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|City||San Francisco, California|
|Broadcast area||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Branding||AM 1100 K-F-A-X|
|Slogan||Life with Purpose|
|First air date||January 3, 1926|
|Format||Christian Teaching and Talk|
|Callsign meaning||K Fast Accurate eXclusive (previous format)|
|Former callsigns||KFUQ one month then KJBS (until 1959)|
|Affiliations||Salem Radio Network|
|Owner||Salem Media Group |
(New Inspiration Broadcasting Company, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KDOW, KTRB|
KFAX (1100 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to San Francisco, California, and heard around the Bay Area. As of 2014[update], the station is owned by Salem Media Group and programs a Christian radio teaching and talk format.
The studios and offices are in Fremont and the transmitter is Hayward near the San Mateo–Hayward Bridge. KFAX broadcasts with 50,000 watts, the highest power permitted for AM stations. But because 1100 AM is a clear-channel frequency reserved for Class A WTAM in Cleveland, KFAX must use a directional antenna to avoid interference, aiming most of its signal away from the east. The station is the most powerful Christian-formatted AM station west of the Mississippi.
The station now assigned the KFAX call letters was first licensed in 1925 as KFUQ, and made its first broadcast on January 3, 1926. 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 assigned to 1100 kHz, sharing time with the dominant station in North America on 1100 kHz, which was 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 call sign 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 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 1.5 hours (8:30 sunset until 10:00 p.m.).
The KJBS call sign 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, using a directional antenna.
In 1984, KFAX was sold to Salem Media Group, an operator of both religious and secular talk stations. KFAX runs programs such as Dr. Charles Stanley, 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 to centrally generated electric power, both the Cleveland-based Willard Storage Battery Company and a local outlet for Willard Batteries founded and owned 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.