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by Alex Cosper
© 2009 Alex Cosper. All Rights Reserved.
I have spent a few decades working in the radio industry as a Program Director, Music Director, Air Personality
and a big mix of other titles with multiple responsibilities. My story about how I led an independent alternative
Sacramento radio station from bottom of the ratings to the top is called The Rise of Alternative Radio.
Later I worked on air in San Francisco at an electronic dance station. Here are some other radio reports I've written.
about the radio industry:
American Radio History: The First Hundred Years - This work in progress explores radio
history in some of the biggest cities in America. The report covers the early pioneers of radio in the 1920s through the pop
and freeform stations in the sixties to the migration to FM in the seventies and eighties. Since I grew up listening to radio
in Sacramento, I did the most research on my hometown as well as San Francisco. I learned about other markets from studying
trade magazines, ratings and visiting several cities.
History of Freeform Radio - Freeform radio marked an era of free
expression on the airwaves mixed with underground rock music. These stations began appearing in the mid-sixties and lasted
through the late seventies before being structured into more consultant-driven than jock-driven programming.
Freeform meant alternative to the mainstream. It was a time when DJs were allowed to play whatever they wanted. The format
is still heard today on a handful of unique stations.
The Legend of KZAP - This is the story of a Sacramento radio
station that launched in 1968 as a freeform rocker and lasted on the dial for nearly a quarter century. The station was known
for its adventurous music selection. By the late seventies it had transformed into a carefully-formatted rock station and
was a ratings leader throughout the eighties. It disappeared in 1992 but thousands of Sacramentans will never forget KZAP.
Architect of Modern Rock - Rick Carroll was the Program Director of
KROQ/Los Angeles in its early years as a modern rock station. He went to college at Sac State and worked in Sacramento radio
before making his mark in San Diego then Los Angeles. During his years at KROQ in the eighties he coined the term "rock of the
eighties" and consulted stations around the country, crafting stations that established early modern rock hits.
The Rise of Alternative Radio - KWOD will be remembered as the
independent station that beat its corporate competition, but it was more than that. This is the story of how I programmed
KWOD in Sacramento during the 1990s. The story also covers what was happening at other alternative stations around America
were doing at that time, in the format's most successful years. It's about the quest to find great music in an era that
welcomed musical innovation and songs with more lyrical depth than typical pop.
Steve Masters Biography - Growing up in Sacramento, I paid
attention to radio stations in San Francisco, especially the alternative legend Live 105. Steve
Masters was the personality who convinced the station's management to flip from top 40 to alternative in 1986. Masters
worked in the programming department with Richard Sands and was a popular host on the station for years. Masters helped launch
many alternative artist careers by actively finding new music for his show Transmitter Adjustments.
Sacramento Radio History - I worked in Sacramento radio for
so many years, so I was always collecting newspaper clippings and industry trade articles about Sacramento radio for my
scrapbookm which helped form the research for this project. Essentially this is the most comprehensive report ever made about
Sacramento's radio history and it's still a work in progress. It covers the dominance of KROY in sixties and seventies,
KZAP's reign as the rock leader for many years and KWOD's influence on the market in the nineties.
San Francisco Bay Area Radio History - I worked in San Francisco
radio on air at KNGY/Energy 92.7 for a few years in the 2000s and took an interest in the radio history of the market.
I was amazed to learn that the first time a human voice replaced Morse Code on radio was at a San Francisco station in 1909.
The Bay went on to have many legendary stations such as KSAN and KFRC in the sixties and seventies. KGO became the unstoppable
talk leader in the late seventies. It's a fun journey through decades of Bay memories.
A Brief History of WHFS - I wrote for a radio industry trade magazine
called VirtuallyAlternative from 1997 to 2001. One of my projects was writing nearly the entire December 2000 issue, which was
a tribute to WHFS in Washington DC. The station was freeform in the late sixties and through time evolved with alternative
rock. I interview about 20 people who worked for WHFS through various eras. It was a great experience talking with pioneers
who touch many lives in the nation's capital.