|City||San Diego, California|
|Broadcast area||San Diego County, California|
|Branding||AM 760 KGB|
|Slogan||San Diego's Talk|
(iHM Licenses, LLC)
|KGB-FM, KHTS-FM, KIOZ, KLSD, KMYI, KOGO, KSSX|
First air date
|August 19, 1941|
Former call signs
|1450 kHz (1941–48)|
550 kHz (1948–54)
540 kHz (1954–65)
Call sign meaning
|K George Bowles (station manager of KGB, 1928–1931)|
|Power||5,000 watts day|
50,000 watts night
Public license information
|Webcast||Listen live (via iHeartRadio)|
Signing on in 1941 as KFMB, the station picked up its present talk radio format in 1994 after many years as a music station. Throughout its history, KFMB featured hosts and personalities including Geoff Edwards, Bobby Rich, Ted Leitner, Rick Roberts, and Roger Hedgecock. From the 1970s to 2000s, KFMB was the radio home of various San Diego sports teams, namely the San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres, and San Diego State Aztecs. Today, KGB features conservative talk shows both local and national, with Armstrong & Getty and The Mark Levin Show among its nationally syndicated programming. KGB is also home to Las Vegas Raiders football games.
From 1964 to 2018, KFMB-AM-FM-TV (760 AM, 100.7 FM, and TV channel 8) were all owned by Midwest Television. In 2018, Tegna Inc. bought all three KFMB stations. In 2020, the radio stations were sold to Local Media San Diego, which then sold the AM station to iHeartMedia. Tegna continues to own KFMB-TV. Local Media San Diego changed the FM call sign to KFBG.
History as KFMB (1941–2020)
Early years (1941–1946)
In 1940, the Worcester Broadcasting Corporation obtained a construction permit for a 250-watt radio station. Its president, Warren Burnham Worcester, was an aircraft designer and engineer from a prominent family in Worcester, Massachusetts. Worcester Broadcasting's station had call sign KFMB named after Worcester's children: the "M" for daughter Mary and "B" for son Burnham. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) construction permit was for 1420 kHz. By the time the station signed on, all stations on 1420 kHz had moved to 1450 kHz as a result of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement.
With a transmitter on the top of the Spreckels Building, KFMB debuted at 8 p.m. on August 19, 1941, broadcasting out of studios at the corner of Pacific Highway and Ash Street, then known as Pacific Square. KFMB's opening night featured classical music and opera performances and the United States Marine Band. KFMB would continue with what Worcester called "the finest classical and semi-classical groups, vocalists, and the greatest name bands in the country."
Following a brief illness, Warren B. Worcester died on October 24, 1942, at age 33. In July 1943, the trustees of Worcester's estate sold KFMB for $95,000 to its general manager, Jack O. Gross and a business partner, O.L. Taylor; KFMB would join the NBC Blue Network that September. The FCC approved the sale of KFMB to Gross and Taylor in November. Gross purchased Taylor's 50 percent interest and became sole owner on June 12, 1945.
Expansion into FM and TV (1947–1963)
In 1947, KFMB moved from the NBC Blue Network to ABC Radio. Under Gross's stewardship, KFMB pioneered FM and television service in San Diego, launching KFMB-FM on 101.5 MHz in April 1947 and KFMB-TV on channel 8 in May 1949. On March 30, 1948, KFMB-AM moved from 1450 to 550 kHz and increased its power from 250 to 1,000 watts. The first KFMB-FM went off the air in 1950.
In November 1950, Gross sold the KFMB stations to John A. Kennedy, a former publisher of the San Diego Daily Journal. Three years later, Kennedy sold the trio to a partnership of television producer Jack Wrather and industry executive Helen Alvarez.
On December 7, 1954, KFMB moved from 550 to 540 kHz.
In 1957 Alvarez sold her shares in KFMB to Wrather, who then sold his broadcast interests to Buffalo, New York-based Transcontinent Television Corporation in early 1959. A second KFMB-FM station signed on in 1959 on its present frequency of 100.7 MHz. Also in 1959, Geoff Edwards joined KFMB as a host.
Purchase by Midwest Television, full service era (1964–1974)
As part of Transcontinent's exit from broadcasting, KFMB-AM-FM-TV was sold in 1964 to Midwest Television, controlled by the Meyer family and then based in Champaign, Illinois. From 1964 to 1975, KFMB had a full service format combining music, news, and sports. KFMB moved to its current position at 760 kHz on December 29, 1965. This frequency changed after a realignment of broadcast channels between the United States and Mexico forced the station to vacate 540 AM. At the time, the latter became a new clear-channel frequency allocated to Mexico, and the FCC granted 760 AM as a replacement, although limited to 5 kW full-time (the FCC had earlier assigned KGU in Honolulu to 760 AM).
