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93/KHJ
Dear Johnny,

What a pleasant surprise to discover your Web Site! Your endeavors here have opened a whole new vista to preserve radio history.

I was an ardent fan of Boss Radio 93/KHJ since its birth in 1965, and still am. I revere the whole 1965 Experience to this hour, and as a former LA/San Fernando Valley resident in the 60's, those grand times irrevocably intertwine with 93/KHJ. There is so much that I want to say!

I discovered KHJ during Boss Radio "Sneak Preview" week in 1965, thanks to my then-newly-constructed AM radio playing in the back room in Junior High Electric Shop class! It is quite a feeling of victory to witness the station "you discovered" during its very first hours, and rooted for as a young fan, soon rise to #1 and become a hallmark in radio history.

The dregs of modern-day existence suffered a glorious blow when, in 1990, I learned of the upcoming KHJ 25th Anniversary reunion. I was told that EVERYBODY was going to be there. And fans were welcome! Suddenly, once again, "all the lights came on." I wouldn't have missed it for anything. I venture to say if the registration were $930 instead of $93 (thank you, Money Monster) I still would have attended. Almost everybody who was ever with KHJ was present that evening, except for Tommy Vance and Tom Maule. Just tremendous! It was an honor and a joy to finally meet, in person, many I heard on the air all those years. As a fan I can tell you it was an evening I wished would never end. KHJ lived and ruled again that night.

There are so very many Boss Radio listening memories, and all remain so vivid.

One of my favorite moments was near the end of December '65, when I listened to the "Boss 93 of 1965." It happened Friday, December 31. For the past several days KHJ was announcing this event; you could send in a postcard to enter a drawing to win a whole set of the 93 records, and that the song countdown would begin with your show at "midnight Thursday." The anticipation led to the inevitable. Stuffing my pocket transistor radio (now required to do extra duty that debut night) under my pillow, I was not about to miss this. I didn't care what time it was. Hopefully I would not wake my folks.

To rehear all the big songs from '65 that late night and early morning, counted down to number one, was mesmerizing. I also found (and so did my folks) that the instinctive ritual of cranking the volume knob on my favorite songs could not be abated for this clandestine all-night listening session! It was such a wonderful year for this kid that, as those songs played, for the first time in my life I felt a strange sadness to see a year end. Fortunately, it was only from the standpoint of a wall calendar; the whole experience has proven to be invincible. It really was that good. (It was interesting to note that with the first airing in 1966 of the "Top 300" songs of all time, about half the songs listener-voted into the Top 300 were from 1965!)

This would be the first time ever I stayed awake in bed till 4:30 AM, with radio under pillow, so I would not miss "number one." It, too, was my first l-o-n-g listen to the Johnny Williams show on KHJ. You finally got to number one at about 4:15 AM. Right after you played it, you said these close-to-exact words that early morning: "If you missed number one, we just played it. What was it? Well... I'm not gonna tell ya! You'll have to listen all the way through again!" Great!

There is no Boss Radio fan or 1965 aficionado on the face of this earth that cannot tell you what that song was. No one who lived through, and lived, 1965 could disagree with it being that year's "number one." And no one, but no one, would disagree that 1965 was one of the happiest years ever. I will always treasure those times. A major gem was 93/KHJ.

Very best regards,

Ray Laine
E-mail: skyfighter56@yahoo.com



Ray,

You know, I don't remember saying that ("I'm not gonna tell ya! You'll have to listen all the way through again!") but it's sure something I would have said. We all tended to be wise-asses back in those days. And it helps to be reminded that I was one when I feel like criticizing the guys and gals on the air today.

I'll also bet I was under strict orders not to repeat the name of the number one song once it had been played. But, since it has been such a long time, I think we can announce now that that song was the same one this web site is named after.

Quiz time: What song came in at #2? What song was #93? Did you save that list? I have a control room copy. I can't locate a copy of the published list around here anywhere.

Thanks for the memories!

John Williams
E-mail:



Johnny,

Honestly, you did say that -- it stuck with me all these years. It wasn't a sarcastic kind of thing at all -- in fact it was rather cute. It was pushing 5 AM when all this happened and I guess the excitement of finally hearing #1 made all the details stick in memory. I knew I'd be quizzed by my friends the next day what #1 was and I wanted to be the first to tell everyone. Fan "pecking order" then, you know Ha!

