KTRH was one of three entities competing for a license to originally operate the ABC-owned television station KTRK-TV, which took its callsign from KTRH—except for the last letter.
KTRH had its first studio in the Rice Hotel (now the Post Rice Lofts). Dan Rather worked for KTRH in the late 50s. He was a reporter and news commentator. Also In 1959, KTRH carried the broadcast of the Houston Buffs minor league baseball team. Rather was the main play by play announcer. Gallup Poll's editor in chief Frank Newport was also a noted talk show host and news director at KTRH in the early 1980s. CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz worked at KTRH while attending the University of Houston.
According to a document in the entry area on the wall of KTRH, the call letters stand for "Kome To Rice Hotel" and were chosen by the owner of the hotel. The original station was located atop the Rice Hotel in downtown Houston, hence the call letters - K The Rice Hotel. Some have said that the constant turnover of employees has given KTRH the meaning of "Keep That Resume Handy" - especially with several recent key talent switching over to KROI. Others have said that KTRH stands for "Keep The Right House" because of the amount of conservative talk shows on their daily lineup. A weekend gardening show host has said it stands for "Keep Tuned Right Here".