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KPBS 89.5FM Grows in San Diego County

Transmitter Moves to Mt. Soledad and Increases Power

KPBS Contact

Claudine Casillas

(619) 594-4266 or send an email

— With the flip of a switch, the KPBS 89.5FM transmitter is now broadcasting from Mt. Soledad in La Jolla. The transmitter had previously been located on Mt. San Miguel in East County. The Mt. Soledad site allows the station to boost its power, increasing the strength of the radio signal. As a result, most listeners will be able to receive a stronger, clearer signal at 89.5 FM.

The move became official after months of construction followed by thorough testing and approval from the FCC. But the project had been in the works for decades. “The idea to move our transmitter started about 20 years ago,” said KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo. “The Mt. Soledad location has always offered a way for KPBS to provide quality news and information programs to thousands more in our community.”

Major events underscored the need for KPBS to improve its power strength and reach in the region. During the wildfires of 2007, KPBS temporarily lost power and the ability to broadcast because of fires burning on Mt. San Miguel.

While fires on Mt. Soledad are possible, the natural environment poses a much lower risk than that of Mt. San Miguel. As a news and information station, one of KPBS’ priorities is to provide ongoing news coverage during times of crisis.

“KPBS has become a reliable source of information,” continued Karlo. “We’ve demonstrated that KPBS can deliver breaking and ongoing coverage of major events in this community – be it wildfire, earthquake, or tragedy. Moving our transmitter to Mt. Soledad means that KPBS will have the ability to reach an even larger audience when it is needed most.”

As a result of the move, some homes may experience a weaker signal. However, KPBS engineers anticipate signal losses to be confined to at-home listening. To keep signal loss at a minimum, the station’s engineers are researching the best options to help boost the reception in these areas. Additionally, listeners in La Jolla who previously tuned to 89.1 FM can now access the KPBS radio signal directly at 89.5 FM. The KPBS television signal will continue to be broadcast from Mt. San Miguel.

Need more information?

Read answers to frequently asked questions

Listeners who are impacted by the move are encouraged to readjust radio antenna(s) toward the direction of Mt. Soledad. The radio signal can also be streamed through the station’s website at and via the free iPhone and Android apps.

KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University, serving the region with TV, Radio and Internet content that is educational as well as entertaining—and free of commercial interruption.

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Avatar for user 'suzyQ'

suzyQ | October 8, 2012 at 4:12 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

I was getting ready to renew my annual pledge and just found out the reason I cannot listen to KPBS in my house, in my car or on my phone. I do not have an ipad, iphone and am not going to spend $400 to buy an internet radio. However, I can pickup KPPC & KCRW from Los Angeles at times and they will be receiving my donation. What disturbs me is that you so easily blow off all the people in East County. I am very disappointed in not being able to listen to my programs I have learned to love over the years, but more disappointed in your attitude toward long time supporters.

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Avatar for user 'JamieT'

JamieT | October 8, 2012 at 5:40 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

I lost my KPBS signal down here in Chula Vista's Eastlake. I have been a member for over 20 years and now one of my favorite parts of the day has gone to static. I don't know how I can rationalize renewing my membership. It's not like I live out in the back country! There are a lot of people down here. Please consider some sort of fix.

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Avatar for user 'infohound'

infohound | October 8, 2012 at 5:54 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

89.5 signal to my area of Escondido has become unusable. Unfortunately I can't receive KPCC, but after 10 years of good signal to Escondido I no longer can listen to is just distorted noise. It went bad over a week ago and there has been no improvement. Signal is poor in San Marcos, but that has been the case for many years.
Internet streaming is not free to mobile devices. I used to listen on a portable radio while I did other work. No more.
The signal from Mt. Miguel was fine, now the signal from Mt. Soledad is being blocked by the hills of Escondido. Seems like they want to favor the people living closer to the coast.
I am very disappointed in this supposed improvement.

