|Broadcast area||Greater Houston|
|First air date||February 1, 1947|
|Power||2,500 watts (day)
250 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||K Galveston Broadcasting Company|
|Owner||SIGA Broadcasting, Inc.|
|Sister stations||KAML, KFJZ, KHFX, KLVL, KTMR|
KGBC's Texas sister stations with SIGA Broadcasting include KTMR (1130 AM, Converse), KLVL (1480 AM, Pasadena), KAML (990 AM, Kenedy-Karnes City), KHFX (1140 AM, Cleburne), and KFJZ (870 AM, Fort Worth).
In the early 2000s, the station carried a Catholic radio format. It later shifted to non-English programming until being forced off the air by Hurricane Ike in September 2008. The station resumed full-power broadcasting in February 2009 with a mix of local talk radio and classic hits programming branded as "Sounds of the Bay".
Struggling financially as Galveston recovered from the hurricane and the late-2000s recession, KGBC began leasing all the station's airtime to one of China's state-owned media companies, China Radio International, under a local marketing agreement in January 2010. As CRI is government-owned, it often adopted the government stance on political issues. In December 2015, China Radio International was dropped from the station. The programming was replaced with Rehan Siddiqui's "Hum FM Radio", which was moved to KGBC from sister station KLVL Pasadena, and is also available in Houston on translator K291CE.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a construction permit in August 1946 for a new station to broadcast on 1540 kilohertz and serve the community of Galveston, Texas. The station began broadcasting under program test authority on February 1, 1947, and received its original broadcast license in May 1947. Chosen to represent original owner James W. Bradner's Galveston Broadcasting Company, the "KGBC" call sign was assigned by the FCC. The station has served the Galveston area since 1947. At its launch, the station broadcast with 1,000 watts of power and only during daylight hours. In 1950, the station added nighttime service, but in a directional array and at just 250 watts. The station powers down at night to protect clear-channel station KXEL in Waterloo, Iowa, from skywave interference.
After 17 years of continuous operation by Galveston Broadcasting Company, KGBC was sold to Harbor Broadcasting Company, Inc., effective December 20, 1964. On February 11, 1968, KGBC's new owners launched an FM sister station as "KGBC-FM" (106.1 FM). In 1974, the FM station was sold, moved to 106.5 FM, and re-licensed as "KUFO". With shifting ownership and declining fortunes, the station became "KXKX" in 1979 and "KQQK" in 1986 before signing off forever and having its license cancelled by the FCC in March 1989. As of December 2011[update], the 106.5 frequency is occupied by an unrelated Spanish-language religious station licensed as "KOVE-FM".
In the '70s, KGBC's studios were handed over on Saturday mornings to students in Ball High School's Radio and TV Production class, taught by Rosalind "Roz" K. Dricks. The high schoolers wrote and produced a three hour program, complete with news and advertising. Several students went on to careers in journalism and entertainment after starting at the local radio station.
Listeners from the 70s and 80s will never forget Sports Director Woody Carson, the society reporter Francis Kay Harris, or the "Galveston Talking" ladies.
Cathy Cundiff was KGBC News Director from 1973 until 1978, when she moved to Houston's KHOU, Channel 11, where she remained until 2000. She's now a manager with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
In June 2000, Harbor Broadcasting Company, Inc., reached an agreement to sell KGBC to Prets/Blum Media Company, Inc. The new licensee was owned by Leon Blum and Richard A. Prets, Jr. The deal gained FCC approval on August 16, 2000, and completion of the sale took place on September 1, 2000.
On February 20, 2002, Prets/Blum Media Company, Inc., contracted to sell KGBC to SIGA Broadcasting Corporation for $900,000. Siga Broadcasting Corporation is owned by Dr. Gabriel and Silvia Arango. The company's name is derived from the first two letters of the couple's first names. The sale was approved by the FCC on April 25, 2002, and the transaction was completed on May 9, 2002.
On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall on the upper Texas coast causing flooding and widespread damage. The KGBC broadcast facilities suffered both flooding and damage, knocking the station off the air and keeping it dark for several weeks. The station resumed broadcasting (albeit with low power) on October 6, 2008, and returned to full power operation on February 3, 2009. After spending all of 2009 as a "live and local" broadcaster, the station began leasing all of its airtime to China Radio International starting January 1, 2010. The station then changed formats again to Classic hits.
KGBC stands for more than "Galveston Broadcasting Company". The calls sign was created by Mary Sullivan in 1946, and stands for "Keep Galveston Beaches Clean". Sullivan worked as receptionist and book keeper at KGBC for many years. Owners and partners over the years were Pete Miller, Senator A.R. "Babe" Schwartz, Dade Moore and Vandy Anderson. Anderson earned the title of “The Voice of Galveston" and was the General Manager and leader. Miller, Schwartz, Moore and Anderson were known as Harbor broadcasting Co. The company was later sold to Prets and Blum Broadcasting and then sold after a short while to Siga Broadcasting.
The Galveston Daily News reported on September 1st, 2016, that KGBC will change formats soon, ending the Chinese broadcasting format in place now.
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