||This article may be written from a fan's point of view, rather than a neutral point of view. (January 2010)|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2009)|
|City of license||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Broadcast area||Minneapolis-St. Paul|
|Slogan||"Twin Cities News/Talk"|
(also on HD Radio)
|Translator(s)||K278BP 103.5 Cottage Grove|
|Repeaters||KFXN-HD2 100.3 HD-2 Minneapolis|
|First air date||December 23, 1923 (as KFMT at 1300)|
|Power||50,000 watts (day)
25,000 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||K-"Twin Cities News/Talk"|
|Former callsigns||1991-2011: KFAN
1926: WGWY (27 days)
1925-1926: WHAT (242 days)
|Former frequencies||1929-1941: 1180 (kHz)
1929: 560 (kHz) (45 days)
1928-1929: 1390 (kHz)
1928: 1410 (kHz) (29 days)
1927-1928: 1050 (kHz)
1927: 1140 (kHz) (13 days)
1927: 1150 (kHz) (167 days)
1927: 1140 (kHz) (41 days)
1923-1927: 1300 (kHz)
|Affiliations||Fox News Radio
Premiere Radio Networks
|Sister stations||KDWB, KEEY, KFXN-FM, KQQL, KTCZ|
- See also KFXN-FM
KTCN (1130 AM)—branded News/Talk 1130—is a commercial radio station licensed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, broadcasting a conservative news/talk format. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications, and serves the Twin Cities market. KTCN's main studios are in St. Louis Park.
Operated by Clear Channel Communications, the station is the oldest continuously operating station in the state, dating to December 23, 1923 when Dr. George W. Young signed on with the call letters KFMT. This claim, however, is based on a technicality and is really only due to older longtime Minneapolis broadcaster WCCO having to sign off for two months due to an ownership transition in 1924.
At midnight on August 15, 2011, Clear Channel swapped the formats of KFAN (1130 AM), and 100.3 FM's former conservative news/talk format KTLK-FM. A new call sign, KTCN, was reserved for the station, replacing KFAN that August 31 (that callsign now exists on a repeater for KFXN on the 1250 kHz facility in Rochester, Minnesota).
Dr. Young first operated the station from his house in north Minneapolis at 2219 Bryant Ave. N., cycling through the names WHAT, WGWY ("W-George W. Young"), and finally WDGY ("W-Dr. George Young") in the next two years until being chastised by the government for changing too frequently. The station kept the WDGY calls until 1991. WDGY operated on eight frequencies by the time it settled on 1180 AM. It made its final move to 1130 AM in 1941 as required by the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) under which most American, Canadian and Mexican AM radio stations changed frequencies. In 1942, the station gained approval to broadcast at night.
The station shared time with at least four local stations, including WRHM and WCAL during periods of 1927. Subsequent to his home as the station's base, Young located the station's studios at his storefront at 909 West Broadway in Minneapolis, the West Hotel on Hennepin at 5th Street, the Nicollet Hotel on Nicollet Avenue at Washington Avenue (beginning in 1938 in WCCO's space after WCCO moved to its new building on 2nd Avenue) and the Builders Exchange at 609 S. 2nd Avenue. Transmitter sites are known to have been at Young's house, at the Broadway address and from 1927 to 1949 at Superior Boulevard and Falvey Cross Road in St. Louis Park on the grounds of a fox farm; the site is known now as I-394 at Louisiana Ave. Following Dr. Young's death on April 27, 1945, studio locations included Bloomington (two locations), 611 Frontenac Place in St. Paul and, since 2004, the current Clear Channel consolidated offices in St. Louis Park at 1600 Utica Avenue. The transmitter site moved in 1949 to Bloomington at a site that would within a decade overlook I-35W, using a vast 9-tower array.
Minnesota native George Putnam began his broadcasting career at WDGY in 1934. Putnam later gained fame as a Los Angeles television news anchor and talk show host.
In 1933, Dr. Young was granted a license for W9XAT, an experimental mechanical television station. It is believed that the first transmission of the 120- or 125-line system—probably the first telecast in Minnesota—occurred on August 4 of that year, featuring a handshake between WDGY station personality Clellan Card and Minneapolis mayor William Kunze. The station pushed the technological limits of the day and provided a lot of interesting exercises for WDGY engineers, but Dr. Young never got into regular broadcasts. The license for that station expired in 1938, partly because mechanical television development was heavily discouraged by that point. After 64 years of dormancy, an amateur radio group in the area acquired the W9XAT call sign in 2002 with the intention of using it for mechanical and narrow-bandwidth TV experiments. Nine years after the 1945 death of Dr. Young, WDGY in 1954 flirted with modern TV, applying for channel 9 in the Twin Cities. Also applying were competitors WLOL and KEYD. However, WDGY and WLOL withdrew their applications at the last minute and the new station was awarded to KEYD, and the station went on-air in January, 1955.
The station was one of the first stations in the country to program rock and roll music in a top 40 format in 1956. It was then owned by Todd Storz, one of the pioneers in programming to the baby boom generation with music that theretofor had been rarely heard on "white" radio stations. Storz's stations were heavy on promotion, headline-grabbing contests, and high profile dee-jays (usually using echo-chamber microphones). Other Twin Cities station owners resented the attention WDGY received, but soon they too jumped on the top-40 bandwagon. Later they admitted that the Todd Storz they often disparaged very well may have saved radio at a time when television was stealing its audience.
