|City||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles Area|
|Slogan||"News. Talk. Evolved."|
|Frequency||790 kHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||August 1925|
|Power||6,600 watts daytime|
7,900 watts nighttime
|Callsign meaning||K American Broadcasting Company (former owner & affiliation)|
|Former callsigns||KFXB (1925-1927)|
|Affiliations||Westwood One Network|
Westwood One News
USC Trojans Radio Network
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Radio License Holdings LLC)
|Webcast||Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)|
KABC (790 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Los Angeles, California. It is owned by Cumulus Media and airs a talk radio format, one of the earliest stations in the U.S. to program talk shows 24 hours a day.
The studios and offices are on Lindblade Street in Culver City. The transmitter is on Chesapeake Avenue near Martin Luther King Boulevard in Los Angeles, a site shared with AM 1330 KWKW. KABC is powered at 6,600 watts by day, with a non-directional signal. At night, the power increases slightly to 7,900 watts but a directional antenna is used to protect other stations on AM 790. KABC is also heard on the HD2 subchannel of 95.5 KLOS. (Cumulus recently sold KLOS to Meruelo Media, so that may change.)
KABC's weekday schedule begins with a simulcast of the early morning news on KTLA Channel 5. At 6 a.m., Jillian Barberie and John Phillips host morning drive time followed by Larry O'Connor of WMAL-FM in Washington, D.C. Dr. Drew Pinsky and Leeann Tweeden are heard in early afternoons, followed by the syndicated Ben Shapiro Show. In the evening, Peter Tilden is followed by "Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb." Late nights feature "Red Eye Radio" and "America in the Morning."
The weekend schedule features shows on money, health, home improvement, law, car repair, pets, food and wine. Most weekend shows are paid brokered programming. KABC is the flagship station for USC Trojans football and basketball games. A weekly "Trojans Live" show airs on Monday evenings.
On weekdays, local newscasters cover national and local stories. Nights and weekends, world and national news is supplied by Westwood One News, with local newscasters giving Southern California updates.
On November 15, 1929, KPLA was sold to Earle C. Anthony, a Packard automobile dealer and owner of rival radio station KFI. Anthony changed KPLA's call letters to KECA, representing Anthony's initials. KECA and KFI were located in studios at 1000 Hope Street. KFI, then and now, is powered at 50,000 watts, while KECA broadcast at 1,000 watts.
In August 1939, Anthony purchased KEHE 780 kHz (formerly KTM) and took that station off the air, so he could relocate KECA to AM 780. In 1941, KECA moved one step up the dial to 790 kHz as part of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA), which shifted the frequencies of many radio stations. The power was increased to 5,000 watts, with a directional antenna used at night.
In 1944, new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules went into effect prohibiting any person or company from owning more than one radio station in the same media market. Anthony decided to keep the more powerful 640 KFI. The Blue Network (originally owned by NBC but soon to become the ABC Radio Network) bought KECA in July 1944, for $800,000. The studios and offices were moved to 1440 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood. (A Chick-fil-A restaurant now stands on the site.)
KECA became the West Coast flagship station of the ABC Network. Some of the programs broadcast nationally by ABC originated in the KABC studios. In 1947, an FM station was added at 95.5 MHz. At first, KECA-FM was powered at only 4,500 watts and it largely simulcast the AM station. (In 1971, it became album rock station KLOS.)
In 1949, ABC put Channel 7 on the air. It was the last of Los Angeles' six original VHF television stations to sign on and the last of ABC's five original owned and operated stations to go on the air. To reflect their corporate ownership, in 1954, the call letters for the three ABC stations were changed to KABC, KABC-FM and KABC-TV, after that call sign was released by a station in San Antonio. The studios for KABC-AM-FM-TV were at 1539 North Vine Street in Hollywood. The radio stations later moved to 3321 La Cienega Boulevard.
