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|City||St. Paul, Minnesota|
|Broadcast area||Minneapolis-St. Paul|
|Branding||1500 ESPN Twin Cities|
|Frequency||AM 1500 kHz|
|First air date||February 13, 1925 (current license dates from March 29, 1928)|
|Callsign meaning||K SainT Paul|
|Former callsigns||WAMD and KFOY (separately)|
Hubbard Broadcasting |
|Sister stations||KSTC-TV, KSTP-FM, KSTP-TV, KTMY|
KSTP (1500 AM; 1500 ESPN Twin Cities) is a sports radio station. It is the flagship AM radio station of Hubbard Broadcasting, which also owns several other television and radio stations across the United States and some other media properties. It is the ESPN Radio affiliate for Minneapolis-St. Paul. KSTP operates at a power of 50,000 watts and shares clear-channel, Class A status on 1500 AM with WFED in Washington, D.C, from a transmitter located in Maplewood.
The station's studio facility, located on the boundary line between St. Paul and Minneapolis, is shared with sister stations KSTP-FM, KSTP-TV, KTMY, and KSTC-TV. On weekdays, KSTP airs local sports shows from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and carries ESPN programming late nights and in the early morning. Some of KSTP's shows are simulcast on other sports radio stations in the region.
KSTP's AM signal at 1500 kHz is the product of a merger between two pioneering Twin Cities stations. KFOY first took to the air on March 12, 1924 in St. Paul. WAMD ("Where All Minneapolis Dances") on February 13, 1925, originally broadcasting live dance music from a local ballroom. It is claimed that WAMD was the first radio station to be completely supported by running paid advertisements.
By 1927, WAMD and KFOY were sharing time on 1350 AM. In February 1928, the National Battery Company bought WAMD, and bought KFOY a month later. On March 29, 1928, it merged the two stations under new calls, KSTP. The merged station was licensed to St. Paul, but to this day claims WAMD's history as its own. Hubbard became the merged station's general manager, acquiring controlling interest in 1941.
Twin Cities stations were experimenting with frequency-modulated transmissions in the late 1930s. KSTP engineers had started running W9XUP at 29.95 MHz by 1938. This "ultra-short-wave" station continued regular broadcasts until at least 1944. Other Twin Cities stations also experimented with FM, but not as extensively. WCCO operated a low-power station, but it apparently went off the air quickly (WCCO did not sign on its own FM station permanently until 1969, which is now KMNB). WTCN's FM transmission stayed around longer, but remained intermittent. KSTP's locally produced programs from this era include the 5:45 News, with newscaster Cal Karnstedt, in 1947.
A month after the merger, KSTP became an affiliate for the NBC radio network, which it remained for 46 years. It programmed a full service MOR radio format, in the shadow of its chief competitor, CBS affiliate 830 WCCO. KSTP was the radio home of the Minnesota Vikings from 1970-75.
In 1973, KSTP broke away from its longtime adult format and became one of four area stations at the time to program a Top 40 format, as "15 KSTP," (actually "AM1500, The Music Station") competing with other Top 40 AM stations WDGY, KDWB and later, WYOO. The competition would eventually shake itself out, with outrageous rocker WYOO dropping out after being sold in 1976, and then the staid WDGY switching to country music the following year. As for uptempo hits station 15 KSTP, it went from a tight Top 40 format to leaning adult rock in 1978, to leaning adult contemporary in 1979, to evolving into adult contemporary/talk by 1980, before it officially shifted to news/talk by 1982. Most Top 40 rock music, by this time, had moved to the FM band.
Notable hosts who have been on KSTP include Jesse Ventura, Larry Carolla, Tom Barnard, Big Al Davis, Don Vogel, John MacDougall, Griff, Mike Edwards, Geoff Charles, Joe Soucheray, James Lileks, Leigh Kamman, Barbara Carlson, Peter Thiele, Tom Mischke, Jason Lewis, Chuck Knapp, Machine Gun Kelly, Charle Bush, Mark O'Connell and Paul Brand. These broadcasters were supported by producers such as Bruce Huff, Rob Pendleton, Alison Brown, Jean Bjorgen, David Elvin (who Vogel dubbed the "Steven Spielberg of Talk Radio"), Mitch Berg and others.
