Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women (“CLASS”) Chapter XXX 2/09/20

Loved San Diego,
but San Antonio had Class.
Then soon, there were forty,
and they all came with cash. 

On August 3rd, 1981, I officially became San Diego’s newest resident and its biggest fan.

I’d been hired by the Shadek family, who owned KOGO/KPRI in San Diego, to be their on-site consultant. The thing that I found surprising about living in San Diego was how long it took me to get over that; I’m on vacation feeling.
After looking in La Jolla, Fairbanks Ranch, and Mission Beach, I purchased an older home on Coronado Island, which I quickly remodeled. (pictured above)

Reid Reker was already at KOGO/KPRI when I arrived, and because Jack McCoy had said that he was a keeper, I gave him a shot.
Reid not only turned out to be a very knowledgeable guy, but he also became one of my best friends.
However, Reid may have a different opinion because he claims that I ruined his life. All I did was show him the size of the toys he could have if he worked smarter instead of harder, but Reid now claims that he became addicted to them.

Luckily for me, the Shadeks, besides owning KOGO and KPRI, also owned KLLS in San Antonio. KLLS was where I re-launched the KVIL format under the new name, Class FM.
I needed Class to become successful if my new company had a chance at growing into anything decent.
KVIL, which was very successful in Dallas, had Ron Chapman, and even though I did it again in Palm Beach on WRMF, it still had Fairbanks’ footprint all over it, so I needed Class to be clean.

San Antonio was the perfect place to launch the brand new “Class FM.” I loved the weather there, the River Walk, the legendary Alamo, and, of course, the beautiful Senoritas who were going to love Class FM.

Just like the format did in Dallas and Palm Beach, it soon became #1 in San Antonio and launched my consulting company.
The Class format featured music that 30-year-old women loved, outrageous promotions that everyone loved, and my usual cast of on-air outlaws like the Gardner brothers, Bill and Al, (Bill pictured above on the billboard) Bruce Buchanan, Cat Simon, Harry Nelson, and later, Cat Simon

Each time I visited the station, there was always another story about what one of them had done.
One of the more bizarre stories came from Harry Nelson, who was one of the quieter jocks at Class.
One day he showed up at the atation with a black eye and when I asked him, “What the hell happened?” He claimed that he was out having a couple of drinks when an attractive lady started hitting on him so he ended up taking her back to his place.
Then when I bent over to untie my shoelace, he said, she cold-cocked me and as I lay on the floor dazed, she stood over me and said, “You’re not gonna take that shit from me, are you?”

As much fun as it was listening to all the great jocks on Class FM, my all-time favorite radio moment occurred while listening to a commercial in the production room.
Ed Shadek, the company president, and I flew there together one day, and after getting the rental, we headed for the station and then directly Jack Collins’s office for a quick meeting before lunch.

Jack was our GM, and even though he was from sales, I was a big fan of his. He had come up with a plan that brought in the big money before my team delivered the big ratings.
He had Arbitron do a zip code run, which showed that we owned the northern half of the city. The north was where the affluent lived, and where most of the malls were, but more on that later.

It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of salespeople. I don’t mind hanging out with them outside the station, but I don’t like working with them. Hey, they lie for a living!
Anyway, there we are in Jack’s office where he says that things were going well. However, he said, I’m happy you’re both here because I’m confused about something, and if you follow me to the production room, maybe we can clear it up.

As we followed him down the hall, I just knew that I was about to be slimed.
I suspected that we were about to hear a borderline bad commercial that Bruce Buchanan had rejected for whatever reason. However, Jack trying to embarrass me in front of the president, pissed me off.
Sure enough, the spot wasn’t that bad, and I had about 10 seconds to come up with something to defend Bruce with before it ends.
As the commercial ends and I’m about to begin my tap dance, I felt Ed’s hand on my shoulder and him saying, “May I handle this one George?”

Ed began by saying, “Jack, the Shadek family have owned KLLS for five years, and during those five years, nothing good happened until we met George Johns. Now we’re #1, so if George Johns or any one of his people don’t like a commercial, either do the Shadeks. Is that clear enough? Can we go for lunch now?”


One thought on “Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women (“CLASS”) Chapter XXX 2/09/20

  1. One of the highlights of my career was the look on Jack’s face when Ed shut him down
    Most managers didn’t understand the Fairbanks /George Johns philosophy of programming people having control of advertiser/spot content. Thanks for the memories

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