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L.A. news radio station KNX will be heard on FM

All-news radio station KNX is adding an FM simulcast starting Monday.
(KNX)

KNX, the only all-news radio station in Los Angeles, will become available on the FM band starting today.

Audacy, the Philadelphia-based audio company that owns KNX, announced Monday that it would simulcast the station’s signal at 97.1 FM. KNX will continue to air on 1070, its AM frequency since 1941.

The simulcast will replace Audacy’s contemporary hits radio format on KNOU-FM, which was also known as “97.1 NOW!” All of the personnel at KNOU, including its on-air talent, will be retained to work on other Audacy outlets, the company’s regional president, Jeff Federman, told The Times.

The addition of an FM signal for KNX is an attempt to get more younger listeners to sample the station as they gravitate to more spoken word audio programming in both radio and podcasting.

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A recent report by Edison Research shows that the audience for spoken word content has grown by 22 million people in the last seven years, up 40% over that time. The growth among listeners ages 13 to 34 is 113% in that period and is up 18% in the last year alone.

KNX has been a leading source of news, weather and traffic information in Southern California since it launched in 1921 as KGC. But younger listeners started to turn away from AM radio in the 1970s, as usage of FM radios grew and the superior fidelity of FM signals made it the preferred medium for music programming.

As a result, generations of listeners have probably never even heard of KNX because of its position on the AM band.

An outside legal counsel informed the network there was cause to fire him. Then a former ABC News colleague’s complaint sealed his fate.

“We believe that simulcasting on FM is really going to open up the station and the KNX brand to a whole new audience that quite frankly may not know we exist on the AM dial,” Federman said.

Audacy previously added FM simulcasts for its AM news radio stations in San Francisco, KCBS-AM (740), and Chicago, WBBM-AM (780). Both outlets rank among the top three stations in their markets, according to Nielsen data.

KNX averaged a 2.9% share of the Los Angeles radio audience in November, ranking 10th overall.

The addition of an FM signal for KNX will also address another obstacle for AM listening. The motors on electric vehicles can interfere with the reception of AM signals. That has led some electric car manufacturers to stop including the AM band on their radios.

“As we’re thinking about the next 100 years, we want to be where the people are,” Federman said. “Being on FM assures that we won’t have those kind of issues.”

Having an FM channel also means drivers in Los Angeles won’t lose the station in areas where topography can diminish an AM signal.

In addition to KNX, Audacy owns classic hits station KRTH-FM (101.1), rhythmic hits outlet KTWV-FM (94.7), adult hits station KCBS-FM (93.1) and KROQ-FM (106.7), which has an alternative rock format. The stations broadcast out of studios on the Miracle Mile.

Audacy has owned KNX since 2017, when it merged with the radio division of CBS Corp. The company was known as Entercom at the time of the transaction.


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