Broadcast areaGreater Sacramento
Frequency90.9 MHz (HD Radio)
FormatPublic Radio - News - Talk
SubchannelsHD2: KXPR simulcast (Classical Music)
AffiliationsNational Public Radio
Public Radio Exchange
American Public Media
BBC World Service
OwnerCalifornia State University, Sacramento
First air date
October 5, 1964; 59 years ago (October 5, 1964) (as KERS)
Former call signs
KERS (1964–1978)
KXPR (1978–2006)
Former frequencies
88.9 MHz (1964–1967, 1979–1984)
90.7 MHz (1967–1978)
Call sign meaning
eXcellence in JaZz
Technical information
Facility ID8336
ERP50,000 watts
HAAT147 meters (482 ft)
Repeater(s)88.1 KQNC (Quincy)
90.5 KKTO (Tahoe City)
91.3 KUOP (Stockton)
WebcastListen Live

KXJZ (90.9 MHz) is a non-commercial, listener-supported public radio station in Sacramento, California. It is owned by Sacramento State University and has studios on the campus at 7055 Folsom Boulevard. KXJZ's sister station is classical music-formatted KXPR 88.9 FM. The two stations are known as CapRadio (formerly Capital Public Radio).

KXJZ has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 50,000 watts, the maximum for most stations in California. The transmitter is on Sorento Road in Elverta.[1] KXJZ broadcasts using HD Radio technology. Its HD-2 digital subchannel carries KXPR's classical format.[2]


KXJZ is CapRadio's news and talk station, airing programming from National Public Radio (NPR), the Public Radio Exchange and American Public Media. NPR programs on weekdays include Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Fresh Air, Here and Now and Marketplace. At 9 a.m., Monday through Thursday, Insight with Vicki Gonzalez, a local interview and call-in show is heard.

Evenings and weekends feature specialty shows including Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, Code Switch, This American Life, Hidden Brain, Radio Lab, Latino USA, The Moth Radio Hour, Snap Judgment and It's Been A Minute. Late nights, KXJZ carries the BBC World Service. KXJZ and KXPR hold periodic on-air fund raisers to support the running of the stations.



On April 21, 1964, Sacramento State College applied for a construction permit to build a new noncommercial radio station in Sacramento. It would broadcast with 10 watts at 88.9 MHz. Dr. Howard Martin had been the primary exponent for a radio station on campus.[3] The Federal Communications Commission approved the application on June 17th.[4] KERS signed on the air on October 5, 1964; 59 years ago (October 5, 1964).[3] Initially broadcasting seven hours a day, students produced most of the programming on the new outlet. It also aired taped lectures from the faculty and other cultural programs.[3]

Sacramento State applied in 1967 to increase KERS's effective radiated power to 5,350 watts and move to 90.7 MHz. The FCC approved the change on June 22, 1967,[4] and the new facility was activated in April 1968.[5] Also installed at this time were a second production room, more offices and a wire service hookup.[6] It had nearly doubled its output, being on air 95 hours a week; notable features included the telecast of all Sacramento State basketball games, home and away, as well as music recitals from the campus.[7] By 1971, KERS's musical programming was largely progressive rock and jazz.[8]

KERS's most notable moment would come on April 30, 1971, when student reporter Rosemarie King broke a bombshell story on her newscast: that Governor Ronald Reagan had not paid any state income tax in 1970. The revelation spread and forced Reagan to admit its veracity. It also prompted a state tax board agent to interview King, hoping to learn more about the leak, but the journalist refused to divulge her source.[9] Her actions resulted in a commendation from two regions of Sigma Delta Chi.[10] King would later be hired by Nancy Pelosi as her top aide when she took over the California Democratic Party in 1981[11] and later served as the party's executive director and as a consultant.[12]

From campus to public station

At the time, Sacramento did not have a public radio station of its own.[13] In the late 1970s, Sacramento State pursued a strategy to transform KERS into a public station for the Sacramento Valley. Several federal grants were obtained to hire new staff.[14] The school also sought to upgrade the facility, moving to 90.9 MHz at higher power from the KTXL tower in Walnut Grove;[15] KTXL donated the tower space.[16] Additionally, KERS suffered from budget constraints and community pressure related to its alternative programming.[17]

That July, KERS left the air to regroup.[18] Sacramento State students got a carrier-current and online student radio station in 1991.[17]

McClatchy donation

McClatchy-owned KAER (92.5 FM) had been playing classical music but wanted to switch to a more mass-appeal format. McClatchy donated the station's classical music library and $5,000 to Sacramento State.[16]

KXPR debuts

The university-owned station reemerged as KXPR on April 2, 1979, on its new frequency of 88.9 MHz.[4][19] The new facility, however, had several problems with its signal, particularly in cars, prompting the station to pursue a transmitter relocation.[20]

It sought to move its tower to Elk Grove and make a frequency change to 90.9 MHz.[4] The tower was to be shared with KAER and KXOA-FM 107.7.[21] But a series of contractual delays prompted the shared site to be shelved. Instead, KXPR built its own tower at a cost of $400,000.[22] The new site was activated in November 1984.[23]

In 1985, translators of KXPR were activated at Davis and South Lake Tahoe. The KXPR studios were relocated in December to a new site on American River Drive.[24] KXPR was considered a success. That year, the station ranked eighth out of 257 public radio outlets in listenership.[22]

KXPR operated on reduced power for 30 days during 1986 after flooding put the transmitter building under four feet of water and damaged the equipment. The station temporarily broadcast from the Sacramento Bee tower downtown. In the wake of the flooding, generators were installed at the studios and the transmitter site.[22]

Frequency swap

For the history of KXPR at 88.9 FM since 2006, see KXPR.

