|City||Rosarito, Baja California|
Tijuana, Baja California
|Broadcast area||San Diego-Tijuana|
Greater Los Angeles
|First air date||1936 (as XEAC)|
|Power||77,000 watts (daytime)|
50,000 watts (nighttime)
|Callsign meaning||former affiliate of XEW's "W Radio" format|
|Former callsigns||XEAC (1936-?)|
|Affiliations||Grupo Latino de Radio|
|Owner||H&H USA |
(W3 Comm Concesionaria, S.A. de C.V.)
It is a high-powered station, with its 77,500-watt daytime signal sometimes reaching as far as the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, but otherwise covering nearly all of Southern California and most of Baja California. It operates with 50,000 watts at night as is required by the "Rio" treaty. This same treaty would normally allow XEWW to operate with a daytime signal of 100,000 watts. However, 77,500 watts was apparently selected as this power sends the equivalent of the station's former 50,000 day power (from its original Tijuana site, since demolished) towards Los Angeles without also increasing its prohibited overlap with 670 and 710 kHz in Los Angeles (from its present Rosarito site). Had it chosen to operate at 100,000 watts days would have required a modified daytime directional antenna at Rosarito (the night directional antenna at Rosarito would not need to be modified).
Its current format is a Chinese-language Full Service format, which it has had since 2018. Before this, it was a Spanish-language talk radio under the brand name W Radio. It primarily serves the Los Angeles area, even though the station has a stronger signal in San Diego, due to its proximity to Rosarito, and a dramatically stronger signal south of the Rosarito site, towards Baja California. Its 77,000-watt signal during the day covers most of southern California, including the Los Angeles metropolitan area. At night it uses a five-tower directional antenna and decreased power to 50,000 watts to protect CBU from Vancouver, British Columbia, and CKGM from Montreal, Quebec. Both are the dominant Class A stations. Despite the directional antenna pattern, the signal can be heard in most of the Western United States at night.
XEWW was also the overflow station for English-language radio broadcasts of USC Trojans football and basketball games, as well as Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball games when there was a conflict with another game that aired on KSPN. Trojan football and men’s basketball games moved over to KABC-AM 790 at the start of the 2019-2020 NCAA season.
Jorge Rivera, founder of XEAC in 1936, had a dream to create the world's most powerful AM radio station. In the U.S., the FCC had limitations for radio station broadcast strength. Jorge chose the border between Mexico and the United States for his powerful radio transmitter. Located on a mountain near Rosarito, the 50,000–watt tower, considered a "border blaster", could be received as far north as San Francisco. XEAC eventually became XEAK-AM (the Mighty 690, a moniker that its XETRA-AM successor would use in later years), playing the hits of its time. In 1958, the concession for XEAC was sold to Radiodifusora del Pacífico, S.A. It signed off in 1961 after playing Mope Itty Mope by The Bosstones over and over for three days, and shortly after made Southern California broadcast history as they became "Extra News", the first 24-hour all-news station in Southern California. By the mid-60s, the powerful station was featuring beautiful music as "X-TRA Music over Southern California", with the distinctive tag: "In the air everywhere, over the Southland."
The selection of 690 kHz was undoubtedly determined by the then-current requirement to maintain a 50 kHz separation between stations in the same or an adjacent market. As Los Angeles already had 640 kHz and, later, 740 kHz, 690 kHz seemed to be the obvious choice, particularly as 690 kHz was then and still is a Canadian clear channel and protection of the Canadian Class I-A in Montreal would be relatively straightforward. Ultimately, XEWW would be assigned a Class I-B priority—inferior to the Canadian station, but superior to all U.S. stations on 690 kHz; this protection of the Canadian Class I-A facilitated the eventual allocation of a U.S. co-channel Class II-B station just one state over, in Arizona. Since 1941, the required separation has been 40 kHz, and this separation is still mandated in a so-called "border regions", but Mexico has been using a 30 kHz separation (20 kHz in rare cases) for stations wholly within its borders, most notably in the Mexico City area.
Although formerly cited as a "border blaster" this station's present Rosarito transmitter facility strongly favors service to Baja California, and not to the U.S.-Mexican border region(s).
AM Stereo was first demonstrated on XETRA Tijuana in the 1960s using the Kahn independent sideband system; later tests were run via US and Canadian-based stations. XETRA is no longer operating in AM stereo.
In succeeding decades, XTRA (without the "E", as U.S. listeners would otherwise refer to) would switch formats numerous times. During most of the 1970s and 1980s, XETRA continued as a beautiful music station, competing with K-JOY on the FM dial. During its beautiful music years, XETRA became one of the first AM stations in the San Diego area to broadcast in AM stereo. These early attempts actually required the listener to tune in with two radios, one off-tuned to the left of the frequency for the left channel and the second radio off-tuned to the right, as AM stereo radios capable of decoding the Kahn signal were never licensed or built at the time.
