KNBR is an AM radio station licensed to San Francisco, broadcasting on a clear channel at 680 kHz from transmitting facilities near Belmont, California. KNBR's non-directional 50,000-watt class-A signal can be heard throughout much of the western United States and as far west as the Hawaiian Islands at night. For several decades, KNBR enjoyed a long history as the flagship station of NBC's West Coast radio operations.
A second station also uses the KNBR brand. KTCT (1050 kHz) is licensed to San Mateo, California, with a transmitter located near Hayward, California. It carried a separate sports format known as "The Ticket". "The Sports Leader" is the on-air branding used by both stations. The KNBR re-branding took place in 2003. Both stations' studios are located at 750 Battery Street in San Francisco's Financial District.
Between the two stations, games of the San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Stanford Cardinal, and San Jose SaberCats are broadcast to the San Francisco Bay Area. KTCT is available in the HD format on 1050 kHz.
KNBR began broadcasting on April 17, 1922 as KPO, a 100-watt station owned by the Hale Brothers department store. In 1925, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper bought half-interest in the operation. Originally located in the department store at Market and 5th (now the site of Nordstrom), its horizontal wire antenna on the roof was so efficient, it immediately attracted the attention of audiences all over the Pacific Coast.
In 1927, KPO became an affiliate of the new NBC radio network. In 1933, KPO was sold to NBC's parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and its operation was consolidated into that of its co-owned KGO at the Hunter-Dulin Building, 111 Sutter Street. From there, NBC operated its West Coast network, feeding dozens of stations and operating a news bureau to serve NBC. As NBC's flagship station on the West Coast, it had a full-time orchestra, five studios, and produced many live shows. During the rise of Hollywood, NBC's radio operation was moved to Los Angeles.
In 1941, just before World War II, NBC constructed Radio City at 420 Taylor Street, considered one of the best radio facilities built during radio's golden age. However, with the network control having been moved to Los Angeles, the San Francisco NBC building was never fully utilized. (Later, the building housed KBHK-TV, and now houses the headquarters of a janitorial service.)
During World War II, KPO's news bureau was the major source of NBC of news about the war in the Pacific, and operated shortwave radio stations (transmitters located in Dixon) serving the world. It was at the KPO (RCA) shortwave facility that the message was received that Japanese emperor Hirohito had surrendered, ending World War II.
On November 12, 1947, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved NBC's application to change the call sign from KPO to KNBC, to strengthen its identity as an NBC station (and the only radio station NBC ever owned on the West Coast). This change lasted until 1962, when the network moved the call sign to its television station in Los Angeles, and the radio station was renamed KNBR.
In November 1949, NBC television affiliate KRON-TV went on the air. Only before the TV station's first airdate did NBC fight for the construction permit for the TV station until it lost the bid to the de Young family, then the owners of the San Francisco Chronicle.
In the 1950s when NBC scrapped its comedy, drama, variety shows, and serials, the Los Angeles facility was sold and demolished, and KNBC/KNBR once again became the West Coast NBC network control center and West Coast NBC Radio news operation.
KNBR evolved into a Middle of the road music format mixing in Adult Standards with Soft Rock cuts by the early 1960s. The station continued to be a news intensive format with personalities in the foreground and music in the background. Personalities included Frank Dill, Les Williams, Dave Niles, and Jack Hayes. Until January, 1975, KNBR carried NBC's long-running weekend show, Monitor. By the mid-1970s, KNBR evolved musically into a straight ahead adult contemporary music format and continued as such into the 1980s.
In 1989 NBC sold KNBR to Susquehanna Radio Corporation. It was the last radio property held by NBC, which two years earlier made the decision to sell off its radio division following General Electric's 1986 acquisition of RCA. The station soon added some sports talk in evenings, and took a full-time sports format in 1990 with the lone exception of The Rush Limbaugh Show, which KNBR carried from 1988 until 2000.
In 2015, KNBR's studios were relocated from 55 Hawthorne Street to 750 Battery Street after parent Cumulus Media consolidated its San Francisco radio stations in one building.
KNBR and KTCT are owned by Cumulus Media Partners, LLC, a private partnership of Cumulus Media, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, and Thomas H. Lee Partners. It was purchased from Susquehanna-Pfaltzgraff Media in 2005 along with other Susquehanna Radio Corporation stations.
KTCT "The Ticket 1050"
In 1997, the parent company of KNBR bought KOFY-AM 1050 and converted it to a sports talk station branded "The Ticket 1050" with call letters KTCT. In 2003, several years after KNBR's parent company acquired the 1050 AM signal and converted it to KTCT, "The Ticket 1050", the company opted to re-brand KTCT as another version of KNBR. Both stations feature game broadcasts and sports talk, including shows hosted by Bay Area staple Tom Tolbert. Some shows are simulcast on both 680 and 1050.
KTCT 1050 is the local home of NASCARSprint Cup Series racing, as well as the Sabercats. Some Warriors games were and most of the 49ers preseason games have been broadcast on 1050 AM, as the Giants have priority on 680 AM.
At night, KTCT is plagued by interference caused by radio station XED-AM in Mexicali, which operates with more than its authorized power.U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) negotiations with Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico) have been unsuccessful. Since 1999 KTCT has had special temporary authority to use its 50,000-watt daytime power and pattern at night.
