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610 KFRC / San Francisco

Dr. Don Rose, KFRC “Magic 61” – First Hour | August 11, 1986

After 20 years as a Top 40 giant, KFRC launches into the Nostalgia format of “Magic 61”. Here’s the very first hour and a half of the re-launched Magic 61. The KFRC call letters after 6am were used ONLY during the top of the hour legal ID… probably to differentiate from the former Top 40 format.

The Doctor is doing his best to be himself in a format that no longer really fits what HE does. As Dr. Don would quip, “I feel like I just woke up and it’s twenty years ago!”. Perhaps thirty years would be more like it. DDR is quick to point out, “all eleven phone lines are lit up!!”. And they were. Many callers got to voice their well wishes to Dr. Don, and some even managed to get a jab in at the new format. Most were civil, however. This was 1986. Top 40 was a great run for KFRC, but everybody knew it had to end, eventually.

This show was the beginning of the next era, which, as it turned out, was the final era for KFRC as a live stand-alone AM station. In the 90s, Rock would return to KFRC as the Oldies simulcast with 99.7 began with some of KFRC’s legendary disc jockeys. Then, in 2005, the station was sold to Family Radio. It might not have been the end of the world, but it was the end of KFRC as the world had come to know it. And just to nail it down, 610 AM dropped the KFRC call letters on October 17, 2005 when the station became KEAR, the call letters that had been in use on 106.9 FM.

KFRC-FM gained a legacy of it’s own, post 610 AM. We’ll let you look up the histories of both 99.7 and 106.9 FM and get the real story of what became of KFRC’s FM station.

And, Dr. Don? After helping KFRC win four Billboard ‘Station of the Year’ awards, and waking up the people of Northern California for two generations, he moved on from KFRC after only 3 months of Magic 61. Don Rose will always be remembered in the hearts and minds of those who heard and knew him. This website reported his passing, March 30, 2005.

There is a KFRC on AM today. 1550 AM is licensed to San Francisco and for a time, aired Scott Shannon’s “True Oldies Channel” fulltime. Now, that station runs a leased-time format aimed at South Asia – and it’s still owned by CBS! KFRC is now completely gone, and it’s safe to say, there will NEVER be another original 610 KFRC.

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10 Comments


  1. Soft AC? Um…no. There was nothing AC about Magic 61. It was a pure nostalgia/standards station. And once it found its groove under PD Harry Valentine (who arrived near year’s end), it was one of the best stations of its kind.

    The reason the call letters were only used once an hour on this day was that RKO had applied for new call letters. Fortunately, they had a change of heart before the FCC took action and withdrew the request. During the Harry Valentine era, they proudly branded themselves as “Magic 61-KFRC”,

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  2. Sadly as of Wednesday night August 31 2011, KFRC 1550 AM went off the air with no warning and kfrc.com has been taken off the internet but I’m sure that KFRC will be back on the radio again soon. KFRC will never die.

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  3. There is still KFRC Classic Hits music playing music on 106.9 FM HD2 and online. Although the website is down, you can still find KFRC Classic Hits at http://www.radio.com by selecting “Classics/Oldies” and then selecting “KFRC.COM Classic Hits”. The music continues to play there, although there are no live announcers, they still play a good mix of classics and oldies. Hopefully they will fix their “Classic Hits” website.

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  4. The Clsssic Hits music playing music on 106.9 FM HD2 is no longer playable online at radio.com. You can only play the station if you have an HD Radio. This is the last of KFRC radio remaining.

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    • Well, not really. We have some great KFRC material right here on Airchexx! Don’t look for the corporate folks to be worrying about KFRC’s heritage. They’re too busy cutting…

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  5. WAITastinkinsec! *WHO*!! said KFRC had gone Soft AC!?! My gosh, the only MOR stations that augmented its Standards playlist with soft rock (current or older) back then at all were just that-MOR. It would be another five years or so before Nostalgia stations would mix older soft rock hits into their playlists, during which that format. This could at least partially explain the Nostalgia format having at about the same time been renamed Adult Standards, or Standards, for short.

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  6. “That augmented their Standards playlist…”, that is.

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  7. I am listening to the aircheck of the change from top 40 to magic 61 as I type this.

    Dr. Don being the true professional, is handling the change the best he could.

    Even though his jokes could work in a lot of different formats, this was weird to listen to.

    We’ll always remember Dr. Don from his top 40 days at KFRC, WFIL and other stations.

    I heard Magic 61 when I visited the bay area a few years later. Even though it was sad to see top 40 radio end on that frequency, the standards format was executed very well.

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  8. I was in my 20’s/30’s in the ’80’s and I LIKED Magic 61. I found Dr.Don’s laugh forced and annoying. I am in my 50’s now and to each their own I guess.

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