- The radio station KLSD was formerly called KGB (AM).
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|City||San Diego, California|
|Broadcast area||San Diego, California|
|Slogan||"San Diego's Classic Rock"|
|Frequency||101.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1950 (as KSON-FM)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Classic rock
HD2: Sports (KLSD simulcast)
|Callsign meaning||K George Bowles (station manager of KGB, 1928-1931)|
|Former callsigns||KSON-FM (1950-1958)
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KHTS-FM, KIOZ, KLSD, KMYI, KOGO, KSSX|
KGB-FM (101.5 MHz, "101-5 KGB") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to San Diego, California. It is owned and operated by iHeartMedia, Inc. and broadcasts a classic rock music format. KGB-FM's studios are located in San Diego's Kearny Mesa neighborhood on the northeast side, and the transmitter is located in East San Diego east of Balboa Park.
- See KLSD#History for the history of the letters 'KGB' used as a radio station name.
The 101.5 MHz FM frequency originally signed on the air in 1950 as KSON-FM, owned by Fred Rabel. It is the second-oldest FM station in San Diego; the former KFSD-FM (now KMYI) at 94.1 FM debuted in 1948. Rabel later sold the signal to Brown Broadcasting in 1958. KSON-FM was moved off the KSON AM tower on the corner of Highway 15 and Interstate 5, to the new site of KGB (1360 AM) at 52nd Street and Kalmia. The FM station's call letters were changed to KGB-FM. In 1964, Brown Broadcasting hired Bill Drake to consult for "136KGB"; the format he installed there later became known as "Boss Radio". In 1964, KGB and KGB-FM were separated, and the latter became KBKB, a beautiful music station.
By 1972, Boss Radio on KGB was failing and more focus was being given to the FM. Brown Broadcasting hired Ron Jacobs to turn around 101.5. Jacobs' first move was to restore the KGB-FM call letters, and to drop Boss Radio from 1360 AM. Jacobs created San Diego's first album-oriented rock (AOR) station, further nurtured by station general manager Sonny Jim Price. Among the innovations introduced during this era of KGB-FM are the station's mascot, the KGB Chicken; a series of records called the Homegrown albums; and Sky Show, a fireworks display set to rock music.
KGB-FM has hosted many of San Diego's most prominent radio and television personalities. Such hosts include Larry Himmel (the Cruiser), Bob Coburn, Dave Benson, Damian Bragdon, Gabriel Wisdom, Erik Thompson, Jim McInnes, Rick Leibert, Pat Martin, Larry Bruce, Bill Hergonson, Ernesto Gladden, Ted Edwards, Linda McInnes, Digby Welch, Kevin McKeown, Pam Edwards, Brian Schock, Susan Hemphill, John Leslie, Andy Geller, Blair and Kymythy Schultz, Phil Hendrie, Jeff Prescott, Michael Berger, Sue Delany, Cookie "Chainsaw" Randolph, Dave Rickards, Shelly Dunn, Coe Lewis, and Mojo Nixon. KGB news anchors include Brad Messer, Brent Seltzer, Gerry Gazlay, and George Wilson.
In 1974, KGB introduced the "KGB Chicken", an advertising mascot played by Ted Giannoulas. Giannoulas, then a student at San Diego State University, was hired to wear a chicken outfit for a promotion to distribute AM and FM Easter eggs to children at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The Chicken, whose antics entertained steadily larger crowds, moved on to features at concerts and sporting events, including appearances at more than 520 consecutive San Diego Padres baseball games. Conflict emerged, however, between the station and Giannoulas, and he was dismissed in 1977. Another unnamed employee was hired to take his place, which triggered a lawsuit by Giannoulas.
After a court found in his favor in June 1979, Giannoulas was allowed to continue to perform in a chicken costume, though not the same one as the original costume. His return as the "San Diego Chicken" was witnessed by 47,000 people at what was called a "Grand Hatching" event, where he emerged from a mock egg as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey played.
Homegrown song contest and albums
In 1973, KGB-FM created an annual contest called "Homegrown", in which local singers and songwriters submitted songs about the San Diego area for inclusion on an album produced by the station. The songwriting contest is the brainchild of KGB-FM program director Ron Jacobs, who first held such an event at KHJ (AM) in Los Angeles. The Homegrown album series was introduced in response to the cancellation of the popular "Charity Ball" event at San Diego Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium), a venue for which the station was not granted usage in 1973 after holding it the previous year. Proceeds from sale of the albums were donated to local charities. The contest ran through 1978, yielding seven albums named Homegrown through Homegrown VII with copyrights from 1973 to 1979. There were two additional Homegrown albums: Homegrown's Greatest Hits (1978) with favorite selections from previous albums, and Homegrown Songs for '84 with additional songs by San Diego artists about the area.
- Homegrown (1973)
- Homegrown II (1974)
- Homegrown III (1975)
- Homegrown IV (1976)
- Homegrown V (1977)
- Homegrown Greatest Hits (1978)
- Homegrown VI (1978)
- Homegrown VII (1979)
- Homegrown '84 (1983)
In 1976, singer Stephen Bishop submitted his song "On and On", but it was rejected because he submitted it on cassette tape instead of the required reel-to-reel format. The song went on to become a commercial hit.
In 1976, KGB-FM launched the annual "KGB Sky Show" and it has been held continuously ever since. ("Sky Show 40" was held on September 5, 2015.) The "Sky Show" is a fireworks display, synchronized to a music soundtrack, broadcast on the radio. This artform was invented by KGB and is now practiced worldwide. The first Sky Show was fired from two locations, Fiesta Island and Chollas Lake. It created traffic jams all over the city as people watched and listened. The firing site was moved to San Diego (Jack Murphy)(Qualcomm) Stadium for reasons of crowd control. The show has become a very well attended annual event with fans viewing from both inside the stadium and outside, tailgating in the parking lot or from vantage points along Mission Valley's canyon rim. The KGB Sky Show also introduced the use of Rock and Roll music, multimedia, video, theatrical lighting and effects to enhance the fireworks display. According to its creator Rick Leibert, Sky Show is "continuing experiment blending the ancient art of fireworks with rock and roll". The creative team for Sky Show has been collaborating for more than 20 years. Blair Schultze has been Writer/Producer/Director of the KGB Sky Show since 1988, and Ron Dixon has been Fireworks coordinator since 1979 and choreographer since 1990.
- Leonard, David. "History of KGB Radio". CT30. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
- "San Diego HD-Radio Progress Report".
- Arnold, Thomas K. (November 12, 1983). "Price Steps Down From GM Post At KGB/KPQP" (PDF). Billboard. p. 12. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
- Weller, Don (June 24, 1978). "Jacobs On An Upbeat At Honolulu KKUA-AM" (PDF). Billboard. p. 46. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
- "San Diego's KGB-FM-AM Produces, Sells Own Album" (PDF). Billboard. December 14, 1974. p. 24. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KGB
- Radio-Locator information on KGB
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KGB
- History of KGB Radio by David Leonard
- KGB Homegrown fan page, song listing and album artwork
- New online version of San Diego Homegrown Music
- Photos and Video of KGB Sky Show XL