|City of license||San Jose, California|
|Former callsigns||KRPM (1959–1971)
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.
Meece sold The Audio House, Inc, with KRPM, for roughly $300,000 in February 1971 to Mel Gollub of Pennsylvania and Ron Cutler. The station's call letters were changed to KOME, and the format became free-form rock. In 1973 a group of New Yorkers led by Michael A. Wiener and Gerald Carrus, who later assumed themselves as Infinity Broadcasting acquired KOME as the first of many stations to come.
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 dial." Not surprisingly, Playboy magazine found this newsworthy enough to mention the station.
The station's free-form rock music allowed disc jockeys to choose their music. In 1974, program director Ed Romig tightened up the free-form rock format, but 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, jazz, punk, new wave, and soul within a rock format framework.
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). 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." 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.
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.
According to an article in Metro, KOME's freeform ethic ended around 1982, when Infinity Broadcasting tightened the station's playlist and enlisted radio consultants to determine programming. 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 supplanted some local DJs.
In 1997, Infinity Broadcasting, which had recently merged with CBS, 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 syndicated shows, to KITS as "The New Live 105". 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
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.
|Apr/May 78||Jul/Aug 78||Oct/Nov 78||Jan/Feb 79||Apr/May 79|
|Apr/May 78||Jul/Aug 78||Oct/Nov 78||Jan/Feb 79||Apr/May 79|
Notable disk jockeys and other air staff
Aalphabetical by air name (aka)
- Billy Vega about 1988–1992 also KSJO, KUFX
- Bob Lilley 1986–1994: news (News Director in Idaho)
- Bob Simmons early 1970s also KSJO
- Candi Chamberlain 1984–1987 Music Director, also KSJO, KFRC, KYA, KRQR, KTIM, KRSH
- Carson Daly 1990s (NBC's "Last Call with Carson Daly")
- Dana Jang 1974–1985 also KKUP, KSJO current (PD of KBAY and KEZR, San Jose) and afternoons on KBAY.
- Dave Wohlman 1982–1998: Production Director, Promotion/Marketing Director, Assistant Program Director, Personality. Host of "The Sunday Morning Time-Machine" and currently hosting "Radio Free Wohlman" (radiofreewohlman.blogspot.com)
- Dennis Erectus (the late 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. Netto lacked health insurance at the time of his 2006 heart attack. Because of the severity of the heart attack, he suffered brain damage and was institutionalized at the San Mateo Medical Center. Netto's friends held fundraisers to help with his medical costs. Netto suffered a second, fatal heart attack on June 13, 2012. and died.
- Denise Erectus (Donna Volpicella), played Dennis Erectus's sister on the air
- Don West 1979; 1981–1983; 1984–1998 Production; Night DJ, Engineering
- Frank Bennett ("Weird Old Uncle Frank") PM Drive & Production 1985–1993. Then PM Drive at KUFX 1995–2002 (Became "Aunt Fran" in 2002)
- Gene Mitchell (Geno Michelini, sometimes as air name) 1979–1982 (Los Angeles radio on and off)
- Gary T. (...Torresani) 1971–1972 & 1975–1983
- Greg Stone 1978–1983 and 1986–1998: Stone Trek, longtime announcer on KUFX, San Jose
- Jay William Weed (aka J. William Weed) 1972–1973: DJ and PD; also KSJO, ABC at KGO-FM>KSFX, San Francisco (Mr. Mom)
- Jack Perry 1979–1983: Production Director (CBS SF Radio Group Creative Services Director)
- Jeff Blazy 1987–1994 (PD of The Fox Santa Rosa, CA)
- John Higdon 1971–1998: Chief Engineer, "The Classical KOME" host early 1970s (Consultant-Engineer for KBAY and KEZR)
- Joe Regelski about 1976–1977 also KSJO (News Director KOZT, Mendecino, CA)
- Jona Denz-Hamilton 1974–1982 also (PD of KLRB/Monterey, CA) (PD of KROY-FM/Sacramento, CA) also on KLOK/San Jose, KEEN/San Jose, KFJC/Los Altos Hills. Current Middays(KBAY, San Jose)
- Karin Nakamura 1976–1983 (KUFX, San Jose). Current part-time (KEZR, San Jose)
- Kelly Cox 1979–1983 (KLOS, Los Angeles)
- Larry Jacobs 1977 (KLOS, Los Angeles) (NBC The Source) (ABC News, New York)
- Laurie Roberts 1975–1985 Longtime PD and DJ KUFX, San Jose until 2010. Middays at KPIG, Freedom/Watsonville.
