Jumpin’ George Oxford
KSAN 1450 Radio, San Francisco
This recreated broadcast, recorded in 1970 for the series of “Cruisin’” LPs, features one of the Bay Area’s best-loved and longest-running radio favorites, “Old G.O.” — Jumpin’ George Oxford.
The recording heard here was actually made in a studio in Los Angeles, and was produced by Ron Jacobs, who was one of the masterminds of “Boss Radio” as the original program director at 93/KHJ in L.A. in 1965. Also in 1970, Jacobs – along with his business partner Tom Rounds, a former program director at San Francisco’s KFRC – would go on to launch the syndicated powerhouse “American Top 40” countdown show, hosted by Casey Kasem (formerly of Oakland’s KEWB).
Released as the “Cruisin’ 1955” LP entry from the series on Increase Records, the “aircheck” later appeared on cassette and CD in slightly edited form.
A true Son of the South, Jumpin’ spun rhythm and blues platters — what many called “race records” back in the day — and targeted the local black audience. With his smooth, deep Southern drawl and hip patter, many listeners automatically assumed that G.O. was black. Indeed, he wasn’t.
Jumpin’ George and KSAN were pioneers in broadcasting to the black audience in the Bay Area, along with Oakland’s KWBR, which later became KDIA. Until the mid-1950s, the relative handful of stations on the air locally devoted little time to “ethnic” programming of any kind, with the exception of KSAN and KWBR, which also broadcast programs intended for the Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, German and Japanese communities.
After working at both KWBR and KSAN in the 1950s, George Oxford moved to KDIA as its morning man. In the Summer of 1966, near the end of his career, he was moved to a part-time weekend position at the station. He was elected to the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame in 2006 as a member of the first class to be inducted.
The original KSAN, not to be confused with the local FM stations that have used the same call letters more recently, was born in June 1925 as KGTT. In 1929, it became KGGC and, in 1938, it became the first local station to use the KSAN call letters — again, not to be confused with the local FM stations that have used the same call letters more recently.
In 1958, KSAN switched to a full-time rhythm and blues music format, targeting black listeners in the Bay Area, the first station on the local dial to broadcast R&B around the clock.
On July 3, 1964, KSAN was sold to John F. (Les) Malloy and Delmor A. (Del) Courtney, two well-known San Francisco radio and television personalities; Les Malloy was for many years a star on local radio and had hosted a popular TV talk show on KGO in the 1950s, while Del Courtney found fame as a bandleader and personality on KSFO.
With Malloy as president and general manager, KSAN became KSOL on its first day under new ownership, hoping to better emphasize its “Soul Radio” format, which it continued until September 1970. The station is currently known as KEST.
Jumpin’ George Oxford on KSAN/1450 (1955)