It's the final day of the long and happy reign of Golden West Broadcasters as owner of 560/KSFO in San Francisco, and Larry Ickes is making the most of his final shift on the quintessential San Francisco station, playing plenty of sentimental favorites — with a heavy emphasis on Frank Sinatra tunes.
Golden West, whose majority owner was Gene Autry, acquired KSFO for $951,333 back in August 1956. Under Autry's ownership and the deft guidance of general managers Bill Shaw, Bert West and Jack Bankson, KSFO became the station that virtually everyone in the Bay Area tuned to, whether it was for the personalities — Don Sherwood, Jim Lange, Jack Carney, Del Courtney, Al Collins, Dan Sorkin, Terry McGovern, Gene Nelson and Carter B. Smith were just a few of the Hall of Fame-caliber voices heard at KSFO — or the first-rate news team, or its professional sound and presentation, or its sports coverage, with the Giants, 49ers and Stanford in its stable.
Autry, who also owned the California Angels baseball club as well as Golden West radio stations KMPC/Los Angeles and KMJ/Fresno, decided to sell KSFO in 1983 after more than twenty-five years of ownership. On October 19, 1983, the FCC approved a $6-million deal that transferred ownership of KSFO from Golden West to King Radio Broadcasting Co. of Seattle, which had been the owner of KYA (1260 AM and 93.3 FM) in San Francisco. King sold KYA-AM to Bonneville International, at which time it became KOIT, the simulcast partner of the company's light rock FM station.
On the day of the broadcast heard here, Larry Ickes is working his last afternoon on the "original" KSFO, mixing in his goodbyes along with a 49ers fight song written by "singing newscaster" Aaron Edwards and a farewell from veteran KSFO engineer Rich Schmale (a/k/a Rich Smalley).
Larry Ickes, who also worked at KKIS, KMPX and KTID in the Bay Area, is currently the midday announcer at 96.5 KOIT in San Francisco.