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|City||San Jose, California|
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. KOME first originated from 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. DJs included Cese McGowan, Uncle Jack Tossman, J. William Weed, Gary T., Phil Charles, Victor Boc, Wolf, Wapaho Joe, Joe Kelly, Captain Reif/Jim Reifschnieder, 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. 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, 1980s, and early 1990s, against original San Jose FM rock rival KSJO. Both stations managed to attract listeners within neighboring San Francisco against Tom Donahue's well-known KSAN.
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 "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.
The station's original free-form rock music allowed disc jockeys to choose their music. In 1974, program director Ed Romig from ABC's WDAI-FM in Chicago, tightened up the format by adding a file of index cards with songs to be played. He brought in Peter B. Collins from Chicago, and hired Jona Denz, Dana Jang, and Gene Mitchell. In August 1977, Mikel Herrington (a.k.a. Mikel Hunter, Lefty, Oil Can Harry, and earlier as "Captain Mikey") was made Program Director and discarded the card catalog playlist in favor of allowing jocks to select "playable" tracks from an eclectic library of art rock, punk, new wave, country rock, heavy metal, oldies, and comedy.. Local bands such as Hush and Cornell Hurd often got airplay. Mikel did the morning show and hired Barry Corkery, Dennis Erectus, Laurie Roberts, Mark Goldberg, Kelly Cox, Larry Jacobs, and Joe Regelski.
The KOME black-on-yellow diamond stickers were designed in 1972 and became an instant hit. For a short time in 1974, a round zig-zaggy design was tried but failed quickly. As an alternative the diamond was brought back with reverse colors. The famous KOME diamond stickers have been spotted all around the world. Listeners soon became highly creative, cutting up the decals to read new phrases; the most notorious was likely "KOKE 99.9% Pure." The "Our Decal" slogan on the stickers lent itself to other "KOME Paraphernalia" such as pinbacks, patches, nightlights, glass, T-shirts, and even the payroll checks said "Our Checks" on them. 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. Early reporters included Lynn Ryder and Victor Boc, who also hosted The Expressway talk show on Sunday mornings. Victor became well known for his interviews with over-the-top guests like "Squeaky" Fromme, Sylvia Browne, Mae Brussel, and "The Two".
In the early '80s, news often turned hilarious as current events were transformed into skits that rivaled those of popular comedy troupe, The Credibility Gap The Credibility Gap through the efforts of Production Director Jack Perry and News staffers Rob Singleton, Joe Regelski, and Mark Goldberg.
In the latter years, the morning team of Blazy and Bob integrated news into mornings, since Bob Lilley was both reporter and side-kick.
KOME's reputation for irreverence, raunchy fun, and a broad music format continued into the 1980s. Mikel Hunter and his crew became known for oddball station promotions like the Chicken-Fly and the KOME Party Crashers. Ratings soared all around the Bay Area during this era.
According to an article in Metro, KOME's freeform ethic ended around 1982, when Infinity Broadcasting cut back the station's playlist and enlisted radio programming consultant, Jeff Pollack. Mikel Hunter, 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 era between 1984 and 1994 were also ratings winners with personalities such as Blazy & Bob, Stephen Page, "Weird Old Uncle Frank" Bennett, Scott Lewis and the return of Dennis Erectus. KOME won 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 forefront of rock radio.
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. In May 1998 the company acquired American Radio Systems and was legally required to sell one station. They 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 on June 19, 1998.
CBS/Infinity transferred two members of KOME's air staff, Ally Storm and No Name, plus the Stern 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 on a country station in Glen Rose, TX at 95.3.
KOME was inducted into the Rock Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.
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 Disc Jockeys
Alphabetical by air name (aka)
- Carson Daly, 1990s (MTV, Last Call with Carson Daly)
- Dennis Erectus (Dennis Netto), 1977–82, 1994-97. He was removed from his airshift for decency violations in 1982 then brought back in 1993, after working at KSJO 1993–94. Also on air in San Antonio, Texas and as a production assistant for PD Dana Jang at KBAY/KEZR from 2005 until his heart attack in November 2006. He suffered brain damage and was institutionalized. Because of his lack of health insurance, Netto's friends held fundraisers to help with his medical costs. He died from a second heart attack on June 13, 2012.