The station has, for the most part, emphasized local hosts over the years, though it was one of Rush Limbaugh's first affiliates (Clear Channel-owned KTLK-FM would take over rights to Limbaugh's show in January 2006). Other syndicated hosts previously heard on KSTP include Sean Hannity, Bruce Williams, Larry King, and Owen Spann.
KSTP switched to Sports Talk on February 15, 2010. As the station had to wait for ESPN's contract with rival KFAN and its sister station KFXN to expire, it did not become an ESPN Radio affiliate until April 12 (the same day that the Minnesota Twins were scheduled to play their inaugural game at Target Field against the Boston Red Sox), and as a result Coast to Coast AM and Live on Sunday Night, it's Bill Cunningham were retained during this period; conversely, one ESPN Radio program, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, was picked up by KSTP immediately following the format change.
In 2018, the station was approved for an FM translator on 94.1 FM, broadcasting from a transmitter atop the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis. The two-watt signal throws most of its power to the west, preventing interference to low powered FM stations on the same channel including WFNU-LP in St. Paul. With only two watts of power, however, the signal is limited to the immediate downtown area surrounding the IDS Center. To the west, however, the station can at the least be heard to Highway 100 and as far as Wayzata.
On August 1, 2006 the station announced that it would be the new flagship station for Minnesota Twins baseball, effective with the start of the 2007 season. The Twins had been on rival WCCO since arriving in Minnesota in 1961; KSTP served as the flagship for the Twins until the end of the 2012 season, when games moved to KTWN-FM (now KQGO).
The switch has caused inconveniences and dissent among some listeners, particularly in neighboring states and out-state Minnesota regions. Although KSTP is the state's second most powerful AM station, it must operate directionally at night, delivering a reduced signal to parts of the market. WCCO, by comparison, offers a much clearer and stronger signal during all times of the day than KSTP does, with its non-directional 50,000 watt signal. In response, the Twins have expanded the number of affiliates.
On March 9, 2011, it was announced that KSTP would be the new flagship for Minnesota Golden Gophers men's and women's basketball and men's ice hockey, ending a 68-year run on WCCO. The rights have since moved to KFXN-FM, which already aired Gopher football.
- Sies, Luther F. Encyclopedia of American Radio 1920-1960. Jefferson, NC:McFarland, 2000. ISBN 0-7864-0452-3
- "KTSP Wins Boost" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 15, 1933. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Zulgad, Judd (February 11, 2010). "KSTP-AM going all-sports talk as ESPN radio affiliate". Star Tribune. Retrieved February 11, 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "K235BP-FM Radio Station Coverage Map". Radio-Locator.com. February 7, 2018.
- Minnesota Twins Official Site - Twins Radio Network affiliates with map
- Walsh, Paul (March 9, 2011). "Gopher football, hoops and hockey leaving WCCO Radio". Star Tribune.
- "MNUFC Matches Broadcast on FOX 9/My29 and 1500 ESPN". March 2, 2017.
- FCC History Cards for KSTP[permanent dead link]
- KSTP website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KSTP
- Radio-Locator Information on KSTP
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KSTP
- Today's Business Radio A new hybrid radio show hosted at AM1500 KSTP.
- Radiotapes.com Historic Minneapolis/St. Paul airchecks dating back to 1924 including KSTP and other Twin Cities radio stations.
- Rick Burnett's TwinCitiesRadioAirchecks.com has additional airchecks of KSTP and other Twin Cities radio stations from the '60s and '70s, including Chuck Knapp's 2nd show on KSTP.
- KSTP to be Minnesota Twins flagship affiliate in 2007[permanent dead link]
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