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|Slogan||Your Classical Companion|
(also on HD Radio)
89.5 HD2 Radio Ahora
89.5 HD3 Sun Sounds of Arizona
|Translator(s)||89.7 K209DV (Scottsdale)|
|First air date||1 August 1992|
|Callsign meaning||K- BACH|
|Owner||Maricopa County Community College District/Arizona State University|
KBAQ (89.5 FM, "K Bach") is a Phoenix metro area FM radio station that plays classical music twenty-four hours per day. It is co-owned by the Maricopa County Community College District and Arizona State University. A member of National Public Radio, its main transmitter was moved from the White Tank Mountains to South Mountain Park in 2006. An additional Translator is located on 89.7 and a live Internet audio stream is available. It is also simulcast on local PBS station KAET digital channel 8.5. The main office and studio complex is located in Tempe (east suburban Phoenix) at the flagship location of Rio Salado College.
KBAQ's slogan is "Your classical companion". The station's nickname is a play on the name of composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
KBAQ is licensed to Maricopa Community Colleges (MCC), and is operated jointly by MCC, Rio Salado College, and Arizona State University. KBAQ is the sister radio station to the area's flagship NPR station, KJZZ.
Phoenix's classical station of record had been KONC at 101.5 MHz. On March 31, 1986, that station left the classical format.  Late in 1986, another commercial radio station stepped into the format, a new station at 106.3 adopting the KONC calls; Tucson's KUAT-FM also established a translator in Phoenix. However, two parties sought to build and operate their own classical music station. One was the Maricopa County Community College District, and the other was Arizona State University. A week after MCCCD announced its intent to file for a classical station, the university announced its own bid, a decision which drew ire from the community colleges for proposing to use taxpayer money and for forcing the MCCCD attempt into comparative hearings. The KJZZ station director said of ASU's move, "If ASU had desired to do something to impede the progress in returning classical music to the airwaves in Phoenix, it couldn't have found a better action to pursue."  The colleges had already raised some $80,000 to build a classical station, halting the bid when the university entered the fray. In addition, the owner of the former KONC at 101.5 donated the station's music library to KJZZ. 
In 1988, the two classical applications were designated for a consolidated hearing alongside those of Sun Health Corporation, Western Broadcasting Corporation, and Radio Alliance Phoenix. Over the course of 1989, Western and Radio Alliance Phoenix withdrew. On June 26, 1990, the FCC denied the Sun Health application and selected those of the MCCCD and ASU, ordering them to share time on the 89.5 frequency and stipulating a time-share plan in the event the two parties could not agree.  The two sides came to an agreement, and KBAQ began broadcasting from atop South Mountain at the end of April 1993 with an effective radiated power of just 91 watts.
In 1997, KBAQ was relocated to the White Tank Mountains north and west of Phoenix, which permitted a power increase to 12,500 watts. In 2009, KBAQ was approved to return to South Mountain with an ERP of 30,000 watts.
The broadcast schedule consists primarily of playlists announced by local hosts, as well as a few nationally syndicated broadcasts from NPR and American Public Media. As of 2014 [update], KBAQ carries Sunday Baroque, SymphonyCast and the Metropolitan Opera during its season. KBAQ also features programs from Central Sound at PBS, formerly the KBAQ Production Studio; these include programs of Arizona Opera and the Phoenix Symphony during their seasons; ASU in Concert (a program of performances from the ASU Herberger Institute School of Music); Southwest Season Ticket (featuring performances from various venues in the Phoenix area and statewide) and the Mozart Buffet with Randy Kinkel (featuring music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his contemporaries).
KBAQ's HD Radio signal is multiplexed.
- HD1 is a simulcast of KBAQ's classical programming.
- HD2 carries Ahora!, a mix of classical and contemporary music, arts and cultural programming and news for Spanish speaking listeners.
- HD3 carries Sun Sounds of Arizona, a reading and information access service for people who cannot read print because of a disability.
|City of license||
- Drobatschewsky, Dimitri (6 April 1986). "The day the classics died". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- Wilkinson, Bud (5 April 1986). "ASU makes bid for radio station definite". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- Wilkinson, Bud (4 November 1986). "Affiliated donates classical-music library to KJZZ". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- "Actions" (PDF). Broadcasting. 6 August 1990. p. 78. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- KBAQ-FM official website
- Website of the KBAQ Production Studio
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KBAQ
- Radio-Locator information on KBAQ
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KBAQ
- Coverage maps
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