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The Roaring 20's

KFBK's Original License to Broadcast.JPG

KFBK was Sacramento’s second licensed broadcast station, following KVQ, which was licensed in December 1921 to J.C. Hobrecht, and operated in conjunction with The Sacramento Bee. Hobrecht later transferred the license for KVQ to James McClatchy, publisher of the Bee. KVQ stopped transmitting in December 1922, and the license for KVQ was surrendered back to the FCC. 

KFBK received its FCC broadcast license in August 1922 and signed on the air in September 17, 1922.  The station was licensed to the Kimball-Upson Company, a department store located at 607 K St., which sold radios among its merchandise options.  The station was initially operated in conjunction with the Sacramento Union newspaper. ​

KFBK’s call letters were assigned by the Department of Commerce, from a sequential alphabetic list. In the early days of radio, frequencies were shared by stations within a region.  At its start, KFBK shared a frequency with six other regional stations, and was assigned broadcast times of 6pm - 6:30pm daily, with expanded hours for programming on Thursdays from 8pm - 9pm and Sundays from 8pm - 10pm.

KFBK Sign on.jpg
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In 1925, KFBK ended its partnership with the Sacramento Union and The Sacramento Bee decided to re-enter the radio business, after shutting down its earlier station.  The James McClatchy company worked out a deal for half-ownership of the radio station with Kimball-Upson.  KFBK was on the air for two hours every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, from 7:30pm - 9:30pm.

In 1929, the McClatchy company acquired full ownership of KFBK, and on July 20th, the station moved into new studios in The Sacramento Bee’s building at 7th and I Streets and started airing programming every day, from 7:30am to 11pm, on its new 100-watt transmitter.  By 1932, the station was joined by four other McClatchy radio stations including KWG in Stockton, KOH in Reno, KMJ in Fresno, and KERN in Bakersfield.



West End, now known as Old Sac, bordellos and speakeasies take up operations during prohibition and WWI impacts world economy


Opening of the Alhambra Theatre. Eventually it gets demolished by 1973

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