In the early to mid 80's, KYUU was the radio station to listen to in San Francisco. It began in 1978, I think, when the calls and format changed from KNAI (for News And Information) to KYUU ("you"). Ron Reynolds was an early on air staff member and Hoyt Smith made a brief appearance in late '78 even doing the morning show until Tom Parker (pictured at left) showed up. Mike Phillips was the PD in May of 1979 when he hired Parker from KFRC to do afternoon drive. Mike soon became the NBC-FM group PD and GM John P. Hayes, Jr. hired Sandy
Beach to take over as PD. Mornings were done briefly by David Heller out of KLOS news in L.A. Parker took over mornings in September of '79. Liz Bentley did middays and Stefan Ponek did nights. Don Bleu (pictured below right with Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane and some other guy) was hired in February of '80 and swapped shifts with Parker in June of '81 (who continued to receive his morning pay rate until replaced by yours truly in September, 1982) Bleu stayed in mornings until the stations' demise in September 1988.
I managed to hold down afternoon drive until July, 1988 -- two months before the station was sold. Rick Shaw (pictured at left) settled nicely into middays. I don't know when Rick was hired, but he was there before I was and rode it through the end, too. Jack Friday, who had first done middays and then mornings before Bleu was hired, ended up doing 7-Midnight. A special thanks to Jack for providing the photo of Gil Haar (below) and the story board for an early KYUU television ad: "Rock Radio Grows Up".
Steve Behm also did the shift for awhile in an experimental talk/celebrity interview/music show thing that had some catchy title I couldn't recall until Steve reminded me via email -- "Nightime". All I remember is the friendship that Steve forged with Frank Zappa (as pictured on right) and the tantrum that Cloris Leachman had when she walked into a smoke-filled studio. She was all over Behm for smoking and made him put out his cigarette. As was often the case, the stuff that never made it over the airwaves was the funniest. Behm reports that after rejecting John Hayes' suggestion of interviewing Carol Channing, "it was all downhill from there"... Carol Channing? Hello? Lippincott replaced Behm with that "feisty bag of estrogen", Jackie Skarr. Last I heard, Jackie was doing all nights at K101.
Steve Kane did overnights and was replaced by a NABET board op named Tony Mercurio, who used to enjoy peeping at women in the apartment building across the alley with binoculars and spent countless hours rifling through everyones things in the dead of night. The things he found would astound you. But sooner or later, everyone knew, since some of the more interesting finds would make their way to the engineer booth bulletin board. The photo of a grown man wearing a baby bonnet and diaper, with an attractive nurse sticking her hand down the front was one of the more unusual trophies, gleaned from a copy of "Film Fetish Quarterly" that an unnamed staffer had stashed in their drawer. Kinky.
Sean McMahon was hired for the all night shift after the station, along with all the other NBC O&O's went combo. Sean also made no bones about wanting my job. He never got it. Maybe it was because of the time he said "f***" instead of "truck" when he was reading copy on the air one morning. Anyway, Sean turned out to be a good friend for me later though, when as PD of Concord teapot KKIS FM, he hired me to do the morning show after I was abruptly dropped from the lineup at KYUU on July 2, 1988 -- two weeks after the birth of my daughter -- two months before Emmis took over as new owner -- and two weeks after I was pressured into signing a new one year contract.
Fortunately, KYUU management thought that they were doing the right thing by pressuring me into signing that new contract that I had resisted for six months. I had made it known that after five years of doing PM drive, I wanted to keep my options open for doing mornings and I had refused to sign or quit -- until I was threatened with a salary reduction to union scale. Then I signed. As it turns out, Emmis wanted me gone before they even took the keys to the building. It's just that they didn't get around to telling management until after I'd signed the paper. Not even my 1,500+ army of Stinking Weasels could help prevent my ouster. Out of a job with six months to go on my new, retroactive contract. Nice parting gift, I'd say. Terry DeVoto gave me the option of accepting the majority of what they owed me, or NBC would pay out the full amount over the next six months, precluding me from working at any other station. I took the cash, thinking I would be picked up somewhere else in The City in a relatively short time. After all, I had been number one in my time slot for two consecutive years and always hovered around the top five out of 75 competing signals.
I was wrong, and never worked in the San Francisco metro again. Oh, I could have settled for something, I suppose. But my ego and pride got in the way. Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da. In retrospect, this was the best thing that could have happened. My acrimonious departure from the San Francisco radio market fueled the entrepreneurial spark that launched my production company -- and my independence.
As fate would have it, one of Sean McMahon's friends from a quarter century ago Googled his name and found it here recently (September, 2005), which led to him contacting me searching the whereabouts of Sean, my contacting former PD Ric Lippincott, which finally led to a brief thank you note from Sean. We talked on the phone for the first time in about 15 years this evening and I was glad to hear that Sean is doing fine as a Captain for Southwest Airlines. He always loved planes. Spoke incessantly about them with Ric Shaw who was also a pilot. Sean reminded me of the time he had two SFPD cops serve me with a "cease and desist" order while I was on the air one day. I'd forgotten all about that, but now that I recall the "incident", I remember being quite annoyed with Sean at the time. Ha!