KOME (defunct)

KOME (defunct)

KOME was a radio station in San Jose, California, heard at 98.5 FM from 1971 thru 1998. Currently, the 98.5 FM frequency is home to KUFX ("K-Fox").



In 1959, Edward W. Meece, one of the founders of Pacifica Radio, formed The Audio House, Inc and started a new radio station, KRPM at 98.5 FM in San Jose, California. KRPM's format was classical music.


Meece sold The Audio House, Inc, with KRPM, for roughly $300,000 in February 1971 to Mel Gollub of Pennsylvania and Ron Cutler [http://groups.google.com/group/ba.broadcast/browse_thread/thread/f0b7d26089b205e0/fb46d85aebb2d0dc?lnk=gst&q=kome&rnum=1#fb46d85aebb2d0dc] . The station's call letters were changed to KOME, and the format became free-form rock. In 1973 a group of New Yorkers who later renamed themselves Infinity Broadcasting acquired KOME as the first of many stations to come.

KOME attracted a loyal South Bay rock audience throughout the 1970s and early 1990s, against original San Jose FM rock rival KSJO. Both stations managed to attract some listeners within neighboring San Francisco against Tom Donahue's well-known KMPX and KSAN, neither of which had a significant presence in the South Bay. KOME's diamond shaped stickers were a common sight on vehicles and high school lockers around the area. Several on-air slogans suggested the sexual connotations of its call letters, probably the most memorable being "Don't touch that dial, it's got KOME on it!," "K-O-M-E all over your radio dial," "Wake up with KOME in your ear," and "The KOME spot on your dial." Not surprisingly, Playboy magazine found this newsworthy enough to mention the station.

The station's free-form rock music allowed disc jockeys to choose their music. In 1974, program director Ed Romig tightened up the free-form rock format, but his successor, Mikel Herrington (aka Mikel Hunter) returned the station to its free-form roots in August 1977. He discarded the card catalog playlist in favor of an eclectic library including art-rock, jazz, punk, new wave, and soul within a rock format framework.

The KOME decals of that era were seen not just locally, but photographs of them were sent to the station proving people placed them both nationally and internationally (San Jose, Costa Rica sported a KOME decal for a while). These early diamond decals were available to listeners as both black on yellow, and yellow on black, with "Our Decal" the phrase at the bottom. Other station items also sported the "Our" designation such as "Our Light," "Our Cube" (a pen holder), even the payroll checks said "Our Checks" on them. A limited number of diamond decals with black on a white background were produced for staff members. Listeners soon became highly creative, cutting up the decals to read new phrases; the most notorious was likely "KOKE 99.9% Pure." The later "Rock Radio" era eliminated the "Our Decal" and replaced it with "FM," as well as producing some with a digital typeface. Both eras produced limited edition decals promoting bands of the day such as the Rolling Stones, The Who, and Bruce Springsteen.

News at the "come" era of KOME was taken seriously, but allowed for room to expand to clever parodies of news events of the day through the efforts of Production Director Jack Perry and News Director Rob Singleton, (and in the earlier days Joe Regelski) with Newsman Mark Goldberg assisting. Production and airstaff members would assist in producing skits that rivaled those of popular comedy troupe the Credibility Gap.


According to an article in "Metro", KOME's freeform ethic ended around 1982, when Infinity Broadcasting tightened the station's playlist and enlisted radio consultants to determine programming. [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1998/05/29/DD44392.DTL&hw=kome&sn=004&sc=715] [http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.04.98/cover/radio2-9822.html] Mikel Herrington left the station in protest and went to KMET in Los Angeles.

In 1983, PD Les Tracy hardened the format to a mostly heavy metal playlist. Hard rock and Tracy lasted slightly less than a year before dismal ratings released Tracy, and new PD Pat Evans reverted KOME to its previous approach.

