Radio Station Call Letter Origins
Release Number 90 - from 20 February 2000

Last Modified - $Date: 2000-02-20 15:31:36-06 $
Copyright 1988-2000 by Bob Nelson Dallas, Texas
Contact Information: On Air USA, a division of On Air Digital (972) 481-8700

This release of freely available Radio Call Letter Origins has grown to now include over 2340 radio and television station call letters and the significance of these call letters. In most cases, the call letters are still currently being used in the city of license shown in the list itself.
The link above contains the current listing of call letter origins. The reminder of this document contains in-depth narratives about particular call letters and other information.

Karen E. King, Assistant Curator of the National Public Broadcasting Archives has compiled a list of call letters of public stations in the United States. Follow this link to see this ambitious project. In particular, the story of how Ames' WOI was selected is of interest. Thanks to Karen for a reciprocal link to this page. Several of the call letters origins from the NPBA have been folded into this list.

A number of additional Canadian stations are now incorporated into the list. Thanks to Dale R. Patterson of Ajax, ON for making these and numerous others available. His web site Rock Radio Retrospective Alive has a wealth of information about radio, particularly from the "golden era" of top 40. The growing international flavor or the list is also reflected by the contributions from Andrew Emmerson. He was kind enough to provide the derivations of the call letters from the stations located in the British Isles.

The primary emphasis remains on radio -- but significant television call letters are also included. Chicago's WTTW(TV) has an interesting and historic slogan associated with it: W)indow T)o T)he W)orld.

Although I realize that many call letters were simply assigned by the government, it is fascinating to trace the story of a radio station by its use of the call letters. For example, the random WBBM call letters assigned to Ralph Atlass in Chicago presented an opportunity to promote his station as the W)orld's B)est B)roadcast M)edium or W)e B)roadcast B)etter M)usic.

Slogans were often "forced" upon these assigned call letters by contests involving listeners. As a result, Pittsburgh listeners heard that WJAS was the W)orld's J)olliest A)erial S)tation. Across the state, there was Philly's WNAT: W)e N)ever A)re T)ired in Philadelphia. (I'm sure this slogan predated W.C. Fields).

Robert Conrad, President and one of the two original founders of WCLV(FM) in Cleveland gave his permission to share this information:

We purchased WDGO(FM) (established in 1961 by Douglas G. Oviatt) in 1962, and changed the call letters to WCLV. We had originally wanted WCLE, because CLE is the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport designation. But WCLE is in Cleveland, Tenn. Then we looked at WCLD, but that's in Cleveland, Mississippi. So, we settled on WCLV.

WDGO ran into some problems with its call letters. The owners use a scotty dog as a logo, so everybody referred to the station as WDOG. But the problem was compounded by an ad the station ran that had a typo in the call letters - you guessed it - WDOG.

WCLV has been a classical music station since the beginning, and when the latest consolidation sale in Cleveland goes through, WCLV will be the only locally owned FM station licensed to Cleveland. There is one low powered daytimer AM, WABQ, that is also locally owned. We are also the only commercial station in Cleveland not have changed its format in the 36 years we've been on the air. We have been broadcasting on the web at since November of 1996.

Bob Hutchins shares this story about KDNA, one of the pioneers in "alternative", community-supported radio.

I lived in St. Louis in the late 60's. Station KDNA-FM. 102.5 was owned by a company called "Double Helix". Several announcers maintained however that the call letters stood for "D)oes N)ot A)pply". The station was shoestring, alternative, contribution supported and non-commercial. The story was that the owners had repeatedly written "DNA" in filling out the FCC application forms; many of the questions were meaningless for a station with no assets, resources or experience.

Donna Halper of Donna Halper & Associates and contributing editor of the Boston Radio Archives states:

"...a number of station slogans came much later than the call letters (WEAN for example -- during its formative years, it did not use that 'we entertain a nation' slogan as far as I know; I have all sorts of promotional material from that station, since I did a lot of research on its owner, the late John Shepard 3rd, who also owned WNAC in Boston. WEAN was a sequentially assigned call, and stood for absolutely nothing...) Many of the calls of current stations were requested calls in their first incarnation -- WBCN originally belonged to a station in Chicago which was owned by a newspaper -- the calls were requested, and stood for World's Best Community Newspaper. I can tell you about a number of other stations that used to have requested calls -- WSSH was not Wish originally -- it was owned by the Tremont Baptist Church, and it stood for the "Stranger's Sabbath Home", referring to the hospitality the church showed to those who were new in town."

