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KLBJ AM logo.png
City Austin, Texas
Broadcast area Austin metropolitan area
Branding News Radio KLBJ
Slogan "Austin's 24 Hour News Station"
Frequency 590 kHz
Translator(s) 99.7 K259AJ (Austin)
First air date July 2, 1939 as KTBC
Format News/Talk
Power 5,000 watts (day)
1,000 watts (night)
Class B
Facility ID 65791
Callsign meaning K Lyndon Baines Johnson
(The Johnson Family are former owners)
Former callsigns KTBC (1939-1973)
Affiliations Premiere Networks
Westwood One Network
Fox News Radio
Owner Emmis Communications
(Emmis Austin Radio Broadcasting Company, L.P.)
Sister stations KBPA, KGSR, KLBJ-FM, KLZT, KROX-FM
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.newsradioklbj.com

KLBJ (590 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Austin, Texas. It carries a News/Talk radio format. KLBJ is owned by Emmis Communications of Indianapolis, but once was owned by the family of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and still carries his initials as its call letters.

The station has studios and offices along Interstate 35 in North Austin. The transmitter site is located east of Austin near the Colorado River in unincorporated Travis County. KLBJ 590 operates at 5,000 watts daytime and 1,000 watts nighttime. On October 30, 2009, 590 AM began simulcasting its programming on FM translator station K259AJ at 99.7 MHz.


KLBJ airs local talk shows on weekdays, breaking for the Rush Limbaugh Show from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with nationally syndicated programs heard nights and weekends. National shows, in addition to Rush Limbaugh, include Buck Sexton, Clyde Lewis, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, and America in The Morning with John Trout. Weekends feature shows on money, real estate, health, cars, gardening, and food. Syndicated programming includes The Kim Komando Show and Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont. KLBJ has a local news staff while national news is supplied by Fox News Radio. KLBJ maintains a local news sharing agreement with the Fox TV Network's KTBC Channel 7, once co-owned with KLBJ. Some weekend hours are paid brokered programming.


Early Years as KTBC[edit]

KLBJ first went on the air in 1939.[1] The original call sign was KTBC, standing for Texas Broadcasting Company. It originally broadcast at 1150 kilocycles, powered at 1,000 watts as a daytimer. It was a CBS Radio Network affiliate, airing its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts.[2]

Johnson Family Ownership[edit]

KTBC was acquired by the family of future President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1943, the future First Lady, known as Lady Bird Johnson, invested an inheritance of $17,000 to purchase KTBC. She improved the station by hiring new on-air talent, found commercial sponsors, kept all the financial accounts, and maintained the facility. Using her formal name, Mrs. Claudia T. Johnson served as manager, and then as chairman of what later came to be known as KLBJ for some four decades. (In later years, the president and Lady Bird's children actually ran the media company.)

Although Mrs. Johnson was the owner in papers filed with the Federal Communications Commission, then-Senator Lyndon Johnson used his influence with the FCC to permit KTBC to relocate to AM 590, a better spot on the dial, increasing its coverage area and broadcasting around the clock with nighttime authorization. Because the station was owned by Mrs. Johnson, Lyndon Johnson did not have to consider divesting the media company, even when he was senator, vice-president or president.

The Johnson Family put Austin's first TV station on the air in 1952, Channel 7 KTBC-TV. A co-owned FM station signed on the air in 1960, 93.7 KTBC-FM (now KLBJ-FM). In the 1950s, as network programming moved to television, 590 KTBC began playing middle of the road and easy listening music, while still airing CBS News on the hour. In 1973, the radio stations switched their call letters to KLBJ and KLBJ-FM, to match the initials of former President Johnson, who had died earlier that year.[3] The AM station continued its format of MOR music with news, talk and sports. The year before, the FM station had switched to a pioneering Progressive Rock sound.

Selling the TV and Radio Stations[edit]

In 1973, the Johnson Family sold Channel 7 to the Times Mirror Company, a newspaper and broadcasting company, that published the Los Angeles Times and the Dallas Times Herald. Channel 7 kept the KTBC call sign.[4] Today KTBC is owned by Fox Television Stations.

The Johnson Family divested its radio stations in 1997. It sold KLBJ-AM-FM to LBJS Corporation.[5] The corporation was made up of KLBJ executives. 590 KLBJ had already shifted from MOR music to an all-talk format. 93.7 KLBJ-FM continued its album-oriented rock format.

In 2003, KLBJ-AM-FM were sold to the Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Company.[6] Emmis had radio stations in several large markets around the U.S., including New York City and Los Angeles. In 2009, an FM translator station was added, giving Austin listeners the choice of hearing KLBJ on AM 590 or FM 99.7.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°14′16″N 97°37′47″W / 30.23778°N 97.62972°W / 30.23778; -97.62972