Stories which have KOME to pass.

Jeff Blazy

Bob Simmons

"Uncle Jack" Tossman

Pam Romig-Wilson

Lynn Wells

Loren Charles

Stephen Page I

Stephen Page II

John Higdon

Bob Gowa


Calm Before the Storm: Bob Lilley, Jeff Blazy, and a guy who indeed DOES look like Les Nessman....
please note fallen stick and string (far right) and news camera shooting behind us

Whatever could go wrong...did!


Premise: To re-enact the famous "WKRP" Turkey Drop, dropping turkeys out of a helicopter to waiting listeners below... but these would be paper turkeys. Each would have an envelope containing a prize.

The prizes could be anything from $1000, $500, concert tickets, etc. Show up, get a turkey fluttering down and claim your prize.

Results: Make listeners happy, get press, get ratings. Simple right?

Location: Dirt lot next to a car dealership.

At the expense of $4000, KOME flew the guy who played Les Nessman [Richard Sanders] on "WKRP" into San Jose. We put him up at a hotel and the next morning he would be our guest on the air.

He had a terrible cold and sounded NOTHING like he did on the TV show. Many callers were asking if we were pulling a prank since it didn't sound like him.

But by 11am, more than a thousand people had already arrived to sign up for the chance to win. Over the next hour the crowd grew and grew.

Blazy & Bob host the arrivals and are told to make constant P.A. announcements on the provided flatbed truck that "you must stay behind the line" and most importantly, "the helicopter CAN NOT hover over if anyone runs onto the field! It is an FAA regulation. If you run out before it is gone, it can no longer drop the turkeys."

That "line" by the way was a mere piece of string, wrapped around thin wooden sticks, that ran the length of the dirt field that was adjoined to the soon to become unlucky car dealership.

Announcements are made again...

More than 1500 hundred people had KOME to win.

Announcements are made again...we are also told to mention "walk, don't run to the prize envelopes"

High Noon arrives. For November, the day is sunny and warm. Winds are low. All feel very confident. Stephen Page is now live on the air and throws it to B &B, along with a guy who sounds nothing like Les Nessman.

The helicopter is on its way. The anticipatory crowd cheers. Great radio.

(The paper turkeys are in large garbage bags for someone to dump from the helicopter. We were told that it would take a while and to remind people "not to run out...")

The helicopter is now directly overhead. You can hear it on the radio.

Upon the fluttering of the first paper turkey, the crowd rushes. The tight security string was no match for at least 750 who said "Screw the rules, I want me that money!"

People are running, bumping, pushing, shoving, tripping, and trampling to get an envelope. Bob yells in his mic, "No! Get Back!" We are live on the air, not just on the P.A.

The helicopter speeds away and out of site. Blazy is speechless. Back at KOME, Stephen Page can only imagine the chaos.

The dirt field is now a dust storm of people running off to claim their prize, people getting back to their feet, dogs barking (there are guys who always have to bring their dogs), and a few parents picking up their small children.

What about the people who did not rush the field? Some of them are now congregated around the flatbed yelling things like "They weren't supposed to go!" and "Fuck KOME! This is bullshit."

Trying to eliminate the obscenities from getting on the air, I was trying to talk as quickly as possible so listeners can not hear the melee.

We try to calm the crowd by saying that there are many more prizes when the helicopter returns, please be patient. And return it did...

This time, the crowd did stay back before running, but for some reason this time, the turkeys began to flutter over the fence of the new car dealership.

The fence was no deterrent for most who quickly scaled the fence and had their work boots land squarely on the hoods of the brand new 1991 Toyota trucks!

Many were still complaining that it was "unfair", and one said "my four year old almost got trampled."

"Les Nessman" had great lines that afternoon. During the first debacle he exclaimed a call-back to Hindenberg history, "Oh the humanity!"

He also had the closing comment that I will never forget. He said, "Never did I think I would see something more horrific than the actual episode itself."

Back at the station, GM Jim Hardy is fielding phone calls from irate listeners and a pissed off sponsor. PD Ron Nenni asked if we wanted to do it again next year...

