Radio Waves: 5/5/17


May 5, 1965 was supposed to be the launch day of the all-new “Boss Radio” KHJ, a high-energy top-40 replacement for the well-respected but low-rated middle of the road programming KHJ had been running previously.

It was supposed to be May 5th. But about a week before, new morning man Robert W. Morgan happened to tune into KFWB and was hearing things he should not have been hearing … like the term “Boss Radio” itself, along with other stolen KHJ ideas. It seems one of the newsmen thought he was going to be fired from KHJ and went to KFWB with the inside information in order to land a job there. We pick up the story from original Boss programmer Ron Jacob’s book, Inside Boss Radio (available for $9.30 on Amazon.Com). Jacobs is discussing the situation with consultant Bill Drake and station manager Ken DeVaney.

“We discussed our limited options. Drake proclaimed, ‘We’ll start today with the new format. Today.’

“‘We can call it a ‘Sneak Preview’ of the new format,’ I added.

“‘Can we do it and when?’ DeVaney asked.

“‘Three o’clock,’ I said, faking the confidence of Eisenhower on D-Day. ‘Boss Radio 93/KHJ debuts with The Real Don Steele Show at 3 p.m.’ It was about 11:15 in the morning.

We had 3 hours and 45 minutes to do a week’s work. “Responsibilities were assigned: I’d stay on the first floor, where the studios were. Drake stationed himself close by the traffic people, convincing them that they could have a Boss program log ready in time. DeVaney returned to the executive offices and played free safety. We sent out for two dozen Nickodell’s hamburgers with French fries.

“By then the jocks were back from their session. The Real Don Steele was in the production room rehearsing. That was part of our countdown drill, two weeks of practice before going live. Steele had just done one of his patented manic intros to the Supremes’ Stop in The Name of Love when I walked in.

“‘Don, uh, you know KFWB’s on with all our stuff.’

“‘Yeah, Morgan told me.’

“‘Well, ah, we — Drake, DeVaney and me — we decided we gotta go a little earlier, or they’ll cop our whole trip. And you’re the guy to kick off the real Boss Radio.’

“‘When?’ asked Steele, casually.

“‘Oh, ah, you know, your regular shift. In about three hours.’

“He said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’ and cranked up his monitor until Diana Ross nearly blew out the studio windows.

“This would be the last day Don Steele would be an unknown disc jockey born several blocks away from that very spot.”

The Sneak Preview began April 27th. And the rest, as they say, is history.

My FM’s Success Story

Last week I wrote of My FM (KBIG, 104.3 FM) dominating the local ratings. The backup story to that win reveals just how dominant.

The ratings published last week include all listeners aged 6 and over; that rating is an estimate of the percentage of that overall listenership tuned to a station between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight. It’s more of a “bragging rights” ratings … most stations don’t really care about this overall rating since it isn’t what they are selling when they try to attract advertisers.

Depending on the format, many stations will focus more on other demographics. Unlike stations of the past, mass appeal isn’t necessarily the goal today. But My FM manages to do just that in many areas. Consider that My FM is:

• #1 with all listeners 6 and over, as already mentioned.

• #1 with listeners 25-54

• #2 with listeners 12 and over

In mornings, (Sean) Valentine has things pretty well sealed up:

• #1 with women 18 and older

• #1 with women 18-49

• #1 with women 25-54

• #1 with women 45-54

• #1 with women 36-64

• #1 with all listeners 18-49

• #1 with all listeners aged 25-54

• #1 with all listeners 35-64

• #1 with all listeners 6 and over, 12 and over, 6-11, and teens.

It almost seems as if My FM is becoming the KIIS-FM of the modern time, using a format that might be more like KIIS-FM was in the 1980s than it is now. Could this signal the return of mass appeal top-40? And since Valentine was once at KIIS-FM … is there some sort of cosmic connection to high ratings?