Tuesday, December 25, 2007

KFXM Greg Mitchell 1975-1976

KFXM , back of survey, March 12, 1976 listing Greg Mitchell as one of the djs making personal appearances.
Greg Mitchell (George Junak) was a weekender at KFXM in 1975 and 1976. Bill Earl's blog When Radio Was Boss presented articles about him recently. For those who haven't seen Bill's Blog, he is graciously letting me present the KFXM highlights from his articles. For complete articles see When Radio Was Boss


The only other survey I found listing djs working at KFXM in 1975
October 31, 1975 and the one at the top of the page: March 12, 1976

George Junak discovered Top 40 radio in 1958 when he was home sick from school as a five-year-old and stumbled across KFWB/Los Angeles on the radio. He knew immediately that was what he wanted to do when he grew up. After getting his FCC First Phone license through the broadcasting program at Pasadena City College, he landed his first radio job in 1973 doing weekends at KDES/Palm Springs as Greg Mitchell.
At one point in 1975, George was working weekends at both KDES and KFXM/San Bernardino, with a Sunday midnight-3AM shift at KFXM, then 75 miles to KDES for 6AM-3PM (babysitting public service from 6-10 and on-air 10-3PM), then back to KFXM for 7-midnight, all on Sunday.

KFXM Some interesting behind the scenes information
George reminisces to WRWB2 about the freedom that the deejays had in music selection on the original KFXM (San Bernardino) during his era 1975-1976.
"...the KFXM music rotation was extremely simple...during the week it was Oldie-Current-Current-Oldie-Current-Current and keep repeating. On the weekend, it was Oldie-Current-Oldie-Current (Flashback Weekend).
The KFXM Top 40 list was typed out on a standard sheet of paper which was slid in a plastic cover. You then drew 3 lines down it and made 3 columns. Each time you played a current you checked it off in grease pencil in that hour's column. When the hour was up, you erased the check marks in the oldest hour and started a new one. Everything not checked off was playable. As for Oldies, there was a wall of 45's behind the DJ on the back wall of the studio with a bin for each year, about 1960-1975 at that time with the Top 100 songs plus a handful of extras. The jock could pull anything he wanted from the wall to fill an oldie slot. You piled up the Oldies you played & after your show, dumped them into your personal bin.
Several days later, you refiled them onto the wall & they were again available for play by anyone. Very unusual system that you would certainly not find today. It gave the DJ much control over what got played on his show...."

and a little bit more...ratings and...

KFXM's GREG MITCHELL (George Junak) reminisces about his tenure at 590 AM in 1975 and 1976.
"...KFXM's days of music freedom for the DJs ended in mid 1976 when owner Howard Tullis hired Jeff Salgo from KKDJ as his programming consultant. While there had been close to 2000 Oldies available for play under the old system, probably a max of 400-500 actually received regular airplay. Jeff trimmed this down to probably 200 and divided them into 4 or 5 categories. The Oldies were now in boxes on a card table sitting behind the jock in the control room. Currents were also now divided into multiple categories with the hot ones getting Power rotation.
Arbitron had not yet included San Bernardino-Riverside-Ontario as one of their rated markets (wouldn't happen until 1980). Pulse still surveyed San Bernardino though. In May-June 1976, here's the Top 10:
1) KFXM 14.4
2) KOLA 8.8
KCKC 8.8
4) KBON 8.0
5) KMEN 6.0
6) KFI 4.4
7) KDUO 4.0
KPRO 4.0
9) KCAL-AM 2.2
10) KCAL-FM 2.0
KHNY 2.0
1976 was about the last big year for KFXM. KOLA would continue to eat into KFXM's numbers but never knock them off. But when KGGI went top 40 (1979?) they would kill off KFXM. In Apr/May 1980, KGGI had a 6.3 and KFXM was down at 16th in the Market with a 2.0.
They did bounce back to a 4.3 versus KGGI's 5.7 in the Oct/Nov 1980 book (that was probably the initial upswing from Frank Felix's "Clutter Free" Mighty 690 format on KFXM - also on the air at the time at the Mighty 690, which had a big signal in the Inland Empire 24/7).
From there it was downhill; 3.2 in Spring 1981, 2.3 in Fall 1981, 1.9 in Spring 1982, 2.0 in Fall 1982. By Fall 1983, KFXM was down to 1.3, tied with automated Gold KMEN. But FM KGGI was feeling the heat too; although they had a 4.3 in Fall 1983, KIIS-FM was kicking their butt with a market leading 8.3 share.
KFXM certainly hung on a lot longer than almost all AM Top 40 stations. Most were really hurting by 1976 but KFXM was still topping the market..."

KFXM's GREG MITCHELL (1975/1976) continues his reminiscing

"During the holidays each year, KFXM was an absolute cash-register that had to be emptied every hour or it would overflow...
KFXM had no limit on the number of spots it would run in an hour. 30 units? No problem! It got so bad (Christmas of 2005) that you could not even sweep across the Top of the hour, much less any other time of the hour....The jocks had to play the shortest songs they could find to squeeze in all the spots each hour - a 2-1/2 minute Creedence oldie? Great! It was really difficult to get all the spots in and not spill over into the next hour, putting you even farther behind...
Here's the story of how I got fired from KFXM the first time...one Saturday afternoon in late December, I was so frustrated by jamming so many spots into the hour, I went cold into a song with "KFXM..we'll be back with more of your favorite commercials right after this" GM Bob Bunnell happened to be there in his office that Saturday afternoon...he came running into the control room...."Uh Greg, we feel bad enough about all the inventory we're running....I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't bring it to everyone's attention like that....." Shortly after, I was canned and moved from the 6-midnight shift back to weekends....
Another KFXM commercial load story....Back when Cal Stereo opened their San Bernardino store ("right on the corner...right on the price") Tom Campbell became KFXM/KDUO's bestest buddy with all the business he was throwing their way. KFXM ran the high-energy Tom Campbell spots; KDUO (beautiful music FM sister) recut them in a low-key manner. Tom Campbell had the hotline number and every so often he'd call up the jock to request that more Cal Stereo spots be added to the commercial log on top of what was already running - "Hey Greg, Tom Campbell here. How ya doin'? Would you please add 2 more Cal Stereo spots to the 4-5PM hour? Thanks buddy!" Anything for Tom!
We'd add them for him and the KFXM cash register would ring again! Howard Tullis must have loved those days! It was cha-chinggggg all year long.
Thank you again Bill for the information about Greg Mitchell and his days at KFXM


Bill Earl said...

And Merry Christmas to you and your family, Doug! Our blogsite is ALWAYS willing to share stuff w/ you!

Greg Mitchell said...

Doug, I was actually fulltime 5-midnight twice and weekends twice at KFXM in 1975-76. In 1975 I first did weekends at KFXM doing two shifts on Sunday while still working at KDES/Palm Springs. After a few months of that I quit KDES & got more weekend hours at KFXM. The last half of 1975 or so I did the 6-midnight shift at KFXM until I got canned in late December 1975 and returned to doing weekends. I left KFXM in early February 1976 to work fulltime at KDES. Then KFXM called in April and asked me to return for the fulltime 6-midnight shift. I was back from April-August 1976 doing 6-midnight. Then Jeff Salgo was hired as their consultant and after a month or two he brought in "Captain Billy" Martin as PD, replacing Ted Brown. Ted had been doing middays on the air and they were going to bump him to 6-midnight so Captain Billy could do the midday shift. Captain Billy's first act was to can me and I immediately went to KSOM/Ontario to do 6-10PM for Bob West there..

Greg Mitchell