Also from New England, a wealth of information (and corrections, which have now been made) comes from A. Joseph Ross, J.D.. Both the depth and volume of information supplied by Mr. Ross merits inclusion here:

WADN (FM) Concord, MA It was an AM, not an FM station. They called themselves "Walden 1120". They were never that near Walden Pond, except for being in Concord, but still used the name for an eclectic blend of folk music and BBC news. The station is now WBNW.

WBNW, Boston -- now WEZE -- was a business news station, affiliated with the Bloomberg Network. There was once a sister station in Providence called WPNW.

WAMH -- Amherst, Massachusetts -- student-operated station of Amherst and Hampshire Colleges. Originally, it was WAMF, Amherst College (Amherst FM, I suppose)

WBOQ (FM) Gloucester, MA. This classical-music station calls itself WBACH, and the call letters reflect that. The station was previously known as WVCA -- Voice of Cape Ann.

WCGY (FM) is now Star 93.7, WSTR. For awhile, it was WEGQ, "The Eagle." This station began life around 1960 as WGHJ, which were the owner's initials. It was simulcasting programs from WCCM and eventually became WCCM-FM.

WCOP Boston is no longer WMEX. A couple of years ago, it became WROR temporarily, so that the owner could reserve the calls until they were ready to put them on one of their FM stations. Then it became WNFT ("Nifty 1150") until this year, when it adopted new call letters that I can't recall at the moment.

WEZE Boston originally stood for Easy Listening music. The present WEZE used to be WEEI, and the original WEZE is now WPZE. The two stations were bought by a religious broadcaster who called WPZE "Praise 1260," though now it is leased by Radio Disney.

WFCR (FM) in Amherst, MA was originally =four= college radio. Then the four-college consortium founded Hampshire College, in the late 60s, and it became Five College Radio.

There used to be a WFTQ in Worcester, at 1440, which called itself "14Q radio."

WHDH, Boston originally had studios on the water in Gloucester. Its calls never really stood for We Haul Dead Haddock, but it was often said that they did.

WJIB (FM) was given a nautical call because its studios, at the time, were located on Commercial Wharf, on the waterfront. It is no longer WCDJ and hasn't been for several years. The station began life in the 1940s as W1XHR, and then WXHR, which stood for Harvey Radio Laboratories, its owner. In the mid-1960s, it became WXHR-FM, when its then co-owned AM became WXHR(AM) and began simulcasting its classical music format. After the stations were sold, it became WJIB. The WCDJ calls went with a change to a smooth jazz format and apparently stood for CD-Jazz. It then became WBCS "We're Boston's Country Station." A couple of years ago, when its owners bought out the competing country station, WKLB-FM ("The Country Club"), WBCS became WKLB-FM. Not long after, the WKLB calls and format moved to 99.5 in Lowell, where they are now (formerly WOAZ, "The Oasis") and this station became WSJZ "Smooth Jazz" again. Just a week or two ago, the station changed to a talk format, and the new call letters are WTKK.

WJIB (AM) took those calls in order to take over the beautiful music format associated with WJIB (FM). That station began life in 1948 as WTAO, which stood for its dial position, 740. The T was supposed to represent a 7 and the A was supposed to be a 4. It became WXHR in the mid-1960s, as described above, for a couple of years. Then it became WCAS, which stood for Watertown, Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville. In bankruptcy, it became WLVG, and I don't know what that stood for. When Bob Bittner bought it, he first called it WWEA, for "Earth Radio" until the WJIB calls became available.

WKLB-FM, Lawrence, Mass. These calls originally were on 105.7 in Framingham. Its moves to its present station are described above. It was previously WVBF, which you have listed. When the country music format was adopted, it became WCLB, "The Country Club," but after the owners noticed a sudden precipitous jump in the ratings for classical music WCRB, they changed it to WKLB-FM. There is a WKLB (AM) in Kentucky, I think, which is unrelated. The original WKLB-FM (and WVBF) is now WROR.

