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KROQ: an oral history

Los Angeles Magazine, Nov, 2001 by Kate Sullivan


"TELL ME ABOUT KROQ'--THAT'S LIKE SAYING, `TELL ME ABOUT VIETNAM,' or `Tell me about the French Revolution,'" says longtime KROQ DJ Jed the Fish. "No one will ever know all of it." * We know this much: KROQ is the most powerful rock station in the world. It is also the number-one-rated radio station in Los Angeles. Radio programmers nationwide have endlessly copied KROQ's formats, during both its "Roq of the '80s" new wave heyday and its mid-'90s, grunge-fueled renaissance. KROQ is now the flagship station of Viacom-owned Infinity Broadcasting. But much of the station's mystique--and listener loyalty--dates from its early-'80s adolescence as an independently operated renegade station with no real owner. In the absence of the usual controls, KROQ's DJs and programmers played what they liked. In the process they ignited a musical, cultural, and eventually commercial explosion.

Mixing rockabilly with reggae, early electronica with punk rock, ska, new wave, and every mutation thereof, KROQ championed unknown baby bands, including the Clash, U2, R.E.M., INXS, Duran Duran, XTC, Depeche Mode, the Smiths, the Cure, the Go-Go's, Culture Club, Devo, the Police, the Pretenders, New Order, the Specials, Billy Idol, Adam Ant, the B-52's, Oingo Boingo, Eurythmics, Tears for Fears, Soft Cell, Spandau Ballet, Simple Minds, the Human League, ABC, Split Enz, the Cult, Midnight Oil, Yaz, Bananarama, Berlin, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Madness, X, the Bangles, Thomas Dolby, Missing Persons, the Stray Cats, UB40, Men at Work, and the English Beat. KROQ is also to be held accountable for "Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage," "I Eat Cannibals," and Huey Lewis & the News.

KROQ didn't spring fully formed from the void: It was the glittering bastard offspring of '60s counterculture and '70s sleaze. In 1972 a Hollywood nightclub promoter and band manager named Gary Bookasta and his partners bought the signal at AM 1500 and named it KROQ. Not long after, they also bought free-form KPPC (106.7 FM), founded by Tom and Raechel Donahue, and renamed it KROQ too. "The Roqs of Los Angeles" simulcast a free-form progressive rock format, which meant Jackson Browne and the New York Dolls, the Velvet Underground and Black Sabbath.

KROQ 106.7 was born.

The station offered an unpredictable experience for listeners, but that was merely an echo of the chaos, danger, and bliss of life on the inside.

Look out, honey, 'cause I'm using technology / Ain't got time to make no apology / Soul radiation in the dead of night / Love in the middle of a fire fight --Iggy and the Stooges

GARY BOOKASTA (founder, KROQ FM and AM): We wanted to call it "KROK," but it was already taken. It was [DJ] Humble Harve's idea to use the I. He ended up killing his wife, but Phil Spector and I went to bat for him in court. He only got two years [for manslaughter].

SHADOE STEVENS (DJ, 1973-74, 1976-79): KROQ was the inspiration of Gary Bookasta. Gary was a con man. He had an almost mystical ability to make people believe in him. He pulled together 13 partners, who built this radio station in Burbank. It took off like a rocket.

BOOKASTA: We called it "KROQ--The Roq Revolution," and we bought nine billboards on the Strip to publicize it. The first song we ever played when we went on was "Revolution" by the Beatles.

<< STEVENS: Suddenly KROQ was a major player. However, none of us were being paid. People lived on credit cards, going to 7-Eleven. Finally we couldn't take it anymore. Everybody quit, and in 1974 the station went off the air for a couple years.

CINDY PAULOS (DJ, 1973-74, 1976-79): We ended it with "Funeral for a Friend" by Elton John. There was a few of us standing around. We had champagne, and we just kind of said how much fun it had been. The union representative was there and we just turned the transmitter off and that was it. I went home and cried and cried and cried.

