John Gilliland

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John Gilliland
"John Gilliland at KSFO, c. 1971" Courtesy of The John Gilliland Collection.
John Sanford Gilliland Jr.

(1935-10-18)October 18, 1935
DiedJuly 27, 1998(1998-07-27) (aged 62)
Show The Pop Chronicles
Station(s) KRLA 1110
Show The Credibility Gap
Station(s) KSFO
Website John Gilliland's Pop Chronicles

John Sanford Gilliland Jr. (October 18, 1935 July 27, 1998) was an American radio broadcaster and documentarian best known for the Pop Chronicles music documentaries and as one of the original members of The Credibility Gap. He was born and died in his hometown of Quanah, Texas. He worked for a number of radio stations in Texas and California including KOGO in San Diego (1961–1965), KRLA 1110 in Los Angeles (1965–1970), and KSFO (AM) in San Francisco (1971–1978).



Texas radio

His radio career began in 1952 with KOLJ in his native Quanah, Texas. [1] While attending Texas Christian University, he worked as a disc jockey at KCUL in Fort Worth. [2] [3] His shows were The House of Wax and The Man on the Beat. From 1959-1961 he worked for KLIF in Dallas. [4] He also worked at KILT in Houston. [5]

California radio

At the news department of KOGO in San Diego, Gilliland used the pseudonyms of John Land and Johnny Land. [4]

In 1965, Gilliland came to the news department of KRLA radio in Los Angeles County, [6] where he became one of the original members of The Credibility Gap which mixed topical humor along with their news broadcasts. [7] Fellow founding member Richard Beebe said of him that

Even though John was an integral part of the "Gap," working on the Pop Chronicles was always number one for him. It seemed like he was always working on it. John was a very talented guy and a lot of fun. [8]

Gilliland researched this radio documentary, The Pop Chronicles, for over two years prior to its broadcast. [6] He interviewed many famous musicians for this show. [9] It covered popular music of the 1950s and 1960s, was originally broadcast on KRLA 1110, later broadcast on many other stations, [10] [11] and now can be heard online. [12]

Starting in 1971, at KSFO in San Francisco, he hosted weeknights 7pm-midnight. [13] In response to market research showing that most of its daytime audience preferred watching television at night, KSFO hired Gilliland in 1971 to host a five-hour variety block of music and entertainment evenings from 7 p.m. to midnight; Gilliland would continue as host until 1978. [14] [15] His shows included rebroadcasts of his Pop Chronicles, an old-time radio hour (called "The Golden Age of Radio" or "The Great American Broadcast"), Mystery Theater , The Comedy Hour, [16] [15] and The Great LPs . While working there he also produced and broadcast, beginning in 1972, [10] The Pop Chronicles 40s, about the popular music of the 1940s. [17] [14] He was succeeded in his on-air time slot at KSFO by Jerry Gordon. [18]


Gilland left KSFO in 1978 and returned to his native Texas. [4] He edited and in 1994 published Pop Chronicles: the 40s as a four-cassette audiobook, [19] [20] which was rereleased later as The Big Band Chronicles. [21] [22] During his retirement he hosted a late night show on KREB in Houston [23] and did some work for KIXC in Quanah. He died in 1998. In 2003, Gilliland's sister donated the Pop Chronicles tapes to the University of North Texas Music Library where they form The John Gilliland Collection. Later his 700 reel-to-reel tapes of various old radio shows was added. [5] [24]


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  1. "Vox Jox" (PDF). Billboard. 1955-07-02.Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  2. "Disk Jockeys' regional record reports" (PDF). Cashbox. 1956-07-07.Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  3. 1 2 3 "Biography — University of North Texas Libraries". Archived from the original on June 17, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  4. 1 2 "ARSC Conference 2008 - Session Abstracts" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  5. 1 2 Hopkins, Jerry (October 4, 1969). "'Pop Chronicles' Chronicle Pop". Rolling Stone (43). p. 34.
  6. "Lew Irwin Sets Record Straight on Origins of 1110/KRLA Credibility Gap" (PDF). July 15, 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  7. "~Los Angeles Radio People, Archives". Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  8. Gilliland, John (1997). "On Chronicling Pop". In Barrett, Don (ed.). Los Angeles radio people: Volume 2, 1957-1997. Valencia, CA: Db Marketing. ISBN   978-0-9658907-0-0. OCLC   38994418. (The pages in this book are not numbered, but Gilliland's essay is located between the E and F entries.)
  9. 1 2 MacKenzie, Bob (1972-10-29). "Radio Returns to the '40s" (PDF). Oakland Tribune. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-09.
  10. Pop chronicles. 36 (RU 11-1 [Sept. 1970]). OCLC   50111827.
  11. Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 1" (audio). Pop Chronicles . University of North Texas Libraries.
  12. "2008 ARSC Conference Recordings (Association for Recorded Sound Collections)". Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  13. 1 2 "John Gilliland - Pop Chronicles: The Forties". Bay Area Radio Museum. November 5, 1972. Archived from the original on August 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  14. 1 2 Johnson, Joseph S.; Jones, Kenneth K. (1978) [1972]. "Station Profiles: KSFO". Modern Radio Station Practices (PDF) (2nd ed.). Belmont, California: Wadsworth. ISBN   0-534-00550-0 via
  15. "KSFO-560 Program Log" (PDF).
  16. "The Pop Chronicles Of The 1940s". RadioEchoes. 1972-10-29.
  17. "Where was 'Radio Waves'?". Archived from the original on October 25, 2013. Retrieved 2010-02-17. Alt URL
  18. 1 2 Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN   978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC   31611854.
  19. Pop chronicles []. OCLC  [// 31611854].
  20. Ruhlmann, William. The Big Band Chronicles at AllMusic . Retrieved 2010-02-17.
  21. The big band chronicles (Audiobook on tape, 1997). []. OCLC   38555138.
  22. R&R Radio & Records: Segues
  23. "John Gilliland Collection, 1955-1991 | Music Library". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  24. "Magic of JuJu: Political Porno". 2006-12-21. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2009-11-16.