KFRC remained the Bay Area's hit machine until 1986, when it briefly experimented with its "Game Zone" format,
in which the station ran contests from 9a-6p. The game show idea came from radio consultant Walter Sabo but only lasted a few
quarters and led to a ratings decline. Then later in August of that year it became Magic 61, playing nostalgic artists of
the swing era. Ironically, when KFRC switched to the game show format it was still number one in its target demo, but never
reached the zenith again after the change.
In the early nineties KFRC returned to the hits of the sixties and seventies and
simulcast its programming with 99.7 FM. Infinity Broadcasting sold 610 AM to Family Broadcasting in March 2005 and the format
switched to Christian as KEAR while the FM was retained by Infinity (which returned to the company name CBS Radio in late 2005).
In 2006 CBS Radio flipped KFRC-FM to a classic dance format, calling itself "Movin 99.7," while keeping the legendary call letters.
Gerry Cagle, who programmed KFRC in the early eighties, reflected in 2005 for this history project:
"KFRC wasn't a position on the dial. It was a place in the hearts of the many professionals who worked there to build and
continue a legacy unmatched in radio. It was also a place in the hearts of the listeners who made it important in their lives.
610 means nothing. KFRC San Francisco with the Best Music! will live forever in that magical place we all go when we
think about the good things of the past." The KFRC call letters moved around the dial and landed at 106.9, playing oldies.
RKO General sold oldies/soft hits station "K106" KFRC-FM (106.1) in 1977. At that point through the mid-eighties KMEL played
rock music as Camel 106, and for awhile was programmed by Bobby Cole, who had been Music Director at KSAN from 1970 to 1976
and MD at KMPX prior to that. Morning man Alex Bennett jumped from KMEL to mornings at KQAK with the launch of The Quake in 1982. By the mid-eighties Camel had switched to "All Hits." After the Quake's demise in 1985, KITS switched from "Hot Hits" to Live 105 in October 1986. For the first few months the transition was a cross between top 40 and "rock of the eighties," but eventually Janet Jackson and other pop idols were completely dropped in favor of music you couldn't hear anywhere else in the market.
Big Rick Stuart, who did afternoons at Live 105 from 1986 to 2000, moved to afternoon/evenings (4-11p) at KFOG in 2000.
He recalls on his website BigRick.fm, "Alex Bennett had been doing his morning show at a top 40 station in town, Hot Hits KITS.
While it was a pretty awful top 40 music station, Alex was doing his show with comics and guests and was sounding great.
I bugged Alex a little about putting in a good word for me and he said he would and not to worry because soon the station was
going to change format to a Quake rock of the 80s sound. It couldn't happen soon enough."
Live 105 was programmed by Richard Sands, who was assisted by Music Director Steve Masters.
At that time there were only about a dozen such stations in the top major markets around the country. Live 105 became a
launching ground for many artists who came to define the format, partly driven by Steve's love for the music and ability to
find unique songs that appealed to a large young adult audience. Owner Entercom sold the station to the bigger company
Infinity in the late nineties. For a few years in the nineties Live 105 competed with San Jose station KOME, which had been
historically rock music before shifting in a more alternative rock direction. Richard Sands moved on as a radio industry
writer for The Gavin Report and now for his own internet newsletter The Sands Report, an alternative radio
The original Live 105 line-up was Alex Bennett (mornings), Mark Van Gelder (middays), Big Rick Stuart (afternoons),
Steve Masters (nights) and Roland West (late nights). Later Mark Hamilton did middays. Hamilton and Masters put together a
modern rock countdown show that was syndicated nationally. Masters also briefly served as an MTV Video Jock in which he
would fly to L.A. every week to cut the shows. Masters left the station in 1995 to work for an MCA label. He resurfaced on
a few stations in the late nineties and wound up at Live 105 again in 2002 for a couple years doing a retro lunch show.
These days he runs Gottgame.com, which is a service that promotes video games on over one hundred radio stations
throughout America. Alex Bennett can now be heard on Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 143). Mark Hamilton moved to Portland,
Oregon to program alternative station KNRK.
During the 1995-1998 period Jay Taylor programmed KOME to top five ratings in San Jose and created intense competition
for KSJO PD Dana Jang, who prevailed at times with a more 80s-based hair band approach to rock. But eventually Taylor's mix
of mostly 90s guitar music flavored with occasional hip hop and dance music in the alternative realm won out. By the time
Infinity bought and changed the station to classic rock in 1998, KOME had not only moved ahead of KSJO in the San Jose
Arbitron, but in the San Francisco book as well, ahead of Live 105. Jay Taylor and other staff members, along with the
syndicated Howard Stern show, then moved to Live 105. Ally Storm remained in middays following Howard Stern. She had
previously done nights at KWOD 106.5 in Sacramento.
Bay Area radio veteran Paul "The Lobster" Wells, who worked at several Bay Area stations including KSAN, KQAK, KOME and KSJO
says, "KSJO's impact on rock history is often overlooked, being in the shadow of its more celebrated North Bay neighbor KSAN.
KSJO survived so long because it was strong. Its dedication to the style of 4/4 time rock music set the mold for what
(XM Satellite Radio's) Lee Abrams termed modal programming as a consultant in the late 70s and the 'classic rock
that really rocks' stations of today. In my tenure as Music Director and Assistant PD from 1976-1980, we were instrumental
in breaking new acts including AC/DC, The Ramones, The Police, Tom Petty and many others. KSJO continued to mix new and old,
rock until its untimely death at age 36." Lobster went on to host a popular morning show from 1988 to 1992 on KRQR called
"The Lobster Breakfast." Lobster has since been involved with the nationally syndicated radio show Lobster's Rock Box.
KSAN, which called itself Jive 95, briefly faced competion when a disco station flipped to rock. KGO-FM had briefly tried
from 1978 to 1980 to capitalize on disco's dominance of the pop charts. ABC then flipped to station to an adult-leaning
rocker with new call letters, KSFX. But both rockers soon disappeared, which opened
the door for KFOG to assume the heritage rock position in the market.
One of the most legendary radio stations in the market does not show up in the ratings simply because Arbitron does not
include public stations in its published reports to commercial stations. That legendary public station is KPFA in Berkeley,
which became the first station in the country to operate as freeform radio with the birth of the
Pacifica Radio Network in 1949 founded by journalist Lewis Hill. In the fifties the station put Bay Area beat poets such as
Alan Ginsberg in the spotlight. Shortly before Ginsberg's death in 1997, Ginsberg was featured as a spoken word performaer
with a band at Live 105's December 1996 "Winter Ball."