610 KFRC San Francisco: The End of Top 40 | August 11, 1986; 3:00 – 6:00 AM

Public affairs programming ends and overnight jock Jack Silver picks up where the station always did at 3am – playing the best music. Only, on this particular morning, the playlist is opened up all the way back to 1955. Its the final show of Rock & Roll music on KFRC. The Big 610 was about to be put to sleep and it fell to Jack Silver to nail it down with class.

Phone lines are opened and San Francisco listeners pour their hearts out in saying goodbye to a station they grew up with, and stayed with through the 80s. Perhaps there was never an AM station to match either the personality or the popularity that KFRC had. Right up to the end, it was a class act.

At 6am, the curtain closed on three decades of Top 40 music with a song that seemed so appropriate. Journey’s “Lights” brought the house down and tied together KFRC’s years as the station the Bay Area grew up with. The song was also used in promotions on KFRC-TV. In some ways the double meaning would have significance.

KFRC would turn to playing music of a different era, one that was actually closer to Dr. Don Rose’s heart than most people imagined. As “Magic 61”, KFRC would play non-Rock hits from the Big Band era… in Stereo, from the few recordings which existed that allowed Stereo fidelity. And while Magic 61 was not The Big 610, it would go on to create a legacy of its own which would last into the 1990s until the format itself was finally found to be no longer commercially viable. But that’s a story for another time. Eventually, The Big 610 would return to the stage, this time sporting a brand new FM signal. We’ll explain that story down the road. For now, listen to the end… the FIRST time, of the Big 610, KFRC.


  1. Calradiopd

    I don’t know how close the new format’s old music was to Dr. Don’s heart. He stayed on because he was under contract until January of 1985.

    He didn’t make it that far. KFRC abruptly cut him loose in November ’84 and paid off the remaining 60 days of the contract.

    When DDR returned to the air (61 days later), he was playing contemporary music on a suburban East Bay station before jumping back across the Bay to play more hits at K-101.

    Jack Silver is currently program director at talker KABC, Los Angeles. He’d been PD at KLSX-FM (Howard Stern and Tom Leykis’ West Coast affiliate) for more than a decade, and stayed on when Stern went to Sirius, the station re-branded as “Free FM”‘ and Adam Carolla took over mornings.

    When CBS flipped it to CHR as AMP 97.1, Silver was out.

    • You mean his contract was up January of ’87 and Dr. Don was released in November of ’86. I didn’t mention any of that because I’m simply trying to put a positive spin on the whole thing. But you’re right, Don probably didn’t like or dislike big band music any more or less than rock music, he had only made a comment that he started his career playing that type of music. Clearly, his career forte was in the Top 40 format.

  2. calradiopd

    Knew the dates, wrote ’em wrong. Thanks for setting the record straight.

  3. David

    Saying goodbye to a rock’n’roll-radio legend with rock’n’roll from the Fifties? Good night (no pun intended), didn’t KFRC switch to Top 40 sometime in the mid- to late ’60s?

  4. David

    If public affairs programming on KFRC ends and its contemporary-pop format starts back up (albeit only for three more hours) on this aircheck, then it was presumbably on a Sunday night-slash-Monday morning.

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