In June or July 1986 the entire KAAR staff were evacuated from their studios along with the entire mall, when when a strange odor, overpowered us! Todd Weagant remembers: John Hugill was on the air, Craig Adams was in the back dubbing music to carts. John Hugill remembers: Some kid next door at Bob’s Pet Land spiked the refrigerant line of an industrial cooler with an ice pick and the mall filled with ammonia vapor. The fireman told Todd and me “You have to leave” and I said “but I’m doing a show! I CAN’T leave!” (willing to risk my health for rock and roll). Meanwhile over at Bob’s Pet Land, birds were dropping like canary’s in a coal mine. Todd and I ran and helped rescue most of the animals, splashing through liquid ammonia all over the floor, we grabbed cages and containers and hustled them out doors. The splashing through the liquid was the worst exposure to me personally. I felt pretty ill. The record I played while Todd and I went to the transmitter was Inna-gadda-da-vida.
Todd remembers: John and I grabbed a spare cart machine and the bulk of The Beatles carts and headed to the transmitter site. Craig followed, I got the cart machine set up and a mic with test clips and no board. John remembers: “feeling really dizzy and Todd passing out at the transmitter site.” Todd remembers: Hugill and I went back to the studio and ended up being hosed down by the Fire Department in the parking lot.” Craig Adams remembers: “John & Todd were having breathing problems after those trips. I played it safe, staying outside. At the time we didn’t know what it was or how hazardous it was to breath. Later I was able to go on the air from the transmitter site unaffected, playing mostly The Beatles on one cart machine until B.A. called around 9pm and said: “give it up!”
Meanwhile John & Todd return to The Tower Mall. John remembers: “This all happened around the time of the Captain Midnight affair and, as I understand it, news crews were reluctant to report on the evacuation as it may be “just another stunt” from that little radio station. Can you imagine TV arrives and there is emergency personnel, a Clown (from “Clown Alley”, the mall party clown), Rodents and Reptiles, Dogs and Cats, upset Drunks (mall Safeway closed) and DJ’s stripped to their britches being hosed down by the Fire Dept. That night footage aired of Todd on oxygen in his boxers being hosed down and loaded into the back of an ambulance.”
On June 30, 1986 “1480 Rock” debuted “Nostalgic Nuggets” at Noon. On July 5, 1986 KAAR switched from “Super Gold” to Dick Bartley’s “Solid Gold Saturday Night” at 6pm, from United Stations Radio Network. In late July 1986 Tim Underwood (formerly on KACI & simultaneously on KBPS) joined 1480 Rock weekends. In August 1986 Mike Cooley (simultaneously KGON/KSGO CE) became Chief Engineer. Former C.E., Todd Weagant (later on KEZE-FM, KMOK-FM, KCLX) had left to attend Wash. State Univ. Slogans: “K-double-A-R is 1480 Car Radio.” “1480 K-double-A-R with 60 minutes of non-stop rock classics.” “1480 Car Radio.”
In August 1986 The Mono Maniacs were: John Hugill 5:30am to 10am; Roger Smith 10am to 3pm; The Big B.A. 3pm to 7pm & Joe Cassavetti 7pm to midnight. Weekends featured: Rich Craig, Saturday & Sundays 6am to 10am; Tim Underwood, Saturdays 10am to 3pm & Sundays 8pm to 1am; Craig Adams, Saturday & Sundays 3pm to 8pm; Steve Michaels, Saturdays “The 1480 Rock All-Request Show” 8pm to 1am; Brian Morris (later on KXL, KUIK, KSGO, KEX/KKRZ/KKCW/KEWS, KBNP, KVAN-1150, KKSN-FM/KGON/KRSK/KNRK, KGW-TV traffic) Sundays 10am to 3pm. Plus Mark Dornfeld traffic. Gloria Johnson (later on KKSN-FM, KKJZ ND, KXL-FM ND, KGON) would do weekend fill-ins occasionally. Also later on weekends was Hosea Johnson.
On September 6, 1986 KAAR presented “Johnny Limbo & The Lugnuts, The Kingsmen & The Razorbacks In Concert” 2pm to 8pm at The Clark County Fairgrounds. Tickets $10. John Hugill remembers the 1480 Rock vibe: “KAAR The Mono Maniacs was so fun. We were small but mighty. Live Summer broadcasts from a pool at the Clark County Fair. Every live concert presentation BA could finagle. Live bands upstairs and downstairs every Wednesday night at Eli’s and more. The creative level was through the roof. Hats off to BA for enabling that level of inspiration.”
