Phoenix Broadcasting History Page

by Keith Elster

Page 1 - AM Stations

Last Updated on October 12, 2000

Broadcasting first began in Arizona in October 1921 when amateur station 6BBH began an experimental radio station on 360 meters (833 kHz) with the help of a local teenager named Barry Goldwater. This station received a broadcasting license almost a year later and was assigned the call letters KFCB. It's slogan was "Kind Friends Come Back." This station is now known as KOY.

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Stations in red are current stations.
Stations in blue are old stations.

Deleted Stations
KDYW 833 Phoenix (1922-1924)
The first licensed station in Phoenix (but not the first on the air - see 6BBH & KFCB below). It didn't last long. All commercial stations were forced to use 833 kilocycles (aka 360 meters) until 1924.

Current Stations
6BBH 833 Phoenix (1921-1922)
KFCB 833 Phoenix (1922-1923)
KFCB 1260 Phoenix (1923-1927)
KFCB 1230 Phoenix (1927-1928)
KFCB 1310 Phoenix (1928-1929)
KFCB 1390 Phoenix (1929)
KOY 1390 Phoenix (1929-1940)
KOY 550 Phoenix (1940-1999)
KGME 550 Phoenix (1999-2000)
KFYI 550 Phoenix (2000-)
6BBH was an amateur station, partially built by Barry Goldwater (but that was not his callsign), which became the first radio station in Arizona. It was licensed for broadcast in October 1922 as KFCB. FYI: Using the "W" prefix in amateur calls didn't start until 1928. Unofficially they used a lower-case "u" to stand for United States in this era. This is why the original amateur callsign is 6BBH rather than W6BBH.

"Kind Friends Come Back" was the slogan for KFCB. Like most stations then, it bounced all over the dial in its early years. It became KOY right after settling on 1390 in 1929.

KOY moved to 550 in March 1940 and has been a favorite of the senior set since the '60s. Moved from 550 to 1230 in April 1999 when owner AMFM bought the programming and personnel of KGME and moved it to 550.

KGME was known as SportsRadio 550 (previously The Game and SportsRadio 1360). It carried UofA sports until the move to 550, when it picked up ASU from KTAR.

Effective September 25, 2000 KGME and KFYI swap frequencies. KFYI becomes "NewsRadio 550" while KGME becomes "XTRA Sports 910" while retaining the KGME legal-ID.

KFAD 833 Phoenix (1922-1925)
KFAD 1100 Phoenix (1925-1926)
KFAD 930 Phoenix (1926-1928)
KFAD 620 Phoenix (1928)
KREP 620 Phoenix (1929-1930)
KTAR 620 Phoenix (1930-)
KFAD was just one of the multitudes on 833, the only frequency authorized for commercial radio at the time. It moved around quite a bit in its early years, finally settling on 620 in 1928. It was purchased by The Arizona Republic in 1928 who briefly changed its call letters to KREP, then finally KTAR.

"Newsradio 620" got its call letters in 1930, which stood for "Keep Taking the Arizona Republic." The Republic sold the station in 1946. Recently sold by Hearst-Argyle (along with KKLT and KMVP) to Emmis.

KUET 710 Black Canyon City (1982-1985)
KUET 710 Black Canyon City (1998-)
500 watt daytimer that didn't last long. The station was audible only in the Black Canyon City area, maybe into Cave Creek & Carefree.

Still using the old 500 watt transmitter, KUET never surrendered its license from the '80s. It is now owned by Z-Spanish and simulcasts KLNZ 103.5. A transmitter upgrade to 22,000 watts days and 3900 watts nights is in the works.

KMEO 740 (1959-1986)
KIDR 740 Phoenix (1986-)
KMEO was an easy-listening station simulcasted with FM 96.9. Was a 1000 watt daytimer until an upgrade to 292 watts at night in 1977 (a mistake since KCBS in SF frequently overrides KIDR in many parts of the valley).

