Studying Radio

You have arrived at the online companion to KHJ Los Angeles: Boss Radio Forever by Woody Goulart available as a Kindle eBook (updated January 2023) exclusively from Amazon. The paperback book (as shown) is out of print.

A Very Unique Perspective

I was just a 24-year-old kid fresh out of college when I found myself working for the legendary Bill Drake and Gene Chenault at KIQQ-FM (known as “K-100”) in Los Angeles in 1973-74, who took over managerial control of the station where I was the director of production and public affairs programming.

As an employee at K-100—although I was certainly near the very lowest on the proverbial totem pole at 6430 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood—I was afforded an opportunity to be a “participant observer” within the Drake-Chenault team. This has given me a very unique perspective that I share with you here at this website.

I was an “outsider” who worked on the “inside” and that kind of perspective can be a very powerful one, indeed. Realizing this special position I had lucked into, I used my access to the people on the Drake-Chenault team to conduct primary research concerning the radio programming that led to Boss Radio in 1965 and K-100 in 1973. I published The Mystique and The Mass Persuasion: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Drake-Chenault Radio Programming 1965-1976—available for you to download and read here completely free of charge.

Why My Writing Radio History Has Credibility

I wrote the very first book-length analysis and evaluation that had ever been done about Boss Radio and the derivative radio programming formats that followed.

Others who were inside or outside that industry certainly can claim to “know” what really happened at Boss Radio KHJ and at K-100. But think about this: Would you rather read the actual spoken words from a variety of people who were there (in person), or, read just one or two people’s opinion who weren’t there in person to observe how the radio professional behaved and how they thought so many years ago?

Keep in mind that most of the people who were actual in-person participants back then are no longer living today. I preserved what people said who now are dead. So I ask you: What good are claims that are made about rock and roll radio history without primary research (one-to-one interviews) to back up the claims?

What good is one person’s own subjective memories about what happened? Why trust them? It is much better to get multiple perspectives so that all the fact emerge.

I conducted primary research (one-to-one interviews) because during the mid-1970s there was no in-depth information available anywhere on this subject. Trade magazines of that era—most notably Claude Hall’s Billboard magazine column—covered Boss Radio, Bill Drake, Ron Jacobs and others. Periodicals such as Time and Newsweek had also run stories on Boss Radio and Bill Drake. But, none of these sources provided information of much length or depth.

Claude Hall (1932 – 2017) wrote This business of radio programming : a comprehensive look at modern programming techniques used throughout the radio world. However, his book—an industry insider’s perspective on the radio and music business—came out the year after I completed my primary research into the Drake-Chenault radio programming efforts and published my masters thesis. I was there first. I scooped Claude Hall. I became the first person to release a well-documented study of Boss Radio KHJ.

My writing can be considered credible compared to what others have written about this same subject. Why? My work is well-documented because what I wrote was built upon many face-to-face, in-person, one-to-one interviews with actual participants who were there in person and spoke about what they saw with their own eyes while they were there in person.

My interviewing of people who are no longer living provided me the foundation upon which to write analyses and evaluations of the efforts of Bill Drake, Ron Jacobs, and others associated with Boss Radio at KHJ in Los Angeles, later with the RKO Radio chain of radio stations, and finally with K-100 in the early 1970s.

No Kissing Up

Since I have never held any allegiances or biases towards any particular person involved, I believe that you can rely upon my observations as straightforward and without any hidden agendas. I also chose not to kiss up in my writing to win favor from any of the famous people I wrote about.

In 1976 what I wrote was the first book-length analysis and evaluation that had ever been done about Boss Radio and the derivative radio programming formats that followed. Others may claim to “know” what really happened at Boss Radio KHJ and at K-100, but I ask you to think about this fact: What good are claims that are made without primary research to back up the claims?

The Value of Primary Research

Most of the writing about the subject of KHJ radio or about Bill Drake and Gene Chenault has come from secondary research that was written by people who did not have direct contact with the original participants.

