100.3 FM KQLZ Los Angeles Pirate Radio

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The following are insights from the staff and jocks of Pirate Radio.
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Patti Piech (pronounced "peach")

"I was at Pirate Radio at the very beginning. I worked at K-Lite as the Music Director-it was essentially a satellite station with the morning show live in LA so it was only a part time job. Luckily for me, the PD at the time decided to extend my stay there because he thought the new format would be really up my alley. He was definitely right about that. I was basically a heavy metal girl who loved the Crue and Poison so I was delighted the day they switched the format. They turned it on a month ahead of time so it was really a shock. We showed up to see a Pirate Radio shirt draped over the K-Lite logo on the front door. I was told that they were receiving calls at the switchboard asking if they should call the police since someone had taken over our station. The K-Lite listeners were so pissed off about the change-they really couldn’t believe it. They were running the format out of the storage garage next to Westwood One, so I began the switch over in the music library in the Sunset location then I would drive over and help with some of the board op shifts at Westwood (I was also a part time jock at Transtar which was one of the first big satellite facilities so I had those skills, too).

I actually kept my job at Pirate in a very ass backwards way. Simon T, the station manager, interviewed everyone but me. When I asked him what his plans for me were, he said “As far as I know, you don’t exist”. At that point, I was basically just logging in the new music into the library but I hadn’t been let go yet. Scott Shannon was having other people cart up the songs (we had those fancy new Studer CD players to play songs in the production rooms, but we were hacking up the songs a bit, so it was better to cart them) and they weren’t doing a very good job because that was MY job-it’s a trickier skill that most people would think. I finally had to just yank some music out of Bill Thomas’ hands and demand to cart them up. Everybody sort of cringed (Scott was a little intense in those first days so folks didn’t know how he’d react) but let me do it. When he played them on the air, he asked “who did these?” and they all fearfully told them it was me. He said “Good. Finally they’re being done right” and that’s how I kept my job.

None of us had real job descriptions at that point so we sort of did whatever was needed. It was incredibly stressful and the hours were long. We were on the 11th floor and had windows that opened and on a couple of really crazy days, Bill Thomas would take me into the production room and open a window and say “Let’s just jump. It would be less painful than working here”. We never jumped but someone eventually hung a pirate flag out the window. I’m told they could see the flag over at KIIS FM and it annoyed them.

Because I went to the clubs and a lot of my friends were musicians, I knew what an incredible buzz Pirate was making in just the first week. In the beginning, they were saying on the air that we were broadcasting from Catalina Island so when people would ask, we would tell them that we had a shuttle boat to take us to work. What they really did was have a PO Box set up on Catalina and then brought the mail over from there.

Our first Music Director was Steve Hoffman who had previously been at KLOS. He had amazing knowledge of Classic Rock, Current Rock, and Alternative music. He and Scott would take hours to schedule the music. Even though they were using the Music Scan music system, they were basically scheduling all the music by hand. Since he sat at a desk just outside my music library (more like a music closet with a desk) we would chat back and forth about the segue ways-there was a lot of “that songs ends like this and the next one starts like this-does that work?” We were playing a lot of Lita Ford in those days and Steve’s favorite game was to work in the first lines of one song (I went to a party on a Saturday night. Didn’t get laid but got in a fight) as if it were part of a real story he was telling me. There was always much groaning when I realized he got me again. As I said, it was stressful, so anything we could do to lighten things up, we did. I also called people Babe a lot in those days which caused Steve to put a sign in my room like the traffic sign with a big circle with a slash through it that had Babe in it. Dude was okay but Babe was forbidden.

Many days people could hear me yelling in the library “Don’t sing. Don’t sing it to me.” Because we were playing a lot of new music, and not backselling it, folks didn’t know what songs we were playing. All those info question calls were transferred to me. Since I knew the music really well, I generally just needed a bit of the lyric to recognize a song. When people sang that lyric badly, it was much harder to figure out (besides being painful-it was like bad American Idol auditions ahead of their time-everyone thinks they can sing).

Steve left-can’t remember if he just had to get out of there or just got a better job offer and was replaced by Denise Lauren. It was really strange for me to work for someone much younger, but she knew her music. She had more of an alternative lean so that broadened out Pirate’s music in that direction.

