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City Wasco-Greenacres, California
Broadcast area Bakersfield area
Branding KERN Radio
Slogan "News-Talk"
Frequency 1180 kHz
Translator(s) 96.1 K241CI (Bakersfield)
First air date January 3, 1932
Format Talk radio
Power 50,000 watts day
10,000 watts night
250 watts (translator)
Class B
Facility ID 35899
Transmitter coordinates 35°34′17″N 119°19′26″W / 35.57139°N 119.32389°W / 35.57139; -119.32389Coordinates: 35°34′17″N 119°19′26″W / 35.57139°N 119.32389°W / 35.57139; -119.32389
Callsign meaning KERN County, California
Former callsigns KERI (1984–2008)
KWSO (1950–1984)[1]
Affiliations Westwood One Network
Talk Radio Network
ABC News Radio
Owner American General Media
(AGM California)
Sister stations KEBT, KGEO, KGFM, KISV, KKXX
Webcast Listen Live

KERN (1180 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Wasco-Greenacres, California, and serving the Bakersfield metropolitan area. The station is owned by American General Media.[2] KERN airs a talk radio format with mostly local hosts on weekdays, along with syndicated shows from Chris Plante, Michael Savage, Dave Ramsey and Red Eye Radio. Weekends feature shows on health, money, real estate, home repair, law and computers. Weekend syndicated shows include Kim Komando, Larry Kudlow, Bill Cunningham, Bob Brinker and Bruce DuMont. Some weekend hours are paid brokered programming. Most hours begin with world and national news from ABC News Radio.

KERN operates at 50,000 watts by day, the maximum power permitted for commercial AM stations. But because AM 1180 is a clear-channel frequency, reserved for Class A WHAM in Rochester, New York, KERN must reduce power at night to 10,000 watts, and uses a directional antenna at all times to limit interference. KERN's transmitter is located off Jackson Avenue in Wasco.[3] The studios and offices are in the American General Media complex on Easton Drive in Bakersfield.[4]

Programming is simulcast on 250 watt FM translator K241CI at 96.1 MHz.[5] The station calls itself "Kern Radio News Talk 1180 and 96.1." KERN is the flagship station of the Bakersfield College Renegades sports teams.


KERN signed on the air at 1370 kilocycles on January 3, 1932, powered at 100 watts.[6] In its early days it was owned by the Bee Bakersfield Broadcasting Company, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Company, owner of a number of radio stations and newspapers in California. KERN served as the CBS Radio network affiliate for Bakersfield, broadcasting its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the Golden Age of Radio.

KERN moved to 1410 kHz in 1941 as the result of NARBA (North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement), increasing power to 1,000 watts. In 1948, it added an FM station at 94.1, KERN-FM (now KISV). At first, KERN-FM simulcast most of the programming of the AM station. As network programming moved to TV in the 1950s, KERN switched to music programming with local air personalities and news. In the 1960s, KERN flipped to a Top 40 sound. Johnny Mitchell, Program Director and Phil Drake, Music Director took this fledgling station to a solid number one in 1973, soundly beating its competitor, KAFY 550 AM (now KUZZ). KERN was among the first stations to carry the nationally syndicated countdown show American Top 40 hosted by Casey Kasem, beginning on July 4, 1970.[7] Also in 1970, KERN sold its FM station to The Reliable Broadcast Company, which had just bought 1350 KLYD (now KLHC). Emmy Award winning writer Ken Levine (then known as Ken Stevens) got his start in radio at KERN in 1971.

As Top 40 listening switched to FM in the late 1970s, KERN moved to a middle of the road format, with national news supplied by ABC Radio News.[8] In the 1980s, KERN began adding some talk shows to its schedule. By the mid-1990s, KERN had made the switch to all talk, using programming from the ABC Talk Radio Network and NBC's Talknet.[9]

On December 29, 2008, KERN started simulcasting on 1180 AM to get listeners used to the new frequency as part of a frequency swap with sister station KERI, which ran a religious format. (For the history of the 1180 station before 2008, see "KERI.") The KERN call sign was officially moved from 1410 to 1180 on December 30, 2008 and the KERI call sign was moved to 1410. On January 1, 2009, the Christian music format was reunited with the KERI call sign on 1410 AM.[10]



  1. ^ "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database. 
  2. ^ "KERN Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division. 
  3. ^ "KERN-AM Radio Station Coverage Map". Retrieved 2017-07-07. 
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 2017-07-07. 
  5. ^ "K241CI-FM 96.1 MHz Radio Station Information". Retrieved 2017-07-07. 
  6. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1935 page 22
  7. ^ Walt Bailey. "AT40 REGULAR SHOWS INDEX". Retrieved 2017-07-07. 
  8. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1979 page C-17
  9. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1997 page B-37
  10. ^ "Announcement of frequency change on KERN website". American General Media. 

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