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Newsradio KKOB Logo.png
CityAlbuquerque, New Mexico
Broadcast areaAlbuquerque metropolitan area
Branding96.3 Newsradio KKOB
Frequency770 kHz
Repeater(s)96.3 KKOB-FM
First air dateApril 5, 1922 (as KOB, in Las Cruces, moved to Albuquerque in 1933)
Power50,000 watts
230 watts (experimental synchronous operation in Santa Fe)
Facility ID11251
Transmitter coordinates35°12′9″N 106°36′41″W / 35.20250°N 106.61139°W / 35.20250; -106.61139
35°40′56″N 105°58′21″W / 35.68222°N 105.97250°W / 35.68222; -105.97250 (experimental synchronous operation in Santa Fe)
Call sign meaningExtra K to KOB
Former call signsKOB (1922–1986)
AffiliationsWestwood One
Premiere Networks
Westwood One News
OwnerCumulus Media
(Radio License Holding CBC, LLC)
WebcastListen Live

KKOB (770 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Albuquerque, New Mexico. KKOB is owned by Cumulus Media and is the oldest and among the most powerful AM radio stations in New Mexico. The station's format is news/talk, using the brand "96.3 Newsradio KKOB." Its studios and offices are located in Downtown Albuquerque. The transmitter towers are located off Second Street NW in North Valley.[1] KKOB is simulcast on the FM band, over co-owned 96.3 KKOB-FM.

KKOB is a Class B radio station, operating with 50,000 watts around the clock, the maximum allowed by the Federal Communications Commission. It uses a non-directional signal during the daytime, reaching most of New Mexico's populated area, as well as parts of Colorado and Arizona. At night it uses a directional antenna to protect the Class A radio station on 770 kHz, co-owned WABC in New York City. But with a good radio on many nights, KKOB can be heard across much of the western half of North America. It is New Mexico's primary entry point station for the Emergency Alert System.


KKOB's weekday schedule features mostly local talk shows in the daytime including Bob Clark in morning drive time, Darren White middays, TJ Trout afternoons and Brandon Vogt in the evening. The rest of the schedule is nationally syndicated talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Red Eye Radio and America in The Morning.

Weekends includes shows on money, health, home repair, gardening and technology, some of which are paid brokered programming. Syndicated shows on weekends include Jim Bohannon, Chris Plante, Ric Edelman and Bill Cunningham. KKOB also provides local news and weather updates around the clock, traffic "on the 7's" and national news updates from Westwood One News.


KKOB broadcasts University of New Mexico Lobos basketball and football games. Some other Lobo sports can also be heard on co-owned sports radio station KNML AM 610.


KKOB logo as an AM only station

Early Years[edit]

The station was founded by Ralph Willis Goddard at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Las Cruces (now New Mexico State University). It began test broadcasts in 1919 under the call letters 5XD.

On April 5, 1922, the station began regular operation as KOB, a call sign which had belonged to marine radio aboard the Princess Anne before its February 2, 1920 shipwreck on Rockaway Shoals, Long Island.[2] New Mexico A&M sold the station after Goddard was electrocuted while adjusting the transmitter on December 31, 1929.[3]

Albuquerque Journal Ownership[edit]

In 1932,[4] the station moved to Albuquerque, and was later bought by the Albuquerque Journal.[5] KOB was an NBC Red Network affiliate, carrying its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio."

In 1948, Tom Pepperday, owner and publisher of the Journal, signed on Channel 4 KOB-TV, the first television station between the Mississippi River and the West Coast. The stations were acquired by Time Life in 1952. In 1957, they were sold to Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. On August 1, 1967, 93.3 KOB-FM first signed on.[6] At first it simulcast AM 770 but it soon began its own format of beautiful music. In the 1980s, KOB-FM switched to adult contemporary music.

Separating KOB-TV from KOB Radio[edit]

Hubbard Broadcasting sold KOB-AM-FM in 1986. At that time, FCC regulations stated that stations could not share call signs if they were not co-owned. With Hubbard keeping the TV station as KOB-TV, new owner Southwest Radio had to find new call letters for the radio stations. In order to trade on the well-known KOB identity, Southwest simply added an extra "K" to the radio stations' call letters: KKOB and KKOB-FM. The change took place October 28. Despite their different ownership, KKOB AM 770 still has a news partnership with KOB-TV.

In 1994, KKOB-AM-FM were sold to Citadel Broadcasting for $7.8 million.[7] In 2011, Citadel was acquired by current owner Cumulus Media. Under Cumulus ownership, the station has dropped some shows syndicated by Premiere Networks, such as Coast-to-Coast AM and Sean Hannity. Premiere is owned by Cumulus rival iHeartMedia. The only Premiere Networks weekday show remaining on KKOB is Rush Limbaugh. KKOB now mostly airs programs syndicated by co-owned Westwood One, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media.