Do you remember Murray the K, Alan Freed, and high energy? / It's the end, the end of the '70s / It's the end, the end of the century --The Ramones

In 1976 the Federal Communications Commission sent a telegram to Bookasta and company: If they didn't resume broadcasting within ten days, they'd forfeit their rights to the signals.

<< FREDDY SNAKESKIN (DJ, 1980-90,1992-94): The owners were in debt to a concert promoter from New Jersey named Ken Roberts [Sly Stone's manager]. Just a few days before the deadline, Roberts bought some bare-bones radio equipment. He paid the past-due electric bills and a bunch of other past-due bills.

BOOKASTA: We relaunched the station with no fanfare this time, broadcasting from the transmitter for a while. Then I got a trade-out deal with the Pasadena Hilton where we set up a studio in two suites on the 12th floor.

FRAZER SMITH (DJ, 1976-80): There were room-service trays stacked everywhere. There was a bed--it was a regular suite--all they had done was push everything aside and set up this really old equipment. It looked like they had picked it up at a Pasadena City College swap meet. But it was on AM and FM, so it was actually blanketing the city.

RODNEY BINGENHEIMER (DJ, 1976-present): We had the Ramones jammed in [the hotel room] on my first show. We played the test pressings of "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Beat on the Brat." The lines just lit up--"What is this? You've got it on the wrong speed!"

<< DARRELL WAYNE (everything, 1976-82): Eventually we got evicted from the Hilton, because we didn't pay the rent. There were two federal marshals outside the door for two or three days to make sure we didn't steal anything, because the Hilton was going to take the equipment.

So we got on the request line one night and found a couple of women who had some alcohol and some drugs and were willing to come up and spend time with the marshals while we snuck out with the equipment. I had found the place across the street at 117 South Los Robles a couple of days ahead of time.

FREDDY SNAKESKIN: 117 South Los Robles was a dump. There was the ugliest wallpaper in the world, ugliest carpeting in the world. Forest green. Coincidentally, Ken Roberts has it all over his house and his office.

<< SMITH: Van Halen were Pasadena guys, and they used to sneak through the back window--David Lee Roth going, "Dewd, you gotta play our test pressing!" It was "Running with the Devil." I'd walk him back out of the studio--"Get the fuck out of here, this is professional radio." Guess I told them.

WAYNE: We were basically a bunch of hippies in '76 to '77, and then here comes this new music. Punk and new wave. Some people accepted it quicker than others. Rodney was there the whole time setting the tempo. For music meetings the air staff would pile into my office and have pizza and beer, and sit and listen to records and decide: Thumbs-up, thumbs-down--do we add it? It was a democracy.

SMITH: You've never really lived until you've heard the Buzzcocks coming in over AM radio.

Everybody smash up your seats and rock to this / Brand-new beat / This here music mash up the nation / This here music cause a sensation --The Clash

In 1978 KROQ officially adopted a new wave format and, for publicity, went commercial-free for two months.

<< JED THE FISH (DJ, 1978-84, 1985-present): I used to be afraid of Frazer Smith. He had "Panic in Detroit" as his theme song. He was out of his mind. He would throw the record across the room, just for a sound effect. Of course [as music director] it's my job to replace that record. I must have called RCA a dozen times trying to replace that stupid record, so Frazer could throw it across the room again.

SMITH: I had this idea for "Christmas in My Car." I invited everyone down to Hollywood and Vine, where I was supposedly living in my car. Thousands of people showed up down there on the day before Christmas, and I wasn't there. I was at the station. I kept saying, "Look for my car," and I would give a different kind of car every time. "Where are you guys? I'm down here and no one showed up." It caused a big traffic jam.

STEVENS: You wanted to be constantly doing things funnier, faster, smarter, better. The idea was to always be up. Cocaine and methamphetamines were the drugs of choice then. Itís a lot of fun at first. But then you cross a line--and you start chasing the dream of how much fun you were having at the beginning.

