San Francisco

The First Day Of “The Quake”
Monday, August 23, 1982

Featuring Alex Bennett and Joe Regelski

KQAK The Quake Logo (Image)

After a decade of playing Big Band music as KMPX — on 106.9 FM until September 1978, then on 98.9 — Broadcast Associates purchased the station in May 1982 for $5.5-million and took possession on July 9. In the early morning hours of August 23, a little more than a month later, KMPX disappeared and KQAK — “The Quake” — signed on the air with an Album Rock format.

The first voice heard by listeners that morning on The Quake was a familiar one: it belonged to the Bay Area born-and-raised Alex Bennett, who had recently departed “The Camel” (KMEL) as morning show host.

Prior to joining KMEL, Bennett had been a legend in New York radio at WMCA and WPLJ, and was the co-creator (with Al Goldstein of Screw magazine) and producer of the notorious public-access cable show, “Midnight Blue.”

Alex Bennett, Circa 1980 (Photo)
Alex Bennett, circa 1980

Before becoming a legend in New York radio, Alex Bennett (born Bennett Schwarzmann) cut his radio teeth in Marin County as a teenage disc jockey at San Rafael’s KTIM (1510 AM) and emcee of local dances as “Jerry Bennett.”

In the 1960s, following service in the Navy, Alex became one of America’s greatest Top 40 disc jockeys, most notably at KILT in Houston, where he was known as James Bond. His success in Houston helped land him in New York at the end of the decade as one of WMCA’s illustrious “Good Guys.”

Alex is joined on The Quake’s debut morning by his newsman-sidekick from KMEL, Joe Regelski. The opening ninety minutes, as heard in the broadcast recording presented here, is occasionally plagued by small technical glitches — microphones opened by accident, microphones failing to open at other times — as the crew attempts to get used to their new quarters at 1311 Sutter Street in San Francisco.

Alex Bennett at Sirius (Photo)
Alex Bennett at Sirius

The Album Rock format would only last about eight months at KQAK, as the station switched to “Rock Of The 80s” in April 1983. The station was sold again in June 1985, and became KKCY (“The City”), playing an eclectic blend of rock, jazz, blues and folk music.

Immediately following his stint at The Quake, Bennett moved to KITS, then late in its “Hot Hits Kits” incarnation, and helped usher in its rebirth as Modern Rock “Live 105.” He later hosted a variety of web radio programs as well as the morning show at KNEW/910 in its “CNet Radio” phase.

In April 2004, Alex debuted as the 6 to 9 a.m. host on Sirius satellite radio’s “Left” channel. Joe Regelski, who continued on at KKCY, later left after fourteen years on the air in the Bay Area and moved to Mendocino County as news director at KOZT.

Alex Bennett was elected to the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2008.

On The Air Sign (Image)

Alex Bennett on The Quake
August 23, 1982




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Tim Adelin
Tim Adelin
6 August 2018 11:57 PM

I wish there was a LOT more archives of those Alex Bennett shows, they were awesome!

10 December 2018 11:37 AM

I originally tuned into the Quake thinking they were KOME. They were very close on the dial. They played very similar music.

Reply to  Ultrawoman
20 November 2022 12:53 AM

Maybe only in the very first few weeks of existence did the Quake play “very similar music” to KOME, as the Quake’s first few weeks or months at most was album rock format. But their popularity and lasting loyalty came from the modern rock (“rock of the 80s”) new wave style format that they took on, which was a big step away from KOME style programming.

Steve O'Brien
20 November 2020 8:40 PM

I just ran across some personal recordings from the KQAK. I recorded them on their last day! Might donate them.

Arthur Turnbull
Arthur Turnbull
Reply to  Steve O'Brien
21 March 2021 1:38 PM

@Steve — Did you record the last song played by The Quake? What was it?

20 February 2023 4:20 PM

I remember that first show!! Alex put SF radio on the map! He was so far ahead of his time. Loved all the comedians, Joe Regelski and Lori Thompson.

Suz is cool
Suz is cool
12 August 2023 10:46 PM

I remember taking BART from Fremont to SF to get into the morning show at 13 and never built up the guts to go in. One of my biggest regrets. I loved all of the comedians he had on. Alex and The Quake shaped my life. Good it bad.

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