Robin Banks (formerly aka Bill Van Lom on KPAM-FM; aka Robin Banks on KGON; later on KGON, KNRK) was The Voice of “1480 Rock” recorded slogans and had done occasional KAAR weekend fill-ins, did not like fulltime air work but was on September 20-28, 1986 for The Big B.A. on vacation. As B.A. wrote it in a staff memo: “After months of negotiations Robin Banks and KAAR Radio have come to a mutual agreement to do my show.” On October 25, 1986 “1480 Rock” debuted “Rock At The Edge” Saturday nights at 10pm, an hour of new rock releases, sponsored by Everybody’s Records. By October Ken Broeffle (simultaneously KPDQ AM/FM C.E., KUIK C.E., later KMJK-FM C.E., ARS – Infinity – CBS Radio-Portland Dir. of Eng., Clear Channel, Asst. Dir. of Eng.) was KAAR backup Engineer.
On November 7, 1986 Steve Feder was named KYTE AM/FM GM (later KAAK GSM, KKZX AM/FM GM, KGON/KFXX VP&GM) and left. Robert D. “Bob” Ancheta became KAAR General Manager and announced the retirement of The Big B.A. as an air personality. On December 29, 1986 “1480 Rock” began airing “Rockline” at 8pm from Global Satellite Network. On January 5, 1987 “1480 Rock” debuted “Explosive Talent Northwest” Mondays at 8pm. The 30 minute program was touted as the “first commercial radio station program of it kind” showcasing local rock talent. Interested bands submitted radio quality reel-to-reel tapes or albums. By this time David Wall was Sales Manager; Deborah Abbe, Office Manager; Tami Olson, Traffic Manager; Kathy Wellington, Dan Osterman & Lonnie Kinser, sales.
On March 27, 1987 Belridge Broadcasting of Portland, Inc. (incorporated on 2-4-87. Rhonda Kramer Green, President & husband Kenneth A. “Kenny” Green, Vice-President) officially took control of KAAR. The Green’s had purchased the station on February 14, 1987 for $550,000. Rhonda Kramer had been a DJ on KFOX and was know a traffic reporter for the Green’s company “LA Network” which provided traffic reports for 13 Los Angeles area stations including KRLA, KFWB, KDAY, KGIL, KROQ & KMGG. Kenny Green served as the company’s accountant. LA Network traded their traffic reports to stations in return for air time. The Green’s would follow this policy at KAAR as well. Employees were told they could be paid in lieu of a paycheck with items instead. Do you need a new set of tires?
On April 5, 1987 The Mono Maniacs of “1480 Rock” gathered in the KAAR studio for one last broadcast beginning a 8pm and all hell broke loose til midnight! Tim Underwood (evening DJ) presided on what was dubbed “The Death of A Radio Station”. The 1480 Rock library was even advertised on the show as being sold at Goundhog Records. The Big B.A. announced on the program: “You, Damn, Wimpy FM Radio Stations, Better Start Rockin’ and Filling in The Void! This Is Ridiculous!” The last song played was a medley of Rocks songs, John Hugill had spliced together. At midnight Steve Michaels took KAAR past the witching hour, to 24 hour status but now as a board operator only. Calls continued to come in from mad listeners. One irate caller asked if it was ok to burn the transmitter site to the ground! We talked him out of that, a long with starting a protest at The Tower Mall.
On April 6, 1987 KAAR reverted back to an Oldies format and was said to have affiliated with the CNN Radio Network. Dick Bartley’s “Solid Gold Saturday Night” returned at 4pm and “Bob Costas Coast To Coast” debuted on KAAR Sundays at 6:05pm. In addition KAAR now featured taped segments of air personalities Charlie Tuna 6am to 10am (board-op: Steve Michaels), Roger W. Morgan & Wolfman Jack (board-op: Gerry Gaule aka The Mighty Gerr). Dave “Records” Stone (formerly aka Junior Rockaway on KRDR; aka Junior on KGAL; aka Bobby Mitchell on KGAR; aka David Stone on KISN; aka Hurricane Hunter on WMYQ; aka Jay Stone on KYA; aka Dave “Records” Stone on KISN; later on KMXI, KKSN AM/FM, KXL) afternoons, John Hugill. Craig Adams weekends Noon to 4pm. Roger Smith, Steve Michaels, Joe Cassavetti (later on KGON, KWJJ), Tim Underwood (later on KGON), Dana Rae (later on KINK), Kim Schmick (later aka Kim Mathews, KKRZ MD) & Hosea Johnson. KAAR slogan: “The Talk of Portland” “Good Time Rock & Roll.”
Bob Ancheta continued as G.M. John G. Hugill became Program Director and Craig Adams, de facto Music Director. John Hugill remembers: Kenny Green’s first telephone conversation with me went something like “Hey! You seen the new Playboy? We should get a copy and J*** off to it together.” This was on weird dude.” In May 1987 John Hugill (later on KMJK, KKSN AM/FM PM, KLTH) forced the Green’s to fire him so he could file for unemployment. Terry Donahue (formerly on KLLB, KKRZ) became Program Director.