WAYNE: In 1979 Rick Carroll came in as program director. He had come from a Top 40 programming background. Rick had what he called hot clocks, which were segmented pie charts that said when you were supposed to play what category of music. Applied to the music we had been developing, it turned into a magic combination.

RAECHEL DONAHUE (DJ, 1982-84): You can't just play a random smattering of songs. KROQ did that in the beginning. The listener has to be able to go, "Oh, there it is again!" You have to give your audience a chance to get as hip as you are.

<< DENISE WESTWOOD (DJ, 1980,82): The really, really neat thing was that at the end of every hour, we were allowed to play whatever we wanted, if you played something enough, you could get some notice for it, and if it became popular enough, Rick would put it in the regular rotation.

FREDDY SNAKESKIN: That's how a lot of what subsequently became hits developed. We'd play them as our jock's choice, and people would request them and we'd play them again. "Blue Monday" by New Order was my jock's choice--their first popular song. "Dancing with Myself" by Billy Idol. Dusty Street came up with Depeche Mode.

RICHARD BLADE (DJ, 1982-2000): All the DJs really felt that we were responsible for the music we were playing, and it was our job to actually find great music for the kids. And they would call us and say, "I just got back from South Africa and I heard this band. Oh my God, you should check them out! They're called Juluka--I'll send you a cassette."

We'd call up a record company in South Africa--we couldn't call from the radio station, we weren't allowed to use the phones--and suddenly Juluka would be on the playlist. The listeners got so involved they almost became substitute music directors.

Split Enz came into the studio one day. Their record label had told them, "You'll know you've made it when you get played on KROQ. If you make it in L.A., we'll get an American record deal, and we can take the rest of America, and if we get America, we'll get the world."

We didn't know about any of this conversation--we were just kid DJs getting paid nothing. So in come Split Enz and they sit down and go, "Wow! So this is the world famous KROQ!" That's where the trademarked logo comes from.

FREDDY SNAKESKIN: Between Rick pulling one way and the jocks pulling the other--that dynamic is what was responsible for making KROQ not only cool but successful.

BLADE: I remember when Jed got the new Talking Heads album before anybody else, and he just put it on. He'd play 30 seconds of each cut live, and he left his microphone open the whole time, commenting on each track. Today you'd get your ass kicked for that, but people loved it, because that's what you do when you buy a new record. Rick loved it, too. It was magic.

<< BINGENHEIMER: Every Christmas I did a salute to Phil Spector. That's when I started playing "This Could Be the Night" as my theme. I always thought, "This could be my last show. This could be the night." It seemed too good to be true.

MIKE EVANS (DJ, 1980-82, 1984-1989): Rick said, "There are only two things you have to do. You have to play my music and you have to have fun."

APRIL WHITNEY (DJ, 1978-87, 1990-94): I asked Rick to walk me down the aisle at my wedding because I felt that grateful to him. Of course, he was late to the wedding. That's Rick, you know. You love him, and you put up with him. He was a genius.

EVANS: Rick Carroll is the father, grandfather, the saint of KROQ. Everything that KROQ has now, every check that Trip Reeb cashes, every check that Kevin and Bean take to the bank, they owe to Rick Carroll.

The lunatics have taken over the asylum -- Fun Boy Three

DEBBIE URLIK (housewife, listener): I never fit in, in grade school. I was fat and had bad clothes. In sixth grade I discovered ska through my older brothers, and KROQ was the only, only station that would play the Specials. They were the kind of band that, if you knew about them, you felt so good about yourself. Nobody at my school listened to KROQ.

I would sit in this little corner of my room and study for my stupid bat mitzvah--this fat girl with braces, 13 years old. I felt so uncool. So I'd just sit back and listen to KROQ on my clock radio and imagine I was a cool teenager--I'd have fantasies that I'd meet the KROQ DJs and they'd think I was pretty and want to go out with me. If I heard my father's shoes down the hall, I had to hurry up and turn off the radio and pretend I was studying.

