|Broadcast area||Minneapolis-St. Paul|
|Slogan||Twin Cities News/Talk|
|Frequency||1130 kHz (also on HD Radio via KFXN-FM-HD2)|
|Translator(s)||103.5 K278BP (Cottage Grove)|
|First air date||December 23, 1923 (as KFMT at 1300)|
|Power||50,000 watts (day)|
25,000 watts (night)
|Callsign meaning||K Twin Cities News TaLK|
|Former callsigns||2011-2014: KTCN|
1926: WGWY (27 days)
1925-1926: WHAT (242 days)
|Former frequencies||1929-1941: 1180 kHz|
1929: 560 kHz (45 days)
1928-1929: 1390 kHz
1928: 1410 kHz (29 days)
1927-1928: 1050 kHz
1927: 1140 kHz (13 days)
1927: 1150 kHz (167 days)
1927: 1140 kHz (41 days)
1923-1927: 1300 kHz
|Affiliations||Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball (co-flagship)|
Minnesota Golden Gophers men's hockey (flagship)
Fox News Radio
NBC News Radio
Premiere Radio Networks
|Owner||iHeartMedia, Inc. |
(AMFM Broadcasting Licenses, LLC)
|Sister stations||K244FE, K273BH, KDWB-FM, KEEY-FM, KFXN-FM, KQQL, KTLK, KTCZ-FM, W227BF|
KTLK (1130 kHz, "News/Talk 1130") is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and broadcasting a talk radio format. The station is owned by iHeartMedia, and serves the Twin Cities radio market.
KTLK's main studios and offices are on Utica Avenue South in St. Louis Park. The transmitter is on County Road 84 in Scott County. KTLK operates with 50,000 watts by day and 25,000 watts at night, using a directional antenna at all times to protect other stations on AM 1130, a clear channel frequency. KTLK programming is also heard in Minneapolis, St. Paul and adjacent communities on 175 watt FM translator station 103.5 K278BP licensed to Cottage Grove. The translator broadcasts from atop the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis.
Weekdays begin with "Justice and Drew," a local news and information show hosted by Jon Justice and Andrew Lee. Weekday evenings feature "Closing Argument" with Brad Omland, Walter Hudson and Max Rymer. The rest of the schedule is made up of nationally syndicated conservative talk hosts, mostly from Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia. They include Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Joe Pags, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and This Morning, America's First News with Gordon Deal.
Weekends feature shows about money, real estate, health and home improvement, some of which are paid brokered programming. Weekend syndicated shows include Ben Ferguson, Bill Cunningham, technology expert Kim Kommando and "Bill Handel on The Law."
KTLK is the oldest continuously operating station in Minnesota, dating to December 23, 1923, when Dr. George W. Young signed on his station with the call letters KFMT. (WCCO began experimental broadcasts before KTLK, but was off the air for two months due to an ownership transition in 1924.)
Dr. Young first operated the station from his house in Minneapolis at 2219 Bryant Ave. North, cycling through the call signs: WHAT, WGWY ("W-George W. Young"), and finally WDGY ("W-Dr. George Young") in the next two years until being chastised by the government for changing too frequently. The station kept the WDGY call letters until 1991. WDGY operated on eight frequencies over its early years. In the 1930s, it was heard on 1180 AM, powered in those years at 5,000 watts by day and 1,000 watts at night. The station shared time with at least four local stations, including WRHM and WCAL during its early years.
After moving out of his his home, Young located the station's studios at several locations: his storefront at 909 West Broadway in Minneapolis, the West Hotel on Hennepin at 5th Street and 609 South Second Avenue. Minnesota native George Putnam began his broadcasting career at WDGY in 1934. Putnam later gained fame as a Los Angeles television news anchor and talk show host. In 1938, WDGY relocated its studios to the Nicollet Hotel, on Nicollet Avenue at Washington Avenue, where WCCO had previously housed its studios before moving to a new building on Second Avenue.