When interest in the Beautiful Music format died down in the late 70s, XETRA switched formats to Top 40/adult contemporary music, once again billing itself as "the Mighty 690". Later, the station switched to an oldies format, and XETRA called themselves "69 XTRA Gold".
Shortly after, XETRA had a brief stint as an all-news station, carrying syndicated programs such as Rush Limbaugh, before becoming one of the U.S.'s first all-sports stations, billing as "XTRA Sports", affiliating themselves with ESPN Radio. For a number of years, the station was the broadcast home of the San Diego Chargers National Football League team. The station also briefly carried Stanford University football. The out-of-market team was carried because the son of station manager John Lynch was on scholarship with the team; the younger Lynch would go on to star in the National Football League. In 1996, the concession for XETRA was transferred to XETRA Comunicaciones, S.A. de C.V. In the latter part of the 1990s and most of the 2000s, they decided to simulcast with Los Angeles station KXTA in order to better serve the Los Angeles area.
The station's best-known sportscaster in the sports format is Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, who hosted a nightly sports talk program from 1987 until 2005, and was also the play-by-play voice of the Chargers from 1987 to 1996. Hacksaw is famous (and infamous) for his "best 15 minutes in radio" with "Hacksaw's Headlines" and using such phrases as "I am bleeping brilliant!" Jim Rome also got his start on the station, even though he often refers to this station as the "nifty 650" on his show despite the fact that it is not on 650 kHz. Jeanne Zelasko also started at the station broadcasting during breaks with traffic, weather and sports highlights.
In 2006, Clear Channel ceased management of the station after the Federal Communications Commission ruled that the stations licensed to Mexico had to be counted against the U.S. ownership caps (three AM stations and five FM stations). Since Clear Channel managed the stations, this was counted against their ownership limit under this ruling. Management interest of some of these outlets, including XETRA-FM, XHRM-FM, and XHITZ-FM, was spun off into Finest City Broadcasting, owned by a former Clear Channel executive. However, management rights for XETRA-AM were sold to a firm called Grupo Latino de Radio, which introduced XETRA's previous format. However, Grupo Latino has continued a local marketing agreement with Clear Channel to this day. (In 2010, Finest City sold the operating rights to XETRA, XHRM, and XHITZ to Broadcast Company of the Americas, which had already operated XEPRS, XHPRS, and XEPE.)
The first day of broadcasts of W Radio was February 6, 2006.
Effective December 19, 2007, XETRA's call letters were changed to XEWW to better reflect their W Radio programming. The change retired the letters "XETRA" on the AM side after nearly a half century. However, XETRA-FM still exists as "91X."
On November 24, 2012, XEWW was used as an overflow station for an English-language broadcast of a USC Trojans football game against Notre Dame. Normal flagship station KSPN could not air the game due to conflicts with a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game, while KLAA was, as part of a separate contract, carrying the same game from Notre Dame's radio network.
Sometime in July 2018, the station was sold to H&H USA, and flipped to a Full Service format. It now broadcasts programming in Cantonese and Mandarin. Senator Marco Rubio raised concerns regarding the sale, due to potential connections to Phoenix Television, a company partially owned by the Government of China, which has been utilized for the distribution of Chinese Communist Party propaganda.
Shows and Talent
Before the 2018 format change, the programs were as follows:
Ponle con Paco with Paco Rodríguez
Échate Pa' Cá with Ana María Canseco
Futbol Mexicano al Día, an up-to-date coverage of Mexican Soccer - including the First Division League and the National Team (El Tri) - as well as full news about Mexican players that succeed all over the world: Highlights, scores and interviews brought by former Chivas player, Jorge Campos, with the support of established and experienced sports journalist, Samuel Jacobo.
De Paisano a Paisano is hosted by “Los Hermanos Escamilla” – El Coyote y El Charal, featuring regional Mexican music, humor, and more.
¡Así es Oaxaca! is hosted by Luis Saldaña, Gerry Rodriguez of Economy Tax and Nau Cruz - featuring Oaxaan culture, news and more
- Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones. Infraestructura de Estaciones de Radio AM. Last modified 2018-05-16. Retrieved 2015-06-13. Technical information from the IFT Coverage Viewer.
- RPC: 2007 Change of Callsign - XEWW-AM
- "SoCal-Targeting Mexican AM Flipping To Chinese". Inside Radio. 10 July 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
- Gertz, Bill (13 August 2018). "Mexican Radio to Beam Chinese Propaganda". The Washington Free Beacon. Washington, D.C. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
- Gertz, Bill (2018-09-13). "Cruz: Chinese Want Mexico Radio for Propaganda". The Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
- Wu, Annie (2018-10-18). "Chinese Investors' Takeover of Radio Station in Mexico Raises Propaganda Concerns". The Epoch Times. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
- Border Radio by Fowler, Gene and Crawford, Bill. Texas Monthly Press, Austin. 1987 ISBN 0-87719-066-6
- Mass Media Moments in the United Kingdom, the USSR and the USA, by Gilder, Eric. - "Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu Press, Romania. 2003 ISBN 973-651-596-6