>I'll also bet I was under strict orders not to repeat the name of the
>number one song once it had been played. But, since it has been such
>a long time, I think we can announce now that that song was the same
>one this web site is named after.

Yes, for my first submission to your Web, I wanted to end my piece with an appropriate irony...

>Quiz time: What song came in at #2? What song was #93? Did you save
>that list? I have a control room copy. I can't locate a copy of the published
>list around here anywhere.

#2 was "Gloria" by Them, and #93 was "Here Comes The Night" also by Them. I have the original Boss 93 of 1965 list I received from KHJ in my files. I'll send you a copy.

Ray Laine
E-mail: skyfighter56@yahoo.com



93/KHJ

We used to cruise Tweety Blvd in South Gate till all hours, never looking at the clock, but we always knew it was "after midnite" when Bill Drake would come and trumpet.. "And now Ladies and Gentleman...Johnny Williams on ....(those great singers) KHJ, LOS ANGELES!"

As Boss Radio fans we lived for Fractious Fridays with the Real Don Steele and his endless rhyming at the end of his show-but one just blew us away..What with the radio wars at full tilt in L.A.... And the end of the show here comes "The Pony" and Steele is on a roll with, "Alvedo Rey...and Zane Grey and most of all I'd like to thank my friends at K-R-L-A!" Man was he great..like a giant smiling face motating those marvelous pipes out of your radio blasting vibrasonic!

I loved 93KHJ so much I wanted to work there..so I set off to do radio- working at one of those drake farm clubs The Big 55 KAFY, Bakersfield in the early 70s-could'nt quite make it as a jock..and learned quick that when the "book" came out...jocks got blamed for at least 55 minutes of the hour-and newspeople 5 minutes. Became a newsperson but still worshiped and emulated the Boss Jocks at the next big station..one of them Dirk Donovan at KYNO in Fresno became a good buddy. I remember how honored I felt when Dirk took me to the Cedar Lanes in Fresno and we sipped malts in the same booth where allegedly Drake and Gene Chenault first conceived of the format. WOW!!!

I set off doing the news on rock n roll radio stations. I lived for the drake newslogo..greatest in the world...BOM...BOM....BOM...its 20 minutes before 5..and everytime hearing it in the headphones thinking about J Paul Huddleston and Marv Howard on KHJ....Never made it to the Big 93, but did get to audition and interview for a newcasters job there with News Director Lyle Kilgore..who parked me in front of his desk in 1972 and asked.."So What Makes You Think You Have What It Takes to Work at 93 KHJ?" I crumbled inside! Didn't have a good interview, but the best revenge is doing well...

Loved RKO so much I made it to News Director of their FM flagship in New York City..WXLO..and was a charter newscaster on the RKO Radio Network which started in late '79...Stayed for nearly 15 years thru Dick Clark..United Stations..Unistar..and to Infinity which really meant the end with Mel Karmazin.

It's been a great ride, especially since I've never worked for a living..just having a ball and getting paid for it. As Gil Gross, now a syndicated radio talk show host yelled at me while we were cashing our checks at a bank in New York City, "Well, Gary, I guess we fooled them again!"

I'm Gary McKenzie now running Ask the Expert Media, an Ad Agency-PR-Internet operation, in Washington D.C. and thanks for allowing me to share!

E-mail: gm@mckenziemultimedia.com



Gary,

Thanks, thanks, thanks for that great "I remember LA/Boss Radio" story. Friday and Saturday nights were exciting for those of us on the air too because we knew it was happening out there and we could really feel it. Monday nights, for me, were awful because I knew everybody was worn out from the weekend (including myself) and fast asleep. I could feel that too (haha).

Do you realize Steele is still doing his number in LA? From what I've been told, he is just as good as he was back in the 60s. Now, I was the youngest of the boss jocks (24 when it all started). I think Steele was at least 20 years older than I was (hee hee) so what he's doing on the air now is really an accomplishment. Hell, most days I can't even open my mouth now -- let alone, talk fast...

