Home URBAN Bill Drake: The Man who "Killed the DJ" is Dead

Bill Drake: The Man who "Killed the DJ" is Dead

 border=For those of us who came into in the 80s and 90s, we have this man to thank for watching our salaries and egos tank (laugh) with his “more music, less talk” motto that he pushed down the industry’s throat until it became legend, unfortunately, more at urban…. Oh, he’s dead.

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 . He was 71.

Drake died Saturday of cancer at West Hills Hospital in the San Fernand o 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 , KHJ in and in shot to the No. 1 slots in their markets by promising more music and less chatter.

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 .

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.


  1. I couldn’t disagree more. Robert W. Morgan, The Real Don Steele, Humble Harve and Charlie Tuna weren’t personality jocks? Yeah, right.
    Bill Drake would never have approved of the neutered sound of today’s radio. His stations killed off egomaniacal self-indulgent jocks who rambled on and on. They were designed for the listeners. Gone were the jocks who potted levels up and down on the music, with songs in the background while they did their bits even after the vocals began. In was ?levels up? all the time, jock in the mix showing respect for the music we loved. Thank God for that. The old way sucked! The listeners knew it and rewarded Drake with huge numbers.
    A very few, extremely talented people couldn’t do Drake (like Lee ‘Baby’ Sims, for instance). They needed more room. For every LBS, though, there were another 1,000 big mouths who knew how to waste our time. Good riddance to them.

    What has happened in the last twenty years is not Drake?s fault. His stations never sounded sterile.

  2. Your post is total bullshit. I’ve been radio–on the air–for35 years. The people who have wrecked radio are the folks who bought stations like crazy under Telcom96. Wake the fuck up.

  3. I agree with all the posts, except the ancient jock that told me to “Shut the fuck up.” I would say something that would shut him down but he’s been a jock for 35 years? I actually feel sorry for the bastard… (laugh). At any rate. Drake’s philosophy proved worthy to some stations but did the whole industry have to adapt to it? When I grew up listening to urban radio, the DJs WERE the stars and they made radio fun and exciting. They made me want to be on the air. I didn’t aspire to be a fucking robot. The music spoke for itself but it’s unfortunate that Drakes idea practically cut salaries in half during in the 80s and 90s at urban radio. Let’s face it, urban radio RAN it in the 70s and I find it ironic that Drake would come up with this concept, after he made all of HIS money in the 70’s too. I agree with the last post, good riddance. NEXT….Now can someone propose the idea Less Music, More Personality? (laugh)

  4. What nit-wit wrote this? You know nothing of the godamn business. Drake took the programming out of the hands of the sales department and back into the listeners. He actually respected the audience, and his actual stations (not the imitation Drake stations) consistently had great air personalities.

    Ohif you were some weak, smug post ironic screechy voiced little creep, you’d last about 5 minutes back in the day. If Drake didn’t fire you, the Boss DJs would kick you to the curb, either way your toast/

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