DAVID BROWN (musician, listener): I always felt like a bit of an outsider, even among outsiders--I felt like a freak a lot of times. And even though I didn't realize it at the time, in some ways KROQ made me feel good about being different from the kids in my class.

URLIK: Eventually I became a full-blown punk.

MAGGIE SULLIVAN (poet, listener): When I was 14; I remember feeling kind of twisted into silence everywhere in [my parents'] house except in my bedroom. One day I was cleaning my room and I heard Squeeze's "Pulling Mussels from a Shell" on KROQ for the first time.

I got so blissed out--I got up and started dancing and turned it up, and I felt all these colors--swimming in a beautiful pastel tropical painting or something. It wasn't visual, though--it was like being inside it. It was vision and sound and transportation and sexiness and discovery. There was something kind of sad about that song, too.

BROWN: KROQ made the world seem like a wider and more interesting place. Maybe I could tell that [the DJs] were all whacked out on coke and heroin and just a bunch of freaks in there blazing a trail with this new music. What else does a teenager want?

We're a long way from home / Welcome to the pleasure dome -- Frankie Goes to Hollywood

EVANS: We would come in there at night, when Dusty was in there. Man, there would be naked women running around the studio and people lying on the floor in the bathroom shooting up.

One Saturday night I opened the door and there were about six or seven girls between 12 and 14 running around the station naked.

<< WHITNEY: We all did blow off Jed's license. It was in a frame with glass on it, so that was the frame we used.

EVANS: It was amazing the amount of blow that was around in those days. Bags used to drop out of albums we'd get sent to us. Happened all the time.

My job every morning was to go over to Rick's apartment. He would often be up all night. I love Rick with all my heart, but he had a horrible drug problem. When he was still awake, which was about half the time, at 5:50, he'd answer the door naked, looking like a crazed man, and he would hand me a piece of notebook paper on which he'd drawn the pie chart by hand.

If he was sleeping, he would leave our playlist underneath a flowerpot. Sometimes there'd be booze or coke spilled on it, and we'd brush it off and try to read it.

That is where KROQ's music, the "Roq of the `80s," came from every day.

JED THE FISH: My saddest moment was also magical--listening to KROQ in `83-`84, when I wasn't working there. I had just gotten kicked out of the Betty Ford center for stealing a car to go get drugs. I got in my car, my own car, and was driving down the 10 freeway, and "Rebel Yell" came on by Billy Idol. It was the first time I'd ever heard it. I was so mad and sad that I wasn't at the radio station playing that song, because I knew that we were going to be listening to it for years. It was such a completely unique and profoundly exciting sound--and I was missing out on it.

<< BLADE: The jocks went on vacation to Hawaii because the station paid them literally nothing. So the station sent them--the catch was, the jocks had to sell trips for 400 listeners. Pseudo-celebrities and other DJs would fill in at the station for free. That's how I started.

WHITNEY: There would always be a band that went with us, and so there would be a concert. The Go-Go's went one year, Katrina and the Waves, Oingo Boingo. Once we were staying at the Beachcomber hotel in Waikiki, and I don't know how it got started, but you take 400 or 500 KROQ listeners and put them all in the same hotel--everybody was out on their balconies throwing toilet paper and water and whatever else, screaming and yelling off the side of the hotel. The Honolulu police said we were never invited back to the island.

Last night everything broke / We're desperate / Get used to it --X

EVANS: Often we would come in the morning and there would be a sheriff's seal on the door, because [the owners] never paid the rent. We'd have to wait until Ken Roberts would send somebody with, like, $4,000 cash to pay all the back rent we owed.

WAYNE: We didn't have any engineering budget, so most of the equipment was put together with toothpicks and glue and rubber bands.