KIDR has been Radio Unica (Spanish-language) since 1997 but carried children's programming from Radio Aahs from 1986-1996, BeatRadio from Minneapolis for a few months after that. Station was sold to the Catholic Radio Network and carried Gregorian Chants for about 2 months (I'm not kidding!) before CRN sold to Radio Unica. Carried Arizona Cardinals games in 1995.

KIFN 860 Phoenix (1948-1976)
KVVA 860 Phoenix (1976-1996)
KMVP 860 Phoenix (1996-)
The first Spanish-language station in the valley, it came on the air in 1948. Became KVVA in 1976, upgraded to 1000 watts fulltime in 1978 (it had been a 1000 watt daytimer).

"ESPN Radio 860 KMVP" was purchased by Pulitzer Broadcasting (KTAR owner) in 1996 when KVVA went bankrupt (KVVA-FM is still Spanish-language). With a 1000 watt transmitter that was designed to reach the south and west sides of town, it has a very poor signal for a station that is supposed to reach the entire valley. This station carries Jerry Colangelo's minor-league teams (Rattlers & Mercury).

KPHO 910 Phoenix (1949-1971)
KJJJ 910 Phoenix (1971-1986)
KFYI 910 Phoenix (1986-2000)
KGME 910 Phoenix (2000-)
KPHO, the 3rd station in Phoenix (not counting KDYW) started out on 1230 in 1940 and moved to 910 with a power increase in 1949. The original owners of this station also started the first TV station in the state (KPHO-TV Channel 5). Meredith purchased the stations in 1952 and sold KPHO radio in 1971, when it became country-music KJJJ.

KFYI, the home of Rush & Dr. Laura became an issues-oriented, mostly conservative, talk station in 1986.

On September 25, 2000 KFYI and KGME swapped frequencies. KFYI is now on 550 and KGME is on 910, now known as "XTRA Sports 910." It is the 3rd frequency for KGME since April 1999. The KGME call letters will be used for legal ID only once the FCC approves the swap.

KOOL 960 Phoenix (1946-1976)
KARZ 960 Phoenix (1976-1977)
KOOL 960 Phoenix (1977-1996)
KPXQ 960 Phoenix (1996-1999)
KCTK 960 Phoenix (1999-)
Gene Autry owned this station originally. It was first the local Mutual affiliate then swapped networks with KOY in 1949 and went to CBS. After the demise of network radio in the '50s it became an adult MOR station competing with KOY and KXIV. After a brief try as a country station (as KARZ) it became KOOL again, this time as an oldies station programmed seperately from KOOL-FM. Sold to Salem in 1996, it carried religious programming for a couple of years before swapping calls and formats with (the very briefly used) KCTK 1360. The station now carries secular syndicated talk programming.

KCAC 1010 Phoenix (1961-1971)
KXEG 1010 Tolleson/Phoenix (1971-)
The original "Progressive Rock" station from 1967-1971 founded by William Edward Compton. Compton sold this 500 watt daytimer and became involved with newly- born KDKB AM & FM (1510 & 93.3).

KXEG, a religious station (Spanish at night), replaced KCAC in 1971. Changed city of license from Phoenix to Tolleson in the mid '70s. Recently sold to James Crystal Radio of Florida. The plan to keep the format the same and have entered into an LMA with Mortenesen Broadcasting, the new owner of KTKP.

KUPD 1060 Tempe (1956-1980)
KKKQ 1060 Tempe (1980)
KUKQ 1060 Tempe/Phoenix (1980-1996)
KDUS 1060 Tempe/Phoenix (1997-)
Originally a station that played "Love Songs" and was called "Cupid." Tried to compete with KRIZ and KRUX as an AM/FM Top-40 station for a time in the '70s. This station was a complete mess in those days. In 1980 the KUPD call letters were assigned to the FM only and 1060 became Urban KKKQ, then KUKQ (see KUKQ above). Now KDUS.

After KUPD went FM-only, Urban Contemporary was tried on 1060 using these call letters around 1980. Unfortunately, it was not a good idea to name a radio station catering to Black people with call letters having "KKK" in them. It became KUKQ after a few weeks. The Urban format didn't last. They tried Country, Alternative Rock, then syndicated talk before settling on being the 3rd sports station in the valley as KDUS.

KDUS is the home of the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes as well as the national One-On-One Sports Network.

KCCF 1100 Cave Creek (1996-1997)
KFNX 1100 Cave Creek/Phoenix (1997-)
This station came on the air in early 1996 as a MOR-Adult Standards station with Bill Heywood doing mornings but it didn't last. Sold to North American Broadcasting a year later. KFNX became a Shlock-talk/infomercial station populated by F-bombing heavy-metal types, snake-oil "holistic health product" salesmen, and devotees of one Adolf Hitler. A complete waste of 50,000 watts. Mostly relays WALE in Rhode Island using a bad phone line, although there is some local content.

KZON 1190 Tolleson (1957-196?)
KRDS 1190 Tolleson (196?-1997)
KMYL 1190 Tolleson/Phoenix (1997-)
KMYL was no relation to the current 101.5. Don't know the format at first but it became a Spanish-language station for a while in the '50s.

KRDS replaced Spanish KZON in the early '60s. Was a country station for several years, tried talk in the '70s before going religious around 1977.

KMYL is a Big Band/Adult Standards competitor to KOY since it replaced religious KRDS in mid-1997. Simulcasted on sister-station KMYL-FM Wickenburg until early in 2000 when they sold the station.

KPHO 1230 Phoenix (1940-1949)
KRIZ 1230 Phoenix (1950-1978)
KFLR 1230 Phoenix (1878-1985)
KAMJ 1230 Phoenix (1985-198?)
KMYL 1230 Phoenix (198?-198?)
KAMJ 1230 Phoenix (1988?-1990)
KPMX 1230 Phoenix (1990-1992)
KISP 1230 Phoenix (1992-1995)
KISO 1230 Phoenix (1995-1999)
KOY 1230 (1999-)
KPHO started out on 1230 as an NBC Blue/ABC affiliate. It received a power increase and moved to 910 in 1949. 1230 was not used for several months until KRIZ came on the air in 1950.

KRIZ was a legendary rocker from about 1958-1978. Home of Pat "Gerald" McMahon in an earlier life. Sold out to Family Stations in 1978 and preached for 7 years as KFLR until it moved to FM 90.3. Transmitter was (and is) at 23rd Ave. & Buckeye Rd. (Just off I-17).

KAMJ replaced KFLR when that station moved to FM. It was an adult-contemporary station that simulcasted with 101.5.

KMYL was no relation to the current KMYL on 1190, this station replaced, and was succeeded by, KAMJ in the '80s.

The 2nd KAMJ was a sports-talker. Became KPMX soon after the format change.

KISP, then KISO "KISS 1230" was an Urban, then classic-country station. This station was killed off on April 23, 1999 (although the call letters were used until mid-May) when AMFM bought the programming (but not the transmitter) of KGME and moved it to 550 (recently moved again to 910), kicking KOY up the dial to 1230.

KASR 1260 Tempe (1988-1998)
KASC 1260 Tempe (1998-)
Student-run low-power (Under FCC Part 15) AM station, also known as "The Blaze", located on the ASU campus. This 30-watter has enough signal to cover ASU and central Tempe but not much else (officially). Programming can be best described as "eclectic." Was KASR until the FCC actually assigned those calls to a licensed station. Originally a carrier-current station on 680, which is still on the air according to their website.

KHEP 1280 Phoenix (1956-1998)
KTKP 1280 Phoenix (1998-)
Long-time religious station. Daytime-only until the late '80s - now runs 2500 watts days and 49 watts nights. Became conservative-talk KTKP "Radio Phoenix" in 1998, but may return to religion since the station was recently purchased by Mortenesen Broadcasting.

The station has recently been sold to Mortensen Broadcasting and may return to religious programming.

KTYL 1490 Mesa (1946-1952?)
KTYL 1310 Mesa (1952?-1960?)
KBUZ 1310 Mesa/Phoenix (196?-1979)
KZZP 1310 Mesa/Phoenix (1979-1992)
KXAM 1310 Mesa/Scottsdale/Phoenix (1992-)
KTYL was Mesa's first station came on the air in 1946 on 1490 and moved to 1310 a few years later. Operated by the Harkins Theater group, they also founded the first FM station in the valley (KTYL-FM 104.7) in 1950, and Channel 12 in 1953 (then KTYL-TV).

KBUZ was an easy-listening station which simulcasted with KBUZ-FM 104.7 from studios at Thomas Mall (44th St. & Thomas Rd. - now Arcadia Crossing) in the '60s and '70s.

KZZP was the last gasp of AM rock (also on FM 104.7) in Phoenix. Jonathon Brandmeier got his start at this station.

KXAM was Big Band from 1992-1996, then mostly-syndicated talk replacing KUKQ when it changed to KDUS. "Indpendent 1310" has a good variety of programming, both network and local. Weak 500 watt signal at night from the north side of Mesa, though.

KRUX 1340 Glendale (1946-1957)
KRUX 1360 Glendale (1957-1976)
KNNS 1360 Glendale (1976-1977)
KLFF 1360 Glendale (1977-1992)
KNNS 1360 Glendale/Phoenix (1992-1994)
KGME 1360 Glendale/Phoenix (1994-1999)
KFDJ 1360 Glendale (1999)
KCTK 1360 Glendale/Phoenix (1999)
KPXQ 1360 Glendale/Phoenix (1999-)
KRUX debuted in 1946 as a 250 watt station on 1340. Was known in its early days for overmodulation (and resulting FCC fines). Moved to 1360 with a power increase in 1957. KRUX was a legendary Rock & Roll station in the Valley from 1957 to 1975. KNNS (first one) Broadcast NBC's ill-fated News and Information Service for about a year and a half after KRUX bit the dust. Became KLFF when NBC-NIS kicked the bucket.

KLFF was a big-band station catering to older people that lasted for years. KNNS (2nd one) Yet another try at an all-news station. It was about as successful as the '70s effort (NOT!).

SportsRadio 1360 was originally called "The Game" when it debuted in late 1993 still using the KNNS call letters. Became KGME in March 1994. When New Century Arizona sold the 1360 frequency to Salem it sold the programming and personnel to AMFM who moved KGME to 550 (and later 910 as XTRA Sports 910), moved KOY from 550 to 1230, and killed KISO. 550 still ID'ed as KOY and 1230 still ID'ed as KISO until May 1999 when the call-letter switch was approved by the FCC. 1360 was upgraded from 5000 to 50,000 watts days in July 1998 when KGME was there (still 1000 watts at night).

A total of 4 call letters were used on 1360 in 1999: KGME until May, KFDJ from May to August, KCTK in August and September, and KPXQ since. This station now carries religious programming.

KONI 1400 Phoenix (1950-1954)
KXIV 1400 Phoenix (1954-1978)
KSUN 1400 Phoenix (1978-1984)
KSUN 1400 Phoenix (1985-)
Early independent station when the others still carried network radio. Became KXIV in 1954.

KXIV was owned by comedian/actor Dick VanDyke for several years. Carried Suns games in the early & mid '70s. Otherwise was a KOY/KOOL clone with a much poorer signal (1000 W days/250 W nights). Former call letters: KONI.

KSUN was the successor to KXIV when Dick VanDyke sold the station. Left the air in 1984.