Legal Dispute with WABC New York[edit]

KOB was involved in a 38-year-long dispute over the use of the 770 kHz frequency with New York City station WABC (originally WJZ), a Class I-A clear-channel station. KOB was moved to AM 770 from AM 1030 to allow WBZ in Boston to have that frequency. The Federal Communications Commission requested that WJZ install a directional antenna to stop the two stations from interfering with each other over large areas of the middle of the country. But WJZ refused to comply, encroaching on the range KOB was intended to cover.

Only after reaching the U.S. Supreme Court was the issue settled, when the FCC assigned KOB to a new license class. Decades later, KKOB and WABC became sister stations when Citadel Broadcasting purchased ABC Radio in 2007. Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.[8]

Hot Air Balloon Accident[edit]

On October 9, 2004, a Smokey Bear hot air balloon participating in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta collided with one of KKOB's transmitter towers. Three people were on the balloon, Albuquerque pilot Bill Chapel and young passengers Aaron Whitacre of Tucson, Arizona and Troy Wells Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Luckily they were able to climb out of the basket and onto the tower.

KKOB signed off the air and shut down its transmitter following the accident in order to enable the passengers to climb down to safety. The tower was energized and could have led to electrocution once the passengers set foot on ground.[9] Because the accident was recorded by several local television stations, the footage has been licensed, and it has become a standard story on a number of televised reality programs which deal with "caught on camera" incidents.


770 KKOB has been awarded four Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters. One in 1997, "Talk Station of the Year" in 2001, "Medium Market Station of the Year" in 2009 and "Legendary Station" in 2010. The station has received 13 nominations. KKOB was awarded "Station of the Year" honors from Radio & Records magazine in 2009. From the New Mexico Broadcasters Association the station has received numerous awards including "Station of the Year" 12 times since 2000.

Former Personalities[edit]

  • Larry Ahrens, mornings 1980-2004[10]
  • Jim 'Noochie' Villanucci, afternoons 1999 – February 28, 2013 [11]
  • Billy "Fatback" Cornelius, evenings 2013-2014[12]
  • Terrie Q. Sayre, weekends 2007–2015, died on January 22, 2015[13]
  • Mike Roberts, voice of University of New Mexico football and basketball games on KKOB from 1966 until 2007. Also did the morning sports news for many years, and broadcast Albuquerque Dukes games on KKOB for many years. Died in September 2016.[14]
  • Pat Frisch, former program director who had done mornings and middays, left station in June 2019.[15]
  • Scott Stiegler, afternoon host from 2013-2019 now works in the sales department.[16]

FM Translator[edit]

Logo from 2016-2020

Beginning on September 1, 2016, KKOB (AM) began to broadcast its programming on the FM band on translator 94.5 K233CG, which is licensed to Sandia. The translator was owned by Martha Whitman, who owned smooth jazz outlet KOAZ 1510 and K279BP 103.7 (now licensed to Vanguard Media). Cumulus announced that it would purchase K233CG for $425,000.[17] The FM signal had previously broadcast a 1980s hits format from KRKE (now KQNM) until late September 2015, when that station had been put up for sale. KQRI had rebroadcast on the translator from December 1, 2015 until mid August 2016. After launching the FM simulcast on the full-power 96.3 frequency, KKOB announced they would drop the simulcast on 94.5. The translator now simulcasts sister station KTBL.


  1. ^ Radio-Locator.com/KKOB
  2. ^ "Broadcast Station Calls With a Past" by William Fenwick, Radio Broadcast, July 1928, page 150.
  3. ^ https://engr.nmsu.edu/news_26_10_goddard/
  4. ^ https://www.oldradio.com/archives/stations/ccs/kob.htm
  5. ^ "KOB Will Move" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 15, 1932. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  6. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1968 page B-106
  7. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1996 page B-272
  8. ^ "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
  9. ^ "Associated Press, via Albuquerque Journal: "Final Day of Fiesta Ends With Dramatic Balloon Accident", October 10, 2004". abqjournal.com. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  10. ^ https://www.abqjournal.com/news/metro/274059metro12-17-04.htm
  11. ^ https://www.abqjournal.com/174012/longtime-kkob-radio-host-off-the-air.html
  12. ^ https://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/116836/billy-cornelius-launches-show-on-kkob
  13. ^ Ryan Boetel, Journal Staff Writer. "Radio personality Terrie Q. Sayre dies". www.abqjournal.com. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  14. ^ https://www.abqjournal.com/844304/longtime-voice-of-the-lobos-mike-roberts-dies.html
  15. ^ https://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/187170/pat-frisch-exits-kkob-a-albuquerque-after-20-years
  16. ^ https://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/183148/t-j-trout-returns-to-albuquerque-radio-for-afterno
  17. ^ "KKOB Albuquerque Adds $425,000 FM Signal - RadioInsight". radioinsight.com. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2018.

External links[edit]