Turn me on, Tune me In: The Birth of FM Rock Radio

When Tom Donahue, arguably the father of FM Rock Radio, pulled up to the microphone at 8:00 PM on August 7th, 1967 at KMPX FM in San Francisco, who knew that he would herald the beginning of the end to the traditional Top 40 AM Rock and Roll DJs. Championing a new radio format called “free form radio” he played, like, whole album sides man! Far out! He unleashed a wave of “underground” FM radio stations all over North America that used DJs that posessed more of a calm and collected persona (the Montreal local “underground station CKGM FM even had a meditation room!) with the focus strictly on the music and the community that tended to listen to the acid drenched, psychedelic music that was all the rage then. Check out this site for some cool stuff related to KPMX and Tom Donahue. For a brief history of free form radio, check this site out at WFMU, one of a handful of stations still practicing the art form today (done well it is an art form). Finally, check out “The History of Rock and Roll Radio” at the Museum of Television and Radio to see what you can actually listen to if you happen to be in LA or New York with nothing better to do.
Up next, we go to the swinging London of the mid ‘60s to check out those cheeky British pirate radio stations that dared to take on the BBC.