Our first anniversary party at the Palace (now it’s something else) was over the top with , including a roast pig on the buffet. A lot of heavy metal stars showed up and when I said I worked as Assistant Music Director, they had a lot to say about the music. We had received a fax from Nikki Sixx saying what a great job we were doing and requesting some Aerosmith. Everyone thought it was fake and I had a chance to ask him if he was really faxing us. His reply: “Hell, yeah. That’s me. I listen to Pirate all the time.”

I left some time after the year anniversary. I just lost it one day with Simon T and quit. I was expected to do a full time job in part time hours and it just couldn’t be done and he would not give approval for me to go full time. I stayed for that long because I loved the perks of being at Pirate-free tickets to any show I wanted to attend (including the MTV awards-I also voted for Scott Shannon which was a blast) and I could walk into any club free and check out new bands. I also loved the excitement of hearing a new song like Faith No More’s “Epic” and playing before anyone else. It reminded me of old radio when we broke new music and everything wasn’t researched to death. I know Scott Shannon wanted to take radio back to the days of Boss Radio-KHJ-where all the music was played on one format-not the narrowcasting of today. I grew up with Boss Radio (wanted to jock there but never made it before they shut it off) and I didn’t really think it could be done. They did give it a hell of a try but the listeners complained when we tried to push the barriers-like Janet Jackson’s “Black Cat” which rocked but was from a dance artist. It was too bad. Pirate Radio was an experiment that could have changed radio. When it failed, people said “See. You just can’t program radio with your gut like that anymore”. I think that’s a big reason that terrestrial radio is failing. There is so much great experimentation on the internet, why listen to the same ole crap rotated endlessly?"

Batman Gomez

"I was in radio roughly five years before Randy and Shadow called me at Z100, Portland, Oregon, where I was doing nights (and having a blast!). Sean Lynch, PD at the Z, had brought me in from Savannah, GA, and (unfortunately), I only really worked with him for a few months before the lure of the Pirate drew me to LA. Shadow walked me through the entire hiring process (and he was terrific). I was slated to do 11-2p but I spent the majority of my two years at Pirate doing 6-10p, 7-10p and 7-11p. I arrived on the scene just a few months prior to Jack, Jimmy and Baltazar, and all three were hired (as I recall) to do the evening shift, but for whatever reason, management didn't think they were ready for prime time (even though my on-air persona wasn't really that different from anyone else's, and I believe the airchecks on your site can attest to that). When you were hired at Pirate, you quickly realized that the music was King. On-air breaks were to be fast, tight and focused primarily on....yes, you guessed it, the Music! This made things somewhat difficult for jocks who had been accustomed to showcasing their personalities with music rather than far behind it. Never-the-less, I can honestly say that the guys I directly worked with at Pirate--particularly Cadillac Jack, Watusi, Jimmy Steal, and a couple others I worked with indirectly--Elliott and John Mammoser--were absolutely awesome! It's really too bad that the off-air personalities of these guys didn't get on-the-air more often because it would have made Pirate all the more exciting! Whitney and Shadow, too, were a blast to be around. (I loved talking Cubs baseball--especially Harry Carey on-air blurps--with Shadow when I'd arrive each evening.) In some ways, Pirate was an odd place to work--Shannon, no doubt everyone would say, is an abrasive, erratic cat, who should have his own on-call therapist--but it was also the best place to be, with the most cheerful, hilarious personalities that I've ever come across (which is saying quite a lot after nearly two decades--off and on--in radio). I'm a stay-at-home dad now, with two kids and life is really amazing. But Pirate was a very cool chapter in my life due to the phenomenal people that I had the good fortune to meet. Mendoza, Jack, Jimmy, Shadow, Whitney, Mammoser, Narley Charlie, Elliott, and Jamie made up an incredibly strong line-up (and more so for who they were off-the-air than for what they did on it!). Anyway, that's the Batman Gomez take on Pirate Radio. On the day my two-year contract expired, an intern in the station van brought over my pink-slip and that was that.

I will tell you this: one on one, with no one else around, Scott [Shannon] was absolutely fantastic to talk to. Sometimes, on his way home in the afternoon, he would call me at home and we'd talk about all kinds of crap, from his Z100 New York days to his beginnings as a young 'dj'. But for some reason, when he was around others, particularly at the station, he was almost always gruff and quick to humiliate. Watusi took the brunt of Scott's tirades simply because Scott would hear his show more than any other as he drove into work each day. That poor kid had it ROUGH. And that sucked because he was (is) such an absolutely wonderful soul!

