Gene Nelson celebrates his 30th anniversary on the Bay Area's airwaves with a special live broadcast on KSFO from the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel on December 1, 1992.
Along with greetings from Gene's family and excellent musical accompaniment from Dick Bright & Friends, the broadcast included visits from former KSFO personalities Aaron Edwards, Russ "The Moose" Syracuse, Dan Sorkin and Al "Jazzbeaux" Collins, as well as station owner Ron Unkefer, A's manager Tony La Russa, John Madden, Dave Henderson and Celeste Perry.
Special musical performances by Elmo (of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" fame) and comedian Bob Sarlatte — who skewers Gene in classic "roast" style — are also featured.
Emperor Gene had arrived at San Francisco's KYA (1260 AM) in December 1962 from WSAI/Cincinnati, where he had served as both morning man and program director, following a successful run at WKBW/Buffalo, where he had worked alongside Russ Syracuse. It was The Moose who — according to comments in this broadcast — recruited Nelson to KYA. They later also worked together at KSFO.
The edited version of the broadcast as heard in this exhibit was offered to listeners on a 90-minute cassette, with proceeds from the sale of the tape going to the U.C. Berkeley Foundation/Robert Douglas Sciutto Endowment Fund. Doug Sciutto, a junior at Cal who was Gene Nelson's stepson, lost his life while attempting to rescue victims trapped by a fraternity house fire at the university in September 1990. The tragic event is mentioned several times during the program.
In the liner notes for the cassette, Emperor Gene offers special thanks to "Ed Krampf, Ron Unkefer, Dave Anthony, Ted Levin, George Zema, Mark Van Gelder, Susan Sisneros, Dave Henderson, Don Rea, Brady Kannon, Tim Burr, Dick Bright, The Fairmont Hotel, all the friends and family members who contributed to a very special day and all my loyal listeners who have made my career possible."
Gene Nelson was elected to the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame in 2006 with the first class to be inducted.