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Sacramento Radio History
by Alex Cosper

Take a virtual tour of Sacramento at SacTV.com


Sacramento has an incredible radio history. Several national media celebrities rose to fame after doing radio in the "River City." The legendary Los Angeles alternative station KROQ owes a piece of their history to a Sac State graduate named Rick Carroll, who is considered to be the main architect of the alternative radio format. The latest radio star from Sacramento to emerge nationally is former KRXQ jock Laura Ingle, who became a television reporter for Fox News in the early 2000's. As far as Sacramento radio entrepreneurs who have made a national impact, one need look no further than Amador Bustos, who created the Z-Spanish Network in 1992 in Sacramento for under a million dollars and sold the chain of 33 stations to Entravision in 2000 for $475 million.

There have been quite a few stories of Sacramento radio talent beyond Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus and Morton Downey Jr. rising to national exposure. Christine Craft had been a television figure as a reporter for CBS-TV long before hitting the Sacramento airwaves. She also made national news in the eighties as a plaintiff in a federal case that challenged sexist practices in the television news industry. Mark S. Allen, who was a popular jock on FM 102 in the eighties and nineties, hosted Comedy Central's Short Attention Span Theater in the nineties. Since then he has been the morning anchor at KMAX-TV in Sacramento. Mick Martin, who did movie reviews on KZAP from the late seventies through the early nineties, became co-author of the popular book The DVD Movie Guide. Another KZAP personality from the glory days, Cary Nosler, wrote books on nutrition and hosted a national television show called PM Magazine.

One of Sacramento's most successful television anchors, KXTV Channel 10's Cristina Mendonsa, did news at FM 102, KZAP and K108 in the late eighties before moving on to television. KZAP also employed the news team of Richard Beban and Judith Nielsen in the seventies, who both went on to be writers for television shows, including the series Barney Miller. Another news person at KZAP in the seventies was Jok Church, who went on to be creator of the national comic strip Beakman & Jax.

The Billboard book Echoes of the Sixties was written by early seventies KROY production man Jeff March, who now runs a communications firm at Editpros.com. Perhaps the metropolitan area's best kept secret about several local radio personalities who talked to a national audience was Concept Productions out of Roseville from the mid-seventies through the nineties. Another national voice that rose out of Sacramento was Tony Pigg, who went on to become the announcer for the Live with Regis and Kelly national television show.

Read more about Sacramento Radio History at PlaylistResearch.com.