I saved the cassette for years. Played it for many in the radio business. Good times...

"Uncle Jack" Tossman

mark williams said the first words on the new kome "ok, kids.. here's a brand new radio station for you." then started "beginnings" by chicago. a tape was run, but i have not heard of it since. i did the first live real show a week later. ron cuttler wanted nothing but music and ids for a week. i was at the bazaar bazaar... i won the dj contest... (thanks to paramount imports). that really got some people pissed off. oh well...


what about the "funky fox" theater? there was a think purple haze in that place all the time! great films and even concerts. the alameda place was haunted. i know. paula source (sang in truckin')(and was my "old lady") wrote a song called "radio man" based on stories that j william weed and i told her. she and gary T loved to do old dances together! we had some great dinners at the Branham House, where j william, myself, paula, tom ballentine (sometimes) marilyn cerrello who worked at campi music, j.k. the dj and others lived.

Bob Simmons

Bob McClaine (salesman), what a funny guy. He was the perfect Fred Willard* type on WKRP. He had a pompadour and a pinky ring and wore shiny silk suits. He and I got on great. A bunch of radio cliche's were operative at KOME. Phil Charles made a good Johnny Fever. Sadly, at the time we had no DJ's of a darker hue. We didn't even have any Asians. The FCC would have frowned on our mix. KSJO had Dana Jang....though we were never sure if he was REALLY Asian. We thought he was faking it. It was really weird being married to Bonnie who was becoming 'important' at KSAN and the long commute from Mill Valley.


Another memory I have is stopping cold outside a nightspot at the old Pruneyard Shopping Center... and yelling at Wolf .... "God! This is my LIFE! Wolf fell down in the parking lot laughing at me. I went on in and MC'd some really shitty show with somebody playing and we gave away some pencils or something. God!! My life, indeed.


* Herb Tarlek, perhaps?

Pam Romig-Wilson

I do remember one good story: Santana (of course, Carlos) was at the station for an interview. I'm guesstimating around 1975-76.


On one of the end tables in the KOME lobby, we had a set of figurines that were a whole orchestra of black cats (kitty cats). They were all playing different instruments (i.e. guitar, drums, bass, sax, fiddle, etc.). They were each about 6 inches tall. They happened to catch Santana's eye and he got so excited saying how much his wife would love them. Well, don't get me busted, but when no one could catch me, I packed them up and sent them to Carlos Santana, C/O of Bill Graham's office. Within a couple of weeks, I received a personal, hand written letter from Carlos himself thanking me on behalf of his wife. It was so very cool. One problem, I left it at Ed Romig's house, so if you happen to talk to him, please give him my e-mail or physical address. I would so love to have that letter.




There was an interview with Journey. We all gathered together in the lobby to pose for a pic with them and Steve Perry grabbed my ass. Rock Stars! Not very newsworthy!

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Lynn (Wells) VanOrsdale


I am currently living in the Twin Cities (Minnesota) enjoying a successful career in Real Estate and a 15 year marriage that has been blessed with 2 beautiful daughters ages 13 & 11.


Please say hello to my old friends!

Bob Gowa


It was (1990-something, I was working at KFRC at the time) and I was en route to Los Angeles to see family and friends. Somehow, I thought it would be fun to take 101 instead of I-5...nobody told me it would turn a long drive into a "l o n g - a n d - t e d i o u s" drive. Anyhow, KOME was the last station I listened to as I left the Bay area. Some 13 hours later, feeling a major burn, I saw the sign: "L.A. City Limits." There, pasted to that sign, was the little black & yellow. I laughed and felt just a little closer to home.


