Teenagers - Santa Monica 1979

. . . and you are dying to be one of the Cool Kids.

Teenagers - Santa Monica 1979
. . . and you are dying to be one of the Cool Kids.

KHTZ-FM – Charlie Tuna – August 3, 1979 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

It’s August 1979 – the last Summer of the 70s. 1979 is confusing. You’re glad you don’t have to wear platform shoes anymore, but you liked that they made you look taller. Some people are still wearing Polyester and have tiny coke spoons dangling around their necks. They try hard to be cool. You wonder. There are the other guys who have adopted a sort of hybrid West Coast/Laid Back/Disco-Cool look that seems more like you. You’ve snorted coke a few times, mostly at parties. Your best friend’s cousin’s next door neighbor sells it out of his garage and has it stashed in coffee cans doubling as holders for screws and bolts. He has what he calls “the student” rate, but it’s still expensive. You like the buzz though, but trying to sleep doesn’t work. Your mouth tastes like metal chips and your friend calls it “the thinking man’s drug”, because you’re always thinking about the next line. Beer won’t get you busted though, and you’re settling for that; for now – maybe when you get a better job. Delivering Pizza isn’t making you rich, and some days are worse than others. It’s the ones who don’t tip that piss you off. You want to remember who stiffed you so you can spit in their pizza next time. But you forget – must be the beer. You’ve heard stories from the other delivery guys – you laugh and think about revenge, but that’s about it. You swear to yourself never to get delivery pizza for the rest of your life.

After sweating through Drivers Ed you finally get your license, and your Uncle in Palm Springs decides to give you his car for your birthday. A 1965 Buick isn’t quite what you had in mind, but it gets you where you need to go. However, it inhales gas and since you deliver pizzas, it puts a dent in your salary. Maybe a Datsun . . .

Because you live in L.A. you spend a lot of time in your car, driving around the city. Luckily, your Uncle put in an FM radio in 1967. He also put in a 4-track tape player, but it doesn’t work and nobody has 4-track tapes anyway. 8-track was the thing. What keeps you sane is the radio. And you listen to a lot of it. You dial hop, hoping to find the song that explains it all to you. You listen mostly to KLOS, KMET and KROQ but you dial around and hear other things. Music in 1979 is also confusing. Disco is still around. A lot of people are still glued to Saturday Night Fever, but there’s New Wave popping up. Things could get interesting. Maybe 1980 will mean an end to Polyester. It would be nice.


KHTZ or K-Hits got started in 1978 and lasted until 1982. It was Top-40 on the FM dial and most closely resembled sister station KHJ-AM, the one-time Boss Radio powerhouse in Los Angeles. Sporting many of the disc jockeys formerly from KHJ, Charlie Tuna had been a recent import from another Top-40 FM station, KIIS. This is a 45 minute slice of the broadcast day, August 3, 1979


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3 thoughts on “It’s August 1979 – You’re A Teenager, You Live In L.A. The 70s Are Confusing. Weekend Pop Chronicles

    1. They were. But KHTZ shared the studios with KRTH on Venice and Fairfax. Originally, it was KHJ-AM and FM, but then it got all deregulated and I’m trying to remember who the owners were after RKO General, but they also owned KHTZ. Hence, the connection.

  1. …that laughable “deregulation of broadcasting” didn’t come along until the Reagan Administration. At the time of this aircheck, Storer owned KHTZ, and had just spun off its AM counterpart, KTNQ. Eventually, both KRTH and KHTZ/KBZT/KLSX/KAMP were acquired by CBS…

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