Jim Washburn, KYA San Francisco | March, 1965

1260 San Francisco KYA

When many people think of Top 40 radio in San Francisco in the 1960s, the first station that comes to mind is usually 610 KFRC. But, before KFRC, there was 1260 KYA, and for a time, both stations duked it out on the AM band until the battle was clearly won by KFRC.

From early in 1965, here’s the Jim Washburn show on KYA. Includes one full edition of “Pulse Beat News” with plenty of stories relating to the ongoing, escalating war in Vietnam.



  1. Paul

    Actually, KFRC didn’t go top 40 until 1966, so KYA was the show in S.F. (plus KEWB across the Bay in Oakland)

  2. KYA was a very popular teen-oriented station from the 1940s into the early 1980s. It had a succession of owners, among them Hearst, AVCO Broadcasting (part of AVCO Aviation), Churchill Broadcasting. In the 1950s and 60s it was THE Top 40 station to listen to. Among the better-known DJs were Tom Donahue, Russ Syracuse, Jim Washburn, Gene Nelson, Tom Saunders, Bill Drake, Les Crane, and Johnny Holiday. KYA was a union shop, as this aircheck demonstrates when Emperor Gene Nelson fails to call a record to the board op to play next. It was at KYA that Bill Drake developed his “Drake format” later used by the RKO radio stations.

  3. Don

    I was a very young boy in Oregon listening to KYA in the 50s on my 12 transistor radio at night when it was a Top 40 station. I also listened to KEWB, KFWB in Los Angelese, WLS in Chicago and many others. Those are the days when AM radio came in from all over at night thanks to the lowering of the troposphere at night.

    I have nothing but fond memories of that time. So, Paul, even if I don’t want to disagree with you, I know I’m right because I was in high school at the time and I didn’t graduate until 1961. I listened to Michael Scotland with Terry Sullivan on the news among others. When I was in San Francisco, I listened to Les Crane who I thought was the best DJ ever. I was a very passionate young guy at the time.

  4. Terry Sullivan

    I worked at KYA from 1959 to 1963, first as a disk jockey using the assigned name of “Scotty Day” and later as a newsman and part time DJ using my real name.

    As for “Michael Scotland,” he went on to be a successful talk show host in Los Angeles using his real name, Michael Jackson.

  5. Vance Lewis

    Actually, this is an aircheck of Gene Nelson who was KYA’s morning man, not of Jim Washburn. Gene’s sign-off was usually “Turn on the coffee, Bubbles, I’m coming home.” Jim Washburn does not appear until the very end and then only with his sign-on.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.