|Broadcast area||Fresno, California|
|First air date||1922|
|Owner||Cumulus Media Inc.
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
KMJ (580 AM, "KMJ 580") is a news/talk radio station located in Fresno, California, owned by Cumulus Media. Its studios are located at the Radio City building on Shaw Avenue in North Fresno and its transmitter is in Orange Cove, California. While 580 kHz is a Regional broadcast frequency, the station broadcasts at 50,000 watts, the highest power for an AM station permitted by the FCC, covering most of Central California.
KMJ simulcasts the same programs on both 580 AM and 105.9 FM in Fresno, California. When 105.9 first became a talk station, it sometimes aired programs that were different than 580. But now, both stations' programming and ratings are combined, regardless of whether the listener tunes in 580 or 105.9. The station focuses primarily on locally produced news/talk programming in the daytime and runs several nationally syndicated programs at night, including Mark Levin, Armstrong & Getty, Red Eye Radio and America in The Morning from Westwood One, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media, the parent company of KMJ.
KMJ first began broadcasting in March 1922, and was originally owned by the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation. It was later acquired by the McClatchy Newspaper Company in 1925. It is the 38th oldest licensed, and continuously operated radio station in the United States.
When the station first began broadcasting, it was licensed as an "E & M" station, and shared those frequencies with every other E & M station in existence at the time.
KMJ operated on a number of other frequencies between 1925 and 1932; some of the frequencies used included 820 and 1350 kHz. In 1931, KMJ operated on 1210 kHz, with a power of 100 watts (cf. White's Radio Log, Spring / Summer 1931). In 1935, KMJ was on the current frequency of 580 kHz, with a power of 500 watts (cf. White's Radio Log, Nov. 1935).
McClatchy was intent on improving the signal, and competed with KTAB in Oakland for a new frequency (580 kHz), which was being made available by the newly created FCC.
Eventually, McClatchy was awarded the new channel, and KMJ moved to 580 kHz, authorized by the Federal Radio Commission effective July 22, 1932, with an increase in power from 100 W to 500 W with unlimited time. Later, operations were boosted to 1 kW non-directional from a building rooftop in Downtown Fresno.
In 1936, a new 5,000-watt non-directional transmitter site was constructed, which utilized a 5/8 wave antenna, and was located 5 miles east of Fresno, at the northeast corner of the Kings Canyon Road and Fowler Avenue intersection.
The station was an affiliate of the Don Lee Network, and also carried CBS Radio network broadcasts until 1936, when KMJ partnered with NBC Radio. It remained a NBC affiliate until NBC ceased hourly newscasts in the 1990s. KMJ then joined ABC, before rejoining CBS when Westinghouse Electric Corporation (later be renamed CBS Corp.), acquired the station from American Radio Systems in 1998.
Until 1936, and the arrival of KARM, it was the only radio station in Fresno.
Modern studios were constructed as an addition to the Fresno Bee Building on Van Ness Avenue. The studios were subsequently used by Valley Public Radio, and later, McClatchy donated the entire building to the Fresno Metropolitan Museum (the addition was demolished in 2007, as part of a renovation of the main building).
In 1941, Hammer Field (which later became Fresno Air Terminal) was constructed, as a training base for the Army Air Corps. The KMJ tower was directly in line with the runway, and the Army wanted the site relocated. The site was then moved some 16 miles west of Fresno, to the intersection of Madera and North Avenues (south of Kerman). The transmitter building was moved to the Kerman site, and the existing tower was unstacked and moved as well; however, it was only 660 feet in height. The remaining 330 feet were stored on the site, with the intention of creating a directional array, although World War II interrupted the project and it never resumed. The extra portion was eventually moved to Sacramento, and used in the construction of the KFBK transmitter site in 1945.
From 1925 until 1987, KMJ was owned by McClatchy Company, which also owned KFBK in Sacramento, KBEE in Modesto, KERN in Bakersfield, and KKOH in Reno. McClatchy Newspapers also owned three daily newspapers in Fresno, Sacramento, and Modesto. In 1953, McClatchy signed on KMJ-TV on channel 24. The television station would be sold off in 1981 to become KSEE.
In March 2009, Peak Broadcasting replaced the KFJK Jack FM format on 105.9 FM, with Talk programming as KMJ-FM. At first, only some programs were shared by both KMJ-AM and FM. But now, all programming is simulcast.
In the fall of 2012, Premiere Radio Networks, owned by Clear Channel Radio exercised a termination clause and ended its relationship with both KMJ-AM and FM. As of January 1, 2013, all Premiere syndicated shows (including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were moved to Clear Channel-controlled stations in the greater Fresno area. KMJ-AM-FM used the opportunity to go with an all live and local line-up of shows from 5:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M., Monday through Friday.
On August 30, 2013, a deal was announced in which Townsquare Media would purchase Peak Broadcasting, and then immediately swap Peak's Fresno stations, including KMJ, to Cumulus Media in exchange for Cumulus' stations in Dubuque, Iowa and Poughkeepsie, New York. The deal is part of Cumulus' acquisition of Dial Global. Peak, Townsquare, and Dial Global are all controlled by Oaktree Capital Management. The sale to Cumulus was completed on November 14, 2013.
In September 2013, a Special Temporary Authority was granted by the FCC that authorized KMJ to use the auxiliary site in Kerman at 5,000 watts, while one of its directional antennas at the 50,000 watt site in Orange Cove underwent repairs.
KMJ uses a 50,000 watt transmitter. It has a directional antenna consisting of 4 mast radiators situated at 36-39-37.2 N 119-20-52.8 W, 36-39-29.2 N 119-20-52.8 W, 36-39-27.9 N 119-20-48.3 W, 36-39-36.5 N 119-20-47.1 W; each of the towers is 256.1 metres (840 ft) tall. KMJ's signal can be picked up as far south as Santa Clarita and as far north as San Francisco. Some nights it can be heard in Hawaii, Australia and Japan with a high-quality radio.
Additionally, the 50,000 watt site develops an effective radiated power of 250,000 watts, at a bearing of 270 degrees true. That, and the extremely good ground conductivity of the San Joaquin Valley, allow KMJ to produce a signal strength of 50-100 mv/m over the city of Fresno, which is located at a distance of 26 miles (42 km) west of the 50,000 watt transmitter site.
The former main transmitter site at Kerman remains licensed as an auxiliary transmitter site.
- "Local Gets Boost" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 1, 1932. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- "Official: Cumulus Buys Dial Global, Spins Some Stations To Townsquare; Peak Stations Sold To Townsquare, Fresno Spun To Cumulus". All Access. August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Cumulus Makes Dial Global And Townsquare Deals Official". RadioInsight. August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "Cumulus-Townsquare-Peak Deal Closes". All Access. November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- "Engineering STA". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.