February 01, 2007

KTRB/860 Makes Bay Area Bow

KTRB 860 LogoThe transplanted heart of KTRB/860, formerly of Modesto, began beating as a San Francisco station at the stroke of midnight this morning with the first two lines of the Grateful Dead's "The Music Never Stopped":

There's mosquitoes on the river
Fish are rising up like birds.

It was a curious, if not fitting, start for the Pappas Radio station which signed off from its longtime home in the Central Valley and, after clearing several engineering and bureaucratic hurdles, began life anew early Thursday from studios at 1700 Montgomery Street in San Francisco — previously home to KNBR and KYUU several years ago — and a transmitter site in the rural hills above Livermore.

According to a KTRB press release issued on Wednesday (a full copy of which follows this posting), the station would fire up its transmitter and sign on at midnight, then would segue into a continuous format of music reprising "The San Francisco Sound" beginning at 6 a.m.

The music programming, featuring bands with a local heritage, including the Beau Brummels, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Journey — along with other special "stunting" planned in the next week or two — with will continue until KTRB's permanent format commences on March 1. Not by coincidence, 2007 marks the fortieth anniversary of the "Summer of Love," during which San Francisco's musical and cultural influences received worldwide attention.

(The first song played at 6 a.m. was "Piece Of My Heart" by Janis Joplin. The station also has begun identifying itself as "The Heavy 860," at least for the time being.)

"KTRB will bring a fresh sound to the Bay Area to add diversity to the choices available to the public," KTRB vice president and general manager Jim P. Pappas said in the press release. "KTRB will entertain and inform with fresh, lively content, the likes of which the public does not now have available."

The complete press release:

San Francisco’s Newest Radio Station, KTRB-AM 860, Hits the Airwaves with 50,000 Watts of Power

- 73-Year-Old Heritage Radio Station Moves from Modesto to San Francisco -

- Station Begins Final Phase of Testing at Alameda County Transmitter Site Thursday, February 1, 2007 -

- On-Air Testing Features a Tribute to“The San Francisco Sound” -

San Francisco, California (January 31, 2007) — Something old is new again, as one of Northern California’s pioneer radio stations, KTRB-AM 860, makes its historic Bay Area debut by bringing “The San Francisco Sound” back to the nation’s fourth-largest radio market beginning this Thursday, February 1, 2007.

KTRB-AM 860 will sign-on at midnight on February 1, and beginning at 6:00 a.m. that day, the station will play continuous music reprising the late 60s and early 70s heyday of “The San Francisco Sound.”

“The San Francisco Sound” refers to rock music performed live and recorded by San Francisco-based artists and groups from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. KTRB-AM 860 will showcase seminal Bay Area bands such as The Beau Brummels, The Syndicate of Sound, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother & The Holding Company, as well as Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Journey.

KTRB-AM 860 Vice President & General Manager Jim P. Pappas said, “Our sign-on in the Bay Area is the culmination of three decades of dreaming, planning, and hard work by the best and brightest from inside and outside our company. KTRB-AM 860 represents the genesis of our company’s more than 50-year California-based broadcast tradition. It was KTRB that inspired the three Pappas Brothers to become broadcasters. We are thrilled to own and operate a 50,000 Watt blowtorch that will serve the millions of residents in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and the entire Bay Area, just as KTRB-AM 860 has served generations of Californians since its founding in 1933.”

KTRB-AM 860’s permanent format will commence March 1, 2007. While plans have not been disclosed, Pappas said, “KTRB will bring a fresh sound to the Bay Area to add diversity to the choices available to the public. KTRB will entertain and inform with fresh, lively content, the likes of which the public does not now have available.”

About KTRB

KTRB-AM 860 is one of the oldest radio stations on the West Coast, having served the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding areas since the early days of the medium. Until recently, the station was licensed to Modesto, California. In 2003, the Federal Communications Commission authorized the relocation of KTRB's transmitter site to the Bay Area. On February 1, the station will return to the air licensed to San Francisco and serving the entire San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose radio market. Broadcasting on a Canadian Clear Channel frequency with 50,000 Watts of power day and night - the highest power allowed in the United States - KTRB has been engineered to cover a huge geographic area. San Francisco is the fourth-ranked radio market in the United States and the number-one AM radio market in the nation.

KTRB’s storied history began in 1933, when original owners T.R. McTammany and Bill Bates (the “TR” and “B” in KTRB) established the station as the first commercial broadcast outlet in Modesto. Through the years, KTRB has served as the launch pad for the careers of Country music notables such as The Maddox Brothers and Rose, and Chester Smith, and the station was the dominant radio voice in the San Joaquin Valley for decades. In 1973, brothers Pete, Mike, and Harry Pappas led a group of investors in purchasing KTRB from the Bates estate, and the station has remained under Pappas family ownership ever since.

