KOBY 1550 On Your Radio
Original Top 40 Survey
Week Of December 2, 1957
The final month of 1957 is underway, and Ernie Freeman’s rockin’ “Raunchy” remains at the top of the KOBY (“1550 On Your Radio”) original Top 40 survey, with a cadre of music’s greatest stars — Sam Cooke, Jimmie Rodgers, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Pat Boone, Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lee Lewis — helping to round out the top ten.
KOBY, promoting itself on this survey as “The 10,000 Watt Music Voice Of The Bay Area,” was the first Top 40 “pop” radio station in San Francisco. Among the station’s most notable voices were Ted Randal, Al Knight (nom de koby of Norman Davis), Clyde Hatton (later known as Buddy Hatton at KSFO and Magic 61) and newsman Gil Haar.
On this edition of KOBY’s survey, however, the spotlight is on Bobby Beers (photo, right), host of the station’s “Musical Clock” wake-up program. Beers had been the popular male vocalist with two of the top orchestras of the 1940s and 1950s — the Lawrence Welk and Blue Barron outfits — during which he made numerous appearances on national radio. As a vocalist, he sang on two top hits, the novelty tune “Mairzy Doats” in 1944 (with Welk) and “Love Me Tender” in 1950 (with Barron).
Beers also appeared regularly on network radio with Rex Maupin (from Chicago’s WENR) and Beasley Smith (on NBC from Nashville). He later organized his own combo, which became the house band at Denver’s Rainbow Ballroom and, subsequently, led to local shows on KOA and KFEL-TV in that city.
Turning to radio as a full-time vocation, he hired on at KOSI in Denver as morning show host in 1955, then finished out the decade at KOBY. In the 1960s, he returned to his native Iowa as a personality on KRNT and KSO in Des Moines. Born Oliver Eldon Beers, he passed away on November 18, 2008, at the age of 82.
The text of his bio as it appeared on the KOBY survey reads:
MEET BOBBY BEERS —
Something of a vocal “wonder boy” — Bobby first made a guest appearance at the age of 8 with Lawrence Welk in his home state of Iowa. He sang with the Welk crew of that era during his summer vacations from grammar school. Hollywood called him and he played the part of Ray Milland as a boy in “Lady in the Dark.” After service in the Navy during World War II Bobby returned to Welk’s orchestra until 1947 when he joined Blue Barron’s orchestra as vocalist. With Barron he also handled public relations contacts for the orchestra with disc jockeys all over the nation. He found the work fascinating and in 1955 became a deejay himself at KOSI in Denver. Bobby joined KOBY October 1 , where he holds forth as host on “The Musical Clock” … 5:30 to 9 A.M. and on his own “Bobby Beers Show” — 11 A.M. – 1 P.M. each day, Monday through Friday.
SOURCE: KOBY survey from the Collection of Roy Ballard.
Additional source material on Bobby Beers from B. John Burns and the San Mateo Times (June 28, 1958).
Additional research by Len Shapiro for the Bay Area Radio Museum.
In 1956 I visited relatives in Great Falls Montana as a 9-year old. There I swiftly zeroed in on an AM radio station KUDI that was a virtual clone of KOBY. The station moniker jingle was sung by the same group, the jingle was a clone and the broadcast frequency was 1450. The “coincidence” served to amaze and delight 65-years ago.