610 KFRC

A Tribute to John Mack Flanagan

John Mack Flanagan was one of the great broadcasters from the West Coast. Legendary, in the minds of many people, including his peers in the broadcasting industry, his many friends and his fans in the Bay Area. It’s only fitting on the occasion of his passing on Saturday, March 31st, 2018 (Corrected), that we do a little something to pay tribute to a man who meant so much to so many. The following is a new aircheck that I compiled partly from my own files and from the archives of this website. Much of it is an interview I did with John on 1400 WSTC Stamford, CT on June 7, 2017 during my live show to talk about his book, Tight and Bright – available on It then continues with an aircheck of him from 10/15/76 on KFRC. I sincerely hope this touches his many fans and fri...

Dr. Don Rose, 610 KFRC San Francisco | January 25, 1982

Date of Recording: 01.25.1982 Station: 610 KFRC San Francisco, California, USA Format: CHR Featured Air Personalities: Dr. Don Rose (WQXI/WFIL/KFRC, Jayne Dornacker (Traffic) (KFRC/WNBC), Robert McCormick (News) Contributor: Bob Gilmore Date of Posting: 09.21.2017 Total Time: 1:18:14 Airchexx Entry: 1,514 By the way, this program came in 2nd to a documentary… Curator’s Notes: There are KFRC airchecks, and then there are 1st generation Bob Gilmore KFRC airchecks! The backstory to that is, so often, the airchecks that people hear elsewhere are 3rd or more generation copies down from the original recording. Here, we have an original that became the possession of our contributor, who digitized this in three parts. Listen to the audio quality. This is fantastic! The only way this co...

John Mack Flanagan inducted into the National Radio DJ Hall of Fame – video | September 3, 2016’s National Radio DJ Hall of Fame has opened and our very first inductee is John Mack Flanagan! John began his career in Arizona, and after honorably serving with the US Army in Vietnam, resumed his career. His work on air and in the production room with the legendary Ron Hummel is some of the best, not only in Northern California, but in all of Top 40 radio history! The personality based Top 40 era that most refer to is the roughly 35 years from 1960 to 1985, and John Mack Flanagan was there for most of it. In fact, his career lasted well into the 1990s! Perhaps the pinnacle of John’s career was at 610 KFRC San Francisco, where he achieved the highest ratings in the history of the KFRC call letters. Twice the Billboard Personality of the year, John is loved by thou...

Composite: 610 KFRC San Francisco | August 15, 1983

..Tomorrow, Jack Armstrong will be Broadcasting in Stereo, so he’ll have a headache in BOTH ears! Really now, what more could one ask for in a KFRC aircheck? Dr. Don Rose, Jayne Dornacker playing in traffic, laugh tracks to corny jokes and a stack of teeny-bopper records!!! Not to mention Mark McKay, Bobby Ocean and Jack Armstrong each with a stellar performance on this, the mother of all low-powered AM Top 40 stations! It’s V-J Day in San Francisco and Dr. Don tries to make the most of it! To be sure, this is radio-heaven, with paradise filled with the sounds of mid-1983 hit music. KFRC surely was the dance-track of San Francisco. Restoring this piece of audio ear-candy sure was a joy. Now, from our servers to your ears, a 45 minute scoped dose of monoized AM Stereo with some ...

Top-of-the-Hour, 610 KFRC San Francisco | November, 1976

Date of Recording: November, 1976 (Exact date unknown) Station(s): 610 KFRC, 106.1 KFRC-FM San Francisco, California Featured Air Talent: Big Tom Parker, Mucho Morales Contributor: Robyn Watts Aircheck Entry: 1,422 Comments: Without a doubt, this is the shortest aircheck on the site, but possibly the highest quality recording one could find! This is a recording of ONE break at the Top of the Hour, the transition from Tom Parker’s show to Mucho Morales’ show. Top hour fans will love it!

John Mack Flanagan, First Show, KFRC San Francisco | September 17, 1973

Date of Recording: September 17, 1973 Station: 610 KFRC San Francisco Featured Air Talent: John Mack Flanagan Contributor: John Mack Flanagan Aircheck Entry: 1,408 Comments: Where does one begin when building a legacy? You start from the beginning, of course. Of course, KFRC had been around for a long time. Way before RKO General owned it. Nonetheless, one could say 610 KFRC had two successful eras. The first in the 1960s. The second began in the mid 1970s and would last well into the eighties. Given that KFRC’s ratings were very poor during much of 1973, one could say that this was the beginning. John Mack Flanagan began a five year run at KFRC which would end with the station achieving its highest ratings ever. Billboard Station of the Year. The prime reason for the station’s...