Move to 1130 AM
WDGY made its final move on the dial to 1130 AM in 1941 as required by the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA), under which most American, Canadian and Mexican AM radio stations changed frequencies. Transmitter sites are known to have been at Young's house, at the Broadway address and from 1927 to 1949 at Superior Boulevard and Falvey Cross Road in St. Louis Park on the grounds of a fox farm. Dr. Young's died on April 27, 1945.
Later studio locations included Bloomington (two locations), 611 Frontenac Place in St. Paul and, in 2004 at the Clear Channel Communications consolidated offices in St. Louis Park at 1600 Utica Avenue. The transmitter site moved in 1949 to Bloomington at a site that would within a decade overlook I-35W, using a vast 9-tower array.
In 1933, Dr. Young was granted a license for W9XAT, an experimental mechanical television station that is credited with the first telecast in Minnesota. It is believed that the first transmission of the 120- or 125-line system occurred on August 4 of that year, featuring a handshake between WDGY station personality Clellan Card and Minneapolis mayor William Kunze. The station pushed the technological limits of the day and provided a lot of interesting exercises for WDGY engineers, but Dr. Young never got into regular broadcasts. The license for that station expired in 1938, partly because mechanical television development was discouraged by that point. After 64 years of dormancy, an amateur radio group in the area acquired the W9XAT call sign in 2002 with the intention of using it for mechanical and narrow-bandwidth TV experiments.
Nine years after the 1945 death of Dr. Young, WDGY in 1954 flirted with modern TV, applying for Channel 9 in the Twin Cities. Also applying were competing radio stations WLOL and KEYD. WDGY and WLOL withdrew their applications at the last minute and the new station was awarded to KEYD, going on the air in January 1955, today KMSP-TV.
The station was one of the first stations in the country to program rock and roll music full time, starting a Top 40 format in 1956. It was then owned by Todd Storz, one of the pioneers in programming to the baby boom generation with some of its music rarely heard on "white" radio stations. Storz's stations were heavy on promotion, headline-grabbing contests, and high-profile disc jockeys, using echo-chamber voice processing. Other Twin Cities station owners resented the attention WDGY received, but several jumped on the Top 40 bandwagon. Storz is credited with energizing radio at a time when network programming was moving to television.
WDGY gained the nickname Weegee after a time, a sounding out of the call letters. By the 1960s, the station didn't use the name itself, but the name stuck among people in the radio industry. From about 1955 to 1977, WDGY competed for youthful listeners with AM stations KSTP and KDWB, though WCCO remained the top station in the Twin Cities, with a mixture of middle of the road music (MOR), talk, news, sports and farm reports.
As the 1970s ended, young listeners began switching to the FM band to hear contemporary music. That prompted WDGY to change to a country music format. The only other stations playing country in Minneapolis were KTCR, AM 690 and FM 97.1. The AM was a daytimer powered at only 500 watts and the FM's tower was only 150 feet tall, limiting both stations in coverage area.
In 1982, WDGY's sister FM station, 102.1 KEEY, flipped to a country format as well. The AM station specialized in personality and several decades of country music, while the FM kept chatter to a minimum and played mostly contemporary country hits. In 1984, WDGY and KEEY were acquired by the Malrite Communications Group.
Talk and Sports
The country format continued until 1989, when the station became "News Talk 1130, WDGY." Just prior to this, WDGY became the inaugural flagship station for the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves NBA team. The talk format gradually added more sports programming until the station had switched to full time sports talk. The call letters were changed to KFAN in 1991. Following this change, the WDGY call letters were moved to the 630 kHz frequency, which was formerly KDWB (now WREY). In 2000, WDGY and KEEY were acquired by Clear Channel Communications, the forerunner to current owner iHeartMedia.
On August 22, 2010, KFAN's programming began simulcasting on 103.7 FM using translator station K279AZ. The translator broadcast from a tower atop the IDS Center. It previously was owned by the Educational Media Foundation, which used the signal to broadcast its K-LOVE Christian contemporary network prior to the translator's move from Cottage Grove.