[We asked Batman how he got his on-air moniker, and how the others on Pirate got theirs.] Not sure about the other guys names but the Batman movie with Michael Keaton was just being released when I got there, and Gomez (being Mexican, I suppose) played well in LA."

Brad Alan

"Well, as a radio junkie and being from central Indiana, I had of course heard of Scott Shannon. Even though it seemed quite silly, I really wanted to be just like him. I remember first hearing or reading about KQLZ in late 1988 or early 1989. I had gone to take my SAT at Purdue University. On the way home I stopped by the radio station I listened to in Lafayette, Indiana (WAZY). In those days you could honestly just knock on the door and no one thought you might be up to something bad. The dudes at the station that day let me in, showed me around, let me talk on the air briefly, and then gave me some R&R's and Billboards to take with me. I remember an article in one of them about Scott Shannon moving to the west coast and briefly talking about Pirate Radio.

In December of 1988 as a Senior in high school I got my first radio job. I was hired to fill in for full timers who were out and to do weekends on the local country station. It was a small 10k watt and very local and country, even carried all the local high school sports. I had to do something while they were on because I just had to be ready to play any commercials. So, I would sit in the production room and slowly surf the sattelite. I don't remember the night I found it, but one Saturday I found Pirate Radio and was hooked. It was so cool to me. I was a 17 year old high school kid working in radio and listening to something from the "real world". I started taping it every time I worked so I could listen when I was at home or driving. One night I even called the request line and talked to The Big Watusi for three hours. He gave me all kinds of advice and just shared experiences with me, it was awesome!!!!

I still have the black w/blue lettering Pirate Radio shirt that has NEVER been worn - ha ha. I remember they ran a promo where you sent them any old radio shirt to an address on Catalina Island and they would send you "a brand spanking new Pirate Radio shirt". I sent a WEAG Eagle 93.1 shirt and a few weeks later I got the Pirate shirt and some stickers. I still have them all - the stickers are on a wall in my den (I have about 400 radio stickers in my collection)."

Tim Patterson

"I was a phone-op, ran contests on the phone, and of course did the infamous phone research! I got the job through my college station, at Fullerton College (KBPK). Bill was an alumnus and thought it would be a way to get experienced people in key roles quickly without a lot of supervision. As phone-ops, we constantly were on the phones representing the station. We had questions to as from a sheet, so we did a lot of listener research. Always tallied votes on songs, so Scott was responsive to what he saw for the most part I think. He knew where he wanted the station to be though, and always kept the theme alive. We had a lot of secrecy!! As phone-ops, we got to know our listening audience well! My shifts varied, but I started doing afternoon's with Shadow. He was an interesting guy... never looked directly at you though when he spoke to you.. always kinda looked down at his feet alot??? That's radio people for you!

Simon T was the station manger at the time. His pets got the run of the station to roam. Again, another eccentric type.

Three of the GREATEST GUYS you ever wanna meet: Big Watusi / Mark, Jamie Osborne, and Crash! Real, down to earth people, great at what they do, non-pretentious!

I helped Big Watusi at night with producing short sport segments along with the usual phone tasks. That's one thing Scott was cool with outside of the STRICT On-Air script the jocks had to read, was doing relatable sports, but it had to be short! Yeah, everything was scripted in the beginning for consistency.

Jamie and I did a lot of weekends together. I ran phones for him.. contests and research.

What was interesting was how Scott started so many careers from that station. He took one guy who loved the station sooo much. He called in one morning and just said he had to be part of the morning show. Scott brought him in on mornings running the phones - off the street mind you! So many of us had some sort of radio experience, and wanted to be a part of it. But this guy, call him Mark, moved to one of the background guys in studio, and when Scott left, he found a job as part of a morning zoo team in a major market! That's how things worked around there... unpredictable!

Coming into work was cool... Downtown Hollywood! Of course, you would never know it was a radio station. The door in this high rise building was an unmarked double wood door at the beginning, with nothing more than a TV camera pointed at the entry - even during business hours, you had to be screened and buzzed in!!!

