Saturday, August 16, 2014

When ksfo was KSFO






{Sound of the City, KSFO}


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15 comments:

  1. Excellent and a great memory. The Johnny Mann Singers. .Produced through the Ferguson-Heller Company circa 1960. A variation of the "theme" was made for several stations across the country, but none with the impact of this for "The World's Greatest Radio Station" as Don Sherwood, Jim Lange, Jack Carney and staff proudly called KSFO. The station, at the time, owned by Golden West Broadcasting -- and Gene Autry -- who also owned KMPC in LA and KVI Seattle (which also used the "Sound of the City" theme. KSFO was, with literary credit for years by Herb Caen and his relationship with Sherwood, was "The Sound of San Francisco" before ABC, Citadel and Cumulus would eventually try, then succeed, in ruining KSFO.

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  2. Nice four part harmony. There is still a lot of pride in San Francisco today as there was in the past. Much of what makes this a place of beauty, style and grandeur remains now, ready to be seen, touched, heard and tasted. Todays pridefulness is built not just on the physical, but on idealism, and the intrinsic grace of righteous motivation.

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  3. "Sounds of the City" was also used on CKFM in Toronto, at that time even into the '70's.

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  4. Seriously? They expected listeners to sit through that unlistenable crap for a full minute and a half? And not turn the dial?

    Maybe old-time radio isn't the wonderland oasis we've been led to believe it was.

    -- Gaga V

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    1. Actually, this is just a "mixout" of one of the "jingles" used on KSFO. The actual version, pressed on 7-inch 45 rpm vinyl was a full FIVE minutes! Now you know, 1:05, why Bill Drake at KFRC got Johnny Mann to write jingles that were short, snappy, quick and said more in 3 seconds than jingles at KYA, KABL, KNBR and elsewhere. Drake and Mann also did away with the cutes "gimmich" cuts, which KYA would adapt to over time, but by then, KFRC was already at the top of the heap. They also championed the use of "workhorse" acapella jingles with the talented Mann 7 voice group that included Don Shelton of the "Hi-Lo's" for years. Johnny Mann died just a few weeks ago at his Anderson, N. Carolina home at age 85.

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    2. PS - The brief collage above of KFRC jingles also show up resung for KSTN Stockton, KYNO Fresno, in Sacramento and scores of other stations.

      The KFRC montage also contains tracks that include Johnny Mann (and a syndicated offering by Joseph P Cuff & Co) as well as the Drake cuts (by American Independent Radio,) tracks featuring Mann's vocals and the "Motown Strings" (Drake set II), and later tracks from TM Productions in Dallas (non-Mann vocals) and a very early PAMS cut.

      There were, especially for the Johnny Mann tracks, because of his excellent writing, arranging and direction that brought out dozens of "edits" that fit and worked so perfectly for each and every song.

      KFRC was so huge, the Carenters even recorded a jingle for the, as the Beach Boys had done for KHJ in LA.

      I was a proud client of Johnny Mann, and his work for others like Chuck Blore (KFWB - Channel 98), Larry Greene, Hugh Heller, Joe Cuff and others.

      From WMCA, WCFL, KGB, RKO and many others, Johnny was "The Mann". as were other great station ID names including PAMS, TM, JAM, CRC, Tuesday Prods., Fairwest (Jim West) and today's crop of jingle makers.

      JB

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  5. @10.27 I'm pretty sure GWB also had an AM (KEX) & FM station in Portland. At least they did when I was a DJ in Oregon in 1981 or so. Autry started selling them off a couple years later. Never had heard this great piece until now. Had no idea it was the Johnny Mann singers.

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    1. You are correct, 3:42. KEX and Autry's GWB did the same "Sound of the City" in Portland, as well. Good one!

      PS - The Johnny Mann group also did the WMCA jingle series in New York during the battle with WABC and "10-10 WINS". Johnny Mann changed one single note in the bright, uptempo WMCA jingle(s) and it became the famous six note "93 KHJ" sig and the rest ... is history. JB

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  6. Back in "that" day - listeners really did sit through "The Sound of the City" on KSFO - even when the jingle was given a full five minute tour on vinyl and distributed throughout the Bay Area. A collector's item.

    When KFRC gained Bill Drake, who had been at KYA before teaming with Gene Chenault as partner in a consulting deal starting in Fresno at KYNO (with Ron Jacobs) Drake inherited jingles from other jingle companies and was not a fan, including from PAMS in Dallas, which used a lot of jingles at KYA. When Drake took over consulting the RKO stations at KHJ, KGB, KFRC, WHBQ, WRKO and other stations - CKLW, KAKC, WIBG and later branching out to WOR-FM and others, Drake brought in Johnny Mann to "ungimmick" the tradition loud, brassy, effects ridden and long radio jingle. They would be a "signature" of a tight format and knocked the industry on it's ears. Short, bright, full, snappy 3 to 5 second tracks, authoritative instrumentation and the most distinct 7 voice group in the land Mann had been doing jingles for years, but the new Drake tracks were his legacy and it seemed that everyone wanted them.

    When consulting KFRC for RKO General - he inherited the "same old - same old" and ordered it changed. And so it was ... Here's a collage of what was and what would be. There were no more 90 second jingles after that -- anywhere. The "hit" was acapella "workhorse" tracks between songs and the tightest format in the land.

    Remember these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHEz5pj-BUU

    JB

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  7. Let's follow that up immediately with a switch to KCBS and "That's All" as Ken Ackerman introduced to "Music 'til Dawn, presented by American Airlines".

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  8. OK, junkman9096 --- one more for you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDNqq9npZHc

    The full version of "That's All" by Sy Mann and His Orchestra who wrote the song while pianist and arranger at WNEW in New York over his four year stay. This theme of his was used as the "closing theme" each day for many years. He was a writer and arranger, though largely unknown, for at least 30 years. American Airlines loved the song so much, it moved to KCBS and other huge stations for "Music 'til Dawn" as you so correctly note for years.

    When the age of "electronic music" came about, Mann lead a group called "Soul Mann and the Brothers" following the lead of "good music"bandleaders like Enoch Light. Mann became well known commercially not from this song, but from a long series of pop Christmas albums done years later done in the .60s and 70s. He died in 2001.

    Rich - thanks for doing this thread. Amazing memories here. JB

    Was he a relation to Johnny Mann?

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  9. Very fitting as yesterday would have been my moms 90 birthday. Brought back memories of Sherwood and all the great DJs of that era. What I give to hear that morning show again.

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  10. It was a real thrill to work there. People in the news department took their jobs and responsibility seriously. The DJs worked to actually produce shows and not just follow a playlist. It's embarrassing to mention any connection with the station as it is today, but until about 1980, KSFO was a significant household voice in San Francisco's culture and public affairs. "The World's Greatest Radio Station" and "The Sounds of the City" were not ironic slogans.

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    1. Ted @ at 8:27 - this is for you and your Mom. Thank you all for your comments. This is what "community service" is when your audience can sing your theme. Enjoy.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xLura4V0gc

      JB

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  11. Why would "The Sound of the City" last for 5 minutes on a disk? Here's why ...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43AEF48EN3o

    And thanks for the private emails from those I had no idea read Rich's 415 Media regularly. For those four who asked, "Was that you in Tom Taylor's NOW newsletter on Friday? Great story." Yes is was. Thanks to both Rich and Tom for allowing my musings. JB

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