The years between 1983 and 1994 were the station's high-water mark with now legenday KOME personalities such as Blazy & Bob, Stephen Page, "Weird Uncle" Frank Bennett, Scott Lewis and the return of Dennis Erectus, turning KOME into one of the most notorious in the nation, winning the Rolling Stone Readers Poll as Station Of The Year in both 1988 and 1990, landing them on the cover of the music magazine. Local, national and international live broadcasts, innovative promotions from the office of Assistant Program Director and Marketing veteran Dave Wohlman (former WBCN, Boston personality and Production whizz) kept the station in the fore-front of rock radio. The end came quickly and sadly when parent company Infinity pulled the plug on the AOR format.

KOME went to alternative rock and new wave music in May 1994, eschewing much of the remaining remnants of its rock past. Syndicated programming such as "The Howard Stern Show" and "Loveline" [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1998/05/27/DD62501.DTL&hw=kome&sn=016&sc=436] supplanted some local DJs, but the spark was gone!


In 1997, Infinity Broadcasting, which had recently merged with CBS, [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/e/a/1996/06/20/NEWS12426.dtl&hw=kome&sn=009&sc=561] purchased KITS "Live 105," San Francisco from Entercom, and ran both stations with identical formats for a short time. The company was legally required to sell one station when they took over American Radio Systems in May 1998, and opted to sell the 98.5 frequency to Jacor, owners of longtime rival KSJO. Jacor transferred their classic rock station KUFX and its callsign to their newly acquired frequency, thus ending KOME. CBS/Infinity transferred two members of KOME's air staff (Ally Storm and No Name), and the Stern and Loveline [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1998/05/27/DD62501.DTL&hw=kome&sn=016&sc=436] syndicated shows, to KITS as "The New Live 105". [http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.04.98/cover/radio2-9822.html] [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/e/a/1998/05/28/STYLE8203.dtl&hw=kome&sn=002&sc=928] The KOME call letters were retired from the Bay Area, resurfacing briefly on a small co-owned AM station outside the market. At this writing, the KOME call letters are available.

Ratings history vs. KSJO and KSAN

Arbitron average share, total age 12-plus, 06:00 - midnite, seven days: Apr/May 78 Jul/Aug 78 Oct/Nov 78 Jan/Feb 79 Apr/May 79
* Santa Clara county only: KOME 2.7 --- 2.8 4.4 5.2 KSJO 2.6 --- 2.4 3.2 4.0 KSAN 1.3 --- 0.7 0.7 0.7
* San Francisco nine-county, including Santa Clara county: KOME 0.8 0.9 0.8 1.6 1.9 KSJO 0.8 1.8 1.0 1.1 1.2 KSAN 1.9 2.1 1.8 1.9 1.8

It appears that KOME began to overtake KSJO significantly Jan / Feb 1979. In the San Francisco nine-county area, KOME actually beats KSAN slightly in Apr / May 1979.

Notable disk jockeys and other air staff

alphabetical by air name (aka)

