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 night-time DJ of the new Modern Rock station.
As an avid fan of new music from all over the world, Steve became known for discovering and playing songs first on LIVE 105, including now classic Modern Rock tracks like “Love’s Taboo” by Cube, “The Promise” by When In Rome, “Black Metallic” by Catherine Wheel, “What’s On Your Mind” by Information Society, “Unbelievable” by EMF, “Never Enough” by Jesus Jones and “I’m Free” by The Soup Dragons, to name just a few. Steve was also famous for mixing many of these tracks on his nightly Modern Music Mix and even 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.
It was during this period that Steve also developed as a Club DJ and was the main draw at local SF Bay Area clubs like The X, DV8, The Palladium, The Edge and One Step Beyond. Steve also hosted his own video show on the California Music Channel (CMC) and shortly thereafter was discovered by a talent scout from MTV, who invited Steve to an audition on the major video network. In April 1991, Steve 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.
Things began to kick into high gear in 1991 as Steve started the year taking on a bigger title, Director of Music Operations. It was during this period that Steve discovered and began playing a song called “Creep” by a then unknown British band called Radiohead. The track went on to become LIVE 105’s #1 song of the year in 1992 which lead to the band signing to Capitol Records and the rest is history. Steve was also instrumental in advancing the careers of bands like Depeche Mode, The Cure, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Morrissey, Erasure, Psychedelic Furs and many more by continuously promoting and playing deep cuts and b-sides that very few other commercial radio stations dared to play.
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 returned to LIVE 105 in early 2013 to host “Masters In The Morning,” where he brought back some of his modern mixes, screamers of the week and on-air banter that listeners loved. Although the ratings continued to rise during Steve’s latest run, station management eventually decided they wanted to take the morning show in a different direction and Steve exited in December. In his spare time, Steve likes to snowboard, golf, play video games and occasionally DJ at clubs and private parties.