RIP Sandy Beach.

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  4. Jimmy rabbitt (small “r”, double “t”) is still doing live radio to this day. You can hear him every Saturday on KOCI/FM, in Newport Beach, California, the station also streams live over The Internet. El Conejo is also on local radio station KAFM/FM, in Grand Junction, Colorado, a couple of times a month. They also stream live on the Net. He is a legend & a great dude.

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  5. Still the best. Period.

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  6. Shadoe was there before Brad.Aftra strike pulled us off the air in’73.I was @ KPPC when Krog bought the PP.Paz is going strong on the internet radio …. he is still the best.Kroq joq’s are a family and we do reunions almost every year.

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  7. Actually, the FM was on 106.7, not 106.1. How do I know? Because I built it. It was called KPPC, and was in the basement of a church when I started working there. REAL underground radio. I moved the studios out of the basement and the transmitter to Flint Peak (above Glendale) before KROQ ‘bought’ it.

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    • You are absolutely right Mike..You were the master of the Darrow board built especially for KPPC am and fm…from the Basement to 99 So. Chester……….Them was the days.

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      • Hello Larry!
        “Move your hand”

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  8. I listened to KROQ (and still do when I get the chance) back then 1974-1980’s +.
    Living in this desert- Palm Springs area (musically and geographically), I was really sick of the local radio stations. I used my truck radio to strive to get KROQ at work (construction). I would drive around the house I was working on to get the best signal. Then drag speakers my into the house. I always bought the most sensitive tuner I could find.
    I made a lot of money listening to KROQ.
    I remember those great DJ’s from the 70’s and Jimmy Rabbit was one of them. He was on for at least a year, if my memory serves me well.
    I even have a LP of his. I met Larry Woodside (KROQ DJ in the early 80’s) once in Cambria, Ca. quite a few years back, and he wanted a recording of that LP.
    Those were great days of radio listening for me… back when it was truly free format!

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    • Thanks….And i agree!

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  9. Hi, Larry. I really enjoyed your voiceover along with “Larry, Move Your Hand” (or whatever that song was called) when you were on KROQ but I was never able to record it off the radio. Internet searches turn up nothing, except for a link to this page. Where could I hear it again?

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  10. I’ll be posting it on F.B. or here as soon as I find it on one of my old airchecks Charlie……..stay tuned
    .

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    • Thanks, Larry. I’ll be looking forward to it. For those who haven’t heard it, Larry plays a story record by a girl who’s trying to fend off a guy named Larry. Larry Woodside does a voiceover where he “talks” with her. For example, when the girl says “I’m not that kind of girl,” Woodside says “That’s not what the football team says.” It’s hilarious!

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  11. Hi, Larry, I hope that you can find and post it. I just found the story record for it on spotify.com. It’s “Larry, Move Your Hand” by Penguin Feet & the Teardrop Kid. It’s pretty funny by itself but it would really shine with Larry Woodside’s voiceover.

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