KTRB’s studios are located at 1700 Montgomery Street in San Francisco, overlooking The Embarcadero. KTRB is owned by Pappas Radio of California, an affiliated company of Pappas Telecasting Companies, the largest privately-held, commercial television broadcaster in the United States.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been a long time coming.....we need to remind the listeners of Northern California and show the world when they visit San Francisco, what our musical legacy is all about. This is a niche that was desperately needed to be filled. Thank you for keeping the heritage alive with this seminal music.....60s and 70s artists......the San Francisco ballroom days......there's so much music that's gathering dust in the archives....break it out.....and play some older Grateful Dead too.....seems that you play Airplane and Quicksiler and later period Dead.....let's hear more of the 60s period also.......pull out some playlists from the old KSAN and KMPX days.....the audience is listening!

Thank you.

David Gross

February 07, 2007 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice!!!! more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!! more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!! more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!! more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!more dead!!!

February 09, 2007 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Native San Franciscan said...

Discovered KTRB the other day and my ears are doing a happy dance! I was only 12 in 1967 and too young to go to all the dancehalls so I listened to the radio alot and borrowed records from the library and my friends. The San Francisco Sound was truly unique. As a native San Franciscan, I was and still am so proud of all the creativity happening right here in my backyard in the 1960s.

They're playing the Airplane's "Plastic Fantastic Lover" right now. How fab to be hearing all those great songs on the radio. Hearing them makes me feel 12 all over again!

KTRB will help ease my sadness at the demise of KFRC. Good luck, KTRB and thanks for reminding us how wonderful the San Francisco sound is. I hope the station interviews some of the legends.

More Joplin and Airplane!

February 10, 2007 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's have some roots music like the blues.

February 12, 2007 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Junglebook said...

Great format! Maybe after a week or two, you could extend into some tasteful Dead Kennedys or Sylvester - and don't skimp on the Sly Stone... and how about some Translator?

Okay, then, more Steve Miller is always good, too.

February 14, 2007 12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have just scraped the edge of the 60's San Francisco music scene. The problem with AM is there's too many drop out spots while I'm driving, due to High tension wires. There was also a TOP song you played and I couldn't here the singer, but could here the back-up vocals. FM is the place to be, but until then what you play is good with me...

February 14, 2007 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has a format been decided? Talk is being considered as the permanent format. Hope not. Too much yap already.Hopefully they can promote music on AM as a relection on the nostalgic content................. Any word?...Anyone?

February 17, 2007 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear KTRB AM 860,

I like the way it is right now, *classical 60's & 70's rock with NO COMMERCIALS, but....you need $$$, so...

I recommend that you have a "American Idol" style radio competition. The "hook" is that the listeners (just like TV) want to listen and vote via email for their favorites (attention marketing data base)

You must have a big box of demo tapes (CD's) from "wanna-be radio hosts" on a vast variety of topics, sports, politics, drive-time gossip, all news/weather/traffic (yawn) etc.

You could play these demos or maybe short segments of other listener recommendations or bring in something completely different:
-Nostalgic radio: Comedy routines (Burns & Allen, Bob Hope, Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby), Night Gallery, Dragnet, Orson Wells Theater of the Mind....

The top 2 or 3 runner-up categories could be used as your late night, overnight or weekend genre.

What do I listen to?"
KSFO AM Politics/finance talk
KNEW AM politics/finance talk
KGO AM politics/finance talk
KFOX FM classic rock "right-on"
"How did I find KTRB this morning?"
I don't like my regular AM stations on the weekend mornings ("how-to" clean shower mold, fix my squeeky door or kill bugs in my yard with used coffee grounds). So this morning I moved the dial to the right and there you were.

Good luck, but with 50,000 AM watts, your sure to be heard by a few people.
Bill Carlson
Campbell CA

*Can you play Hot Tuna with Pappa John Creech on violin playing "Somewhere over the rainbow" (very rare cut)

February 17, 2007 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to see you keep the SF scene as the core of your new format. Whoever's making up the playlist is doing a great job. My suggestion would be to just expand on what's going on right now without adding any cheese. Tasty 60's /'70's stuff with no cheese, (please).


Michael Bell aka wildhare
Castroville, CA

February 17, 2007 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He wants more DEAD? Then stream your choice from hundreds of live shows on www.archive.org. All you are gonna get with commercial AM radio is a handful of their 45 RPM singles.

Search around on the internet. There are several places where you can download some of the legendary KMPX, KSAN and KPFA concert broadcasts. This will not go away no matter what KTRB does on March 1st...

