|City of license||Arlington, Texas|
|Broadcast area||Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex|
|Slogan||"Safe for the Whole Family"|
|First air date||1957 as KCLE FM|
|Format||Christian contemporary (Jan. - Nov.)
Christmas (Nov. - Dec.)
|Callsign meaning||"Light" (a Christian reference to Jesus Christ, "The Light of the World")|
|Former callsigns||KWRD-FM (1997–2000)|
(Inspiration Media of Texas, LLC)
|Sister stations||KSKY, KWRD-FM, KTNO, K273BJ|
KLTY (94.9 FM) is a Christian contemporary music radio station owned by Salem Communications with studios located in Irving, Texas, near Dallas and a transmitter in Cedar Hill. The format is similar to the "Fish" branded stations Salem owns elsewhere and its slogan is: "Safe for the Whole Family". It is considered the number one Christian Contemporary Music station in the country with the highest number of listeners.
The first version of KLTY was created by Jon Rivers and Scott K. Ginsburg after Ginsburg purchased KJIM 94.9 Arlington from Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. KLTY began playing a mix of contemporary Christian music (CCM) along with the preaching and teaching programs inherited from the Jimmy Swaggart operation. David Pierce, the program director, chose to drop the preaching/teaching programs in the mornings after several months of the new KLTY format. KLTY lasted only from early August 1985 to late September 1986 when station owner Scott K. Ginsburg changed the call letters to KHYI and changed the format to Top 40 as "Y-95". The transmitter site was not at Cedar Hill the primary antenna farm for Dallas radio, but instead transmitted from Lillian, Texas with over 30,000 watts of effective radiated power.
Marcos A. Rodriguez was a fan of the original KLTY and saw potential in the format - especially if a radio station could play it 24 hours a day. He purchased the music library from Ginsburg and began planning the conversion of 94.1 to all CCM. However, he was unable to make a deal for the KLTY call letters (because they were held by an FM station in Liberty, Missouri) or the services of Rivers. Rivers now worked at 102.9 KMGC and was advised by a consultant to be cautious about an outsider launching a CCM station. Rodriguez hired Paul Martin, Chuck Gratner, and Mark Elfstrand (Johnson) and launched KOJO at 94.1 FM on August 15, 1987. It had taken Rodriguez that long to move KESS to the AM dial.
KOJO was notable for its commitment to being a "full service" radio station, including a solid news commitment. Morning and afternoon drive newscasts were anchored by former KVIL news director Bob Morrison and Calvin Whitman, and later, Dave Tucker. Morrison went on to become news director of Christian station KCBI, while working afternoon drive again at KVIL. He then moved up to a national network news management position as News and Sports Director of the USA Radio Network, based in Dallas, for 8 1/2 years (until USA was sold and moved to Memphis). Morrison's BibleStudyMedia.org provides Internet media services to Bible studies and other ministries (and any group with a modest media budget). These services include live streaming (the equivalent of a live television broadcast, but, in this case, done via the web). Bison Bible Study is a weekly one hour long Bible study done @ the offices of Bison Exploration, located on the southern border of Highland Park, in the City of Dallas. Bison's owners provide the conference room free of charge, along with an office for the teacher, Dr. B. Dale Taliaferro. Morrison also separately records the Bible study in high-quality mp3 audio, which is also posted on the web, as an audio podcast.
In the spring of 1989, with a free Michael W. Smith concert, Rodriguez and his GM Mark Hulme created the first Celebrate Freedom-style event and relaunched the station with Jon Rivers (joined by Tucker doing news) and the KLTY call letters. Marcos A. Rodriguez went on to produce Celebrate Freedom festivals at Southfork Ranch and build the event into one of the biggest Christian Music festivals in America. Rodriguez sold KLTY. to Sunburst Media L.P. in 1999 for $63.3 million and retired. After the sale of KVIL it was the highest price ever paid for a Dallas FM.
The early KLTY sales department was run by Pete Thomson from 1990 to 1996. Thomson was, until late 2008, the GM of Salem's Dallas area stations KWRD-FM ("The Word") and KSKY. He had also been a morning DJ at KLTY successor, KHYI, as "Sonny in the Morning". He came to KHYI from KAFM/KZPS 92.5. Rivers was the vice president of programming and morning personality (along with his wife Sherry) and held that position through August 2001.
KLTY was on 100.7 MHz from January 2000 to December 2000, and was owned by Sunburst until it was sold to Salem. Salem swapped the Christian talk format that had been on 94.9 for nearly two and a half years known as "The Word", and placed the popular KLTY on a 94.9 signal while "The Word" went to 100.7. This placed the KLTY callsign back on its original frequency.
The vice president and general manager of 94.9 FM KLTY is John L. Peroyea, who joined the team in July 1999. KLTY now transmits with 100,000 watts ERP from Cedar Hill, Texas.
