(posted 02 APR
the age of 22, I had graduated from college and was working at First
National Bank of Oregon as a management trainee, and hated it. I had
always wanted to be in sales and marketing. My father, Art Wallace,
had recently retired as the general advertising manager of The
Oregonian newspaper. I told my dad I wanted to get into time sales
and he said he'd help me with a referral, if needed. Though I tried
to convince KWJJ and KXL (the then-leading country and beautiful
music stations in Portland) that they couldn't get along without me,
they wanted experienced salesmen. Dad suggested I contact Wally
Rossman at KPAM-AM/FM as Wally had worked for him in the 40's. Wally
and his new sales manager, Fred Delahay, hired me. I was given only
direct-account work, no real leads, just door-knocking and I did
very well. I knew KPAM was a tough sell, as the "book" was never
good to us, but when Wally stormed in one morning and said that KGO
San Francisco had beaten us in the 18-49 6-10pm's I knew we were in
About nine months later, Delahay approached
me about handling sales at his new station, KQIV FM-106.7 in Lake
Oswego. Fred was a great salesman and gave me a hard pitch about how
we'd wipe out KINK due to our non-automated, live-jock format and
the wildfire popularity of discrete quadraphonic sound. I accepted
Fred's offer. That Dick Jenkins from KPAM would be joining us was a
big plus; Jenkins always was a class act.
We were pre-selling time. I learned the
"shuck" from Fred and did a number on the direct sales prior to KQIV
going live. We generated a lot of excitement; Walter was a true
promoter. Looking back, I believe those times before we went
on-the-air were my best income days! It was so cool to see guys like
Steve Shannon and Jeff Clarke joining us. Seasoned jocks from top
stations; man we were looking good! Jack Malone was a prince of a
man; I could not have been happier with Jack as a co-worker. We were
flying high! 91-derful KISN was even scared of us. The sales manager
at KISN tried hard to get me over there; a year earlier, he wouldn't
even talk to me.
Many problems started when we went
on-the-air. The transmitter was never right, and the audio mixers
were constantly needing repair. Worse, it was evident to me that we
had missed our positioning. To this day, I'm convinced we were too
progressive for Portland and that KINK owned the market and had it
right with their automated carousels. And, real quadraphonic sound?
It never happened on KQIV!
Being young, aggressive, and hell-bent on
polishing a turd, I continued to charge forth and pitch the station.
Fred basically took the nationals; I had the local agencies and the
direct accounts. I remember one time Fred strutting in saying he had
landed Hohner Harmonica. That was our second national account, Certs
being the first as the agency exec was a friend of Fred's. A few
weeks later Walter came storming out of the storage room screaming
about cases upon cases of harmonicas in there, and why? Fred had
traded out for harmonicas! Honestly, at least a third of my sales
were trades, too. KQIV was just not a top buy for the directs, and
without consistent ARB's the agencies wouldn't talk to us.
I have so many fond memories of the days
and evenings we all spent together. I also remember a shylock coming
up to the studio every Friday to collect from Walter, who said he
was paying the guy 5% a week; the banks had cut him off.
I'd generally be in from about 7am to 10pm.
I'd be in the field for the day, then come back and do
correspondence and plan the next day. Sometimes I'd stay late and
the night jocks would let me do some 50's and 60's rock bits. That
was great! Like every person I met there, no exceptions, I gave KQIV
everything I had until there was no more to give; it was evident
that the station was going down and I was broke beyond measure. We,
and I, had failed.
I moved on to two non-media sales
management jobs in California, completed my MBA degree, and have
been a commercial real estate developer in Sacramento for over 30
years; the same number of years I've been married. Of all the jobs
I've had, KQIV left the biggest impact by an off-the-radar-screen
mile. I have nothing but wild and wonderful memories of being a KQIV