|Broadcast||Los Angeles, California|
|Branding||KFWB News 980|
|Frequency||980 kHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1925 (on radio); March 11, 1968 (all-news format)|
|Callsign meaning|| Sequentially issued |
(unofficially means Keep Filming Warner Bros.)
|Sister stations(s)|| KAMP-FM, KCBS-FM, KNX, KROQ, KRTH, KTWV|
part of CBS Corp. cluster w/ TV stations KCBS-TV & KCAL-TV
|Sister Stations|| KAMP-FM, KCBS-FM, KNX, KROQ, KRTH, KTWV|
part of CBS Corp. cluster w/ TV stations KCBS-TV & KCAL-TV
|Webcast||Listen Live to KFWB News 980|
KFWB is a Los Angeles, California AM radio station operating on 980 kHz with 5,000 watts of power from a transmitter site near Lincoln Park (East Los Angeles). The station has had a mostly all-news format since 1968.
The station's history goes back to 1925, when it was launched by Sam Warner, the founder of Warner Brothers. The station launched the careers of such stars as Ronald Reagan & Bing Crosby. The station was the first to broadcast the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.
Although some think it's call letters stand for Keep Filming Warner Bros., actually the callsign was sequentially issued by the Department of Commerce, predecessor to the FCC (March 1925) @ the same time as KFWA in Ogden Utah (Feb 1925) & KFWC for San Bernardino (also Feb 1925).
A 1940 Merrie Melodies cartoon, produced by Warner Bros. (and directed by Chuck Jones), entitled "Bedtime for Sniffles", has Sniffles the mouse trying to stay awake for Santa Claus & a radio announcer signs off for the night identifying the station as KFWB. Another cartoon of the same year, "The Timid Toreador", co-directed by Bob Clampett, shows an announcer broadcasting on this station. (A good trick, since the action takes place in Mexico, which has a totally different ITU prefix block.) However, the Merrie Melodies cartoon for "I've Got A Torch Song" released in conjunction with "Gold Diggers of 1933" has KFWB written on the microphones in the scenes of the torch singers.
In 1946, KFWB imported 2 disc jockeys from New York City: Maurice Hart of WBBR, whose drive-time show Start the Day Right was described as "Words & Music Straight from the Hart" & Martin Block, who coined the phrase "Make-Believe Ballroom", which was later used by Al Jarvis when Block returned to New York. In those days, disc jockeys selected their own music, either from KFWB's extensive record library, or new songs brought to them by "song pluggers". Old & new, vocal & instrumental were mixed together to the disc jockey's choice.
KFWB was sold to it's long-time general manager, Harry Maizlish in 1950 & soon after moved off the Warner Brothers lot to join Maizlish's FM station, KFMV, on Hollywood Boulevard.
In 1958, under new owners Crowell-Collier Broadcasting, Chuck Blore transformed the station into a Top 40 format called Channel 98 Color Radio. The station became 1 of the most highly listened to stations in the Southland & in the nation. But alas, times changed & in the mid-60's, KFWB was overtaken by rival KRLA. Then KRLA was put in second place by the launch of Boss Radio @ 93/KHJ & this relegated KFWB to the position of the third-place pop music station in the L.A. market.
KFWB was later purchased by Westinghouse in 1966. On March 11 1968, the station was relaunched as an all-news radio station. The station promoted itself with it's slogan, "You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world", as first used by New York Westinghouse station WINS. It's goal was to give a full newscast every 22 minutes, the average commute time in Los Angeles.
Today KFWB is owned by CBS Radio, a subsidiary of CBS Corporation that owns several CBS affiliates. CBS also owns KNX, the only other all-news station in Los Angeles. This is ironic, because KFWB & KNX famously feuded for years, both on radio & in TV advertising. Like it's former Westinghouse, now CBS Radio, sister stations (and fellow all-news stations) 1010 WINS in New York & KYW Newsradio 1060 in Philadelphia, KFWB has a running teletype sound effect in the background during regular newscasts.
In the spring of 2003, KFWB began to broadcast the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games over the radio. These games are not available on KFWB's internet stream due to league restrictions. For this reason, the station had to abandon it's other slogan, "All news, all the time". In comparison to KNX, KFWB runs more sports stories, has longer traffic reports & updates top headlines every 10 minutes instead of KNX, which updates headlines @ the top & bottom of the hour.
KFWB once aired not only the Dodgers games, but also many NFL games from Westwood One. The NFL broadcasts stopped after the 2007 Pro Bowl & the Dodgers left KFWB after the 2007 season, some months later, to return to KABC. With that, the slogan "all news, all the time" has returned. However in 2008, the NFL broadcasts returned, but from the Sports USA Radio network, which airs only regular season games.
Beginning in 2008, KNX & KFWB were jointly branded as CBS NewsRadio LA. The CBS NewsRadio LA brand is used for simulcasted special programming & for marketing to advertisers. In addition, there are no longer separate field reporters for KNX & KFWB & CBS NewsRadio LA reporters file the same stories for both stations. KFWB now focuses more on entertainment industry news.
On January 10 2009, the all-news format that had been a staple for almost 40 years was significantly amended with the move to paid programming on Saturdays. The Saturday programming represents a "self-help" infomercial format built around such topics as real-estate, health supplements, tax advice, etc. In this format during entrances & exits from commercial blocks, listeners began to hear the station identify itself as "KFWB - 980" sans the "news" reference.
KFWB also changed it's anchor lineup in January 2009 & reopened the Orange County bureau.
Also beginning with the 2009 season, KFWB began broadcasting weekday baseball games of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, although the flagship remains the Angels-owned KLAA. Also, as it was announced on August 13 2009, the station & the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers signed a multi-year broadcast rights pact, with KFWB carrying every Clippers contest.
On September 8 2009, the station will adapt a news-talk format, adding syndicated shows such as Laura Ingraham, Dr. Laura (who will move from longtime flagship KFI) & Michael Smerconish. Doug Stephan's "Good Day" program also airs during the overnight hours.
Studios & transmitterEdit
The original KFWB studios & transmitter location were @ the Warner Bros. Studios, which is now KTLA @ 5800 Sunset Blvd. 1 of the 2 original towers still stands prominently out front. Due to RF interference getting into the movie studio's "talkies" sound equipment, the transmitter was moved in 1928 to the roof of the Warner Theater, now the Hollywood Pacific Theatre @ 6423 Hollywood Blvd. Eventually the studios were also moved to the Warner Theater. Those 2 towers are still there, as well. Years later, when KFWB was sold to KFWB Broadcasting Co. (Harry Maizlish), the studios moved to 6419 Hollywood Blvd. (now demolished) & the transmitter moved to the area near La Cienega & Rodeo Blvd., about 3 blocks south of the KECA/KABC plant. In the mid 1950s, the transmitter moved again to it's present location, diplexed with KLAC in East LA. The studios moved in 1977 to 6230 Yucca St., also in Hollywood. In June 2005, KFWB abandoned it's longtime Hollywood studios to move into new studios on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile district, sharing facilities with it's sister CBS Radio stations KNX, KTWV & KRTH.