KNBR

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For the defunct 99.7FM radio station, see KMVQ.
KNBR / KTCT
KNBR logo.svg
City of license KNBR: San Francisco, California
KTCT: San Mateo, California
Broadcast area San Francisco Bay Area
Branding KNBR 680
KNBR 1050
Slogan "The Sports Leader"
Frequency KNBR: 680 (kHz)
KTCT: 1050 (kHz)
(also on HD Radio)
First air date KNBR: April 17, 1922
KTCT: 1946[1]
Format Commercial; Sports
Power KNBR: 50,000 watts
KTCT: 50,000 watts (day)
10,000 watts (night)
Class KNBR: A
KTCT: B
Facility ID KNBR: 35208
KTCT: 51188
Transmitter coordinates KNBR:
37°32′49″N 122°14′1″W / 37.54694°N 122.23361°W / 37.54694; -122.23361
KTCT:
37°39′2″N 122°9′2″W / 37.65056°N 122.15056°W / 37.65056; -122.15056
Callsign meaning KNBR:
K National Broadcasting Radio (a reference to former owner NBC)
KTCT: K TiCkeT
Former callsigns KNBR:
KPO (1922–1946)
KNBC (1946–1962)
KTCT:
KVSM (1946–1958)
KOFY (1958–1997)
Affiliations KNBR: CBS Sports Radio
San Francisco Giants
Golden State Warriors
KTCT: CBS Sports Radio
San Francisco 49ers
Cal Football
Owner Cumulus Media Inc.
(Radio License Holding SRC LLC)
Sister stations KFOG/KFFG, KGO, KSAN, KSJO, KSFO
Webcast KNBR Webstream
KNBR Webstream (iHeart)
KTCT Webstream
Website knbr.com

KNBR, The Sports Leader, is the on-air branding used by two AM radio stations in the San Francisco Bay Area broadcasting a sports radio format, owned by Cumulus Media. The station's studios are located in San Francisco's SoMa district.

The main station, KNBR (680 kHz), licensed to San Francisco, broadcasts on a clear channel from transmitting facilities in Belmont, California. KNBR's non-directional 50 kilowatt (or 50,000 watt) signal can be heard throughout much of the western United States and as far west as the Hawaiian Islands at night. Because of its extensive range, it is sometimes called by the nicknames "The 50,000 Watt Flamethrower", "The Blowtorch", and "The Mighty 680". Prior to adopting a sports format, KNBR enjoyed a long history as the flagship of NBC's West Coast radio operations.

A second station also uses the KNBR brand. KTCT (1050 kHz) is licensed to San Mateo, California, with a transmitter located in Hayward, California. KTCT carries a separate sports format known as "The Ticket". The KNBR re-branding took place in 2003.

Between the two stations, games of the San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Golden State Warriors, Stanford Cardinal, and San Jose SaberCats are broadcast to the San Francisco Bay Area.

KNBR history[edit]

KPO and KGO building in the 1940s.

KNBR began life on April 17, 1922, as KPO, owned by the Hale Brothers department store and the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. Originally located in the Hale store at Market and 5th (now the site of Nordstrom Rack), its horizontal wire antenna on the roof was so efficient it immediately attracted the attention of audiences all over the Pacific Coast.

In 1927, KPO became an affiliate of the new NBC radio network. Eventually KPO was sold to NBC's parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and its operation was consolidated into that of its co-owned KGO at the Hunter-Dulin Building, 111 Sutter Street. From there, NBC operated its West Coast network, feeding dozens of stations and operating a news bureau to serve NBC. As NBC's flagship station on the West Coast, it had a full-time orchestra, five studios, and produced many live shows. During the rise of Hollywood, NBC's radio operation was moved to Los Angeles.

In 1941, just before World War II, NBC constructed Radio City at 420 Taylor Street, considered one of the best radio facilities built during radio's golden age. However, with the network control having been moved to Los Angeles, the San Francisco NBC building was never fully utilized. (Later, the building housed KBHK-TV, and now houses the headquarters of a janitorial service.)

During World War II, KPO's news bureau was the major source for NBC of news about the war in the Pacific, and operated shortwave radio stations (transmitters located in Dixon) serving the world. It was at the KPO (RCA) shortwave facility that the message was received that Japanese emperor Hirohito had surrendered, ending World War II.[1]

In 1946, to shore up its reputation as an NBC station (and the only radio station NBC ever owned on the West Coast), the call sign was changed from KPO to KNBC. This change lasted until 1962, when the network moved the call sign to its television station in Los Angeles and the radio station was renamed KNBR.[2]

In November 1949, former NBC television affiliate KRON-TV went on the air. Only before the TV station's first airdate did NBC fight for the construction permit for the TV station until it lost the bid to the de Young family, then the owners of the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the 1950s when NBC scrapped its comedy, drama, variety shows, and serials, the Los Angeles facility was sold and demolished, and KNBC/KNBR once again became the West Coast NBC network control center and West Coast NBC Radio news operation.

KNBR evolved into a Middle of the road music format mixing in Adult Standards with Soft Rock cuts by the early 1960s. The station continued to be a news intensive format with personalities in the foreground and music in the background. Personalities included Frank Dill, Les Williams, Dave Niles, and Jack Hayes. By the mid-1970s, KNBR evolved musically into a straight ahead adult contemporary music format and continued as such into the 1980s.