- Lobster (Paul Wells) 1974–1976 also KSJO (KQKE, San Francisco)
- Mark Goldberg 1979–1986 (News Director KKCS, Colorado Springs, CO)
- Mark Sherry early 1970s: DJ and PD; also KFIG, KSJO (Eugene, OR area radio)
- Marla Davies 1990s (current morning hostKEZR, San Jose)
- Mikel Hunter ("Lefty"; Mikel Herrington) Operations Manager/Morning DJ, 1977–1982 also KMET WYSP KLIV KVYN national voice of Sears
- No Name 1990s (KLLC "Alice", San Francisco)
- Peter B. Collins 1976–1977 (Syndicated Peter B. Collins show, owns KRXA Monterey, CA)
- Phil Charles early 1970s (Montana radio)
- Rob Singleton 1979–1983 (News Director KJZY, Santa Rosa, CA)
- Ron Nenni 1985–1998 Program Director and Operations Manager
- Sean Donahue (Sean Coman) 1970s also KSAN (died Jul 2000)
- Stephen Page (Dunwoody) 1973–75 & 1985–95: Music Director also KSJO, KRQR, KYOURadio, CBS Interactive Music Group.
- Ted Kopulos 1976–1983: movie guy/song parody guy, also hosted the Morning Music Magazine at KSJO in the mid-1980s, and appeared on KUFX, San Jose for many years
- Uncle Jack Tossman 1971–1974 also KSJO and (KIFM, Bakersfield as Jonny Martin) KOTR Cambria 1980s (audio man for "Jeopardy"& "Wheel of Fortune")
- Victor Boc 1972–1980: talk show (Oregon talk show host)
- Wolf about 1973–1975
- Mistress Monique, a dominatrix who appeared regularly on Dennis Erectus's show, was portrayed by writer and comedienne Stephanie Landers
- Bay Area Radio
- Lost Stations Of The Bay Area: KSFR from Google Groups
- Kava, Brad (November 30, 2006). "Benefits to help ailing deejay". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 15 Sept 2013.
- Lil Mike (March 12, 2007). "Wrestling With A Rock & Roll Heart Attack…". San Francisco Metblogs. Retrieved 15 Sept 2013.
- Singh, Gary (June 27, 2012). "Dennis Erectus Memorial". Metro Newspapers, Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved 15 Sept 2013.
- (No byline) (August 17, 2012). "Dennis Netto Obituary". San Jose Mercury News obit on Legacy.com. Retrieved 15 Sept 2013.
- Palopoli, Steve (June 16, 2012). "R.I.P. Dennis Erectus, South Bay Radio Legend". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved 15 Sept 2013.
- KOME tribute page
- KOME HOME page
- KOME on Facebook
- Edward W. Meece: A Tribute
- June 4, 1998 Metro: KOME chronology since Infinity ownership
- June 4, 1998 Metro: Last two weeks of "Kingdom KOME"
- June 4, 1998 1998 Metro: South Bay radio re-shuffling: "The Big Radio Play"
- June 4, 1998 1998 Metro: "Goodbye, KOME"
- January 21, 2006 Mercury-News blog: "Almost 33⅓ years" KOME Reunion
- A new and interesting website page about the possibility of the station coming back on the air, rumors so far but with good backing.