I got the shirts, bumper stickers, even the portfolio with the city buses that had the jocks names on the buses. Of course, I guess they are radio collector's items since they had the names of DJ's they wanted, not the actual ones that went on the air! I was even at Gladstones for the first big promotion with Bill Thomas, the excitement was outrageous!

In all, great memories... and a great way to start a radio career!

Well, in 1990, I left Pirate, and my overnight job on-air at KEZY in Anaheim, and went to WCKZ, Charlotte NC to do mid-days. Eventually did nights, and became program director. Who was my consultant? Jerry Clifton! Small radio world. In 1995, the station got bought, changed format, and I left radio for a career in medicine. I am now a PA in a general surgery practice in Charlotte, NC... but Scott and I have exchanged intermittent emails as I thanked him for the opportunity to be a part of something unique, and I saw Simon T in the DFW airport as I changed planes once - none of these guys ever really change!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!"

Cadillac Jack

"SO getting the gig at Pirate. Yikes. It actually goes back to 1987. I was doing nights at top-40 KROY/Sacramento, when I got an itch to send out tapes to get a new job. I wanted more. And I got an interview at B-97 in New Orleans. The PD at the time was Shadow Stevens, a/k/a Scott Wright. This is the guy who helped sign on Z-100 in New York, and later was Shadow Steel at KQLZ. But, in 1987, I was flown in to New Orleans for an interview to be the new afternoon drive jock at B-97. Shadow and I hit it off pretty good. The tour he gave me of the city was wack, it was nice. I stayed at the Ponchatrain hotel. POSH. I flew back to Sacramento pretty sure I had the gig. BUT,,, the ASSholes at KROY wouldn't let me out of my contract, and..BAM! No gig. FUCKERZ. Not only THAT..then, they ended up blowing me out for some big fuckin' party I had on the station property. I was out of work, and ended up taking afternoons in Orlando signing on 102-JAMZ. We all signed it on from scratch, Duff Lindsey (the PD), Joe Nasty did mornings, and I was the production director. Anyway, I was there from December of 1987 into April of 1989. We had HUGE success. I read of the sign on of Pirate Radio in L.A., and thought that was cool. I didn't think twice of it, why would Scott Shannon give a shit about me? Meanwhile, I was sending stuff daily to Bill Richards, who was PD at KITS in San Francisco. Seriously, I would mail him a tape every day. But nothing.

THEN..one day, my hotline rings while I'm on the air at WJHM. (4-8pm) It's some asshole saying, "Hey, it's Shadow from L.A., wanna work here?" I say, "SHUT THE FUCK UP, Joe..." (thinking it's Joe Nasty, our morning guy) and I hung up. Then, my wife called the hotline, and said..'Hey...you're getting a call from Shadow.' I said, 'YIKES...Shadow called and--------------' "

Randy Kabrich

"Scott and I developed the plan for Pirate Radio in early January 1989. I was the PD of Q105 in Tampa and ended up splitting my time between Tampa and L.A. The music was put together by me in Tampa by January 15th. We didn't sign on until St. Patrick's day some 60 days later.

The next 60 days were spent putting the imaging of the station together.

Shadow was hired several weeks prior to sign on - long after the design for Pirate Radio was put to bed.

Shadow had been VP of Programming for EZ Communications and had no desire to get back to programming - because of events in his personal life, he just wanted to do an airshift.

He got more and more involved as time went on - eventually taking the Operations Manager Position in August of 1989, just as I had told him he would, one week prior to signing the station on.

In July of 1989, Pirate Radio pulled a 6.8 12+ according to Arbitron - second only to KPWR, with a 7.1. Although some Hispanic stations have soared to the top of Los Angeles ratings this quickly, Pirate Radio became the top Anglo station in Los Angeles in 4 months - a feat that has not happened for an Anglo station in the market for at least 20 years....if not longer.

Whitney wasn't hired as of the sign on. If you called in and got on the air, it was after 2 weeks....when we moved to Sunset. No way to do it otherwise.

And Debbie Gibson was never played, LOL. Madonna only got played the first day...actually first hour. Steve Kingston flew in at 11 pm the night before sign on from Z100 and brought the new Madonna CD in that no one had. That's the only reason it got on.

