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Logo kbac.jpg
CitySanta Fe, New Mexico
Broadcast areaSanta Fe, New Mexico
BrandingRadio Free Santa Fe
Slogan"A World of Music"
Frequency98.1 (MHz)
First air date1989
FormatAdult Album Alternative
ERP100,000 watts
HAAT316 meters
OwnerHutton Broadcasting
Sister stationsKLBU, KQBA, KTRC, KVSF, KVSF-FM
WebcastListen Live
WebsiteKBAC website

KBAC (98.1 FM, "Radio Free Santa Fe") is a commercial radio station located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, broadcasting to the Santa Fe, New Mexico, area. KBAC airs an adult album alternative music format.

KBAC has a playlist that is more eclectic then other commercial adult album alternative radio stations; airing a wide range of music from blues, acoustic, reggae, jazz, alternative, world music.


KBAC first signed on in November 1989 as "98.1 The Wave" with a satellite delivered format that featured a blend of soft rock, light jazz, and new age music.[1] The station would add a local morning show with a shift in programming in September 1990 as well as adding translator K288CX at 105.5 to cover the Albuquerque area.[2] By April 1991 the "wave" format was dropped and shifted to an alternative rock format mostly focused on new wave and post-punk music. The station would also shift entirely to local programming under program director Dwight Loop.[3] Later on Armida Santa Cruz would assume programming duties and the station would focus more on new and experimental alternative rock music which was reaching a new level of popularity in the early 1990s.[4] However in March 1994 Santa Cruz and the entire KBAC airstaff were fired when management claimed the format had become "too hard-edged to be sellable".[5] KBAC would be changed to a satellite delivered soft music format but by July 1994 the station would go dark.[6]

Radio Free Santa Fe[edit]

KBAC would return to the air in late 1995 with a triple-a format as "Radio Free Santa Fe". Ira Gordon formerly of KBCO in Denver would join the station as program director and general manager. Gordon developed the format based on local research and would focus on being a local community based station.[7] Honey Harris would also be one of the first personalities on the new format.[8] KBAC was purchased by Clear Channel in September 2000 but was able to continue running its eclectic format. On June 28, 2002, Clear Channel moved KBAC to the 104.1 frequency which made the station more easily available in Albuquerque.[9] However Clear Channel was not impressed with the results and added more classic rock tracks to the format attempting to get better ratings in Albuquerque. This also got complaints from its long-time listeners and in late 2003 KBAC moved back to 98.1.[10] Clear Channel had moved the classic rock format that had previously been on 104.1 (KLSK-FM) to 98.1 until KBAC returned. KBAC has had translators in Albuquerque in the past but it can no longer be heard in Albuquerque. Since 2007 the 98.1 frequency in Albuquerque has been home to translator K251AU making it nearly impossible to pick up KBAC there.

Clear Channel sold KBAC to Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation in March 2007. The employees had attempted to buy the station from EMF,[11] but on May 23, 2007 it was purchased by Hutton Broadcasting which had just purchased KWRP 101.5 and KLBU 102.9. The station's format is not likely to change under the new ownership.[12] KBAC has been locally programmed since 1989 and has also been involved with the local community. EMF has also purchased KSFQ 101.1 FM which had a smooth jazz format but had switched to simulcasting the public radio format from KSFR 90.7. 101.1 became the new home of KSFR while EMF took ownership of 90.7 (now KQLV) and moved it into Albuquerque.

On February 1, 2019 Ira Gordon retired from the station after 23 years. Chris Diestler now programs the station.[13]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°22′19″N 105°22′05″W / 35.372°N 105.368°W / 35.372; -105.368