Bwana Johnny, 1260 KYA San Francisco | 1969
No serious discussion of the history of San Francisco Top 40 radio would be complete without acknowledging the contributions of 5,000 watt 1260 KYA.
Nobody will dispute that 610 KFRC was the reigning king of Top 40. Its powerful signal, with the longer 610 khz wavelength travelled much further and penetrated buildings better. It had the promotion budget of a broadcasting monolith, comparable in size with today’s WalMart. RKO General had its fingers in Tires, movies and of course, broadcasting. And most important, KFRC had Bill Drake.
KYA had none of that. But it did have a consistent format, fun and uptempo jocks and the hits of the day.
Bwana Johnny was one such jock. Listen and be pleasantly surprised at how good Johnny sounds, and how streamlined KYA is. KYA, as demonstrated here, plays ALL the hits. Some of the highlights of this aircheck are:
Lots of recurrents (oldies, in 1969), as this is a “Golden Weekend”.
A 20/20 Triple Play (wow, three songs back to back?!)
Jingles in most places, but at about 5:30 into the recording, a song is played out of a commercial break (presumably at the :52 slot in the hour), then into a Top of the Hour jingle/jock patter at 10:00 pm. This was the night show, after all.
Since this is scoped, you don’t notice the seven minute live “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley. Seven minutes! Bill Drake consulting KFRC would have died of heart failure!
The recording ends with a song by Ray Charles. As you’ll notice, KYA had a clean, well processed audio chain. No reverb, crisp audio, and its important to note that I did not have to do any audio restoration. What you hear is right off the tape.