Longtime KFOG radio fans mourn the loss of their favorite alternative rock station

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Long-time San Francisco rock radio station KFOG will go dark next month and Bay Area "Fogheads" say they are disappointed and sad about the end of an era.

On Sept. 6, KFOG will begin simulcasting KNBR Sports Radio and change its call letters to KNBR-FM. 

"That's disappointing because the Bay Area has such a great music history and KFOG was part of the fabric of that," said radio-listener Ryan Opeka of Oakland. "I respect sports radio, but it's not what KFOG has been about."

KFOG (104.5 FM) went on the air in the 1960s, and for the first 20 years played what music columnist and writer Ben Fong-Torres described as "elevator music."

But, starting in the 1980s, the station changed its format, calling itself the "Home of Quality Rock and Roll." It played everything from the Beatles, Santana, Rolling Stones and classic rock, to some alternative rock, to contemporary indie rock bands in the past 15 years. 

The sound of a fog horn was frequent on the air and listeners registered with the station to become official "Fogheads."  

"I think it's important to keep those things that are uniquely San Francisco. I'm gonna miss them," said Liz Groepler of Marin.

Atlanta-based Cumulus owns KFOG, and in a statement about the change, market manager Doug Havill said: "It's never easy to say goodbye to a station, and we want to thank the staff, listeners, and advertisers who together made KFOG the legendary and beloved station that so many of us in San Francisco had the opportunity to enjoy."

DJ "Big Rick Stuart" worked at KFOG  from 2000 to 2010. 

"KFOG could play this wide variety of music," Stuart said. "It all just worked for this magical time for a long time. The Fogheads were great. They knew their music, you could play it all, and they would come along with you and enjoy it all." 

But KFOG's listening audience became older and fragmented by streaming music options and in more recent years, station managers let go of popular, local DJs. 

"There's always this pursuit at every radio station for younger ears," said Fong-Torres.

Fong-Torres said in the past three years the format "had changed so much it was not really recognizable as the KFOG people loved." 

The way people get entertainment has also shifted. 

"I listen to podcasts, I don't really listen to FM radio anymore," said Phil Maultsey of San Francisco."Time passes and tastes change, but it feels like I'm losing a piece of the Bay Area. My kids even know what KFOG is."​​​​​​​

KFOG's demise comes as it's set to be inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame as a "legendary radio station." The induction ceremony will still happen later next month, about two weeks after KFOG goes dark.