Boss Radio Forever
The marketing of one particular Hollywood rock and roll radio station in 1965 was propelled forward with the power of a unique brand name, Boss Radio. Hear a two minute audio history of KHJ, Los Angeles that I produced so you can experience the radio station from a listener’s perspective starting in the 1920s up through the turn of the 21st century:
Hollywood is a state of mind more than anything else. But, yes, Hollywood also happens to be a specific region within the city limits of Los Angeles, California. On the map below, you can easily find Paramount Studios in the bottom right. In 1965 KHJ had offices and studios on Melrose Avenue near that famous motion picture and television production facility.
I am Woody Goulart. I have unique qualifications to write about this radio station. But, the important story here is not me. What’s important is that radio station in Hollywood. I believe Boss Radio KHJ deserves to be remembered forever.
Why Remember Boss Radio KHJ?
Is the business of radio programming the same or similar as it was 50 years ago? No, not at all.
American popular culture, the radio business, and Los Angeles all have changed in major ways over the span of half a century. Such changes need to be thought of as normal due to the passage of so many decades.
This one Los Angeles radio station deserves to be remembered especially because today it is very unlikely that there could be big business successes with one radio station like Boss Radio KHJ made happen 50 years ago in Southern California. Or anywhere else for that matter. Knowing why this is the truth will help you if you want to understand today’s media landscape and popular culture in the United States.
The Boss Radio Sound
The music was the main focus of how the station sounded to the listeners. But, one of the most popular things to do here at this website is to spend time enjoying the on-air promotional materials that were designed and created for Boss Radio on KHJ. This side of Boss Radio KHJ can be especially addictive because of the unique style and sound of the promotions. Here you also will find other related promotional recordings that each have historical significance stemming from Boss Radio on KHJ and spanning many years since the 1960s:
|Jingles: Arguably the most unforgettable audio element of Boss Radio on KHJ were the musical jingles that were heard daily in and around the music, news, and announcers on the radio station:Listen to the famous “…and NOW, ladies and gentlemen…” jingle featuring Bill Drake as the voiceover announcer:
The exceptional music for the jingles without any singers or voiceover announcing are worth being heard:
If I had to select only one “most distinctive aspect” of Boss Radio, it certainly would be the Friday afternoon sign-offs by The Real Don Steele. Never before had such a unique radio sign-off been done. Steele would shout his relevant rhymes in the “Neon Fun Jungle that is Los Angeles,” and assure us that “Tina Delgado is alive, alive!” But, you have to hear these for yourself on ReelRadio.com since mere words on a screen cannot accurately describe how he sounded.
“You Can’t Sit Down” by the Phil Upchurch Combo (1961) was the song used by The Real Don Steele as his music bed. When Steele arrived at K100, he naturally wanted a stereo music bed since he was now on FM and in stereo. Under his direction and guidance, I worked with him in the K100 production room and did physical edits (the old-fashioned way using a razor blade and white splicing tape!) to blend both sides of the 45 rpm stereo single into a remix that matched exactly the original KHJ version he had used for many years. Here is that very rare 1973 stereo remix that I produced for him.
After The Real Don Steele reappeared on Los Angeles radio in the early 1970s on K100, Drake-Chenault produced the “The Real Don Steele Top 20/20” syndicated show for him. Hear the lively and upbeat 1973 demo:
Taped Syndication of Radio Programming: Because there were yet no orbiting satellites around this planet to help distribute syndicated radio programming in the 1960s and 1970s, Drake-Chenault radio programming was produced and recorded for open reel audio tapes that were physically shipped to hundreds of radio stations across the U.S.
Hear a demo of “Hitparade 68” (one of the earliest Drake-Chenault taped syndicated radio programming services) narrated by Bill Drake, himself. This will give you a real taste of how KHJ-FM in Los Angeles and KRFC-FM in San Francisco sounded in the late 1960s:
“The History of Rock and Roll” is one of the most famous and beloved taped syndicated radio programming efforts from Drake-Chenault. Enjoy the opening minutes here from a 1980s updated version narrated by none other than Bill Drake, himself:
Roger Christian: He was one of the original seven Boss Jocks and was on the air at K100. He narrated a music documentary about The Beatles in 1973 that I wrote and produced. This recording contains the famous “turn me on, dead man” line from the White Album and some of the most memorable music ever played backwards:
John Lennon on KHJ: After the Drake-Chenault team was ousted by RKO management from KHJ in 1973, for a dozen or so subsequent years, countless consultants kept changing both the sound and style of the station. In 1974, for example, superstars of rock and roll were invited on the air to do their own thing live on the air.
On September 20, 1974, the morning drive slot for one day only was held by John Lennon. His famous personality and wit are preserved in these rare recordings, where you also get to hear much of the late-1970s KHJ imagery and promos:
The 25th Anniversary of Boss Radio: Hear rare recordings of remarks from the Century City, California festivities held on May 9, 1990:
Robert W. Morgan:
The Real Don Steele:
Here you can examine the timeline of this highly influential radio station. See how the radio broadcasting industry was forever changed starting in May 1965 in Los Angeles. As you study what was, you should review previous versions of this website in online archives dating back to the 1990s.
Interested in much more about this subject? Woody Goulart’s eBook, Boss Radio KHJ in the Neon Fun Jungle, is a personal, up-close story. Special discounted price now for a limited time only. Available exclusively for Amazon Kindle.
Also download for free Woody Goulart’s original primary research if you want an unbiased perspective on the subject of Boss Radio KHJ that you will not find anywhere else from any other writer: