A new Program Director came in, wanted to move shifts around... yada yada yada! I was tired of the cold,
called Johnny Hyde and this time he hired me. I gave two weeks notice, thinking they would tell me to leave.
NO, they wanted me to work the full two weeks. So that night on the air, I gave the "answer" to a huge promotion
we were running. The next morning I was packing for Sacramento.
I was first doing all nights at KROY, Dr. Tom (great guy, great jock) was doing 7 to midnight. He wanted to go to
Southern California, I wanted to do 7 to midnight. I set him up with Dave McCormick, he went to K/MEN, I was
doing 7 to midnight, we were both very happy! My happiness lasted longer than Tom's, I'm sorry to say! He got
caught up in the new ownership of K/MEN. But from what I gather he's been happy ever since.
I'd like to touch on some of the highlights of my nights at KROY. I don't remember any major bloopers (from me, other than my whole shift) while at KROY. Dr. Tom had a car phone, so we couldn't do that again. But Johnny got me a separate phone line at home (with answering machine), all very expensive at the time, so I could give out my "home phone" on the air. Which I would do before I got off the air each night, this thing was better than a 976 number, but that's another story. The idea was one of the few that I can think of that wasn't original. Tom Campbell (KYA San Francisco) was doing the same thing, but KYA didn't come in at night, so it seemed safe to borrow the idea. I did my share of concert MCing, people like Donovan, CCR. Made a lot of appearances, which we all did. Johnny's philosophy was to meet every one of our listeners (and potential) one on one, which I understand Dr. Tom (and later Gene Lane) took very seriously.
The two most memorable experiences were the Kidnapping of the Sac State Hornet, and the Rock Island Line promotion. In retaliation for kidnapping the Hornet, which we did from the KROY Fire Truck, during football practice about a week before the homecoming game, I was kidnapped. I was kind of made aware that some sort of retaliation was going to happen, but not quite exactly what.
I'm on the air, all of a sudden a HUGE group of Sac State students (male cheerleaders, football players) were on Arden Way taking the hinges off the double front doors. I called Johnny, he said "let them take you (really nice guy), I'll be right there." The abductors waited for Johnny to arrive, while I described to the listeners what was going on. Johnny arrived, I was taken into a car with about 5 other guys, they blindfolded me and we were off. A while later I found myself in a nondescript apartment with these crazed party animals, like I was really going to have the worst time of my life. As Keanu would say "party on dudes"! Johnny stayed on the air for about two days during this "ordeal", I did send him some pick me ups, as he had run out.
Negotiations for the return of Herky and myself went on for two days, some of it on the air, with me "pleading" for help. All the other jocks were on alert, as any one of them could be the next to be kidnapped. It all ended happily (Johnny telling me to get my ass back in to work), with the return of (a very well fed) Herky, and a partied out Brother T.!
The second most memorable experience was the KROY Rock Island Line! Weinstocks bought out the last passenger train between Sacramento and Oakland. The point was that this was going to be a "party train", with live bands and refreshments. To get on board all you had to do was acquire a KROY ballpoint pen. You could get one by listening to KROY for the announcement of the location of the KROY Fire Truck. The announcement was made and you had to be at the truck within 10 seconds or a minute (I forget), the first X number of arrivals would get a pen. If you got a pen you got to ride the KROY Rock Island Line.
Great promotion, Weinstocks had life size cut outs of all the jocks (dressed in railroad engineer clothes) in all their windows, I still have mine. None of this was good enough for me... I wanted Ronald Reagan (the Governor) to come along for the ride. I asked him on the air, pleaded with him, even told him he didn't have to come to the KROY Fire Truck, he never responded. Then one evening I got a call from a girl, who had just tried to call her boyfriend, she dialed the wrong number and got the GOVENORS MANSION. She remembered the number and gave it to me. I called it, and the person answering didn't really want to talk to me. It seemed that the Governor had heard about what I was doing but didn't have the time to talk just then. After several non responsive communications, I decided to picket the Governor. I had a bunch of listeners make picket signs saying "Can Governor Reagan come out and play with KROY", and march in front of the Capitol building. The Sacramento Union carried a picture of it, one of the few items I have lost. I honestly don't remember the outcome, I think someone from his office came and got a pen or something, but I did receive a letter from him thanking me.
As an aside, at a much later date (1979 to be specific) when I was at KROI-FM (I-97), I was called by the Reagan campaign and asked if I would be MC for a Reagan fund raising BBQ, out near the old reactor. I did, made some politically inappropriate comments, and was applauded! I have to admit I did vote for him for President, but despised him as Governor (gassing students at Berkeley and such). This is not a place for politics, so I'll leave that for private email, but it was the feeling I conveyed to my audience and I think they related. I did end up with a 31 Pulse, and 20 ARB to KXOA's (Rick Carroll) 8, which surprised us both at the time. About two years later I worked with Rick, we had a lot of laughs about our days as competitors. Rick and I continued to be friends and worked together at several stations.
In retrospect, it was ultimately Johnny Hyde that did it all. Encouraging personality, and playing the right music really was the key to the success or KROY! I can never thank him enough for the opportunity of a lifetime, and a tremendous education. I have returned to Sacramento several times, it has always been one of my favorite places, with many great memories and friends.
These are just two of the things that bring back memories of my stay at KROY, but there are so many more. From stupid things like: Bro. T: "Paul IS dead", Captain Rick: "Paul is NOT dead". I mean I played all the records backwards, and stated the "obvious"... "look at the cover of Abby Road", "The Walrus WAS Paul". Then there was the closing of "K" Street, it was to become a mall. So I did a whole thing about the last night of cruising on "K" Street, the street was JAMMED, all blaring "bomp KROYYyyyy" on their car radios. The police actually closed it down a little earlier than planned.
But mostly the fondest memories I have of KROY are the people! Not only Johnny Hyde, Bob Sherwood, Chuck Roy, Hal Murray, Mr. Lee, Martin Ashley, B. Winchell Clay, but also the rest of the staff that really helped make it all work. The sales people, I really think KROY is the only station I worked at that didn't have a "Herb Tarlick" (ever watched WKRP?). The traffic department, Don Trafton was not only a great engineer but a real trip, love him. Then of course there is Dwight Case, our beloved leader, all I can say he is a king among men.
Then came Altamont, and I was gone!
I went on to many more radio stations around the country, often bouncing back to Sacramento (KNDE, KCRA, KROY again, KROI). I spent most of my final radio years in Los Angeles. After being dismayed by the lack of loyalty that many station owners (early KROY about the ONLY exception) had for their staff, and the general direction of broadcasting in general, I left radio. Iím now an executive type in the computer industry, having designed and managed computer facilities for several large organizations. But that is another story for another time.
If any old listener or friend wants to contact me feel free!
THE SPACE BELOW WAS INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK FOR FUTURE GROWTH
T. Michael Jordan Bio, continued