KLTY is one of 2 Christian contemporary stations in the metroplex, although it has been, for all practical purposes, classified as Adult Contemporary (AC). KLTY could serve as the de facto "AC" station for DFW as CBS Radio-owned 103.7 KVIL in May 2013 retooled its playlist to focus on 1990s to current product (with an Adult Top 40 lean) before Mediabase moved the station to "Hot AC" full time a year later. Although KLAK (97.5) in Tom Bean, Texas is the sole "AC" station that serves areas north and east of the metroplex.
History of 94.9 FM
The 94.9 frequency has a rich history, long predating the current format and ownership. KCLE was established in 1949 in Cleburne, Texas, by owners Jim Gordon and George Marti at 94.3 FM and 1120 AM. Marti was later the inventor of microwave transmitters (known as "Marti Units.") Employees included notables such as Russ Bloxom (later news anchor at WBAP/KXAS-TV,) Don Harris (personality at WBAP-AM) and Mike Ambrose (later with KLIF-AM, and a San Diego TV weatherman for 28 years.) The station moved to 94.9 in 1957.
In 1969, Gordon and Marti ended their partnership; Marti took the AM station and Gordon, the FM. Gordon flipped the FM to KFAD, with an underground/progressive rock format. Notables included Jon Dillon (now at KZPS), writer Phillip Cook, Dave Thomas, Stuart McRae and Joe Nick Patoski (later the senior editor of Texas Monthly magazine.
On January 1, 1972, Dick Osburn took ownership of the station, and reimaged it as KAMC ("K-Mac") while continuing the underground music format. By 1974, the format flipped to "Progressive Country" when former KFAD talent Stuart McRae convinced Dick Osburn and Program Director Ken Bateman to mix country and rock with a show called "The Country Sunday". It worked so well that the station dropped the underground rock and became the first 24 hour Progressive Country station in America. Stuart McRae had been the first jock when KSCS went Country the year before. KAMC was the only station in Dallas - Ft. Worth to play Outlaw Country artists like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. A notable employee of KAMC was Bill Merrill, who did play-by-play for the Texas Rangers.
On June 19, 1976, with the station now licensed to Arlington, it was sold to Jimmy Swaggart Ministries and became KWJS (the Word of Jimmy Swaggart) and to new KJIM calls in 1984. (The KJIM calls were resurrected from KJIM-870 AM, who used them from 1957-1984.)
After the first incarnation of KLTY (1985-86) and then KHYI (1986-91), 94.9 was home to KODZ "Oldies 94.9", starting in October of 1991. After one year, it flipped to KSNN "Sunny 95" (1992-96), then to KEWS - "The First All-News FM Station in America, Made in Texas" on February 27, 1996. Religious talker KWRD was established at 94.9 on January 11, 1997 after a trade with KEWS-FM. As a result of the trade, KDFX-1190 AM became KWRD-FM, while KEWS-FM became KOOO-1190 AM.
Notable weekday hosts include Family-Friendly Morning Show Host Frank Reed, Morning Co-Host and News Anchor Starlene Stringer, Mid-days host Bonnie Curry, Tony Lopez on afternoons, Nightlight with Andrea on evenings and traffic reporter Perri Reavis.
Notable weekend on-air staff include "New Music Cafe" host John Hudson, Sunday morning praise host Ron Taylor, Laurie Lynn, Joy Delaney, Marc Anderson, and Dave Harrison.
Awards and recognition
For years KLTY has been one of the leading Christian stations. The National Association of Broadcasters has awarded KLTY a Marconi Award for being a "Top Religious Station Of the Year" in 2005, 2007, 2009 and again in 2012.
KLTY uses the WLIT 07 package from Reelworld Productions. The jingle below is from KLTY's previous package WLIT 2002.
- "Salem Communications' 94.9 KLTY-FM Sets Ratings Record". Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Celebrate Freedom: America's Largest Free, Single-Day Concert Set for July 3rd; 94.9 KLTY-FM Sponsors Event at South Fork Ranch". 9 June 2004. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- "Deep in the Heart of Texans: Jon Rivers, the music man". Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Laura Castaneda (13 May 1995). "Catching a Wave: KLTY-FM mixes business and religion to become nation's most successful Christian radio station". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1G. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "About Us". 20 the countdown magazine. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Dallas-Fort Worth-FM Station History". Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Parish Perkins, Ken (May 6, 2009). "Religious experience: Christian radio learns to live in a secular world". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- "The Morning Ride with Mark Elfstrand". Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- John Austin (27 June 1999). "Country show moves deep into the heart of Cowtown". Radio Active. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Radio power". Dallas Business Journal. 21 March 1999. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
- Maverick Dallas Outlet Achieves Benchmark
- "KKOB, Albuquerque (770) wins this year's Marconi for "Legendary Station"". Radio-Info.com. September 24, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
- "Christian KLTY Dallas Tops One Million Listeners". January 23, 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- KLTY official website
- DFW Radio/TV History
- DFW Radio Archives
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KLTY
- Radio-Locator information on KLTY
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KLTY