Do you listen to the radio these days? Maybe in your car? Or on your computer? Now we can download music to a number of devices. In the 1960s, teenagers in San Francisco, and all over the country, relied on their transistor radios to learn all of the latest songs. And we were loyal to our radio stations and the “disc jockeys.”
If the names Emperor Gene Nelson, Russ “The Moose” Syracuse, “Big Daddy” Tom Donahue, and Johnny Holliday ring any bells for you, you listened to KYA-AM 1260 in San Francisco. In 1965, Johnny Holliday was named number one disc jockey in the nation. In 1966, he co-hosted (with DJ Gene Nelson) the final concert by the Beatles at Candlestick Park. Here he is in 1966 promoting a San Francisco nightclub called the Dragon-A-Go-Go:
Holliday also worked as an announcer for the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco Warriors while he worked at KYA. He moved to Washington DC in 1969 and began his career in sports broadcasting that continues to today. In 2014, at the age of 77, he was inducted into the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame.
As for KYA, it still exists, in cyberspace. So now, anyone in the world can hear San Francisco’s 1960s sounds. Redwood City native Gary Mora is keeping the oldies alive. If Gary’s voice sounds familiar, it might be because he has spent his career doing voice work for commercials for companies such as Disneyland, American Airlines and Apple computers.
To listen to KYA live, just click on http://www.kyaradio.com/