OK...coupla things...I have:
pre-install st modprobe aha1542
in modules.conf, and put the line:
nce:/sbin/modprobe st > /dev/null 2>&1
in inittab, which works dandy (thanks Kurt), but it seems kind of kludgey...as trickykid suggested, seems like you could put something like "modprobe aha1542" in modules.conf, but it doesn't like that. Not too surprising, since the man page doesn't say that that's a valid keyword.
Guess there's nothing I can put in modules.conf to do what I want? Am I missing something?