Thursday, March 1, 2018

50 Years Ago FM Rebel Rock March 1968

Rebel Rock on Your Radio Dial 

This 50 Years Ago this Month post can brag about a DJ featured in the Blast from Your Past series! Those of us who were “there”, know the 1960s is in many ways, an uncanny sister-era to the 2010s. But back “in the day” we had the added attraction of enjoying the birth of FM Radio and Rebel Rock.

The Swinging Sixties felt the change and upheaval in all aspects around the world. Rebel Rock really started to catch fire as FM radio heated up the broadcasting industry. A handful of innovative disk jockeys felt the vibe—especially those who heard the call of underground music, and the psychedelic siren of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. Leaning into 50 Years Ago this Month 1968

March 11th: With the progress of Acid Rock and early Progressive Rock on FM radio airwaves, several former Top 40 radio stations gave up the ghost for an all-news format, like KFWB in Los Angeles. It followed in the footsteps of KYW/Philly and WINS/NY. However, a Boston station took a go-with-the-flow attitude …

March 15th: WBCN/Boston thought no one would notice if they gradually began switching from easy listening to freeform Progressive Rock. Right … just proved a point for a very vocal pioneering DJ …

March 18th: Always the innovator and instigator, popular San Francisco DJ and program director, “Big Daddy” Tom Donahue (1928-1975), propagated the infant Progressive Rock march into FM stations like legendary KMPX. But he shocked management when he resigned, with attitude. He and wife, Raechel, pushed the envelope, taking much of the staff and DJs with them in a walk-out dubbed by locals as “The Great Hippie Strike.” More than a little partying flanked the picket lines, as the strike waged on for two months, with a lot of head-butting, but no resolution.

The Donahues didn’t let one stubborn station owner get in their way of Rockin’ progress. They morphed former KSFR 94.9 (now KYLD) into iconic KSAN/FM “The Jive 95.” Most of the former KMPX staff moved in with them.

As Raechel used to say, “This is KSAN in San Francisco. Sometimes we do it fast … sometimes we do it slow … but we al-ways do it!”

Tom spoke into the microphone with energetic glee, “You can see, we’re gonna be doin’ a LOT of boogie’n’.”

Featured Radio Survey: Top 40 still ruled many San Francisco stations, though, like popular KFRC. The Beatles’ “Lady Madonna” marched up the chart at #13. A far-out rendering of the Fab Four on the cover, fascinated fans. 50 Years Ago This Month, recall that awesome day when …

Celebrate MARCH 1968: 50 Years Ago and … Rock On!

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LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and an author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) in her Blast from Your Past series, available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon, … The Psychedelic Seventies!

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