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Stephen Page

Bob Simmons Story #1


There was this time that Tim Buckley visited the station when it was on the Alameda. I was doing mornings at the time and Bob, who was on from 10a - noon was set to interview Tim who's new album, "Greetings From L.A." had just been released. For those that were there you'll remember that at KOME's Alameda location the studio was in what was probably the master bedroom of this (at one time) grand old house and right next to the control board was this big old transmitter monitor that looked kind of like the obelisk from the movie 2001. It was green and VERY, VERY dusty. I'm talking dust balls in this thing the size of a baby's fist. Any way Bob was right in the middle of his interview with Tim Buckley when the chief engineer at the time, John Higdon, walks into the studio and decides to clean (or do something to) the monitor. This process involved him blowing quite forcefully into the back of the obelisk which in turn had the effect of causing all those dust bunnies and a huge amount of dust that had been living there to be blown out of the other side...and right on top of Tim Buckley. Now I don't remember the exact exchange that took place but I do remember that time seemed to stand still as the dust was coating Mr. Buckley who stopped in mid-sentence answering a question that Bob had just asked to look around wondering why it had just started to snow...indoors. Bob, who had this look of extreme horror on his face as everything was settling on his, on the air...was first to react, yelling out John's name in kind of a sickened and pained way. By this time Tim had realized what had happened and was in the process of getting out of his seat mumbling something about his foot and John's ass making some sort of cosmic connection. Higdon, oblivious to what was taking place on the other side of the monitor, finished his dusting, turned around and walked out as if nothing had happened. This had the effect of causing both Bob and Tim to stop in mid-action, look at each other, sit down and finish the interview. Tim was dusty and Bob was probably wishing he was working in San Francisco.


John Higdon's Reply to Story Above

The whole reason I was there (and I was NEVER oblivious) was because some air-person couldn't figure out how to work something. I tried to explain it on the phone, but whoever it was refused to work with me on the phone and demanded that I come down to the station (on a Sunday, as I recall) and hold his hand.

--John (I-still-get-called-on-Sundays) Higdon

Stephen Page

Bob Simmons Story #2


One morning, taking a listener request, I played John Lennon's "Working Class Hero"...the unedited version. Having never listened to it (my bad) how was I to know a Beatle actually said "fuck" in a song. Twice. Of course Bob heard it as he was driving in. I don't think his feet actually touched the ground as he ran from his car to the control room. And I will admit, that to this day, I have never seen that shade of red in anybody else's face. It was an impressive display surpassed only by the veins that seemed to pop uncontrollably from around his neck. Yes, impressive indeed.


free form radio...what's not to love



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Loren Charles


1. My favorite concerns the time when "Joe Kelly" was doing his evening shift and (allegedly) selling cocaine out of the back door of the station while he was on the air, between album cuts. Apparently one of Joe's deals went bad, and the San Jose police followed his customer back to the station -- or perhaps one of Joe's customers told the SJ police about Joe's extra curricular activities.


So there was Joe, playing album cuts with the SJ police banging on the door downstairs demanding entry while he's doing his air shift, and Joe tells them over the intercom that he can't let them in because he doesn't have the keys to the door. That's while he's scrambling to get rid of all the white powder that seemed to cover his mustache and most of his control counsel, and sweating and praying profusely that they would go awayl... which they eventually did.


Note from Jona: Shortly afterward, I arrived at the station to do my shift--with a paranoid, nervous Joke-Elly wondering if anyone were still outside when I came in!

2. Second favorite story was when the Rolling Stones were going to play at Candlestick Park. Mikel thought it would be great if we could somehow eavesdrop on the Stones as they were making their way into the stadium. He knew that their entourage used walkie talkies, but every walkie-talkie using that specific frequency had been rented by Bill Graham Presents.


Undeterred, I called a Los Angeles walkie-talkie company and found a pair that operated on the same frequency as the Stones. So once I had the walkie-talkies flown up from LA, Mikel gets on the phone to Danny over at BGP and tells him that KOME is going to broadcast all the "chatter" of the Stones and their entourage as they enter Candlestick.


Danny tells Mikel that if he doesn't surrender the walkie-talkies, he will barr the entire KOME staff from entering Candlestick.


The day of the show comes, we load up the KOME van with all the DJs and employees AND the walkie-talkies, and as we pull up at the gate, Mikel hands the walkie-talkies over to the BGP crew, keeping them in suspense until the bitter end.