February 20, 2007 5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me who did the song "Wouldn't you like some of my tangerine"
I heard it Tuesday.

February 21, 2007 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This format is the same one the old KSJO had in the 60's. Album rock not just top 40 stuff. HOPE the format stays this way very refreshing change to the airwaves. FAR OUT

February 21, 2007 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I started Rolling Stone in November 1967, the magazine's initial chapter was to cover rock & roll music with intelligence and respect. Even then, we knew that the fervor sweeping our generation encompassed more than just music. ~ Jann Wenner

February 22, 2007 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


February 25, 2007 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. Even if you do have talk please continue to play this wonderful music. this is the heritage of the bay area and no other station plays this type of music anymore.

February 25, 2007 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Dave Andrews said...

The song with the tangerine lyric was "Hello Hello" by The Sopwith Camel.

Even though I am in Phoenix I'd love to hear an aircheck of this station!

February 26, 2007 1:54 AM  
Anonymous cr in mv said...

I've been listening all month here & there to the tunes & the promos. I don't listen much to fm because the music is REPETATIVE which makes even great music boring,
It's great to hear the old music again because it sounds fresh. How about a listener request& call- in show some days & mornings & nights. Maybe play some complete ALBUM sides . We would love to talk about what was & is & will be. I'll believe it when I hear it in March. If I don't hear it I won't tune in. Play up or shut up

February 26, 2007 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Wino said...

Please keep it up !!!!!!

February 27, 2007 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like KTRB is gonna become just one more yap yap station in a market full of them on March 15th.

KGO, KSFO, KNEW, KQKE, KPFA, KIFR, KNBR and KTCT aren't enough. KSFO has the Coast to Coast programs 7 days a week with George Noori and Art Bell. Rush, Dr. Laura, Dean Edell, Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity have local San Francisco affiliates.

Ed Schultz and other liberal hosts are found on KQKE. alan Cpolmes is heard live on KSCO at 7 PM if you're in the south bay area or on line at www.ksco.com.

Mancow's Madhouse calls itself "free speech radio"; which should provoke a copyright and trademark lawsuit from the Pacifica Radio people in Berkeley. That's been their slogan for decades!

Nothing but a few crumbs left for Pappas and company. His new KTRB signal sounds like trash in the middle of that 800 khz section of the band. Their old Modesto station sounded better with a fraction of that 50 kilowatts of power.

I haven't looked for those STLs remote signals on 26, 161, 450 or 950 mhz; but don't be surprised if KTRB sounds much better on a high end receiver or your Radio Shack police scanner with either a 12.5 khz (narrow) or 25 khz (wide) band FM audio sound...

February 28, 2007 2:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Far out! Grew up listening to this era (b.1955) and seemed to live at Winterland et al during 70-76. More, more, more!!! We don't need another "talk" format station. Have already told many KTRB,hope you can help preserve maybe the greatest time in rock history. P.S. How about a play list, my 15 year old niece would appreciate.

February 28, 2007 2:44 PM  
Blogger kathy said...

double far out! I didn't even know you guys exsisted until my neighbor phoned us this afternon and said, "hey, they're talking about you on the radio!"
I was on the air at KSFO in San Francisco with Terry McGovern from 69 to 72 when KSFO moved me down to their sister station in LA, KMPC. I was 21 years old at the time and started at KSFO at the age of 18. Those were great years. My husband and I have just moved back up north to Sonoma Ca and it's a real trip listening to the city that was back in the day. As a 5th generation San Francscan I say keep up the good work!
Kathy Gori

March 04, 2007 10:47 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

When I first heard about the return of the "San Francisco Sound" I immediately thought of KSFO's Sound of the City...the sounds that are heard in San Francisco (...and fog creeping slowly 'cross the Bay). I guess I'm older than I thought! Time to go look at my KOBY surveys!

March 05, 2007 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard the KTRB tribute to Bay Area Radio yesterday and most of last night -- best thing I've heard on radio in 40 years! Witty, irrevereant without being offensive, great music. Shoot. Radio today leaves much to be desired. Thanks for taking me back, at least for a little while.

March 06, 2007 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Sebastian Stone Fan said...

Given that the music and airchecks are just marking time before the talk format gets going, I think the real story here is the loss of a heritage frequency from the valley, and the addition of nothing new to the Bay Area radio dial.

March 08, 2007 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[quote]Given that the music and airchecks are just marking time before the talk format gets going, I think the real story here is the loss of a heritage frequency from the valley, and the addition of nothing new to the Bay Area radio dial.[/quote]
Unfortunately you are right. I haven't listened to KTRB simve they became just another yap station in a market already full of them. all of that synducated crap was already being heard on other stations...

April 12, 2009 10:08 AM  

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