Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Moose is on The Loose

It is generally written that before Tom Donahue hooked up with KMPX, there was nothing subversive about rock radio. But The Moose, your Captain of the all-night flight, was very real. When some radio people talk about the true beginnings of free-form radio, they talk about the Moose.

He was a native of Rochester, N.Y. and after three years at WKBW he came to KYA in the Summer of 1962 The Moose worked at KYA on four different occasions, at KSFO three times, KFRC twice, and at KNBR during his career in San Francisco. You can listen to clips here: http://www.bayarearadio.org/audio/kya/index.shtml

When the owner of KYA asked him to be program director, he balked at the Promotion. Vindictively the boss put him on overnights. It went down more like letting a wild lion out of a cage. It was here on the Super Freak 1260 that he flew directly thru the great egress of the 1960s. He rallied the people for protests, for civil rights, and free speech. He praised long hairand drugs and railed against war; all with a timeless blend of silliness, surrealism and cynicism. Every night he played free-form rock 'n' roll and the youth listened.

If there was a record on he didn't like, he'd have his engineer hit a sound-effects cartridge of a bombing attack, and the record would soon grind to a pathetic halt. In a lilting, laughing voice, he got away with sayings like, "May the bird of paradise eat your face completely." He gleefully attacked sponsors. His biggest advertiser was Mayfair supermarkets, which used a jingle sung by "Bob and Penny Mayfair." One night, Syracuse bombed the bouncy couple.

He had an imaginary crew and offered in-flight movies. and at 5:15, he delivered a farm report, doing the voices of Barnyard Benny and Cy Lo. reportedly he did not mave multiple personality disorder.

But behind the Mic, he was a family man. He sold driftwood at a shop on the village fair. He didnt take drugs and did his show hopped up on hot cocoa. He claimed not to ingest anything stronger than a cheeseburger.

On March 27, 1994 the historic KYA call letters disappeared forever, as the call letters were changed to KYCY. [Now KZRZ] http://home.att.net/~musicmann/kya.htm