- Peter B. Collins, 1970s. Peter has been active mainly in the talk show circuit since he covered the Watergate Scandal at the age of 19. His syndicated show is heard nationally. He's also heard as a host on San Francisco's KGO radio. Peter B. Collins
- Larry Jacobs, 1977. News (ABC Network news anchor) ABC News Radio
Several former KOME jocks can still be heard on the air at various stations in the area including Blazy & Bob, Dana Jang, Laurie Roberts, Jona Denz-Hamilton, Marla Davies, No Name, and Karin Nakamura.
Alphabetical by air name (current positions held are within parentheses)
- Ally Storm 1990s
- Bear (Barry Corkery) also Oregon radio (died 2013)
- Billy Vega about 1988–1992 also KSJO KUFX
- Bob Lilley 1986–94: news (News Director in Idaho) (Syndicated, various stations with Jeff Blazy)
- Bob Simmons early 1970s also KSJO
- Brad Lee 1990s
- Brian Kay 1986-1987 also KMBY Monterey
- Candi Chamberlain 1984–87 Music Director also KSJO KFRC KYA KRQR KTIM KRSH
- Captain Reif (Jim Reifschneider) 1970s also KOME, KEZR (died 2004)
- Carson Daly 1990s (NBC's "Last Call with Carson Daly")
- Cese McGowan early 1970s
- Cooper (a.k.a. Ken Chelonis) Late 1980s also KLRB (died 2010)
- Craig "The Killer" Kilpatrick 1990s
- Dana Jang 1974–85 also KKUP KSJO Group Operations NextMedia Chicago (PD of KBAY & KEZR afternoons on KBAY)
- Dan Stich 1990s (KEZR and KBAY)
- Dave Wohlman 1982–98: 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 (Dennis Netto) 1977–92, 1994-97 He was removed from his airshift for decency violations in 1982 then brought back in 1993, after working at KSJO 1993–94. Also on air in San Antonio, Texas and as a production assistant for PD Dana Jang at KBAY / KEZR from 2005 until his heart attack in November, 2006. He suffered brain damage and was institutionalized. Because of his lack of health insurance, Netto's friends held fundraisers to help with his medical costs. He died from a second heart attack on June 13, 2012.
- Denise Erectus (Donna Volpicella) played Dennis Erectus's sister on the air
- Don Potoczak early 1970s (died 2012)
- Don West 1979; 1981–83; 1984–98 Production; Night DJ, & Engineering also KSFM KMEL KROY-FM
- Ed Romig 1975-77 Program Director also WDAI
- Geno Michelini (Gene Mitchell) 1979–82 also KLOS
- Gary Lyte 1971-1973 Astrology Report
- Gary T. (Torresani) 1971–72 & 1975–83 also KSJO KLOK
- Greg Stone 1978–83 & 1986–98: Stone Trek Import Show, also KUFX
- Holly Adams 1990s
- Jay William Weed (J. William Weed) 1972–1973: DJ and PD; also KSJO, KGO-FM KSFX
- Jack Perry 1979–83 Production Director also CBS SF Radio Group Creative Services Director
- J9 Janine Siegel 1990s
- Jay Cruz 1990s
- Jeff Blazy 1987–94 also PD of The Fox Santa Rosa, CA (Syndicated on various stations with Bob Lilley)
- Jim Pratt 1990s
- Jim Seagull about 1975-76 also KSJO KKSF KWAV KMBY KBPI
- Joe Regelski about 1976–77 also KSJO KQKE (News Director KOZT)
- Joe "OK" Kelley 1973-78
- John Higdon 1971–98 Longtime Chief Engineer, "The Classical KOME" host early 1970s (Consultant-Engineer for KBAY & KEZR)
- Jona (Jona Denz-Hamilton) 1974–82 also PD of KLRB, PD of KROY-FM KLOK KEEN KFJC. (Longtime Midday jock KBAY)
