The Four Seasons hold on to the top spot once again this week on KYA's Official Top 30 with "Big Girls Don't Cry," holding off hard-charging "The Lonely Bull" by Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass and "Surfin' Safari," the first big hit by a group of youngsters from Hawthorne, Calif., who call themselves the Beach Boys.
The morning man at KYA at this time is Bill Drake (1937-2008; nom de radieux of Phil Yarborough), who also toils as the station's program director. Drake had arrived in San Francisco in October 1961 from co-owned WAKE/Atlanta, and would shortly begin his career as a programming consultant with KYNO/Fresno and KSTN/Stockton.
These stepping stones led to his greatest success, as the guiding force behind 93/KHJ in Los Angeles in 1965 and, shortly thereafter, as programming guru for the RKO-General chain of Top 40 stations — which included the conversion of San Francisco's KFRC into "The Big 610."
Also behind the microphone at KYA are Russ Syracuse (9 a.m.-noon), Peter Tripp(noon-3 p.m.), the mighty Bob Mitchell (3-6 p.m.), Tom Donahue (6-9 p.m.) and Tommy Saunders (9 p.m.-midnight) and Johnny Hayes (midnight-6 a.m.).
Syracuse (1930-2000) and Saunders had arrived at KYA only months ago from Buffalo, N.Y., along with newsman Larry Brownell. Peter Tripp (1926-2000) came to KYA from previous stops at WHB/Kansas City and WMGM/New York. Bobby Mitchell (born Michael Guerra) also came to KYA from WIBG/Philadelphia; as Bobby Tripp, he would later work at both KFRC and KHJ under Drake before passing away from a chronic blood disorder in 1968.
Tom Donahue (1928-1975) arrived at KYA after a decade at WIBG/Philadelphia, and would go on to spearhead radio's underground rock revolution at KMPX here in 1967; he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Johnny Hayes, who had been "Danny Day" at WAKE/Atlanta during Drake's tenure there, moved on to KGB/San Diego in 1964, then to Los Angeles at KRLA, where he worked continuously from 1965 until 1992 — except for a brief stint at KDAY in 1971 — then moved on to KRTH (K-Earth 101) from 1992 until his retirement in 2002.
SOURCE: Bay Area Radio Museum Collection.