In 1989 NBC sold KNBR to Susquehanna Radio Corporation. It was the last radio property held by NBC, which two years earlier made the decision to sell off its radio division following General Electric's 1986 acquisition of RCA. The station soon added some sports talk in evenings, and took a full-time sports format in 1990 with the lone exception of The Rush Limbaugh Show, which KNBR carried from 1988 until 2000.

KNBR carried programs from ESPN Radio and KTCT aired shows from both ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio until 2013, when both stations switched to the Cumulus-distributed CBS Sports Radio.

"The Ticket 1050"[edit]

KNBR has long been linked with 680 AM. In 1997, KNBR bought KOFY-AM 1050 and converted it to sports talk station branded "The Ticket 1050" with call letters KTCT.[3] In 2003, several years after KNBR's parent company acquired the 1050 AM signal and converted it into KTCT, "The Ticket 1050", the company opted to re-brand that other station as another version of KNBR.

Both stations feature game broadcasts and sports talk, including shows hosted by Bay Area staples Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert. Some shows are simulcast on both 680 and 1050.

KNBR 1050 is the local home of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing,[4] as well as the Sabercats. Some Warriors games and most of the 49ers preseason games are on 1050 AM, as the Giants have priority on 680 AM.

Sports content[edit]

KNBR has been the radio home of the San Francisco Giants since 1979. Giants broadcasters and former Giants Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, affectionately known as "Kruk and Kuip," usually do the TV commentary. San Francisco native and Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Jon Miller and the most recent addition, Dave Flemming, do the majority of the radio broadcasts, but the four announcers move between radio and TV fairly frequently. Also, at the end of every game, they all sit together for the "Post-Game Wrap", aired on KNBR and televised on CSN Bay Area.

Tim Roye is the radio play-by-play announcer for the Golden State Warriors, and is joined by Jim Barnett on non-televised games as Barnett serves as an analyst for TV broadcasts.

A vast array of announcers participate in San Jose SaberCats broadcasts, including Tim Roye, Bob Fitzgerald, Ray Woodson, Keena Turner, George Atkinson, and Troy Clardy.

In 2005, KNBR became the official radio home of the San Francisco 49ers. All games are also heard on sister station KSAN "107.7 The Bone"; some AM broadcasts may be moved to KTCT due to conflicts with Giants games. 49ers games were broadcast by Joe Starkey and Gary Plummer for four seasons until Starkey's retirement following the 2008 season. In the 2009 season, former Giants baseball and world-class tennis announcer Ted Robinson took over for Starkey as the play-by-play announcer.

Both KNBR and KTCT are charter affiliates of CBS Sports Radio, a joint venture between CBS Radio and Cumulus, which started on January 2, 2013.[5]

Ownership[edit]

KNBR is owned by Cumulus Media Partners, LLC,[6] a private partnership of Cumulus Media, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, and Thomas H. Lee Partners. It was purchased from Susquehanna-Pfaltzgraff Media in 2005 along with other Susquehanna Radio Corporation stations.[7]

Programming[edit]

  • Murph & Mac: The KNBR Morning Show
  • The Gary Radnich Show with Larry Krueger (see: Gary Radnich)
  • Fitz and Brooks (returned to air after Rick Barry resigned from Rick and Rod)
  • Mr. T Show
  • SportsPhone 680 with Ray Woodson

SportsPhone 680 was formerly hosted by Larry Krueger, who was fired after a personal rant against the Giants on the show. During his rant, he criticized the Giants for "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly". Krueger was first suspended for 10 days, then, on August 10, 2005, KNBR announced that it had ceased professional relations with Krueger. Damon Bruce took over the show in October 2005 and hosted until February 26, 2010, when he started his own noon–4 pm show on KNBR 1050. FP Santangelo took over as SportsPhone680 host. His show lasted from March 1, 2010 to January 19, 2011, after the Washington Nationals hired him as their color commentator for MASN. Eric Byrnes took over as SportsPhone680 host, and hosted his first show on March 23, 2011. In May of 2012 when Ralph Barbieri was let go by KNBR, Eric Byrness agreed to co-host with Tom Tolbert until they found a permanent co-host. Eric Byrnes still hosted SportsPhone680 on days where the Giants played day games. He did his last show in July of 2012 and Ray Woodson, who's filled in on SportsPhone680 many times and was formerly a sidekick on the Gary Radnich show, officially took over as host. Eric Byrnes co-hosts with Tom Tolbert on some days and Ray Ratto co-hosts with Tom Tolbert on other days.

  • Fill-in Hosts

Marty Lurie, fills in as a weekday host on occasion at KNBR and is the host of SportsPhone 680 Giants Warm-Up and Wrap-Up shows on KNBR every weekend during the baseball season.

  • Untitled (Public Affairs)

Originating as part of the station's statutory requirement of public affairs programming, the station continues to air an hourlong interview show Sunday mornings at 5 am.

During the 1990s, the program typically began and ended with the phrase "This is Gimmy Park Li, your host." No program title was given. Interviews for this program often consisted of local individuals in volunteer, charitable, or minor governmental capacities.

Due to its time slot, the program is the quintessential example of the "Sunday morning public affairs ghetto". The program has never been promoted outside of its timeslot. Gimmy Park Li was the station's public affairs director. Her signature was her sign off: "This is Gimmy Park Li, your host. Thank you for spending your time ... with us."

Past programs[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]