KTRH
Broadcast areaGreater Houston
Frequency740 kHz
BrandingNewsradio 740 KTRH
Programming
Language(s)English
FormatNews/talk
NetworkABC News Radio
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
KBME, KXYZ, KODA, KPRC, KQBT, KTBZ-FM
History
First air date
April 22, 1922;
101 years ago
 (1922-04-22) (in Austin, moved to Houston in 1929)
Former call signs
  • WCM (1922 (1922)–1925 (1925))
  • KUT (1925 (1925)–1929 (1929))
Former frequencies
  • 833 kHz (1922 (1922)–1924 (1924))
  • 1120 kHz (1924 (1924)–1925 (1925))
  • 1300 kHz (1925 (1925)–1927 (1927))
  • 1100 kHz (1927)
  • 1290 kHz (1927 (1927)–1928 (1928))
  • 1120 kHz (1928 (1928)–1934 (1934))
  • 1330 kHz (1934 (1934)–1935 (1935))
  • 1290 kHz (1935 (1935)–1941 (1941))
  • 1320 kHz (1941 (1941)–1942 (1942))
Call sign meaning
The Rice Hotel
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID35674
ClassB
Power50,000 watts
Transmitter coordinates
29°57′57″N 94°56′32″W / 29.96583°N 94.94222°W / 29.96583; -94.94222
Repeater(s)99.1 KODA-HD2 (Houston)
Links
Public license information
WebcastListen live (via iHeartRadio)
Websitektrh.iheart.com

KTRH (740 AM) is a commercial radio station licensed to Houston, Texas. It airs a news/talk radio format and is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. Its studios are along the West Loop Freeway (I-610) in the city's Uptown district. The transmitter site, a four-tower array, is in unincorporated Liberty County, off Cox Road in Dayton.[2] KTRH is one of the oldest radio stations in the United States, first licensed to Austin on April 22, 1922. Programming is also heard on co-owned KODA's HD 2 subchannel at 99.1 MHz, and on the iHeartRadio platform. KTRH is Southeast Texas' primary entry point station for the Emergency Alert System.

KTRH broadcasts with 50,000 watts around the clock, the highest power permitted by the Federal Communications Commission for commercial AM stations. But because it transmits on AM 740, a Canadian clear channel frequency, the station uses a directional antenna to protect Class A station CFZM in Toronto. During the day, the station provides at least secondary coverage to most southeast Texas, as far west as Austin and San Antonio and as far north as College Station and Lufkin, as well as much of southwestern Louisiana. At night, to protect CFZM, the station switches to a directional pattern with a significant null to the east, concentrating the signal in Houston, the Golden Triangle and Victoria.

History

WCM in Austin

Not to be confused with KUT or KUTX.

The station was first licensed, with the randomly assigned call sign of WCM, on April 22, 1922. It was started by the University of Texas at Austin. (Initially call letters beginning with "W" were generally assigned to stations east of an irregular line formed by the western state borders from North Dakota south to Texas, with call letters beginning with "K" going only to stations in states west of that line. In January 1923 the Mississippi River was established as the new boundary, thus after this date Texas stations generally received call letters starting with "K" instead of "W".)[3]

WCM was authorized to broadcast on both the "entertainment" wavelength of 360 meters (833 kHz) and the "market and weather" wavelength of 485 meters (619 kHz).[4][5] In November 1924 the station was relicensed to broadcast on 1120 kHz.[6] On October 30, 1925, the station was relicensed with the new call letters of KUT, now operating on 1300 kHz.[7] In early 1927 the station was assigned to 1100 kHz,[8] and a few months later was assigned to 1290 kHz.[9] On November 11, 1928, under the provisions of the Federal Radio Commission's General Order 40, the station moved back to 1120 kHz.[10]

The university ultimately decided that it could not afford the expense of operating a radio station,[11] and in early 1929 sold KUT to a group that planned to convert it from an educational to a commercial station.[12]

Move to Houston

Jesse H. Jones, operator of the Rice Hotel (now the Post Rice Lofts) in Houston, Texas and owner of the Houston Chronicle, took over the station to meet its competition, the Houston Post, which was the first of the local papers with a radio affiliation (KPRC).[13] In December 1929, the station's call letters were changed to KTRH (standing for The Rice Hotel), and its main studio was moved to Houston. (Simultaneously, station KGDR in San Antonio, Texas was renamed KUT and moved to Austin (now KJFK).[14] In March 1930, the station began broadcasting from the Rice Hotel. KTRH aired shows from the Columbia Broadcasting System as part of its initial programming.[13]

In mid-1934 KTRH shifted to 1330 kHz,[15] which was followed late the next year by a move to 1290 kHz with 5,000 watts in the daytime and 1,000 watts at night.[16] On March 29, 1941, with the implementation of the provisions of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA), the stations on 1290 kHz were moved to 1320 kHz.[17] The next year KTRH moved to its current frequency of 740 kHz, and got a boost in power to 50,000 watts.[18]

In 1947, Houston's first FM station was added, 101.1 MHz KTRH-FM.[19] The FM station mostly simulcast KTRH's programming when few people had FM radios.

