Monday, December 5, 2016

THE GOLDEN AGE OF UNDERGROUND RADIO





B. Mitchel Reed was born Burton Mitchel Goldberg in Brooklyn on June 10, 1926. After graduating from Boy's High School in 1944, he became a navigator on a B-17 in Europe during the last year of World War II. He entered radio following a decision at the University of Illinois to forgo a career teaching political-science "for the boogie and the glamour of broadcasting." In 1956, he landed the all-night "Birdland Jazz Show" at WOR New York. In 1957, Mitch moved his "Boy On A Couch" show to KFWB Los Angeles and there became one of the original "Seven Swingin' Gentlemen" at the launch of Top 40 "Color Radio" in 1958. "The fastest tongue in the West" hosted a #1 rated 6PM-9PM high energy show using horns, bells and buzzers until February 20, 1963 when he was wooed back to his hometown as one of "The Good Guys" at WMCA New York: "I'm not talking too fast, you're listening too slow." Again rated #1, "Your Leader" spent time in London developing contacts with Brian Epstein, Derek Taylor and The Beatles which led to exclusive interviews and advance record pressings that helped break The Beatles in New York. After his final WMCA show on March 25, 1965 he was cheered by thousands at the airport, a scene that was repeated when he landed in L.A. for his return to KFWB with "The Wide Wide Weird World of BMR" where he became a voice for the counterculture. He recognized a music explosion was beginning, and he turned the evening hours into album-oriented rock programming after he met with Tom Donahue at the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and discovered their common frustration with radio music restrictions. Donahue was PD of pioneer underground rocker KMPX-FM San Francisco and was looking for an L.A. outlet. He found KPPC-FM in the basement of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. After the KMPX/KPPC Strike ended in June 1968, Reed and Donahue each supplied KMET-FM with four hours of taped album rock while BMR programmed the rest of KMET, one of the first 24 hour automated music stations. "The Beamer" gained validity for "Underground Radio" from the ad agencies with his afternoon drive show that finally went live in Summer 1969. He was responsible for introducing to the public many of the most influential rock musicians ever, including Joni Mitchell. He underwent successful coronary bypass surgery in 1978 and left KMET for KLOS-FM. B. Mitchel Reed "kept his mind open and his spirit free" until his death from a lingering heart condition at the age of 56 on March 16, 1983.


                                                                       







Tom "Big Daddy" Donahue (May 21, 1928 – April 28, 1975), was a pioneering rock and roll radio disc jockey.

Donahue's career started in 1949 on the east coast of the U.S. at WTIP in South Carolina and contined at WIBG in Philadelphia and WINX in Maryland. He moved to San Francisco in 1961 after the payola scandal involving Alan Freed and Dick Clark.
Donahue re-invented himself, first as a disc jockey at Top Forty station KYA (now KOIT) in San Francisco, and then to run a record label (he discovered, produced, recorded, and managed The Beau Brummels on his Autumn Records label, later selling the act to Warner Brothers). He also opened a psychedelic nightclub, and produced concerts at the Cow Palace and Candlestick Park with his partner, fellow KYA disc jockey Bobby Mitchell (also known as Bobby Tripp; real name Michael Guerra, d. 1968).
Donahue wrote a 1967 Rolling Stone article titled "AM Radio Is Dead and Its Rotting Corpse Is Stinking Up the Airwaves" which also lambasted the Top Forty format. He subsequently revamped the foreign-language station KMPX into what is considered to be America's first alternative "free-form" radio station on the largely ignored FM band, playing non-commercial music by album-oriented bands. In 1969 he managed Leigh Stephens, Micky Waller, and Pete Sears in the band Silver Metre, and Stoneground in 1970. In 1972 he moved to the role of general manager at KSAN, where he encouraged playlists of music from different eras and genres interspersed with political commentary.
A typical example of KSAN radio featuring Tom Donahue can be found on the album The Golden Age Of Underground Radio.
Donahue, and his DJ wife Raechel, formed further free-form radio stations KMET and KPPC-FM in Los Angeles.
He died from a heart attack in 1975. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as a non-performer, one of only three disc jockeys to receive that honor

.Original Posting January 2010



                                                                   

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG! I remember these...What great music!
Thanks
Doc

Anonymous said...

This was a great collection along with the bits and pieces that made underground radio what it was, not just the music(great as it was) but the commercials and special features. I'd like to see someone produce one with Charles LaQuidara from WBCN in Boston during it's heyday. Thanks for the memories.

Anonymous said...

These are both great. Got any more?

Anonymous said...

Link IS fixed....thank you.....GOD! An earlier commenter wondered if there are more of these...?....man, lots of great gold to mine out there...how about wabx in detroit????? just down the block from the MC5, Trans Love Energies, John Sinclair....what a great station...I digress....thanks again for the post!

Ankh said...

Excellent post. Thank you.

john said...

I live and grew up in Los Angeles, B. Mitchell Reed occupies many of my brain cells. Thanks.

Javed Jafri said...

I'm trying to bring back this type of radio. Please have a listen to my station and tell me what you think. Thanks
Station is on Live 365 and called Free Form Freedom.

DoKtor Alphonzo said...

great post man! don't touch that dial ..

many thanks

revjim_holly said...

Would you be kind enough to re-up this?

Jon said...

When I click on Zipppyshare "Download Now" all I get is annoying popups and a virus alert. I'm using Adblock so not sure what's going on...

Carlos Mad said...

Hi Bill, thanks once more for this post which seems to be an historical radio piece for yall! Looking forward to listen it! Thanks, take care and enjoy!

Anonymous said...

both work fine. thanx

Robert said...

These are great ! Post more like this ! THANKS!

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