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CitySanta Barbara, California
Frequency1290 (kHz)
First air dateMarch 2, 1962
FormatLocal News/Talk
Power500 watts (day)
122 watts (night)
Facility ID57731
Callsign meaninga portmanteau of:
KZBN and KKSB (former callsigns)
Former callsignsKACL (1962-1974)
KKIO (1974-1982)
KXXN (1982-1984)
KESP (1984-1991)
KKSB (1991-1995)
KZBN (1995-2005)
KRNP (March 2005-May 2005)
AffiliationsBBC World Service
OwnerSanta Barbara Broadcasting, Inc.
WebcastListen Live

KZSB (1290 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Santa Barbara, California. The station calls itself "The Santa Barbara News-Press Radio Station", although it is not actually owned by the newspaper. KZSB airs a local news and talk radio format, mainly using reporters and correspondents of The News-Press, with people from the community invited to host weekly one-hour informational shows. KZSB also carries BBC World Service reports at the top of each hour, with BBC programming also heard nights and weekends.

From 1995 to 2005, the station was owned by comedy actor Bob Newhart before being sold to Santa Barbara Broadcasting, Inc. and adopting its current format.


On March 2, 1962, the station first signed on as KACL.[1] It was owned by Riviera Broadcasting and aired a middle of the road music format. KACL was a daytimer, required to go off the air at sunset to protect other radio stations on AM 1290. In 1974, the ownership changed to KACL, Inc. and the call sign switched to KKIO. The station broadcast a country music format, and was an affiliate of ABC Information Network. In 1982, the station again switched its call letters, this time to KXXN, broadcasting an oldies/classic hits format as "Kicks 1290".

After a bankruptcy, the station was bought by Wastcom Broadcasting in 1984, changing its call sign to KESP.[2] The "ESP" stood for "español", with the station switching to a Spanish language format. The station got FCC permission to broadcast around the clock, powered at 122 watts at night. In 1991, the station was acquired by Joyce Erway and the call letters switched to KKSB, with the "SB" standing for the city of license, Santa Barbara. The music continued to be directed to the area's Mexican American community, playing Spanish-language hits of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.[3]

On December 12, 1995, Bob Newhart purchased KKSB under the corporate name Rotijefco, Inc. for $299,000.[4] The call letters were changed to KZBN, with the last two letters representing his initials. KZBN adopted an adult standards format,[5] featuring such artists as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Barbra Streisand, and Dionne Warwick.

In 2005, Newhart sold KZBN to Santa Barbara Broadcasting Inc., owned by Dennis Weibling, and the call sign was changed to KZSB. Although Weibling is a friend of Santa Barbara News-Press owner Wendy McCaw, the News-Press does not actually own KZSB.[6]


  1. ^ "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S." (PDF). Broadcasting Yearbook. Broadcasting Publications Inc. 1963. p. B-26. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  2. ^ "Directory of Radio Stations in the United States and Canada" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook. Broadcasting Publications Inc. 1985. p. B-37. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  3. ^ "Directory of Radio Stations in the U.S." (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook. Broadcasting Publications Inc. 1992. p. A-49. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  4. ^ "Directory of Radio Stations in the U.S." (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook. 1996. p. B-58. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  5. ^ "Gov. Whitman To Name 'Stern' Rest Stop; WESC DJ Cleared Of Molestation Counts" (PDF). Billboard. February 11, 1995. p. 84. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  6. ^ "KZSB News-Press Radio Heralds Return of Community News and Talk". Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2018-10-24.

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Coordinates: 34°25′07″N 119°41′10″W / 34.41861°N 119.68611°W / 34.41861; -119.68611