Here’s a classic slice of broadcasting history a long way from Puget Sound. But maybe not so far as you think. The ground-breaking influence of KFWB-Los Angeles in the late 1950s influenced nearly every GM and PD who ever hoped to reach top-40 radio success. (That includes the Seattle market.)
From various accounts, Channel 98 Color Radio KFWB recorded some of the highest audience ratings LA — or any other market — would ever attain. Program director Chuck Blore worked for both Gordon McLendon and Todd Storz, the two early pop radio wizards. Blore knew big success meant more than just playing rock and roll records. At KFWB, he programed a solid jingle package and some of the top jocks in the business — the “Seven Swinging Gentlemen.”
Here’s scoped audio of Bill Ballance from Dec. 12, 1959, featuring an all-hands jockshout, as well as Charley Arlington — one of LA’s long-time news greats. It’s a clip from my personal collection, not found on the internet. (Apologies for any waning quality and drop-outs from the original tape.)
> Audio Running time 5:32
Critics say Ballance’s greatest fame came during his many years as a controversial talk radio host, during the later years of his 50-year career. Time Magazine once said he had many imitators, but no rivals. Ballance died at age 85 in 2004.
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