|City of license||San Francisco, California|
|Broadcast area||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Branding||Family Radio 610|
|Slogan||The Sound of the New Life|
|First air date||September 24, 1924|
|Former callsigns||KFRC (1924-2005)|
|Owner||Family Stations Inc.|
KEAR (610 kHz), is a non-commercial traditional Christian radio station in San Francisco, California. KEAR is the flagship station of Family Radio, and its transmitter is located in Berkeley, California and shares with KVTO. Until 2005, KEAR was broadcasting on 106.9 MHz FM.
KEAR's programming is also broadcast on KEAR-FM in Sacramento, California, whose signal is transmitted from radio repeaters for local markets across California, such as 101.5 MHz (K268AH) in Palm Springs and 90.9 MHz (K217BJ) in Banning.
610 AM KFRC
The frequency of 610 kHz had been home to the original KFRC for over eight decades, from September 24, 1924 until April 29, 2005. In the 1960s and 1970s KFRC was a legendary Top 40 powerhouse in San Francisco, but by August 1986 had flipped to a Big Band format. In the early 1990s it began simulcasting its sister station KFRC-FM's Oldies format.
KEAR call letters
The call letters KEAR were originally assigned to an AM station at 1550 kHz (now KZDG) in 1952. Before that, since 1947, the radio station at this frequency (1550 kHz) had been called KSMO. From 1947 to 1956, KSMO and KEAR had broadcast as San Francisco's only AM classical music station. They billed themselves as the "good music" station. When KEAR stopped broadcasting classical music in 1956, this forced many San Francisco classical music lovers to become early adopters and purchase the then recently introduced FM radios so they could listen to classical music broadcasts on KDFC. In 1956, the KEAR call letters were moved to 97.3 FM. Family Stations Inc. bought the station in 1959, and aired its first Family Radio broadcast on KEAR on February 4 of that year.
In September 1978, Family Stations Inc. sold its station at 97.3 to CBS (who still owns it today as KLLC), and acquired KMPX (106.9 FM) from National Science Network, Inc. At this time, the KEAR call letters and Family Radio programming were transferred to the new frequency, where it broadcast for 27 years.
KEAR moves to 610 AM
In 2005, Family Stations acquired KFRC's AM frequency from Infinity Broadcasting (now CBS Radio). Viacom, the parent company of Infinity Broadcasting, was in the process of acquiring television station KOVR in Stockton, California, and needed to sell the AM station to meet Federal Communications Commission ownership limitations. On April 29, 2005, 610 AM began simulcasting Family Radio programming. Shortly thereafter, Family Stations sold its 106.9 FM frequency to Infinity Broadcasting.
The Oakland Athletics baseball team, which had a contract with KFRC to carry its games, continued to broadcast on 610 AM through the end of the team's 2005 season. On October 17, 2005, after the season ended, the KEAR call letters were transferred to the AM station and 106.9 became KIFR, later to become, ironically, KFRC-FM.
Coincidentally, all three of the frequencies which formerly had the KEAR call letters are now assigned to CBS Radio.
- FCC History Cards for KEAR
- Family Radio
- The History of KFRC
- The First Days of KFRC
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KEAR
- Radio-Locator Information on KEAR
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KEAR