I  am one of the few who conducted primary research concerning the Bill Drake and Gene Chenault team’s radio programming that started in the 1960s while these gentlemen were still living. In Los Angeles, I interacted with them as an employee of the well-known K-100 so they trusted me to sit down with me and talk on the record about their work in rock and roll radio programming.

To be honest, my companion eBook available on Amazon is more fun to read compared to reading my master’s thesis. But I am giving you free access to my master’s thesis from Humboldt State University (now rebranded as Cal Poly Humboldt) entitled The Mystique and The Mass Persuasion: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Drake-Chenault Radio Programming 1965 – 1976.

What you get is every typewritten page of my primary research findings and conclusions concerning this unforgettable 1960s to 1970s rock and roll radio programming.

Download the pdf (10 MB) free by clicking on the title below:



First-Person Recollections

Although I honestly admit that I am an “outsider” to the radio broadcasting business, it is very easy to find book-length works written by participants who were employed in person and on the scene at the time in Hollywood.

For instance, you may enjoy reading the first-person recollections about KHJ written by Ron Jacobs (1936 – 2017) covering his personal experiences while he was employed at radio station KHJ in Hollywood.

Summary of My Research Findings:

Several radio broadcasting professionals, independent of each other, all are in agreement about the fact that Bill Drake should not have been credited by the radio industry trade press as the person most responsible for the success of Boss Radio.

Bill Drake and Gene Chenault angered and alienated several of their key management people working on Boss Radio by taking radio programming components that were tested and perfected by Boss Radio and using those components to program radio stations in San Francisco, Boston, and other major markets.

The failure of Bill Drake and Gene Chenault to hold together a successful team while programming the RKO Radio chain of rock and roll radio stations was caused by the deterioration of mental efficiency, the lack of proper reality testing, and the suppression of dissenting viewpoints—symptoms which are critically destructive to successful group behavior and decision-making—today commonly referred to as groupthink.

After being ousted from RKO Radio, Bill Drake and Gene Chenault unsuccessfully attempted to recapture their national prominence as successful radio programmers at a Los Angeles FM station called “K100.” That venture failed in the late 1970s.

Boss Radio Links:

Boss Radio Forever (main page)
Archives of Boss Radio Forever
College Radio KCPR
Gallery of Photographs
Hollywood Rock and Roll Radio
KHJ Music
KHJ Timeline
My Work in the Radio Industry
Studying Radio Back to top of page.

Introduction of Woody Goulart

I first met Woody Goulart in 1975 when I was a young assistant professor at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Woody walked into my office with an idea that he thought might work — a serious study of the radio programming efforts in the mid sixties in Los Angeles known as “Boss Radio.”

His proposal, which developed into his master’s thesis, was exciting to me, as I had worked as talent in radio back East, and I ultimately served as his thesis director throughout the project.

Woody managed to convince an impressive group of radio industry heavyweights (who had never before — or since — been interviewed together for one publication) to share their thoughts and insights with him. His thesis preserved and analyzed their comments, which now are an important part of radio history.

Through Woody’s efforts, those of us who lived through the era can relive and remember those “boss times.” Just as importantly, a new generation can read and learn from “the pros” Woody interviewed back then.

I believe that this kind of social research enables future generations to know and understand events from that era, and the people who made them happen. I fear that without a record like this, researchers as well “radio enthusiasts” could lose a link to an exciting period of popular culture.

Which brings me to this website. I have used Boss Radio Forever as a “required resource” for my broadcast history class. My students have found it to be a thorough and accurate narrative and analysis of one of the most creative and exciting times in radio’s history.

I’ve managed to stay in touch with Woody all these years. Distance and years separate Woody and me from those days at Humboldt when he first talked of this project. But, thanks to the Internet — a medium we couldn’t conceive in 1975 — anybody can relive the fun, examine the radio programming, and meet the people who talked with Woody back then.

I’m extremely proud of Woody Goulart, his work, and this website. I invite you to enter the world of Boss Radio!

Written by James E. Seward, Ph.D., professor emeritus, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY.