From 1983 through the early 1990’s, KFOG-FM in San Francisco had a legendary disc jockey on the air known as M. Dung, (Mike Slavko on his birth certificate.) M. passed away peacefully on June 30, 2017 at UCSF Medical Center in the City after a long illness, according to his girlfriend Judy Crum. “Dung Boy,” as many of us called him was just as much a unique radio personality as “Wolfman Jack” was in his heyday during the 1960’s over the Mexican radio station XERB-AM! The self-effacing M. Dung called his radio show, “The Sunday Night Idiot Show” for a reason. He played all the right music for us idiots in the audience and I guess judging by Dung’s success, there were a lot of us idiots out there in radio land to give him some respectable ratings. Part of his secret was that Dung didn’t treat his listeners like idiots and he scored the #1 18-34 adult ratings, (the money demo) in all the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area during a very nice stretch of his run at KFOG.
Following is personal stories and anecdotes from some of M. Dung’s KFOG colleagues and closest friends:
DAVE LOGAN, original KFOG Program Director:
Dung was like no other personality that ever poured out of your radio. Once the microphone was on, he rocketed from your speakers like a force of nature. In a world of radio clones, he was a complete original, loved by listeners and rock stars alike.
Off-air, he was Mike Slavko, a shy guy with a theatrical flair who was a walking encyclopedia of musical knowledge. He was just out of college when we first met in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’d heard his “show” on WSRX, the outlaw campus radio station of Grand Valley State College and suffice to say, it was like something from another planet; part radio show and part live theater that sounded as though it was fueled by too much beer, too little sleep and held together by the thinnest thread of reality. Mike also wrote radio plays and performed in absurdist bands including Guys With Big Teeth who were known for their song “Cut Your Stupid Eye Out.”
We first worked together at WLAV-FM, a powerhouse rock station in the market. As an experiment, I put M. on-air to host “The All Night Idiot Show” from 12 midnight Sunday to 6am Monday morning. Despite the lunar time slot, audience reaction was instantaneous and rabid. In short order, we moved him to a better time period where he created “The Sunday Night Idiot Show”, a free-form mixture of roots rock, immaculate soul, excellent oldies, and eclectic ear candy. Inside the program itself, M. ranted and howled at the moon in harmony with hand-picked music that definitely moved. Listener requests were a big part of the program and the audience bombarded the phone lines to join Dung’s chaotic madness. This unique host/listener interaction became a spontaneous theater-of-the-mind performance. He had his own language that the audience joyfully mimicked and echoed. The request line was “The Funline.” You had to “feel it” to be part of the show and give Dung “some!” If you lacked the appropriate energy to join the fracas, you were “eye” and went “a-way!” The totality of this mix exploded from the radio with a funky groove and furious intensity driven by M.’s amplified personality and colorful verbal scat.
Two years later, I left Grand Rapids and moved to San Francisco to launch KFOG. Shortly thereafter, I asked M. to join the team to help design our audio imaging alongside Dave Morey, a gifted broadcaster who went on to become one of San Francisco’s most beloved radio personalities. I’d worked with both guys separately in Grand Rapids and together, they created an audio identity that creatively separated KFOG from every other station in the market and set a standard for rock stations across the country. KFOG was also known for producing a number of specialty shows and when we finally unleashed “The Sunday Night Idiot Show” on the Bay Area, the impact was swift and powerful. Within a year, the show managed to become the #1 rated program on Sunday night for a period of time. Dung was on his way to infamy.
About a year later, we made M. our morning host and he quickly became a big success. The zaniness that powered his Sunday show morphed into a very entertaining ensemble act with M. as ringleader, Scoop Nisker providing news headlines and commentary and Kevin Radich with his intelligent everyman take on sports. And, of course, the audience was a big part too. The trio took off and won key audience demos in the hyper-competitive morning show wars. As the show grew, so too did Dung’s fan base. Bay Area rock royalty started “feeling it.” Artists like John Fogerty, Mickey Hart, Paul Kantner and many more would phone the show and stop by to share their music. Brian Setzer marveled at M.’s incredible rockabilly collection during his visit to KFOG. Pete Townshend delighted in learning the proper way to say “You Eye!” while M. interviewed him during a remote broadcast in New York City. Everybody loved being an Idiot.
