Congratulations to KDIA on its induction to the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame

AAMLO recognizes radio station KDIA and its induction into Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame

Congratulations to radio station KDIA for its recent induction into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame as the 2018 Legendary Station. KDIA has been a staple of the bay area African American music scene for over 50 years. However, there was a time when African American music was not played on Bay Area airways.

Prior to World War II, there were not radio stations featuring only African American music, and as late as 1947, and well into the early fifties, it continued with musical formats that reinforced racist stereotypes mocking Black culture. Formats began to change as a direct result of the unanticipated impact of a growing Black listening audience coupled with its significantly increased political and economic clout. Jazz, rhythm and blues and gospel music were now being played.

KDIA Lucky 13 debuted in 1959 when Egmont Sonderling, owner of Memphis-based WDIA, purchased KWBR from Warner Brothers Radio.  For more than thirty years, KDIA measured and maintained the pulse of the Bay Area’s Black community through its programming, community involvement and its disc jockey. George Oxford, Bob White, John Hardy, Ronnie Dark and Sly Stone expressed the pride, hopes and dreams of the community through the shows they hosted on local radio.

As a child I can remember Sunday nights my grandparents would be tuned in to KDIA radio listening to the live feeds of different Bay Area preachers including my own pastor, the late Bishop Marshall “QC” Simmons of the Agnes Memorial Church of God in Christ in Oakland. KDIA was the station that also played R&B and soul hits of Motown legends such as the late Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and many more.

According to former DJ Johnnie Morris, KDIA was also one of the first radio stations to play Edwin Hawkins Singers song “Oh Happy Day” in the 1960s.

In 1992 Mayor Elihu Harris and San Francisco’s Mayor Willie Brown purchased the historic African American radio station until it was purchased by Baybridge Communications in 1996. KDIA remains in existence, though no longer on its original station KDIA 1310 and no longer featuring the R&B hits of the past. It now serves as KDIA 1640 The Light for San Francisco.

The Elihu Harris and can be viewed on the Online Archive of California at



Congratulations to KDIA on your induction to the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame!!!



Hm... I don't recall Aretha

Hm... I don't recall Aretha Franklin being at Motown.
I think that the disc jockey tribute should have mentioned Don Barksdale. Also, I did not know that Sly Stone worked for KDIA. I remember him being with KSOL, because I still have some KSOL albums from that era in the 1960's.

I grew up listening to KDIA also. I remember that KDIA devoted Sundays to church services only, because my mom would listen most of the day. We were not allowed to listen to secular music on the radio on Sundays. Therefore, my sister and I would sneak upstairs in the afternoon when my mom was busy and listen to KYA. This station became our introduction to pop music.

I really miss KDIA, because I don't know of one station in the Bay Area that is similar to it. Definitely not the present KSOL. Their music does not go back far enough to include die hard R&B or Blues.

Thank God I still have a trunk load of 45's and boxes upon boxes of albums to listen to on a regular basis to recapture that era. It's just not the same.



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