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Avatar for user 'johnha'

johnha | October 8, 2012 at 9:42 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

I live in east county and because of your transmitter relocation now I cannot listen to KPBS without static. I like that your engineers are researching better options to improve your signal to east county, but please tell me how exactly how I should readjust my car antenna to point towards Mount Soledad. I agree with suzyQ; it appears that you really didn't consider those of us in east county. Please fix this now!

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Avatar for user 'Claudine Casillas'

Claudine Casillas, KPBS Staff | October 9, 2012 at 11:02 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

First of all, thank you for your feedback, and we really are sorry that your signal has been affected. Please know that KPBS is keeping track of the feedback and the neighborhoods affected by the transmitter move. We are researching the best options to boost the signal’s strength in problem areas. I hope you understand that one of the reasons for moving away from Mt. San Miguel was the risk of damage from wildfires – a situation we experienced in 2007 that temporarily forced us off the air. As the primary source for radio news in our community it was a risk we aren’t willing to take if and when the next wildfire occurs.

Here are a few suggestions worth trying:

Add some wire to the back of the radio. If the radio already has an antenna, you might get an improvement by adding additional wiring. This is similar to adding rabbit ears or tin foil to boost reception.

Any radios plugged into your home or office might also get a clearer signal by plugging into an extension cord. Our general manager, who is also experiencing a weaker signal in his east county home, had success with these measures.

KPBS radio can also be heard via cable television (channel 953 on Cox and channel 961 on Time Warner). The mobile aps also allow live streaming and are free. Podcasts can be another way to hear KPBS content.

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Avatar for user 'stanschwartz'

stanschwartz | October 9, 2012 at 11:26 a.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

I live in South Park, San Diego and have listened to KPBS radio for over 30 years. It's really upsetting not to be able to hear my favorite shows in all areas of my house as I do not have a computer in each room.
Not only have you lost the East County and South Bay, but also parts of main area of
San Diego.

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Avatar for user 'JohnB'

JohnB | October 9, 2012 at 2:57 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

I too live in South Park and have lost my reception to KPBS. I am very upset about this and hope that you will come up with some solution to remedy this so that your many listeners in Central San Diego, South Bay, East County and whereever can receive your signal. If not, you can count on no longer receiving any support from me.

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Avatar for user 'aztec69'

aztec69 | October 9, 2012 at 8:39 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

The change is no surprise. That's where KPBS;'s big donors are. One Irwin Jacobs is worth more than all of East County. Bless his heart. Try XLNC at 104.9 for classical music while KPBS gets its act together. XLNC is based in Tijuana and offers a different approach to classical music. I find the two together make a nice mix and having two classical stations in the area is a rarity any more. And, if you're on the broadcast signal line from LA you can try the stations up there. Failing all that, don't be so lazy. Pull out all those LPs and CDs you've got and crank up your players.

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Avatar for user 'infohound'

infohound | October 10, 2012 at 3:17 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

I do not pay Cox or TW for TV reception...I have an HD antenna. So I can't get radio via cable TV. I have extra antenna wires on my radios, so I don't plan on adding more. Plus the KPBS signal was fine until the move, even on little pocket portable radios.
You need to add some repeaters so the areas now affected with weak signal are able to get the station w/o resorting to unnecessary modifications to antennas or extension cables.
The wildfire excuse is rather lame...are you saying that no measures have been taken to clear the area around the transmitters on Mt. Miguel? Your TV station and many others are still there. There is more to this move than you are telling.

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Avatar for user 'itemtwo'

itemtwo | December 28, 2012 at 7:21 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

I carry mail in Chula Vista, and kpbs has kept me company on my little pocket radio for lo theses many years. It is hard not to suspect that we have been abandoned because our check books are not big enough. I would rather think that the research on the impact of the move was not good enough.

I do feel abandoned. Please stop giving us unrealistic alternatives and tell us how YOU are going to fix the problem that YOU created.

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