KQIV 106.7 FM - Lake Oswego, Oregon - KQ4 Rockin' in Quad

 

 

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JOHN WALLACE MEMORIES
PAGE

John Wallace
Sales
1972
(posted 02 APR 07)

  
 


         
At 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 trouble!

       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 pioneer.
 


 

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