Thanks again for sharing those memories with us,

John Williams
E-mail:



93/KHJ

Dear Johnny or Mr. Williams,

Hello. I want to tell you how great it was to meet you at the 1990 25th yr. reunion of KHJ. Remember? You signed one of the KHJ record albums I brought. Only person I didn't get a signiture from was Real Don! I heard later that he really is kinda shy.

I got your web address from a guy I'm trading airchecks with in the airchex listserv. I may have said it to you that night in May, 1990 but if not, let me tell you what I was telling Bill Wade, and a few others that night! I really want to thank you for helping me through puberty! Seriously, 93/KHJ really was the soundtrack of my life growing up in the San Fernando Valley of the 60's and 70's.

Just like your favorite radio personalities, the Boss Jocks really made an impact. they still do! Via lots of terrific airchecks some of us collect, KHJ and you guys still live!!!!! Well, you still live anyway but I never fail to let any of you KHJ guys know who much I really appreciate the way you people did your jobs and made LA a little bit more pleasurable place to grow up. Wish that today's music and kids were more like us, but that is life and youth must be served. I'm just glad I got the chance to hear your work!

To this day, KHJ airchecks for the 60's and 70's are still the most sought after 'checks in the hobby! Do you have/collect them? Do youstill care the way your fans do? I know some of the boss jocks don't care but most still do. I know Morgan does or he wouldn't have been there that sad night in Jan. 86 when KHJ went down. I remember in 1990 when I met some of you that Harve was really touched by the 'fan tables' we were sitting at. He really didn't realize what an impact KHJ had made. He was probably too worried about his own crazy life that took him to jail and all.

What are you doing now? Are you still making people happy on the air? I hope so. I could send you an aircheck trading list if you like and maybe we could trade some tape! I do have one great unscoped one of you from 1968 I believe...oh, yes, some from 65 as well.

Hope to hear from you soon.
All the best!

Randy Tivens
93/KHJ Fan!
E-mail: RLT@Annex.com



Hi Randy,

Thanks very much for the note. One of the great pleasures of running the 440: Satisfaction site on the WWW is the fantastic comments that continue to roll in about 93/KHJ.

I, personally, had no idea at the time of what an impact the station was having on folks out there. We were so damned busy doing it the way Drake and Jacobs wanted it, we really didn't have time to step back and take a look at what was happening. Oh, we knew the station was big but we had all worked for big stations before. It was years later, when Boss Radio just kept refusing to die that the reality of what had happened began to sink in. And, as I look back at it, I was very fortunate to have been a part of the station and the overall experience.

With your permission, I would like to put your note up on the site (under Favorite Stories) as an indicator of what kind of response that little 5,000 watt radio station managed to elicit from listeners.

> Remember? You signed one of the KHJ record albums I brought.

I only signed a couple of things that night so I do remember you.

> I remember in 1990 when I met some of you that Harve was
> really touched by the 'fan tables' we were sitting at. He really didn't realize what
> an impact KHJ had made.

It really has amazed all of us.

> What are you doing now?

I'm celebrating 4 years in Hawaii. I moved here with Carol and the two cocker spaniels 4 years ago this week. Worked for a couple of years at a little all-news station (really just trying to get the lay of the land and the language here) until I couldn't take the stupid manager any more - he ain't no Ron Jacobs.

> Are you still making people happy on the air?

Not on the air, but on the Internet. I seem to have struck some kind of magic chord with 440: Satisfaction, a WWW page about radio people and where they are now. It's giving me great fun and, apparently is doing the same for others.

> I hope so. I could send you an aircheck trading list if you like and maybe
> we could trade some tape!

I would like to see the aircheck trading list, and I probably would like to put it up on the site for others to see if that's allowable (I don't know how protective you traders are of your sources).

I really have no interest in trading tapes. I've got boxes of stuff that I haven't listened to in years. And I will get around to going through it one of these days - but not at the present.

> I do have one great unscoped one of you from 1968
> I believe...oh, yes, some from 65 as well.

I know what I sounded like in the 60's. I have no desire to hear it again. Actually, I think it kind of takes the magic away when you hear it and realize it wasn't as great as people seem to remember it being. Especially, technically. It's nothing compared to today's radio technology. But, I do appreciate the offer - and the thought.

> Hope to hear from you soon.
> All the best!

