KSTP (AM)

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KSTP
KSTP logo
City of license St. Paul, Minnesota
Broadcast area Minneapolis-St. Paul
Branding 1500 ESPN Twin Cities
Frequency 1500 AM (kHz)
Repeaters 94.5-2 KSTP-FM-HD2
First air date February 13, 1925
Format Sports
Power 50,000 watts
Class A (clear-channel)
Facility ID 35641
Callsign meaning SainT Paul
Affiliations ESPN Radio
Owner Hubbard Broadcasting
Sister stations KSTC-TV, KSTP-FM, KSTP-TV, KTMY, WIXK
Webcast Listen Live!
Website 1500espn.com
Entrance to the KSTP studios on University Avenue in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The sidewalk leading to the building lies precisely on the city line, as does the central leg of the tower.

KSTP (1500 AM; "1500 ESPN Twin Cities") is the flagship station of Hubbard Broadcasting, which also owns several other television and radio stations across the United States and some other properties. It is the ESPN Radio affiliate for Minneapolis-St. Paul. KSTP shares clear-channel, Class A status on 1500 AM with WFED in Washington, D.C.[1]

The station's studio facility, located on the boundary line between St. Paul and Minneapolis, is shared with sister stations KSTP-FM (94.5 FM), KSTP-TV (channel 5), KTMY (107.1 FM), and KSTC-TV (channel 45). The station's transmitter is located in Maplewood.


History[edit]

KSTP's AM signal at 1500 kHz is the product of a 1928 merger between two other Twin Cities stations. WAMD ("Where All Minneapolis Dances") and KFOY had each started broadcasting a few years earlier. Stanley E. Hubbard's WAMD went on the air for the first time on February 13, 1925, originally broadcasting live dance music from a local ballroom. It is claimed that this was the first radio station to be completely supported by running paid advertisements. KFOY radio first took to the air on March 12, 1924 in St. Paul.

On February 7, 1933, The Federal Radio Commission authorized KTSP to increase its daytime power to 25 KW.[2]

Twin Cities stations were experimenting with frequency-modulated transmissions in the late 1930s. KSTP engineers had started running W9XUP at 29.95 MHz by 1938. This "ultra-short-wave" station continued regular broadcasts until at least 1944. Other Twin Cities stations also experimented with FM, but not as extensively. WCCO operated a low-power station, but it apparently went off the air quickly (WCCO did not sign on its own FM station permanently until 1969, which is now KMNB). WTCN's FM transmission stayed around longer, but remained intermittent. KSTP's locally produced programs from this era include the 5:45 News, with newscaster Cal Karnstedt, in 1947.

KSTP was an affiliate for the NBC radio network for much of its early existence. They programmed a full service MOR radio format, in the shadow of the similar WCCO. KSTP was the radio home of the Minnesota Vikings from 1970-75.

In 1973, KSTP broke away from their longtime format and became one of four area stations at the time to program a rock music/Top 40 format, as "15 KSTP," (actually "AM1500, The Music Station") competing with the AM stations WDGY, KDWB and later, WYOO. The competition would eventually shake itself out, with outrageous rocker WYOO dropping out after being sold in 1976, and then the staid WDGY switching to country music the following year. As for uptempo hits station 15 KSTP, it went from a tight Top 40 format to leaning adult rock in 1978, to leaning adult contemporary in 1979, to evolving into adult contemporary/talk by 1980, before it was officially a news/talk format by 1982. Top 40 rock music, by this time, was migrating to the FM band.

KSTP's final logo as news/talk station "AM 1500 KSTP", used until April 12, 2010; it was retained for the first two months as a sports station.

Notable hosts who have been on KSTP include Jesse Ventura, Larry Carolla, Tom Barnard, Big Al Davis, Don Vogel, John MacDougall, Griff, Mike Edwards, Geoff Charles, Joe Soucheray, James Lileks, Leigh Kamman, Barbara Carlson, Peter Thiele, Tom Mischke, Jason Lewis, Chuck Knapp, Machine Gun Kelly, Charle Bush, Mark O'Connell and Paul Brand. These broadcasters were supported by producers such as Bruce Huff, Rob Pendleton, Alison Brown, Jean Bjorgen, David Elvin (who Vogel dubbed the "Steven Spielberg of Talk Radio"), Mitch Berg and others.

The station has, for the most part, emphasized local hosts over the years, though it was one of Rush Limbaugh's first affiliates (Clear Channel-owned KTLK-FM would take over rights to Limbaugh's show in January 2006). Other syndicated hosts previously on KSTP include Sean Hannity, Bruce Williams, Larry King, and Owen Spann.

KSTP switched to sports talk on February 15, 2010. As the station had to wait for ESPN's contract with rival KFAN and its sister station KFXN to expire, it did not become an ESPN Radio affiliate until April 12 (the same day that the Minnesota Twins were scheduled to play their inaugural game at Target Field against the Boston Red Sox), and as a result Coast to Coast AM and Live on Sunday Night, it's Bill Cunningham were retained during this period; conversely, one ESPN Radio program, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, was picked up by KSTP immediately following the format change.[3]

The station's studios are located in St. Paul and its transmitter is located in Maplewood, Minnesota.

Sports broadcasting[edit]

On August 1, 2006 the station announced that it would be the new flagship station for Minnesota Twins baseball, effective with the start of the 2007 season. The Twins had been on rival WCCO since arriving in Minnesota in 1961.

The switch has caused inconveniences and dissent among some listeners, particularly in neighboring states and out-state Minnesota regions. Although KSTP is the state's second most powerful station, it must operate directionally at night, delivering a reduced signal to parts of the market. WCCO, by comparison, offers a much clearer and stronger signal during all times of the day than KSTP does. In response, the Twins have expanded the number of affiliates.[4]

On March 9, 2011 it was announced that KSTP would be the new flagship for Minnesota Golden Gophers men's and women's basketball and men's ice hockey, ending a 68-year run on WCCO.[5]

References[edit]

  • Sies, Luther F. Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960. Jefferson, NC:McFarland, 2000. ISBN 0-7864-0452-3

External links[edit]

Preceded by
830 WCCO
19612006
Radio Home of the
Minnesota Twins
2007–
Succeeded by
96.3 KTWN-FM

Coordinates: 45°01′32″N 93°02′38″W / 45.02556°N 93.04389°W / 45.02556; -93.04389