|City of license||Rosarito, Baja California
Tijuana, Baja California
|Broadcast area||San Diego-Tijuana
Greater Los Angeles
|Branding||"La 690 AM"|
|Format||Spanish news / talk|
|Power||77,500 watts daytime
50,000 watts nighttime
|Callsign meaning||XEW's W Radio|
|Affiliations||Grupo Latino de Radio|
XEWW-AM is the call letters of a radio station operating on 690 AM and licensed to the Tijuana/Rosarito area of Baja California, Mexico, with additional studio facilities in Burbank, California, United States.
It is a high-powered station, with its 77,500 watt daytime signal sometimes reaching as far as the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, but otherwise covering nearly all of Southern California and most of Baja California. It operates with 50,000 watts nights as is required by the "Rio" treaty. This same treaty would normally allow XEWW to operate with 100,000 watts days, however 77,500 watts was apparently selected as this power sends the equivalent of the station's former 50,000 day power (from its original Tijuana site, since demolished) towards Los Angeles without also increasing its prohibited overlap with stations on 670 and 710 kHz in Los Angeles (from its present Rosarito site). 100,000 watts days would have required a modified daytime directional antenna at Rosarito (the night directional antenna at Rosarito would not need to be modified).
Its current format is Spanish-language talk radio under the brand name W Radio. It primarily serves the Los Angeles radio market, even though the station has a stronger signal in San Diego, due to its close proximity to Rosarito, and a dramatically stronger signal south of the Rosarito site, towards Baja California.
XEWW is also the overflow station for English-language radio broadcasts of USC Trojans football and basketball games when there is a conflict with another game that airs on KSPN 710.
Jorge Rivera, founder of XEAC in 1936, had a dream to create the world's most powerful AM radio station. In the US the FCC had limitations for radio station broadcast strength. Jorge chose the border between Mexico and the United States for his powerful radio transmitter. Located on a mountain near Rosarito BC, the 50,000 watt tower, considered a "border blaster", could be received as far north as San Francisco. XEAC eventually became XEAK-AM ("the Mighty 690", a moniker that its XETRA-AM successor would use in later years), playing the hits of its time. It signed off in 1961 after playing Mope Itty Mope by The Bosstones over and over for three days, and shortly after made Southern California broadcast history as they became "Extra News", the first 24-hour all-news station in Southern California. By the mid-60s, the powerful station was featuring beautiful music as "X-TRA Music over Southern California", with the distinctive tag: "In the air everywhere, over the Southland."
The selection of 690 kHz was undoubtedly determined by the then-current requirement to maintain a 50 kHz separation between stations in the same or an adjacent market. As Los Angeles already had 640 kHz and, later, 740 kHz, 690 kHz seemed to be the obvious choice, particularly as 690 kHz was then and still is a Canadian Clear Channel and protection of the Canadian Class I-A in Montreal would be relatively straightforward. Ultimately, XEWW would be assigned a Class I-B priority—inferior to the Canadian station, but superior to all U.S. stations on 690 kHz—and, incredibly, this protection of the Canadian Class I-A facilitated the eventual allocation of a U.S. co-channel Class II-B station just one state over, in Arizona. Since 1941, the required separation has been 40 kHz, and this separation is still mandated in a so-called "border regions", but Mexico has been using a 30 kHz separation (20 kHz in rare cases) for stations wholly within its borders, most notably in the Mexico City area.
Although formerly cited as a "border blaster" this station's present Rosarito transmitter facility strongly favors service to Baja California, and not to the U.S.-Mexican border region(s).
AM Stereo was first demonstrated on XETRA Tijuana in the 1960s using the Kahn independent sideband system; later tests were run via US and Canadian-based stations. XETRA is no longer operating in AM stereo.
In succeeding decades, XTRA (without the "E", as U.S. listeners would otherwise refer to) would switch formats numerous times. During most of the 1970s and 1980s, XETRA continued as a beautiful music station, competing with K-JOY on the FM dial. During its beautiful music years, XETRA became one of the first AM stations in the San Diego area to broadcast in AM stereo. These early attempts actually required the listener to tune in with two radios, one off-tuned to the left of the frequency for the left channel and the second radio off-tuned to the right, as AM stereo radios capable of decoding the Kahn signal were never licensed or built at the time.
