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963nashicon logo.png
CityAlbuquerque, New Mexico
Broadcast areaAlbuquerque metropolitan area
Branding96.3 Nash Icon
Slogan"The music that made country great"
Frequency96.3 MHz
First air dateNovember 1954 (as KHFM)
FormatCountry music
ERP20,000 watts
HAAT1,260.0 meters (4,133.9 ft)
Facility ID48596
Transmitter coordinates35°12′44″N 106°26′58″W / 35.21222°N 106.44944°W / 35.21222; -106.44944Coordinates: 35°12′44″N 106°26′58″W / 35.21222°N 106.44944°W / 35.21222; -106.44944
Callsign meaningJumbled "BUZZ" or "Buzzard"(former branding)
Former callsignsKHFM (1954-2001)
KRIF (4/09/2001-4/16/2001)
OwnerCumulus Media, Inc.
(Radio License Holding CBC, LLC)
WebcastListen Live

KBZU (96.3 FM, "96.3 Nash Icon") is a commercial radio station airing country music, mostly from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. The station shares the "Nash" brand with current-based country sister station KRST. Licensed to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the station serves the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The station is owned by Cumulus Media, Inc., through licensee Radio License Holding CBC, LLC. Its studios are located in Downtown Albuquerque and the transmitter tower is located atop Sandia Crest east of the city.

"Nash Icon" is a radio format developed by Cumulus Media, used on numerous Cumulus stations across the country as well as some non-Cumulus stations. Described as a "Hot AC for Country", the format focuses on popular country hits from the mid-1980s to early 2000s from the biggest artists of that time (the "Icons") such as Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, George Strait, Shania Twain and Alan Jackson along with some new material to be released on the new "Nash Icon" record label. Nash Icon plays about 25-40% new material without some current trends such as "Bro-country" heard on current based country stations.[1]

In April 2015 Tony Lynn who had been a long time morning host at KRST in the 1990s and KBQI from 2000-2011 returned to the air on KBZU in the afternoon. Other personalities include Kris Abrams mornings, Paul Bailey midday's and Johnboy Crenshaw nights.


96.3 launched in November 1954 as the second FM and first commercial FM station in Albuquerque.[2] It was the longtime home of classical music station KHFM for over 46 years. Citadel Broadcasting acquired KHFM and sister station KHFN 1050 AM for 5.75 million dollars in March 1996.[3] In March 2001, Citadel had made an agreement with American General Media to move the format to its current home on 95.5 FM while Citadel would continue to handle advertising for the station. That agreement ended in 2005, and KHFM is now fully operated by American General Media (in 2017, as part of a deal where American General would buy Univision's entire Albuquerque cluster, KHFM would be spun off to KHFM Community Partners).[4]

96.3 became a classic rock station branded as "The Buzzard" which started in early April 2001. The callsign would change to KBZU. The Buzzard had challenged area rock radio rivals KIOT and KZRR. The station used the slogan which claimed to play "Real Classic Rock," featuring a mix that was somewhat harder than most classic rock stations at the time by avoiding "wimpy" songs, but also played only classic bands and no modern rock that it dubbed as "weird." That format also included Bob & Tom in the morning and in late 2006 it added Opie and Anthony in the afternoon. Nights with Alice Cooper also aired on The Buzzard at night in the last couple of years. Some local personalities had also been featured as well throughout its run. But over the years the station consistently lagged behind its competitors in the Arbitron ratings. The Buzzard ran until February 12, 2007.

Logo through August 2008

The station aired a Hot Talk format, titled "96.3 The Buzz", from February 12, 2007 until August 2, 2008. The talk format featured Bob & Tom in morning and Opie and Anthony in the afternoon, along with Dennis Miller, Mike O'Meara (before that, Don & Mike), and Tom Leykis. The station also featured locally produced programs, including the morning "zu", featuring "Chad" and "The Weezle". Citadel Broadcasting also divested KBZU to Last Bastion Station Trust on June 12, 2007, but it was reclaimed by the now-Cumulus Media effective April 30, 2013.

96.3 aired a Spanish language sports talk format broadcasting the national ESPN Deportes Radio network from August 2, 2008 until May 15, 2009. This format generated no Arbitron ratings at all during its nine-month run.

On May 22, 2009, KBZU returned to a classic rock music format branded as "96-3 The Mountain" with the slogan "Duke City's Classic Rock". All music and disc jockeys came from a satellite feed of The Classic Rock Experience, which was provided by Citadel Media (now Cumulus Media). There was not any local content, excluding commercials.

On August 15, 2014, at 5 pm, KBZU became one of the first affiliates of the new "Nash Icons" network as 96.3 Nash Icon. KBZU was one of thirteen stations Cumulus had flipped to the new format.[5]


  1. ^ "John Dickey Discusses Nash Icon Launch - RadioInsight". radioinsight.com. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  2. ^ [1] E211
  3. ^ "March 1996: The New Normal - RadioInsight". radioinsight.com. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  4. ^ "More American General Media/Univision Albuquerque Sale Details - RadioInsight". radioinsight.com. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Nash Icon Launches Across The Country - RadioInsight". radioinsight.com. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2018.

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