KSAY Radio 1010
Western Hit Parade
Week Beginning November 2, 1962

KSAY Survey November 1962 (Image)

The Top Twenty hits for the first week of November 1962 comprise a genuine Country Music Hall of Fame list of performers, with songs by Buck Owens, Hank Snow, Bill Anderson, George Jones, Rex Allen, Marty Robbins and Little Jimmy Dickens.

Oakland Tribune KSAY Article (Image)
From the Oakland Tribune, September 1, 1957.

KSAY, the creation of broadcast engineer Grant Wrathall, was long in the birthing process before it made its debut at 1010 kilocycles in September 1958 as a daytime-only station. The 1010 dial spot had been empty locally since the reallocation of KQW (which later became KCBS) to 740 kc. on March 29, 1941.

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.

KSAY Transmitter Building (Image)
The KSAY transmitter building later became the property of James Gabbert when the station became KIQI in 1974.

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.


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Jesus Herrera
Jesus Herrera
15 January 2021 9:18 PM

I am searching for any type of history on a Spanish speaking radio, either station or show that was aired in the late 60s in the San Francisco area and in particular a Spanish speaking radio personality by the name of Pablo Saavedra or Pedro Saavedra….

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x