1260 KYA, San Francisco
Official Top 30 Survey
Week Of October 29, 1962
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.