The rumor has been spreading and, unfortunately, it’s true: Classic KABL 960 will cease operations this week.
The station has been a labor of love for more than a dozen years. After the demise of the original KABL (which played “beautiful music”) and later iterations (that played big bands, adult standards and middle-of-the-road “easy listening” tunes) we put together this little online station, thinking it might be a hit with Bay Area listeners that remembered KABL from any point in its long history.
Instead, listeners around the world flocked to our digital signal by the thousands, every hour of the day, seven days a week.
We were lucky to enlist Bay Area Radio Hall of Famer Bill Moen (BARHOF 2006), the original signature voice of KABL back when it debuted in 1959. Bill provided us with vocal vignettes describing the sights and sounds of San Francisco and some of its legendary characters, past and present.
We also brought back “Sunday Sounds,” a popular program for more than a decade on San Francisco’s famed KSFO. On Classic KABL 960, Trish Bell guided the program like clockwork each and every Sunday morning at 9 for more than twelve years – even when battling cancer.
On Saturday and Sunday evenings, our audience numbers exploded with the addition of “Sounds of Sinatra,” hosted by Sid Mark – a program that drew fans of Francis Albert from every corner of the planet.
Heck, even Clear Channel, the huge media conglomerate that bought KABL and eventually killed it off, licensed the call letters and imaging (the jingles and other programming elements) to us!
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Our Classic KABL 960 was an amalgam of all versions of the station, with a little bit of something for everyone – if you lived in the Bay Area, you could probably pick out bits that reminded you of not only KABL and KSFO, but Magic 61, KNBR, KMPX “Big Band 99” and maybe a few others.
So why are we shutting down? Essentially, it’s because it has been a labor of love – generally, besides Bill and Trish (and Sid) there has been only one person maintaining the station, putting together the music library, compiling the playlists, keeping the creaky old server running (it’s actual older than the station itself!) and paying the bills. It’s been a labor of love, but it’s also labor intensive, requiring constant monitoring and plenty of tender loving care, in addition to some real work.
Despite the vast worldwide listenership and the positive response to Classic KABL 960 – which bordered on downright loving devotion – the commitment of both time and resources reached a limit.
So thank you, Classic KABL 960 listeners, wherever you are around the world. This little project wouldn’t have lasted a month if it wasn’t for the sheer amount of listeners, far and wide, that tuned us in all hours of the day. And a very special thanks to Bill and Trish, who lent their considerable talents to Classic KABL 960, and made it a station worth listening to.