KMPX 106.9, San Francisco
Larry Miller Handbill

Circa February 1967

kmpx_original-larry-miller-handbill

The first “hip voice” heard on KMPX (106.9 FM) in the February 1967 belonged to Larry Miller, who also served as the artist for this handbill advertising his all-night show on the station, for which he earned $45 a week.

Described in Susan Krieger’s monumental history of the station, “Hip Capitalism,” as “comic in personality and eclectic in musical style,” Miller simply referred to his approach as “Folk Rock,” as further proclaimed here in the flowing letters surrounding the central photograph on the bill.

Larry Miller (2006 Photo)
Larry Miller

It was Miller, selecting music randomly from whatever category struck his fancy at the moment — rock, folk, classical, jazz — and adding his own comments on the sounds without regard to a format-dictated “hot clock,” that led to Tom Donahue‘s arrival at KMPX in April 1967 and the subsequent expansion of the “underground” programming style at the station.

Miller remained at KMPX following a strike by station personnel which eventually landed many of them at KSFR (94.9 FM), which shortly thereafter became KSAN.

After KMPX, Miller (pictured in 2006 at right) was a core member of Detroit’s progressive WABX air team in the early 1970s, and later earned his master’s degree in education from Cambridge College. He taught courses in radio, speech and communications at the New England Institute of Art beginning in 1979.

Larry Miller died on June 22, 2016, after a brief battle with cancer. He was 75 years old.

SOURCE: Bay Area Radio Museum Collection, courtesy of the artist.

Larry Miller on KMPX (October 11, 1967; 10 minutes)

A brief, rare scoped recording of Larry Miller on KMPX. Although not at his absolute best (perhaps due to a bit too much wine or other spirits), he still manages a lively discourse on various subjects, including Eric Burdon’s presumed lack of talent.

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4 Comments

  1. Wondrous listening to music and humor from Larry Miller. I am compiling an oral history of KMPX/KSAN — if you have any memories from back when freaks took over the San Francisco airwaves, I would love to hear them via hankidu@aol.com. Thanks!

    • Hank,

      Are you familiar with Susan Krieger’s “Hip Capitalism”? It’s a contemporaneous account of the early days of KMPX and KSAN which Dr. Krieger wrote as thesis or doctoral dissertation at Stanford (she is a renowned sociologist).

      Excerpts from the book can be read at:

      https://www.google.com/books/edition/Hip_Capitalism/Ya8HZ_S2NlgC?hl=en&gbpv=1

      The book comes up occasionally on eBay and Amazon; I’ve seen copies go as low as $50 and as much as several hundred dollars. I own several copies, as well as any original copy of Dr. Krieger’s manuscript (literally, it’s a copy of her original thesis).

      DJ

      • Thanks DJ, sorry took so long to reply. Yes! Found the book at LA Public Liberry — they wouldn’t loan it to me because it’s in Reference. I told them I was doing a very important academically, historically inaccurately rendered mythological treatise, but still they refused… Luckily I was able to find a copy for 40 bucks where you directed me. Indispensable study of course; I wrote Professor Krieger at UW and she gave me permission to quote her–great Gnus!

  2. At the 38:50 mark of “Larry Miller on KMPX, October 11 1967; 10 minutes”, Edward Bear introduces himself and plays music, tells story of Mugwumps in NYC… at least I think it’s Bear–I am very confused and trust he Museum can enlighten me and other listeners enjoying the sites and sounds…

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