*Billy Vega about 1988-1992 also KSJO, KUFX
*Bob Lilley 1986-1994: news (News Director in Idaho)
*Bob Simmons early 1970s also KSJO
*Carson Daly 1990s (NBC's "Last Call with Carson Daly")
*Dana Jang 1974-1985 also KKUP, KSJO (PD of KBAY and KEZR, San Jose) [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/01/15/PKGQIF69UN1.DTL&hw=kome&sn=045&sc=307]
*Dave Wohlman 1982-1998: Production Director, Promotion/Marketing Director, Assistant Program Director, Personality. Host of "The Sunday Morning Time-Machine" and currently hosting "Radio Free Wohlman" (radiofreewohlman.blogspot.com)
*Dennis Erectus 1977-1992 (removed from and restored to his airshift for decency violations, moved to KSJO 1993-1994) also on air in San Antonio, TX (worked behind the scenes for PD Dana Jang at KBAY / KEZR from 2005 until his heart attack in Nov 2006) Dennis will remain in recovery for an undetermined period.
*Denise (Donna Volpicella) Erectus (played Dennis Erectus's sister on the air)
*Don West 1979; 1981 - 1983; 1984-1998 Production; Night DJ, & Engineering
*Gene Mitchell (Geno Michelini, sometimes as air name) 1979-1982 (Los Angeles radio on and off)
*Gary T. (...Torresani) 1971-1972 & 1975-1983
*Greg Stone 1978-1983 & 1986-1998: Stone Trek (KUFX, San Jose)
*Jay William Weed (aka J. William Weed) 1972-1973: DJ and PD; also KSJO, ABC at KGO-FM>KSFX, San Francisco (Mr Mom)
*Jack Perry 1979-1983: Production Director (CBS SF Radio Group Creative Services Director)
*Jeff Blazy 1987-1994 (PD of The Fox Santa Rosa, CA)
*John Higdon 1971-1998: Chief Engineer, "The Classical KOME" host early 1970s (Consultant-Engineer for KBAY & KEZR)
*Joe Regelski about 1976-1977 also KSJO (News Director KOZT, Mendecino, CA)
*Jona Denz-Hamilton 1974-1982 also (PD of KLRB/Monterey, CA) (PD of KROY-FM/Sacramento, CA) also on KLOK/San Jose, KEEN/San Jose, KFJC/Los Altos Hills. Current Middays(KBAY, San Jose)
*Karin Nakamura 1976-1983 (KUFX, San Jose)
*Kelly Cox 1979-1983 (KLOS, Los Angeles)
*Larry Jacobs 1977-1979 (ABC News, New York)
*Laurie Roberts 1975-1985 (PD and DJ KUFX, San Jose)
*Lobster (Paul Wells) 1974-1976 also KSJO (KQKE, San Francisco)
*Mark Goldberg 1979-1986 (News Director KKCS, Colorado Springs, CO)
*Mark Sherry early 1970s: DJ and PD; also KFIG, KSJO (Eugene, OR area radio)
*Marla Davies 1990s (KEZR, San Jose)
*Mikel Hunter ("Lefty"; Mikel Herrington) Operations Manager/Morning DJ, 1977-1982 also KMET WYSP KLIV KVYN national voice of Sears
*No Name 1990s (KLLC "Alice", San Francisco) [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/26/PKGA7D9DKV1.DTL&hw=kome&sn=049&sc=299]
*Peter B. Collins 1976-1977 (Syndicated Peter B. Collins show, owns KRXA Monterey, CA)
*Phil Charles early 1970s (Montana radio)
*Rob Singleton 1979-1983 (News Director KJZY, Santa Rosa, CA)
*Ron Nenni 1985-1998 Program Director & Operations Manager
*Sean Donahue (Sean Coman) 1970s also KSAN (died Jul 2000 [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2000/08/07/MN2839.DTL&hw=kome&sn=020&sc=405]
*Stephen Dunwoody (Stephen Page) 1973-1975 & 1985-1995 Music Director also KSJO KRQR (the S.F.days), Station Manager of KYOURadio, San Francisco: pod-cast radio.
*Ted Kopulos 1976-1983: movie guy/song parody guy (KUFX, San Jose)
*Uncle Jack 1971-1974 also KSJO (audio man for "Jeopardy")
*Victor Boc 1972-1980: talk show (Oregon talk show host)
*Wolf about 1973-1975

External links

* [http://www.bayarearadio.org/people/edward-w-meece.shtml KOME was originally classical KRPM]
* [http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.04.98/cover/radio4-9822.html June 4, 1998 "Metro": KOME chronology since Infinity ownership]
* [http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.04.98/cover/radio2-9822.html June 4, 1998 "Metro": Last two weeks of "Kingdom KOME"]
* [http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.04.98/cover/radio1-9822.html June 4, 1998 1998 "Metro": South Bay radio re-shuffling: "The Big Radio Play"]
* [http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.04.98/cover/radio5-9822.html June 4, 1998 1998 "Metro": "Goodbye, KOME"]
* [http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/2006/01/kome_reunion_ro.html January 21, 2006 "Mercury-News" blog: "Almost 33 1/3 years" KOME Reunion]
* [http://www.KOME.com/kome_links.html Assorted links regarding KOME]

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