A very young Scott Lander, just breaking into radio, remembers: I was running the board on a weekday afternoon, Kenny walked into the small studio (with its’ view of the food stand in Tower Mall) and said: “Soo, Scotty-how long is your d**k when it’s hard?” Needless to say it was awkward. It was soon after that, the checks started bouncing. What an experience!” In May 1987 eight year old Sam Rogoway debuted on KAAR as Little Rockin’ “Ricky Rocko” (later on KKRZ, KMXI) weeknights 6 to 8pm on “The Little Ricky Rocko Show”. “The Worlds Youngest DJ” was also heard 2pm to 6pm on Saturdays on “The Little Ricky Rocko All Request & Dance Party.”
On June 1, 1987 Craig Adams (later on KKSN AM/FM, KLTH) was fired by Rhonda “when she found out, I thought she was nuts! This actually saved me from dealing with bounced checks, which started in June.” Also in June 1987 Roger Smith (later on KRDR, KYTE/KESI/KKCY, KPDQ AM/FM PM, KKPZ PM) took off. “I heard checks were starting to bounce, thought I’d better cut my losses and get out of there.” On that same day Steve Michaels (later on KBBR, KHSN MD, KOOS, KUIK) also quit! “Payroll checks had started to bounce for a lot of people. Mine, thankfully, never did.” About July 1st Tim Underwood (later on KMJK-FM, KSGO/KGON/KFXX) remembers: “I left KAAR during the Kenny Green era when checks started bouncing, morale started plummeting and my desire for un-Green-er pastures prevailed!” In July 1987 Terry Donahue left “being very angry at the Green’s, Lander remembers” and Curtis Wilson (formerly on KOHI, KRDR; later on KVIX, KXL) became Program Director.
On July 15, 1987 Michael Burgess wrote in his “This Week” column, Burges Sez: “Recent ship-jumpers at Radio KAAR are muttering about sexual harassment and unpaid wages….” In the first days of August 1987 Scott Lander (later on KXYQ, KKRZ, KBBT-FM, KOTK, KRSK, KXJM, KZMG, KWJJ-FM, KXL/KXJM, KALZ, KSTJ APD/MD, KUPL-FM, KFBW) remembers: “Kenny decided to give me a raise (seriously-yikes) but by that time, the checks had already started bouncing. I quit soon, thereafter.” Bob Ancheta remembers early August 1987: “Yes paychecks were bouncing and I was getting the excuse from Rhonda Green that the money exchange to our bank account was accidently sent to Vancouver, B.C., not Vancouver, WA, at that point I knew that was BS and packed up my stuff and left.”
On August 10, 1987 a Michigan corporation Gemy, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Belridge Broadcasting of Portland, Inc. for $550,000 promissory note Belridge was in loan default on. Belridge failed to make the July 1987 payment of $4,583. On August 11, 1987 at 3:05pm Portland General Electric pulled the plug. Bob Ancheta (later KGON APD/MD, KKRH, KINK) remembers: “PGE shut off the power at the North Portland transmitter within a week after I left. The manager of the Tower Mall “Al Emrich” caught wind of what was going on and locked the doors. The radio station went back to the original owner Patten Communications Corp. Myron Patten hired me to overlook the facility while trying to sell it. Kenny Green and Rhonda were the weirdest people I ever worked for and I was glad to have it over. I felt bad for everybody who got a bounced check including me.”
In January 1988 Christopher H. Bennett Broadcasting Company of Washington, Inc. (Christopher H. Bennett, President & wife Gloria V. Bennett, Secretary/Treasurer) purchased KAAR fixed assets for $475,000. The company owned KRIZ Renton WA. (FCC approval on 4-12-88). On April 26, 1988 KAAR signed back on the air with an Urban Contemporary format with slogan calls “KBMS”. Studios were located in “The Postal Building” 510 S.W. Third Ave., Suite 100, in Portland. Leon L. Harris, General Manager & Theodore “Ted” Salter, General Sales Manager. 1480 morning air personality was Carnell Foreman. George Fitz weekday mornings 5am to 6am and on Sunday mornings “The George Fitz Gospel Show” (formerly on YSOL, KBOO) aired 5am to Noon. Slogan: “Soul Radio”. Request line: 222-1480.
In June 1988 Christopher H. “Chris” Bennett became General Manager. On July 20, 1988 KAAR became KBMS standing for: “Bennett’s Music Station.” Slogan: “Portland’s Best Music Station.” In September 1989 KBMS affiliated with CBS Sports radio. By December 1989 Ron Lee was Program Director & Music Director. In 1990 Johnny Jordan (formerly on KMAI, KIKI, KWAI, KSSK, XHRM, KWAV, WYJB; later on sister KYIZ, KTSX) joined the KBMS air staff, pulling both morning & afternoon drives. By December 1990 Thomas Williams was General Sales Manager & Michael Brown, Chief Engineer.
