video title: Interview with Chris Collins #4: Zoo Keeping
video link:
video source: SacTVnews
uploaded on YouTube Apr. 3, 2012

more info: Playlist
duration 8:46 minutes

Interview with Chris Collins: Zoo Keeping "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 successful.

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 here.

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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