Interview with Chris Collins: FM 102's Successful Programming
SacTV.com "Video of the Day" review by
Alex Cosper on April 1, 2012
Chris Collins, who was Music Director and then Program Director at KSFM in the 1980s, explains how the station
made it to the top of the ratings in Sacramento. Collins credits Rick Gillette as a mentor. Gillette was FM 102's
Program Director from 1983 to 1986, then Collins was PD for a little over a year, followed by Brian White.
The Morning Zoo host says he and Gillette were both ultra-hyper, ultra-focused and ultra-passionate about radio. Collins
grew up in the San Francisco Bay listening to KFRC and KSAN as major influences. Gillette grew up in Bakersfield and
listened to Los Angeles stations such as top 40 legend KHJ.
After Duffy Broadcasting bought the station from A.J. Crisseck, Collins says he ran the union out,
which helped improve station salaries. Gillette and Collins both agreed on the station direction, which
manifested from the Michael Jackson album Thriller. They guessed right to pattern the station
after what would be the decade's most celebrated album. Collins sensed music was changing and that the
new top 40 was not about mixing a carnival unlike sounds together, as it was in the 1970s. Collins confirms that growing
up as a roller rink DJ helped him understand the street vibe of dance music.
FM 102's success was built on street credibility, since the owners would not put money into the station,
according to Collins. By the end of the eighties, most top 40 stations were playing Madonna, yet when her
first record came out in 1983, FM 102 had been one of the few early stations to play her. They stuck with
what they believed in and it worked. Collins says the number one problem with radio today is that it has lost its
street credibility in the age of new media. Collins led the Morning Zoo by following
a format of six records per hour, mixing talk and music. He says he knew in order to have impact
he had to be controversial and cutting edge. Read more about Sacramento radio history
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