From 1966 to early 1968 I was one of the founders of the blues/folk/rock/psychedelic band "The Luv Children.” We did fraternity parties and love-in gigs in San Diego. I was studying at SDSU at the time and was in the Speech Arts/Telecommunication/Film Department. I was (and still am) a dedicated long-haired hippie who nobody took seriously in the TV department until Joanne noticed me in the KPBS Radio booth and said in no uncertain terms that I need to meet Ron Middag. I went to the TV/Film Department student lounge and met an intense guy with a droopy mustache and fairly long-hair. We connected and (since I had a third class broadcast license) and I could read the required meters and knew much about blues, rock and the first English wave, it was suggested the I do a live broadcast audition on KPRI.
The station was half of a restroom in the basement of a doctor's office and the production room and broadcast booth were quite limited. I looked at the record library and knew I could do a pretty good set. I knew a fair amount about "Pirate Radio' off the coast of England, Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds, Who etc. So the KPRI after-midnight kids went up to the roof of the medical building and (I was only told about this later) they listened on the roof and decided to have me as part of their crew. There was Ron, O. B. Jetty, Acmad The Revolving and I think Pig Pen listening. I took a one day a week substitute gig until the shit hit the fan and O. B. was ratted out by some Navy git (O. B. was navy personnel) and was given a "Captain's Mast" and ordered to stay on base until his transfer to (can you believe it) to the Mekong Delta. That's when I took the job of helping to keep the station alive from midnight to 4 am for most of the rest of the semester and summer while O. B.'s fate was decided.
I remember working 7 days a week for about 3 months. Ron then jumped into the role of "acting" program director insisting that it would only be until O. B. returned. I then took the mantle of (acting) Music Director Ron offered me. I'm not exactly sure of the timeline but it seems to me it wasn't long before Larry Shushan moved the station to 7th. & Ash downtown and I was amazed at Ron's ability to take us from the old style round "pots" the slider "pots" in the new studio. It was about that time that my friend and roommate Al Gondos graduated and left for parts unknown (later to become GM of PBS Riverside) leaving me with the need for a roommate to share rent in the Alabama Street house.
I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but Ron Middag and I became roommates and what fun (and serious work) we had! I remember members of the Velvet Underground coming to the Alabama Street house for an after concert party. Many hours spent honing the broadcast and production facilities and dealing with sales and management, always a conflict between the creative and the money.
So now I remember (please correct me if I'm wrong) When it became evident the O. B. Jetty was not coming back (and going to Viet Nam as punishment) the program directorship was offered to Ron who as a matter of principal declined. I remember being impressed at his moral decision but concerned as to the result.
I'm having a hard time remembering the timeline of station managers but I'm sure it was that Jack Barnard approached me to go to Santa Anna and change their format from MOR to "Underground" and I was to take whatever talent was willing to go. Pig Pen came, as did Andy Melamed for commercial writing. A guy named Bob Taylor was hired as was Jeff Gonzer. Mark Williams was the 1st. class FCC holder and DJ. We had a really good crew including Stuart Flyshaker who got arrested virtually on the air for looking like a hippy sabotaging a radio station on a Sunday morning. The manager told the cops he was a legit employee but had to come down and identify him.
About a year later Larry called and asked could I come back and help him straighten out a "mutiny in the DJ department even if it meant programming both stations. So I did. I told Larry in no uncertain terms that the old crew be fired and out of the building before I brought my crew in (Bob Taylor and Dana Jones). I made exceptions for those who wished to stay, including Gabriel Wisdom (still my pal) and the overnight guy really good voice and class from working the jazz station, Bill Foster. Unfortunately, I encountered a parade of disgruntled DJs on the way out as I was on the way in. That was tough… This happened again when I went up to a crew change at KPPC being on the air as fired DJs took their stuff from the studio lockers.
Back to KPRI, my passion for broadcasting started to change as I took renewed interest in the theatre, especially avant guard theatre. I sort of found myself going through the motions as I split my time between KYMS and KPRI. (and then there was the theatre). So I willingly quit KYMS and moved to San Diego for the next year as PD of KPRI and Theatre Actor.
When an offer came to be part of a regime change at KPPC I jumped at it. After I hired a woman to work the Sunday/Monday overnight shift a guy named Jack Lane (who had his jeans pressed into a crease down the front) said if I didn't fire her he would and said that in no way would a woman's voice be accepted over the air. Dumb shit and the creased jeans didn't help. He was, after all, from Philly. So I left with Marci Robinson who should be part of the story.