WLLH -- I believe you have the order wrong. It's Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill. The station has always been based in Lowell, with a synchronous transmitter in Lawrence.

WMBR (FM) studios are =still= located in Walker Memorial Basement at MIT. This station was formerly WTBS, "Technology Broadcasting System until Ted Turner came along and made it worth their while to change calls.

WMGT -- This is the original calls of the present WCDC, Channel 19 in North Adams, Massachusetts. The transmitter was (probably still is) located on Mt. Greylock. The present calls are a remnant of a three-station group in the 1950s called WCDA, WCDB, and WCDC, based in Albany. The CD stood for Capital District. WCDA was the main station, on channel 41, and the other two were relays. By the late 1950s, WCDA and WCDB became WTEN, Channel 10 in Albany. WCDC still relays its programming.

WMTW-TV, WMTW-FM This was the original calls of Channel 8 in Poland Springs, Maine, and an FM station, both of whose transmitters were located on Mount Washington, New Hampshire. I don't know what the stations' present calls are.

WNRB, Boston -- used to be owned by National Religious Broadcasters. At one time in the 1980s, it was "WMRE, the Memory Station," playing pre-rock-era pop music. Before that it was WITS, "Weather, Information, Talk, Sports." It was originally WMEX, from the 1930s through the 1970s. In the late 50s and 60s, it was a popular Top 40 station, and because of that, when the former WCOP adopted an oldies format in 1985, it also adopted the WMEX calls.

WORL -- used to be a station in Boston. It was WRYT in the 70s and 80s. When the present owners tried to get back the original calls, the best they could get was WROL, which is the current calls.

WPLM -- At one time, they used the slogan "We Play Lovely Music."

WSNY -- These calls were once in Schenectady, New York. They also were once on 1150 in Boston.

WUPY, WUPI -- These were the calls of an ill-fated jazz station in Peabody, Massachusetts in the 1960s. The calls stood for "Whoopie."

WXYZ, Detroit -- supposedly the original owner, George W. Trendel, wanted these call letters to stand for "The Last Word in Broadcasting."

Jim Hilliker, News Director for KOCN-Oldies 105.1 FM radio in Monterey, CA told me via e-mail that he has a long-time interest in the early history of Los Angeles area radio broadcasting. He cites that he has done much research on both present and past AM stations in L.A. That interest and scholarship is evident from these interesting narratives which Jim has kindly permitted me to reproduce here:

KPSN, a station that lasted roughly from November 1925 until April 1931, stood for its owner: Pasadena Star-News (newspaper, next door to KPPC; in fact KPSN later shared time through the years with KPPC, then KFWB, and in its last years with KGER-Long Beach).

KWTC in Santa Ana had calls requested for "Kome West To California". The slogan was used from late 1926 through 1928 by KWTC. Its first broadcast was on 10 December 1926. The owner, Dr. John Wesley Hancock signed an advertising deal with an Orange County-based cereal called "Fig-Nuts", made by the California Fig-Nuts Company in Orange. The plan by Hancock was to sell Fig-Nuts to out-of-state listeners by mail-order. KWTC got a related slogan then, "The Date Station", since Fig-nuts was a combination of roasted figs, dates, walnuts, raisins and whole wheat.

Like most stations in the '20s, Hancock put KWTC on the air at night, when the signal could potentially skip out for hundreds of miles to DXers (distant listeners), under the right reception conditions. He reportedly had a car tour the country with a specially-equipped radio and antenna. The car would tour the west and midwest U.S., and pull into a different town each night. The engineer driving the car would tune into KWTC each night, reception permitting. The locals in town would then gather around the loudspeakers to hear the programs from Santa Ana, California and the Fig-Nuts commercials. KWTC and the slogan "Kome West To California" would be heard by as many listeners as possible, under this promotion by Doc Hancock.

(Dr. Hancock, incidentally, was an eye doctor, who got interested in broadcasting through amateur radio). Orange County historian Jim Sleeper told the Los Angeles Times in 1981 that he had no idea whatever became of Fig-Nuts, and there's no record of how many sales of the cereal came through the KWTC broadcasts!