BLADE: The equipment was so bad--what a kid today has loaded on his computer is ten times better than the best thing we had. We also didn't have an electrical ground in the building. So every time the copy machine went back and forth, you could hear it go click! rrrrrmmmm. click! rrrrrrmmmm. This went out over the air. It would drive us nuts. So Eileen from sales would run in and open the door and say, "I want to use the copy machine!" And I'd go, "All right, wait until I put on the Sex Pistols!"

One day Poorman fell asleep drinking a coffee, and this Super Big Gulp poured into the console. There were 16 channels on the console, and we sat and watched as one channel after another shut down. Finally we had two channels open and they were both mike channels, so for about four hours, all we could do was talk.

Now KROQ has three really race studios and a terrific transmitter. But I gotta tell you, it was fun. It was fun flying by the seat of your pants.

We can dance if we want to / We can leave your friends behind! --Men Without Hats

URLIK: One of my happiest memories was when I was about 14 and Poorman DJ'd a dance at my high school, Immaculate Heart. You'd smoke outside, and go in the bathroom to put on lipstick, and you could never even look at any of the boys.

Poorman said, "I want five girls to come up here right now." This was not my normal way of doing things, but I just went up them, and he announced that it was a best-dressed contest. And I won! It was my one little shining moment of glory when I was the prettiest in the room. All my life I'd been so, so unconfident in my looks, and I was onstage with Poorman and I was winning a prize.

He gave me an envelope. I looked inside and it was tickets to Monster Trucks.

SULLIVAN: When I was 15 I had mono and had to stay home for a month. It was this singular period of time when the only song on, ever, was "Tainted Love." So I started calling to request songs, and there was this one guy who I ended up talking to for a few days in a row. He had this really great voice, and he was really flirty, and it was exciting. Then he said that there was this B-52's concert he had tickets to.

So I got all dressed up and snuck out--I got a ride from a friend. I met this KROQ guy at the Palladium, and it was really shocking: He had this big belly, and he smelled really, really awful. During the concert I walked out, and he followed me. He kind of cornered me against this car, and I bolted and started running down Sunset as fast as I could. I caught a cab home. It was so exciting.

URLIK: Rodney DJ'd another dance at my school, in 1985. He played Nina Hagen, and I think Fear, and "In Between Days" by the Cure, some Prince. It was crazy to dance to that stuff at school.

Rodney looked small and weaselly, slightly perturbing--and a lot older than I'd expected. I remember thinking, "How is it possible that he's DJ'ing a high school dance.?" It was cool that he was there, but someone who's got it all together does not spin records at an all-girls' Catholic high school dance. Unless ...

I remember hearing on the wind that he went off and made out with one of the girls. She was 13 or 14, the most beautiful Korean girl you ever saw, but a child. Supposedly he went off with her and painted the town. It became a real legend.

BINGENHEIMER: I played Dramarama at the dance at Immaculate Heart, I remember. Everyone went berserk when I played "Anything Anything." People were slam dancing. The nuns came out-- "What are you doing?" I think I also played some Nina Hagen. I don't remember making out, but I do remember about five of us piled into my car and went down to Penny Feathers, a little diner on La Cienega.

BLADE: Once Wham! came into KROQ in the morning, George Michael and Andrew Ridgely. Off the air they said, "Is anything going on tonight?" They were 19-year-old kids. I said, "I've got a gig tonight," and they said, "Can we come? Could we get in? How much is it?" Imagine George Michael asking if he can get into a club.

So they came on down, and the club was packed. I said, "Wham! are here," and everyone was cheering. I played "Wham! Rap," and George said to me, "Would you mind if we sing along with it?" Not a problem. They went into the center of the dance floor, and the two of them in their leather jackets lip-synched and danced. That was Wham!'s first-ever performance in the States--Dillon's Westwood on a KROQ night.

It's the end of the world as we know it --R.E.M.

