from the: San Jose Mercury News
August 6, 1999



By Brad Kava
Mercury News Music Writer

WHEN THEY write the history of Bay Area radio, 1999 may go down as the worst year of the once-mighty medium.

Troops have been called in to fight DJs at KPFA-FM, which was founded by pacifists.

On two stations Wednesday you could hear DJs tormenting the people who have it the hardest: While Howard Stern was playing Jeopardy with homeless people on KITS-FM, KYLD-FM's copycat "Doghouse" was challenging homeless people to wrestle a mentally retarded man and asking them Sternesque questions.

Anyone up for throwing Christians to the lions or burning witches at the stake?

And don't forget to send out the press releases at Christmas about how much you do to help the hungry.

On Disney-owned KSFO-AM, afternoon host Michael Savage was making fun of the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. only two days after his tragic accident. This mentally challenged talker is among the slimiest people ever to sit behind a microphone (right up there with the old-time quack years back who promised rejuvenation from goat-testicle transplants and Bob Grant, whom Disney fired after he celebrated Ron Brown's death).

Savage ghoulishly laughed as he kept playing Bobby Darin's "Beyond the Sea" while knocking the Kennedys. Station manager Jack Swanson hadn't heard that particular installment (at least he's got better things to do), but even he said it appeared to be "in bad taste."

But hey, revenue is up 12 percent for national broadcasters over the past six months, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau.

They'd better milk it while they can. With the kind of programming the big corporations are putting on and the very slim free radio band, most of us will run to satellite radio before long.