On January 19, 1991 former KBMS air personality Anthony DuPree Casey died at age 27 from complications of pneumonia. KBMS slogan: “Portland Vancouver’s Soul Choice.” In 1991 Angela V. Jenkins became KBMS Station Manager, Program Director & Music Director. By December 1991 KBMS had affiliated with the CBS Spectrum Radio Network (CSN, formerly known as CBS Radioradio network). By December 1992 Christopher H. “Chris” Bennett was both KBMS General Manager & General Sales Manager & Richard Wilson (formerly KEX/KKRZ CE) Chief Engineer. In February 1993 KBMS switched to ABC’s “The Touch” or “Hits & Oldies” satellite delivered adult “Urban Contemporary” format. On March 14, 1993 Gene R. Johnsick 1956 KRIV 1480kc Camas station founder died at age 73 in Mount Angel.
By November 1993 KBMS studios had moved to the transmitter site at: 11197 N. Portland Rd. KBMS offices were moved to “The Heritage Building” at: 601 Main St., Suite 400 in Vancouver, WA. KBMS slogans: “More Than Just The Same Songs Over And Over, We’re Portland’s Best Music Station.” “KBMS, The More You Listen, The More You Like.” In November 1995 KBMS moved to new studios in “The Heritage Building” in Vancouver, WA. Request line: 283-3358. On February 20, 1996 KBMS was knocked off the air for 6 days because of flooding at the Smith Lake tower site where the transmitter was underwater for several days. By September 1996 KBMS slogans were: “The Best Variety of Hits And Oldies.” “The Home of Mellow Music At Night.”
On April 25, 1997 Kenneth A. “Kenny” Green died at age 65 in Las Vegas (former KAAR co-owner & V.P. 1987). In 2000 KBMS moved studios back to the transmitter site at: 11197 N. Portland Rd. Between October 15 & 22, 2002 KBMS switched satellite formats to ABC’s “Solid Gold Soul” network “Where Music Meets Soul!” On January 14, 2004 KBMS switched format back to ABC’s “The Touch” network “Today’s R&B and Old School” By July 2006 Opio Sokoni had a talk show on KBMS. By November 2006 Angela Jenkins was host of a talk show Sunday mornings 6am to noon.
By 2007 KBMS had affiliated with “News One” radio network, hourly and half hour feeds during daytime talk shows. Syndication from “Reach Media” carrying weekday talk from “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” 3am to 7am. From “Syndication One” talk programs “Warren Ballentine” 7am to 10am & “The Rev. Al Sharpton Show” 10am to 1pm. Switching format to current Rhythm & Blues music mixed with Soul Oldies from “The Touch” network 1pm to 3am. By October 2007 Opio Sokoni was General Manager with Frank Barrow, Operations Manager & Angela V. Jenkins, Program Director, Music Director & Public Service Director.
On July 28, 2008 the FCC fined KBMS $5,600 for main studio violations. The Commission found the main studio locked and unmanned at various times during regular business hours. The agent was told “he would have to make an appointment. The FCC stated “KBMS must be made available to Commission agents during the station’s business hours, or at any time it is in operation, and that the KBMS main studio must be accessible to the public during regular business hours to ensure, among other reasons, that the public has access to the KBMS public inspection file.”
Slogans: “Celebrating Black Music 365 Days A Year, Right Hear On 1480 KBMS.” “The Right Touch, We’re Your Station For Today’s R&B and Classic Soul.” “For The Best Blues & Oldies, Listen To 1480 KBMS.” “Playing Today’s R&B and Your Memories From Yesterday.” “We Play The Best Variety of Hits, 1480 KBMS.”
Special Thanks to the following individuals who helped in the writing of this radio history, making it more complete: Bob Ancheta, Ray Bartley, Dave Bischoff, Jim Boland, Andy Brown, Chris Burns, Tom Cauthers, Dan Dubay, Les Friedman, Kim Fuqua, Bob Gallucci, David Gleason, Rob Haas, Gray Frierson Haertig, Paul Hanson, John Harper, Iris Harrison, Dan Hotchkiss, John Hugill, Johnny Jordan, Michael Jack Kirby, Scott Lander, Jim Maass, John Meissner, Steve Michaels, Brien Morris, Joe Nasty, Dan Packard, Valerie Ring, Paul Schindler, Roger Smith, Tim Underwood, Todd Weagant, John Windus.
References: Billboard mag., Broadcasting mag., Broadcasting Yearbook(s), Camas Public Library, Camas Washougal Post-Record, The Downtowner, FCC.gov, The Los Angeles Times, Multnomah County Library, The Oregon Journal, The Oregonian, pdxradio’s KVAN History Page, This Week, Vancouver Community Library, Williamette Week.
The first history of 1480 was originally posted on April 13, 2002.