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City San Jose, California
Broadcast area Santa Clara Valley
Branding Country Gold 1590 KLIV
Slogan "San Jose's Country Gold"
Frequency 1590 kHz
First air date December 1946 (1946-12) (as KSJO)
Format Classic country
Power 5,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 19531
Transmitter coordinates 37°19′45″N 121°51′23″W / 37.32917°N 121.85639°W / 37.32917; -121.85639Coordinates: 37°19′45″N 121°51′23″W / 37.32917°N 121.85639°W / 37.32917; -121.85639
Former callsigns KSJO (1946–1960)
Affiliations San Jose State Spartans
Santa Clara Broncos
Owner Empire Broadcasting
Sister stations KRTY
Webcast Listen Live
Website kliv.com

KLIV (1590 AM, "Country Gold") is a radio station broadcasting a classic country format. Licensed to San Jose, California. KLIV began broadcasting in 1946 as KSJO before becoming KLIV in 1967. Currently owned by Empire Broadcasting, it is one of the last independently owned stations in the Bay Area, alongside sister station KRTY.

The station had a top-40 format in the 1960s and changed to big band in 1981. From 1991 to 2016, KLIV had a news format. KLIV has been the flagship station for San Jose State University sports since 1991 and has carried Santa Clara University men's basketball games since 2012. KLIV was the flagship station for the San Jose Clash (later Earthquakes) from 1996 to 2016.


Early history (1946–1991)[edit]

KLIV signed on in December 1946 as a 1,000-watt daytime-only station named KSJO that shared facilities at Story Road and Lucretia Avenue in central San Jose, where the station remains to this day, with an FM station of the same name. KSJO AM began nighttime broadcast at 500 watts in 1947.[1]

On June 1, 1960, the original owners of KSJO sold the station to Cal-Radio Inc., which renamed the station KLIV and boosted its signal to 5,000 watts in 1961. KLIV became the San Jose area's top 40 radio station in 1963. Among its memorable personalities was Mikel Hunter Herrington (known as Captain Mikey). Other personalities of the era were John McLeod, Dave Sholin, Bob Ray, Larry Mitchell, Jack Hayes, Tom Barry, Ross MacGowan, Ralph Koal, Scott St. James, Ray Morgan, Jim Sims, Squeeky Martin, and Mac McGregor.

KLIV personality Brian Lord discovered the single "Psychotic Reaction" by local psychedelic rock band the Count Five, a song that later made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[2]

KLIV changed hands on July 1, 1967, when it was acquired by former Rochester, New York radio executives Robert S. Kieve and James Trayhern and a group of Rochester investors, who had incorporated as Empire Broadcasting, for around $974,000.[1][3]

In the 1970s, KLIV's primary genre shifted with emerging musical trends. The decade began with KLIV emphasizing hard rock before returning to a general top 40 format by 1972. KLIV music director Ralph Koal announced that KLIV would take on a format he called "Top 40 with a disco emphasis" in early 1979. This move made KLIV the first San Jose station to accommodate more disco. As disco became less popular later in the year, KLIV changed to an album-oriented rock format dubbed "Rock 16" from October 25, 1979 until May 7, 1981.[4][1]

On May 7, 1981, KLIV switched to the syndicated "Music of Your Life" format that played big band and pop standards from the 1950s and earlier.[5][6]

News (1991–2016)[edit]

KLIV's final logo as a news station; variants of this logo have been used since the early 2000s.

