The Credibility Gap. During that period of the 1960s when topical humor took a definite political, and somewhat drugged-out twist, The Credibility Gap were very much at the forefront. A blend of surreal situational humor, mixed with absurd humor based on headlines of the day, The Credibility Gap initially started life as a daily spoof of news on Top-40 AM station KRLA in Pasadena, around the same time Radio Free Oz (Firesign Theatre) took over weekend nights at the station. Tastes and music and the political atmosphere was changing – the audience was growing up. The kids who were glued to their radios during the British invasion of 1964, and who were diehard fans of KRLA, were now getting older, going to college, getting drafted and generally becoming more aware of what was rapidly becoming a different, and less blissful world. Top-40 was losing ground, and FM was gaining ground as the music and attitudes were inexorably changing.
Ironically, as Pasadena was home to KRLA, it was also home to a small, slightly disused FM station, which broadcast from the basement of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church, hence KPPC-FM. It was located at 106.7 on the FM dial and, since its inception as an underground Rock station in 1967, became one of the founding stations in the revolution to FM by Youth Culture.
The Credibility Gap were hugely popular at KRLA when they debuted in 1968, featuring News director Lew Irwin, Richard L. Beebe and comedian/Folksinger Len Chandler – they fit right in with the somewhat irreverent approach KRLA was known for throughout its history. But, The Credibility Gap were also controversial, and by 1971 The Credibility Gap were fired from KRLA, landing on KPPC at least until KPPC let everyone go a few months later, in October of 1971.
As a reminder of how irreverent humor sounded in Los Angeles during those pivotal days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, here is the first broadcast of The Credibility Gap, as it was aired on January 25, 1971 – from that minute on, history was made.
For those of you not that familiar, The Credibility Gap hosted a number of notables later on. And even though the cast changed between the KRLA period and the KPPC period, founder Richard L. Beebe remained throughout. The KPPC version gave us Harry Shearer and soon-to-become Laverne and Shirley regulars David Lander and Michael McKean as the core cast. The rest, as they say, is history.
Turn it up and enjoy.
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