The Bay Area Radio Museum and Hall of Fame (BARHOF) and the California Historical Radio Society (CHRS) are proud to announce today that San Francisco’s KFOG (104.5 FM) will be the recipient of their Legendary Station Award for 2019.
The award focuses on KFOG during its era as “The Home of Quality Rock & Roll,” with an emphasis on the people who helped build it into one of America’s truly legendary stations.
The station was originally known as KBAY when it went on the air from studios on Pacific Avenue near Columbus on February 4, 1960, with 30,000 watts of power under the ownership of Sherrill Corwin. Corwin, who was the head of the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Theatres Corporation, had hoped to build a network of “Good Music” FM stations in California, but his grand plan only lasted a few months.
In May 1960 – after only about ninety days on the air – Corwin abandoned the project and sold KBAY and two of his other fledgling FM stations (one in Los Angeles, the other in San Bernardino) for the princely sum of $100,000 to radio pioneer Rogan Jones, who had built some of the earliest radio and TV stations in Washington state.
Jones incorporated his new collection of stations as International Good Music, Inc., but also ran into the bane of FM broadcasters in the early 1960s: few listeners were listening, and even fewer advertisers were advertising. In March 1963, Jones accepted $75,510 for KBAY and turned over the keys to its Pacific Avenue studios to Kaiser Broadcasting of Oakland.
And that’s where our story truly begins.
ABOVE: (front row) Lee Abrams (consultant), Brooke Taylor (weekends), Michelle Michaels (evenings), Bill Keffury (overnights); (back row) Lee Baby Sims (mornings), Dave Logan (program director), Greg Nelson (weekends), Amir Mansbacher (afternoons and ‘Psychedelic Psupper’ host), Dave Morey (middays, ’10@10′ host and production director)
Under the ownership of Kaiser and the management of Richard Block, KBAY became KFOG on March 1, 1963, beginning multiplex stereo broadcasts of its Good Music format with a fortified 82-kiloWatt signal – thus making Dick Block the original “Foghead.” A Stanford grad, Mr. Block rose to president of Kaiser Broadcasting and helped spearhead the company’s innovative foray into UHF television, including the launch of KBHK (Channel 44) in San Francisco.
KFOG made an immediate impact on Bay Area listeners with its tasteful palette of music interspersed with memorable station breaks that featured the mournful moan of an actual San Francisco foghorn – a signature segue that remains a constant on the station five decades after it was first heard.
Through the 1960s into the 1970s, KFOG remained a stalwart “Good Music” or “Easy Listening” station along with two other colorfully call-lettered local stations, KABL and KOIT. In 1974, Kaiser Broadcasting received a hefty return on its original $75,510 investment in KFOG, selling it to General Electric for $1.6-million.
Just after KFOG’s twenty-first birthday, GE decided to scrap the evergreen-but-decaying Good Music format, replacing it with NBC’s syndicated “Timeless Rock” programming in September 1982. The following year, late in 1983, GE sold KFOG to Susquehanna Broadcasting.
Under the management of Tony Salvadore (BARHOF 2012) and with Dave Logan taking the reins as program director, KFOG quickly positioned itself as “The Home of Quality Rock & Roll” and rocketed to new heights of popularity with a talented team that included the rare and wonderful M. Dung (Mike Slavko; BARHOF ’18), Dave Morey (BARHOF ’10), Rosalie Howarth (BARHOF ’11), Wes “Scoop” Nisker (BARHOF ’16), Peter Finch (BARHOF ’14), Bonnie Simmons (BARHOF ’10), Kevin “The Rat” Radich (BARHOF ’16), chief engineer Bill Ruck (BARHOF ’14), Trish Robbins, Sky Daniels and John Rivers.
The Bay Area Radio Museum and Hall of Fame will celebrate KFOG’s Legendary Station Award on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, with a special Foghead Family Reunion luncheon at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco, in association with the Broadcast Legends and the California Historical Radio Society.
To make your reservation for the Foghead Family Reunion, please click here.
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ABOVE: (left to right) Rosalie Howarth (overnights), Bob Acton (weekends), Dave Morey (middays, ’10@10′ host, and production director), Trish Robbins (weekends), Dave Logan (program director), Bonnie Simmons (evenings), Sky Daniels (afternoons), M. Dung (mornings, ‘Sunday Night Idiot Show’ host, imaging production), Andy Rush (weekends), Scoop Nisker (news director), Bill Keffury (weekends).