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93/KHJ / Los Angeles

The “Unknown DJ” on 93 KHJ Los Angeles | January 26, 1979

Courtesy of Big Apple Airchecks - Thanks!This mysterious aircheck is chock full of similarities and opposites. First off, compare the music playlist to another aircheck we have here from WKBW, from January 28, 1979. Nearly identical, except for the fact that KHJ is REALLY rockin’! Second, August 26, 1977, we have an aircheck of the Unknown DJ on WNBC… That guy was the one and only Jackson Armstrong. Compare that with this one. Now, is the Unknown DJ on KHJ the same guy as the Unknown DJ on WNBC? Compare the voices, because the approach is completely different.

Now that we’ve said all that, a few notes about KHJ. 93 KHJ would eventually change formats from Top 40 to Country, a format that would last a few years until it was flipped first, to Smokin’ Oldies, then as a Top 40 / Recurrent format featuring mainly traffic reports known as ‘Car Radio’, before expring as a music format in 1986. This aircheck is from the tail end of the original, REAL Top 40 format.

You’ll notice one very striking similarity between this aircheck, and the Bob Pittman era at WNBC… the music and personality (or lack of) approach on air. It was bland. Good voices, great music, but nothing to attract and hold an audience, as KHJ, WNBC and many other old AM Top 40 stations tried one last valliant time keep the FM wolves at bay. 1979 was really the end of it, not just for KHJ, but hundreds of AM stations, many of which flipped to Standards or some other format in 1980. But this… between the quality of the recording, probably on a wideband table radio (remember, AM still had 12khz of bandwidth back then instead of 9k today) and the music, this aircheck is AWESOME to listen to. Remember kids, this is AM you’re listening to.

Starts with “JT”, then continues on with the “Unknown Disc Jockey” – 9+ minutes, scoped.

93/KHJ 1970s Logo

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12 Comments


  1. The “Unknown DJ” sounds like the late Michael Sarzynski of WNNNNNBC nighttime fame. He was a good friend of Banana Joe Montone who was at KHJ in 1979.

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  2. Actually, it was later to be revealed this was Pat Garrett, (not the one is NC or FL) who later did shifts under his own name.

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  3. 0.29 seconds on Google answers the question…KHJ’s Unknown Disc Jockey was Pat Garrett, who later went on to work using his real name at KHJ and other L.A. stations.

    What you’re hearing here is the John Sebastian format at KHJ. Sebastian arrived in November of 1977, restricted jock talk and had the jocks call the station “Position 93”. Machine Gun Kelly walked out and across the street to KTNQ in March of 1978. He was replaced by The Unknown Disc Jockey.

    In June, 1978, the talk restrictions became more severe and the positioning statement became “All Music 93/KHJ”…with promos saying that “AM” stood for “all music”. Charlie Tuna bailed for KTNQ in September. The True Don Bleu replaced Tuna at KHJ.

    This aircheck is a snapshot of the final weeks of Sebastian’s run as PD. By March, he was gone, replaced by one of his jocks, Chuck Martin, who brought back jingles, let the jocks be jocks again and expanded the music library (under Sebastian, there were 90…NINETY…currents, recurrents and oldies…TOTAL.). He also hired Rick Dees to replace The True Don Bleu in mornings that spring.

    It was too little, too late…but the country switch came much later than posted in the aircheck description….October of 1980.

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  4. Quick correction: Smokin’ Oldies wasn’t until the call-letter change to KRTH (AM) in 1986. Right after country was oldies using a tag “The Boss is Back.”

    Sebastian destroyed KHJ no matter what he says about their supposed ratings success. Martin did a damn good jo of bringing it back. Too bad it was cut off too soon.

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  5. true this is Pat Garrett…good friend of mine…also Chuck Martin! “The Chucker” put fun back in radio….Can’t say enough ’bout Chuck…he gave me as shot at my dream…my first gig!.

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  6. On television, The Dukes Of Hazzard premiered on CBS that night

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  7. Matt says there were at least 3 Chuckers. Was I one, or was I considered the 4th?
    I was Chucker at WFLB, Fayetteville, NC,
    WFUN, Miami, WGOW, Chattanooga, WLCS (We Love Chucker’s Show), Baton Rouge, WIBR, Baton Rouge, WTIX, WNOE & WRNO, New Orleans.
    Took a doctorate from FIU, Miami in 1992. Bought WZPH in 2005, and switched it from CHRN (Christian) to oldies rock ‘n’ roll…now playing a world record ONE MILLION songs back to back…6 years of NO commercials; just non-stop rock ‘n’ roll.
    813-948-3629

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  8. I was the original Unknown Disc Jockey from KHJ and it happened in somewhat of a strange way. I was working at Magic 91 in San Diego when John Sebastian hired me for 6-10pm at KHJ. I didn’t like the name they stuck me with at Magic and wanted something new. On the night before I did my first shift on KHJ, The Unknown Comic made his debut on the Gong Show. Sebastion called me and said “how about calling yourself the Unknown Disc Jockey?” I thought that was brilliant and we went with it. R&R had a story about it and suddenly Unknowns were springing up everywhere! I even ended up working with several of them over the years including Smokin’ Joe Beamer at Cool 96.9 in Jacksonville, FL and Jack Armstrong at KKHR in Los Angeles.

    As far as KHJ, Chuck Martin turned that station around and made it better than it had sounded in years. We had a great team and Chuck was a dynamic leader. When the “Country Crew” came in October 1980, that was the end of KHJ….forever.

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    • Ah! But Pat! You all put together another great staff at KWST, K.West 106 as Chuck Martin as PD!

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    • ah! But Pat! You guys put together a great staff after KHJ over at K.West 106 with Chuck Martin as PD!

      Reply

  9. Aloha Pat……

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    • Aloha, my friend! How are you?

      Are you still doing any radio stuff, or have you bailed out like 90% of the rest of the people I know??!!

      Reply

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