First Person: KALX’s ‘The Sunday Morning Show’ Will Be Missed

By Jonathan Wafer
Friday December 08, 2006

I'm bummed. “The Sunday Morning Show” on UC Berkeley's radio station, KALX (90.7 FM), has been canceled. On Sept. 10 General Manager Sandra Wasson and management decided to pull the plug on the 20-something-year-old show for what they call a lack of direction.  

For those who care about the history, here it is: “The Sunday Morning Show” was started by the late Charles “Natty Prep” Douglass when he was an undergraduate at Berkeley in 1984. The original name of “The Sunday Morning Show” was “Music for the People” and the original intent of the show was community and educational outreach through music and programming.  

At a time when the community in the Bay Area is in desperate need of media outlets to vent their many frustrations, activists are now coming to terms with another source that has been lost. Over the years “Music for the People” and “The Sunday Morning Show” spawned a number of artists, through music and radio experience. 

One of these is Rickey Vincent, “The Uhuru Maggot,” who had a segment in the ’80s called “The History of Funk.” This popular show still airs every Friday night on KPFA. Vincent also wrote a book, The History of Funk, which has been translated into Japanese. Then there was Michael Marshall, who as a Berkeley High student in the ’80s had a show called “The Final Score,” a sports wrap-up show, and who was moonlighting as a singer. 

His song “Rumours” by the Berkeley-based group Timex Social Club was first played on KALX and then picked up steam all the way to number one on the national charts. 

I had a poetry and book review segment called “Calm Authority” on “Music for the People” when I was an undergraduate student at Cal in the ’80s as well.  

And last but not least, there was David “Davey D” Cook, a UC Berkeley graduate who, after winning a 1991 Gavin Award for Best Non-Commercial Rap Show in the country, parlayed his work on “The Sunday Morning Show” into a gig at San Francisco radio station KMEL. (I had the pleasure of working with Davey D as a volunteer on KALX and KMEL in the ’90s under the air name of The Calm Authority.) 

For over twenty years “Music for the People/The Sunday Morning Show” has tried to continue the tradition that “Natty Prep” started by passing the torch to different deejays/activists. Today, like the world, UC Berkeley has changed. Diversity and full participation, which were the rule on “Music for the People/The Sunday Morning Show”, are more of a challenge these days. And now with the removal of this show from the airwaves, it has become harder still. Proposition 209, the legislation that ended affirmative action on California college campuses, has swept away many minorities from the universities (African-Americans in particular) and now the creative outlets that encouraged, fed and entertained those communites are fading away as well. 

As an artist I found KALX to be one of my creative outlets. I have that outlet no longer and it hurts. RIP “Sunday Morning Show,” you are missed.