KOME

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For the 1957 Japanese film known as Kome, see The Rice People.
KOME
Photo of KOME 98.5 Button.jpg
City of license San Jose, California
Frequency 98.5 MHz
Format Rock
Former callsigns KRPM (1959–1971)
KOME (1971–1998)

KOME was a radio station in San Jose, California, heard at 98.5 FM from 1971 through 1998.[1][2] Currently, the 98.5 FM frequency is home to KUFX ("K-Fox").

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

In 1959, Edward W. Meece, one of the founders of Pacifica Radio, formed The Audio House, Inc and started a new radio station, KRPM at 98.5 FM in San Jose, California. KRPM's format was classical music.

1970s[edit]

Meece sold The Audio House, Inc, with KRPM, for roughly $300,000 in February 1971 to Mel Gollub of Pennsylvania and Ron Cutler.[3] The station's call letters were changed to KOME, and the format became free-form rock. KOME was first enshrined in studios in the Pruneyard Shopping Center in Campbell in the Tower building on the 13th floor. Later, it moved to an old house on The Alameda in San Jose. Notable DJs included Cese McGowan, Uncle Jack Tossman, J. William Weed, Gary T., Phil Charles, Wolf, Wapaho Joe, Joe Kelly, Mark Sherry, and Mother Deal. In 1973 a group of New Yorkers led by former Metromedia executives Michael A. Wiener and Gerald Carrus, who later assumed themselves as Infinity Broadcasting acquired KOME as the first of many stations to come.[citation needed] They hired radio veteran Bob Simmons to become their Program Director and moved the station to a location on Winchester Blvd near Payne Avenue in San Jose.

KOME attracted a loyal South Bay rock audience throughout the 1970s and early 1990s, against original San Jose FM rock rival KSJO. Both stations managed to attract some listeners within neighboring San Francisco against Tom Donahue's well-known KMPX and KSAN, neither of which had a significant presence in the South Bay. KOME's diamond shaped stickers were a common sight on vehicles and high school lockers around the area. Several on-air slogans suggested the sexual connotations of its call letters, probably the most memorable being Dennis Erectus 1977–1992 exclaiming "Don't touch that dial, it's got KOME on it!," as well as others saying things like "K-O-M-E all over your radio dial," "You've got KOME... oozing out of your speakers," "Wake up with KOME in your ear," and "The KOME spot on your radio dial." Not surprisingly, Playboy magazine found this newsworthy enough to mention the station.[citation needed]

The station's free-form rock music allowed disc jockeys to choose their music. In 1974, program director Ed Romig from ABC's FM in Chicago, WDAI tightened up the free-form rock format. He brought in from Chicago, Peter B. Collins and hired Gene Mitchell for afternoons. He appointed former KSJO morning personality, to be Music Director. His successor, Mikel Herrington (aka Mikel Hunter, and in a previous incarnation, "Captain Mikey") returned the station to its free-form roots in August 1977. He discarded the card catalog playlist in favor of an eclectic library including art rock, punk, new wave, and [(country/country rock)] within a rock format framework.[citation needed]. Mikel did the morning show and hired Barry Corkery, Dennis Erectus, Laurie Roberts, Kelly Cox, Larry Jacobs, and Joe Regelski.

One of the yellow-on-black editions of the patch, with thumbtack for size comparison.

The KOME decals of that era were seen not just locally, but photographs of them were sent to the station proving people placed them both nationally and internationally (San Jose, Costa Rica sported a KOME decal for a while)[citation needed]. These early diamond decals were available to listeners as both black on yellow, and yellow on black, with "Our Decal" the phrase at the bottom. Other station items also sported the "Our" designation such as "Our Light," "Our Cube" (a pen holder), even the payroll checks said "Our Checks" on them. A limited number of diamond decals with black on a white background were produced for staff members. Listeners soon became highly creative, cutting up the decals to read new phrases; the most notorious was likely "KOKE 99.9% Pure." Another variation had "KAME" (with the arrow moved beneath it, pointing downward). The later "Rock Radio" era eliminated the "Our Decal" and replaced it with "FM," as well as producing some with a digital typeface. Both eras produced limited edition decals promoting bands of the day such as The Rolling Stones, The Who and Bruce Springsteen.[citation needed]

News at the "come" era of KOME was taken seriously, but allowed for room to expand to clever parodies of news events of the day through the efforts of Production Director Jack Perry and News Director Rob Singleton, (and in the earlier days Joe Regelski) with Newsman Mark Goldberg assisting. Production and airstaff members would assist in producing skits that rivaled those of popular comedy troupe The Credibility Gap.[citation needed]

1980s–1990s[edit]

According to an article in Metro, KOME's freeform ethic ended around 1982, when Infinity Broadcasting tightened the station's playlist and enlisted radio consultant, Jeff Pollack to determine programming.[1][4] Mikel Hunter Herrington, who earlier had great success programming KMET in Los Angeles, left the station in protest. He spent the next few years doing radio in Las Vegas, Philadelphia (WIP), and finally back in Northern California at Napa's KVYN.