KWTC became KREG, when it was owned by the Santa Ana Register newspaper. The paper eventually sold the station to Ernest Spencer and Wallace Wiggins and it became KVOE in 1936 for "Voice Of the Orange Empire". The calls were changed to KWIZ in 1954. An unconfirmed story is that calls were requested for "Quiz" since quiz shows were popular for a time on radio then.

During a 40th Anniversary program in 1993, the meaning of KSBW channel 8 in Salinas was given: "Salad Bowl of the World". (Salinas Valley, CA, was made famous by writer John Steinbeck).

The following comes from Jay Braswell of Braswell & Associates, a sales, programming and technical consulting firm primarily servicing small market radio stations. Jay explains that this information is stated to "to the best of my knowledge" and that he "would love to hear from anyone with additional information."

First of all, I have a correction...I think I'm right on this:

WFBC, Greenville, S.C. - We Foster Better Citizenship. My father-in-law, who grew up in Greenville County, has a transcription from WFBC, dated 1935, with that slogan on it. Also, to my knowledge, WFBC was not moved from began right there in Greenville in 1933. WIS in Columbia, and WNOX in Knoxville swapped frequencies in the late 30's. They were owned by the same companies, allowing WIS founder (in a manner of speaking) G. Richard Shafto to move WNOX's 560 to Columbia, where it could increase power to 5kw daytime (1kw non-da at night, later 5kw da-n, to protect WQAM in Miami. The WIS da was among the first in the country, so I'm told.), and move WIS's 1010 (later moving to 990) to Knoxville, where it could also operate with 5kw daytime, 1kw non-da nighttime (later increasing to 10kw day and night...da at night).

WLBB, Carrollton, Ga. - I've heard about the Judge's supposed "Love of Butter Beans", but I don't think it's so. Bob Thorburn, long time manager of WLBB, says the calls were randomly assigned by the FCC, and that one the Judge's critics, because of the Judge's "healthy" appetite (he weighed over 350 pounds, and stood 6'6"), came up with the Butterbeans slogan. The Judge, who had a wicked sense of humor, took the slogan and ...well, ran with it...serving on the bench for over 50 years.

WMOG, Brunswick, Ga. - Wonderful Marshes Of Glynn. Poem by Sydney Lanier. Brunswick is in Glynn County.

WORG, Orangeburg, S.C. - Watching Orangeburg's Rapid Growth. Original calls were WBPD, which were nucleus of co-owner, Clarence Jones' ham calls...W4BPD. WORG calls now on FM licensed to Elloree, S.C., with studios in Orangeburg. The 1580 AM facility has WPJK, We Proclaim Jesus King (it has religious format).

WTND, Orangeburg, S.C. - Founded by the Gressette family, owners of the Orangeburg Times And Democrat, locally referred to as the "T & D". Now silent.

WRNO, Orangeburg, S.C. - Radio iN Orangeburg. Later, WDIX in DIXie. Now silent.

WBAW, Barnwell, S.C. - Barnwell Allendale Williston

WSNW, Seneca, S.C. - Seneca aNd Walhalla

WCOS, Columbia, S.C. - Columbia's Own Station (WIS was owned by the Greenville based Liberty Life Insurance Co.)

WJHP, Jacksonville, Fl. - John H. Perry, founder of station (and owner of the Jacksonville Times-Union). Station (1320 AM) was later WZAZ (I think that was it), WVOJ, and WQIK-AM. Now WJGR.

WDLP, Panama City, Fl. - founded by John H. Perry, station was named for his wife, Dorothea Lindstrom Perry. Perry owned the Panama City News-Herald. Given Panama City's reputation as the "Redneck Riviera", many of the locals said the calls stood for We Drink Liquor Publicly. Station (590 AM) was later WGNE. Now WDIZ.

WMGA, Moultrie, Ga. - Watching Moultrie Grow Agriculturally. This station has operated on 3 frequencies...first on 1400, (250w...later 1kw-d/250w-n), then on 1130 (10kw-d/10kw da-ch/250w da-n), and now on 580 (900w-d/250w da-n).

