Larry Sharp is the former Program Director of KSAN/San Francisco, KZOK/Seattle, and KUFX/San Jose.
In the mid 80’s in Seattle KISW and KZOK, where I was music director at the time, we were duking it out for AOR bragging rights, trying to see who could out-rock whom. It was brutal. The owners of KZOK were not satisfied with the ratings and dollars that we were generating and pushed management to find something that could get KZOK out of the deadlock with KISW. We had heard of this new format called “Classic Rock.” From the perspective of a guy who hung out with the record guys, this sounded like no fun at all, but in 1986 the decision was made, currents go by the wayside and we go Classic Rock… without Fred Jacobs.
We thought we had it all figured out. Just drop the currents and play a bunch of old stuff like Led Zeppelin, CSNY, The Rascals, Turtles, Raspberries, ? and the Mysterians… Whoops too deep! We experimented with several really bad versions of Classic Rock with the help of some consultants who shall remain nameless here. It wasn’t working. By 1989 I was the Program Director and struggling to fix the mess. Mike Fowler the new GM came to me one day and said “I would like to hire the ‘father of Classic Rock’ Fred Jacobs.” Great, I thought, another consultant to mess things up, “I don’t need that kind of help” I told Mike.
Fred came in the next week. At first I was a little resistant to his ideas, but it didn’t take long to see that this guy knew what he was talking about. Within a year KZOK was back in the top 5 beating KISW handily and eventually making number one 25-54.
I became a believer. I have spent all of the years since programming some form of Classic Rock or at stations like KFOX/San Jose, KXOA and The Eagle (KSEG) in Sacramento and most recently The Bone (KSAN) in San Francisco. Fred has been with me at each of these stations. All of these stations were rescued and achieved great ratings with the Classic Rock format. When executed properly and with the right tools and people this format can’t miss. I appreciate all the help that Fred, Paul, Bill and the entire Jacobs staff has given me over the years.