KWFS
Wichita Falls, Texas, US
Broadcast areaWichita Falls metropolitan area
Frequency1290 kHz
BrandingNewsTalk 1290
Programming
FormatNews/Talk
AffiliationsFox News Radio
Ownership
OwnerTownsquare Media
(Townsquare License, LLC)
KBZS, KNIN-FM, KWFS-FM
History
FoundedDecember 23, 1946 (launch of KTRN on FM)
First air date
January 23, 1949 (1949-01-23)
Former call signs
  • KTRN (1949–1985)
  • KLLF (1985–1995)
Call sign meaning
"Wichita Falls"
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID6639
ClassD
Power
  • 5,000 watts day
  • 73 watts night
Translator(s)96.3 MHz K242DG (Wichita Falls)
Links
Public license information
Profile
LMS
WebsiteNewsTalk1290.com

KWFS (1290 AM) is a radio station with a news/talk radio format serving the area of Wichita Falls, Texas, United States. It is owned by Townsquare Media, with studios on Kell Boulevard in Wichita Falls.

KWFS is the oldest radio station still remaining in Wichita Falls. It was the third established in the city, but the first two outlets (on 620 and 990 kHz) were moved in to the Dallas–Fort Worth area in the 1990s.[1]

History

Foundation of KTRN on FM

As early as 1944, the city's two daily newspapers, the Wichita Daily Times and Record News, began planning to build a radio station. However, they sought not to build an AM radio station but to start an FM outlet. An application for a station on 46.5 MHz was filed on March 29 in the name of publisher Rhea Howard;[2] a conditional grant was issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on January 9, 1946.[3]

Final approval for a station on 97.7 MHz was granted June 1, 1946, for what the newspapers hoped to be the first FM radio station in Texas. Construction began on a new studio on Seventh Street and a transmitter building in the Westover Hills area by summer, and the new FM station took the call letters KTRN, for the Times and Record News.[4] KTRN was beaten to air by KTHT-FM in Houston, which began August 22;[5] by year's end, there were also six other stations in operation.[6] Ultimately, KTRN went on air December 23, 1946, an early Christmas gift to Wichita Falls;[7] the day before, it broadcast Handel's Messiah from a local church as a test of its remote control equipment.[8] The station initially operated with a temporary power of 250 watts,[8] but it upgraded to 3,800 watts on 97.3 MHz in September 1947.[9] April of that year saw the station obtain affiliation with the Mutual Broadcasting System.[10]

On the AM band

While KTRN was busy bringing FM to North Texas, on November 30, 1944,[11] the Texoma Broadcasting Company, part of the Harte-Hanks chain, applied to the FCC to build a new AM station at 970 kHz,[12] later modified to 1290. After a hearing, the new AM station was approved on January 16, 1948.[11] In April, the Times Publishing Company and Texoma Broadcasting Company proposed a merger of their radio interests; KTRN would take over the construction permit for the AM station, KTEN, which in turn would drop the FM permit it held.[13]

With 5,000 watts and 1,000 watts day from a different site in the City View area, KTRN's AM service debuted on January 23, 1949. A two-hour variety show attended by 4,000 people[14] was held in the Municipal Auditorium to commemorate the occasion.[15] The expansion to AM turned out to be more of a migration, as the station surrendered its FM license on June 2, 1949, citing "two years of constant losses".[16]

The year that followed the launch of KTRN on the AM dial led to a flurry of growth, including the relocation of the studios to a new building on Scott Street and a growth in the number of employees from seven to 17.[14] KTRN even examined television and filed an application in 1951;[17] KTRN merged its application with KWFT, but it then pulled out of the merger when it felt that the FCC was not acting quickly enough to approve the proposed joint station; it had apparently been pushed back by another application being filed for channel 6.[18]

In 1955, the newspapers sold KTRN to a new Texoma Broadcasting Company headed by Boyd Kelley, who had previously been a part-owner.[19] The Kelley family and Robert A. Harmon sold five years later to Broadcasting Associates, Inc., a company majority controlled by Sammons Enterprises, and in 1961, the licensee name was changed to T & O Broadcasting Company.[11]

Over the years, KTRN adopted a country music format and also maintained a local news staff. In 1979, it was the only AM station and one of just two total that was on the air after a major tornado devastated Wichita Falls, as most of the city lost power.[20] It was able to remain on the air because of an auxiliary power system; the station had a two-week supply of propane.[21] The station held a promotional giveaway for a new Toyota truck in 1984 in which the winner hung on to the truck for more than 76 hours to win; his rival collapsed and fell asleep.[22]

Raymond Ruff retired from broadcasting in 1983 and sold KTRN after 24 years of ownership to the Brandon family, whose Sunshine Broadcasting Corporation (a predecessor to American General Media and already owner of KKQV (103.3 FM)) spent $500,000 to add the station to its portfolio.[23]

Christian format and news/talk

In May 1985, KTRN became KLLF and adopted a Christian radio format, the first such station in the city.[24] This evolved to news/talk/sports by the early 1990s, with the last religious programming being dropped in 1994[25] alongside a Spanish-language radio program,[26] and KLLF became KWFS in 1995, sharing the base designation with KWFS-FM.[27]

Logo from 2018-2021
Logo from 2018-2021

Bruce Holberg, doing business as Apex Broadcasting, acquired KWFS-AM-FM in 1997 from American General Media for $1.4 million.[28] Clear Channel Communications acquired the Holberg cluster for $6.5 million in 2000.[29] The company then sold 52 stations in 11 markets in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, including its Wichita Falls stations, to Gap Broadcasting, a Dallas-based company owned by George Laughlin.[30] Gap Broadcasting and co-owned Gap West were merged with the former Regent Communications to form Townsquare Media after Oaktree Capital Management, already an investor in the Gap companies, became the majority owner of Regent after its bankruptcy.[31]

Programming

KWFS programming consists primarily of national conservative talk shows. A former affiliate of The Rush Limbaugh Show, KWFS and three other Townsquare talk stations in West Texas chose The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show as its replacement in 2021.[32]

One local and one regional show feature on the station's weekday lineup: Mike Hendren's Wake Up Call program in morning drive and the Chad Hasty Show, which is heard on other Townsquare talk stations in the region.[33]

References

  1. ^ Fortner, Patrick (August 28, 1997). "AM radio station meets same fate as predecessor". Times Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. p. 12C. Archived from the original on December 9, 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "Applications" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 3, 1944. p. 68. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 8, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  3. ^ Timmons, B. N. (January 10, 1946). "Times Publishing Co. Granted Permission For Radio Station". Wichita Falls Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. p. 1. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Contract Let on KTRN Transmitter Building". Wichita Daily Times. Wichita Falls, Texas. June 2, 1946. p. 6. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "First FM Radio Station In Texas In Operation". Wichita Falls Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. United Press. August 23, 1946. p. 1. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "142 FM Stations Operating in 33 States" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 20, 1947. p. 42. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  7. ^ "Radio Station KTRN Dedicated In Brief Program". Wichita Falls Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. December 24, 1946. p. 1, 2. Archived from the original on December 5, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ a b "Times Opens City's First FM Radio Station Monday". Wichita Daily Times. Wichita Falls, Texas. December 23, 1946. p. 1, 2. Archived from the original on December 5, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Station KTRN Gets Increase In Range". Wichita Daily Times. Wichita Falls, Texas. September 22, 1947. p. 1. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Announcing, Monday, April 7th, By Special Arrangement..." Wichita Daily Times. Wichita Falls, Texas. April 6, 1947. p. 9. Archived from the original on December 5, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ a b c FCC History Cards for KWFS
  12. ^ "New Radio Station For City Is Sought". Times Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. December 28, 1944. p. 1. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "Merger Requested By Radio Interests Here". Wichita Daily Times. Wichita Falls, Texas. April 16, 1948. p. 6. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ a b "KTRN Shows Wide Growth, Popularity After Year as Standard AM Station". Wichita Daily Times. Wichita Falls, Texas. January 23, 1950. p. 5. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "At 2 P. M. Sunday in Memorial Auditorium: Public Invited to Attend Two-Hour Variety Show". Wichita Daily Times. Wichita Falls, Texas. January 23, 1949. p. 40. Archived from the original on December 5, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "FM Deletions" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 6, 1949. p. 73. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 8, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  17. ^ "KTRN Files Application For Television Station". Wichita Daily Times. Wichita Falls, Texas. April 30, 1951. p. 1. Archived from the original on December 5, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "New Application Will Delay Another Video Station in This City". Wichita Falls Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. December 24, 1952. p. 1, 7. Archived from the original on December 5, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "KTRN Is Under New Ownership". Wichita Falls Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. January 27, 1955. p. 1, 2. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ Roberts, Lauren (April 10, 2018). "39 years after Terrible Tuesday Wichitans tell their stories". Times Record News. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  21. ^ "Auxiliary power kept station KTRN on air". Wichita Falls Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. April 26, 1979. p. 2A. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021. Retrieved December 10, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ "Truck goes to man who hung on longest". The Miami Herald. Miami, Florida. June 11, 1984. p. 6A. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ "Radio station purchased". Wichita Falls Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. January 27, 1983. p. 2C. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Shelton, Glenn (May 13, 1985). "KTRN's demise marks end of an era in radio here". Wichita Falls Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. p. 9A. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ "Format Changes & Updates" (PDF). M Street Journal. August 24, 1994. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 9, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  26. ^ Choate, Trish (July 6, 1994). "Spanish station switches to sports". Times Record News. Wichita Falls, Texas. p. 1A, 2A. Archived from the original on December 5, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ "Call Letter Changes" (PDF). M Street Journal. March 15, 1995. p. 4. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 19, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  28. ^ "The Big Deals Club" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. February 2, 1998. p. 50. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 8, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  29. ^ "Elsewhere" (PDF). M Street Journal. July 12, 2000. p. 8. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 9, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  30. ^ "Clear Channel Culls Empire" (PDF). Radio & Records. April 13, 2007. p. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 2, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  31. ^ "Townsquare To Buy-Out Oaktree Capital's Stake In The Company". Inside Radio. January 25, 2021. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  32. ^ Venta, Lance (June 20, 2021). "Number Of Rush Limbaugh Affiliates Decide On Replacement Shows". RadioInsight. Archived from the original on November 7, 2021. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  33. ^ "Shows". NewsTalk 1290. Archived from the original on November 5, 2021. Retrieved November 4, 2021.


Coordinates: 33°57′38″N 98°33′42″W / 33.96056°N 98.56167°W / 33.96056; -98.56167