SAMANTHE REMEMBERS KSAN
was KSAN's first on air astrologer in 1971. Thom O'Hair dubbed me the Cosmic
Leather Lady, due to the sponsor of my daily forecast! I also worked at KNEW AM
for Don Chamberlain's California Girl Show. I "retired" for awhile to
raise my two daughters and return to college. I'm now a Geography Professor at
Cal State Northridge. I remarried in 1989 to Steve Kadar, formerly an audio
engineer at McCune Audio-Visual during the same time I was at KSAN. (He was an
acquaintance of Thom O'Hair.) Since marrying Steve, we moved to LA where he is
an audio engineer for Walt Disney Imagineering-Research and Development. When I
was hired at CSUN, the department chair and I mused about living in SF. She then
ventured to say how much she loved KSAN in the 70's and wondered whatever
happened to the morning astrologer she liked so much. I stood there and said:
You're looking at her!"
There's really no getting away from KSAN, it stamps you forever.
My fondest memories: How about the time we all boarded the bus for a celebration dinner up in Sonoma County .... we all could have been busted for various and sundry activities ..... or how about the time Paul Boucher and I dragged as many of you as we could into the recording booth to make the special promo spots for the Pacific High live broadcast celebrating Boz Scaggs signing with Colombia Records? There was a bottle of peppermint schnapps floating around the booth to get all of you into the appropriate festiveness. The ad-libs were a scream! Boz loved it so much he asked us for a copy of the spots. And, then there were always those trips to the Lizard Lounge and hanging out on the roof with Travis and McQueen. Being part of KSAN was special. I miss so many of you!
I often wondered what happened to the staff over the years. I didn't know we had lost so many. I told Bob that the last I heard of Donna Campbell was at the Sansome KSAN when I took my baby daughter in to meet everybody. You should have seen all the mushy people - McQueen, Lee, Bonnie, Terry "McGoob," and Jerry Graham. Donna fell in love with her, of course. She told me at that time she was thinking of moving back to Canada. I never heard from her again. The Cosmic Leather Lady lives: well, at least the whip part! The fishnet stockings and high-heeled boots Thom declared I wore everyday are a thing of the past :-( just too old for that look!
One of the more likable promo men, Lou Galliani, came struggling into the station one day with his foot in a cast. He was escorting Jose Feliciano in for an interview during McClay's show. As they staggered through the studio, Lou called out "make way, it's the "halt leading the blind." You know, none of us would really have said such a thing, but we obviously thought it to some extent, as I witnessed Bonnie Simmons nearly "pee her pants" trying NOT to laugh. But, being the people they were, of course we all laughed.
I believe I already mentioned the great moment of stuffing the recording studio full of staffers to make the special commercials and promo's for the live event broadcast from Pacific High Recorders celebrating Boz Scaggs signing with Columbia Records. Copious amounts of booze floated around the studio to get everyone into a party mood and did it ever work. Behind some of necessary on air stuff, voiced over by a Chan (Travis) and some others, you hear comments about bogarting the bottle and the classic one during a spat of giggles one of the ladies, you hear this voice hollar out "Am I in yet, Helen?" Boucher left that in the final mix that went out over the air. Boz loved all the ribbing, i.e. "Hey, Boz, big time label finally,etc." Boz loved it so much he asked for a copy of the spots, which we were glad to give to him. I hope he still has them, as they were a blast to put together. Never knew we could get soooo many people into that booth.
I've been emailing Bob Simmons about some memories regarding a few people no one can locate, such as Donna Campbell, the business manager. As I told him, the last I heard was that she was thinking of moving back to Canada. She and I became friends very early on through an unforeseen confrontation between her and the personal assistant/secretary of the PRESIDENT of Metromedia. You see, when I first was hired at the station I was married. My father-in-law was an audio engineer for ABC Sports and his new wife, that I had not met yet, was ...... the personal secretary to the President of Metromedia.
When my in-laws were apprised of the separation between their son and me, she took it upon herself to contact me to see if she could get us to sit down and talk things out. Her only means of contacting me was through the station, so she called Donna Campbell and asked her for my phone number. Donna, of course, was very protective of all of us, even if she did look askance at us at times. When she refused to give my mother-in-law the number, tempers flared, as she reminded Donna who she was and did Donna want to keep her job?! Donna retorted, let me talk to Samanthe first. That calmed things down between them. I was stunned that this phone call had happened, because, I had never met my mother-in-law. All I knew was that she worked for some conglomerate company in Southern California. Once I calmed Donna down and told her the status of my tenuous relationship with this woman, she told me she was only looking out for the staffers, but that she didn't appreciate having her job threatened. But, being the fair person she really was, we both looked at one another and broke up laughing over the ludicrous situation it was and were friends from then on.
I did finally meet my new mother-in-law a week later, as she and my father-in-law were concerned about "their kids." She gave me some interesting info I kept to myself for awhile and that was the long range plans for the station - turning it into a country station in the future. I was aghast that this would be the future in a few years, but I promised to keep it to myself. Not something I wanted to keep to myself, mind you, but I quickly learned how things can change so rapidly in radio and tv. It's all about the ratings, advertising, etc. She gave me great advice about taking my astrology program to the AM station in Oakland, which turned out to make me really famous in the area, as the astrologer to Don Chamberlain's California Girl Show. It was a ratings hit and every time I was on the lines were jammed. Made considerable $$$ going over to KNEW AM, but then I new it's days were also numbered, because it was also slated to become a country station along with KSAN. You take the money while you can.
But, my fondest memories will always be about some of the good people I formed lasting friendships with. For instance, how many people EVER knew Dave McQueen and had a close relationship for awhile. Still love that man! Down the road Richard Gossett and I traded beer brewing techniques, as I got into that as a hobby with a local group of home brewers who won a national award for our brews. Anchor Steam invited us all down to the Brewery for a celebratory dinner and guess who I ran into that evening ..... Richard!
I went back to graduate school in the early 90's, only to walk by a classroom one night and there was Peter Laufer lecturing to a communications class at SSU. We looked at one another, laughed out loud, and hugged in front of some rather startled students; he explained our past. We KSAN people, no matter how long we were actually there or when always seem to find one another, often in some unusual places.
The department chair of where I teach at Cal State Northridge and I were musing over living in SF during the 70s and she remarked how much KSAN meant to her while she was in college at SFSU. One of her favorite things was the astrology moment (and listening to a certain late-night DJ when she was cranking out the term papers - Norman, does that make you smile?) and she wondered whatever happened to the astrologer. I looked her in the eye, smiled and said: "Antonia, she went back to college, got her Master's in Geography and is talking to you right this moment." You could have felled her with a feather. My students think it's really cool that their professor is .....oh, gosh .... a celebrity! They all want to know the story of how O'Hair came to call me the "Cosmic Leather Lady, here she comes with here fish-net stockings, her high-heeled boots, and her whip!" I think I'll keep most of that story to myself with a sly smile, remembering the man who gave me the moniker!
Fond regards, Samanthe