The current KSUN is not related to the old one except for the call letters and transmitter. It is a Spanish-language station.

KPOK 1440 Scottsdale (1958-196?)
KDOT 1440 Scottsdale (196?-1976)
KOPA 1440 Scottsdale (197?-198?)
KXAM 1440 Scottsdale (198?-19??)
KSGR 1440 Scottsdale (198?-199?)
KOPA 1440 Scottsdale (199?-1995)
KSLX 1440 Scottsdale/Phoenix (1995-)
KPOK was the first station in Scottsdale and tried to keep with the city's then-cowboy image.

KDOT was an easy-listening station simulcasted with 100.7.

KOPA was another Top-40 competitor to KRIZ when KRUX bit the dust.

KXAM was no relation to the current AM 1310. Was an R&B station, formerly KOPA. This one must not have lasted long.

The 2nd incarnation of KOPA was AM-only and carried CNN Headline News. Nobody listened so then they just started simulcasting KSLX-FM again, changing the 1440 callsign in 1995.

The last daytimer in the valley - a waste of electricity carrying classic-rock (simulcasting KSLX-FM 100.7) for no reason whatsoever.

KHAT 1480 Phoenix (1956-1972)
KPHX 1480 Phoenix (1972-)
KHAT was a daytime-only country station. Changed calls to KPHX and tried all-news in 1972-73. It didn't work and switched to Spanish-language in 1973. The home for Diamondbacks baseball in Spanish.

KALF 1510 Mesa (1962-1968)
KMND 1510 Mesa (196?-1971)
KDKB 1510 Mesa (1971-198?)
KDJQ 1510 Mesa/Phoenix (198?-1987)
KJAA 1510 Mesa/Phoenix (1987-1991)
KFNN 1510 Mesa/Phoenix (1991-)
Original call letters for the current KFNN. It was a country station licensed to Mesa. This station came on the air in 1962 as a 10,000 watt daytimer with a transmitter near Country Club Dr. (AZ 87) & Broadway Rd. in Mesa.

"Command Country" replaced KALF. Went bust in 1971 and was bought out by Dwight-Karma Broadcasting and became KDKB. Still around on FM 93.3.

After KDKB went FM-only they tried soft-rock on 1510 as KDJQ. Didn't go.

KJAA Replaced KDJQ about 1987 and tried to be a reincarnation of the by-now-defunct KJJJ. It didn't last long.

KFNN is a financial-news station licensed to Mesa but now located in Phoenix. Formerly a 10,000 watt daytimer, it raised its power to 22,000 watts days and 100 watts nights in 1998. It moved its transmitter from near Broadway & Country Club in Mesa to a shared site with KCTK 960 in far-north Phoenix at the same time. The nighttime signal barely makes it south of Shea Blvd. Old call letters: KALF, KMND, KDKB, KDJQ, KJAA.

KASA 1540 Phoenix (1964-)
Spanish-language religious station since 1964. A 10,000 daytimer (OK, it runs a whole 19 watts at night) from a transmitter near 16th St. & Baseline Rd.

KYND 1580 Tempe (1960-196?)
KTUF 1580 Tempe/Phoenix (196?-197?)
KNIX 1580 Tempe/Phoenix (197?-199?)
KCWW 1580 Tempe/Phoenix (199?-1997)
KMIK 1580 Tempe/Phoenix (1998-)
KYND was the valley's first 50,000 watt station (although it was a daytimer until the KNIX era). KTUF was a Country station (owned by Buck Owens) simulcasting KNIX 102.5. Later became Since KTUF had simulcasted KNIX-FM 102.5 as KTUF for years Owens made it official. Went full-time 50,000 watts during this era.

KCWW (aka KCW) was a classic-country station that was separated from KNIX in the early '90s. Sold by Owens Broadcasting to ABC/Disney in 1997.

The valley's only full-time 50 kW stick has been Radio Disney (ABC's only O&O here) since 1997.

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