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KSMA (1240 AM) is a commercial radio station that is licensed to Santa Maria, California, United States and serves the Santa Maria-Lompoc area. The station is owned by American General Media[2] and broadcasts a news/talk format.

KSMA NewsTalk1240-99.5 logo.png
CitySanta Maria, California
Broadcast areaSanta Maria-Lompoc area
Branding"KSMA Radio"
Frequency1240 kHz
Translator(s)99.5 MHz K258CY (Santa Maria, CA)
First air date1946
Power1,000 watts unlimited
Facility ID4123
Transmitter coordinates34°57′2.00″N 120°29′27.00″W / 34.9505556°N 120.4908333°W / 34.9505556; -120.4908333
Callsign meaningSanta MAria
Former callsignsKSMA (1946-2007)
KSMX (2007-2016)[1]
Former frequencies1450 kHz (1946-1939)
AffiliationsLos Angeles Rams
OwnerAmerican General Media
(AGM California, Inc.)
Sister stationsKBOX, KPAT, KRQK, KSNI-FM
WebcastListen Live

KSMA is rebroadcast on FM translator K258CY at 99.5 MHz in Santa Maria, which provides higher quality stereo sound.



KSMA was the first radio station in Santa Maria, signing on in 1946 at the 1450 kHz frequency. Its original owners were Hugh G., Charles A., and Mareby Cardella Shurtliff, and Cleo Agnes Center.[3] In 1947, the station was sold to Santa Maria Broadcasting Company, owned by R.H. Hardenbergh and W.J. Davison, for $32,500.[4] On July 13, 1948, Santa Maria Broadcasting sold KSMA to John M. Poole for $20,750; the deal was approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) December 9.[5][6] On October 17, 1949, the FCC approved KSMA's request to move to 1240 AM.[7] After only two years of ownership, in December 1950, Poole sold the station to James Hagerman and John I. Groom for $27,500.[8]

From its inception through the 1960s, KSMA aired a full service format, airing a mix of news, sports, and middle of the road music.[9] It was one of the original stations of the San Francisco 49ers radio network that began airing games during the 1949 All-America Football Conference season.[10] The studios were originally located in downtown Santa Maria next to the old post office before the downtown area underwent renovation in the 1980s.

Following Groom's death in 1976, in accordance with his will, the FCC granted Hagerman complete control of the licenses of KSMA and its FM sister station KSMA-FM. Groom's share of the stations, however, was transferred to his wife, Nona M. Groom.[11]

In January 1980, Hagerman and Nona Groom sold KSMA-AM-FM to Bayliss Broadcasting Company for $1.4 million. The company was owned by John Bayliss, who resigned from his position as president of Gannett Company's radio division to manage the Santa Maria stations.[12] The FCC approved the sale on May 12.[13] In 1986, KSMA began broadcasting an oldies format.[14]

In August 1999, Bayliss Broadcasting sold KSMA and its FM sister station, then known as KSNI-FM, to Fresno, California-based Mondosphere Broadcasting for $3.75 million.[15][16] The new owner took possession of the combo on September 30.[17]

KSMA changed hands several times during the decade of the 2000s. In September 2000, Mondosphere Broadcasting Inc. sold 11 stations throughout Central California, including KSMA, plus a construction permit for a twelfth station, to Clear Channel Communications Inc. (now iHeartMedia) for $45 million.[18] In July 2007, KSMA and KSNI-FM were among 16 Clear Channel stations in California and Arizona purchased by El Dorado Broadcasters for $40 million.[19] On November 30, 2007, the station changed call letters to KSMX.[2]

In early 2016, El Dorado began selling off its Central Coast stations. The first of these divestitures was KSMX and KSNI-FM, sold together on February 26 to American General Media (AGM) for $1.5 million.[20][21] KSXM changed its call sign back to KSMA on May 16.[2]




  1. ^ "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database. U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ a b c "KSMA Facility Record". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access. U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
  3. ^ "Directory of Broadcasting Stations of the United States" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting 1948 Yearbook Number. Broadcasting Publications Inc. 1948. p. 94. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  4. ^ "Sale of WCAU to 'Bulletin' Approved; WPEN to Sun Ray" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. December 8, 1947. p. 34. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  5. ^ "Actions of the FCC" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. July 19, 1948. p. 85. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  6. ^ "Transfers" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. December 13, 1948. p. 97. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  7. ^ "FCC Roundup" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. October 24, 1949. p. 72. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "Poole Sells KSMA" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. December 11, 1950. p. 56. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  9. ^ "Where three-dollar spots are top rate" (PDF). Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. July 14, 1969. pp. 54–58. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  10. ^ "Grid Hook-Up" (PDF). Broadcasting/Telecasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. September 19, 1949. p. 66. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  11. ^ "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. September 13, 1976. p. 76. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  12. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. January 28, 1980. p. 91. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  13. ^ "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications Inc. June 2, 1980. p. 64. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  14. ^ "Directory of Radio Stations in the United States and Canada" (PDF). Broadcasting/Cablecasting Yearbook. Broadcasting Publications Inc. 1987. p. B-41. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  15. ^ Saxe, Frank (September 3, 1999). "Station Swaps To Herald Y2K?" (PDF). Billboard Country Airplay Monitor. BPI Communications Inc. p. 8. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  16. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting and Cable. R.R. Bowker. September 6, 1999. p. 64. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  17. ^ "Directory of Radio Stations in the U.S." (PDF). Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook. New Providence, New Jersey: R.R. Bowker. 2001. p. D-64. ISBN 0-8352-4111-4. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  18. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting and Cable. R.R. Bowker. September 18, 2000. p. 39. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  19. ^ "Price For 16 AZ, CA Clear Channel Stations: $40 Million". All Access Music Group. July 11, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  20. ^ Venta, Lance (March 3, 2016). "El Dorado Sells Again In Santa Maria". RadioInsight. RadioBB Networks. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  21. ^ Venta, Lance (May 18, 2016). "El Dorado Continues Sell-Off With KXFM Divestment". RadioInsight. RadioBB Networks. Retrieved July 26, 2018.

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