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KFTK FMNewstalk97.1 logo.jpg
City East St. Louis, Illinois
Broadcast area St. Louis, Missouri
Branding FM News Talk 97.1
Slogan In Touch and Up to Date
Frequency 1490 kHz AM
Translator(s) 98.7 K254CR (St. Louis)
First air date July 10, 1972 (1972-07-10) (as WESL)[1]
Format News/talk (simulcast of 97.1 KFTK-FM)
Power 1,000 watts (day)
1,000 watts (night)
Class C
Facility ID 72815
Transmitter coordinates 38°37′16″N 90°09′36″W / 38.62111°N 90.16000°W / 38.62111; -90.16000
Callsign meaning FM TalK
Former callsigns WESL (1972–2007)
WFFX (2007–2010)
WQQX (2010–2016)
Affiliations Fox News Radio
Owner Entertainment Media Trust (Dennis J. Watkins, Trustee)
Sister stations KQQZ, KZQZ
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.971talk.com

KFTK (1490 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a news/talk format. Licensed to East St. Louis, Illinois, United States, it serves the St. Louis metropolitan area. Established in 1972 as WESL, the station is owned by Entertainment Media Trust (Dennis J. Watkins, Trustee), and serves as a simulcast of Emmis Communications-owned KFTK-FM (97.1 FM). KFTK's programming is also heard on translator station K254CR (98.7 FM) in St. Louis. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day. KFTK's transmitter is located in East St. Louis.


The station was first licensed in 1972 as WESL.[2] 1490 AM in East St. Louis was previously occupied by WAMV,[2] which operated from 1935[3] until 1965.[4]

In July 2007, WESL changed its format from oldies to sports talk and its call letters to WFFX.[5]

In July 2009, WFFX dropped Fox Sports Radio, including Dan Patrick and Jim Rome, and changed to "urban sports talk" as what may be the nation's first sports talk format with only African-American hosts. Richard "Onion" Horton is a veteran of St. Louis radio.[6]

On January 19, 2010, the station again changed call signs, this time to WQQX. In February 2010, WQQX changed formats from sports talk to adult standards.

In December 2011, WQQX flipped to a Rhythmic Oldies format.

In March 2014, the station returned to the sports format. During its second incarnation with the format, WQQX aired local shows, Fox Sports Radio, and the Big Ten Network's BTN Live Radio show.[7]

WQQX began simulcasting news/talk station KFTK-FM (97.1 FM) on September 15, 2016; concurrently, WQQX added a translator station, K254CR (98.7 FM) in St. Louis. The translator had been acquired by Emmis Communications, KFTK-FM's owner, from Cornerstone Community Radio earlier in 2016 and relocated from Atlanta, Illinois to be used by WQQX. The simulcast allows KFTK-FM (whose transmitter is located in O'Fallon, Missouri, west of St. Louis) to improve its coverage of the Illinois side of the market and downtown St. Louis..[8] The call letters were changed to KFTK on September 16, 2016.[9]


  1. ^ Broadcasting Cablecasting Yearbook 1982 (PDF). 1982. p. C-71. Retrieved September 15, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "WESL History Cards" (PDF). CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved September 15, 2016. 
  3. ^ 1965 Broadcasting Yearbook (PDF). 1965. p. B-49. Retrieved September 15, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Price Firm is Denied East Side Radio Station". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 7, 1971. Retrieved September 15, 2016. East St. Louis has had no AM station since WAMV went out of business in 1965 because of financial problems. 
  5. ^ "St. Louis sports-talk WFFX (1490) drops syndicated shows for local 'urban sports talk'". Radio-Info.com. 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  6. ^ Caesar, Dan (2009-07-17). "Urban sports-talk radio to begin next week in St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  7. ^ "WQQX Website". 
  8. ^ Venta, Lance (September 15, 2016). "FM NewsTalk 97.1 St. Louis Adds Two Additional Signals". RadioInsight. Retrieved September 15, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 

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