KCBQ Becomes a “Thing of the Past”, 1170 KCBQ San Diego | February 1976

Is this any way to do a promotion? KCBQ kicks off a format tweak by becoming a ‘Thing of the Past’, apparently in response to KFMB-FM going Top 40 sometime earlier. Ratings are down and KCBQ decides to skew older in response.

New Contributor Mike Donovan shares this gem from his collection, saying he’s been assembling airchecks for the past 30 years.

This starts with Mason Dixon’s show as it ends, then goes into this ‘change’… and an apology to listeners for scaring them into thinking KCBQ was going away. “We don’t want to make you mad at us…” Would any station try something like this today? Probably not, since format changes are so commonplace these days, the shock value would be minimal. Still, we think you’ll like this from a station with more energy than anything you hear on your radio today!


  1. calradiopd

    (slightly edited)…listening is difficult, because this is one of the longest, most poorly written, most redundant promo pieces ever to air anywhere.

    The Program Director and voice on the promo is Gerry Petersen, who would later go on (under his real name Gerry Cagle) to be brilliant at KFRC (1980-1984)…but this is excruciating.

    So what is this one all about? Well, 11 months earlier, KFMB-FM became Top 40 B-100 and was starting to eat KCBQ’s lunch…especially among teens. So Q does research and decides to aim older…which means playing more oldies…and they dust off truncated versions of their old glory days (1971-1973) contests for this one weekend.

    They’re not giving away a Mercedes-Benz…they’re RENTING one for you for a couple of days…The Last Contest, which ran months in ’72, will last only hours, and so on.

    This was the beginning of the end for the Q…which wound up slowly becoming an Adult Contemporary station while B-100 grabbed the Top 40 crown.

  2. Danny Wright

    I was on the air at the Q during this era. In fact, I was in the control room during this audio, one of the voices singing Auld Aing Syne (sp?). At the time, it was huge news. I recall going to open a credit card at a San Diego store and it was refused because they’d heard where I worked – KCBQ – was going out of business. A cop stopped me in the Q van to ask why were signing off. Listeners called in crying, stopped us everywhere we went. And this was the era when “theater of the mind” truly meant something. I’m not sure that the station started playing a lot more more oldies – I don’t recall that – but that weekend was a kick. We were allowed to cherry pick a lot of stuff and re-did a lot of the classic contests. There was no way we could have duplicated The Last Contest but we could have fun with it.

    One thing B-100 had in their favor? They were FM. And the FM Top 40’s were taking down the AM Top 40’s across America. Everything has a cycle and yes, the down cycle was probably starting around the time of this Thing of the Past weekend but the Q was still mighty powerful and able to shake up San Diego radio. Partner, I lived through it and the reaction to this was REAL strong.

  3. JK

    Is the Mason Dixon at the beginning of this aircheck the Same Mason Dixon who spent several Decades at Q105 in Tampa Bay?

  4. Randy Kendrick

    This promo was used circa 1971 at The Big 1240 WIST in Charlotte. It was a Top 40 competing against the powerhouse that was Big WAYS 61. I loved both stations, and actually thought WIST was calling it quits. Turned out to be a weekend of oldies.

  5. Don Beno

    Wow, that promo did go on for an eternity!

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