And great hearing from you Randy. I will stay in touch. And please let me know if you come up with any info on people we don't have on the list. Any information you come across will be appreciated.

John Williams
E-mail:



This really happened:

After the 1990 KHJ reunion here in LA, I had come away with many new KHJ collector friends. People who REALLY were into the station. That was in May.
In November I get this card in the mail. It had big KHJ letters on the front. I opened it up and there was some sort of old english printing and some sort of funky old english poem in it. I didn't understand the message until I got to the bottom of the note.

At the end of this poem about some radio station or other, were the words...
"......Oh thank thee for Ninety-Three!"
It was a KHJ Thanksgiving card sent to me by another collector!
And I thought I was crazy---this guy was really nuts.

I still have it and I'll have to post the contents of the poem sometime!

Randy Tivens
93/KHJ Fan!
E-mail: RLT@Annex.com




Memories of KHJ

Johnny,

I just want to let you know how much I've enjoyed your web page. Being able to communicate with an actual "boss jock" is a dream come true for me. Although I hate to admit it, sometimes I feel there's little in this life I've loved as much as 93/KHJ.

Like Ray Laine, I discovered the station during sneak preview week. I think it was Saturday day camp when a friend came over with his pocket radio to let me hear the station that was playing alot of great music without any commercials! From then on I was hooked. I rarely tuned back to KFWB or KRLA. In fact, to this day I treasure my "Boss 30" survey collection and still think the original 1974 release of "Cruisin' 1965 with Robert W. Morgan is one of the greatest albums ever (not, as Morgan says, the "bastardized" version that is still available today).

I remember your overnight show. Didn't you out last all the original boss jocks? I think Gary Mack was the first to go. I still have my copy of the 1965 boss goldens album where I drew a large X over his picture. I couldn't tell you how many years I've spent trying to acquire all that great music. Overall, the record companies (like Rhino) have been good to us fans of the boss era. To me, top 40 music peaked in '66.

Back in '84 I believe, I received in the mail a tape which had 90 minutes worth of KHJ airchecks from the sixties. Gez, I was in heaven listening to that. I think my face was fixed in a set smile for several days after. As Wolfman would say, it just blew my mind!!! My wife still doesn't understand. That was the soundtrack to my youth, and I couldn't believe anybody still had tapes.

One of the best KHJ tapes I've heard is one that has several segments of the broadcast day from June 4 - 5th, 1968. I think Randy Tivens made reference to it earlier. It has about 10 minutes of your show and cuts off just minutes before Bobby Kennedy was shot. Do you recall that show? You played a record called "White Horses" by a British act "Jacky" (doubt I'll ever find that one, but a great tune). Anyhow, do you remember how KHJ powered down the format for the next few days? No "sneak preview of the brand new boss 30", and they played alot of folk music. Hearing "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands..." by Laurie London brings me back to that week because it was in continuous rotation at your station during those few days and it was my first time hearing that one. (Wasn't Laurie London about 7 years old?) Is Laurie London a boy or a girl?

In conclusion, I long for the days when you could hear all that variety. It wasn't uncommon to hear Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower" followed up by Engelbert Humperdinck (I think Charlie Tuna just loved Engelbert!). If this was such a successful formula back then, why are programmers so convinced it wouldn't work now?

I feel KHJ always was and always will be the greatest. It just kills me, we have a station here in the Antelope Valley using those call letters. If you dont believe me, just type in "KHJ" in Alta Vista search. Man, this is a sacrilege. Nobody should be allowed to use those calls because to me they represent excellence in top 40 radio, and a fabulous bygone era. All you guys were the best, and so were the "behind the scenes" engineers and programmers who maintained that wonderful format for all those years.

I dont want to sound sappy, so let me just thank you again - for all the good times.

Scott Frieden
E-mail: sfried@ptw.com



Memories of KHJ - reply to above
Hi Scott,

> Johnny, I just want to let you know how much I've enjoyed your web
> page. Being able to communicate with an actual "boss jock" is a dream
> come true for me.

Aw, shucks! Thank you. It's great to hear from you.

> I remember your overnight show. Didn't you out last all the
> original boss jocks?

