Broadcast areaBakersfield
Frequency97.7 MHz
AffiliationsPremiere Radio Networks
Westwood One Network
Salem Radio Network
Fox News Radio
First air date
1978 (as KQEZ)[1]
Former call signs
KQEZ (1978-1979)[1]
KMGN (1979[1]-1983)
KLYD-FM (1983-1988)
KKBB (1988-1994)
KZBA (1994-1996)
KRME (1996-2001)
KSMJ (2001-2013)[2]
Technical information
Facility ID8109
ERP4,100 watts
HAAT121 meters (397 feet)
Transmitter coordinates
35°27′33″N 119°01′13″W / 35.45917°N 119.02028°W / 35.45917; -119.02028
WebcastListen Live

KNZR-FM (97.7 MHz) is a commercial radio station licensed to Shafter, California, and broadcasting to the Bakersfield radio market. KNZR-FM airs a talk radio format simulcast with co-owned AM 1560 KNZR. It is owned by Alpha Media, LLC, through licensee Alpha Media Licensee LLC. The studios and offices are on Pegasus Drive in Bakersfield.[3]

KNZR-FM has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 4,100 watts. It is a Class A FM station, limited to the communities in and adjacent to Bakersfield. The transmitter is off Warehouse Road in Oildale.[4]


The schedule on KNZR-AM-FM is mostly syndicated conservative talk shows. Weekdays begin with The Glenn Beck Program followed by The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, The Mark Levin Show, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and Hugh Hewitt.

On weekends, syndicated shows include Handel On The Law with Bill Handel, Somewhere in Time with Art Bell and The Tech Guy with Leo Laporte. Most hours begin with world and national news from Fox News Radio. The only local show on the weekends is the very highly rated Crusin' to the Oldies, hosted by Lugnut Larry Thomas. Crusin' to the Oldies features a wide variety of classic rock, pop, soul and R&B music from the 1950' through the 1970's. It's known to draw more listeners than many of the weekday programs.


Early years

The station signed on the air on March 3, 1978 as KQEZ.[5] The following year, it switched its call sign to KMGN, airing a country music format. The station was owned by Brandon-Dorsey Communications.

In 1986, Community Service Broadcasters took over as debtor in possession.[6] The call letters switched to KKBB and the station featured an album rock sound, using NBC Radio's "The Source" young adult network for news and features. In 1996, the station switched to a Regional Mexican format as KRME, when it was owned by Spanish-language broadcaster Eduardo Caballero.

The station was assigned the KSMJ call letters by the Federal Communications Commission on February 6, 2001. As its call sign implies, the station carried a smooth jazz format.

Changes in ownership

Buckley Broadcasting acquired KSMJ in 2001. Buckley decided to pair 97.7 FM with AM 1560, to give Bakersfield listeners the choice to hear the talk programming on KNZR on either AM or FM. KSMJ changed to its current KNZR-FM call sign on September 11, 2013.[7] The two stations began simulcasting around the clock.

In 2014, Buckley Broadcasting sold its California stations, including KNZR-AM-FM, to Alpha Media of Portland, Oregon.[8] Alpha Media Chairman Larry Wilson said, "The Buckley clusters in California will be a great addition to the West Coast footprint. Bakersfield is a rich and vibrant city full of live and local opportunities."

Racial controversy

On January 18, 2018, Midday host Jaz McKay was told that due to budgetary concerns he would be replaced the next week with Sean Hannity in the noon to 3pm slot which he had occupied for 14 years. McKay then took to social media and used derogatory language to describe Hispanic radio broadcasts in the area. McKay claimed the large number of Spanish language radio stations in Bakersfield made it increasingly difficult for English speaking announcers to find employment.[9] At 45.5%, Hispanics comprise the largest demographic group in Bakersfield.[10] On January 24, McKay’s time slot was indeed taken over by the syndicated radio show from Sean Hannity.[11] On the same day, it was also reported that McKay’s fellow conservative talk show host Inga Barks was, for unspecified reasons, no longer associated with the station.[12]

McKay was later hired for the 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. time slot on KERN 1180 AM & 96.1 FM, in December, 2018.[13] KERN 1180, KNZR's chief talk radio competitor, is owned by American General Media.

Former programming

Previous logos

Breeze (KSMJ) logo.jpg
KSMJ Logo.png


  1. ^ a b c History Cards for KNZR-FM, Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  2. ^ Call Sign History, Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1980 page C-31
  6. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1989 page B-44
  7. ^ "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
  8. ^ "Alpha Media to Purchase Buckley California Outlets" Oct. 10, 2014
  9. ^ “Facebook ablaze over racist comment by local talk radio host”, ‘’Bakersfield Californian’’, January 19, 2018
  10. ^ Race and Ethnicity in Bakersfield at Statistical Atlas
  11. ^ “Sean Hannity Is Back In Bakersfield”,, January 24, 2018
  12. ^ "“Two conservative radio talk show hosts lose jobs at KNZR", Bakersfield Californian, January 24, 2018
  13. ^ "Jaz McKay set to return to radio following racist video", 23ABC News, December 19, 2018