|City of license||Galveston, Texas|
|Broadcast area||Greater Houston|
|First air date||February 1, 1947|
|Power||2,500 watts (day)
250 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||K Galveston Broadcasting Company|
|Affiliations||China Radio International|
|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 recovers 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 adopts the government stance on political issues.
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 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.
- "Directory of Standard Broadcasting Stations of the United States". 1948 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1948. p. 232.
- Cousins, Rick (September 3, 2005). "Historic KGBC part of growing Catholic radio". The Daily News (Galveston, TX). Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "KGBC Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
- Stanton, Robert (March 26, 2009). "Galveston After Ike: Radio station back on the air". Houston Chronicle (Houston, TX). p. 3. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- Jones, Leigh (March 10, 2009). "Island radio station making a comeback". The Daily News (Galveston, TX). Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- Radio Info. January 5, 2010 http://www.radio-info.com/news/kgbc-1540-in-galveston-texas-is-leased-to-a-chinese-media-company. Retrieved December 29, 2011. Missing or empty
- Elder, Laura (January 5, 2010). "Isle radio station leases airtime to Chinese". The Daily News (Galveston, TX). Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. U.S. Federal Communications Commission Media Bureau. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- Long, Steven (September 26, 1989). "KGBC: tuned in to danger; Galveston's only radio station offers quirky mix". Houston Chronicle (Houston, TX). p. 1. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Directory of AM, FM, and TV Stations of the United States". 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1950. p. 292.
- "AM Station Classes: Clear, Regional, and Local Channels". Federal Communications Commission, Audio Division. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1971 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1971. p. B-202.
- "The Facilities of Radio". 1979 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1979. p. C-215.
- "Station Search Details (40427)". FCC Media Bureau. August 1, 1983. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Application Search Details (BAL-20000616AFW)". FCC Media Bureau. September 1, 2000. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Application Search Details (BAL-20020228ACR)". FCC Media Bureau. May 9, 2002. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- "Application Search Details (BLSTA-20080923ACO)". FCC Media Bureau. January 8, 2009. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
- SIGA Broadcasting official website
- China Radio International (English) official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KGBC
- Radio-Locator Information on KGBC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KGBC
- "Jay Allen in the Morning, 1540 KGBC Galveston TX". AirChexx. April 30, 2002.