KCPR Radio Alumni: Secret Origins of the KCPR 2000 Watt Power Increase Promos

by Len Filomeo

KCPR_2000_watt_promo_1974_2-bay_Jampro_50.jpg One of the really nice things about attending Cal Poly in the early 70's was the fortunate confluence of events that brought together a bunch of talented and ambitious students and afforded them the opportunity to leverage their abilities to upgrade KCPR into a full-service FM radio station. In other words, we got lucky.

In 1971, KCPR had just increased its power to 10 watts and was operating as a Class D educational station. Class D was a restricted class of radio license that the FCC set aside for Non-commerical Educational stations to operate at low power. But even then there were rumors afoot that the FCC was going to require Class D stations to upgrade to full-service status or risk being squeezed off the band by other educational stations. So we had to get moving.

Fortunately, the San Luis Obispo radio market was also starting to expand at about the same time, which afforded us opportunities to round up the second-hand equipment we would need to upgrade the station. Once we knew that a 2000 watt facility was within our reach, we set about submitting an application to the FCC for a suitable Construction Permit.

The FCC issued the Construction Permit for the upgraded facilities in November of 1973. This was remarkably little time for the FCC to issue a CP and there was still much work to do on the new transmitter facilities. We wanted to get the job done before the end of the 1973-74 academic year, and also needed to get it done before final exams, so as the end of the academic year approached we settled on a date of Wednesday, May 29th at 11AM to initiate our 2000 Watt sign-on.

The tale of building the 2000 watt transmitter facility is a whole story in itself, but suffice it to say that the new transmitter facilities were ready by May of 1974. One evening that month, my '63 VW was back in the shop (again) and I was on foot, walking up Broad Street to Foothill Boulevard where I lived at a place called Czech Chalet. I was filled with anticipation about our pending power increase, but for all the work we did, one thing seemed lacking. We needed to promote it!

In the course of that short walk home, I dreamed up three station promos based on popular themes from the 60s and 70's. The promos were informally known as "Batman", "Egor", and "Grass Smoker" (a/k/a Master Sony). I wrote the scripts down on engineering paper when I got back to my apartment. The next morning my roommate Ed O'Brien met me in the KCPR production room where we intended to cut the promos with whomever we could find in the studios. Ed and I had already decided to team up on "Batman". Ed played the Commissioner and I, of course, was The Batman. This is the original script that we worked from. We edited it on the fly as we rehearsed our lines.


Here is an MP3 audio file of the original Batman.

Then our News Director Steve Greenberg walked into the station and jumped in on the production of "Egor". Steve took on the role of Master while I played Egor, the sightless but talking watchdog. As you can see from the condition of this script, Steve was capable of taking direction without giving the copy writer a lot of feedback!


Although he was our News Director, a lot of people around the station didn't know Steve Greenberg really had a good set of chops until they heard him playing The Master on Egor.

Things were now going great in the production room. Ed and I found an LP in the record library that we speeded up to 45rpm to get the sound effects we wanted for Egor and finished the track. Ed had to go off to class but Eric Dausman dropped by in time to help me record "Grass Smoker". This was really fortunate as Eric had played such a pivotal role in the 2000 watt project. You can see there were a lot of erasures made in this script too as we worked out our dialog behind the mic.


Casting against type, Eric took on the role of Grass Smoker and I was Master Sony. In our final take, Eric improvised the last line, "Such wisdom is worth any fortune... cookie." I was so surprised - it was just a good thing Master Sony didn't have any more lines in Grass Smoker!

But all of this activity did not go unnoticed. Al Beckner saw what we were doing, and he immediately sat down in Studio B to whip out a script of his own called "Star Trip". Al's script had a lot more stage direction then mine.


Al worked out the script with Cheryl Wright (Morgana Hill) who played the role of Lt. Guru while Al took on the role of Captain Quirk.

I was still working on one more script, a parody of the Dragnet TV series, but we had produced so much stuff so quickly that there was nothing for it but to load them all onto carts and take them into the control room right then and there!

I think it's fair to say that we all enjoyed these rather spontaneous and somewhat irreverent little spots and they eventually went on to find a place in the legacy of the fun91.