Yet beneath his larger than life M. Dung radio persona, he was still Mike Slavko… a fanboy at heart and someone who truly loved radio. To him, there was nothing better than being behind a microphone with his music and becoming totally engaged with his audience, entertaining them wherever they may be.
We all loved M. for who he was on the radio and how he made us feel. No one who heard his show will ever forget him. That will be the case for a long time to come.
SCOOP NISKER & M. DUNG GET READY FOR THEIR FIRST HAWAIIAN DIVE
KFOG BROADCAST THE MORNING SHOW FROM THE BIG ISLAND FOR A WEEK
WES “SCOOP” NISKER, Former KFOG Morning Newsman:
I’ll never forget that voice in my headphones every day of the week at 6AM — “YEEEOOOW BABY!” His love for the music was irrepressible, and it came out of him with quirky bursts of energy and sounds. I can see him pointing back at his own face — “EYEEEE!” — and then spinning “Louie Lou-eye.” Mike was a true original, and underneath the personae of “Dung boy” was a sweet, tenderhearted guy. I still can’t believe they made a billboard with our pictures on it — “S and M in the Morning!” I wish I could hear him again (maybe at 7AM) — shouting at the world to listen and rock on! “YEEEOOOW BABY.”
HANGING OUT AT THE HARD ROCK CAFE FOR ONE OF “KFOG’S TOYS FOR TOTS” BROADCASTS
(L-R: Kevin “The Rat” Radich, Trish Robbins, Bob Weir of GD, M.Dung, Mickey Hart of GD, & HRC Mgr.)
KEVIN “THE RAT” RADICH, Former KFOG Morning Sports Announcer:
M’s enthusiasm, humor, and utter lack of convention was so appealing that it jumped out of the radio and grabbed a hold of the listener. That was was my impression when I joined the morning show at KFOG, in 1985. When I auditioned, live, on the air for that sports guy job, I walked into the studio, and there was M Dung, ragged tee shirt, jeans, no shoes, bouncing around the studio like a madman spinning his magic. He looked at me skeptically, and said, “Hey man, just remember—If you fuck up, DON’T STOP, EYE! Just keep talking, and you’ll be cool.” I got the job. We became close friends…we went to movies, ate lunch together, traveled to London….he made me laugh out loud. There was no one like him, a meteor streaking across the sky. I loved him. I cherish the time we spent together, both on the air and off. I like to think that combustible energy is lighting up the cosmos.
Trish Robbins, Bill Graham, M.Dung at another KFOG live broadcast.
TRISH ROBBINS, Former KFOG Morning Show Producer:
Mike Slavko was a joyful and kind man. His love of music helped him morph into the DJ avatar M. Dung. M.’s unique energetic delivery and creativity catapulted him into the headlights of one of the greatest rock and roll radio stations in San Francisco, KFOG where he was instantly adored. I was his morning show producer. Thanks to the support of General Manager Tony Salvadore and Program Director Dave Logan, we were allowed the freedom to dream big and have the “Big Fun” on the radio every morning. Dung had such a boyish charm and glee about this life of his. When he was able to meet some of his musical heroes like “Louie Louie” songwriter Richard Berry or John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival his smile would detonate and burst onto his face, beh-dowww. M. Dung, né Michael Slavko had a sparkle in his EYE and that is how I will always remember him. A-waaaay young man, you made a difference in this world.
BEN FONG-TORRES, Journalist and Former KFOG Program Host:
DAVE KENNEDY, Executive with KFOG’s former owner:
Although I live in York, PA, I was involved with Susquehanna and KFOG for M.’s entire tenure with the station, and I can tell you that he was one of our company’s most treasured air personalities. As Dave Logan quickly recognized, M. innately understood and could create good, real radio — somehow he just knew what that meant — and yet he was as kind, gentle, humble and caring a human being as one could find. I always enjoyed the time I was able to spend with M. on my visits to the station, as short as those conversations ended up being, unfortunately, and it remains one of the highlights of my career that our KFOG was able to provide a ‘home’ for one of the most unique talents our business has produced. As so many have already said, I can hear Dung today, and I always will.