For nearly ten years Ken Roberts, aided by Bookasta, fought in Washington, D.C., for control of the station's license, previously co-owned by a large group of investors. Meanwhile, Reagan-era deregulation was transforming radio from a quasi-mom-and-pop enterprise into a landscape ruled by corporations. Finally, in 1986, Roberts won the license and sold KROQ to Infinity Broadcasting. At $45 million, it was the largest cash transaction in radio history.

BLADE: Ken was excited to make the money from Infinity, and Infinity were excited to expand their beginning empire. They've since become absolutely huge--CBS and Infinity merged [and then merged with Viacom] and now have some 180 stations.

<< MEL KARMAZIN (president and CEO, Infinity Broadcasting, 1981-February 2001): When we bought KROQ it wasn't, in our sense, a very successful radio station on any level: creatively, ratings-wise, revenue-wise. We paid an incredible price for the station at the time, and everyone thought we'd overpaid. But I knew the station from the `70s and was very anxious to do a deal.

If we're going to be in the advertising business, we want to be in the radio business. And if we're going to be in the radio business, we want to be in Los Angeles. And if we're going to be in Los Angeles, we want to own KROQ.

FREDDY SNAKESKIN: It seemed like it was for the better at first, because we had been operating under such adverse conditions for so long. After a while you realize that, in exchange for all the toilet paper you need and equipment that always works, you're giving something else up. You couldn't have friends stopping by anymore after hours, because the guard wouldn't let anybody up unless they were on the list. So there was no more of that anything-can-happen spontaneity. You couldn't say, "Hey, the next person that brings me a pizza wins a pair of tickets."

BLADE: The late '80s was a strange time at KROQ You felt there was a winding-down of music. Thomas Dolby's album had bombed, Duran had gone through a series of breakups, the Smiths had broken up, Spandau Ballet had gone away, and people were just shaking their heads going, "What happened to all this new music?"

And Mel Karmazin allowed us to ride out the downtime. He wasn't losing money, but he wasn't making anything like what he could have made if he'd gone Spanish or talk. He saved the station.

JED THE FISH: We should have played Guns N' Roses. We should have played hip-hop before it was called hip-hop. And we didn't. There was no one bold enough to do that at the radio station. There was no leadership.

BLADE: We really tried. We tried all types of music. We threw a lot of stuff out there--techno, British stuff. With all respect to the Smithereens and the Replacements, the Pixies and Sonic Youth and Wire, that was about all the music that was happening at the time, but it didn't have the same impact on fans.

<< HOWIE KLEIN (president, Reprise Records, 1995-June 2001): There was a time to work rap into the station. I remember I brought Ice-T to KROQ--he was on Loveline--and they played his music and people loved it. And when the techno explosion started happening, they thought seriously about getting involved in that. But to be a mainstream station, you have to keep away from the edges. If you want to be real mainstream and successful, you don't want to offend people.

WHITNEY: One of the great things I think that Infinity has done is that it popped people into rehab. I wish that had happened for me, but it takes what it takes.

JED THE FISH: It was 1989, and drugs quit working for me. I got pulled over for speeding, and they found drugs in the car. We all had our wake up calls. Some of us got fired, and some of us didn't. It was the end of the drugged-out '80s. And we were sorry to see it go.

Another thing that was really sad that year was that Rick Carroll died. And Rick died clean. He had gotten clean the year before. He was getting treated for AIDS in Mexico. It was really sad, because he had gotten sick one week and died the next week. I was looking forward to going to meetings with this guy. Hanging out, seeing what it was like with him rehired at the station. See how he was going to run the ship clean. And never got that chance.

Teenage angst has paid off well --Nirvana

FREDDY SNAKESKIN: In 1989 they hired Trip Reeb as general manager from San Diego, and one of the first things he did was he eliminated the jock's choice. So that was the end of that.

