of "The Concert Music Station" on May 21, 1968 (8:04
downloadable WMA file)
There are a number of historical articles about
the legendary KSFR, San Francisco. Under the
direction of its founder Al Levitt (Hanon Alan Levitt), KSFR was a luxuriantly creative
classical music station at
94.9 MHz on FM.
The first air date was
March 11, 1958. The Bay Area Radio Museum presents an historical
here including a sign-on audio sample circa 1959. Also,
you can visit the Wikipedia
KSAN-FM article for more history.
On June 1, 1962 KSFR became the first San
Francisco Bay Area station to broadcast classical
music in stereo.
For true KSFR aficionados, a former announcer
has made available a copy of the
Operator Guide (32 pages - 24MB PDF) for public viewing.
This highly nuanced guide for the announcers reflects a compulsive
perfectionism and fanatic attention to detail. Note that
announcers programmed the music in their own time slots. There
was no daily computer created playlist as is common today. At
one point in the guide Al Levitt refers to himself as "our crazy
mixed up founder" - he had insight in being an edge person.
The move from classical to the new KSAN
rock music format was a notable
San Francisco event for all its implications. It took place on May 21, 1968 at
midnight. For the first time on the
Internet, you can listen to this
historic transition using link at top of page.
Steve Miller Band's "We are children of the future..." line
prophetically portends a media diversification and openness trend
that continues now decades later. The midnight clip
explicitly contrasts what was and what will be. The
original recording quality is adequate but unfortunately not
A company called Levitt Ventures was set up
to produce creative radio advertising for businesses. Below
are two Real Audio streams taken from an LP made to display the
The innovative spot samples were aired on KSFR and perhaps in other
venues (downloadable WMA files):
Ventures production work sampler 1 (31:14)
Ventures production work sampler 2 (3:43)
You can hear the full bloom of Al Levitt's creative
talents in the two clips. Note the exaggerated effects
used to show off the marvel of FM multiplex stereo. That
was probably quite common
in the early days of production for stereo FM.
Al Levitt passed away shortly after the
transition to rock music on KSAN. The cause of death
at age 42 was never publically disclosed, and not much more was said about
him as the years have
gone by. Those who enjoyed and were dazzled by his genius via
KSFR will surely never forget
James Duncan CPBE, Santa Cruz, California