|Broadcast area||Springfield, Missouri|
|Frequency||AM: 560 kHz|
|Slogan||News Talk Radio|
|Owner||Zimmer Midwest Communications|
First air date
Call sign meaning
|Keep watching the Ozarks|
|Power||5,000 watts daytime|
4,000 watts nighttime
|Translator(s)||K227AO 93.3 FM|
The station is owned by Zimmer Midwest Communications.
KWTO was founded by Lester E. Cox and began broadcasting on December 25, 1933. Cox applied for and got the call letters KWTO, which stood for "Keep Watching The Ozarks." Cox also applied for several others including KCMO in Kansas City. Since (at the time) the Federal Radio Commission prohibited playing recorded music on the air, the station had its own live bands.
From the 1930s through the 1950s, KWTO's staff musicians included Slim Wilson and the Tall Timber Trio, Chet Atkins, The Carter Family, Wynn Stewart, Les Paul, The Haden Family and The Goodwill Family. KWTO'S Korn's-A-Krackin', a weekly "hillbilly variety" program, was carried nationally by the Mutual Broadcasting System. During the late 1940s and 1950s, the station played a key role in launching the careers of stars such as Porter Wagoner and The Browns. In 1954, the station began carrying Ozark Jubilee, which became an ABC-TV and radio show. In 1959, KWTO broke with its live music tradition and began playing country records, and for the next 30 years was known as "56 Country."
On October 22, 1990, KWTO ended its long-standing country format and became the Ozarks' first full-time news-talk radio station, which carries the programs of talk-show hosts including Rush Limbaugh Chris Plante, Jim Bohannon (who once worked at the station), and Joe Pags.
With his 2008 album Rambling Boy, Charlie Haden acknowledged KWTO's country roots by featuring the station's transmission tower on the album's cover. On December 10, 2008, Rep. Roy Blunt recognized the station's 75th anniversary with remarks from the floor of United States House of Representatives.
On July 24, 2020, it was announced that the entire group of Meyer Communications owned radio stations (KWTO (AM), KWTO-FM, KTXR, KBFL (AM), and KBFL-FM) were being purchased by Zimmer Midwest Communications
The station's 5,000-watt signal reaches large parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma. It provides at least secondary coverage as far north as Kansas City and Topeka, as far south as Fort Smith and as far west as the Tulsa suburbs.
KWTO is simulcast on 93.3 MHz FM (K227AO)
- KWTO in the FCC's AM station database
- KWTO on Radio-Locator
- KWTO in Nielsen Audio's AM station database