In the 1970s, San Francisco's 610 KFRC was a dominant force in the world of Top 40 radio. With a string of talented DJs and a carefully crafted playlist of hits, KFRC ruled the airwaves and captured the hearts of Bay Area listeners. In this article, we'll take a look back at the history of KFRC and explore the impact it had on the radio industry and the community it served.

The Birth of a Legend

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KFRC first signed on the air in 1926 as an AM station. In the 1950s, it transitioned to the Top 40 format and began its ascent to radio greatness. The station's popularity grew in the 1960s under the guidance of station manager Bill Drake, who brought in some of the industry's top talent to create a new sound and style for KFRC.
In 1973, the station moved to a new location at 1 Embarcadero Center, which became known as the KFRC Building. This state-of-the-art facility included a glass-enclosed studio and a rooftop discotheque called "The Palace."

The Boss Jocks of KFRC

One of the keys to KFRC’s success was its lineup of talented DJs, known as “The Boss Jocks.” These radio personalities became local celebrities and were an integral part of the station’s identity. Here are just a few of the memorable Boss Jocks who graced the airwaves at KFRC:

  • Dr. Don Rose: A KFRC fixture from the 1960s through the 1980s, Dr. Don was known for his signature catchphrase, “Hiya, Buddies!” He had a unique delivery style and was always ready with a witty quip or a memorable sound effect.
  • Big Tom Parker: Big Tom joined KFRC in 1970 and quickly became a fan favorite. He was known for his booming voice and his love of rock and roll. He later went on to host a popular show on SiriusXM.
  • Bobby Ocean: Bobby Ocean started his radio career at KFRC in the early 1970s and quickly made a name for himself as a high-energy DJ with a talent for improvisation. He later moved to Los Angeles and continued to work in radio and television.
  • Emperor Gene Nelson: Gene Nelson was one of the first African American DJs to achieve widespread success in the Top 40 format. He joined KFRC in 1972 and was known for his smooth delivery and his ability to connect with listeners.
  • Shotgun Tom Kelly: Shotgun Tom Kelly was a KFRC DJ in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He had a larger-than-life personality and was known for his love of classic rock and roll. He later became a popular DJ in Los Angeles.

The KFRC Sound

In addition to its talented DJs, KFRC was known for its carefully crafted playlist of hits. The station had a distinctive sound that was created by program director Mike Phillips and music director Ron Hummel. They carefully selected songs that would appeal to the station's target audience and created a seamless flow of music that kept listeners tuning in.
KFRC was also known for its attention to detail when it came to jingles and station imaging. The station's famous jingle, "The Big 610 KFRC," became a part of Bay Area culture and was heard everywhere from TV commercials to high school football games.

The End of an Era

Despite its success, KFRC faced challenges in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

Today, San Francisco's KFRC is no longer a Top 40 powerhouse, but the station still holds a special place in the hearts of many who grew up listening to the likes of Emperor Smith, Dr. Don Rose, Bobby Ocean, and  Jack Friday. proudly features a collection of rare KFRC airchecks from the 1970s, allowing listeners to relive the glory days of one of the greatest Top 40 radio stations of all time.