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

610 San Francisco, KFRC

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, in stereo, on a single 8-track. Quite a feat considering the complex mixture of audio, would have been a breeze doing it digitally today! I’m happy to have put it all together and happy to help the legacy of KFRC live on. Those heady days will never be repeated, and I’m proud to have played a part.”

Of course, KFRC has lived on in different spots on the FM dial over the years, the original at 610 is the station everyone who knows about radio remembers. We’ve heard from some of the original jocks here at Airchexx, including John MacFlannigan (who we’ll present in a special feature sometime in the not to distant future).

So, the corrected info straight from the source, is that Production wizard Ron Hummel essentially did this entire production. It’s totally amazing, and really DOES do the legendary 610 KFRC justice. So with that, we proudly present the Legacy of 610 KFRC!

610 San Francisco, KFRC


  1. Rob Sisco

    Ron Hummel is a legendary production genius. He was much of the secret to the amazing sound of KFRC. A true master!

    • Rob, I was so flattered when Ron approached me to post this on airchexx I was dumbfounded. This could have gone to Reelradio (oops, I just mentioned the competition!), but he asked me instead. I am so humbled and flattered…. KFRC undoubtedly had the best processing any AM station ever had. To think, a mere 5kw, albeit on the left side of the dial, could be heard almost to Los Angeles and up into Oregon and in the mountains, so crystal clear it was amazing. The jocks and music literally LEAPT out of the radio speakers. Yes, Ron Hummel is an absolute genius in the world of audio processing/production. And Bobby Ocean’s script and narration of this piece is beyond amazing. The best thing I’ve ever had the privilage of posting here!

  2. Glenn Spatola

    A great audio documentary, including bits of classic airchecks from some of the most creative jocks ever to grace the airways. Dave Diamond was a true original!

  3. THANK YOU for this Post !!!! Gotta Love Bobby Ocean’s STYLE; really liking your site too…. A BIG Thanx for the “FREE” Air-Checks; unlike that other place you made mention of. The production on this is also incredible; much like the sound of one of the true “Drake” stations of the era. What TALENT…… WOW…. But then again, it was K-F-R-C !!!

    • Larry Stoler

      Thanks for posting this incredible audio documentary of a truly great radio station.

      Everything from the narration of Bobby Ocean to the comments of people who worked there makes this aircheck stand out.

      Everyone who worked at KFRC or heard it will always remember the big 610.

  4. GREAT piece! Thanks for the memories! Excellent jingles recall (and I was an LA guy… could easily here ‘rc from Bob’s Big Boy on Colorado Blvd, Friday nights) :))

  5. Thanks so much for this gift. You may want to change the spelling for JMF on your great site to “John Mack Flanagan” so it shows up in people’s searches. Not nitpicking; just wanting to give my idol his due 🙂 What a thrill to work there for a couple of years in the early 90’s. Just to be a part of this amazing legend’s history still tickles me to this day.

  6. How great was it when Sebastian Stone came to 1440 Broadway to WOR FM in 1967 and brought Drake -Chenault to New York.Moving from KFRC to New York brought major changes to 98,7 The New Groove playing Progressive Rock and became The Big Town Sound.Drake had arrived in New York with Tony Taylor from Atlanta,Jim O,Brien came in from CKLW.K.O.Bayley came in from San Francisco and Steve Clark from KHJ.The morning show from 6 to 9AM had Charlie O,Donnell of Philadelphia radio and American Bandstand fame.Bill Brown was doing 20/20 news along with Dan Thompson and WOR FM had become “The Big Town Sound”Like it,s sisters KHJ,WHBQ,CKLW,and WNAC which became WRKO all were on board with the format that took America by storm .KFRC lead the way with everything from Top 40 20/20 News to the best jocks & music.The Big 610 Lives in this great Aircheck !!!

  7. mary baca

    Not to be picky, but it’s John Mack Flanagan. He was named after western actor Johnny Mack Brown.

    • Yes it is John Mack. I haven’t had time to correct the original. Thank you for the reminder.

  8. Larry Stoler

    When Bill Drake changed WOR-FM from free-form progressive rock to The Big Town Sound in 1967, I disagreed. I changed my opinion as time went on.

    As pointed out, he brought great jocks to New York and overtime, it worked.

    KFRC was the best and the tribute written and narrated by Bobby Ocean proves it.

  9. How cool is this… K F R C in my car! Well, thnx to Steve West, it’s a flash back for me with Mr Hummel’s talent for putting this together. It sounds as great in summer 2016 as it did back in 60s and 70s. So much talent, including those powerful jingles. Thnx!

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