|City||Wood River, Illinois|
|Broadcast area||Greater St. Louis|
|Branding||590 The Fan|
|Frequency||590 kHz AM|
|Repeater(s)||KPNT-HD2 (105.7 MHz)
|First air date||October 5, 1961 (as WBBY)|
|Former callsigns||WBBY (1961-1965)
|Affiliations||CBS Sports Radio
Fox Sports Radio
(Markel Radio Group, LLC)
KFNS (590 kHz "590 The Fan") is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Wood River, Illinois, and serving the St. Louis metropolitan area, including parts of Illinois and Missouri. Owned by Randy Markel (through licensee Markel Radio Group, LLC), and programmed by insideSTL Enterprises, the station broadcasts a sports talk radio format. It is a network affiliate for both Fox Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.
KFNS broadcasts with 1,000 watts of power, around the clock, using four towers during the daytime hours and three towers at night. Its former antenna array used three towers day and night, powered at 500 watts days and 1,000 watts nights. (It's rare for a station to increase power at night.) KFNS's programming is also available to listeners with an HD Radio receiver via a simulcast on the HD2 subchannel of KPNT 105.7 MHz.
On October 5, 1961, the station first signed on as WBBY, a daytimer broadcasting at 500 watts. WBBY was owned by Madison County Broadcasting Company and served the Wood River area with local news, sports and other programming. In 1965, WBBY changed its call sign to WRTH and its format switched to beautiful music, targeting the St. Louis media market. By the late 1960s, the station had gotten FCC permission to broadcast around the clock. Its easy listening music format became among the most highly rated stations in St. Louis. Among the best known announcers were Grant Horton, Paul Warner, Frank Akers, Jim Scanlan and Ed Goodman.
Around 1980, WRTH transitioned to adult standards until September 1988, when it flipped to oldies as WKLL, "Kool 590". In 1990, the format changed again to all-business news and talk under the call letters WCEO, which stood for Chief Executive Officer. A year later, the standards were back as WCEO became KEZK. At the time, the Adams Communications Corporation owned both AM 590 and FM 102.5 KEZK-FM, a soft adult contemporary outlet.
Move to Sports Talk
On April 5, 1993, KEZK flipped to sports talk as KFNS, "590 the Fan". KFNS held the affiliation for One-on-One Sports (now SB Nation Radio). KFNS previously aired St. Louis Steamers indoor soccer, University of Illinois football and men's basketball, the Gateway Grizzlies minor-league baseball team, and selected Mizzou Tigers football and basketball games, along with the weekly "Tiger Talk" radio coaches show. In 2009, KFNS was the radio home for the Frontier League's River City Rascals baseball games. KFNS-FM was the radio home for the club in 2006, before losing out to KSLQ-FM in 2007 and 2008.
KFNS had also broadcast on an FM radio station, 100.7 KFNS-FM, based in Troy, Missouri, from 1999 until July 15, 2009. It was heard in Lincoln, St. Charles and Warren Counties in eastern Missouri, with the same programming as its AM partner. Currently, 100.7 FM is a classic rock station, known as "100.7 The Viper."
Brief Experiment as "The Man"
On May 1, 2013, KFNS flipped to a talk/comedy format, branded as "590 The Man". In addition, sister station KXFN flipped to a female-centric talk format as "1380 The Woman." In 2014, KFNS shifted back to sports (but retained the "Man" branding), with the previous format shifting over to KXFN as "1380 The X." Its investors include former St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace and former St. Louis Blues player Keith Tkachuk. The station was subsequently subject to significant turmoil, including lawsuits against the ownership, physical fights behind the scenes and verbal attacks on-air.
KFNS went off the air on October 31, 2014 after the station stopped paying its bills, resulting in the local utility company Ameren turning off the power to its transmitter site. Following the shutdown, Grand Slam Sports announced that the company would focus on sister station KXFN and sell KFNS to a religious group. Since 2009, the station had faced increased competition for the sports radio audience in St. Louis from WXOS, WGNU, and WQQX. After payment was made on the power bill, KFNS resumed broadcasting with NBC Sports Radio programming on November 10, 2014. But shortly afterward, Grand Slam Sports' investors, at the urging of the company's operations manager, chose to again take the station dark until the completion of the sale.
Return to Sports Format
The sale to the religious group never followed through. Instead, the station returned to air on November 5, 2015, after being leased out to Markel Radio Group, operators of talkstl.com, which had already been leasing KXFN. TalkSTL programming was simulcast on both stations until December 2015, when KXFN went silent, with 590 KFNS continuing to air TalkSTL programming. The station was sold to Markel Radio Group, effective February 22, 2016, for $300,000.
KFNS currently airs programming provided by the co-owned website insideSTL.com (the former TalkSTL.com), with CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports Network programming heard late nights and weekends. Local programming is offered from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. on weekdays, including shows hosted by market veterans and local broadcasters Tim McKernan, Jim Hayes, Doug Vaughn, Frank Cusumano, Howard Balzer, Chris Denman (The Wolf of Wash Ave), Travis Terrell, Charlie "Tuna" Edwards, Frank O. Pinion, and Larry Conners.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1963 page B-60
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1991 page B-195
- [httpped://www.yourmidwestmedia.net/mainsite/formatchanges.html "Format Changes"]. Your Midwest Media.
- Dan Caesar (Mar 8, 2013). "Caesar: KFNS, 1380 to drop all-sports format". St. Louis Post‑Dispatch. Retrieved Mar 12, 2013.
- Caesar, Dan (November 3, 2014). "KFNS off the air and not coming back". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- Caesar, Dan (November 11, 2014). "KFNS briefly returns to airwaves, but plug to be pulled again". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KFNS
- Radio-Locator Information on KFNS
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KFNS