Thursday, April 11, 2013
The only downside to Top 40 radio was that you played the same damn ten songs over and over again. That’s what eventually drove me out of it (that and being fired a lot). But playing “Kung Fu Fighting” four times a night every night almost turned me into Mary Todd Lincoln.
In 1975 KFMB-FM San Diego became B100. Programmed by a radio genius, Bobby Rich, it was a wild fun station with the slogan “Better Boogie” (whatever that meant). By then I had retired from radio full-time and was in Los Angeles launching my TV writing career. But I still did weekends on B100. Thank goodness the station had a trade deal with PSA airlines and the Travelator Hotel (where all the stewardesses stayed and slept with everyone but me). I was using the air name Beaver Cleaver and having the time of my radio life. Imagine Seth MacFarlane but not as tasteful.
Almost from day one the station was a huge hit. San Diego kids were very discerning when it came to “Boogie” and appreciated that ours was better.
To mix it up everyone worked one-hour shifts. And in a couple of cases we doubled up. I did an hour teamed with Rich Brother Robbin and another with Billy Pearl.
Pretty much anything went. Inside radio jokes flew. At the time there was a syndicated program rock stations were airing called the Fantasy Concert, where a Woodstock-like concert was imagined. (They played "Kung Fu Fighting" but put crowd noise underneath it.) So I did the Concert from Rock n’ Roll Heaven. In an Ed Sullivan voice I introduced all dead acts. There were Mama Cass ham sandwich jokes, Jimi Hendrix jokes – like I said, good taste was not a high priority.
And for most of the weekend everyone hung out at the station. It was one continuous party. Hopefully the listeners got swept up in our enthusiasm and rowdiness because we were probably terrible. It’s like seeing home videos of the party you thought was so awesome. In the light of day taking off your clothes and peeing in the cat box was not the great idea you thought it was at the time.
But the point is radio was fun. It was live, it was audacious, and sadly, I don’t think will ever be like that again.
Today marks the anniversary of that anniversary so I thought I’d play a compilation of the weekend produced by B100. Thanks to Airchexx.com for the exhibit. Get ready for Audio Red Bull, mixed with speed, and then a Mountain Dew chaser. I apologize to the cat.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM