Issue #261 - Robert W. Morgan’s last appearance on the Boss 30 before bolting to WIND in Chicago. We’ll see him again in early 1972.
So what was the deal with Morgan? Was he upset because his walkout the previous year had failed, so he was happy to go to Chicago? And yet he was there less than two years before returning to KHJ. Anyone know the inside story?
Steve: The failure to get a raise in the summer, 1969 walkout had to have been a factor. But there were others: Morgan and KHJ's first PD of the Boss era, Ron Jacobs, had worked together in Fresno. They had history together. Jacobs left in May, 1969 and was replaced by Jim O'Brien. In addition to having a reputation as not fun to work with, O'Brien brought a lot of changes to KHJ...the sound of the station (formatics, jingles and music balance) was in flux for much of his 14 month tenure. Apart from a few exeptions ("Heavy Wheels", for example), O'Brien didn't have Jacobs' golden touch in terms of promotion. O'Brien also presided over the beginning of a revolving door of talent at KHJ...Sam Riddle and Scotty Brink bailed out...Chuck Browning and Shadoe Stevens lasted only a few months apiece. RKO pulled O'Brien out and replaced him with KFRC PD Ted Atkins on August 15, 1970...but to Morgan, that might just have meant even less stability...three PDs in 14 months. There exists an aircheck of Morgan mere days into Ted's arrival where he's griping about (and then "dramatically" reading) Ted's latest memo on the air. Beyond all this was the fact that RWM was closer to 35 than to 30...and in 1970, that was seriously "grown-up". How long was he likely to continue in Top 40? An offer from Group W (Westinghouse)'s WIND was a chance for Robert W. to return to his Midwestern roots and establish himself as a morning man with an adult following. But Morgan found out that he was younger than his chronological age...and that after more than a decade out West, he was much more at home in L.A. than in a radio station where the executives wore suits and ties and called each other "Mr.". Plus, WIND's move from old-line MOR (Middle Of The Road) to Chicken Rock ended up erring on the side of "chicken". It didn't set Chicago on its ear...and the leftover WIND audience never warmed up to RWM. And then, of course, there was the weather. The aircheck of Morgan's first day back (January 17, 1972) is a must-listen...from the weather to WIND's music, he tells it all...completely between the lines...and you can tell he's thrilled to be back in L.A. and at KHJ, working for Ted Atkins after 14 months in a very cold purgatory. Of course, that next round would last only 17 months...but we'll get to that issue of the "KHJ Thirty" in a few weeks.
Thanks for the info. I figured there was a good story behind Morgan's going and returning. I admit I'm not familiar with the phrase Chicken Rock. Please explain.
Here is as good as any to mention someone who DIDN'T work at KHJ, but almost did. Someone at Reelradio posted a message about Roby Yonge, the disc jockey best known for disseminating the rumor about the death of Paul McCartney on his WABC radio show in late 1969.This incident actually marked the end of Yonge's ill-fated tenure at the station of less than two years. This was in spite of his previous success on the air in Miami...so big that KHJ was on the verge of hiring him.The story told is that Yonge was dating the daughter of the owner of Castro Convertibles--the original builder and retailer of sofa-beds, and a major sponsor on WABC. Papa Castro is supposed to have "suggested" to the station they create a position for Yonge, presumably to keep his little girl happy.
Steve: "Chicken Rock" was a disparaging term aimed at the first adult contemporary stations...stations that played Top 40 hits without the hard rock. Carpenters yes, Rolling Stones, no. Fans of the old MOR (Andy Williams, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra) hated "Chicken Rock" because it wasn't their music...rock fans hated it because it wasn't theirs. Still, it evolved into the very successful adult contemporary format of the 70s, 80s and 90s.
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