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John Gilliland: Wikis


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

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. His shows were The House of Wax and The Man on the Beat. From 1959-1961 he worked for KLIF in Dallas.[2] He also worked at KILT in Houston.[3]

California Radio

At the news department of KOGO in San Diego, Gilliland used the pseudonyms of John Land and Johnny Land.[2]

In 1965, Gilliland came to the news department of KRLA radio in Los Angeles County,[4] where he became one of the original members of The Credibility Gap which mixed topical humor along with their news broadcasts. 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.[5]

Gilliland researched this radio documentary, The Pop Chronicles, for over two years prior to its broadcast.[4] It covered popular music of the 1950s and 1960s, was originally broadcast on KRLA 1110, and later broadcast on many other stations.[6][7]

At KSFO in San Francisco, he hosted rebroadcasts of his Pop Chronicles, an old-time radio hour, Mystery Theater, The Comedy Hour, and The Great LPs. While working there he also produced and broadcast, beginning in 1972, The Pop Chronicles 40’s, about the popular music of the 1940s.[8] He was succeeded in his on-air time slot at KSFO by Jerry Gordon.[9]


Cover of Pop Chronicles the 40's: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40's ISBN 978-1559351478.

Gilland left KSFO in 1978 and returned to his native Texas.[2] He edited and in 1994 published Pop Chronicles: the 40's as a four-cassette audiobook,[10] which was rereleased later (and somewhat less accurately) as The Big Band Chronicles.[11][12] During his retirement he did some work for KREB in Houston and KXIC 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.[3]



Online sources

Print sources

  • Gilliland, John. "On Chronicling Pop." in Los Angeles radio people : Volume 2, 1957-1997, by Don Barrett. Valencia, CA: db Marketing, 1997. (The pages in this book are not numbered, but Gilliland's essay is located between the E and F entries.)
  • Vernon, Sondra Stewart. "Music plays on for longtime broadcaster: Semiretired disc jockey boasts collection that documents the history of popular records." The Dallas Morning News. July 14, 1988[1]



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