|City||St. Louis, Missouri|
|Broadcast area||Greater St. Louis|
|Frequency||AM 550 kHz|
|Branding||The Big 5-50, KTRS|
|Slogan||"The Talk of St. Louis"|
|Owner||KTRS-AM License, LLC|
(CH Radio Holdings/St. Louis Cardinals)
First air date
|June 26, 1922 (as KSD)|
Former call signs
|KSD (1922-1982, 1993-1997)|
Call sign meaning
|K Talk Radio St. Louis.|
|Translator(s)||K291CW (106.1 MHz, St. Louis)|
KTRS (550 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in St. Louis, Missouri. The station airs a talk radio format with some sports. It is owned by the St. Louis Cardinals and CH Radio Holdings. Comedy actor John Goodman is a part owner of the station. The studios and offices are located in Westport Plaza in Maryland Heights.
KTRS broadcasts with 5,000 watts of power, day and night. It uses a directional antenna at night to avoid interfering with other stations on AM 550. The transmitter is located near Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois. KTRS can also be heard in St. Louis and its adjacent suburbs on 250-watt FM translator K291CW at 106.1 MHz.
Weekday programming is Live and Local Weekdays begin with "Farmer Dave" Schumacher, followed by McGraw Milhaven on morning drive time, Jennifer Blome and Art Holliday in mid-days, John Carney and Julie Buck in early afternoons, Heidi Glaus and Josh Gilbert in afternoon drive time, The Big Sports Show with Brendan Weise in the evening. Two syndicated shows are heard: The Jim Bohannon Show overnight and First Light airs before sunrise.
KTRS carries ABC News Radio for world and national news, followed by local news from Wendy Weise. Traffic reports are provided by Tim Wilund, Frank Ladd, and Ed Smaron.
Weekend programming consists of how-to, advice, and trivia shows with occasional sports events.
KSD, owned by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, began broadcasting experimentally in 1921 at 833 kc. with 27 watts of power. The official sign-on didn't take place until June 26, 1922. KSD moved to 550 kc. in 1923, with an increase in power to 5,000 watts daytime and 1,000 watts nighttime taking place in 1934. With a new transmitter in place, in November 1948 KSD increased its night output, reaching a status of 5 kW (full-time).
KSD was one of the first eight radio stations of the NBC Red Network in 1926. That association lasted until the early 1980s. Sister station KSD-TV (now KSDK) went on the air February 8, 1947. As network programming passed from radio to television, KSD began playing middle of the road music, before moving to a Top 40 format in early 1971.
As Top 40 listening shifted from AM to FM radio, KSD began an all-news radio format in early 1980. KSD switched to country music the following year, and in 1983, KSD became KUSA. March 17, 1993 saw the restoration of the KSD call sign and a switch back to all-news, this time utilizing the full-time CNN Headline News network feed.
The station flipped to adult standards in January 1995. On April 15, 1996, the station became KTRS and switched to its current Talk format. The station was purchased by its current owners, CH Radio Holdings, in 1997.
KUSA started AM stereo broadcasts in 1983 after rebuilding most of the transmitter to accommodate stereo transmissions. Stereo broadcasts continued throughout most of the 1990s, using the C-QUAM standard. In 1997, KTRS stopped sending stereo programming to the transmitter but continued broadcasting the stereo pilot signal. In 2001, the stereo pilot was silenced.
KTRS Morning Show hosts Bill Wilkerson and Wendy Wiese, sports director Jim Holder (at the time the public address announcer at the Edward Jones Dome for the NFL Rams' games), Randy Karraker, McGraw Milhaven, Kevin Horrigan, Scott St. James and Meme Wolff were all fired. Management, including program director Al Brady Law, announced plans to bring in a new lineup beginning in January 2006. Milhaven, however, was reinstated during the spring of 2006. Law was fired on December 11 of that year. KTRS broadcast the St. Louis Blues from 2000-2006. In 2006, the Blues moved to competitor 1120 KMOX.
After five years (2006–10), KTRS sold the rights of the St. Louis Cardinals to KMOX starting in 2011. (The Cardinals nonetheless retained their ownership stake in KTRS and still airs the games of its owned-and-operated farm club, the Memphis Redbirds.) With the elimination of the Cardinals, KTRS now airs the University of Missouri Tigers football and men's basketball as well as their weekly sports show, along with occasional high school football contests.
In July 2006, severe storms knocked over two of the four transmitting towers. The towers were replaced in 2009. A second storm in 2018 knocked over the #4 tower, which required replacement.
KTRS announced on October 6, 2010, that it had hired the well-known radio personality J.C. Corcoran to fill its midday, weekday slot starting October 25, 2010; Corcoran was fired on April 27, 2012 and later joined 1380 KXFN. Trish Gazall, who had been John Brown's co-host, joined JC in January 2011 as his producer; Trish Gazall left the station in October 2012 for KEZK-FM.
Steve Cochran, who later worked at WGN in Chicago, hosted a weekday evening talk show on KTRS from 2010 until 2013.