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KTRB (860 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in San Francisco, California. The station has a talk radio format, airing programming from the Salem Radio Network, using the slogan "860 AM The Answer." KTRB is owned by Salem Media, through licensee New Inspiration Broadcasting Company, Inc.

KTRB 860AMTheAnswer logo.png
CitySan Francisco, California
Broadcast areaSan Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, California
Branding860 AM The Answer
SloganNews. Opinion. Insight.
Frequency860 kHz
First air dateJune 18, 1933 in Modesto, California
February 1, 2007 in San Francisco, California
FormatConservative talk
Power50,000 watts days
5,000 watts nights
Facility ID66246
Transmitter coordinates37°37′57″N 122°07′47″W / 37.63250°N 122.12972°W / 37.63250; -122.12972 (day)
37°35′34″N 121°46′27″W / 37.59278°N 121.77417°W / 37.59278; -121.77417 (night)
Callsign meaningfounding owners
T. R. McTammany and
Bill Bates
Truth Radio for the Bay (previous format)
AffiliationsSalem Radio Network
OperatorSalem Media Group
OwnerSalem Media
(New Inspiration Broadcasting Company, Inc.)
Sister stationsKFAX, KDOW

The station features nationally syndicated programming, including Salem hosts Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Larry Elder and Steve Deace.[1] Salem Media Group uses "The Answer" as a brand for most of its talk stations.


KTRB signed on the air on June 18, 1933, licensed to Modesto, California.[2] Its owner, Pappas Telecasting, obtained permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move the station to the larger, more lucrative San Francisco media market. To replace the loss of the station in Modesto, Pappas Telecasting established KMPH at 840 AM in Modesto. In order to serve the Bay Area with a usable signal, but protect other stations on the frequency, a new transmitter site was constructed in Sunol, California which pointed its signal west over the Bay Area. This site is situated directly south of Livermore. During transmission testing in the Bay Area, KTRB began airing a classic rock music format on February 1, 2007.[citation needed]

As a hot talk stationEdit

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that KTRB would debut a hot talk format on March 15, 2007, featuring syndicated personalities Mancow Muller and John London, who once aired on San Francisco stations,[3] as well as other syndicated hosts such as Glenn Beck. A similar article appeared a few days later in the San Jose Mercury News.[4] On January 25, 2010, the station announced that conservative talker Michael Savage would take over the afternoon slot, four months after being let go by KNEW (910 AM).[5] That April, a replay of Savage's show also began airing in morning drive time, owing to his live show being frequently preempted due to live coverage of Athletics games.

As a sports talk stationEdit

In the fall of 2008, KTRB switched to a sports radio format. It became the radio home of Stanford University football and men's basketball.[6] It also became the Bay Area radio home of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.

Receivership by Comerica BankEdit

KMPH was shut down on August 31, 2010 due to lack of revenue. On September 10, 2010, KTRB was taken over by Comerica Bank through the receivership of Susan L. Uecker. The station dismissed its entire staff except for the chief engineer[7] and ceased to carry Michael Savage, but continued its sports format using syndicated shows.[8] Athletics baseball broadcasts, including pregame and postgame shows, were taken over by the team itself. After the Athletics' attempt to purchase the station collapsed, the broadcasts were moved to KBWF 95.7 FM, (now KGMZ-FM) for the 2011 season with the Bay Bridge Series exhibition games airing on KFRC (1550 AM, now KGMZ).[9]

With no capital available to repair the failed former directional day/night transmitter site, a new transmitter site was needed. Comerica Bank petitioned several times for FCC permission to operate the station non-directionally during all hours, with 50,000 watts days, and with 12,500 watts nights, subject to objections from co-channel stations. Under the terms of the special temporary authority or "STA", KTRB is required to reduce night power further, in order to mitigate interference.

There are few stations in the San Francisco area whose existing towers have the requisite geometry for operation on 860 kHz at the licensed 50,000 watt level. However, non-directional operation at KFAX's site with 50,000 watts days was successfully implemented, and it has been granted an FCC construction permit for 5,000 watts nights using all four of KFAX's towers.[10]

Switch to ESPN DeportesEdit

On Friday, June 24, 2011, Deportes Media began operating KTRB under a local marketing agreement or "LMA." The station's format changed to Spanish-language sports using the ESPN Deportes Radio Network.

Switch to Salem Radio NetworkEdit

On the Fourth of July weekend, 2016, the station switched to a conservative talk radio format airing nationally syndicated programs from the Salem Radio Network. The station began operations under the Salem Media Group using an LMA (Local Marketing Agreement).[11] The station is presently operating with 50,000 watts non-directionally days and 5,000 watts directionally nights, both from Salem's KFAX transmitter site.

Acquisition by Managing Partners of Salem and subsequent saleEdit

The acquisition of KTRB by the managing partners of Salem, DBA East Bay Broadcasting, LLC for $5,125,000, from the receiver of KTRB, was granted on November 30, 2016.

This amount is about the same as was recently paid for a full-time 5,000 watt station which is licensed to San Francisco, and about one-half of which was previously paid for a 5,000/1,000 watt station also licensed to San Francisco. In broadcast property acquisitions, often time is everything.

The FCC construction permit which would turn KTRB from a 50,000 watt four tower DA-1 installation into a 50,000 watt/5,000 watt DA-2 installation, with one KFAX tower days and all four KFAX towers nights has been granted.[10]

In theory, this should be sufficient for service to the city of license, but the night pattern necessarily protects Portland (Class B, as is KTRB), Tijuana (also Class B) and Toronto (Class A), and, consequently, night service along radials towards those three cities, which includes the largest North Bay and South Bay cities, and some East Bay cities, will be significantly to dramatically reduced.

Effective September 11, 2018, East Bay Broadcasting assigned KTRB's license to Salem Media's New Inspiration Broadcasting Company, Inc., at the same $5.125 million price originally paid by East Bay.

Return of the AthleticsEdit

In January 2019, the Oakland Athletics announced KTRB as their flagship station for the 2019 season.[12]


  1. ^ "Salem Has An 'Answer' For Other SF News/Talkers". InsideRadio. June 28, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  2. ^ The Story of Bill Bates and KTRB.
  3. ^ Fong-Torres, Ben (2007-02-25). "Radio waves". San Francisco Chronicle.
  4. ^ Kava, Brad (2007-02-27). "Radio report". San Jose Mercury News.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-20. Retrieved 2010-04-15. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ ""Stanford Press Release"". Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 27 January 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2010-09-14. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Steward, Carl (September 11, 2010). "Oakland A's update: Radio flagship station in turmoil but vows to stay on the air". The Oakland Tribune. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  9. ^ Siglich, Joe (March 31, 2011). "A's reach agreement to broadcast games on FM station". Oakland Tribune. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Application for Construction Permit for Commercial Broadcast Station". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. October 27, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  11. ^ Venta, Lance (June 28, 2016). "Salem To Launch 860 The Answer San Francisco". RadioInsight. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  12. ^ "A's announce new radio partnerships for upcoming season". The Mercury News. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-02-17.

External linksEdit