KFBK (AM)

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KFBK
KFBK Logo
City of license Sacramento, California
Broadcast area Sacramento and Stockton, California
Branding NewsRadio KFBK 1530 AM
Slogan Sacramento's News, Weather and Traffic Station
Frequency 1530 kHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date February 2, 1922
Format News/Talk
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Facility ID 10145
Transmitter coordinates 38°50′54.00″N 121°28′58.00″W / 38.8483333°N 121.4827778°W / 38.8483333; -121.4827778
Owner Clear Channel Communications
(AMFM Broadcast Licenses, LLC)
Sister stations KBEB, KFBK-FM, KHYL, KQJK, KSTE
Webcast Listen Live
Website kfbk.com

KFBK (1530 AM) is a radio station in Sacramento, California broadcasting on a frequency of 1530 kHz. KFBK is a class A clear channel station, formerly designated as a class "I-B" station, sharing 1530 with WCKY in Cincinnati, Ohio. The station boasts the highest signal strength of any AM station in the United States.[1] It is owned by Clear Channel Communications. KFBK is also simulcast at 93.1 MHz. The station has studios in North Sacramento near Arden Fair Mall, and its transmitter is near Pleasant Grove.

Early history[edit]

KFBK's history reaches back to station KVQ (first license issued: February 2, 1922), which shut down later that year after listener complaints about interference. KVQ's facilities were sold to the Kimball-Upson Music Store and the Sacramento Union newspaper.[2]

Later, Kimball-Upson sold out to The McClatchy Company, a local, family-owned company which not only owned the Sacramento Bee newspaper, but also the Modesto Bee and Fresno Bee. In addition to KFBK, McClatchy would eventually take ownership of radio stations in the same markets, KBEE in Modesto and KMJ in Fresno. At one time, Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto TV station KOVR was also owned by McClatchy.

KFBK in the fifties and sixties[edit]

As television took over network programming, KFBK would reinvent itself as a news, information, sports, and entertainment station. Because of its 50,000 W signal strength and location in the heart of the Central Valley, the station became the chief method by which farmers obtained weather, prices and other vital farming information. KFBK carried CBS Radio Network programming including top-of-the-hour newscasts, plus specialized reports from Edward R. Murrow and Lowell Thomas. Local news programs included the Richfield Reporter. Tony Koester was both the long-time voice of the minor league Sacramento Solons and the station's sports director. When the San Francisco Giants arrived in 1958, the station began a long partnership carrying their games. Entertainment programming included Arthur Godfrey and Doug Pledger.[3]

The talk of the town[edit]

In the 1970s, with less network programming available, KFBK began programming talk shows as part of their broadcast day, promoting themselves as "The Talk of the Town." After a brief trial as an adult contemporary music station, ownership committed themselves to a format that included news blocks during morning and afternoon drive time, with the remainder of the day's programming featuring local talk shows. With the FCC implementing a newspaper-broadcasting cross-ownership rule, McClatchy would be forced to divest itself of its radio and television stations. KFBK would be sold to Westinghouse Broadcasting and later would shift network affiliation to ABC Radio.[3]

Rush Limbaugh comes to prominence[edit]

During the 1980s, KFBK employed Morton Downey, Jr. as a local midday host. After Downey's departure, Rush Limbaugh replaced him at the station. Limbaugh first rose to prominence at KFBK before becoming nationally syndicated in 1988.[4] Limbaugh's national program still airs on KFBK in the same time slot (9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon) where he hosted locally.

Limbaugh's local replacement after leaving KFBK, Tom Sullivan has also taken his program into national syndication, after taking an anchor position at the new cable TV business channel Fox Business Network. Like Limbaugh, Sullivan's national show (syndicated via Fox News Radio),[5] continues to air on KFBK in its former local time slot.

A number of other KFBK alumni have come to national media prominence. Former KFBK news reporter/anchor Laura Ingle is a featured reporter on Fox News Channel. Former KFBK reporter and weekend anchor Todd Starnes hosts commentaries for Fox News Radio, and former KFBK evening host Spencer Hughes airs a weekday program Fox Across America on Fox News Radio's satellite radio channel.

Changes in ownership laws saw KFBK, its FM outlet, and other area stations becoming part of Clear Channel Communications entering the 1990s.

KFBK begins FM simulcasting[edit]

KFBK-FM began simulcasting on December 1, 2011 at 92.5 FM, the former home of KGBY. On December 26, 2013 KFBK began a trimulcast on 93.1 FM, the former home of Classic 93.1 (KHLX); the simulcast ended a week later when KHLX adopted a country music format as KBEB.

Prominent programming[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]