610 San Francisco, KFRC

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

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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:

About 9 and a half minutes in, John Mac Flannigan gets a call from a fan from a different radio station – on the East Coast! Andrea Davis calls in from WBZ Boston, apparently just to say hello! Says she’s on a watts line!

Lots of advertisements in the afternoon drive portion of this. A staple client on KFRC had to be the Record Factory (“…Top of the hill, Bailey City!”)! You’ll hear this ad several times during the course of this aircheck.

Rick Shaw voices a couple of promos. Promotions were ALWAYS a big deal on KFRC.. listen for “The Evolution of Rock”, the promo says another segment is ‘tomorrow’ featuring the years 1971 and 1972. Plus, year end countdowns were always fun, and The Top 100 of 1977 airs New Year’s Day without commercial interruption, hosted by Big Tom Parker!

Listeners will be treated to nearly two full newscasts, anchored by John Winters. The first is early in the aircheck, the second one about at about the 20 minute mark.

This is a long, but very enjoyable aircheck… the master recording runs over two hours, scoped down here for presentation it runs just over 45 minutes! Make time to listen, as this does not disappoint!

Many thanks to Big Apple Airchecks for contributing this awesome aircheck!

610 San Francisco, KFRC

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Aircheck #1,283 since May 2, 2002!

Author

Steve West is a 39 year veteran of broadcasting. His air work as a Jock and News Anchor includes six radio markets and over two-dozen radio stations. Steve currently works on-air for the Super Radio USA media group out of Minnesota. Steve is the founder of the Airchexx Media Group and manages Airchexx.com and Airchexx Live - the official station of Airchexx.

Comments

Mike Delfino
October 9, 2014 at 9:29 am


Steve,
GREAT, GREAT aircheck from KFRC. I grew up with that station and Dr. Don Rose, the legendary morning DJ. Remember John Mac Flanagan, Big Tom Parker, Marvelous Mark and many others. I was 10 when this aricheck took place so this was right in my heyday of listening to this station. Thank you for posting it. Yes, the Record Factory used to be a frequent sponsor. So was Matthews, which was a tv, radio, stereo store famous for its “Top of the Hill, Daly (not Bailey) City. Having grown up in Daly City felt obligated to make the minor correction. That was a very famous tag line in the Bay Area for many years before the store closed about 20 years ago. Daly City is a city of about 100,000 people and is the first city south of San Francisco. Thanks again for this great aircheck! If you have any Dr. Don Rose I’d love to hear it…I think there has been some in the past posted here. Love this stie!!



    Greg Wood
    June 10, 2015 at 8:42 pm


    Mike, check out kfrcsanfrancisco.com for some Dr. Don Rose circa 1978. Best heard on a mobile device or through TuneIn. Also the continuous loop has Beau Weaver and Jack Armstrong.



Jay Philpott
October 9, 2014 at 10:04 am


As good as this aircheck of KFRC is, it’s not quite as good as the KFRC of a few years earlier,say 1972-1976 (coincidentally, the years I lived there!). John Mac Flanagan sounds as awesome as ever – he was the quintessential afternoon guy for the station and retains his high energy Top 40 approach. Marvelous Mark was the king of high energy and music information, but the station is definitely following trends on this aircheck and not setting them as they were in the first half of the decade. It sounds like it has taken a few cues from the FM AOR stations with the lack of jingles, the backselling of multiple titles, commercial-free New Year and the claim of 100% music. The 9am-3pm block devoted to the “History of Rock” was an interestng move – that feels more like a weekend feature than a workday element. Still KFRC managed to play lots of music, entertain, do newscasts and even slip in quick and useful PSA’s.

For my years, KFRC was the most smokin’ Top 40 ever and in many ways was better than its bigger sister station KHJ in L.A. I am one who prefers the West Coast sound of the AM Top 40’s over the East Coast stations. As much as I enjoyed Dan Ingram’s humor, I always thought the excessive talking over jingles and ramps of records on WABC sounded sloppy. KFRC/KHJ jocks never missed a cue and executed with precision.