WDGY gained the (perhaps unfortunate) nickname Weegee after a time. By the 1960s, the station didn't use the name itself, but the name stuck among people in the radio industry for many years to come. From about 1955 to 1977, the station played popular music and was one of the most popular stations in the area, primarily competing for music listeners with KSTP 1500 and KDWB 630, though WCCO 830 was the major force of the day with a mixture of music, talk, and farm reports.
Later Years as WDGY
WDGY station changed to a country music format in September 1977, around the time when most music stations began shifting onto the FM band. In 1982, its sister FM station, KEEY, flipped to a country format.
- See also KFXN-FM
The country format continued until 1989, when it became "News Talk 1130, WDGY". Just prior to this, WDGY became the inaugural flagship affiliate for the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves NBA team. The talk format gradually morphed into a sports talk format, and the calls were changed to KFAN in 1991. Following this change, the WDGY call letters were adopted by KDWB for the 630 kHz frequency.
More recently, KFAN experienced severe storm damage in April 2004 at its transmission site, when four out of nine towers at its directional array in Credit River Township (near Prior Lake, Minnesota) were blown down.
On August 22, 2010, KFAN's programming began simulcasting on 103.7 FM via K279AZ, a translator station atop the IDS Center previously owned by the Educational Media Foundation, which used the signal to broadcast its K-LOVE network prior to the translator's move from Cottage Grove. Within weeks of the upgrade, however, complaints were filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by listeners of KLZZ ("the Loon") in St. Cloud. Because translators are a secondary service, a translator's owner must either immediately fix the problem or shut the translator down. As a result of the interference complaints, on September 24, K279AZ's power was significantly reduced and it moved to 103.5 under Special Temporary Authority from the FCC. The low-power signal is intended primarily for commuters within the 494/694 beltway to take advantage of the stronger signal reception of a car stereo. K279AZ broadcasts KFAN by translating KTLK-FM's HD Radio HD2 subchannel of KFAN's programming, which is allowed per FCC regulations.
On August 8, 2011, Clear Channel announced a two-way frequency swap that would move KTLK-FM's talk format to 1130 AM and a translator at 102.5 FM, while the sports format of KFAN would move to 100.3 FM, which took effect Monday, August 15, 2011. The low-power signal at 103.5 FM and the HD2 subchannel at 100.3 FM both underwent the same format swap as did 1130 AM. The company planned to simulcast the talk station's signal on FM translator 102.5 FM, but has been delayed in seeking FCC approval.
In 2006, Clear Channel decided to launch a news/talk station in the Twin Cities, in order to take advantage of its Premiere Radio Networks syndication arm and the company's recent launch of FOX News Radio. Clear Channel denied renewal of Premier synidcated shows such as Rush Limbaugh, who was a local longtime affiliate of KSTP for the new station. This resulted in KSTP flipping to sports talk. Having no AM stations in the market on which they could run a news/talk format (KFAN was already highly successful with its sports/talk format, and KFXN possessed too weak a signal), Clear Channel decided to put a talk format on one of its FM signals. The company had experienced success with the introduction of news/talk programming on one of its Pittsburgh FM stations, WPGB. More recently, Clear Channel has launched FM news/talk stations in other markets.
On January 2, 2006, the company switched KJZI (100.3 FM) to talk, becoming the second commercial FM talk station in the area after female-oriented talk station WFMP. The new call letters were KTLK-FM, and they obtained the local syndication rights to Limbaugh's and later Sean Hannity's radio programs from KSTP. A mix of local and syndicated hosts such as Glenn Beck and Neal Boortz currently fill out the rest of KTLK's schedule, including former KSTP host Jason Lewis and paranormal talk show Darkness Radio. The station has also resumed carrying Vikings football broadcasts. (There is an AM News/Talk station in Los Angeles, California that also uses the KTLK call sign. While two stations on different bands and/or in different cities may use the same call sign, they must be owned by the same company — in this case, Clear Channel is also the owner of the Los Angeles KTLK.)
In the spring of 2008, former KTLK news director, Jeff Monosso, was honored with U.S. Congressional recognition for his reporting on the 35W Bridge collapse. He and host, Jason Lewis, were also honored by the Minnesota Associated Press for best spot news coverage.
Initially, the new talk station was not much of a ratings success, but over time, KTLK began to see ratings growth in the Metro area.
- KFAN Antenna Network
- Transmitter Visit of KFAN
- KTCN (KFAN) Transmitter Site Tour and WDGY Transmitter Site Historical photos, courtesy former KFAN Chief Engineer Aaron White.
- WDGY call sign and technical history timelime, courtesy former KFAN Chief Engineer Aaron White
- University of Minnesota 1970 thesis on the history of WDGY at radiotapes.com
- Twin Cities Civil Defense Manual, circa 1951-53, courtesy Mark Durenberger
- WDGY brochure featuring the Happy Hollow Boys, approximately 1930 at radiotapes.com
- St. Louis Park Historical Society Twin Cities radio history
- Dismantling of WDGY tower at 909 West Broadway, Minneapolis, 1947 from MN Historical Society
- Radiotapes.com Many historic airchecks of WDGY dating back to 1938
- 1933 Modern Mechanix & Inventions magazine article about television authored by Dr. Young
- W9XAT: The Twin City Experimental Amateur Television Society
- Historical reference to 1954 applications for TV channel 9 by WDGY Radio and WLOL Radio, Box Office Magazine, April 24, 1954, page 71
- "History". KFAN Transmitter Tour. Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/fmq?call=K279AZ K279AZ FCC file
- Make the Switch: News Talk Moves to 102.5 FM!
- Arbitron Ratings Data
- News/Talk 1130 website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KTCN
- Radio-Locator Information on KTCN
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KTCN
- Query the FCC's FM station database for K278BP