Bill Jacobs is a Classic Rock Radio Consultant at Jacobs Media.
Yes, that’s where my consulting career got its jumpstart but it also marked the first time that we’d tried Classic Rock in a decidedly smaller market. At the time – 1989 – Classic Rock had definitely shown itself to be a powerhouse format in larger markets like New York, Detroit, L.A., D.C., Philadelphia, and Kansas City but it took a bit longer to introduce it to smaller markets.
Fred Jacobs was so busy with these bigger projects that when a call came in from Tom Tierney, a station owner in Alaska, to flip formats and go Classic Rock he simply couldn’t handle it (nor was he wild about taking 10 hour flights). Convincing Tom Tierney that I was more than capable did not prove to be too difficult but finding a Program Director for the station was. Dave Moore (now programming Rock 105 in Jacksonville) was in South Carolina at the time but we both knew Dave from our days at Michigan State (he helped with the first station we ever did, WMMQ in Lansing) and he took on the challenge to move to Alaska. Dave drove all the way to Anchorage from South Carolina, and lived to tell the tale.
Dave’s programming experience and my consulting experience were both minimal at the time but we were both determined to make KBFX work. And work it did – within a book or two The Fox was #1 12+ and stayed there (more or less) for a few years running. Our midday jock, C.C. Rider, turned into a huge local radio star (and even won a Marconi!) and the hiring of morning man Rick Rydell soon after also proved to be big winner. (One other alum of KBFX? Q101’s Mike Stern whose first “real” job in radio was as the night guy at KBFX ,and trust me when I say that being the night guy in Anchorage qualifies as “paying your dues.” Jon McGann – now programming WZBA in Baltimore – also spent time up programming the Fox).
The Fox gave Dave Moore the big jumpstart his career needed, it gave me a huge dose of confidence when it came to constructing and consulting the format, it made those long plane rides over hundreds and hundreds of miles of snow and cold and mountains well worth it, and it showed that Classic Rock was not just a big market phenomenon, but a format that could (and still does) work and win big in markets of any size and in any part of the U.S.