KUTE 102 Los Angeles – Frankie Crocker – 1979
From the Rob Frankel Collection.
Frankie “Hollywood” Crocker was a legendary New York radio air personality & Programmer. Frankie began his career in Buffalo at the AM Soul powerhouse WUFO. In the mid 1960s, New York came calling, & Frankie landed at R&B formatted WWRL, and later Top-40 WMCA in 1969. He then transformed WLIB-FM into WBLS-FM as program director, taking that station to the top of the ratings during the late 1970s and pioneering the radio format now known as Urban Contemporary. During his time Frankie would try to widen the appeal of R&B radio, by playing artists not traditionally heard in the format, like Blondie, Madonna, The Police, Queen, Talking Heads, David Bowie, and others who he thought had “the right sound.” Crocker became a pretty big deal in NY, but that came to a temporary halt in 1976, when Crocker was indicted in a payola investigation which was later overturned. WBLS dropped him, and he moved to L.A., where he went back to school, and spent some time on air and programming KUTE, before retuning to WBLS in 1979. Through the 80s & 90s, Frankie spent time at WBLS & later WRKS, 98.7 Kiss FM. Frankie passed on after a cancer battle in October 2000.
This aircheck features Frankie on KUTE back in 1979. Listen carefully around the 4:20 mark, Frankie IDs the station with the 107.5 frequency for WBLS by mistake, before catching himself, and changes that to 102 for KUTE. He did have KUTE sounding a lot like a west coast version of WBLS. -Ellis