KFAT Radio

Gilroy, California
mid-1970's to the early 80's
The Original KFAT bumper sticker The Revised KFAT bumper sticker

The original Bumper Sticker

The last bumper sticker

Back in the days of yesteryear.... Oh heck, it wasn't that long ago, was it? Hmm, maybe so.

          Anyway, back in the days when radio stations used long playing vinyl records, I worked part-time at KFAT. I did the weekend morning show from 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Usually Laura Ellen followed my wacky sense of Disk Jockey flavor.

Laura Ellen Hopper, on the air on a Sunday at the Fat one...

I was hampered by a bad case of hay fever everytime I came into Gilroy from my home in Pacific Grove, so I always sounded like a bad case of the sniffles on the air. Perhaps that was OK, considering how unpredicable and wonderful KFAT was. In 1978, the legendary singer-songwriter Tom Russell followed my shift for a short time. Laura thought that was clever, a Mussell followed by a Russell.

Yeah, I guess it was.

The original KFAT studio on Monterey Street

The RCA console and other equipment at the Fat One

Dale Evans business card

Jeremy Landsman's Business Card

This was an amazing concert. The highlight for me was when Utah was singing "Daddy, what's a Train" and right in the middle of the song a freight train rumbled by, right behind the theatre, adding a very real ambiance to the song. Boy, do I miss those days. I had no idea how special those times were, although I had a hunch.

I once sat at the station for a week, running (no, just watching) the control board while everyone went up to the Hotel Utah in San Franscisco and broadcast live from up there, making all of the "other" stations in the city nervous. Well maybe. Jeremy hoped so. It was fun, at least it sure sounded like it. I don't know for sure, because I was back in Gilroy the whole time. Me and Frisco, anyway. And the kitty, and the beer. Not too bad, really.

And may I put in a word for Jeremy Landsman? I met Jeremy, Laura and 3-week old Elsie at Lorenzo Milam's front door, after the three of them drove across the country from St. Louis sometime in late 1974 or early 1975. I can't remember exactly when, but thatis another story, OK? It was not long before Jeremy and Laura had set up house and home in Los Gatos, and not long after that, in cahoots with Lorenzo, launched KFAT from the ruins of the poor little KSND FM studio in Gilroy. Jeremy was the technical brains, and Laura would really take over the programing and books end of the business. But Jeremy had a great program of his own in the very beginning on Sunday nights, and I always looked forward to his "exotic" blend of Dolly Parton, Grateful Dead and Balanese Monkey chants. Among other things. I could go on and on, and maybe I will sometime.

OK, I have been sitting on these pictures for waay too long, so I have put some up here. I have not made a page, just click on the links for the photos. These are mostly of the final party at the "new" studios in Gilroy, before the new owners fired everyone. Laura did not want to come up, maybe because she had been fired (who hadn't?), but mostly she wanted to move on from the station, and going back to what it had become was not what she wanted to do. She made up for it later by creating KPIG.

I remember sitting at her kitchen table with Frank and I think Leo, and I helped Laura figure out a frequency for a new station in Freedom, just down the road from Watsonville. Lots of bumps and twists later, she got what she wanted. And so did we!

Even though Laura is not with us anymore, I really hope the rest of us can keep the dream alive and kickin'. Here's to another 30+ years of good radio, KFAT style.

Fat Radio lives on at KPIG Radio.

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© 2007 Broadcast Engineering Services of Bonny Doon, Inc.