|This article does not cite any references or sources. (September 2013)|
|City of license||West Sacramento, California|
|Broadcast area||Sacramento, California|
|Branding||ESPN 1320 AM|
|Slogan||Sacramento's Sports Station|
|First air date||April 12, 1945 (as KCRA at 1340, although KCTC's call letters were first assigned in 1968)|
|Former callsigns||KCRA (1945-1978)
|Former frequencies||1340 kHz (1945-1947)|
|Sister stations||KDND, KKDO, KRXQ, KSEG, KUDL|
KCTC (1320 AM) is a radio station in West Sacramento, California, that has been affiliated with ESPN Radio since February 2007. It has separate transmitter sites for daytime and night operations. Owned by Entercom, its studios are located in North Highlands (with a Sacramento address) and its transmitter is in Sacramento's Natomas neighborhood.
KCTC has had a history as both an FM and AM station, so since it was founded as the former, we will put this history in proper perspective.
KCTC as an FM
The KCTC call letters first came to Sacramento in September 1968 when Kelly Broadcasting changed their FM station's call sign from its original KCRA-FM to KCTC. KCTC's glory years were in the 70s as an FM stereo radio station at 96.1 MHz, broadcasting a variant of the beautiful music format which they called the "California Sound" (with its occasional vocals in each 15-minute set). Notable personalities on KCTC included Jay Augustine and former 1240 KROY rock jock Terry Nelson, who did mornings on KCTC for a time in the early 80s. The format continued until 1989, when KCTC ceased broadcasting as an FM station to become KYMX (Mix 96), a soft rock/adult contemporary station. In turn, the KCTC call letters moved to 1320 AM, where for years it was an adult standards station as part of the Music Of Your Life network.
KCTC the AM station
KCTC as we know today has its roots in an AM station that was developed on November 7, 1944, when Central Valleys Broadcasting Company (CVBC) was granted a construction permit for a new AM station in Sacramento. CVBC partners were: advertising agency owner Ewing C. Kelly (33%), dairy owner C. Vernon Hansen (33%), and bakery owner David R. McKinley (33%). This new AM station went on the air April 12, 1945 at 1340 AM with the call sign KCRA, a 250-watt, daytime-only station with offices in the National Capital Bank Bldg. in Sacramento.
As a sidenote, the KCRA call sign was actually a mistake: the new station was intended to have the call letters "KRCA," after NBC's (the network of which the new station would be an affiliate) parent company RCA, but when the original license was typed at the FCC in 1945, the two middle letters were erroneously flipped. For some reason, the error was never corrected.
After 2 years as a 250-watt daytimer at 1340 AM, KCRA was granted another construction permit on May 5, 1947, this time for a move to 1320 AM as well as to begin nighttime broadcasting with a directional antenna system, and to increase power to 1,000 watts both day and night.
October 1948 saw some changes behind the scenes at KCRA: CVBC partner David McKinley sells his interest in the company. Remaining partner Vernon Hansen sells half of his interest to his brother Gerald. Ownership of CVBC becomes: Ewing Kelly, President/General Manager (50%), Vernon Hansen, VP (25%), and Gerald Hansen, Secretary/Treasurer (25%). Also in that month, CVBC would change their DBA to "KCRA, Inc."
On January 30, 1951, KCRA was granted an upgrade in power from 1 kW day and night to 5 kW day, 1 kW night, subject to possible interference from grant of pending application from 1st adjacent 1310 KWBR in Oakland, doing same upgrade with their facilities.
Not much information is available on programming, formats, or personalities heard on KCRA down through the decades. Names that are known are local bandleader Bill Rase, first a DJ on KCRA radio, then a personality on both KCRA radio and Channel 3 when KCRA-TV went on the air in 1955. In October 1963, Jerry Grisham would resign as Operations Manager of KSBY-TV in San Luis Obispo to become KCRA's program director. Norm Hankoff was another KCRA DJ who would move over to the sales department in 1963 before leaving KCRA altogether to accept the General Manager's position at South Lake Tahoe's KTHO in September 1966. In later years, the voices of Brian Kennedy, Larry Page, Bob Whitten and Mary Jane Popp, to name just a few, would also modulate the KCRA signal.
From 1955 to 1978, KCRA was co-owned with TV Channel 3, KCRA-TV and in the 70s was known as KCRA Newsradio 132 while still under ownership of Kelly Broadcasting. Before its sale to Entercom, KCTC was owned by Tribune Broadcasting of Chicago, owners of WGN and the Chicago Tribune, from 1978 to 1996. For a time under the Tribune ownership (1978-1989), 1320 AM was known as KGNR Newsradio 132. In the early 1970s, prior to Tribune, 1320 KCRA was Sacramento's home for the syndicated "American Top 40" program with Casey Kasem; a September 1971 broadcast of the show mentions KCRA as an affiliate, as does a broadcast of the syndicated program from December 1974. As aforementioned, in 1989, KCTC moved from its former FM position to its current home at 1320 AM.
On November 1, 2005, KCTC changed formats, dropping the well-rated Music Of Your Life format to become an Air America affiliate, after crosstown rival KSAC, "Talk City 1240 AM," dropped its Air America affiliation. This was a rare instance where two liberal talk stations existed in the same radio market.
However, KCTC's website announced on February 15, 2007, that AM 1320 would no longer carry Air America programs, and also would not retain Enid Goldstein or The Morning Retort with Scott and Sims. The site announced that Monday, February 26, KCTC will become ESPN 1320, carrying the complete sports programming of the ESPN radio network. This move would make KCTC Sacramento's first 24/7 Sports radio station, rivaling KHTK AM 1140 which, although billed "Sports 1140," also featured some non-sports shows - notably The Don and Mike Show from Washington, D.C.
Since February 25, 2007, KCTC has aired ESPN Radio programming.
- ESPN 1320 AM
- KCTC transmitter sites
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KCTC
- Radio-Locator Information on KCTC
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KCTC