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Former Guitarist John Fogerty Gets the Dung Boy Treatment on KFOG
ROSALIE HOWARTH, Host of KFOG’s “Acoustic Sunday” program:
Mike was doing mornings 28 years ago, when I went into early labor with my first child during the overnight shift I was pulling. It was 4:30 am and he was due in at 5. So I called my husband, then put on Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys by Traffic….then Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding by Elton John….then Dark Side of the Moon; I put on every 12- minute song I could come up with and waited and waited and …. breathed.
He finally blew in the door at 6:20 am, (this was before cell phones) and I flew at him I’m pretty sure with fingernails extended. Poor guy never knew what hit him.
But he was super-apologetic, got out of my way, and later sent us sweet (and sheepish) congratulations when the baby was born.
Mike Love of the Beach Boys Stops By To See Dung At The Hard Rock Cafe
MIKE SHUMANN, Former KFOG Morning Sports Announcer:
Back in 1988 I was looking for a radio gig after my NFL career came to a close. I was a huge fan of KFOG radio…a Foghead…and the Dung Boy.
So I took a chance…called Dave Logan…the Program Director…to see if he could use a fill in sports dude on the morning show. Timing is everything…as Kevin the Rat was on vacation and Dave needed someone to fill in for two weeks. I have to say I was in awe of M.Dung…despite the fact I had played with and against the likes of Joe Montana and Jack Tatum…and of course he had no idea I was a Super Bowl Champion.
He was like no one I had ever heard on FM radio. His own made up vocabulary…o-day…a-way….eye…and it took a while for me to understand the lingo and get a feel of working with him. Turns out he knew very little about sports….so it was always fun to get into a conversation with him…as you never knew what was coming next.
People don’t realize how brilliant he was on and off the air. He had a degree in philosophy…he went into IT after his radio career…and he was one of the sweetest men I knew.
We were everywhere back then thanks to our top notch PR man Kenny Wardell. We went to London…Hawaii…and local remotes all over the Bay Area…and everyone just wanted to see Dung Boy.
I would bring in guest from the sports world…and they never cared a bit about me…they wanted to meet Dung.
His knowledge of rock and roll was unreal…his respect for and his imitation of Elvis maybe even better…and I got to work with him for a few years until he was moved to afternoon drive.
I was shocked when he moved on to the FM in the sky…but he will always be a part of the Bay Area radio scene…as there was never anyone like him…and I don’t think there will ever be another like him again.
RIP Dung Boy…O-DAY !
Edward Mohoney, better known As Eddie Money Gives Dung Two Tickets To Paradise. Just Kidding!
PETER FINCH, Former KFOG Morning Newsman:
The “Red Rocker,” Sammy Hagar Invited KFOG over to his house in Mill Valley for a pre-Bammie interview by M. Dung & Kenny Wardell
KENNY WARDELL, Former KFOG APD & Promotion Director:
I worked with “Dung Boy” at KFOG for over five years but I’ll never forget my very first day on the job there. We were at 55 Green Street then and after turning on the light and dropping off my bag in my new office, Dung was in the doorway with a big fat joint in his hand saying he wanted to welcome me to KFOG after he gets off the air in an hour! “OK now,” I say to myself about the warm greeting from my new morning guy! So ten o’clock rolls around and M. tells me to follow him out in the hallway and out on to the fire escape hallway right next to the elevator and he sparks up the joint.
All of a sudden, the fire escape door opens rapidly and the KFOG General Manager, Tony Salvadore is standing there and he’s not happy. Marijuana smoke has filled the room that Dung & I are in and it has escaped into the hallway directly in front of the station and into the elevator itself. Salvatore wants to see us in his office in five minutes. “Oh great!” I say to myself. “I’m getting fired on the first day of my new job.”
What’s a GM to do? Fire his hot-as-a-pistol morning guy and his new promotion director or open up a few doors and windows and hope that no important client comes up the elevator to the station for at least a half hour. Fortunately for us, Salvadore gave us as stern a warning lecture as I’ve ever received and his secretary opened all the doors and windows that she could. I never smoked a joint at KFOG ever again.
That absolutely was true but the “Big Fun” working at KFOG with M. Dung is something I’ll never forget.
The following three photos, shot by Susana Millman, were taken at a KFOG interview with the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia that was used for a BAMMIES, (Bay Area Music Awards) pre-show broadcast on KFOG.