TRIP REEB (general manager, 1989-present): When I got here I hired a program director named Andy Schuon, and we set about to revamp the programming. It had gotten off on a particular tangent, one which neither Andy nor I felt was ultimately good for the success of the station. There was very little guitar music at the station.

We sought out more [guitar rock], and quite honestly, in 1989, little did we know--a few years later we had Nirvana records to play, and that helped take the station to a much higher level, from which we haven't really looked back.

JED THE FISH: When you have a $300 million radio station, you have to play hits. And we don't need the resource of a jock's choice to drive the adventurousness of the station, because we have excellent people in the music department.

There's too much at stake to fuck around based on the whim of a DJ. Why put someone on like me, who is going to play Underworld or Orbital or an obscure band from the rural South called Self? Why not play the hits? Yeah, it's not as fun. But it wasn't fun making $900 a month, either.

KARMAZIN: Radio's a better business today than it's ever been in history. More and more advertisers are using radio; KROQ makes about ten times the profit it made in 1986. And the industry is less competitive because of consolidation. Four companies own a good chunk of the market today, and that makes it a better business than when you [only owned] an individual station.

We have been very involved in lobbying for deregulation. We thought that the radio business needed more consolidation in order to compete for advertising dollars with other media. And by the way, we think that there's still a need for further deregulation. I'm not suggesting this, but even if one company owned all the stations in a given market, there's still newspaper, TV, and billboard competition.

KLEIN: I don't want to judge, because they were given a mandate, and they did it spectacularly successfully. But how is KROQ any different from Top 40? It's not. It's just a hipper, cooler, whiter version. If you really want to hear adventurous music, you go to KCRW. But there's a big space between what KROQ was and what KCRW is, and in that space there are young people who have nowhere to go.

REEB: I think that there's more openness on our playlists now. Don't confuse sliding records on that you like with influencing the music that ultimately becomes a part of the radio station. It's not like the DJs in the '80s really had a significant impact on the music that this radio station made famous.

KARMAZIN: There aren't very many successful people in radio today who were former KROQ jocks. I can't even think of one.

REEB: The people here now are more talented [than the old crew]--they blow those other people away. Why don't I let them pick their own music every hour? They're not that good. Nobody is.

KARMAZIN: To people who say KROQ has changed--get a life. I've been in the radio business a long time, and I've been hearing that forever--the music is too commercial, or there's too many commercials, or the DJs aren't as relevant. Instead of bitching about it, just shut off the radio if you don't like it.

We've always said that we like to grow our cash profits by 20 percent a year. We think that's cool. The number $50 million in annual revenues has been bandied around. Then Trip has the second easiest job in the world: All he has to do is send the checks to me.

It happened forever / For a short time --The Motels

WHITNEY: You know how sometimes you will do something and you don't really know you're having fun in the moment, but later you look back and go, "Wow, that was really fun"?

While I was at KROQ, I knew that I was having a good time.

WAYNE: The radio was the reason I got up in the morning, the reason I went to sleep at night, the reason I did everything that I did during the day. And when that goes away it leaves such a void, you cannot believe.

WHITNEY: KROQ was really what my life was about. I lived and breathed KROQ. It was my whole universe, my support system, my family, and my dearest friends. I had to rebuild my own identity after I got fired. I had to learn about who I was without KROQ.

WAYNE: I wouldn't trade that in for any other time in my life. And believe me, I'm 16 years sober. But that was wild times.

SWEDISH EGIL (DJ, 1982-91): I remember Poorman and I would ride around in his car in the morning and complain about KROQ and how tough things were, bitch about Ken Roberts and Richard Blade, probably. Poorman always wanted more time on his show. k was funny.

See, even then there was always something to bitch about.

Kate Sullivan ("KROQ: AN ORAL HISTORY," PAGE 90) has written about rockers Sugar Ray and Incubus for Spin. Sullivan is a former staff writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and a film critic for City Pages in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Los Angeles Magazine, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group