Interviews with Sacramento Radio Legends
by Alex Cosper, March 13, 2017

Sacramento Radio Personalities and History
The Legend of KZAP
KROY Story
Rise of Alternative Radio (KWOD 1990s)
Sacramento History and Local Pop Culture

Alex Cosper with KZAP's original air staff member Captain Carrot, Cary Nosler

I interviewed Cary Nosler in 2004 about his early days at KZAP, which launched in November 1968. It was part of my series of interviews that led to the project "The Legend of KZAP." We hung out and introduced bands together at the Sacramento Music Festival in 2015, as pictured above. We did a video interview this time and included the organic food revolution as well as evidence that the young counter-culture generation (hippies) of the late 60s were ahead of the curve on a lot of cultural awareness, such as organic food.

Alex Cosper with KZAP's original Music Director Jeff Hughson

I interviewed Jeff Hughson in 2004 about his early days at KZAP as their first music director. He told me about his relationships with freeform radio pioneer Tom Donahue of KMPX and KSAN, concert promoter Bill Graham and Tower Records owner Russ Solomon. He put together the production tape that kicked off KZAP's first broadcast, featuring Jose Feliciano singing the national anthem followed by the Beatles' current hit at that time, "Revolution." I interviewed Jeff again, along with Edd Fong at the KZAP on-air reunion at KDVS at UC Davis in November 2012 on the 44th anniversary of KZAP's launch.

Alex Cosper interviews KROY Program Director Johnny Hyde

Johnny Hyde, KROY's Program Director during its reign as Sacramento's top rated radio station in the late sixties through early seventies, talked with me at his home in 2012 about why KROY was so successful in its heyday. He described growing up listening to early rock and roll radio in the 1950s through hosting Sacramento's first freeform radio show called the "Gear Hour" on KXOA AM in the mid sixties. From there he tells the story of KROY's legendary rise to the top of the ratings under his programming.

Alex Cosper interviews KCRA traffic reporter Dann Shively

After creating SacTV, one of my first Sacramento local legend interviews was with Dann Shively in February 2012, about his experiences as KCRA's first traffic reporter from the sky. He worked for both the AM radio station, which was a mix of music and talk in the 70s, then with the TV station, Channel 3. He started out in radio at a very young age and was part of the era when AM radio was at its most adventurous.

Dennis Newhall Tells Alex Cosper about KZAP and Earth Radio

I interviewed Dennis Newhall in 2004 about the Rock and Roll Museum he helped put together to recapture the spirit of 60s and 70s Sacramento radio. He talked about his time at KZAP in the mid seventies and Earth Radio in the late seventies in which he was Program Director. Dennis explains how jock creativity and freedom was the foundation of freeform radio's final days on the commercial dial.

Robert Williams Interview with Alex Cosper About KZAP in the 70s

I met with 70s KZAP Program Director Robert Williams at his home in 2004. He talked about the period in which KZAP made the transition from complete freeform to a more structured presentation in which jocks mostly still had creative control of their shows. He explains his relationship with concert promoter Bill Graham and KSAN Program Director Tom Donahue.

Earth Radio 2000 Reunion Interviews by Alex Cosper

Dennis Newhall invited me to Earth Radio's Reunion in Old Sac on July 7, 2000. I did multiple radio interviews with former KSFM/Earth Radio personnel. It was a period when many radio fans were beginning to reflect on how great freeform rock radio was in the late 70s. The station was transformed into a contemporary hits powerhouse, but memories still live on about jocks getting to do creative captivating music mixes. Jocks I interviewed included Don West, Joyce Krieg and Curtis Fong with footage of Dennis Newhall pointing out staff members.

Alex Cosper Is Schooled by Radio Legend Tony Cox

I interviewed Tony Cox in 2000 about his experiences at KROY AM and FM in the late seventies through early 80s. At the time he was a partner in a high-end Sacramento recording studio called UPS. He explained how he watched a huge audience migration from AM to FM in the late seventies. He was allowed to experiment with creative new ideas on his morning show when "theater of the mind" was considered a cornerstone to successful morning radio. We did further video interviews in 2014 and 2015.

Alex Cosper Interviews Dave Skyler about Sacramento Radio in the 80s

In the spring of 2000 I did a series of interviews with my radio friend Dave Skyler about his days at KSFM, KWOD and KRXQ and other Sacramento stations, as well as his background on Los Angeles radio. Dave was the morning jock who flipped contemporary hits station KPOP to KRXQ as 93 Rock in early 1986. Within a few years the station became the ratings leader among rock-leaning stations, surpassing KZAP. Dave and I worked together at KWOD, WLUM in Milwaukee and KRCK in Palm Springs.

Alex Cosper and Morning Zoo Host Chris Collins Reflect on Sac Radio's Heyday

My video interviews with Chris Collins of the FM 102 Morning Zoo were incredibly entertaining and informative. Chris has a way of telling hilarious stories about FM radio adventures in the 70s through 90s. It was a time period when morning shows were allowed to be wild, crazy and challenging to the status quo. We talked about the rivalry and respect between contemporary hits stations KWOD and KSFM throughout the 80s.

KWODumentary: A Look Back at 90s Alternative Radio

This documentary about independent radio station KWOD throughout its alternative era in the 90s brings back memories how radio had a more community spirit at one time. One of the factors that made KWOD stand out from most corporate stations on the Sacramento radio dial was that it played a lot of local music around the clock. It was also well connected with the local club scene. KWOD introduced a lot of new music to the Sacramento radio audience that wasn't being played on other stations. I also wrote an autobiography about my experiences at KWOD in its 90s alternative era.

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