Longtime residents of the Bay Area are already in mourning for the loss of KFOG, 104.5 FM, which will finally go off the air September 6 after a slow death by a thousand corporate cuts.
The 37-year-old rock station, which had forged its own path through the era of corporate consolidation and Top 40 genericness, had already lost most of its charm and personality over the last decade. But now, once and for all, as ABC 7 reports, parent company Cumulus Media is killing off KFOG for good and turning the bandwidth over to the FM version of sports channel KNBR AM.
The Chronicle's Peter Hartlaub waxes nostalgic for the station, which he characterizes as a soothing balm for the Bay Area's traumatized soul when it arrived in 1982. "The station played a mix of local artists, deep cuts from larger rock acts and wild cards that reflected the personality of the individual DJ," Hartlaub writes. "It was as if they were making one three-decades-long mixtape for their listeners. You weren’t born a 'Foghead' in the Bay Area; you graduated to it when and if you reached a point of musical enlightenment."
Hartlaub also notes that much of the station's character disappeared with the layoffs and disappearances of personalities like M. Dung, Wes “Scoop” Nisker, Dave Morey, Dred Scott, Annalisa, Peter Finch and Renee Richardson. The last to leave was Rosalie Howard in 2018, whose "Acoustic Sunrise" program was "the last survivor of the peak KFOG era," he writes.
Howard tells ABC 7, "It was the station parents could listen to when they were taking their kids to school, it was the default station for carpool because it was entertaining and fun."
The station was also a sponsor of the annual KFOG KaBOOM, which served as the region's early Fourth of July — a fireworks show and concert every May from 1994 to 2010, i.e. a month when you can sometimes actually see fireworks in the sky. The outdoor event drew as many as 350,000 and as Hartlaub says, "helped reinforce feelings that KFOG broadcasts were a shared experience."
Regardless of the fact that it's been years since the station was its true self, Fogheads across the region will mark the day next week when 104.5 becomes a talk-radio sports station and now longer has a beloved place on their digital dial. The era of FM radio seems archaic as it is, with everyone turning to satellite stations, podcasts, and Spotify playlists for their in-car listening. But there's no replacing a hometown station, and its disembodied voices, that kept you company through countless moments in your life.
Hat tip, KFOG.