95.9 FM:

Compiled from Various Internet Sources; Additional background information provided by K.M. Richards

Rockers in Ventura County who had good receivers in their 1970 Mach 1's must have been pretty happy in the late '70s and early '80s: they had not two, but three stations to choose from: KMET, KLOS, and Ventura's own rock station, 95.9 KGAB.

Chester Coleman put the station on the air as KEWE in the early 1970s, running the same D-C "Hitparade" format that landed on KAAP afterwards. The call letter change to KGAB was when he switched syndicators to run the voicetracked Concept Productions top-40 format as "B-96". They later ran Century 21's top-40 format briefly before Chester sold the majority interest to Ken Cowan, and the call letters changed to KZTR on February 10, 1982.

KGAB had an AOR format which rocked a little harder than its local neighbor on the dial, KBBY, and about as hard as second-adjacent KLOS. Fans of hard rock probably developed very agile tuning skills when turning the knobs on their home stereo systems because KLOS and KGAB were so close together on the dial. They could also go see the "KGAB Midnight Movie" at a local theater.

Jeanne Chappe, previously at KROQ, worked at KGAB from 1979-80 before moving on to KBBQ.

As KZTR, the station used the moniker "K-Star" (this was waaaay before the Star branding you see today in various markets.)

KZTR (K-Star 96) was an odd hybrid of AC hits and KNX-FM style album cuts. K. M. Richards did weekend evenings (later weekend afternoons) and utility. GM (whose idea it was to do the hybrid soft rock format) got the order from the owners (Chester Coleman still had a minority interest at that point) to go more mainstream and they ended up with a very tight AC. Richards moved on to other business interests in the Antelope Valley in 1987.

Within a year of Richards' departure, they switched over to Classic Rock, and much of the music that rock fans loved returned to 95.9. They kept the calls, and referred to themselves as "96 'ZTR". Jimmy Baron co-hosted morning drive there from 1989-90 (and also did the other kind of driving, working for Carey Limousine) before moving to San Diego's KGB FM.

On July 10, 1991, the station became KELF "El Elefante" with a Spanish format. This didn't last too long either, so they decided to trade the pachyderm for a sea creature. The station became KOCP "The Octopus" on February 17, 1995 -- and the Classic Rock format came home once again.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Chester Coleman, who later became president of American Radio Brokers, left us in 2006. KOCP still rocks Ventura County with 1200 watts, but they have an application to move to 101.5 (vacated by cable station KRCL in 1994) with 43kW, upgrading from B1 to B. To date, the Construction Permit has not been issued.

The KGAB calls briefly appeared in an episode of the Fox TV series Sliders, on the hood of a television crew's vehicle. In real life, the calls now belong to an AM station in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The format is Talk, which is kind of appropriate if you think about it.

Some sources used in this research:

KROQ Reunion
Jimmy Baron's Myspace pg.
Radio Station World Oxnard/Ventura listings

Library of American Broadcasting -- Chester Coleman collection

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