In 1986, Sacramento State University applied for a second radio station on 88.9 MHz. That frequency had formerly been occupied by KERS in the 1960s and KXPR in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[22] The July 1, 1991, launch of KXJZ (88.9 FM) created a second station focused on jazz and freed up more time on KXPR for classical music.[25] KXPR became even more devoted to classical music when all news programming was consolidated on KXJZ in 1996.[22]

In 1998, the umbrella organization renamed itself Capital Public Radio.[22] The Capital Public Radio stations' studios returned to the Sacramento State campus in 2004.[24]

On September 6, 2006, KXJZ and KXPR swapped frequencies in an effort to better serve the listeners and to improve KXJZ's coverage.[26] Both stations operate with the maximum 50,000 watts but the 90.9 frequency has a taller tower, which gives a bit more coverage to KXJZ's news and talk programming.[27] As a result, KXJZ operates on the former KXPR license, and vice versa.

The switch was not possible without Capital Public Radio continuing to lease, and eventually acquire, KUOP from the University of the Pacific, as moving KXJZ to 90.9 required that station to maintain its news programming. The 88.9 facility covers Stockton better but does not reach the northern portion of the Sacramento metropolitan area.[28]

In 2020, KXPR and KXJZ relocated to new studio and office facilities downtown at the corner of 8th and J streets. The move accommodated the public radio network's expansion to 75 employees.[24] In August 2023, CapRadio announced the lay off of 12% of its workforce, mostly part timers. General Manager Tom Karlo described it as "a financially challenging time for us and for media across the country."[29] The work force had grown to more than 100 employees before the lay offs.


KXJZ's signal covers the entire Sacramento metropolitan area, including the cities of Auburn, Davis, Roseville, Folsom, Elk Grove, Yuba City and Marysville. It also reaches Fairfield, and Vacaville on the fringes of the San Francisco Bay Area.

KXJZ's signal also reaches the northern San Joaquin Valley including the cities of Stockton and Modesto through repeater station KUOP (91.3 FM), Quincy through KQNC (88.1 FM) and the Lake Tahoe and Reno areas through repeater station KKTO (90.5 FM).

There are three further FM translators for the news service, at Merced, South Lake Tahoe and Truckee.[30]


  1. ^ Radio-Locator.com/KXJZ
  2. ^ "Sacramento HD radio guide". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  3. ^ a b c "SSC Slates Educational, Cultural Broadcasts". Sacramento Bee. October 4, 1964. p. B5. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b c d FCC History Cards for KXJZ
  5. ^ "SSC Radio Station Hikes Range Up To 50 Miles". Sacramento Bee. April 25, 1968. p. C1. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "SSC Radio Station Will Get Stronger Voice". Sacramento Bee. September 17, 1967. p. B4. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Huber, Dean (June 9, 1968). "SSC's Radio Station Increases Power, Reaching More Of Public While Teaching". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Campus News" (PDF). Billboard. June 26, 1971. p. 34. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  9. ^ Williams, George (May 7, 1971). "'No Tax' Probe Gets 'No Talk' Reply From Rose King". Sacramento Bee. pp. B1, B3. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Reagan's 'Revealer' Is Lauded". Sacramento Bee. Associated Press. May 9, 1971. p. B1. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "League Of Bay Area Mayors". Sacramento Bee. March 1, 1981. p. A3. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Hamburg names campaign team". The Ukiah Daily Journal. March 7, 1992. p. 8. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Hurst, John V. (March 18, 1978). "Public Radio Station Nears For Sacramento". Sacramento Bee. p. B3. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "KERS-FM Wins Grant, Plans To Become Public Station". Sacramento Bee. September 28, 1977. p. D3. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "KERS, With Federal Grant, Expands Broadcast Hours". Sacramento Bee. December 17, 1977. p. A8. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ a b Tracy, Dick (December 27, 1978). "Sweeter Classical FM Music Is Due In 1979". Sacramento Bee. pp. C1, C8. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ a b Hooks, Kris (April 14, 2016). "KSSU celebrates 25 years as Sac State's scrappy student-run radio station". News Review. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  18. ^ Huber, Dean (July 29, 1978). "In Focus". Sacramento Bee. p. E6. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Tracy, Dick (March 24, 1979). "Birth Of Public Radio In Capital". p. A11. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ Tracy, Dick (October 21, 1981). "KXPR Public Radio 'Suffers' From Growing Pains". Sacramento Bee. p. B13. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ Tracy, Dick (July 6, 1983). "National Public Radio Will Face An Uncertain Future". Sacramento Bee. p. D3. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ a b c d e f "History". Capital Public Radio. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved March 24, 2020. (Note that, like a slew of official sources, this misstates KERS's sign-on as 1970, not 1964.)
  23. ^ Tracy, Dick (November 14, 1984). "Are women still just second-string players on the air?". Sacramento Bee. p. E6. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ a b c "CapRadio to move downtown after a long run at Sac State". CSU Sacramento. May 6, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  25. ^ "New and blue". Sacramento Bee. July 2, 1991. p. B6. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ Graswich, R.E. "Time's running out on Steinberg's deal to help Maloofs in arena talks". Sacramento Bee. p. B1. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ McManis, Sam (September 4, 2006). "A classical numbers game". Sacramento Bee. pp. E1, E8. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ McManis, Sam (June 2, 2006). "Public radio exec departs". Sacramento Bee. pp. D1, D2. Retrieved March 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ InsideRadio.com "CapRadio" Aug. 31, 2023. Retrieved Sept. 15, 2023.
  30. ^ "Capital Public Radio Coverage Map" (PDF). capradio.org. April 13, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2017.

38°42′36″N 121°28′59″W / 38.710°N 121.483°W / 38.710; -121.483