|Broadcast area||Greater Houston|
|Branding||Newsradio 740 KTRH|
|Slogan||Houston's News, Traffic and Weather Station|
|First air date||April 22, 1922|
|Callsign meaning||K The Rice Hotel (previous studio location)|
|Former callsigns||WCM (1922-1925)|
|Owner||iHeartMedia, Inc. |
(AMFM Texas Licenses LLC)
|Sister stations||KBME, KODA, KPRC (AM), KQBT, KTBZ-FM, K283CH|
|Webcast||iHeartRadio Station #2285|
KTRH (740 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Houston, Texas and owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. that airs a talk radio format. Programming is also heard on co-owned KQBT's HD 3 channel at 93.7 MHz, and the station uses the iHeartRadio platform to stream its webcast. Its studios are located along the West Loop Freeway (I-610) in the city's Uptown district. The transmitter site is in unincorporated Liberty County, off Cox Road in Dayton.
KTRH broadcasts with 50,000 watts around the clock, the highest power permitted by the Federal Communications Commission for commercial AM stations. But because it transmits on AM 740, a Canadian clear channel frequency, the station uses a directional antenna to protect Class A station CFZM Toronto. KTRH is the South Texas primary entry point station for the Emergency Alert System.
KTRH is one of the oldest radio stations in the United States, and was first licensed, as WCM in Austin, Texas, in April 1922.
Weekdays begin with "Houston's Morning News" with Matt Patrick and Shara Fryer. The rest of the day, nationally syndicated conservative talk shows are heard, featuring Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, "Ground Zero" with Clyde Lewis, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and This Morning, America's First News with Gordon Deal. Michael Berry, who is also nationally syndicated but based at KTRH, is heard at 8 a.m. weekdays. Weekend programming features shows on money, health, oil and gas, home repair, pets, real estate and gardening, some of which are paid brokered programming. For local news and weather, KTRH has a partnership with Channel 2 KPRC-TV, Houston's NBC Network affiliate. World and national news come from ABC News Radio.
Until the 2013 season, KTRH was the flagship station for the Houston Astros baseball team. Astros broadcasts are now heard on sister station KBME Sportstalk 790. For an interim period, games were simulcast on both stations.
Establishment in Austin
The station was first licensed, with the randomly assigned call letters of WCM, on April 22, 1922 to the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. Initially the station was authorized to broadcast on both the "entertainment" wavelength of 360 meters (833 kHz) and the "market and weather" wavelength of 485 meters (619 kHz). In November 1924 the station was relicensed to broadcast on 1120 kHz. On October 30, 1925, the station was relicensed with the new call letters of KUT, now operating on 1300 kHz. In early 1927 the station was assigned to 1100 kHz, and a few months later was assigned to 1290 kHz. On November 11, 1928, under the provisions of the Federal Radio Commission's General Order 40, the station moved back to 1120 kHz.
The university ultimately decided that it could not afford the expense of operating a radio station, and in early 1929 sold KUT to a group that planned to convert it from an educational to a commercial station.
Move to Houston
Jesse H. Jones, operator of the Rice Hotel (now the Post Rice Lofts) in Houston, Texas and owner of the Houston Chronicle, took over the station to meet its competition, the Houston Post, which was the first of the local papers with an radio affiliation (KPRC). In December 1929, the station's call letters were changed to KRTH (standing for The Rice Hotel), and its main studio was moved to Houston. (Simultaneously, station KGDR in San Antonio, Texas was renamed KUT and moved to Austin (now KTSN)). In March 1930, the station began broadcasting from the Rice Hotel. KTRH aired shows from the Columbia Broadcasting System as part of its initial programming.
In mid-1934 KTRH shifted to 1330 kHz, which was followed late the next year by a move to 1290 kHz with 5,000 watts in the daytime and 1,000 watts at night. On March 29, 1941, with the implementation of the provisions of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA), the stations on 1290 kHz were moved to 1320 kHz. The next year KTRH moved to its current dial position at 740 kHz, and got a boost in power to 50,000 watts.
In the 1950s, as network programming moved from radio to TV, KTRH-AM-FM switched to a full service middle of the road (MOR) format. In 1965, KTRH-AM-FM were acquired by the Rusk Corporation. Under Rusk ownership, KTRH-FM experimented with progressive rock programs at night while simulcasting AM 740 in the daytime. In 1970, Rusk switched the FM station over to a full time rock format as KLOL.
Noted newsman Dan Rather worked for KTRH in the late 1950s. He was a reporter and newscaster. In 1959, KTRH carried broadcasts of the Houston Buffs minor league baseball team. Rather was the main play by play announcer. The Gallup Poll's editor in chief Frank Newport was also a noted talk show host and news director at KTRH in the early 1980s. CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz worked at KTRH while attending the University of Houston.
Change in Ownership
In 1993, Evergreen Media bought KTRH and KLOL for $49 million. Evergreen Media was later merged into Chancellor Media, which in turn was bought by Clear Channel Communications, the forerunner to today's owner, iHeartMedia. In 1995, Clear Channel also acquired KTRH's chief talk radio competitor, AM 950 KPRC. That means Clear Channel, and now iHeartMedia, has two talk radio stations in Houston, each airing slightly different programming. However, Houston-based syndicated host Michael Berry has shows on both stations, airing at different times.
KTRH was the Houston affiliate for CBS Radio News, before switching to ABC News Radio in 1997 and then to Fox News Radio in 2003. In early 2016, KTRH switched back to ABC. The Fox News affiliation moved to sister station KPRC 950 AM.
- "KTRH-AM 740 kHz" (Radio-Locator.com)
- "New Stations: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, April 1, 1922, page 2.
- "United States Pioneer Broadcast Service Stations: Actions Through June, 1922" by Thomas H. White (earlyradiohistory.us)
- "New Stations: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, December 1, 1924, page 2.
- "New Stations: Broadcasting Stations", November 2, 1925, page 3.
- "Alterations and Changes: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, February 28, 1927, page 5.
- "Broadcasting Stations", Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States (June 30, 1927), page 76.
- "Broadcasting Stations" (November 11, 1928), Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States (June 30, 1928), page 168.
- "University of Texas" entry, Education's Own Stations by S. E. Frost, Jr., 1937, pages 425-428.
- "Alterations and Corrections: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, February 28, 1929, page 12.
- Fenberg, Steven (2011). Unprecedented Power: Jesse Jones, Capitalism, and the Common Good. College Station: Texas A & M University Press. p. 181. ISBN 9781603444347.
- "Alterations and Corrections: Broadcasting Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, December 31, 1929, page 8.
- "Broadcasting Stations: Changes" Radio Service Bulletin, June 1, 1934, page 7.
- "Broadcasting Stations: Changes" Radio Service Bulletin, November 15, 1935, page 12.
- List of Radio Broadcast Stations (March 29, 1941), page 32.
- "Modernistic in Design", Broadcasting, November 16, 1942, page 62.
- "KRTH-FM Houston Takes Air on 8-Hour Schedule", Broadcasting, July 7, 1947, page 73. (americanradiohistory.com)
- "Ownership Changes" Broadcasting & Cable, May 24, 1993, page 83. (americanradiohistory.com)
- "740 KTRH Makes Changes For 2016" by Mike McGruff (mikemcguff.blogspot.com)