ROCK OF THE 1980’S
My first radio boss ponders the decision of putting a sixteen-year-old on the air. I had a Saturday show where I played what I want, at that time a lot of Chicago, Jethro Tull, and Frank Zappa. He was a most kind and thoughtful individual. KPIN was sold my senior year, and the person who took over was Kevin Weatherly's father, who hurled records at me when I played George Carlin's album track Shit, on the air.
Me in tights and tard sitting in a wheelchair in my USC dorm room. My theater major roommate was Gary Wissman, who became an accomplished theatrical stage set builder. Because of affirmative action, I was turned down at every other station I applied to, who all said I was the most qualified for the job, but sorry. A friend Robyn suggested I try KROQ. Before I started the name Jed The Fish.
What was cool about Emily is she had good judgement about who to let in to visit. Fan after fan would ask to see the DJ, and it was actually possible until 2001. There was no way we could see everyone, or we would never be able to work, but Mle would know which exceptions I would appreciate. Bless her heart! I think this was in my kitchen.
Rodney Bingenheimer’s first question would be why does Jed The Fish get to hang out with Mila Jovovich. Kind of trying to not be attracted here, but the Reid Fleming shirt probably sabotaged me from the word go. At the time, it was fashionable to be clean and sober, but I actually did it to save myself. NA keychain. Mila came by the Burbank studio so she could be the movie star who was in Blue Lagoon. The 2000’s had Paris Hilton, and the nineties had Mila. But Hilton wasn’t really in a movie. Here she’s pawing my flab. What a face.
L-R, Asst. PD Gene Sandbloom (creator of the names for KROQ events) and I can't even tell which Ramones showed up that day -- Markie? Ritchie? -- random promo guy, Program Director Kevin Weatherly in the light shirt. Back on the left, Image Master John Frost, preparing to vomit, Sherri Trahan, Richard Blade, Tami Heide, and Jed The Fish in my favorite U2 shirt.
You never know if someone's a (relative) one-hit wonder, so you must take care of everyone. The Proclaimers, Scottish bothers Craig and Charlie Reid stopped by for an interview when we were playing I'm Gonna Be. Kevin Weatherly actually had more than one shirt, before he started looking buff in polos. Just outside the KROQ Control Room.
Off-the-cuff fizzlebutt sound effects for Out of Order, my Westwood One syndicated radio show. Ron Harris thought to give you a behind-the-scenes video.
91X personality and smoker Mike Halloran at a 1997 Prodigy concert at the Spruce Goose in Long Beach, Ca.
The dawn of professional CD players. You cued them up by hand, almost like vinyl. Sony “Digital.”
I got to meet the captain of the QE2. People said, "Oh, Jed, you're going on a cruise!" An Atlantic crossing is no cruise. Waves the size of hills made it feel as though we were sleeping on Viper. Robert Smith of The Cure at that time refused to fly to America.
Jed The Fish and Dusty Street at a party in Santa Monica. Photo Debbie Leavitt.
As you see, Fish is my real middle name. I was 17 when I took and passed the exam for the First Class Radiotelephone Certificate. Issued in Long Beach. This enables one to do technical work on TV and radio transmitters. I just got it to exceed the requirement for a Third Class license. As I had no interest in this, I allowed it to expire. I framed the license, and it became a chopping surface for nasty drugs in the KROQ control room in Pasadena on Los Robles Blvd.
This photo was taken as we were initiating the new studios in 1996. I believe that is Cynthia Takahashi with me in the control room, moving the equipment from the Pasadena studio. As you can see we had already begun to decorate. The filled cabinet was CDs, the empty ones for tape cartridges, or carts.
For a short time in 1978-79, I was actually the KROQ Music Director. I had only heard about the station less than a year before. It was my responsibility to gain the trust of the record company promotion people, wary of giving us product because so much of it had been stolen by former KROQ DJs. Four scoundrels stealing albums meant I needed twenty meetings with promotion people. One of my first “adds” as MD was to begin playing Dire Straits, which I hated but knew would be successful. Devo’s first album was a no brainer.