I was the last of the original crew (I left, after a big fight with station management, in late 1974). Not sure if I was just lazy or kept hoping that somehow the whole thing would get renewed for another 10 years.

> I think Gary Mack was the first to go.

You know, I can't remember, but you are probably correct. Hey, don't forget Roger Christian. He left in 1965 (hahaha).

> One of the best KHJ tapes I've heard is one that has several
> segments of the broadcast day from June 4 - 5th, 1968. I think
> Randy Tivens made reference to it earlier. It has about 10 minutes
> of your show and cuts off just minutes before Bobby Kennedy was
> shot. Do you recall that show?

Do I! It was my birthday. I started the night very up for the occasion and the Kennedy shooting happened over at the Ambassador Hotel and that was the end of my happy birthday. Very sad night. Very sad days that followed too.

> You played a record called "White Horses" by a British act "Jacky"
> (doubt I'll ever find that one, but a great tune).

It hit number 11 on the UK charts (on Philips Records), according to my "All Music Book of Hit Singles", by Dave McAleer. It never got into the top 20 in the US. It had kind of a haunting melody, if I remember correctly. Haven't heard that one since about 1968.

> Anyhow, do you remember how KHJ powered down the format for the
> next few days?

Yep. Sure do. Very tough to handle as a jock. I went through the same thing in 1963 (in Denver) with the JFK assassination. Rock stations weren't designed to handle that kind of national tragedy. They still aren't. The same kind of awkward situation would happen on music stations all over the country today, God forbid!

> No "sneak preview of the brand new boss 30", and they played alot of
> folk music. Hearing "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands..." by
> Laurie London brings me back to that week because it was in
> continuous rotation at your station during those few days and it was
> my first time hearing that one. (Wasn't Laurie London about 7 years
> old?) Is Laurie London a boy or a girl?

A boy. Not sure of his age at the time. Not sure of his age now, come to think it.

> In conclusion, I long for the days when you could hear all that
> variety. It wasn't uncommon to hear Jimi Hendrix "All Along The
> Watchtower" followed up by Engelbert Humperdinck. (I think Charlie Tuna
> just loved Engelbert!) If this was such a successful formula back then,
> why are programmers so convinced it wouldn't work now?

I think the problem today is that the competition, not only in radio, but the competition for the attention of the audience in general is so great that stations are looking for a niche - any niche. If you tried playing that wild of a variety today, you would be in big trouble quick! And, in 1965, nobody had heard that radio format. Now, they've heard it, in infinite variations, for 30 years. It's tired. Hell, it was getting very worn in 1973.

Something has to be said for the tastes of the audiences today, too. Tastes are much more sophisticated now than in 1965. Rock is much more sophisticated. Music, in general, is much more sophisticated today.

> I feel KHJ always was and always will be the greatest.

That just continues to amaze us old boss jocks. We really had no idea (at the time) what was going on out there in Boss Angeles. If we had, we probably would have tried some big stunts. Maybe it's a good thing we didn't know.

> It just kills me, we have a station here in the Antelope Valley
> using those call letters. If you dont believe me, just type in
> "KHJ" in Alta Vista search. Man, this is a sacrilege.

That's KHJJ in Lancaster, CA. KKHJ is back at 930 in LA (talk about closing the barn door after the horses left...). There can never be another KHJ. 3-letter call sets were discontinued many years ago. The only ones remaining are the original 3-letter sets. Now, why RKO let KHJ go is waaay beyond me. There are other cases of "geniuses" in radio management changing 3-letter calls over the years. I just scratch my head...

> I dont want to sound sappy, so let me just thank you again - for all
> the good times.

You don't sound sappy, Scott. And I really appreciate the sentiment. That's one of the things that makes doing this thing on the World Wide Web so rewarding for me.

Thanks very much for taking the time to share your memories,

John(ny) Williams
E-mail:



KHJ engineering ace, Jon Badeaux (ran the show for The Real Don Steele for many years) remembers:

In the old KHJ control room there were two large monitors right above the board op. My problem with them was that they were "too good!" They never really matched the sound of what came out of the average radio. So I used to patch in an old RCA tuner to one of the unused faders on the board and play that over the cue speaker. The cue speaker was mounted on a wall to the right of the operator and provided really good sound, too.

