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Steve Jay, Bill Stevens; ’60s Pool Party Weekend on KRTH K-Earth 101 Los Angeles | September 5, 1998

In September 1998, your webmaster was in Southern California on business… as a trucker with Transcend Carriers out of Gill, Massachusetts. When I took loads out to the L.A. area, I used to park my rig at the Culver City Sports Center – a big ice skating rink used by some semi-pro hockey teams and area schools. I was lucky, my uncle was the manager so I always had a place to park an 18 wheeler.

To make a long story short, I recorded this aircheck on Uncle Butch’s Kenwood system. Unc always had the best stereo equipment, and so this aircheck is nearly perfect quality.

We join Steve Jay on a ’60s Pool Party Weekend. K-EARTH 101 seemed to always have multiple promotions going on at one time and this is no exception. Heavily promoted by K-Earth’s morning host and imaging voice, Charlie Van Dyke, KRTH is doing a promotion where listeners call in and invest in the station’s “Jock Market”. You really must listen, I LOVE the concept! Remember, in 1998, the housing market hadn’t taken off yet and the stock market was growing. It seemed like everyone was investing in their new 401K plans and whatever stock was hot on Wall Street (most notably, internet/computer stocks, as this was just before the tech crash). K-Earth 101 took advantage of this over exhuberance in capitalist greed and came up with this incredible contest!

As to the rest of this aircheck and the fantastic sound of K-Earth 101 during this time, I’m sure our CalRadioPD friend will be along to comment on who, what and why, since he seems to be the West Coast expert.

You’ll hear the names of most of the K-Earth 101 airstaff. It reads like a who’s who of legendary California jocks, plus a few. Even Brian Byrne, “Mr. Rock n Roll” is still on the air, which at the time of this aircheck would have been a 20 year run on the station!

Sure wish I had some “Jock Stock” back in ’98!

Scoped, this runs exactly 30 minutes out of an hour and a half recording (you should HEAR this aircheck UNSCOPED)!


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  1. “Big balls and bats”? Oh, Charlie, Charlie, Charlie…

    Well, what’s to say? This is KRTH after Bill Drake revived it in 1992, but shortly after the deaths of The Real Don Steele in 1997 and Robert W. Morgan in 1998. Mike Phillips (who worked for Drake at KFRC in the 60s) was the PD.

    Charlie Van Dyke had been doing the imaging since ’92. When Morgan died, Phillips hired Van Dyke to replace him (Van Dyke replaced Morgan at KHJ in 1973). He’d been on KRTH as a jock only a few weeks when this was recorded.

    Brian Bierne (“Mr. Rock and Roll”), on the other hand, had been at KRTH since the late 70s, in middays.

    Shotgun Tom Kelly had been there less than a year, replacing The Real Don Steele in November of 1997.

    Jay Coffey (he pronounced it Cough-ay) did evenings and had been there a few years.

    Johnny Hayes was in late nights. He’d been a fixture at KRLA from the 60s until joining KRTH in ’92.

    Bill Stevens did overnights. Bill had a long history in Southern California radio including programming KUTE during its disco years (where the traditionally low-rated FM went top 5 in Arbitron).

    And Steve Jay, who did weekends, was better known to most listeners as Jay Stevens. He started out as Steve Jay at KGB, San Diego, but when he went to KFRC, they had Steve Clark, so he became Jay Stevens for the next 30 years (at KFRC, KRLA, KKDJ, KIIS and others). But Bill Stevens beat him to KRTH, so he went back to Steve Jay.

    Other weekenders at this time: Jim Carson, Chaz Kelly and Dave Randall.

    While Drake’s resurrection of KRTH was meant to evoke memories of KHJ (KRTH was KHJ-FM until 1972), with KHJ jocks Morgan, Steele and Humble Harve, by ’98, with the deaths of Morgan and Steele and Harve having left a few years before, Charlie Van Dyke was the only KRTH jock at the time of this aircheck to have worked at KHJ (six months in 1972 and then 1973-1977), unless you count Jim Carson, who did a month there in 1973.

    In fact, at this point, KRTH was more of a KGB, San Diego alumni club, with Van Dyke (1970-1972), Shotgun Tom (1970-71), Johnny Hayes (1964-1967), Jim Carson (1965-1970) and Steve Jay (1964-1966) all having worked for Drake there.

    After this aircheck? Well, Van Dyke split in early 2000, but continued to do their imaging. Jim Carson (who’d replaced Van Dyke in morning drive at KFRC in 1970) moved to mornings. Mike Phillips retired a year or so later and died of cancer a few years after that.

    Jay Coffey took over as PD, and, if anything made the station even more boring and predictable (this aircheck sounds great, but it’s mostly the production values and audio processing…the jocks say very little very infrequently, the spot breaks are long and repetitive, and the 300 or so oldies were rotated like currents. You could hear “You’ve Lost That Loving’ Feeling”, “My Girl” and “Satisfaction” every 7 hours for a decade straight).

    The ratings began to slide. Brian Bierne and Johnny Hayes were deemed too expensive and cut loose. Bill Stevens retired. Coffey tried Hollywood Hamilton (KIIS-FM, Z-100) in morning drive. Lasted six months. Then Gary Bryan with a changing set of sidekicks including Frazer Smith (W4 Detroit, KROQ, KLOS, KMET).

    Eventually CBS had enough. Coffey was gone.

    Jhani Kaye (who programmed adult contemporary KOST for 25 years) was brought in, loosened up and extended the playlist into the 80s and KRTH is once again a winner.

    Of the jocks heard or mentioned in this aircheck, only Shotgun Tom remains. He’ll hit 14 years in afternoons next month…not bad for his first gig in L.A.

    Jim Carson’s been moved to middays, Dave Randall is still in weekends, along with Sky Walker (from Z-100 in New York).

    And Steve Jay retired a few years back. Jhani hired Charlie Tuna to take his two weekend shows. So there’s a KHJ Boss Jock on the air at KRTH again.

    Reply

  2. Correction: I am not the Sky Walker from Z-100 in New York. I am the Sky Walker from KIIS-FM in Los Angeles from 1988-1992, then KKBT (The Beat) KBIG-FM and KRLA from ’93-’96 and so on…

    Career info can be found on my website at http://daveskyler.com

    Sky

    Reply

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