Working at KROQ was fun, and I’m sure it sounded like it on the air. In back of me, albums, below my right elbow 7” 45rpm singles, the rest hundreds of carts, to my right and in front of me, shelved and stacked. The Grace Jones poster, seen in many photos, was directly to my right. We had creepy green carpet and awful green and red curtains which were never open. This control room had soul, the walls were covered with notes, flyers and photos. Ask me about Sly Stone.
The ancient Sony CD players on the right, the ponytail — up — and the visor. It was amazing that we had an extra oscilloscope at all, and that it was in the control room a miracle. It told us if the signal was in phase, important to avoid cancellation (bad sound). As in most control rooms, a music log and a program log to keep track of played commercials. Koss headphones. Turntables to the left.
My very funny girlfriend in 1989 had Calvary Baptist parents, who once had a sermon villainizing KROQ. Coincidentally, we had the first and only billboard campaign. (KROQ has never advertised since) But my billboard, located near her parents’ house was vandalized. By Jesus Freaks. One of them risked life and limb to remove my name from it. It was a dumbass campaign anyway.
Debbie Leavitt contact sheet from 1982, KROQ control room in Pasadena. Never a fashion trendsetter, somehow the DJs picked up on the medical scrubs look.
Jed The Fish in the KROQ Control Room, Pasadena, 1983. The ubiquitous Sennheiser 421 microphones.
Baseball shirts were a thing. Jed The Fish, Pasadena KROQ control room. There were carts everywhere. Similar to the old 8-track cartridges, these had a continuous loop with a stop tone (to stop the machine the last time someone played it) just before the beginning of each recording. So when you plugged it in to play it, it was always ready. It was quite a reliable system, which is why the cart machines such as ITC existed for 50 years. Hassle recording the cart in the first place, but I did it for the Go-Gos, who gave me a demo lacquer of “Cool Jerk.”
Silly grin. Jed The Fish, Pasadena KROQ control room. Turntables!
Rick Rippey was my producer for 12 years, in my opinion my best years. He encouraged diabolical ideas. Suggests things in just the right way to inspire me. Burbank KROQ control room. Now THIS guy could fix any piece of equipment put in front of him. Note the overbridge, which he and Scott Mason installed. It allowed the cart machines to be places directly over the control board for smoother workflow.
John Frost was a legendary promotional announcement producer and sound designer. There’s another photo of him floating around here somewhere. Here we are mugging in front of a giant cart rack. He called me Jed The Pudding Fish.
Here was the evolution of the Fishface Outline font adorning this site. The taped on numbers on the KROQ control room cart machines. ITC was our choice of cart machines. Certain songs came from private collectors such as Freddy Snakeskin. If it weren’t for these manually-recorded records, many songs would not have made it on KROQ. You would have done without Barbie and the Kens
KROQ clock. An hourly guide for when to play commercials (green areas), play jingles, and most importantly, talk. They don’t remain the same for long. Circa 1994. Kevin Weatherly, program director.
Jed The Fish Pasadena KROQ control room. Various radio station stickers were everywhere.
From left: Poorman (what a name) Van Johnson, Dave Gahan, April who couldn’t keep her clothes on, below her Martin Gore, whose guitar skills are vastly overlooked, Alan Wilder, Freddy Snakeskin (never one to push forward for photos), Andy Fletcher, Jed The Fish below Andy, some schleb who ripped off KROQ, and long time WB promoter Chris Crist.
In probably the best shot of the Pasadena control room, a 28 mm lens reveals Devo judging the Rhino Devotees album, for which KROQ listeners submitted their own versions of Devo songs. With phenomenal luck, two of my own made the album. Rhino at the time was known for their wacky, Dr. Demento tastes. Richard Bronson and Harold Foos went for the Warner Bros. payday. I would. The reason in 1978 I was so excited about working at KROQ, is that it was the home of Devo.
At least I stood up for this one. Erasure with Jed The Fish.
Modular Synth is fun to stream, but I’m stuck producing videos for now. Apple doesn’t help; I can’t jedit.mp4s on OS X nor iOS. Bad.