KFMB debuted the Charlie & Harrigan morning show in 1972 hosted by Jack Woods (as Charlie) and Paul Menard (as Harrigan), who previously hosted that show on stations in Dallas and Cleveland. Charlie & Harrigan quickly became the most popular morning radio show in San Diego, before the hosts left for Dallas in 1975 and eventually returned to San Diego on rival station KCBQ in 1976. KFMB also began broadcasting San Diego State Aztecs football and men's basketball games in 1972.
Addition of sports and talk shows (1975–1993)
Starting in 1975, KFMB began adding talk shows to its lineup, with Mac Hudson and Joe Bauer co-hosting the Hudson & Bauer morning drive show, which provided humorous discussions of the news in the voices of various characters. Bobby Rich also joined KFMB around the same time. Mark Larson began the first of two stints with KFMB in June 1976 as a weekend DJ and moving up to weeknights from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. From roughly 1975 through 1989, KFMB was one of the top three highest rated stations in San Diego, frequently fighting its FM sister, then known as "B-100", for the top position.
Ted Leitner joined the KFMB TV and AM stations as a sports reporter in January 1978; in his first job at KFMB, he provided sports reports and commentary on Hudson & Bauer. Bill Ballance, formerly of KABC in Los Angeles, began hosting All Talk Slice of the Night on KFMB on March 1, 1978.
In 1979, Larson became KFMB's program director, and KFMB became the flagship station for San Diego Padres baseball games, which were announced by Jerry Coleman and Leitner. KFMB dropped San Diego State sports in 1983.
Switch to news/talk (1994–1996)
With the KFMB stations under new management, KFMB dropped music and switched full time to a news/talk format in April 1994, debuting talk shows hosted by Geni Cavitt and Stacy Taylor and a two-hour news show during the 4–6 p.m. afternoon drive hours. With this format change, Larson left KFMB to become general manager of KPRZ. In June 1994, KFMB was among the first stations to carry the newly syndicated Dr. Laura Program out of KFI in Los Angeles. Leitner, a longtime sports announcer and reporter for KFMB, debuted a general issues afternoon talk show in February 1995. In the same month, KFMB replaced evening host Rollye James with The Late Late Radio Show, a syndicated show co-hosted by Tom Snyder and Elliott Forrest.
KFMB began a second stint as the home of San Diego State football in 1996.
Shifts in sports and talk programming (1997–2003)
As a cost cutting measure, KFMB laid off its radio news staff in September 1997 and began sourcing news updates from KFMB television reporters; although the San Diego chapter of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) initially opposed the move before signing a new contract with KFMB stations in 1998. Then in October 1997, the Hudson and Bauer morning show ended its 22-year run on KFMB following the death of Mac Hudson at age 58. Former Charlie & Harrigan co-host Jack Woods returned to KFMB to replace Hudson in the successor Jack and Joe show. The end of the year saw the departure of another longtime host, as Stacy Taylor left KFMB after six years.
Beginning in 1998, KFMB began broadcasting San Diego Chargers football games after XETRA's one-year contract expired. The following year, KFMB signed a contract extension to secure the rights to Chargers games until the 2004 season. That year, KFMB also replaced its afternoon news show with a sports talk show hosted by former Chargers running back Hank Bauer (no relation to Joe Bauer).
The year 2000 marked major changes to the KFMB lineup. Leitner moved from afternoon to morning drive in January, and his show became the lead-in to Jack and Joe. Then in April, KFMB hired Rick Roberts away from KOGO as afternoon drive host. Regarding sports broadcasts, KFMB lost the rights to Padres baseball and San Diego State football games to KOGO, which was the Padres' original flagship station from 1969 to 1978; KFMB also dropped Hank Bauer's sports talk show at the end of 1999.
In 2001, Joe Bauer resigned from KFMB to join rival KPOP to host a show focusing on health and personal finance. Subsequently, Woods would reunite with Charlie & Harrigan co-host Menard for a show hosted under their real names.
KFMB later expanded the presence of nationally syndicated conservative talk, dropping the Woods/Menard show and an evening sports talk show in March 2002 for The Sean Hannity Show and The Laura Ingraham Show. Roberts attracted media attention for his frequent discussion of the murder of Danielle van Dam, an eight-year-old girl from San Diego, on his program.
After Leitner stepped down from his longtime morning drive show for personal reasons, Roberts became the new morning drive host in February 2003.
Final years under Midwest Television ownership (2004–2017)
In the fall of 2005, KFMB began broadcasting commentary by Paul Harvey. After many years affiliated with CBS Radio News, KFMB switched to ABC News Radio as its national news provider on April 23, 2006. KFMB returned to CBS Radio News in June 2012.
By 2009, Roberts's KFMB show was among six local conservative talk radio shows in California measured by Arbitron to have a weekly audience of more than 100,000. As the Great Recession forced radio stations to make budget cuts, by 2010, Roberts was among only two local hosts of daily talk radio shows in San Diego. That changed in January 2011 as KFMB hired Mike Slater from WTJS in Jackson, Tennessee, as the new morning drive host. Roberts returned to his former afternoon drive slot that long had a syndicated show, The Savage Nation.
