Boss Radio Forever
In the 1990s I created a website named Boss Radio Information Site to share my research into Hollywood rock and roll radio history. The website named Boss Radio Forever was the next incarnation. This updated site encouraged to people remember the impact one Los Angeles radio station, KHJ, had on the radio business. Boss Radio Forever, no longer available online thanks to malicious damage done by hackers, was based upon my master’s thesis that showed why radio broadcasters Bill Drake and Gene Chenault were successful. But, if you choose from the links on this web page, you can experience some of what the old site offered:
Rock and Roll Radio History
When he was on KHJ,The Real Don Steele, my favorite rock and roll radio celebrity, irreverently and sarcastically referred to Los Angeles as the neon fun jungle. I quote that phrase to honor Steele. I used it when it came time to pick a name for my eBook about my personal question for adventure in rock and roll radio history in Hollywood.
Neon fun jungle is a cool phrase that even today remains one of the most accurate and unforgettable nicknames that LA has ever been given. I jumped feet first into that jungle without fear and I lived to tell about it.
My eBook is a very personal story. I don’t hold back on the honesty and the emotions. Yeah, sure, this is about rock and roll radio in Hollywood in the era of Bill Drake and Gene Chenault.
But, this eBook is also a true story of discovery and learning lessons. You will see what happened when a young man’s dreams of making a long career in the radio business suddenly end. He discovers the need to reinvent and rebrand himself.
I wrote this eBook to share valuable insights and cool secrets. More importantly, however, this is a cautionary tale about hidden dangers within an American business that for decades was thought of as fame, fortune, glamor, and fun. The truth turns out to be something else entirely.
Neon Fun Jungle: Quest for Adventure in Hollywood Rock and Roll Radio is especially for anyone today who may be considering or beginning a professional career in the broadcasting business. It contains lessons learned on personal reinvention and rebranding.
I really respect those who remained in the radio business over the course of their lives. I started out on the air in college radio. Then, after an all-too-brief career in Los Angeles radio, I had to go make a living elsewhere in other industries where I could find reliable and stable employment that is not widely available to those who stay in the radio business. There was no way for me to survive financially even though I had great fun in the radio business all those years ago.
The Boss Radio Sound
You can spend time enjoying the on-air sounds that were designed and created for Boss Radio on KHJ. Many people find this audio aspect of Boss Radio KHJ to be addictive. You will find here other related audio recordings that have historical significance stemming from Boss Radio on KHJ and spanning many years since the 1960s:
I produced a special two minute audio history of KHJ, Los Angeles that lets you hear how that radio station sounded from the 1920s to the present day:
|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:
I am one of the few who conducted primary research concerning the Bill Drake and Gene Chenault team’s radio programming that started in the 1960s while these gentlemen were living. In Los Angeles, I interacted with them as an employee of theirs, so they trusted me to sit down with me and talk on the record about their work in rock and roll radio programming.
I am giving you free access to my master’s thesis from Humboldt State University entitled The Mystique and The Mass Persuasion: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Drake-Chenault Radio Programming 1965 – 1976. What you get is every typewritten page of my primary research findings and conclusions concerning this unforgettable 1960s to 1970s rock and roll radio programming.
Download the pdf (10 MB) free by clicking on the title below:
Summary of Findings:
|Several radio broadcasting professionals, independent of each other, all are in agreement about the fact that Bill Drake should not have been credited by the radio industry trade press as the person most responsible for the success of Boss Radio.|
|Bill Drake and Gene Chenault angered and alienated several of their key management people working on Boss Radio by taking radio programming components that were tested and perfected by Boss Radio and using those components to program radio stations in San Francisco, Boston, and other major markets.|
|The failure of Bill Drake and Gene Chenault to hold together a successful team while programming the RKO Radio chain of rock and roll radio stations was caused by the deterioration of mental efficiency, the lack of proper reality testing, and the suppression of dissenting viewpoints—symptoms which are critically destructive to successful group behavior and decision-making—today commonly referred to as groupthink.|
|After being ousted from RKO Radio, Bill Drake and Gene Chenault unsuccessfully attempted to recapture their national prominence as successful radio programmers at a Los Angeles FM station called “K100.” That venture failed in the late 1970s.|