Bill Lee, 610 KFRC San Francisco | December 13, 1980

Its hard to believe 1980 was so long ago. Well, KFRC is heading towards the end of this first year of the decade of big hair and shortly airing a tribute to John Lennon, who was killed earlier that year. The big movie in 1980 was Xanadu and KFRC is playing plenty of the hits from that movie. Bill Lee is… himself. A rhyme at every break, ultra high-energy and lots of San Francisco’s hit music. KFRC was at the top of its game in 1980 and still pulling huge ratings despite the encroachment of FM competition. Hard to believe that just six years later it would be all over. Aircheck #1,356 since May 2, 2002! #KFRC #BroadwayBillLee #Lennon #610SanFrancisco #airchexx Aircheck Courtesy of

John Mack Flanagan; Marvelous Mark, 610 KFRC San Francisco | December 28, 1977

Recorded just a few days before the start of 1978, Airchexx Contributor, friend and personality John Mack Flanagan is heard on his afternoon show, followed by Marvelous Mark. This is a very high-energy aircheck and shows the incredible momentum KFRC had, even in the face of FM competition. This is about as good as AM Top 40 got. There’s always that tug of war between East Coast listeners who preferred the WABC approach to the format, with its reverb and Dan Ingram’s one-liners, and West Coast listener favorite KFRC, which along with KHJ in Los Angeles, was owned by then media-giant RKO General. Listen to this aircheck and most will agree, KFRC going into 1978 was hotter than almost every other Top 40 radio station, AM or FM! The highlights of this aircheck include the following...

Dave Diamond, 610 KFRC San Francisco | 1970

A KFRC original tape is featured this time around. The tape is worn, with a lot of white noise that even with noise reduction tools, I couldn’t remove too much without this sounding like it being played under water. Still, cleaned up and brightened up as much as possible, here’s as close a representation we can get of KFRC in the Diamond Mine – playing those Oldies but goodies (and a few currents) on a GOLDEN WEEKEND on KFRC! Diamond is smooth, and executes the format very well, although discerning ears can catch one gaff the second to last break of this aircheck where Mr. Diamond steps on a song intro. Imagine yourself in the studio waiting for the hotline to light up and Bill Drake on the line…. ‘hello?’ / Diamond, PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL!!! Ya just st...

Legacy of KFRC: The Top 40 Years – 1966-1986

Contributor Ron Hummel sent in a wonderful documentary narrated by the great Bobby Ocean which chronicles the Big 610 from its humble beginnings out of the sleepy Don Lee era through the final days as a Top 40 station. While the original disc was inclusive 1966 to 1991, KFRC 610 was only Top 40 until 1986, when it flipped to Standards as “Magic 61” ADDENDUMS and CORRECTIONS: Ron Hummel and I have talked via email since this posted. Ron explains a few things about this production: “I was commissioned by ex-KFRC PD Gerry Cagle to do that project, so as producer, my idea was to contact all of the ex-program directors and have them do a little reminiscing on tape, then weave the entire project around their timelines….” “.it was all produced via reel-to-reel,...

QuickChexx: Mike Phillips, 610 KFRC San Francisco | May, 1966

…”Yes, Virginia, there IS a Percy Sledge…” Mike Phillips makes his way through a Tuesday morning on the original Top 40 610 AM, where it’s always KFRC “Parade of Hits Time” when it’s not Para Camaro, or some other sponsor-time! Listen closely for Ed Hurst with the “News at 8” as the last element in this aircheck around the 3 minute mark. Our question for listeners who might remember: Is Ed Hurst, KFRC news any relation to Ron Hurst, WRKO Boston news a decade or so later?

Dr. Don Rose on 610 KFRC San Francisco | April 18, 1986

Sure, the Big 610 is long gone now, and so is the FM, but we can sure think back to happier times! Here’s the Doctor himself, just months ahead of the format change which took KFRC to nostalgia. The theme for this show is the 80th anniversary of the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and Rose gets serious about warning for preparations, then jokes it off with a parody by “The Six-Tens”… you knew there was a punch line, always is with Don Rose. Dr. Don Rose, 610 and 99.7 KFRC is all just a memory now, but you can enjoy this latest slice of 5,000 watt fun from northern California, courtesy of our really good friend Robyn Watts!

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