Note from Jona: Some of Graham's people would easily inspire this kind of treatment. I was there--and I have the T-shirt to prove it!


 3. The KOME rock quarry promotion came about when Mikel asked me to come up with something "new and different" to promote KOME. I had recently learned that there was an operational rock quarry in, of all places, Cupertino. So I proposed to Mikel that if I could negotiate the approval of the owners, that we do a TV video shoot with all the DJ's quarrying "hard rock" to put it on the radio.


As luck would have it, the quarry owners and managers agreed to do it, I rented the video equipment, Mikel directed all the DJs, and a very Klassic Kommercial was born.


A corrolary to the above--when we all returned to the station, Van Halen was visiting KOME. This was during their tour for their first album, and they had still not become the mega stars that they later would be. So since I still had the video equipment, I suggested to David Lee Roth that we shoot a little KOME Spot on the spur(t) of the moment. He agreed, we did it in one take, and the rest, as they say, was history.

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Bob Simmons


A story about life at KOME on the Alameda.


Picture this. Afternoon...a beautiful sunny one ...say its Tuesday. I have gotten off my shift at 2:00PM (I did 10:00 AM to 2:00PM) Wolf Ricketts has just gone on the air. I am standing in the parking lot behind the rundown old home that serves as our studios and offices. Funky but charming it was. Sean Donahue drives up in his almost new Citroen DS-21. (It was one of those kind of roach shaped French sedans that were fast and had the famous 'adjustable hydraulic' suspension. (More about that in a minute.) I was mightily impressed by this fine car. Sean had just turned 20, I think I was 30 or so.


Tom Donahue had just given this car to Sean as his 20th birthday present. What a ride! Unique. Fast. Comfy. The ultimate hip beatnik mobile.


I was standing next to my mundane Datsun when Sean pulls in. My first reaction? "Hey man, let me drive it around the block." (Sean, not wishing to turn down his first real boss, says sure.)


I got in and putted up and down the Alameda checking out the radio, listening to Wolf playing the hits o' the day. I noticed that the car had a peculiar brake. It wasn't really a brake pedal. It was like this rubber squeeze bulb that you stepped on and the hydraulic oils went to the brakes and 'voila' power brakes that were tied into the steering and the suspension. They seemed to work fine. I also noticed that there was this little handle that you could adjust that would raise and lower the car much like the devices that are used nowdays to good effect by low riders and their immediate pump-em-up or lower- em-down "Rides". "Mah Ride is Mah Pride, man!"


I was turning back into the driveway of the parking lot in order to return the car to Sean...but I thought I would do one little thing.... I decided to 'lower' the car so that I was much more impressive coming back into the lot. So I hit the little lever and the car went down to within 2 inches of the ground and looked mighty stylish indeed. I turned to pull into the south side of the building so Wolf could see me through the studio window driving Sean's car. I kind of 'goosed it' at the last minute so I could cram on the brakes and spray a little gravel for added effect. Skid to a halt and all that.


I zoomed in and stomped on the little black rubber brake button. I stomped and I stomped and.... nothing happened. The car kept on rolling at rather a good clip. It was too late. BAM! I jumped the bumper high concrete wall that surrounded the basement steps. The car further careened into the stucco wall of the air studio and crunched a hole in the wall of the studio. The look of shock and horror on my face I am told was something to behold. Not to mention the dismay and anger of Sean at my stupidity and/or bad luck.


Wolf happened to be on an air break at the time so the whole episode was audible on the air to the listeners. Wolf kept saying, "Folks! Did you hear that bang? You are not going to belive what just happened. And he proceeded to give a play by play of how his boss just rammed a hole in the wall with another DJ's car. "I don't think he's even been drinkin or smokin folks." He just kept laughing. The repair cost for the car was impressive...especially on my meager salary.


Sean and I remained friends, but I don't know how. The liabilty paid for the wall repairs. Nothing could pay for my embarassment.


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