WWNS, Statesboro, Ga. - Welcome Where Nature Smiles. Interesting the late 30's, Walter McDougald won a contest put on by the local Chamber Of Commerce. The contest was to come up with a slogan for the city of Statesboro. McDougald's slogan was "Where Nature Smiles and Progress Has the Right of Way". When Statesboro mayor Alfred Dorman built the station in 1946, he selected part of that slogan for the call sign. Four of Walter McDougald's sons would later have careers in broadcasting...Worth McDougald, (now retired) dean of the Henry Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Donald, who along with brothers Worth and Horace bought WWNS in 1958 (they sold it in 1975 for $800,000.00...just a tad more than the $85,000.00 they paid for it in '58), and Michael, who worked for WSB in Atlanta, built WCHK in Canton, Georgia, managed WAAX in Gadsden, Alabama, and owned WRGA-AM/WQTU-FM in Rome, Georgia, which he sold late last year. According to Mike, it was Statesboro having a station that made he and Worth pursue broadcasting as a career, with Don and Horace coming along later.

WPTB, Statesboro, Ga. - Wonderful Place To Be. Helen Rosengart's (one of the owners) 7 year old son came up with this one.

WCEH, Hawkinsville, Ga. - Cochran Eastman Hawkinsville. This regional ([email protected]) had studios in all three towns, and broadcast daily from them into the mid-60's.

John Fuller, amateur radio call: K4HQK (of PBS in Alexandria, VA), offers this clarification on WORG, once in Orangeburg:

"WORG, Orangeburg, S.C. - Watching Orangeburg's Rapid Growth. Original calls were WBPD, which were nucleus of co-owner, Clarence Jones' ham calls...W4BPD." In fact, W4BPD was the ham call of Gus Browning, whom I visited once; he was known by hams worldwide for his DXpeditions. Gus, who lived outside of Orangeburg on a huge piece of property strung far and wide with antennas, may have been Clarence's radio station partner.

Another amateur radio operator, Paul E. Sojka (member IRCA, NRC, radio call KS2S), offers this background on one of the pioneer expanded-band (1600-1700 kHz) stations, WJDM:

I worked for WJDM back in the 70's after they first went on the air. For the first 8 months or so the call was WELA which was for Elizabeth, the town in New Jersey where we were based. They changed to WJDM in 1972 and that stood for the 3 owners, John, Dominick and Mike. I believe John and Mike were brothers [...] Dominick was Dominick Mirabelli, a local attorney.

Air personality Kris Butts of WGOG AM/FM in Walhalla, South Carolina explains that a former reference in this document citing that WGOG's call letters originated from Norse Mythology, translating to G)arden o)f G)algotha is not accurate. He provides this submission:

WGOG began broadcasting in April of 1959 as "Clear Channel 10" One Thousand on the AM Radio dial. Owned by Dorothy Friend and Edith Moynihan, the station's call letters originated from the nickname of the city of broadcast and license, Walhalla, South Carolina. A German settlement, Walhalla was known as "The Garden of the Gods". Hence, WGOG = G)arden o)f the G)ods. It was convenient that we were also on the eastern portion of the Mississippi, hence we could claim our W meant Walhalla to unknowing listeners.

The original WGOG(AM) 1000 celebrated its 40th anniversary in April, 1999. Over those 4 decades the station has played everything from Country to the mainstream pop hits of the late 1960's. In 1991 new owner Luzanne Griffith was given an FM broadcast license and WGOG 96.3 FM began broadcasting in September, 1991. At that time the original WGOG was changed to a southern gospel format, which has proven to be very popular in the golden corner of South Carolina. Every weekend, "Solid Gospel AM 1000" boasts a great lineup of local gospel musician who come to the studio to host their own call in shows.

WGOG-FM is very popular with an Adult Contemporary format, local news and emphasis on college and high school sports. WGOG together has been an affiliate of the Clemson Sports Network for all of its 40 years. With the addition in 1991 of my brother, Dr. Gary Butts, to our staff, we have become the leader in bringing high school and college sports to the Upstate of South Carolina on the weekends.