KLIV converted to an all-news format in April 1991, simulcasting CNN Headline News and the 5 p.m. newscast from San Jose television station KNTV, in addition to local news and traffic reports each hour.[1][7] By 1995, KLIV began simulcasting the 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. KNTV newscasts as well.[3][8] In contrast to San Francisco's KCBS, traffic reports on KLIV focused on the South Bay.[9]

With its format change in 1991, KLIV also added local sports to its lineup, specifically San Jose State University football and men's basketball.[10] In 1996, KLIV began broadcasting games of the San Jose Clash (now Earthquakes) of the newly formed Major League Soccer.[11] KLIV also broadcast select San Jose Lasers basketball games.[3]

However, KLIV struggled in the ratings. In the fall 1997 ratings period, KLIV was the lowest-rated English-language station in San Jose, overshadowed by KGO and KSFO, competing San Francisco-based stations that carried talk shows in addition to news coverage.[3] Kieve acknowledged in 2016 that as KLIV never made a profit as a news station and was subsidized by co-owned FM country station KRTY.[12]

By the late 1990s, as the Telecommunications Act of 1996 paved the way for the increased consolidation of radio station ownership, KLIV and the Empire Broadcasting family of stations were among the final locally owned stations in the Bay Area.[13][14]

KLIV lost the rights to San Jose State sports in 2005 to Palo Alto's KNTS[15] but resumed broadcasting San Jose State football in 2006[16] and men's basketball in 2008.[17]

As CNN Headline News shifted its evening programming away from general news reporting to personality-driven talk shows,[18] KLIV introduced its own local lineup of evening programming in February 2007, including a monthly call-in show with the mayor of San Jose, a talk show hosted by the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group called The CEO Show, and speeches from the San Jose Rotary Club and the Commonwealth Club of California.[19] Beginning on April 2, 2007, KLIV reduced the CNN Headline News simulcast to evenings and weekends. Between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., KLIV began hours with news briefs from CNN Radio featured more locally produced news and content each hour. KLIV also began carrying syndicated programs on the weekends, including Into Tomorrow, The Clark Howard Show, Popular Science Radio, and The Ray Lucia Show.[20][21]

Effective April 1, 2012, KLIV became an affiliate of NBC News Radio, after CNN Radio shut down.[22] KLIV became an affiliate of the Santa Clara Broncos radio network in the 2012–13 season.[23]

In a tribute to its top-40 format from the 1960s, KLIV launched an Overnight Oldies program in February 2015 playing hits from the 1950s through 1970s, beginning at midnight until 5 a.m. on weekday mornings, and 6 a.m. weekends.[24][25]

Classic country (2016–present)[edit]

On April 11, 2016, Kieve announced that the station would abandon its all-news format and switch to a classic country format, dubbed "Country Gold". In an on-air commentary discussing the change, Kieve blamed declining advertising revenue (primarily due an older-skewing listener base) and the increasing costs of running a news station. He bought out most of his news staff.[12][26] The switch to the classic country format happened at 10 p.m. on June 10, 2016.[27] KLIV continued to carry South Bay traffic reports after the format change, as well as South Bay Weather reports. [28]

In March 2017, KLIV lost the rights to San Jose Earthquakes games to KTCT, a Cumulus Media-owned station in San Francisco.[29] The Bay Area Radio Museum honored KLIV with its Legendary Station Award in the same month.[30]


Since June 10, 2016, KLIV has played a classic country format playing country music primarily from 1988 until 2002.[26] Initially, KLIV simulcast the morning show of sister FM station KRTY, which plays newer country music, before launching its own morning show in May 2017.[31][32] As of 2017, KLIV continues to broadcast Commonwealth Club of California talks on Thursday evenings.[33]

As the flagship station of the San Jose State Spartans radio network, KLIV originates broadcasts of San Jose State football and men's basketball games.[34][35] During football season, KLIV broadcasts a weekly talk show with the San Jose State football head coach.[36] KLIV also is the primary radio station for Santa Clara Broncos men's basketball games, having carried 26 of 33 games in the 2016–17 season.[37]