As for the commercials, it was great to hear the Gensler-Lee Diamonds spot…that was a great jingle. And talk about the effects of saturation advertising, Matthews TV & Stereo is the business using the legendary tagline at “6400 Mission Street, top off the hill, Daly City” (not Bailey City). They ran on so many stations you thought they owned them all. The difference about their spot on this aircheck vs. a few years earlier is that the spot was done by the client. For most of the early 70’s, the spots were done by well known Bay Area voice, the very smooth and slick Tom Campbell – one of the best at getting in lots of details within a piece of copy. There must have been a falling out between the two parties, because you can hear Campbell doing spots for competitor Cal Stereo. KFRC fans of Bobby Ocean can also hear him doing a concert spot at 25:50. Great aircheck – thanks for putting it up. I’ll try to dig up some of the good stuff I have from 1973, 1974, when the station was REALLY bringing it and share it with you!



October 9, 2014 at 11:30 pm


Well done…. scoping right on! Sounds like a smoothly recorded short program.. thnx for the work on this. Really enjoy hearing the western U.S. ‘oldies’ shows… keep ’em comming



October 10, 2014 at 1:46 pm


Lived in the SF suburbs during this time brings me back. If you have more 610 airchecks could you please post them. This is the year that that this station won station of the year yet again.



Larry
October 15, 2014 at 11:38 am


What a great aircheck. No wonder everyone in the bay area listened to KFRC.

John Mac Flannigan and Marvelous Mark are great jocks and so is the phone call from the woman who was working for WBZ. You could tell what kind of radio she liked to listen to as she was using a Watts line to contact the station.

You can tell that this took place after Bill Drake stopped consulting RKO General. There were things that took place that Drake would never allow on the air.

I like the way John Mac Flannigan almost hit the post for the spot for the Record Factory along with the song by Pink Floyd.

Even though KFRC has been through many changes since this was aired, I’m sure most people in Northern California and elsewhere will always remember when they were the big 610 and it was a successful top 40 radio station.



CalRadioPD
October 2, 2015 at 9:02 pm


That’s “6400 Mission Street, Top of the hill, DALY City.” And it was Matthew’s TV and Electronics, not Record Factory. All ya gotta do is actually listen to the aircheck….and pay attention. Hell, Big Tom even says it in the “Evolution of Rock” promo, since Matthew’s sponsored it.

And that’s John Mac Flanagan (correct spelling) on the promos, not Rick Shaw. The aircheck? That’s pure KFRC excellence. Which came from sweating details.



Kenneth Moultry
September 16, 2016 at 5:06 am


Growing up in SF during the 60’s & 70’s, I was a jingles loving kid. I actually was able to download many Bay Area jingles and onto a CD. Jingles like: Ginsler-Lee Diamonds,
Ellis Brooks Cheverolet, Tri-City, and so on. However, I’ve been looking for “Gabardines.” Remember – Everyday Is Sale Day At Gabardines. Has anyone on here or you know found this jingle. If so please let me know, thanks.



Fred Morton
October 14, 2019 at 3:39 pm


Their advantage was being a low-band AM with full power (at the time, they were limited to 5kw) and no directional antenna requirements (i.e., they didn’t have to protect anybody else on either 600, 610 or 620). Also factor in that San Francisco is notorious for having bad FM reception due to hilly terrain. 5 kw on 610 and brilliant management, programming and engineering-that made KFRC the 800 pound gorilla in San Francisco. Plus, RKO at the time never shied away from spending money when it needed to so the station could
win.



    October 15, 2019 at 2:47 pm


    Over the years as FM penetration grew, that monster 610 signal (5kw and all that Bay water! KFRC might as well have had 50kw on that end of the dial under those conditions!) kept all the FM stations at bay until mid-1985. RKO knew it was time to bail in ’86, although, being an historian, looking back had RKO kept KFRC Top 40 for a few more years they would have still had the monster success that they enjoyed since the late 1960s. I do not subscribe to the notion that by the mid-80s, music on AM was automatically dead. In some markets, yes. Others, like San Francisco, definitely NOT!. Fred, I have seen the ratings for KFRC in 1986 prior to its flip to Magic 61. Bad, yes, as far as expectations of a major market CHR at the time. But nothing compared to how bad the ratings were by 1990. They had to bail out of Standards because they could no longer sell it. Ratings held up long enough for them to get the FM and the simulcast and that was that. Oldies did well, but not on the AM side. Truly, management didn’t even know what to do with 610 until they sold it to the preachers at Family Radio. And by then, KFRC was at the bottom of the heap. I maintain that even on AM, had they stayed with Top 40 and those incredible personalities… 610 would have maintained profitability, visibility in the market and profitability well into the 1990s… and WITHOUT the need for an FM simulcast. Just my $.02 for what it’s worth. My all time FAVORITE radio station aside from WABC and WKBW. Hence, my ham radio callsign… K1FRC



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