The following narrative comes courtesy of John Cushing:

Thought you might be interested in knowing about KAOS(FM) 89.3 at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. I'm not exactly sure when KAOS first went on the air serving the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater area, but it would have been in the early seventies shortly after the college opened. The name was chosen to reflect the chaotic character of the late '60s and early '70s when the college came into existence and the station's view of both its management and programming (which was and is eclectic to say the least). The college's motto is "Omnia Extares" which most often is translated as "Let it all hang out", and KAOS does.

Since this document originates from the Dallas-Ft. Worth market, there is a natural interest in thing pertaining to Texas. Here's information from Craig Hunter, Assistant Manager of Engineering of the Belo Television Stations Group in Dallas:

...our flagship television station, WFAA [Working for All Alike] signed on as KBTV channel 8 in Dallas. Belo bought the station in 1950 and changed to calls to WFAA to match our AM station. Also, in 1946, we signed on with our first FM station, W5XIC. Those experimental calls were replaced with KERA. Then changed to WFAA-FM. When we signed on the PBS station in Dallas, channel 13, we asked for KERA-TV for them to show roots to Belo.

An interesting slogan involving a Pittsburgh station is K)ing of the Q)uaker V)alley for that city's historic KQV, which incidentally traces its roots back to 1919, predating KDKA. A few years ago, I talked with Robert Dickey General Manager of KQV who told me that he was unaware of his station's call letters having any particular significance. I mentioned to him I had heard the KQV story on a Pittsburgh talk show hosted by Doug Hoerth and thought the slogan was unlikely since anything "Quaker" is generally associated with Eastern rather than Western Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, I'll keep that KQV slogan as part of this ORIGINS compilation because the anecdotal (urban myth?) nature of this document may sometime runs counter to accuracy.

Just prior to the release of ORIGINS11 in October 1993, I became aware of a couple particularly interesting slogans. One story was told to me by Mary Ann Myers, the General Manager of WLBB in Carrollton, GA. The original owner of the station, Judge Tisinger, chose the call letters because of his personal taste: W)e L)ove B)utter B)eans. On the other hand, there's KGNO in Ft. Dodge, KS: K)ansas G)rows N)o O)nions. Thanks to Christopher Carmichael who once worked at KGNO for that one.

Lucky Kidd, who emphasizes that this is indeed his real name, writes from McPherson, Kansas:

I also used to work there [KGNO in Dodge City, KS], and there were at least two other slogans around I know of. In addition to K)ansas G)rows N)o O)nions, it according to a number of people in Dodge City also was alternatively known as K)ansas G)rows N)o O)ranges, which probably makes more sense than onions when you think about it. The other slogan, and probably the official one at one point, was K)ansas' G)ood N)eighbor O)peration.

In your call letter list, you mention KANS and KVGB. The KANS calls have been used in three different locations. First used in Wichita, the letters were on 1240 until the station changed frequencies to 1480 after WWII. (This station in time became top 40 outlet KLEO, and currently is the home to all sports KQAM). The second home to the calls was in Larned, which is on your list. This station on 1510 went on the air in 1963 and added an FM a few years later. Eventually, KANS-FM would become KQDF and later KGTR, it's current calls. KANS-FM is currently licensed to an Osage City licensed station on 92.9 (studio in Emporia). The Osage City and Larned stations were for a time under common ownership, and the Larned AM calls became KNNS after those stations were sold, with the KANS calls retained in Osage City/Emporia.

KVGB in Great Bend also has a second meaning to it's call letters. It also was known as K)ansas V)oice of the G)olden B)elt, in reference to the area of Kansas where Great Bend is located (from the Golden Belt Highway, or US 40 between Kansas City and Denver)

Three stations derive their call signs from Kanza, the indian tribe for which Kansas is named. They are KNZA in Hiawatha, KANZ in Garden City and KZNA in Hill City (the latter is a satellite for KANZ).

There are a number of cases in Kansas where parts of calls letters signify the past or current ownership. On radio, the LS suffix is derived from the initials of L)arry S)teckline, who built or bought a chain of radio stations he sold off the last of a couple of years ago. The LS calls were placed on a total of 11 stations over the years, first on KJLS in Hays in the early 70's, then to KWLS-KGLS Pratt and KSLS Liberal in the late 70's, then to KXLS Alva/Enid, OK and WWLS Moore, OK (old WNAD in Norman), and KQLS Colby in the Early 80's. Later on we would see KILS, first in Liberal (now KYUU) now at Minneapolis, KS (Salina), KOLS Dodge City (former KDCK), KZLS Great Bend (was KZXL), KBLS North Fort Riley, and KLLS Augusta/Wichita.