  1. ^ a b c d "KLIV Radio 1590: The Top 40 Years". Bay Area Radio Museum. Archived from the original on May 2, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  2. ^ Palopoli, Steve (August 21, 2003). "Count on It". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Kava, Brad (February 20, 1998). "South Bay market ripe for regional news talk". San Jose Mercury News. p. Eye 22. 
  4. ^ Bustillos, Chuck (February 27, 1980). "KLIV: FM sound on AM dial". The Spartan Daily. San Jose State University. p. 4. 
  5. ^ Barrett, Dick (December 28, 1981). "Let's get New Year's Eve back - on real-time radio". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  6. ^ Wells, Paul (May 8, 1982). "The Song & The Psyche". Billboard. p. 27. 
  7. ^ Weimers, Leigh (July 24, 1991). "Media feeling urge to merge". San Jose Mercury News. p. 1E. 
  8. ^ Weimers, Leigh (April 19, 1995). "Ah, the sun, the sand, the...snow". San Jose Mercury News. p. 1C. 
  9. ^ Richards, Gary (October 8, 2012). "Roadshow: I-580 carpool lane will be under construction this year". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Good news, bad news in SJS radio switch", San Jose Mercury News, p. 2C, April 30, 1991 
  11. ^ "Ramey, Shrader to be voices of Clash". San Jose Mercury News. March 8, 1996. p. 2D. 
  12. ^ a b "KLIV To Change Format After 30 Years of Local News". KLIV 1590 Silicon Valley News. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  13. ^ Pulcrano, Dan (June 4, 1998). "The Big Radio Play". Metro Silicon Valley. 
  14. ^ Kava, Brad (April 1, 2002). "Radio mogul's payday". San Jose Mercury News. p. A1. Archived from the original on June 12, 2002. 
  15. ^ "KNTS (1220 AM) to provide full-season radio coverage of football and men's basketball". San Jose State Athletics. August 3, 2005. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Football opens season at Washington". San Jose State Athletics. August 27, 2006. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Men's Hoops Takes Win Streak To Saint Mary's Tournament". San Jose State Athletics. December 23, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  18. ^ Cohen, Noam (December 4, 2006). "With Brash Hosts, Headline News Finds More Viewers in Prime Time". New York Times. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  19. ^ Kava, Brad (February 13, 2007). "KKUP's fundraiser to showcase live music". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  20. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070330110027/http://www.kliv.com/
  21. ^ https://www.facebook.com/1590kliv/posts/206119446128359
  22. ^ Lieberman, Rich (March 9, 2012). "San Jose's KLIV to become affiliate of new NBC Radio News April 1; Friday short". Rich Lieberman 415 Media. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  23. ^ "SCU Men's Basketball Adds KLIV 1590 AM to Bronco Radio Network; Joins Long-Time Partner KDOW 1220 AM". Santa Clara Broncos. December 12, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  24. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20150222081803/http://www.kliv.com/pages/20922347.php
  25. ^ Pizarro, Sal (February 9, 2015). "KLIV playing classic hits again for night owls". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 5, 2017. 
  26. ^ a b Newman, Bruce. "KLIV, San Jose's independent all-news radio station, will change format to country music". San Jose Mercury. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  27. ^ KLIV (June 9, 2016). "Friday is KLIV's last day as a news station..." Facebook. Retrieved June 19, 2017. 
  28. ^ Richards, Gary (June 10, 2016). "Roadshow: With KLIV gone country, where can I get traffic reports?". Mercury News. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  29. ^ "San Jose Earthquakes Change Flagships, Move To KTCT (KNBR 1050)/San Francisco". All Access Music Group. March 3, 2017. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  30. ^ "San Jose's KLIV Honored As 2017 Legendary Station". Bay Area Radio Museum. March 16, 2017. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  31. ^ https://twitter.com/1590KLIV/status/793611592319377408
  32. ^ https://www.facebook.com/1590kliv/photos/a.370464463027189.85035.121727791234192/1462454433828181/?type=3
  33. ^ "Radio Schedule". Commonwealth Club of California. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Football opens Mountain West action at New Mexico". San Jose State Athletics. September 26, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Men's hoops goes for three straight Tuesday night versus Aztecs". San Jose State Athletics. February 6, 2017. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  36. ^ "2016 Ron Caragher Radio Show Schedule". San Jose State Athletics. Retrieved June 4, 2017. 
  37. ^ http://www.santaclarabroncos.com/sports/m-baskbl/2016-17/schedule

External links[edit]