Last San Francisco-area country radio station sold, to sign

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Another major market in the United States will no longer have a major country music radio station. New York City lost its last station in October 2021 when WNSH 94.7 Nash FM switched formats. Now, San Jose-based country 95.3 KRTY has been sold and will also sign on as a country station, leaving the greater San Francisco metro area without a country station.

In documents filed by the FCC, it was revealed that 95.3 was sold to the Educational Media Foundation, or EMF, which owns hundreds of Christian radio stations in the United States, and is expected to broadcast religious content on frequency, making the switch later this year.

What also makes the news significant is that KRTY was one of the last independent radio stations in the market and one of the few independent national radio stations in the United States. Started by Bob Kieve, former speechwriter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he died in 2020 at the age of 98.

The station began broadcasting in 1989, when country music’s “Class of 89” (Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, et al) were causing a stir. At that time, KRTY was one of many country stations in the area.

Vice President/General Manager Nate Deaton says: “It’s the end of a magical era. Bob [Kieve] would be sorry to see the end of Country Radio in San Jose, but we know he would be proud to see how station employees have honored his legacy since losing Bob two years ago. We extend our congratulations and compliments to the entire EMF team.

According to Nielsen, the radio station‘s ratings were quite strong, with a 7.5 share in San Jose and a 1.8 share in San Francisco. The station would be sold for $3.1 million to EMF. The sale is expected to close on June 1, or when the FCC approves. The format change should take place soon after.


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