A construction permit for KROD was issued in 1936; the station was to have operated on 1500 kHz, then a local channel, with 100 watts full-time. The station took to the air some time in 1940, and by 1941 it had a construction permit to move to 600 kHz with 1000 watts day, 500 watts at night. The new facility was constructed during 1941. At this time, KROD was a CBS affiliate. The 600 kHz transmitter was on Dyer Street in Northeast El Paso at the later Sunrise Shopping Center. The transmitter moved to 10420 Dyer in the late 1960s.
The calls stood for Dorrance D. Roderick, the station's original owner and the publisher of the El Paso Times newspaper. Roderick also started El Paso's first television station, KROD-TV (channel 4, now KDBC-TV)
The station used the catch phrase "The Big 600" in station breaks (a reference to the station's broadcast frequency) for most of its history, and has aired UTEP athletic games (specifically, NCAA Division I Men's Football and NCAA Division I Men's Basketball) games for much of its history. This is depicted by the KROD banners in the movie Glory Road.
On January 18, 2011 KROD changed their format to sports, with programming from ESPN Radio.