|Broadcast area||Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex|
|Slogan||"Safe for the Whole Family"|
|First air date||1957 as KCLE FM|
|Format||Contemporary Christian (Jan. - Nov.)
Christmas (Nov. - Dec.)
|Audience share||3.5 (April 2017, Nielsen Audio)|
|Owner||Salem Media Group
(Inspiration Media of Texas, LLC)
|Sister stations||KEXB, KSKY, KWRD-FM, KTNO, K273BJ|
KLTY (94.9 FM) is owned by the Salem Media Group with studios located in Irving, Texas, near Dallas and a transmitter in Cedar Hill. The format is similar to the "Fish" branded stations Salem owns elsewhere and its slogan is: "Safe for the Whole Family". It is considered the number one Adult Contemporary Christian Music station in the country with the largest number of listeners.
KLTY began playing a mix of Adult Contemporary Christian music (CCM). KLTY lasted only from early August 1985 to late September 1986 when station owner Scott K. Ginsburg changed the call letters to KHYI and changed the format to Top 40 as "Y-95". The transmitter site was not at Cedar Hill the primary antenna farm for Dallas radio, but instead transmitted from Lillian, Texas with over 30,000 watts of effective radiated power.
Marcos A. Rodriguez was a fan of the original KLTY and saw potential in the format - especially if a radio station could play it 24 hours a day. He purchased the music library from Ginsburg and began planning the conversion of 94.1 to all CCM. However, he was unable to make a deal for the KLTY call letters (because they were held by an FM station in Liberty, Missouri.
KOJO was notable for its commitment to being a "full service" radio station, including a solid news commitment. Morning and afternoon drive newscasts were anchored by former KVIL news director Bob Morrison and Calvin Whitman, and later, Dave Tucker. Morrison moved up to a national network news management position as News and Sports Director of the USA Radio Network, based in Dallas, for 8 1/2 years (until USA was sold and moved to Memphis).
In the spring of 1989, with a free Michael W. Smith concert, Rodriguez created the first Celebrate Freedom-style event and relaunched the KLTY call letters. Marcos A. Rodriguez went on to produce Celebrate Freedom festivals at Southfork Ranch and build the event into one of the biggest Christian Music festivals in America. Rodriguez sold KLTY  to Sunburst Media L.P. in 1999 for $63.3 million and retired. After the sale of KVIL it was the highest price ever paid for a Dallas FM.
KLTY was on 100.7 MHz from January 2000 to December 2000, and was owned by Sunburst until it was sold to Salem. Salem swapped the Christian talk format that had been on 94.9 for nearly two and a half years known as "The Word", and placed the popular KLTY on a 94.9 signal while "The Word" went to 100.7. This placed the KLTY callsign back on its original frequency.
KLTY now transmits with 100,000 watts ERP from Cedar Hill, Texas.
While KLTY plays a Contemporary Christian music playlist, it has been classified as Adult Contemporary (AC) according to Mediabase. KLTY served as the de facto "AC" station for DFW from mid-2013 to late December 2016 due to CBS Radio-owned 103.7 KVIL contemporizing its playlist to focus on 1990s to current product (with an Adult Top 40 lean) before Mediabase moved the station to "Hot AC" a year later (as of October 2016, KVIL has switched to CHR/Top 40 full time). As of December 26, 2016, KDGE (102.1) in Fort Worth serves as the official "AC" station for DFW. KLAK (97.5) in Tom Bean, Texas is another "AC" station that serves areas north and east of the metroplex.
History of 94.9 FM
The 94.9 frequency has a rich history, long predating the current format and ownership. KCLE was established in 1949 in Cleburne, Texas, by owners Jim Gordon and George Marti at 94.3 FM and 1120 AM. Marti was later the inventor of microwave transmitters (known as "Marti Units.") Employees included notables such as Russ Bloxom (later news anchor at WBAP/KXAS-TV,) Don Harris (personality at WBAP-AM) and Mike Ambrose (later with KLIF-AM, and a San Diego TV weatherman for 28 years.) The station moved to 94.9 in 1957.