Within weeks of the upgrade, however, complaints were filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by listeners of KLZZ ("the Loon") in St. Cloud, also at 103.7 FM. Because translators are a secondary service, a translator's owner must either immediately fix the problem or shut the translator down. As a result of the interference complaints, on September 24, K279AZ's power was significantly reduced and the translator moved to 103.5 under Special Temporary Authority (STA) from the FCC, and would change call letters to K278BP.
On August 8, 2011, Clear Channel Communications announced a two-way frequency swap flipping KFAN and KTLK-FM. On Monday, August 15, 2011, KTLK-FM's talk format moved to AM 1130, while KFAN's sports programming moved to KTLK-FM's format spot on the dial, 100.3 FM. FM listeners in Minneapolis, St. Paul and adjacent communities would be able to hear KTLK on FM, by listening to the translator station on 102.5 MHz (though this would later change to the aforementioned K279AZ).
In 2006, Clear Channel Communications decided to launch a talk radio station in the Twin Cities, in order to take advantage of its Premiere Radio Networks syndication arm and the company's recent launch of Fox News Radio. Clear Channel informed AM 1500 KSTP that it would not renew its contract to carry The Rush Limbaugh Show and it eventually did the same with KSTP's carriage of Sean Hannity. (After losing Limbaugh and Hannity, KSTP shortly switched to a Sports radio format.) Clear Channel decided to put a talk format using these and other Premiere Network hosts on one of its Twin Cities FM signals, choosing to discontinue smooth jazz on 100.3 FM.
On January 2, 2006, the company switched KJZI to talk, becoming the second commercial FM talk station in the area after female-oriented talk station WFMP. The new call letters on 100.3 were KTLK-FM. When KFAN and KTLK swapped formats and frequencies in August 2011, the KTLK call sign, however, did not move to 1130 because the KTLK call letters were already on an sister station in Los Angeles at 1150 AM. Clear Channel instead chose the call sign KTCN for 1130. In early 2014, the Los Angeles station switched to the call letters KEIB, with 1130 adopting the KTLK calls on January 8, 2014. The call sign KTCN is now on a station in Rochester, Minnesota. The current call letters KTLK previously belonged to 1460 AM in Lubbock, Texas, now KBZO.
In the spring of 2008, former KTLK News Director Jeff Monosso was honored with U.S. Congressional recognition for his reporting on the 35W Bridge collapse. He and former host Jason Lewis were also honored by the Minnesota Associated Press for best spot news coverage.
- KFAN Antenna Network
- Transmitter Visit of KFAN
- KTCN (KFAN) Transmitter Site Tour and WDGY Transmitter Site Historical photos, courtesy former KFAN Chief Engineer Aaron White.
- WDGY call sign and technical history timelime, courtesy former KFAN Chief Engineer Aaron White
- University of Minnesota 1970 thesis on the history of WDGY at radiotapes.com
- Twin Cities Civil Defense Manual, circa 1951-53, courtesy Mark Durenberger
- WDGY brochure featuring the Happy Hollow Boys, approximately 1930 at radiotapes.com
- St. Louis Park Historical Society Twin Cities radio history
- Rick Burnett's Twin Cities Radio Airchecks.Com Has old photos and airchecks of many of the WDGY 1960's and 1970's DJ's
- Dismantling of WDGY tower at 909 West Broadway, Minneapolis, 1947 from MN Historical Society
- Radiotapes.com Many historic airchecks of WDGY dating back to 1938
- 1933 Modern Mechanix & Inventions magazine article about television authored by Dr. Young
- W9XAT: The Twin City Experimental Amateur Television Society
- Historical reference to 1954 applications for TV channel 9 by WDGY Radio and WLOL Radio, Box Office Magazine, April 24, 1954, page 71
- "History". KFAN Transmitter Tour. Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1935 page 38
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1943 page 106
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1980 page C-121
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1991 page B-176
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2002-2003 page D-240
- http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/fmq?call=K279AZ K279AZ FCC file
- Make the Switch: News Talk Moves to 102.5 FM! Archived 2013-01-27 at Archive.today
- News/Talk 1130 website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KTLK
- Radio-Locator Information on KTLK
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KTLK
- Query the FCC's FM station database for K278BP
- Radio-Locator information on K278BP