Mr. Wrathall, who also co-owned KDON/Salinas at the time, was originally granted authority by the F.C.C. to construct the new station on April 21, 1950, as 1000-watt daytimer KRIZ. On August 31, 1950, well before construction on the station began, call letters were changed to KPOO. In December 1954, the F.C.C. approved a revised construction permit for KPOO, allowing an increase from 1000 watts, non-directional, to 10,000 watts using a three-tower directional antenna array from a site near the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, adjacent to the Oakland Army Terminal.
In 1955, offices for the station were opened on the corner of Geary and Van Ness in San Francisco, with plans to include studios at that location; in 1957, however, the operation was moved downtown to 1550 California Street, formerly the home of KXKX (97.3 FM) until it departed from the airwaves in Fall 1956.
Walter Conroy was chosen by Mr. Wrathall to become the station's first general manager in 1956. He would leave before the station went on the air, moving to KDIA/1310 (the former KWBR) under its new owners, Sonderling Broadcasting. Replacing Mr. Conroy would be Roman W. Wassenberg, who had been general manager of KSFO before that station was acquired by Golden West Broadcasters in 1956. In February 1957, the station dropped the KPOO call letters and settled upon KSAY, with plans to debut in April. The plans were delayed by several months, however, when a late winter storm knocked down one of its three transmitter towers. (The same storm also knocked down KRE's tower in Berkeley.)
KSAY finally made its debut on Monday, September 2, 1957, broadcasting a format targeting the local African-American population with music, news and commentary. Unfortunately, at about the same time, KWBR was beginning its rise to prominence as a favorite of black listeners; it would shortly become KDIA, dooming KSAY's first attempt at building an audience.
Early in 1959, Clair Halverson took over as the station's general manager. In February 1961, KSAY switched to a Country and Western music format, which it maintained until Mr. Wrathall sold the station to James Gabbert's San Francisco Wireless Talking Machine, Inc., in March 1974, at which time it became KIQI.
Mr. Gabbert retained the station until October 1980, when he sold it to Rene de la Rosa, who switched KIQI to a Spanish-language format.
SOURCE: Collection of Bill Wilson.