|Broadcast area||Greater Houston|
|Slogan||Your Home for Houston Sports|
|Frequency||790 kHz (also on HD Radio)
|First air date||1944|
|Audience share||0.5 (February 2017, Nielsen Audio ratings)|
|Callsign meaning||The Best Music Ever made (the station's slogan during its adult standards period)|
|Former callsigns||KTSB (1940-1944)
|Former frequencies||1230 kHz (1944-1951)|
|Affiliations||Fox Sports Radio
NBC Sports Radio
Houston Astros (MLB)
Houston Cougars (NCAA)
Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Houston Rockets (NBA)
Texas A&M Aggies (NCAA)
(AMFM Texas Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||KQBT, KODA, KPRC (AM), KTBZ-FM, KTRH|
KBME (branded as Sportstalk 790) AM is a sports-talk radio station in the Houston, Texas metropolitan area. It is currently owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.. The station airs local sports-talk and carries nationally syndicated Fox Sports Radio programming. KBME is also the flagship radio station for the Houston Rockets, Houston Astros and Texas Longhorns. The station's studios are located along the West Loop Freeway in the city's Uptown district, and the transmitter site is in the city's northwest side.
The station first went on the air as KTHT in 1944. It moved from the Class C channel (1,000 watts) 1230 kHz to the current Class B (5,000 watts) frequency of 790 kHz in 1951. During the 1960s, KTHT was known as "Demand Radio 79", playing pop music.
In August 1970, it became adult contemporary KULF, hosting radio personalities such as Stevens and Pruett. Stevens and Pruett had formerly been on KILT as the last Hudson and Harrigan team before KILT's switch to country. S&P brought to KULF their "Not ready for Drive time Players", and their daily short production of "Star Trots" (modeled after Star Trek: The Motion Picture) with Captain James T. Shmirk, his trusted Lt. Bones, and their weird little robot, ACDC.
"Black Friday"; Birth of 79Q/93Q
In June 1982, Gannett Publishing, through its broadcast subsidiary, bought the station, announced to the employees that were left (S&P had left for KEGL in the Dallas-Fort Worth market before the sale), on what was called "Black Friday" (July 2nd), that everyone was fired as of the following Monday, and relaunched it as top 40 station KKBQ ("79Q") on the 2nd.
Program director John Lander hosted the morning show, called the "Q-Zoo", and took the station to the top of the Houston ratings after one rating period - a feat unheard of for an AM music station in the 1980s. KKBQ would add an FM simulcast on 92.9 FM on December 29, 1982. KKBQ was among the first AM stations in the city to broadcast in AM stereo, originally using the Kahn ISB system, and then later switching to the Motorola C-QUAM system.
A "Star" is Born
Programming on KKBQ and KKBQ-FM ("93Q") simulcasted until January 16, 1998, when the AM station became the adult standards-formatted "Star 790 KBME" (for "Best Music Ever", although a joke among employees was "Keep Bringing Me Exlax").
KBME Drops Standards; Becomes "The Sports Animal"
In November 2004, the station flipped to an all sports station, as "790 ESPN Radio, the Sports Animal." Houston sports talk legend Charlie Pallilo helped launch the new sports station and remained with the station for almost 12 years. The ESPN affiliation lasted until January 2007, when the network moved its programming to Cumulus Media-owned KFNC-FM (97.5FM) At that point, KBME's sports talk programming shifted to a mix of local shows and programs from Fox Sports Radio, including the launch in late 2009 of "Matt & Adam in the Morning," a morning show hosted by Matt Jackson and Adam Wexler, who both moved over from KILT. "Matt & Adam" became "The Big Show" in fall 2011, when Lance Zierlein joined Jackson and Wexler. Previous hosts on KBME include Brad Davies, Carl Dukes, Ted Deluca, John Lopez, David Dalati, Tom Franklin.
Live sports programming
Play-by-play coverage on KBME includes Houston Rockets basketball, Houston Astros baseball, Houston Cougars football and basketball, Texas A&M Aggies football, basketball. KBME also features live national sports broadcasts from Dial Global and Sports USA Radio Network.
Beginning with the 2012-2013 season, KBME became flagship station to the NBA's Houston Rockets, with Clear Channel acquiring the team's radio rights from CBS Radio-owned KILT. In April 2013, KBME became the flagship station to Major League Baseball's Houston Astros, with broadcasts moving from sister station KTRH; prior to this, KBME aired select Astros spring training games.
- Louis B. Parks, "New AM station for older set", The Houston Chronicle, January 23, 1998.
- David Barron, "KBME to join all-sports radio ranks; Format change will give KILT a competitor", The Houston Chronicle, October 26, 2004.
- 610's Wexler and Jackson moving to 790 sports radio, Houston Chronicle
- "Rockets shift radio allegiance from KILT to KBME," from Houston Chronicle, 6/27/2012
- "Astros switch radio flagship to KBME," from Houston Chronicle, 2/5/2013