You find Richard Marx, Roxette, George Michael, Eddie Money, Martika, etc. on after August 1989 on any list.

And (the station) did take the narrow approach. That caused the downfall. There was direct cause and effect. Maybe it might not have made it long term the other way, but it was making it. When that stuff was taken off, it died. Thats a fact that no one can dispute."

More from Randy:

"Scott likes to rewrite history. He was responsible for getting Simon T fired as GM. Then when (Scott) was fired, he wrote a scathing article that week for R&R saying that Norm Patiz took Simon away from him, the only GM he could work with. Bob Wilson was Executive Publisher at the time and on the Westwood One Board of Directors and knew that Scott had him fired. He refused to run the article til Scott took out the lies.

Scott laid out the Pirate Radio name and North Seas Pirate Radio concept. It took all of 30 seconds to spell out. At that point we sat down and created it. As I said, the music was done entirely by me and in Computer in Tampa by January 15th. Shadow didn't join til end of February. By that time, Scott and I had all the plans and concepts laid down.

The Catalina concept was mine. Simon T came up with the mail address in Catalina. We actually hired a Pilot to do mail runs twice a week. When the mail started pouring in, he bitched that he needed alot more money. We held him to it anyway.

Simon was best friends with the people from Gladstones and knew they were going to a barge out in the ocean to shoot off Fireworks every Thursday night that summer. He talked with them and put up what appeared to be a tower on the barge and a giant Pirate Radio Billboard. Thus, out about a mile in the ocean, off Sunset and PCH, was a barge that really looked like a Pirate Radio transmitter site that was visible from that entire coast line from Santa Monica North.

People in Malibu were so mad at a Billboard out in the ocean, they tried to get the barge declared abandoned. The Coast Guard was ready to get rid of it, so we had to pay someone to actually live on the barge, so that it wasn't abandoned. That way, no one could say anything. But, a person actually lived on that barge, so they could do nothing about it."


Steve Hoffman

Steve points out that the "original airstaff" depends on when you define the airstaff as having started. Here is how he remembers it...

"Scott, Whitney and Shadow were consistent members of all configuations, of course. The original planned airstaff, as I recall it, had "Jimmy Page" at night and "Bubba the Love Sponge" on overnight.
Todd Clem, who holds the Bubba servicemark, implemented some sort of legal action and Mark Mendoza became The Big Watusi. Jimmy Page got canned for breaking format on his first board-op shift and never cracked a mic at Pirate.
The lineup as finally was intended (was) to feature Jimmy Steal from 7-11p, Batman Gomez from 11p-2a and Watusi from 2a-6a. For his "training" period, Jimmy and Batman swapped shifts; Jimmy actually did his planned shift for only one night. After two or three months of being jerked around, Jimmy went back to KEGL/Dallas (with a nice buyout deal) and was eventually replaced by Cadillac Jack.
Not that Pirate was chaotic or anything..."


Jamie Osborn

"One night while I was hosting Pirate Radio USA (The Nationally Syndicated Version) I went into the bathroom to take a piss. It was a single bathroom. As I was standing there, the door flew open and Ozzy Osbourne walks in and stands right beside me and starts going as well. He let out a big sigh and exclaimed something to the effect that he'd had to fuckin piss for an hour. He didn't know who I was. I just laughed and walked back into the studio. A few minutes later the show producer walks in with Ozzy and introduces us. Ozzy just smiled and said "Oh ya, we've already shared a piss together."


Francis The Talking Mule

"I was at Pirate Radio for the last 8 months it was doing the "Shannon" format. Somewhere in my files, I have my copy of the memo that Scott posted, announcing that he was leaving. I ran the board for the first week or so of the active-rock (or whatever they called it) format, in afternoon drive, but I did such a crappy job that they blew me out. I don't blame them, I stunk at that.

I guess the funniest story about my time there was being there on a Saturday afternoon on the air, going to the john while a song was playing, and running into David Lee Roth, who was going to be a guest on Pirate Radio USA. At the time it seemed quite normal."

Steven O. Sellers of The Rude Boys

"Lots of musicians were always stopping by..one of the nicest was Joe Satriani, who showed up alone, with his guitar and amp, and jammed live on the air one afternoon- a great guy.

