KQAK FM 99, San Francisco
The First Day Of “The Quake”
Monday, August 23, 1982
Featuring Alex Bennett and Joe Regelski
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.”
Prior to becoming a legend in New York radio, Alex Bennett (born Bennett Schwarzmann) in the 1960s was 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.
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.
Alex Bennett on The Quake (Aug. 23, 1982; 86 minutes):