I did that for years until one Friday afternoon. It was "that time" -- meaning Fractious Friday Night sign off with The Real Don Steele. The last stopset ended, I punched up the logo and rolled "You Can't Sit Down" by Phil Upchurch -- Don Steele's sign off song. He began his, "Friday Night in the Neon Fun Jungle... Francis Faye, Marvin Gaye," etc. As he continued, I sat there mixing him in with the music, making it as fantastic as usual.

But I noticed that Don seemed to be having a problem. I thought, perhaps, he had dropped a cigarette in his lap or spilled his coffee. He was looking up and down, then directly at me. He never lost a beat, but I could tell something was really wrong. He held his hands in the air as if to say, "What's happening?" I thought maybe we were having an earthquake.

Then it hit me. I was playing the song in cue! Since the cue monitor WAS my air monitor, I just mixed them both together. I was the only person in Los Angeles who could hear what it SHOULD sound like!

I think it was one week later when I was so freaked out, I didn't even want to do the sign off with him. Being a trooper, of course, I did. And it went off flawlessly. Don got all the way to the end and did the last part, which was him saying, "Byyyyyyyyeeeeeeee." I would always fade him down and the music up. Which is exactly what I did. Having come through a truly GREAT sign off, I stood up and, much to the surprise of everyone (including me), I switched off the turntable.

Jon Badeaux



Listening to KHJ on Yankee Station off the coast of North Vietnam:

Not really a "funny story" just a happy memory. I was a sailor on the USS Yorktown sailing off the coast of North Vietnam in the late sixties. One of the sailors had his sister make unscoped tapes of KHJ radio (she stopped the tape during the commercials). We would all gather on the mess decks after our work shifts were over and listen to KHJ radio on the speakers the other sailor set up and the reel to reel machine. It felt like we were home to hear the "boss jocks" talking about the girls on the beach, and the "temperature in Hollywood" while we floated around in Yankee Station off the coast of North Vietnam. I'm sure the "boss jocks" didn't know that the're voices went so far and that they meant so much to us. Daniel A. Bernath, Petty Officer 2nd Class Photographer (1966-1970)

E-mail: ASPECIALDAYPHOTO@cs.com



93/KHJ -- from Randy Brown AKA Christopher Haze AKA Bob Scott:

As a young aspiring "Boss Jock" in 1970-71 at one of the Drake-consulted stations (we were way at the bottom of the Drake food chain at KAKC/Tulsa), I idolized Robt. W. and you. You were the best all-night jock in the world and he was the best morning jock in the world. Those of us who knew of you across the fruited plain always figured you could easily have been doing a day shift somewhere, but either loved working at The Big 93 too much, or didn't want to leave LA, or had other things going on making the overnight shift too appealing to consider working another shift.

While growing up in Kansas City, there was a guy at WHB named Gene Woody who did the overnight shift, and he was great, too. But he was studying for his doctorate in somethingorother, so he stayed to do overnights until he graduated. We figured you might have had some similar situation.

Most of us starting our careers in the late '60s hoped one day to work at KHJ or KFRC (those of us who prefered the "west coast" sound). While at KAKC/Tulsa, we used to receive copies of the KHJ Boss 30 and the KFRC Big 30 each week from Drake and Torres, and I would collect 'em. Threw away most of 'em several years ago, but still have a few.

Along the path toward my goal of working at KHJ, I found success (if it can be called that) in Dallas. By then, KHJ, sadly, wasn't what it once was, and FM was fast becoming mass-appeal, as FM penetration was reaching saturation levels across the country (Dallas was the first market where Arbitron-measured listening to FM exceeded AM listening). Very quickly, we saw the writing on the wall for AM top 40 stations. So my dream of being part of the Robt. W., Tuna, Steele, JW team was never realized. Back then, your team was so strong, you wouldn't have been interested in a little runt like me, anyway. :-) Somewhere along the way, I blossomed into something more than just a young disc jockey with a smooth delivery and the occasional witty comment. I actually began to KNOW something. Today, I'm still trying to figure out how best to process that information.

Just a few months ago I just learned of 440: Satisfaction (love the story behind the name). I've found it interesting and alot of fun.