I believe it was June '92...we had an earthquake, so I went down to the station at about 5a.m. to do news reports...as I was leaving about 8 a.m., a second quake hit and knocked the d.j. off the chair and onto the floor. I believe they named that event the "Big Bear Double Quakes".

Vlade Divac, then with the Lakers would stop by from time to time...once we set up a basket in the station lobby and Greg and I played basketball with him..on TV! (Channel 5 morning show).

Yes, it was a shock to get a very short notice of the station's demise...how we faced it, I really don't remember. There were about 75 of us in the same boat. You may remember just months before they sold the station, we got a consultant who had the bright idea of bagging the Pirate Image (one of the great "brand names"in history) and told us to identify ourselves only by "100 point 3"...so, we were pretty demoralized before the axe actually fell."


Thrasher

"I got to Pirate Radio in 1991 - it was April Fool's Day as I remember. Actually, it was April Fool's Day when I told Mark and Brian at KLOS that I was taking the morning job at cross town Pirate Radio. They were NOT happy and in retrospect viewed the move as a sort of betrayal I now realize. The GM, Bill Sommers, REALLY felt it was a betrayal! When I told him I was leaving, he asked me, "What about your contract?" to which I replied I wasn't under contract. There were only two people at KLOS not under contract. Carey Kurlop and me. (Carey was the PSD). Cary had skipped on Bill BECAUSE he wouldn't put him under contract. Cary called me because he knew my work when we were in competition in Tampa. (he at 95YNF and me at Z98). Back to Bill- his face got soooo red when I told him I was leaving, I thought the veins in his neck were going to burst! Truth of the matter is, I would be at KLOS to this day - working Mark and Brian, doing fill-in airshifts and production if M&B hadn't hired Nicole Sandler as a Producer. Though we never had a direct run-in, I simply can't stand her and people like her - which radio and show business in general are stocked with.

To make matters worse, I left KLOS after the morning show, went directly home to wait for a phone call from the head Publicist at Westwwod One. After that, I went straight to the hospital to have hernia surgery! Talk about a fun-filled day.

Recovery took a few days, then I started at Pirate about a week later. It was in-auspicious from the start. I already knew that Carey was looking to bring in Greaseman to do mornings when I took the job. However, being treated like a second-class citizen after taking the job was not something I had counted on at all. Actually, I don't mean to imply that there weren't nice people there. I made a life-long friend in Jay Reznick who was the Asst MD there. Also, some of the other support people are still in touch every now and then. But the management people, Carey, Bob Moore and others stopped taking my calls as soon as I got fired in August of that year. Moore is a survivor, he's now at KLSX/KRLA in LosAngeles and doing quite well.

Anyway, I cannot say that I was a very stellar performer at all. In fact, I stunk up the place! As a side note: I had as my producer at the time, a girl named Michele Tafoya. I had met Michele at KLOS were she was a "Community Switchboard Operator" for the Mark and Brian Show. Real smart, she had graduated from Cal and then MBA at USC where she was valedictorian in 1991. They tearted her like shit even though she worked her ass off. Wouldn't pay her for a while, then something insulting like minimum wage - a real embarrassment. Typical radio BS. She was trying to break in and of course, was willing to do anything. She got let go the same day I did, luckily I was able to help her get a job at a sports talk station in Charlotte, NC (where I started) and she turned it into quite a career. She moved to Minnesota and hooked up with some TV people-she now does national TV sports for CBS.

My time at Pirate would have been short lived even if I would've had great ratings as I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in late 1991. Long story short, the damn thing was four centimeters across and took 22 hours to remove in surgery. Couldn't walk or talk for 9 days after. Had to learn all over again - so recouped back at the folks farm in Virginia. 4 months after surgery, I came back out here (L.A.) for a visit, M&B had me on as a guest and the job offers poured in - I wound up back at KNAC and on the air in September of 1992. I stayed there until it was sold in 1995.

Since Pirate and the end of my radio career, I worked in TV- in production and engineering - I stopped in a grocery store in the Valley on the way home one afternoon. Going through the aisles, I saw Carey Kurlop pushing a cart along - he had just left KLOS for the second time - as I approached, he feigned as if he didn't see and moved away. That's the last time I intentionally tried to contact anyone from that phase of my radio career.

