KSFM Earth Radio Reunion 2000
SacTV.com "Video of the Day" review by
Alex Cosper on April 19, 2012
Earth Radio was a radio moniker
used in various regions around the country in the 1970s. Each station had its own local identity. The Earth
Radio at 102.5 FM on KSFM from Woodland was freeform rock, as jocks were allowed to play whatever album tracks
they wanted. Those days ended abruptly in September 1979 when the station flipped formats to become hit music
station FM 102, which started with disco music. Disco was the anti-thesis of freeform rock. While freeform
was about searching for meaning in lyrics and musical innovation, disco was about repetitious dance beats
that kept dance floors packed. Furthermore, disco moved away from deep lyrics, since the hook was in your face beats, not
any secret messages between the grooves.
The alumni of KSFM's Earth Radio reunited on July 7, 2000 on the Sacramento River in Old Sac. Dennis Newhall invited
me to show up with a camcorder and get some interviews. I talked with Don West, who was a jock on the station in
the late 70s. His view was that freeform was about freedom of choice whereas the corporate sound that took
over did not. That was pretty much the sentiment with most of the people I talked with. Sales Executive Curtis Fong
confirmed that Earth Radio did in fact do well in sales, but the upper management wanted to move toward an
even more lucrative market, which was the mainstream. Joyce Krieg, who did news for the station, lamented that
deregulation by 2000 had destroyed the local appeal of radio in general. Read more about Sacramento media history here.
Updated: June 23, 2013
Earth Radio lives on in the Rock and Radio Museum, run by former Earth Radio Program Director Dennis Newhall.
Newhall was one of the last commercial radio programmers in Sacramento to allow jocks to play their own selections,
including album cuts. The goal of the station was to let DJs be artists and artistically mix music together. Ironically,
Earth Radio had been doing very well in the ratings when the switch was made. They even eclipsed KZAP as the top
rock station in town. One of the most memorable events on Earth Radio was when they did an all Beatles A-Z weekend
in August 1978, a year before their format flip. The station's logo can now be seen alongside other legendary logos
such as KZAP and KROY on this Rock and Radio Museum virtual tour.
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