In March of 1969, I found myself spending a few weeks in Los Angeles. My brother Kent, and I, along with a friend, went down there for radio school. When I say radio school, you probably envision some kind of repair course or maybe something to do with ham radio. Or you might assume we were going there to learn how to be radio announcers. There were several schools in L.A. at that time devoted to the profession. But, no, we were already radio announcers.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at that time required announcers to have either a third-class FCC license or a first-class license. Both licenses required taking a test. We already had our third-class licenses. That test was easy. You had to study for about eleven minutes to pass it. A third-class permit allowed you to work on low-powered stations. If you wanted to work at higher power stations and those with antenna arrays, you had to pass the test to become a first-class radio engineer. This was a hold-over from the early days of radio when you actually had to know something to operate a transmitter. By 1969, radio transmitters largely ran themselves. I knew how to turn one on and off and how to read the meters. If the meters were straying out of a certain tolerance range, you called the station engineer. He knew electronic stuff.
To move up in radio, you had to pass a very difficult test in engineering. Your average DJ knows squat about engineering, but they had to have that first-class license to work on, for instance, KBOI. This idiotic requirement meant that ambitious DJs, such as us, went to six-week schools to learn enough about electronics to pass the test.
So, there we were in Los Angeles, learning about capacitors and stuff. On the way to the day-long classes, we learned how to be a big-time DJ from the likes of Robert W. Morgan and Charlie Tuna on the monster L.A. rocker of the day, KHJ. This was a particularly cool thing for us because we knew those guys (long distance) from their stints on KOMA, Oklahoma City, which blasted into Southern Idaho during our high school days.
One of the songs we heard a lot when we were down there (this is about a song, remember?) was called Day after Day (It’s Slippin’ Away). This catchy little Caribbean-inspired tune was performed by the rock group Shango. As newbie sorta Angelenos from Idaho, who got to experience an earthquake while we were there, this song hit home. Here are some of the lyrics, courtesy of genius.com.
Day after day
More people come to L.A
Shhh! Don't you tell anybody
The whole place slippin' away
Where can we go
When there's no San Francisco?
Shhh! Better get ready
To tie up the boat in Idaho
And, there you have it. One of my favorite songs to include Idaho in the lyrics. Listen to it here.
This was Shango’s only hit. Well, maybe not a hit, but it did make number 57 on the pop charts. With no more hits coming, Shango broke up.
Two members went on to play in groups you may have heard of. Tommy Reynolds became the third name in Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds. Drummer Joe Barile went on to play with the Ventures. To my knowledge, they never sang about Idaho again.