70s Usher In FM Popularity; Top 40 AM Fades Out
Locally, at the time FM radio began to blossom in the 1970s, KTAC Tacoma was in a heated ratings war against Top 40 kingpin KJR Seattle. Steve West’s talent seemed to be wasted at KJR, working the overnighter. KJR GM Pat O’Day may have considered West a weak air talent. At the same time, West had his eye on KTAC, believing that he could do much more with the Tacoma rocker than current PD Tom Connors. West used all the tricks he had learned coming up in the business and while at KJR, once he took the helm at KTAC. He brought Bruce Cannon over from Tri-Cities. This move may stand as the single most important talent acquisition for KTAC. Cannon eventually became ‘the heart & soul’ of KTAC, on-air as the long-time afternoon drive host, and for periods as Program Director, as well as KTAC’s ambassador of goodwill toward the community. Bruce Cannon remained at KTAC long after West and other talent came and went. There was nothing to KTAC without Bruce Cannon on the radio. Ask anyone who grew up in Tacoma at the time. Soon, KTAC was battling KJR in the South Sound and posting great ratings. The threat was so great that Pat O’Day offered Steve West the Program Director position at KJRB, Spokane to cut KJR’s rival down to size. West took the offer. KTAC’s next PD Derek Shannon, eventually purchased a station in Chehalis and things were changing at KTAC, but the station continued making good money with talents such as Bob Hardwick, Gary Crow, Don Wade, Bobby Simon, and Robert O Smith. As Top 40 began to fade in popularity, so did the fortunes of KTAC and KJR. READ MORE background on STEVE WEST.