Steve Masters has been one of the most influential people in the history of alternative radio. His musical selections and on-air personality at San Francisco’s LIVE 105 throughout the 80’s and 90’s set him apart from the nation as an outspoken industry voice who spearheaded countless hit records in the format.
Steve was born in Redwood City, CA but grew up on the East Coast and in Germany. He graduated from Emerson College in Boston in the early 80’s as a journalism major. From 1980-1983, he DJ’d at R&B station WILD in Boston. From there he was asked by a listener one day to help build a UK pirate radio station called “Lazer 550.” Steve took the job and moved to Ft. Lauderdale, FL and then sailed across the Atlantic to Ireland. The short-lived station debuted on New Year’s Day 1984 but by June, Steve was longing for the States so he moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area and quickly found on-air work on stations such as KKIS, KWUN and KSTN in Stockton.
In August 1984, Steve got hired by Program Director Bob Garrett at Top 40 station “Hot Hits” KITS 105.3 in San Francisco. Being a fan of modern music and the underground sound, Steve was given the green light to start his own specialty show “The Modern Music Hour.” The response was huge and the show was soon expanded to five nights a week. Then in October 1986, KITS made the official switch from “Hot Hits” to LIVE 105. General Manager Ed Krampf and Program Director Richard Sands promoted Steve to Music Director and nighttime DJ of the new Modern Rock station. During this period, Steve also developed as a Club DJ and hosted his own video show on the California Music Channel (CMC) and formed his own record label Tripindicular Records. One of his solo efforts, a vocoder/free-style track called “Turntable Aktion,” sold over 25,000 units.
Things began to kick into high gear in 1991 as Steve started the year taking on a bigger title, Director of Music Operations. Then a talent scout from MTV invited Steve to audition for a video show after seeing Steve on CMC. In April 1991, he made his national television debut as an MTV VJ. He flew to Los Angeles twice a week to tape shows for the week, which were broadcast Monday through Friday from 12noon to 4pm. In September of that year, Steve completed the 35 week stint, passing on a chance to move to New York as a full-time MTV VJ because he loved the Bay Area too much.
Throughout the 90’s, Steve Masters received several industry awards from Billboard and Gavin for his on-air work as well as success in music programming. In September 1995, Steve made a decision to leave his treasured post at LIVE 105 to take a job in the record industry at MCA label WayCool. He continued hosting LIVE 105’s new music show Transmitter Adjustments until 1998 and then made a brief return to LIVE 105 in 2002 with the retro show “11 O’Clock Rewind.” Shortly thereafter, Steve launched his own project Triple C Promotions and GotGame, which has successfully become a leading video game company that promotes video games on radio stations nationwide. Steve can also be heard giving updates on the latest games on most of those stations and www.gotgame.com in the official GotGame radio feature.
In his spare time, Steve likes to golf, snowboard, play video games and continues to DJ at clubs and private parties. His favorite local teams are the Oakland Raiders and A’s and the San Jose Sharks. Steve is excited to return to the station he helped launch so listen every weekday morning to “Masters in the Morning” on LIVE 105!
– Alex Cosper & Spud, LIVE 105/San Francisco