San Francisco – April 15, 1961. Like all your friends, you are addicted to the radio. KYA is your source, the be-all-end-all for music and places where the important things are happening. And Bobby Mitchell is your go-to guy in the Bay Area for all things Rock n’Roll. It’s April, and like everybody else in San Francisco, you’re aware that your city is coming up on an anniversary – April 18th was the Big One in 1906. You get reminded every year – and every year you’re reminded there can be another “Big One”, because that’s what living in The City is all about. But it’s the 60s and you have other things to worry about; like why is your tape recorder acting funny? The Webcor you saved a good three months to get is sounding strange. Things don’t last like they used to.
Here is a one-hour snapshot of KYA-AM in San Francisco, as it was originally broadcast on April 14th, 1961 with the legendary Bobby Mitchell at the helm of one of the most popular shows from one of the most popular stations in the Bay Area.
Top-40 had become a part of growing up ever since Rock n’ Roll convinced Record Companies that this was the future sound of young America. It took a little time. In the beginning it was sandwiched between generous dollops of Teresa Brewer, Patti Page and Guy Mitchell. But by the early 1960s, it had been morphed into R&B, Doo-wop, Folk and Rockabilly – it was all changing and the music acquired a rougher edge to it, and the audiences responded.
Of course, listening now to what was considered “cutting edge” then is pretty tame by comparison – and if you’re hearing some of this music for the first time, you are probably baffled at what radio was all about at the time, you are probably cringing at some of the music that meant so much to so many people during their formative years. It’s okay – every generation can’t stand what the previous generation held sacred, for the most part. But, it happened and it was important for a time, and a lot of the music wasn’t bad in retrospect (but a lot of it was, in retrospect).
Have a listen and put yourself back somewhere 56 years ago – and even if you’re in your 20s, use your imagination. You don’t have to get it right.
And enjoy in the meantime.