May 27, 2020
by Robert Feuer
If you haven’t heard of Bob Sala, where have you been? Sala has been doing a Sunday morning radio show, “Uncorked,” on KRSH for 20 years, providing a down-home, personalized view of folk, bluegrass, Irish, and old-timey music, with a heavy dose of humor, irony, and sarcasm. “Humor is great medicine,” Sala says by phone from his Petaluma home. “If you’ve got it, use it. Who doesn’t like to laugh?”
Due to the coronavirus, his current shows are replays but they remain just as affecting. Sala is itching to get back into the studio. To avoid “going stir crazy” while sheltering, he’s reading 4-5 hours/day and taking walks around his neighborhood. He also continues his lifelong pursuit of “messing around.” Sala admits to “streaming stuff, a lot of which is junk. Streaming services don’t give you the personality.”
Coming from a 1960’s background, he plays “folk singers, a lot of old ones,” like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and the lesser-known, much-loved, Incredible String Band, more than anyone else on radio.
Sala was born in Palo Alto. At age three, his family moved to Pasadena and, “of course,” he once said on the KRSH website, “I went along.”
“I always listened to the radio,” he says. “Radio makes you feel good, it’s so healing. It’s comforting to listen to a voice you know.”
Sala enjoyed shows like Arthur Godfrey and radio serials. Musically, he started with the Kingston Trio and the Dillards. He loves “songs and stories which go so far back and continue to be renewed. I think Woody Guthrie music (songs about unions and poor people) is as relevant now as when he wrote them. Raggin’ the rich is always good.”
During the Vietnam War, Sala was a conscientious objector. “They wanted to take me in the army, and I wasn’t going to shoot anybody.”
His ears were charged by the emergence of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll. After accepting the fact that he wasn’t going to make the Dodger team, he jokes, he went to radio school, where he met KRSH bluesman Bill Bowker. Sala’s first show in 1967-68 was with a big-hype Top 40 station in Cucamonga. Together the two deejays went to KROQ. In 1979, they were recruited by Sonoma County’s KVRE, where folk music and outlaw country records were being spun. After 10-12 years there, both moved to KRSH in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square around “the turn of the century,” Sala says.
Sala sounds like the kind of amiable guy most listeners would like to get to know better. He usually begins his show with folk, country, and old-timey music. “It’s an easy way to get rolling” he says. “After people have woken up and had coffee, I start cutting a rug,” with faster-paced bluegrass, emphasizing banjo. “I try to keep it as acoustic as possible.”
“Uncorked” can be heard every Sunday morning from 8-11 a.m. on KRSH (95.9 FM and krsh.com online). For more on Sala, go to his nonexistent blog.
Please support our sponsors:
LOCAL GUIDE to Cannabis Dispensaries and Delivery Services, Sonoma County & Beyond.All dispensaries have verified their information.