When interest in the Beautiful Music format died down in the late 70s, XETRA switched formats to Top 40/adult contemporary music, once again billing itself as "the Mighty 690". Later, the station switched to an oldies format, and XETRA called themselves "69 XTRA Gold".
Shortly after, XETRA had a brief stint as an all-news station, carrying syndicated programs such as Rush Limbaugh, before becoming one of the U.S.'s first all-sports stations, billing as "XTRA Sports", affiliating themselves with ESPN Radio. For a number of years, the station was the broadcast home of the San Diego Chargers National Football League team. The station also briefly carried Stanford University football. The out-of-market team was carried because the son of station manager John Lynch was on scholarship with the team; the younger Lynch would go on to star in the National Football League. In the latter part of the 1990s and most of the 2000s, they decided to simulcast with Los Angeles station KXTA in order to better serve the Los Angeles area.
The station's best-known sportscaster in the sports format is Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, who hosted a nightly sports talk program from 1987 until 2005, and was also the play-by-play voice of the Chargers from 1987 to 1996. Hacksaw is famous (and infamous) for his "best 15 minutes in radio" with "Hacksaw's Headlines" and using such phrases as "I am bleeping brilliant!" Jim Rome also got his start on the station, even though he often refers to this station as the "nifty 650" on his show despite the fact that it is not on 650 kHz. Jeanne Zelasko also started at the station broadcasting during breaks with traffic, weather and sports highlights.
In 2006, Clear Channel ceased management of the station after the Federal Communications Commission ruled that the stations licensed to Mexico had to be counted against the U.S. ownership caps (three AM stations and five FM stations). Since Clear Channel managed the stations, this was counted against their ownership limit under this ruling. Management interest of some of these outlets, including XETRA-FM, XHRM-FM, and XHITZ-FM, was spun off into Finest City Broadcasting, owned by a former Clear Channel executive. However, management rights for XETRA-AM were sold to a firm called Grupo Latino de Radio, which introduced XETRA's current format. However, Grupo Latino has continued a local marketing agreement with Clear Channel to this day. (In 2010, Finest City sold the operating rights to XETRA, XHRM, and XHITZ to Broadcast Company of the Americas, which had already operated XEPRS, XHPRS, and XEPE.)
The first day of broadcasts of W Radio was February 6, 2006.
The XETRA call sign was dropped accidentally in September 2006 for the call letters of XEWR, which belong to a station in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. The error was quickly corrected.
In 2008, XETRA's call letters were changed to XEWW to better reflect their W Radio programming. The change retired the letters "XETRA" on the AM side after nearly a half century. However, XETRA-FM still exists as "91X."
On November 24, 2012, XEWW suspended its normal programming and broadcast in English for the first time in more than six years. The occasion was the official USC Trojans' broadcast of their football game against Notre Dame. Normal flagship station KSPN could not air the game because the Los Angeles Lakers (who have conflict priority) took on the Dallas Mavericks at the same time. At the same time, KSPN's "sister station," KLAA, took the Fighting Irish broadcast, as it had all season. XEWW was expected to rejoin its Spanish-language format after the game was over.
Shows and Talents
Futbol Mexicano al Dia, an up-to-date coverage of Mexican Soccer - including the First Division League and the National Team (TRI) - as well as full news about Mexican players that succeed all over the world: Highlights, scores and interviews brought by former Chivas player, Jorge Campos, with the support of established and experienced sports journalist, Samuel Jacobo.
De Paisano a Paisano is hosted by “Los Hermanos Escamilla” – El Coyote y El Charal, featuring regional Mexican music, humor, and more.
Asi es Oaxaca! is hosted by Luis Saldaña, Gerry Rodriguez of Economy Tax and Nau Cruz - featuring Oxacan culture, news and more
- Border Radio by Fowler, Gene and Crawford, Bill. Texas Monthly Press, Austin. 1987 ISBN 0-87719-066-6
- Mass Media Moments in the United Kingdom, the USSR and the USA, by Gilder, Eric. - "Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu Press, Romania. 2003 ISBN 973-651-596-6
- W Radio 690 AM
- Radio Time info and listen link for XETRA
- Dedication of the Wolfman Jack Memorial in Del Rio, Texas