KABC became a pioneer of the talk radio format, going "all-talk" around the clock, in September 1960. It was the second radio station to make a 24 hour commitment to the format, a few months after CBS-owned KMOX in St. Louis. Through the 1970s, KABC was frequently Los Angeles' top radio station, and among the most listened-to radio stations in America. In the 1961-1962 edition of Broadcasting Yearbook, an advertisement shows a KABC microphone. The headline on the ad is "Here's Los Angeles' Conversation Piece." The ad says KABC's talk programming is "newsworthy, stimulating and provocative."
Along with co-owned 810 KGO in San Francisco, ABC built a nationally syndicated radio network around the personalities of the two top-rated West Coast talk outlets. The ABC TalkRadio Network featured KABC personalities Michael Jackson who hosted middays, psychologist Dr. Toni Grant in afternoons, Ira Fistel and Ray Briem at night. The network was heard on scores of radio stations around the country, including co-owned WABC 770 AM in New York City.
ABC Television and Radio were acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 1996. In the early 2000s, Disney decided to sell off its radio division. ABC Radio came under ownership of Citadel Broadcasting in 2006. Citadel later merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.
In October 2011, Cumulus Broadcasting took over the running of KABC and classic rock sister station 95.5 KLOS. Airborne traffic reporter Jorge Jarrin, son of Los Angeles Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, was let go after 26 years. Also fired were imaging voice Howard Hoffman and news director/morning newscaster Mark Austin Thomas, who joined Newsradio 1070 KNX.
With the dominance of FM radio, and with only a 5,000 watt signal, KABC has declined in the ratings over the years. Much of the talk radio audience has switched to 50,000 watt 640 KFI, owned by iHeartMedia. iHeart also owns 1150 KEIB, which carries popular syndicated hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. The Salem Media Group's 870 KRLA features two hosts previously heard on KABC, Dennis Prager and Larry Elder. All three talk stations are usually ahead of KABC in the Nielsen ratings. As of August 2018, KABC is the 40th ranked station in the market in a 50-station survey, tied with Persian language station 670 KIRN.
From 1974 to 1997, KABC was the flagship station of the Los Angeles Dodgers and their hall-of-fame broadcaster Vin Scully. After some years on 980 KFWB, the team returned to KABC in 2008. On September 28, 2011, the final Dodgers baseball game was broadcast on KABC from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. The games moved to 570 KLAC for the 2012 season.
In August 2014, KABC became the flagship radio station of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. That arrangement ended in 2018, with the games switching to 1150 KEIB. The LA Galaxy soccer team also had its games on KABC. Those games switched to 710 KSPN, owned by ESPN Radio.
On March 31, 2016, KABC was granted an FCC construction permit to move to the same transmitter site as the one used by 1330 KWKW, owned by Lotus Communications. The daytime power would increase to 6,600 watts and nighttime power would be raised to 6,800 watts.
On February 21, 2017 an application to modify the construction permit was accepted for filing. The night power would increase to 7,900 watts.
KABC has been the home of many influential radio hosts, including early talk radio pioneers Joe Pyne and Louis Lomax. The station has also served as the home of Michael Jackson, whose talk show attracted celebrities, politicians, and newsmakers of all types, pioneering radio psychologist Dr. Toni Grant and psychiatrist David Viscott, history buff Ira Fistel and all-night talker Ray Briem. In 1992, KABC hired its first African American woman news anchor, Yolanda L. Gaskins, who went on to become the station's first African American female show host. Two former KABC hosts, Dennis Prager and Larry Elder, are now syndicated on the Salem Radio Network and heard on its LA station 870 KRLA.
The talk radio duo John and Ken (John Chester Kobylt and Kenneth Robertson Chiampou) came over to KABC to host mornings after they were released from the afternoon show on KFI. Their KABC stint lasted from July 1, 1999 to October 20, 2000. They later returned to afternoons on KFI.
A lawsuit alleged that school employees of Academia Semillas del Pueblo (ASDP) received death threats, and that the school was the target of a bomb threat, because of Doug McIntyre's extensive on-air criticism of the school, in which he accused ASDP of espousing a racist and separatist Anti-American philosophy. The suit was dismissed in January 2008.