In 1983, PD Les Tracy hardened the format to a mostly heavy metal playlist. Hard rock and Tracy lasted slightly less than a year before dismal ratings released Tracy, and new PD Pat Evans reverted KOME to its previous approach.

The years between 1983 and 1994 were the station's high-water mark with now famous KOME personalities such as Blazy & Bob, Stephen Page, "Weird Old Uncle" Frank Bennett, Scott Lewis and the return of Dennis Erectus, turning KOME into one of the most notorious in the nation, winning the Rolling Stone Readers Poll as Station of the Year in both 1988 and 1990, landing them on the cover of the music magazine. Local, national and international live broadcasts and innovative promotions kept the station in the fore-front of rock radio. The end came quickly and sadly when parent company Infinity pulled the plug on the AOR format.

KOME went to alternative rock and new wave music in May 1994, eschewing much of the remaining remnants of its rock past. Syndicated programming such as The Howard Stern Show and Loveline[5] supplanted some local DJs.

Closure[edit]

In 1997, Infinity Broadcasting, which had recently merged with CBS,[6] purchased KITS "Live 105," San Francisco from Entercom, and ran both stations with identical formats for a short time. The company was legally required to sell one station when they took over American Radio Systems in May 1998, and opted to sell the 98.5 frequency to Jacor, owners of longtime rival KSJO. Jacor transferred their classic rock station KUFX and its callsign to their newly acquired frequency, thus ending KOME. CBS/Infinity transferred two members of KOME's air staff (Ally Storm and No Name), and the Stern and Loveline[5] syndicated shows, to KITS as "The New Live 105".[1][7] The KOME call letters were retired from the Bay Area, resurfacing briefly on a small co-owned AM station outside the market. At this writing, the KOME call letters are used in Meridian TX at 95.3.

Ratings history vs. KSJO and KSAN[edit]

The following tables compare KOME's Arbitron average share with those of KSJO and KSAN, over five two-month periods. The data is valid for listerners 12 years and older, from 06:00 until midnight, for seven days. In both tables, it appears that KOME began to overtake KSJO significantly in January and February 1979. In the San Francisco nine-county area, KOME actually overtook KSAN slightly in April and May 1979.

Santa Clara county only
Apr/May 78 Jul/Aug 78 Oct/Nov 78 Jan/Feb 79 Apr/May 79
KOME 2.7 2.8 4.4 5.2
KSJO 2.6 2.4 3.2 4
KSAN 1.3 0.7 0.7 0.7
San Francisco nine-county, including Santa Clara county
Apr/May 78 Jul/Aug 78 Oct/Nov 78 Jan/Feb 79 Apr/May 79
KOME 0.8 0.9 0.8 1.6 1.9
KSJO 0.8 1.8 1.0 1.1 1.2
KSAN 1.9 2.1 1.8 1.9 1.8

Notable disk jockeys and other air staff[edit]

Alphabetical by air name (aka)

  • Carson Daly 1990s (NBC's "Last Call with Carson Daly")
  • Dennis Erectus (Dennis Netto, 1949 - 2012), active on KOME from 1977–1992. Removed from his airshift for decency violations, restored later, after working at KSJO 1993–1994. also on air in San Antonio, TX, and worked behind the scenes for PD Dana Jang at KBAY / KEZR from 2005 until his heart attack in Nov 2006.[8] Netto lacked health insurance at the time of his 2006 heart attack.[9] Because of the severity of the heart attack, he suffered brain damage and was institutionalized at the San Mateo Medical Center.[10] Netto's friends held fundraisers to help with his medical costs.[9] Netto suffered a second, fatal heart attack on June 13, 2012. and died.[11][12][13]
  • Mikel Hunter ("Lefty"; Mikel Herrington) Operations Manager/Morning DJ, 1977–1982 also KMET WYSP KLIV KVYN national voice of Sears
  • Peter B. Collins 1976–1977 (Syndicated Peter B. Collins show, owns KRXA Monterey, CA)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Metroactive.com
  2. ^ Bay Area Radio
  3. ^ Lost Stations Of The Bay Area: KSFR from Google Groups
  4. ^ Sfgate.com
  5. ^ a b Sfgate.com
  6. ^ Sfgate.com
  7. ^ Sfgate.com
  8. ^ Bayarearadio.org
  9. ^ a b Kava, Brad (November 30, 2006). "Benefits to help ailing deejay". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 15 Sep 2013. 
  10. ^ Lil Mike (March 12, 2007). "Wrestling With A Rock & Roll Heart Attack…". San Francisco Metblogs. Retrieved 15 Sep 2013. 
  11. ^ Singh, Gary (June 27, 2012). "Dennis Erectus Memorial". Metro Newspapers, Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved 15 Sep 2013. 
  12. ^ (No byline) (August 17, 2012). "Dennis Netto Obituary". San Jose Mercury News obit on Legacy.com. Retrieved 15 Sep 2013. 
  13. ^ Palopoli, Steve (June 16, 2012). "R.I.P. Dennis Erectus, South Bay Radio Legend". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved 15 Sep 2013. 

External links[edit]