So what's my favorite all night jock doing these days? If you're in Hawaii, life must be good. You still in radio? Is this website part of some larger internet profit center? ("Profit center"--now there's a term you never heard us use back when we were playing "Satisfaction.")

Anyway, take care.

Randy Brown/Christopher Haze/Bob Scott
Correspondent, PGA Tour Radio Network
formerly KRLD, KOAI, KKBQ, KEGL, XEROK, KNUS, KGW, KAKC,
and others too numerous to mention

PS: Don't you find it interesting how radio seems to have come full-circle (as all things do). Today, the airwaves are filled with clutter, and motormouth disc jockeys who love to hear themselves talk. Most are only entertaining to themselves and their "zoo" of in-studio helpers. (If they were REALLY funny, they'd be on the circuit as stand-up comedians.) This is just about where things were when Bill Drake stripped it to bare bones and launched what we all know today as "the Drake format." Some programmers think they've captured that sound by putting a bunch of low-paid card-readers behind the mike to execute what I call a "low-maintenance" format. 10-in-a-row, with jocks reading a card about every 3rd song. The magic of the KHJ sound was how it maintained a no-clutter sound, so when the personalities executing the format did say something, it really stood out and "made it." Seems today, nobody remembers what it was about that sound that made it so special. It wasn't the formatics, and it wasn't that it was so clutter-free. It was the PERSONALITES that were able to work within that framework, and occasionally stretch the envelope to just enough to make it magic. I, for one, miss that sound.

Randy Brown
E-mail: RandB@mindspring.com




93/KHJ - reply to above
Hi Randy,
Thank you very much for the kind words.

> ...Those of us who knew of you across the fruited plain always
> figured you could easily have been doing a day shift somewhere, but
> either loved working at The Big 93 too much, or didn't want to
> leave LA, or had other things going on making the overnight shift
> too appealing to consider working another shift.

All of the above except for the "too appealing" part. I was very happy when they moved me to 9-Noon in 1967 (for a few months). I was not pleased when I got shoved back into the night shift.

I blame my tenure, especially the last few years, on laziness. The money was good. The station was doing very well. Life in the (San Fernando) Valley was good. I just didn't feel like looking elsewhere -- until Paul Drew made the decision (to cut costs) for me -- in 1974.

> ...Somewhere along the way, I blossomed into something more than
> just a young disc jockey with a smooth delivery and the occasional
> witty comment. I actually began to KNOW something. Today, I'm
> still trying to figure out how best to process that information.

If you ever figure it out, please let me know...

> ...So what's my favorite all night jock doing these days? If you're in
> Hawaii, life must be good. You still in radio?

Needless to say, life is great in Hawaii -- even better than the San Fernando Valley. Carol and I wake up every day pinching ourselves to make sure we're not dreaming. I do (very) occasional voice-over work. Every now and then somebody tries to drag me back into the business, but it will take an act of congress to get me to do it again.

One of my early inspirations was a guy named Cecil Heftel. He owned KIMN in Denver and hired me to be Dapper Dan the All-Night Man back in 1959. I remember Cec telling me, "radio is a young man's business." Being on the air on radio certainly is a young man's business. As you grow older, you smarten up and decide to let the younger guys take that grief!

> ...Is this website part of some larger internet profit center?

Yes, it is a part of 440 International Inc., which produces Those Were the Days and other radio-related Internet ventures.

> Anyway, take care.

I sure will -- and thanks again for the kind words.

John Williams
E-mail:



93/KHJ Memories -- and I Wasn't Even Near There

I read the favorite stories and cruised the nice comments back and forth to you and here is a whole nother angle for you and your devoted fans from yesteryear.

I grew up in South Florida early sixties et.al. and we had nothing compared to KHJ KJR WABC WQXI and WLS. Believe me we didn't. But several years ago a pal bought me the CRUISIN' series of cassettes from all the years and as you can guess, one of my faves turned out to be the '65 Robert W one where he drops in the various jingles and boss jock names etc. And that is how I indirectly fell in love with the KHJ jocks from almost three thousand miles away. So there!

Best to you and your fans and my only claim to fame was seeing Jimi Hendrix live open for guess who?????? The Monkees -- go figure!

E-mail: BIGIlaw@aol.com


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