Roberts left KFMB in December 2011, and his show was replaced the following month by Roger Hedgecock, who moved his nationally syndicated show from KOGO. In October 2012, Hedgecock show producer Brett Winterble debuted his own evening show on KFMB in replacement of The Savage Nation, which had temporarily exited syndication.
Hedgecock retired from his radio show on March 27, 2015; Slater became the new afternoon drive host March 30, and Hedgecock would remain a part-time commentator on KFMB. Winterble returned to KFMB as afternoon drive host in September 2015.
On October 6, 2015, Midwest Television entered into a joint operating agreement with Local Media San Diego LLC, which operated three Tijuana-licensed stations–XHRM-FM (92.5 FM), XETRA-FM (91.1 FM), and XHITZ-FM (90.3 FM) — forming an entity known as "SDLocal" to market all five stations together. Management said the intent of the agreement was to "[preserve the] local ownership and operation of San Diego's top-rated radio stations". The agreement ended at the end of 2016. Around the same time, KFMB dropped The Sean Hannity Show after 13 years in favor of an expansion of Slater's show and a one-hour news show leading into Winterble.
Tegna ownership (2018–2019)
In October 2017, local media reported that KFMB-AM-FM-TV were being offered for sale by Midwest Television. On December 18, 2017, Tegna, Inc. announced it would purchase the KFMB stations for $325 million; the deal marked Tegna's re-entry into radio, as predecessor Gannett Company had sold its previous radio group to Evergreen Media in 1997. The sale was completed on February 15, 2018, ending the Meyer family's stewardship of the stations after 53 years.
Breakup of the KFMB stations (2019–2020)
On March 12, 2019, former KFMB studios owner Elisabeth Kimmel was arrested for her role in the infamous 2019 college admissions scandal which involved conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud to boost her son's college admission credentials for pole vaulting. In December 2019, Tegna agreed to sell KFMB-AM-FM to Local Media San Diego for $5 million, putting them back under common control with its three Mexican-licensed stations and separating them from KFMB-TV. The deal did not include the rights to the KFMB call letters; thus, the call signs of the KFMB radio stations were changed after the closure of the acquisition. Local Media had reportedly explored reselling the AM station after the closure, and promptly announced a $1.2 million resale of KFMB to iHeartMedia when the deal closed on March 17, 2020; KFMB immediately flipped to a temporary full-time simulcast of KOGO at noon local time, with its regular programming resuming on March 19. KFMB host Mark Larson said that the KOGO simulcast was necessary due to "the huge logistic challenges" associated with the ownership change. iHeartMedia completed the purchase on June 12, 2020. Winterble left KFMB to join WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina, in February 2020.
History as KGB (2020–present)
On July 3, 2020, as required by the sale from Tegna, iHeart announced that KFMB would change its call sign to KGB, effective the next day. The KGB call sign was previously used on AM in San Diego by sister station KLSD (1360 AM) from 1928 to 1982; the reassignment of the three-letter call sign was allowed, as KGB-FM (101.5 FM), which retained the call sign after 1360 AM dropped it, is also owned by iHeart.
The KGB studios are in San Diego's Kearny Mesa district, while the station transmitter is in nearby Santee. The transmitter location is unique in that it is found on both sides of a highway, the San Clemente Canyon Freeway (California State Route 52), near Exit 13.
KGB is one of a few radio stations in the United States that significantly increases power at night. It has a daytime power of 5,000 watts and a nighttime power of 50,000 watts. This is because of the close proximity of KBRT (740 AM) in Costa Mesa, California. KBRT, which once had been a daytimer station, currently goes from 50,000 watts by day to only 190 watts at night. That allows KGB to increase its nighttime power. KGB's signal is non-directional during the day, but at night, it operates on a three-tower array directional antenna system, pointing away from the east. That allows KGB to protect WJR in Detroit, the dominant Class A station on 760 AM. KGB is a Class B station.
Weekdays consist of conservative talk shows, with two locally produced programs during the daytime hosted by Mark Larson and Mike Slater. Nationally syndicated shows air at other times, including Armstrong & Getty, The Buck Sexton Show, The Mark Levin Show, Red Eye Radio, First Light and America in the Morning.
Weekends feature shows on money, health and real estate, as well as repeats of weekday shows. Some weekend hours are paid brokered programming. CBS News Radio provides news updates at the beginning of each hour.
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- Works cited
- Crane, Marie Brenn (1977). The development of commercial radio in San Diego to 1950 (PDF) (M.S.). San Diego State University. OCLC 11804427.
- Official website
- KGB in the FCC AM station database
- KGB on Radio-Locator
- KGB in Nielsen Audio's AM station database