KNBR has been the radio home of the San Francisco Giants since 1979. San Francisco native and Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Jon Miller and Dave Flemming handle play-by-play for the majority of the radio broadcasts. Miller and Flemming are frequently joined by former Giants players Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, the main television team on CSN Bay Area and KNTV; the four announcers move between radio and TV fairly frequently.
Tim Roye was the radio play-by-play announcer for the Golden State Warriors, and was occasionally joined by Jim Barnett on non-televised games as Barnett serves as an analyst for TV broadcasts. On August 25, 2016, the Warriors announced they have ended their partnership with KNBR and signed with 95.7 the Game (KGMZ). The partnership with KNBR lasted 40 years, including the last 32.
In 2005, KNBR became the official radio home of the San Francisco 49ers. All games are also heard on sister station KSAN "107.7 The Bone"; some AM broadcasts may be moved to KTCT due to conflicts with Giants games. 49ers games were broadcast by Joe Starkey and Gary Plummer for four seasons until Starkey's retirement following the 2008 season. In the 2009 season, former Giants baseball and world-class tennis announcer Ted Robinson took over for Starkey as the play-by-play announcer.
On KNBR 680, weekday programming consists of the following blocks, which are pre-empted or moved to KNBR 1050 (KTCT) when there are regularly-scheduled sports events. The morning shows include Murph and Mac (Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey) and The Gary Radnich Show with Larry Krueger. The afternoon shows include Fitz and Brooks (Bob Fitzgerald and Rod Brooks), and The Tom Tolbert Show (co-hosted with Eric Byrnes or Ray Ratto). Evening shows include SportsPhone 680 (hosted by Ray Woodson). Late night programming is usually filled in by hosts featured on CBS Sports Radio. Weekend programs include Commonwealth Club, Hooked on Golf, Protect Your Assets with David Hollander, Sports Saloon, At the Track, Gary Allen on Business, and assorted CBS Sports Radio programming. During basketball season, announcer Tim Roye hosted a weekly show called Warriors Roundtable.
On KNBR 1050 (KTCT), weekday programming consists of the following blocks when not pre-empted by sports events. The morning shows have CBS Sports Radio with Barber, Tierney, Jacobsen; The John Feinstein Show, and The Jim Rome Show. The afternoon show is hosted by Ted Ramey and then The Tom Tolbert Show is simulcast with KNBR 680. The evening shows have Scott Ferrall's show Ferrall on the Bench, followed by late-night programming from CBS Sports Radio and then NBC Sports Radio. Weekend programs include Mortgage Makeover and various CBS Sports and NBC Sports Radio programming. Commonwealth Club is presented early Sunday mornings.
- Frank And Mike in the Morning
- C.J. Bronson
- Carter B. Smith
- The Steve Jamison Couch
- The Leo Laporte Show
- The Damon Bruce Show
- Joel A. Spivak, Speaking
- The Peter B. Collins Show
- California Weekend
- Hollywood Calling (hosted by Jan Wahl)
- Costas Coast to Coast (syndicated, hosted by Bob Costas)
- Instant Replay (syndicated, hosted by Pat Summerall); later Pat Summerall's Sports in America
- The Rush Limbaugh Show
- The Morning Show
- Steve McPartlin (host)
- Kevin Radich and Kim Wonderley (hosts)
- The Pete Franklin Show
- Rick and Rod (hosted by Rick Barry and Rod Brooks)
- Mike Cleary's Food and Travel Enthusiast
- The Extreme Scene
- Cyrus Saatsaz (host)
- Steve Blankenship (host)
- Omar Etcheverry (host)
- The John London Not Just Sports Show
- The Razor and Mr. T
- SportsPhone 68
- SportsPhone 680 with other hosts
- SportsPhone 680 was formerly hosted by Larry Krueger, who was fired after a personal rant against the Giants on the show. During his rant, he criticized the Giants for brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly. Krueger was first suspended for 10 days, then, on August 10, 2005, KNBR announced that it had ceased professional relations with Krueger. Damon Bruce took over the show in October 2005 and hosted until February 26, 2010, when he started his own noon–4 pm show on KNBR 1050. FP Santangelo took over as SportsPhone680 host. His show lasted from March 1, 2010 to January 19, 2011, after the Washington Nationals hired him as their color commentator for MASN. Eric Byrnes took over as SportsPhone680 host, and hosted his first show on March 23, 2011. In May 2012 when Ralph Barbieri was let go by KNBR, Eric Byrnes agreed to co-host with Tom Tolbert until they found a permanent co-host. Eric Byrnes still hosted SportsPhone680 on days where the Giants played day games. He did his last show in July 2012 and Ray Woodson, who's filled in on SportsPhone680 many times and was formerly a sidekick on the Gary Radnich show, officially took over as host. Eric Byrnes co-hosts with Tom Tolbert on some days and Ray Ratto co-hosts with Tom Tolbert on other days.
- Untitled (Public Affairs)
During the 1990s, the program typically began and ended with the phrase This is Gimmy Park Li, your host. No program title was given. Interviews for this program often consisted of local individuals in volunteer, charitable, or minor governmental capacities.
Due to its time slot, the program is the quintessential example of the Sunday morning public affairs ghetto. The program has never been promoted outside of its timeslot. Gimmy Park Li was the station's public affairs director. Her signature was her sign off: This is Gimmy Park Li, your host. Thank you for spending your time ... with us.