In 1969, Gordon and Marti ended their partnership; Marti took the AM station and Gordon, the FM. Gordon flipped the FM to KFAD, with an underground/progressive rock format. Notables included Jon Dillon (now at KZPS), writer Phillip Cook, Dave Thomas, Stuart McRae and Joe Nick Patoski (later the senior editor of Texas Monthly magazine.
On January 1, 1972, Dick Osburn took ownership of the station, and reimaged it as KAMC ("K-Mac") while continuing the underground music format. By 1974, the format flipped to "Progressive Country" when former KFAD talent Stuart McRae convinced Dick Osburn and Program Director Ken Bateman to mix country and rock with a show called "The Country Sunday". It worked so well that the station dropped the underground rock and became the first 24-hour Progressive Country station in America. Stuart McRae had been the first jock when KSCS went Country the year before. KAMC was the only station in Dallas - Ft. Worth to play Outlaw Country artists like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. A notable employee of KAMC was Bill Merrill, who did play-by-play for the Texas Rangers.
On June 19, 1976, with the station now licensed to Arlington, it was sold to Jimmy Swaggart Ministries and became KWJS (the Word of Jimmy Swaggart) and to new KJIM calls in 1984. (The KJIM calls were resurrected from KJIM-870 AM, who used them from 1957-1984.)
After the first incarnation of KLTY (1985–86) and then KHYI (1986-91) (which aired a Top 40 format, first as "Y95", then "Power 95"), 94.9 was home to KODZ "Oldies 94.9", starting on October 28, 1991. After one year, it flipped to classic country as KSNN "Sunny 95" at 12:11 p.m. on October 12, 1992. It then flipped to KEWS - "The First All-News FM Station in America, Made in Texas" on February 27, 1996. Religious talker KWRD was established at 94.9 on January 11, 1997 after a trade with KEWS-FM. As a result of the trade, KDFX-1190 AM became KWRD-FM, while KEWS-FM became KOOO-1190 AM.
Notable weekday hosts include The Family-Friendly Morning Show with Host Frank Reed, Morning Co-Host and News Anchor Starlene Stringer and John Hudson. Mid-days host Bonnie Curry, Tony Lopez on afternoons, Nightlight with Andrea on evenings and traffic reporter Gail Lightfoot.
Awards and recognition
For years KLTY has been one of the leading radio stations in America. The National Association of Broadcasters has awarded KLTY a Marconi Award for being a "Top Major Market Station Of the Year" in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2012. In 2014 and 2016 KLTY was awarded the Marconi Award for "Religious Station of the Year".
KLTY has the highest number of listeners for a radio station in the Adult CCM format. According to figures produced from the Arbitron survey released in 2013, KLTY now boasts more than a million listeners.
- "Salem Communications' 94.9 KLTY-FM Sets Ratings Record". Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "Celebrate Freedom: America's Largest Free, Single-Day Concert Set for July 3rd; 94.9 KLTY-FM Sponsors Event at South Fork Ranch". 9 June 2004. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- "Deep in the Heart of Texans: Jon Rivers, the music man". Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Laura Castaneda (13 May 1995). "Catching a Wave: KLTY-FM became nation's most successful Adult Contemporary Christian radio station". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1G. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Dallas-Fort Worth-FM Station History". Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "The Morning Ride with Mark Elfstrand". Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Parish Perkins, Ken (May 6, 2009). "Religious experience: Christian radio learns to live in a secular world". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- John Austin (27 June 1999). "Country show moves deep into the heart of Cowtown". Radio Active. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Radio power". Dallas Business Journal. 21 March 1999. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
- Maverick Dallas Outlet Achieves Benchmark
- "KODZ-FM switches to classic country". Dallas Morning News. 1992-10-14.
- "KKOB, Albuquerque (770) wins this year's Marconi for "Legendary Station"". Radio-Info.com. September 24, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
- "2016 NAB Marconi Award - HisAir.Net". 2016-09-23. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
- "About Us | 94.9 FM KLTY - Irving, TX". www.klty.com. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
- "Christian KLTY Dallas Tops One Million Listeners". January 23, 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.