- Karin Nakamura 1976–83 also KUFX (KEZR)
- Kelly Cox 1979–83 also KLOS
- King Raffi (Raffi Nalvarian) 1992-95 also KEZR KITS
- Larry Jacobs 1977 also KLOS, NBC The Source (ABC News, New York)
- Larry Miles 1990s
- Laurie Roberts 1975–85 Longtime PD & DJ KUFX (KPIG KHIP KUFX)
- Leah Raim 1986 The Expressway Talk Show
- Les Tracy Program Director 1983-84 also KROY-FM
- Lobster (Paul Wells) 1974–76 also KSJO KQKE KLIV
- Lorraine Meier late 1980s also KLRB KCTY
- Lynn Ryder (a.k.a. Lynn Rashkis) 1975-77 News
- Mark Goldberg 1979–86 also News Director KKCS, Colorado Springs)
- Mark Sherry early 1970s: DJ and PD; also KFIG, KSJO (Eugene, OR area radio)
- Marla Davies 1990s (long-time morning host KEZR, San Jose)
- Marshall Phillips late 1980s
- Matthew Arnett late 1980s also KLRB (KRKC Station Manager)
- Mikel Hunter (a.k.a. Mikel Herrington, Lefty, Oil Can Harry "Captain Mikey") Operations Manager/Morning DJ, 1977–82 also KMET WYSP KLIV KVYN national voice of Sears (died 1997)
- Mistress Monique, a dominatrix who appeared regularly on Dennis Erectus's show, was portrayed by writer/comedian Stephanie Landers.
- Monnica Sepulveda 1990s frequent guest psychic on morning show
- Mother Deal (a.k.a. Michael Deal) early 1970s
- No Name 1990s also KLLC "Alice" (Live 105 morning host)
- Pat Evans Program Director mid 1980s also KFOG, KQED, KFOG, KYA (died 2012)
- Peter B. Collins 1976–77 also owner of KRXA (KGO and Syndicated Peter B. Collins show)
- Phil Charles early 1970s also KSJO KSAN General Manager MSU's KGLT (died 2013)
- Radley (a.k.a. Brad Wright) 1990s
- Rob Singleton 1979–83 also News Director KJZY
- Roger Watson Superfly Sky Hang-Gliding Report
- Ron Nenni 1985–98 Program Director & Operations Manager
- Scary Gary 1990s
- Scott Lewis about 1985-90
- 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 1976–83 movie guy/song parody guy also KSJO's Morning Music Magazine host & KUFX
- Tex Wong late 1980s
- Tom Ballantyne 1970s
- Uncle Frank ("Weird Old Uncle Frank" Bennett) PM Drive & Production 1985–93. Then PM Drive at KUFX 1995–02 (Became "Aunt Fran" in 2002)
- Uncle Jack Tossman (Jonny Martin) 1971–74 also KSJO KIFM KOTR (audio man for "Mickey Mouse Club" "Jeopardy" "Wheel of Fortune")
- Victor Boc 1972–80 The Expressway Talk Show Host, News Director, jock (Oregon talk show host)
- Wendy Hoag about 1972-73
- Whipping Boy 1990s
- Wolf (Robert Rickets) about 1973–75
- 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 Sep 2013.
- Lil Mike (March 12, 2007). "Wrestling With A Rock & Roll Heart Attack…". San Francisco Metblogs. Retrieved 15 Sep 2013.
- Singh, Gary (June 27, 2012). "Dennis Erectus Memorial". Metro Newspapers, Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved 15 Sep 2013.
- "Dennis Netto Obituary". San Jose Mercury News obit on Legacy.com. August 17, 2012. Retrieved 15 Sep 2013.
- Palopoli, Steve (June 16, 2012). "R.I.P. Dennis Erectus, South Bay Radio Legend". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved 15 Sep 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 331⁄3 years" KOME Reunion