As it has each year since its inception, the Broadcast Legends will host the 2016 edition of the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame luncheon, which will be held at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco on Saturday, September 24, beginning at 11:30 AM.
This year’s class of inductees include Dianne Nicolini and Hoyt Smith, both currently of Classical KDFC, in the Program Host category; Wes “Scoop” Nisker (News); Kevin “The Rat” Radich (Sports); Narsai David (Specialty); Dave McKinsey (Executive); Robert Hammett and Edward Edison (Engineers); Hilly Rose (Living Legend); and Wilda Wilson Church and Dean Maddox (Pioneers).
You’re invited to take a trip back in time to when radio was boss as the Broadcast Legends celebrate “The Boss of the Bay” — 1260 KYA — which is being honored on Thursday, June 23, with the Legendary Station Award for 2016.
The KYA reunion and celebration will be held at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco, from 11:30 AM to 2 PM.
KYA becomes the latest station to be honored with designation as a Legendary Station by the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame (BARHOF), a program of the California Historical Radio Society. KYA joins the first-ever station to have received the award, KCBS, along with KGO, KNBR, KSFO, KFRC, KSAN and KPEN.
Even though KYA has been gone from the Bay Area’s airwaves since 1983, it can rightfully claim its heritage as the Bay Area’s longest-running Top 40 station, having begun its 25-year tenure in 1958. (By contrast, KYA’s chief competitor, the original Big 610, KFRC, had a twenty year run, from 1966 through 1986.)
Despite the high hopes of its owners when it went on the air ninety years ago – the station made its debut on Saturday, December 18, 1926 – KYA endured many difficulties early in its life, owing mostly to the economic conditions of the Depression era. KYA was rescued in 1934 by none other than newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who aligned the station with his San Francisco Examiner.
A popular local favorite through the 1930s and 1940s, KYA entered its own “golden age” in May 1958 when it adopted a Top 40 music format, which skyrocketed the station’s popularity as the self-proclaimed “Boss of the Bay.”
Over the next quarter-century, KYA listeners were treated to a parade of hall of fame-caliber disc jockeys, including Tom Donahue (inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame in 2006), Emperor Gene Nelson (BARHOF ’06), Russ “The Moose” Syracuse (BARHOF ’08), Norman Davis (BARHOF ’14), Mike Cleary (BARHOF ’07) and Tom Saunders (BARHOF ’10), as well as Les Crane, Chris Edwards, Johnny Holliday, Tom Campbell, Peter Tripp and “Boss Radio” innovator Bill Drake.
KYA can also claim another significant link to pop culture history: fifty years ago, in August 1966, the station promoted and hosted the last live concert performance by The Beatles, at wind-swept Candlestick Park.
Although the original KYA faded from the Bay Area’s airwaves at the end of 1983, the station continues to hold a place of affection for those who grew up listening to the legendary “Boss of the Bay.”
Join the Broadcast Legends for lunch on Friday, March 18, at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco for a fascinating discussion about radio in its very earliest days — nearly a century ago!
Our guest speaker will be Mike Adams, Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University, member of the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame (Class of 2011) and author of several essential volumes on broadcasting history, including “The Radio Boys and Girls: Radio, Telegraph, Telephone and Wireless Adventures for Juvenile Readers, 1890-1945,” which will provide the basis for our program.
“Radio in 1922: What the Boys and Girls Knew,” looks at a single year and compares the rise in broadcasting, and what Americans were being told about its significance, with the information young readers were getting in their Radio Boys and Radio Girls series books. The year 1922 was an important one in the transition from the dots and dashes of the wireless hobby to the radio as a source of entertainment and information.
The Broadcast Legends
Spring Quarterly Luncheon:
Mike Adams and Radio In 1922
Friday, March 18, 2016
11 AM – Reception (No Host Bar)
Noon – Luncheon
1 PM – Feature Program
Basque Cultural Center
599 Railroad Avenue
South San Francisco
We awake today to the sad news that Al Hart has passed away at the age of 88. A longtime member of the Broadcast Legends, Al came to the Bay Area about 55 years ago from KEEL in Shreveport, La., to work at KABL (960 AM) before moving to KNBR (680 AM).
But it was at KCBS Radio a few years later that he hit his stride, becoming perhaps the most iconic voice on this iconic station’s staff. Al arrived at KCBS in 1966, and was part of the team that transformed the station in 1968 to the all-news format that continues to thrive there to this day.
Before moving to his role as morning co-anchor on KCBS, Al had been working afternoon drive on the station. Following his retirement, he continued to be a welcome voice on KCBS, appearing with current morning co-anchor Stan Bunger on the weekly Wednesday chats with John Madden — always bringing along a batch of his signature snickerdoodle cookies, as well as the latest ruminations from Charlie The Checker.
Al Hart was a charter inductee into the Bay Area Radio Museum & Hall of Fame in 2006, and was an up-and-coming Mercury Records recording artist in the early 1960s. One of numerous Minnesota transplants to find fame and fortune in Bay Area radio — Jim Lange, Don Bleu and Bobby Dale included — Al was a proud University of Minnesota Golden Gopher.
Al will be missed, fondly, by everyone who had the opportunity to work alongside him, or spend a few minutes hearing his warm voice on the radio. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Pat, and to all of Al’s friends, family and colleagues.