video title: Interview with Chris Collins #3: FM 102's Successful Programming
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video source: SacTVnews
uploaded on YouTube Apr. 1, 2012

more info: Playlist
duration 9:44 minutes

Interview with Chris Collins: FM 102's Successful Programming "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 here.

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