|City||San Francisco, California|
|Broadcast area||San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, California|
|Branding||All News KCBS|
|Frequency||106.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||December 10, 1959 (as KPUP)|
FM/HD1: All news|
HD2: Classic hits
|HAAT||305 meters (1,001 ft)|
KFRC, AM station|
CBS Radio |
(CBS Radio Stations Inc.)
KCBS, KITS, KLLC, KMVQ-FM, KZDG|
also part of CBS Corp. cluster: KPIX-TV and KBCW
KFRC-FM (106.9 FM) is a commercial radio station in San Francisco, California, serving the San Francisco Bay Area. It currently simulcasts sister station KCBS, which carries an all-news format. The station transmits its signal from Mount Beacon atop the Marin Headlands above Sausalito, California, while studios are located in downtown San Francisco.
- HD1 is a digital simulcast of the 106.9 FM analog signal.
- HD2 is the Classic hits format, which was previously carried as the only signal on standard analog FM.
Mieuli sold KHIP on July 1, 1962 to Leon Crosby, who had previously owned KHYD in Hayward. Under Crosby's ownership, the station began operating in multiplex stereo and the call letters were changed to KMPX (for "MultiPleX") the following month. Soon after, Crosby gained authorization by the FCC to increase the station's power from the original 37,000 watts to 80,000 watts.
By mid-1964, KMPX was airing a middle of the road music format. As the money-strapped station struggled, the schedule became dominated by various brokered foreign language programs by 1966.
KMPX: The birth of freeform rock radio
Though KMPX's daytime schedule was heavy with ethnic programming, the midnight-6 AM slot was open. On February 12, 1967, on-air personality Larry Miller was given the shift, where he played his preferred folk rock music programming. The popularity of what Larry Miller was doing caught on very rapidly and soon the daytime foreign language programming gave way to more rock music programming, due to the efforts of newly hired Tom Donahue. The rock music format expanded to full-time on August 6, 1967, as the last of the foreign-language program contracts expired.
The presentation of music on the station stood in stark contrast to most other stations of the day. Instead of a hit music-dominated playlist, KMPX played more album cuts, local, emerging and cutting-edge artists, and a wide mix of genres such as rock, blues, jazz and folk music. Some of the music played in the Spring of 1967 included Jefferson Airplane's album Surrealistic Pillow, the first Grateful Dead album, Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced and The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which KMPX played uninterrupted in its entirety.
In November 1967, Donahue was hired to bring the progressive rock to KMPX's sister station in Southern California, KPPC-FM. Unfortunately the difficulties of managing two stations and friction between Donahue and Crosby led to Donahue's resignation, followed by a strike by the loyal Donahue-led KMPX staff on March 18, 1968. Crosby hired replacements, negotiations broke down, and the former KMPX and KPPC staffers were eventually hired by Metromedia at their stations KSAN in San Francisco and KMET in Los Angeles, both adopting the freeform progressive album-oriented rock format pioneered at KMPX and KPPC.
In 1969, both stations were sold by the Crosby-Pacific Broadcasting Company to National Science Network, Inc., who reduced KMPX's power to 40,000 watts and moved their studios twice over the next few years. They continued with the freeform format, though they tweaked it over the next several years. Crosby eventually purchased a local television station, KEMO, channel 20.
In March 1972, KMPX dropped rock and switched to a big band/nostalgia format. They increased power back to 80,000 watts in 1975.
Three-way station swap
When the owner of National Science Network died, his estate explored various opportunities to sell the station, including one offer from film director Francis Ford Coppola for $870,000, which was not consummated.
The company finally found a buyer in 1978, when Family Radio, owner of KEAR, struck a deal to purchase the station for $1 million. In accordance with FCC ownership guidelines at the time, Family Radio sold their station at 97.3 MHz to CBS Inc. for $2 million, and CBS in turn sold their lower-powered station at 98.9 MHz to a small local company, Golden Gate Radio, for $850,000. Golden Gate Radio decided to adopt the KMPX call letters and format for 98.9 MHz, at least temporarily. The three-way switch occurred in September 1978, with 106.9 becoming the new location of KEAR's religious format.
From October 4, 1978 to October 17, 2005, 106.9 served as Family Radio's flagship Christian radio station. KEAR's programming was also syndicated to the company's other radio outlets across the country.
