Automated Pop Music
Monday, October 16, 1967
First, a warning: the broadcast recording that you are about to hear may not be the most exciting aircheck in history. You will not hear exciting formatics or a disc jockey at the top of his game. You will not come away dazzled by the great production values or clever music mix.
What you will hear, however, is a snapshot of a San Francisco FM station owned by a major corporate broadcaster in the Autumn of 1967, only months past the momentous “Summer of Love” that brought hippies, Haight-Ashbury and underground rock to the forefront of America’s consciousness.
KGO-FM Stereo 104 (actually at 103.7 MHz. on the FM dial) could trace its origins back to late 1946, when its owner, the American Broadcasting Company, received a Conditional Grant for the station to operate at 96.9 FM from San Francisco. In the Summer of 1947, ABC was issued a construction permit for KGO-FM that moved the station to 106.1 on the dial; the station debuted on November 3, 1947, on this frequency from a temporary transmitter facility at KGO’s longtime plant at 5433 East 12th Street in Oakland, duplicating the programming of sister station KGO (810 AM) for six hours each day.
KGO-FM moved from 106.1 to 103.7 FM on January 14, 1955, and mostly mirrored KGO-AM for the next dozens years before dropping the simulcast in 1967. The resulting format change found KGO-FM running an automated music mix, sans live announcers, that ran the gamut from The Beatles and Strawberry Alarm Clock to Cher, Ed Ames and Bobby Vinton, with a smattering of Soul and Oldies thrown in.
In 1968, KGO-FM returned to simulcasting its AM counterpart’s News/Talk programming for four hours each day. On February 24, 1969, KGO-FM became a key outlet for ABC Radio’s syndicated progressive rock “Love” format.
On January 1, 1971, KGO-FM became KSFX, and expanded its local progressive rock programming. In 1982, the station brought back the KGO-FM call letters and returned to a limited simulcast of KGO News/Talk 81, with its own roster of talk show hosts during parts of its daily schedule.
On January 3, 1984, ABC sold KGO-FM for $5.5-million to the owners of San Jose’s KLOK (1170 AM), at which time it adopted an Adult Contemporary music format as KLOK-FM.
FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE…
1967 KGO-FM Stereo 104 Automated Programming (110 minutes)
— Exhibit includes audio.
Text by David Ferrell Jackson.
MS — Recording courtesy of Mike Schweizer.