Interview with Chris Collins: Zoo Keeping
SacTV.com "Video of the Day" review by
Alex Cosper on April 3, 2012
Leading the Morning Zoo made Chris Collins one of, if not the highest paid Sacramento radio personality
in the 1980s and early 1990s. In this interview segment he explains how new management sought to eliminate
his high salary toward the end of his tenure. He talks about how the final days of the Zoo in which his
co-host was Tina Macuha. Collins says he was "a hard guy to work with" because he wanted others around him
to be successful. Although his show was about breaking rules, he stayed strict about one rule, which was
to come to the show prepared or go home. He attributes that rule as the main reason the show was
Collins explains the evolution of the Morning Zoo team starting in 1983. He said by the end of 1988
there were eight people on the team. The show was rebuilt with a crew of six that he considered very
strong: himself, Kil R Bee, Bill Silva, Jeff Stein, Lara Mann and Matt Montgomery. Kil R Bee adds
detail to the story that characters created voices. Collins says "first love" was a prominent musical theme
in the 80s, embraced by Michael Jackson and Madonna, and that theme helped build the Morning Zoo.
Read more about Sacramento radio history
Update: June 23, 2013
The idea of a Morning Zoo in 2013 seems far away from what the radio industry is doing. In the Chris Collins
era of the 80s, one of the goals of radio was to be covered by other media, such as televsion and newspapers.
The Morning Zoo was a mix of entertainment and community affairs, whereas today's corporate morning shows
seem to fall short in both categories, while being promotionally-intensive. Sometimes the Zoo would do
stunts, but never on the level of corporate radio in recent years that have led to preventable tragedies,
such as the water drinking contest in 2007, culminating in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Entercom.
Collins, by contrast, was more known for winning lawsuits against failures who let the community down.
Radio has simply moved into a bizarre space where bean counters run the show, entertainment is not part
of the equation and commerce is the only real goal. This backward thinking is why radio no longer makes
big news in other media except for its miserable mistakes. In 2013 an Atlanta morning show was fired for
ridiculing a football player in a wheelchair with Alzheimer's disease. This was never the type of humor
found on the Morning Zoo, which was very conscious of community issues. At the same time the Zoo was
one of the most enertaining shows in Sacramento radio history.
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