In the 1950s, as network programming moved from radio to TV, KTRH-AM-FM switched to a full service middle of the road (MOR) format. In 1965, KTRH-AM-FM were acquired by the Rusk Corporation. Under Rusk ownership, KTRH-FM experimented with progressive rock programs at night while simulcasting AM 740 in the daytime. In 1970, Rusk switched the FM station over to a full time rock format as KLOL.

Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather worked for KTRH in the late 1950s as both anchor and reporter. In 1959, KTRH carried broadcasts of the Houston Buffs minor league baseball team. Rather was the main play by play announcer. The Gallup Poll's editor in chief Frank Newport was also a noted talk show host and news director at KTRH in the early 1980s. CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz worked at KTRH while attending the University of Houston.

Ownership change

In 1993, Evergreen Media bought KTRH and KLOL for $49 million.[20] Evergreen Media was later merged into Chancellor Media, which in turn was bought by Clear Channel Communications, the forerunner to today's owner, iHeartMedia. In 1995, Clear Channel also acquired KTRH's chief talk radio competitor, AM 950 KPRC. That means Clear Channel, and now iHeartMedia, has two talk radio stations in Houston, each airing slightly different programming. For a time, Houston-based syndicated host Michael Berry had shows on both stations, airing at different times. Berry is now heard twice a day on KTRH, while KTRH morning host Jimmy Barrett is also heard on KPRC for an hour in the afternoon.

KTRH was the Houston affiliate for CBS Radio News, before switching to ABC News Radio in 1997 and then to Fox News Radio in 2003. In early 2016, KTRH switched back to ABC.[21] The Fox News affiliation moved to sister station KPRC.

Programming

Weekdays on KTRH begin with Jimmy Barrett and Shara Fryer hosting Houston's Morning News. Fryer was a longtime anchor at Houston's ABC-TV outlet KTRK, a sister station to KTRH during its early history. The Michael Berry Show, a syndicated program based at KTRH, airs in late mornings and again in early evenings. Berry is followed by The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show and The Sean Hannity Show (both syndicated via co-owned Premiere Networks). The Mark Levin Show (syndicated via Westwood One) and Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb air in the evening, while Coast to Coast AM with George Noory (via Premiere) is heard overnight.

On weekends, shows on money, health, gardening, cars, home repair and the oil industry are heard. Syndicated programs include The Weekend with Michael Brown and Somewhere in Time with Art Bell. KTRH is affiliated with ABC News Radio. It has a news-sharing partnership with KPRC-TV 2, Houston's NBC affiliate, and it gets forecasts from The Weather Channel.

For many years, KTRH was the flagship station for the Houston Astros Radio Network. With the 2013 season, the Astros' play-by-play rights switched to sports radio sister station KBME 790 AM. KTRH occasionally airs Astros' baseball games when KBME is carrying Houston Rockets' basketball games.

References

  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KTRH". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ Radio-Locator.com/KTRH
  3. ^ "'K' Calls Are Western", The Wireless Age, April 1923, page 25.
  4. ^ "New Stations: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, April 1, 1922, page 2.
  5. ^ "United States Pioneer Broadcast Service Stations: Actions Through June, 1922" by Thomas H. White (earlyradiohistory.us)
  6. ^ "New Stations: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, December 1, 1924, page 2.
  7. ^ "New Stations: Broadcasting Stations", November 2, 1925, page 3.
  8. ^ "Alterations and Corrections: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, February `28, 1927, page 5.
  9. ^ "Broadcasting Stations", Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States (June 30, 1927), page 76.
  10. ^ "Broadcasting Stations" (November 11, 1928), Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States (June 30, 1928), page 168.
  11. ^ "University of Texas" entry, Education's Own Stations by S. E. Frost, Jr., 1937, pages 425-428.
  12. ^ "Alterations and Corrections: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, February 28, 1929, page 12.
  13. ^ a b Fenberg, Steven (2011). Unprecedented Power: Jesse Jones, Capitalism, and the Common Good. College Station: Texas A & M University Press. p. 181. ISBN 9781603444347.
  14. ^ "Alterations and Corrections: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, December 31, 1929, page 8.
  15. ^ "Broadcasting Stations: Changes" Radio Service Bulletin, June 1, 1934, page 7.
  16. ^ "Broadcasting Stations: Changes" Radio Service Bulletin, November 15, 1935, page 12.
  17. ^ List of Radio Broadcast Stations (March 29, 1941), page 32.
  18. ^ "Modernistic in Design", Broadcasting, November 16, 1942, page 62.
  19. ^ "KTRH-FM Houston Takes Air on 8-Hour Schedule", Broadcasting, July 7, 1947, page 73. (americanradiohistory.com)
  20. ^ "Ownership Changes" Broadcasting & Cable, May 24, 1993, page 83. (americanradiohistory.com)
  21. ^ "740 KTRH Makes Changes For 2016" by Mike McGruff (mikemcguff.blogspot.com)