Its a Friday afternoon and Bobby Ocean helps close out the Top 40 era at KFRC! With some help from Scotty and the 610s (and their tribute song to the ‘Amazing AM’), Ocean takes the final afternoon drive show out with class.
There are some visitors to this site who have a clear memory of the events leading up to the end of Top 40 on KFRC. Its an event burned into the collective memory of a generation who grew up with 610 AM in San Francisco. To briefly summarize for those who are too young to have remembered KFRC as a Top 40 station, KFRC made the decision to pull the plug on the Top 40 format as a result of increasing competition from FM. Its been said that one of the reasons KFRC lasted so long was because of the hilly terrain surrounding San Francisco. The terrain caused multipath problems for FM stations in the Bay area, and KFRC had a better signal since the AM band doesn’t suffer from (or benefit, as in many areas of the country) line of sight reception. In effect, many FM signals would bounce off the surrounding hills and the bounce effect meant, to get technical, among other things, the bounced signals would arrive at a receiver slightly after the direct line of sight signal causing interference. The delay would be counted in micro-seconds, but it was enough to throw off the lesser-quality FM receivers of the time.
All technical talk aside, by 1986 it was obvious that the young audience which KFRC had been broadcasting to was increasingly abandoning AM for FM, and that the station would have to attract an older audience to remain viable. So the decision was made. Just three days after this broadcast was recorded, at 6:00 AM Monday, August 11, 1986, KFRC ended a 20 year run as one of America’s most popular hit music stations and changed its format to Standards. Big Band artists of the 1940s and early 1950s. They called it “Magic 61”, and for about a decade or so, became one of the nation’s best nostalgia stations, similar to WNEW “Eleven Three Oh” New York.
Thinking back to 1986, your webmaster remembers all the buzz in the radio trade magazines. It seemed as though a giant was being laid to rest. Even to those of us on the East Coast, KFRC was a giant among radio stations, one that most of us aspired to someday work at.
This aircheck is very special to me, and likely will be to many of you, our fans and listeners. Bobby Ocean was and still is one of the best in the business both as a jock and as a voiceover artist. And KFRC – even this aircheck, three days before the end of the format, is one of the very best of the 3 decades in which KFRC aired Top 40 music. Listen. Its still as fresh today as the day it aired!
The station is gone now, the Standards format, the Oldies and CHR formats that KFRC aired over the years along with the historic call letters on 610 AM are now a distant memory.
Courtesy of Big Apple Airchecks.