|Broadcast area||Little Rock metropolitan area|
|Branding||Newsradio 102.9 KARN|
|Slogan||"Arkansas' News, Weather and Traffic Station"|
"Little Rock's News and Talk Station"
"Instant News... Stimulating Talk"
|First air date||April 13, 1987|
|Callsign meaning||Multiple meanings include:|
Arkansas Radio Network
variable of KARK (original calls)
|Former callsigns||KQLV (1987–1990)|
|Affiliations||CBS Radio News |
Arkansas Radio Network
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Radio License Holding CBC, LLC)
|Sister stations||KARN, KAAY, KPZK, KIPR, KURB, KLAL|
KARN-FM is a commercial news and talk radio station at 102.9 FM in Little Rock, Arkansas, owned and operated by Cumulus Media. Originally known as KARK (AM) and later locally owned by Ted Snider, the station has long been the flagship station of the Arkansas Radio Network. The station's studios are located in West Little Rock, and the transmitter tower is located in Sheridan.
KARN airs a mix of locally produced and nationally syndicated programming, featuring local news updates seven days a week. Generations of Arkansas broadcasters have worked at KARN, including sportscaster Jim Elder; talk show hosts Pat Lynch, Ray Lincoln, Bob Harrison, Taylor Carr, Rex Nelson, and Sharon Lee; farm broadcasters Bob Buice, Lowell Ruffcorn, John Philpot, Stewart Doan, Janet Adkison and Keith Merckx (who also spent time as a news reporter and anchor); and newscasters Don Corbett, Vern Beachy, Scott Crowder, Michael Hibblen, Scott Charton, Rita Richardson, Ron Breeding, Don Griffin, Barry Green, David Wallace, Ken Miller, Paula Cooper, Terry Easley, Jayson Rogers, Grant Merrill, Alan Caudle, Patrick Grant, "Ugly" Ed Johnson and Jack Heinritz.
For a history of the original KARN-FM, see KABZ.
The signal at 102.9 that is now KARN-FM started as a Class A FM in Sheridan, AR that didn't fully cover metro Little Rock. It found some success as a satellite oldies station known as "Q-102" KQLV. Unfortunately, Q-102's success was short-lived as struggling rock station KZLR "KZ-95" picked up the oldies format as KOLL "Cool 95."
KQLV upgraded its signal to the current 102.9 facility and went country as KXIX "Kix 103." Despite a huge promotions blitz and a massive prize giveaway, Kix 103 never cracked a 2 share in the ratings and never put any fear into KSSN.
Kix 103 entered a sales agreement with KEZQ 100.3, and the two eventually swapped formats with KEZQ's soft AC format ending up on 102.9 and KXIX's country format going to 100.3 as KDDK "K-Duck 100."
KEZQ remained at 102.9 for a few years, and KURB acquired it in 1995. Shortly afterward, the KEZQ calls moved to 1250 AM, and 102.9 became KVLO "K-Love 102.9." The K-Love soft AC format was the most successful music format the 102.9 frequency had, but Citadel took it country in the early 2000s as B-98.5 began transitioning from Hot AC to AC. The country format was not much more successful than the old Kix 103 had been.
For a number of years, KARN 920 AM simulcast on two low power FM signals, including KVLO 102.5 FM licensed to Cabot, Arkansas, and KPZK 101.7 FM licensed to Humnoke, Arkansas. While both stations attracted substantial listener numbers, neither signal covered the Little Rock market well. In the summer of 2004, the decision was made to simulcast KARN full-time on the 102.9 FM frequency.
In 2007, upon merger of nearly a couple dozen ABC Radio stations, Citadel Broadcasting relinquished 11 of its radio stations, including KARN-FM, to The Last Bastion Station Trust, LLC. However, the trust decided it would not simulcast KARN, which had remained with Citadel, on KARN-FM; Citadel then transferred KOKY to the trust instead, and re-acquired KARN-FM. Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.