KRLD, whose call sign came from founding owners Dallas Radio Laboratories, launched in 1926, broadcasting six hours each day, except on Wednesdays when the station closed down to make repairs and recharge the batteries. Since 1938, KRLD has broadcast at a power of 50,000 watts, the highest allowed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Its nighttime signal covers parts of 38 states, while its daytime signal provides secondary coverage as far north as Oklahoma City and as far south as the outer suburbs of Austin. In the summer of 1941, KRLD moved to 1080 on the dial.
In April 1978, KRLD switched from a music-based format to become the third news and information station in Dallas/Fort Worth. WRR 1310 AM (now a sports radio station with the call letters KTCK) carried an all-news format starting in 1975, until its 1978 sale to Bonneville International. Over in Fort Worth, KRXV (1540 AM) carried the NBC News and Information Service (and was all news) from 1976 to 1978.
KRLD has achieved many firsts in the field of radio broadcasting:
first station to present live broadcasts of high school and college football games.
first to offer continuous election returns.
first to broadcast live music and entertainment programs. The Big D Jamboree, which originated from the since-demolished Dallas Sportatorium, was a regular Saturday fixture on KRLD in the 1950s and 1960s. KRLD also aired wrestling matches from the Sportatorium, with longtime sportscaster Bill Mercer calling the action.
During the 1970s and 1980s, KRLD was the flagship station for the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, with Brad Sham providing color analysis and later play-by-play (Sham continues as the Cowboys' lead voice, though the team's games now air on sister station KRLD-FM). Beginning in 1995, KRLD served as the radio flagship of baseball's Texas Rangers; in 2009, weekday games moved from KRLD to KRLD-FM. KRLD would relinquish the Rangers' English language radio rights in 2011 to competitor KESN.
The Dallas, Texas CBS Radio building as viewed from the campus of Dallas Christian Academy on U.S. Route 75
As of September 27, 2010, KRLD broadcasts a news radio format, eliminating any and all talk radio programming from 5am-8pm, with talk programming remaining on nights and weekends. However, it continues to broadcast paid programming. A listing of all on-air personnel and their scheduled air times can be found on the KRLD On-Air page. KRLD serves as the flagship station for the Texas State Network. In addition, during periods of severe weather KRLD is generally the only AM station in the DFW area to interrupt all programming and bring continuous weather updates.
The Radio Television Digital News Association announced on June 12, 2013 that the KRLD Afternoon News has been chosen as the recipient of the prestigious 2013 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in the Large Market Radio category.