Click the above link to reserve your space at the June 12 KFOG Reunion
The Bay Area Radio Museum and Hall of Fame (BARHOF) and the California Historical Radio Society (CHRS) are proud to announce that San Francisco’s KFOG (104.5 FM) will be the recipient of the 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 Theaters 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.
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. From Bill Ruck & Pete taylor: “We had 29kw from the old Sutro tower but had to cut to 7kw due to the increased antenna elevation on the new tower.” 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. When KFOG debuted, the studios were at 420 Taylor St. in the old NBC building, co-housed with TV station, KBHK. In 1964 KFOG moved to Ghirardelli Square.
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.
KFOG’s first foray into syndicated easy listening was with QMI (later, SRP, Stereo Radio Productions). 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. The following year, late in 1983, GE sold KFOG to Susquehanna Broadcasting.
Under the management of Tony Salvadore (BARHOF 2012) Dave Logan took the reins as the first Rock Program Director. Music was selected by him and his staff and played directly from LPs. 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), Trish Robbins, Sky Daniels and John Rivers.
In the 1990’s KFOG changed its format to Adult Alternative Album Rock.
Also in this period Rosalie Howarth’s “Acoustic Sunrise” show began and ran for years. Who can forget the occasional Scoop, John Grappone and Annalisa in the afternoon?
“KFOG Kaboom”, (Thanks Jude Heller BARHOF Class of 2018), thrilled KFOG listeners and Bay Area Residents every year with a huge fireworks display timed to a KFOG soundtrack.
KFOG also received the prestigious Marconi Award during this time. This is the period that KFOG rose to true greatness.
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.
You Are Invited To The KFOG Foghead Family Reunion Coming June 12th
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. We will feature a special KFOG panel discussion featuring Ben Fong-Torres as our moderator. With panel guests Rosalie Howarth, Dave Logan, Renee Richardson, Peter Finch, Jude Heller and Bill Ruck. From manager to engineer to on air personalities… they are on our panel. And a little bird tells us that there will be a Dave Morey sighting! If you worked at or know people who worked at KFOG… You and they are invited! If you loved KFOG in the Foghead days you don’t want to miss this event. Tickets are going fast and spaces are filling up. This will be a very popular event.