CBS entered the picture once again in April 2005, when parent company Viacom struck a deal to trade their strong-signalled AM facility, KFRC (610 AM) for the 106.9 MHz facility. Until CBS was able to install their own programming on 106.9 FM, KEAR simulcast their programming on both frequencies. The Oakland Athletics baseball team had a contract with KFRC to carry its games. Therefore, Family Radio carried the games on 610 AM until the end of the team's 2005 season. After the baseball broadcasts concluded in October 2005, 610 AM dropped the KFRC call sign and became KEAR, while 106.9 FM became KIFR, with a new format to follow after a period of stunting.
On October 25, 2005, the Free FM talk radio format was launched, as the station began carrying the Tom Leykis and John and Jeff shows. In addition, KIFR added locally based talk shows from The Dog House, John London, Darien O'Toole, Turi Ryder, Johnny Wendell and Scott and Casey.
When CBS' post-Howard Stern morning show strategy began in January 2006, KIFR picked up the new The Adam Carolla Show from Adam Carolla.
Weekday evenings, then middays were hosted by Chris Daniel and Brad Giese, who came together on air as the topical call-in show The Gray Area. Documentary filmmaker and San Francisco socialite Emily Morse hosted Sex With Emily, a show that started as a podcast, late Saturday nights.
"On The Couch with Drew and Marcus" was a weekend show on Free FM. It was a college show at San Francisco State and became a weekend staple for Free FM. All the shows can be found online at www.drewandmarcus.com.
"Gamer!" was a one-hour weekend radio show that aired on Saturday mornings on KIFR that highlighted the world of video gaming. Hosted by Karlenea B and Keith Williams, they had interviews with video game makers, players, and other luminaries of the video gaming world.
On August 1, 2006, Opie and Anthony started airing on the station on a tape delay basis from 10 AM-1 PM.
KIFR and the Free FM format included a strong online emphasis via the 106.9 Free FM website. Podcasting, online streaming, and interactive features provides a bridge between the traditional talk radio format and the "on-demand" features of developing new media.
On October 30, 2006, CBS Radio and the Oakland Athletics agreed to a three-year contract to broadcast Oakland Athletics baseball games, 162 regular season games and 15 spring training games, and all playoff games. The contract lasts through 2009 and notes 106.9 as the "official radio home of the Oakland A's."
Revival of KFRC & Movin 99.7 gets new call sign
On Thursday, May 17, 2007, following the Oakland A's/Kansas City Royals game that day, CBS Radio moved the KFRC call letters from 99.7 FM to 106.9 FM, and changed 106.9 FM's format to classic hits. This was the format that KFRC 99.7 FM carried until 2006. Local management announced that some of the Free FM shows and hosts, such as Carolla, Leykis, and Opie and Anthony, would move to KYCY 1550 AM. 99.7 FM got the new call letters KMVQ. (KYCY would subsequently be replaced on January 1, 2009 with a version of KFRC affiliated with The True Oldies Channel, which was itself discontinued on August 31, 2011 in favor of Indian programming as KZDG).
Simulcast of KCBS
On October 27, 2008, CBS Radio replaced KFRC's Classic Hits format with a simulcast of its all news AM station, KCBS. The final classic hits song on KFRC-FM was Don't Stop Believin' by Journey. This was followed by a 6 1/2-minute montage of famous events and songs from the 20th century, leading into the simulcast, which officially began at 7:40 a.m. that day. KFRC continues to broadcast classic hits on KFRC-FM HD2. The station's calls were not converted to KCBS-FM, because its Los Angeles sister adult hits station on 93.1 owns the calls. CBS Radio retained the calls to keep control of the historic callsign rather than risk having another Bay Area station take them and trade on their nine-decade heritage in the area. KFRC's call letters are only mentioned in a rushed form of station identification as "KCBS-HD San Francisco, KFRC-FM-HD1 San Francisco" at :59 past the hour.
- http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=4 HD Radio Guide for San Francisco
- pOoTer's pSycheDelic shAcK - News Page
- "Sex with Emily: Guests". Archived from the original on 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- 106.9 FREE FM - San Francisco - Where is Free FM
- The Official Site of The Oakland Athletics: Official Info: 106.9 FREE FM (KIFR) to serve as A's flagship radio station
- Jesse Hamlin (2008-10-21). "KFRC-FM drops rock for all-news format". San Francisco Chronicle. p. E-2.
- A Brief History of 106.9 FM In San Francisco
- KMPX page on jive95.com
- A Brief History of Freeform Radio from WFMU
- Grateful Dead Live at KMPX Radio Show on April 1, 1967 from the Internet Archive
- Real Life Comics - comic strip for May 23, 2007 – Real Life's opinion on the format change.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KFRC
- Radio-Locator information on KFRC
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KFRC