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Bill Drake, pop radio innovator, dies at 71

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  • Marc Miller
    Bill Drake, who invented Boss Radio , died over the weekend: Bill Drake, pop radio innovator, dies at 71 by Jacob Adelman, Associated Press Los Angeles - Bill
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2008
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      Bill Drake, who invented "Boss Radio", died over the
      weekend:

      Bill Drake, pop radio innovator, dies at 71

      by Jacob Adelman, Associated Press

      Los Angeles - Bill Drake, who set the tone at hundreds
      of pop stations with a radio format that placed music—
      rather than disc jockeys—at the center of the broadcast,
      has died. Drake died of cancer Saturday at West Hills
      Hospital in the San Fernando Valley, his domestic
      partner Carole Scott said. He was 71. At the height of
      his career as a radio programming consultant in the late
      1960s and early 1970s, Drake championed a streamlined
      format that came to be known as "Boss Radio," which made
      announcers' personalities secondary to the Top 40 hits
      they were spinning. Under Drake's guidance, radio
      stations such as KGB in San Diego, KHJ in Los Angeles
      and KFRC in San Francisco shot to the No. 1 slots in
      their markets by promising more music and less chatter.
      "He really sort of cleaned Top 40 radio up," said John
      Long, president of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, which
      inducted Drake in 2007. "The music was the star." Drake,
      whose given name was Philip Yarbrough, was born Jan. 14,
      1937, in southwest Georgia and began his professional
      radio career as a disk jockey and later program director
      at WAKE in Atlanta. His name was changed to Drake because
      the station wanted a name that rhymed with the call
      letters, according to a biography on Drake's Web site.
      Drake later moved to California, where he directed
      programming at stations in San Francisco, Stockton and
      Fresno, before launching his radio consulting business
      with longtime partner Gene Chenault. The two launched
      numerous high-profile radio careers, including that of
      Top 40 disc jockeys "The Real" Don Steele and Robert W.
      Morgan. "He gave the world so many people that worked
      together that had egos the size of the Empire State
      Building," Scott said. "They were all part of the Drake
      radio empire." Drake sold his interest in Drake-Chenault
      Enterprises Inc. in 1983. He was developing a new Top 40
      format for satellite radio at the time of his death. He
      is survived by his daughter Kristie Philbin.
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