|Broadcast area||El Paso metropolitan area|
|Branding||News Radio 690 KTSM|
Westwood One Network
|KHEY, KHEY-FM, KPRR, KTSM-FM|
First air date
|April 22, 1929|
Call sign meaning
|Tri-State Media (original owner)|
KTSM (690 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to El Paso, Texas. KTSM is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. and airs a talk radio format. The transmitter is in the extreme north end of El Paso, and studios are located along Mesa Drive in west central El Paso.
KTSM broadcasts with 10,000 watts around the clock. Because the station operates on 690 kHz, a Canadian and Mexican Clear-channel frequency, KTSM uses a directional antenna to avoid interfering with other stations at the same dial position.
KTSM's weekday schedule is made up of nationally syndicated talk shows, with national news from Fox News Radio as well as local news updates. Most of the programs are supplied by Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia. Weekdays start with Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Afternoons feature Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. In the evening, Todd Schnitt, Clyde Lewis, and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, followed by This Morning, America's First News with Gordon Deal. Weekends feature a mix of local and syndicated shows from Kim Komando, Bill Handel, Gary Sullivan, Bruce DuMont, Bill Cunningham and Ric Edelman. Some weekend hours are paid brokered programming.
KTSM is the oldest radio station in El Paso, signing on the air on April 22, 1929. At first, it was powered at only 100 watts, broadcasting on 1310 kilocycles, and sharing time with another radio station, KDAH. Eventually, the Tri-State Broadcasting Company (now Tri-State Media) owned both stations and consolidated them under the KTSM call sign. The original studios were in the historic Hotel Paso del Norte on Sheldon Court at South Santa Fe Street.
With the enactment of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) in 1941, KTSM's frequency was shifted to 1380 kHz. Daytime power was increased to 1,000 watts, and 500 watts at night, when radio waves travel farther. KTSM was a CBS Radio Network affiliate, airing its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio."
In 1953, KTSM added a television station, Channel 9 KTSM-TV, the second TV outlet in El Paso. Because KTSM radio was a CBS affiliate, KTSM-TV also began carrying CBS TV shows. As network programming moved from radio to television in the 1950s, KTSM 1380 switched to a full service middle of the road format, including popular music, news and sports.
In 1962, an FM station was added. 99.9 KTSM-FM began broadcasting with a beautiful music format, separate from the AM station. The FM transmitter was co-located with the TV tower.
In 1975, NBC Radio established an all-news radio network known as the "News and Information Service" (NIS). KTSM 1380 was one of the stations to join NIS, while also keeping its CBS News affiliation as well. The network failed to gain enough affiliates and was discontinued at the end of 1977.
For several years, KTSM did its own all-news programming, using the services of CBS and NBC for world and national news, and a staff of local reporters for El Paso and Texas news. Over time, talk shows were added until KTSM became a talk radio station.
In 1947, KEPO signed on the air in El Paso at 690 kHz. It was powered at 5,000 watts and was owned by H.J. Griffith, who served as station president. It later switched its call letters to KHEY, airing a country music format for many years.
In 1998, San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communications acquired both KTSM-AM-FM and KHEY-AM-FM. Under Clear Channel management, the two AM stations' frequencies were switched in 2000. KHEY, which had still been playing country music on the AM dial, was moved to AM 1380. KTSM and its talk format took over the AM 690 frequency, giving it wider coverage. AM stations lower on the dial have a bigger range, plus AM 690 is powered at 10,000 watts, while AM 1380 broadcasts at 5,000 watts by day, 500 watts at night. The new 1380 KHEY flipped to a sports radio format.
Clear Channel Communications was renamed iHeartMedia in 2014.