|City||Belen, New Mexico|
|Broadcast area||Albuquerque area|
|Slogan||Shut up and rock|
|Translator(s)||102.9 K275AO (Albuquerque)|
|First air date||1961 (at 860)|
|Power||840: 1,800 watts (day)
30 watts (night)
|ERP||102.9: 990 watts|
|Callsign meaning||K ARea S|
|Former frequencies||860 kHz (1961-2013)|
|Owner||American General Media
|Sister stations||KABG, KAGM, KDLW, KHFM, KLVO, KSFE|
KARS (840 AM) is a radio station licensed to Belen, New Mexico, United States, which also serves the Albuquerque area. The station is owned by American General Media. KARS also broadcasts on FM translator K275AO at 102.9 MHz at 99 watts from atop Sandia Crest. KARS airs an active rock format branded as "Area 102-9". The station does not feature any on-air personalities.
Its studios are located in Northeast Albuquerque and the transmitter tower for KARS is located in South Valley, New Mexico.
|City of license||Facility
|K275AO||102.9||Albuquerque, New Mexico||139243||99||D||FCC|
KARS used to broadcast at 860 kHz at 1,300 watts during the day and 185 watts at night. The signal in Albuquerque had been a bit weak there during daytime hours and was even harder (but not impossible) to hear at night due to its transmitter being located near Belen about 40 miles south of Albuquerque and using low levels of power. However the station mostly served the Valencia County area and did not really target Albuquerque.
KARS has featured a variety of programming over the years from Classic Country and Spanish-language programming as well as community information for Belen and other parts of Valencia County. In 2010 it began airing an Adult Standards format and later featured some religious programs before changing to the all news format in April 2012. The station used to brand itself as "The Heart of New Mexico".
From April 2012 until March 2013 KARS broadcast an all news format with most of its content coming from Talk Radio Networks "America's Radio News". Local news, weather and traffic reports were featured in the mornings and afternoons.
KARS had filed an application with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to move to 840 kHz at a new transmitter site, increase day power to 1,800 watts and decrease night power to 30 watts. A construction permit to make these changes was granted by the FCC on January 17, 2013. This upgrade also allows for it to re-broadcast on FM translator K275AO on 102.9 at 990 watts from atop Sandia Crest.
On March 28, 2013 KARS went off the air while the station upgraded its signal. It returned to the air on July 11, 2013 at 840 kHz covering the Albuquerque area well during the day and improving night time coverage. The FM translator at 102.9 was also upgraded from 10 watts to 99 watts. 102.9 had previously re-broadcast the classical music format from KHFM at 95.5 since signing on in late 2005. The translator was intended to improve coverage in the northeast heights. After a week of informing listeners that KHFM was no longer on the translator this station had been playing a loop of the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind repeatedly for nearly five days. KARS launched a modern rock format branded as "Area 102-9" at noon on July 24, 2013. Area 102.9 launched with "10,000 songs in a row" however it was nearly four months before the station started to run commercials regularly as is sometimes common with new stations. The modern rock format originally featured alternative music from the 1980s to current hits.
On August 3, 2015 American General Media took over operations of KSFE 102.9 in Santa Fe which could possibly allow for more flexibility to upgrade this translator which at the current 99 watts is tightly placed between KIOT 102.5 and KDRF 103.3 both of which broadcast at the full 22 kW from atop Sandia Crest making the signal hard to pick up and possibly contributing to the stations very low ratings. Currently only K229CL 93.7 uses the translator maximum power of 250 watts between two full powered Crest stations.
On August 31, 2015 KARS shifted their format from modern rock to active rock, still branded as "Area 102.9".
- "KARS Facility Record". U.S. Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- New Area Launching in Albuquerque
- Area 102.9 Albuquerque Shifts to Active Rock