Early Progressive FM Radio Sampler – KZAP Sacramento, KSAN San Francisco | 1968

This is an odd aircheck, at least the master was. Lots of album cuts, all very heavy progressive rock from 1968. Forget everything you’ve ever heard about how the jocks sounded in this era, this is the real deal. They sound stoned, tuned out and tuned in, almost amateurish, at least on the KZAP part of this at the beginning.

The very beginnings of FM Rock Radio. Who knows how many listeners these stations had in 1968? In San Francisco, most of the city, from what we can tell, was tuned to 610 KFRC… except the college kids. Probably Sacramento also. But this? The music cuts are all things you’d hear on a Classic Rock station today. Of course, you won’t hear the music cuts because this is a scoped presentation. But you get a feel for the stations and their formats.

You’ll hear a live commercial in this and one recorded spot. Glad they weren’t in this for the money back then 🙂


  1. Thanks for this aircheck. I am a big fan of the Progressive Rock format from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. There does not seem to be enough airchecks like this online. Thanks again!!!

  2. Too bad that this isn’t unscoped…. I could really use the vibe-link… But, it is nice anyway. Thanx!

  3. Bryan Simmons

    Wow, this is really good technical quality for such an old aircheck. I’m betting that the “Freddy” that’s mentioned on KZAP is Fred Gaines. Fred was let go when the station changed owners in 1978, but was back for weekends by mid 79.

  4. MGD4Ever

    I actually happen to be a huge fan of early progressive FM rock radio. Andrew is right, there seem to be tons of airchecks out there of top 40 stations, but not nearly enough of this kind of stuff. This type of FM radio really only existed for about eight years, but I really feel it is precisely this type of radio that gave birth to the majority of what is considered classic rock today. If not for progressive FM radio, artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Cream, the Moody blues, etc etc etc would have existed largely in a vacuum. Sure, the dj’s sound stoned and amateurish, but, with these stations, the music was the star of the show.

  5. MGD4Ever

    Upon closer listening, this aircheck is much more likely from either late may or early June of 1970. The DJ plays “Only You Know and I Know” from Dave Mason. he menntions that the album is really cool to look at, and is coming out in about a week. this track was from the “Alone Together” album which was released in June 1970. Some of the copies of that album featured swirling multicolored vinyl. also, he plays a track from the beatles album “Let it Be” which was released in 1970.

    One final comment, part of the reason why the DJ’s sound so stoned is because the aircheck runs a little slow. that said, even after I adjusted it to the right pitch, the dude still sounds stoned — just a little less so. thanks again for this great aircheck, and for everything you do to keep radio history alive.

  6. ron

    great aircheck!! It’s funny to hear the cracks and pops from the records…when stations started playing CDs in the mid 80s(I believe) the records just faded away…

  7. Andrew Reid

    Great aircheck- Richard Gossett and Big Daddy Tom Donahue from KSAN- KZAP always seemed like they were just trying to copy KSAN- sadly, a format that barely got into the 80s! jive95.com has a lot of airchecks from the KMPX/KSAN days- worth a look…

  8. Kevin MacNutt

    I have a tape of WMMR recorded Easter Sunday 1970 and the DJ, Jim Keen, sounds like he is a few keys to the wind.

  9. Kevin MacNutt

    This is later than 1968 since it features Dave Mason’s “Alone Together” which came out in 1971.

    • Kevin, I believe that there is more than one recording on this sampler. Also, I can only go by the date printed on the tape when I first post these, unless someone brings something like this to my attention. I’m not as familiar with Artist/Song Title years from the 60s and early 70s as in later years.

  10. Brian

    Too short. Wish it was much longer. It was like a trip back to Frisco in 68

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