I realize that I have thrown a whole ton of negative shit your way, and for that I apologize. However, I must tell you that the real story of Pirate radio should begin with KNAC-FM. The whole phenomenon of that Pop-Metal era begins and ends there. Shannon figured to put some radio science to the cult following that KNAC created. I have a take on that: KNAC was the real deal and Pirate was the "consultant" version. The huge success Shannon envisioned for Pirate never materialized due to the fact that KNAC wouldn't go away. There was a whole Arbitron point and a half that never budged Shannon's way. The difference, it turned out, between success and failure.

Mark Mendoza, a good friend and Pirate Alum as well, went by the name "The Big Watusi" on Pirate - he did overnights. He told me that Shannon came in one morning about half way through his stint in L.A. and said, "You know, Watusi, I think I bit off more than I can chew with this thing".

I look back in awe at the amount of money spent by Westwood One on the Pirate project. It was mind boggling. We could have wiped out hunger in America with the wasted money they spent. I remember one day, Bob Moore came in and announced that they were going to change the color scheme of EVERYTHING from black and yellow to purple and yellow. About a half million $ later, there they were with the ugliest shirts and stickers you've ever seen that nobody would wear or buy. Great minds.

After 1992, the next phase for Pirate was the Puck Heads or whatever they were called. Those guys were something else. One morning I went on the air at KNAC and challenged our audience: I told them that I would pay 105 dollars for a picture of any listener at the Ozzy concert in a KNAC T-shirt with "Pirate Radio Sucks", (it may have been Puck Heads Suck or something I don't even remember their silly name now). Anyway, those fools, who monitored my show, went on the air and started telling their audience that they should wear A PIRATE T-shirt to the show with "puck heads suck" and that they could win cash money. Hook in mouth? You bet! What they didn't know was that: 1.) No cameras were allowed in the Pacific Amphitheater and that 2.) They REALLY did suck! So there was no joke to work in their favor. I got a few polaroids from KNAC hard-cores with idiots wearing KNAC t-shirts with my "slogan" for those losers on them - but certainly NO Pirate shirts. In fact, I went on stage between sets at the show and some head banger screams at me,"Hey, Thrasher! Puck Heads Suck! We were best at guerilla warfare. By the way, I paid the guy his 105 dollars out of my own pocket, it was worth it."


Jason Rappaport

"My years at Pirate were some of the most fun times I've ever had. I started there as an intern while I was attending Pierce College. The day I started was the day after Scott Shannon left, so I wasn't around for the early days (but I was a listener from day 1).

At first my job was to assist in any department that needed help that day (accounting, promotions, on-air, etc.). Then I was hired to answer request lines, and then Tawn Mastrey picked me to be her "phone slave"/producer. I would organize the contests, pull the music and spots, occasionally do some really dumb comedy bits, and run the board when she was out on a remote or too tired (or drunk) to do it herself. I got to meet a ton of cool rock people, and there are many funny stories... but my favorite memory is the time that Tommy Lee came in for an interview one night and brought Heather Locklear along. I guess she got bored of hanging out in the studio, so she came into the little room (closet) where I sat answering the phones. She asked if she could answer some calls, so of course, I let her, and we had a lot of fun for about a half-hour or so answering the request lines together. She didn't tell anyone it was her... and she had a blast doing it."

Shadow Steele

On the April Fool's Joke on KROQ in 1994:
"I was in New Orleans at the time and Kevin Wetherly (Program Director of KROQ) called and asked if I would cut some voice tracks for the stunt. He had a few old music logs from back in the day (I think he got them from Randy Kabrich) - and he sent the logs for the three or four hours that he wanted me to do, and I just went into the studio and recorded tracks as if I were doing the show live. Scott S. did the same. We also sent them some of the original Pirate Radio recorded sweepers, ID's and bumpers for authenticity. We sent the tapes to Kevin, they mixed our stuff in with the music, and voila - one of the great radio April Fool's stunts ever. I understand they were inundated with calls from people freaking out - mostly thrilled that Pirate Radio was back!"

L.A. Times Article

Here is an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on December 30, 1990. The article is titled "Radio: Is It Real, or Is It Radio?". The article discusses comedy and parodies on radio, something that was new at the time.


© 1999-. All Rights Reserved by Dennis Younker

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