|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
|City of license||San Francisco, California|
|Broadcast area||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Slogan||Christian Teaching & Talk|
|First air date||1925|
|Format||Christian talk radio|
|Callsign meaning||K Fast Acurrate eXclusive|
|Former callsigns||KJBS (until 1959)|
(New Inspiration Broadcasting Company, Inc.)
KFAX is a radio station licensed to transmit from San Francisco, California and heard in the Bay Area. As of 2008[update], the station is owned by Salem Communications, and programs a Christian-oriented talk-radio format.
The station now assigned the KFAX call letters was first licensed in 1925 as KFUQ, and made its first broadcast on January 3 of that year. Its meager five-watt radio transmitter provided an advertising gimmick for Julius Brunton & Sons, operators of an automobile service station and local distributor of Willard Storage Batteries, which were popularly used in both experimental transmitters and receivers during radio's early days. A month after making its debut, KFUQ became KJBS.
The station's first address was 1380 Bush Street, a building which remains an auto-service facility today. KJBS was the first all-night radio station in the Bay Area, broadcasting music along with police dispatch calls, in the days before police departments could afford their own radio transmitters.
In 1927, after struggling to be heard on the crowded radio dial with its tiny transmitter, KJBS was permitted to upgrade its power to fifty watts.
In the 1940s in order to increase its range of coverage, KJBS was allocated to 1070 kilocycles, sharing time with a station in Cleveland. This required that KJBS go off the air at local sunset, but allowed it to come back on the air when Cleveland signed off at 1:00 a.m. in the East, 10:00 p.m. local time. By this time, KJBS had moved to 1470 Pine Street, a building incorporating a stand-alone vertical transmitting tower at the front entrance to the building.
In 1959, KJBS was sold to an investment group; its callsign was changed to KFAX and its daytime power was increased to 50,000 watts. This change in broadcasting power required the station to operate one of the most distinctive schedules in the history of broadcasting. KFAX operated from a directional set of 4 towers in the suburban town of Hayward from 6:00 a.m until local sunset, then from the Pine Street 1,000 watt transmitter from 10:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. (when Cleveland's KYW - now WTAM - would come back on the air, at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time). During the summer, this meant that KFAX was off the air for only 1½ hours (8:30 sunset until 10:00 p.m.).
The KJBS callsign had been changed to KFAX in late 1959 when it changed formats from music, news, and sports, to become the nation's very first all-news radio station ("Fast, Accurate and eXclusive"). This experiment proved unsuccessful, and soon KFAX changed to a brokered religious format, where program producers bought 15-minute and half-hour blocks of air time.
Eventually KFAX was permitted to operate with 50,000 watts full-time.
In 1984, KFAX was sold to Salem Communications, an operator of both religious and secular talk stations. KFAX runs programs such as Dr. James Dobson and Jay Sekulow and "Life! Line" with Craig Roberts (the Bay Area's longest running conservative talk show).
In light of a radio often being the first electrical device in a home not connected centrally generated electric power, it is not surprising that both the Cleveland-based Willard Storage Battery Company and a local outlet for Willard Batteries should found and own stations in the early 1920s, as with WTAM in Cleveland (9 months' ownership) and KJBS (apparently for several decades). In this case, however, these two stations with an early link began in 1941 sharing clear channel use of the 1100 kHz frequency.
- KFAX Web Site
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KFAX
- Radio-Locator Information on KFAX
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KFAX
- "History of KJBS and KFAX" from the Bay Area Radio Museum.
- Advertisement for KJBS (1930), showing coverage map.
- Photograph of KFAX building entrance at 1470 Pine Street, San Francisco.