Two groups of TV (in Kansas) stations have common call sign prefixes. The NBC stations in Kansas begin with KSN, for K)ansas S)tate N)etwork (KSNW Wicihta, KSNC Great Bend (the C for Central), KSNG Garden City and KSNK Oberlin KS/McCook NE, and KSNT Topeka). KSN at one time also owned KSNF Joplin, MO, with the F denoting their coverage of four states. KWCH Wichita operates a chain in Western Kanas under the Kansas Broadcasting System moniker (KBSD Ensign/Dodge City, KBSH Hays, and KBSL Goodland).

Sometime, I or someone is going to have to sit down and write a history of Kansas broadcasting. In over 75 years, there have been more than a few legends made on the airwaves of the Sunflower State.

Steve Fernandez adds:

There is at least one group of stations in Colorado with the same
characteristic (of a common prefix in the call letters):

KREX-TV    Grand Junction
KREY-TV    Montrose
KREG-TV    Greenwood Springs

In the Sixties, KREZ-TV, Durango, was part of the group, which
referred to itself as the "XYZ Television Network".

Thanks to Barry Mishkind's OLDRADIO, this listing includes call letters of particularly historic radio stations (no longer using their original call letters) that have evolved into broadcast properties still in operation. Note the connection from WTFF to WJSV that now leads to Washington's WTOP. Thanks to Barry, I can finally include WSAZ in Huntington, WV. During my years in the Mountain State, I had often heard the story of the less than flattering slogan connected with those call letters. Barry's OLDRADIO does give me a source I can point to at last. Along with WSAZ, there's WLW's infamous W)orld's L)owest W)ages as well as sister station WSAI's: W)e're S)ick a)nd I)rritated.

Occasionally, radio stations were just plain confounded by their call letters yet they still needed a slogan. A few of the more humorous ones are included in Tom Kneitel's Radio Station Treasury 1900-1946. San Diego's legendary KGB was touted in December 1931 as the station providing "Music for the Sick". Then there's KGBZ (once in York, NE) known as "The Swine and Poultry Station".

Much of what you see here is based upon the knowledge of associates currently in the broadcast industry (plus those who have moved on to the academic field) as well as special contributors.

These Compuserve Broadcast Professionals Forum Members, RIME Broadcast Conference Participants, FidoNET folks, people who have written to me via e-mail and others:

   Frank Absher [email protected]
   John Anastasio [email protected]
   Dick Basten [email protected]
   Dan Beach
   James C Bellinger [email protected]
   Mark Bending
   David Biddix
   David Blair [email protected]
   Michael L. Blair [email protected]
   Paul Bogrow
   Julian Breen
   F. Ray Bryant [email protected]
   Jason Bullett [email protected]
   Dennis Burns [email protected]
   David A. Cantor [email protected]
   Christopher Carmichael
   Bob Chessick [email protected]
   Raleigh Chinn [email protected]
   Frank Christensen [email protected]
   Tom Clay [email protected]
   Scott Cobourn
   Brian Converse [email protected]
   Bill Corea [email protected]
   Charles Crawford [email protected]
   David Damron [email protected]
   Charlie DeFir
   Kelly DeYoe [email protected]
   Doug Douglass [email protected]
   Robert Deglau [email protected]
   DX, [email protected]
   Rich Eagles
   Mark C. Eggert [email protected]
   Ed Ellers [email protected]
   Fred Ennis
   Daryl Fredine [email protected]
   John Fuller [email protected]
   Keith Gatling
   Steve Gjondla
   Brian Gongol [email protected]
   Dan Green [email protected]
   Paul Gundlach [email protected]
   David Eduardo Gleason [email protected]
   Ron Hebron [email protected]
   John Hora
   Bryan "Homey" Holloway [email protected]
   Bob Hutchins [email protected]
   KLZ/KLTT/KLDC Engineering: Denver, CO [email protected]
   Tom Karnauskas [email protected]
   J.P. Kirby [email protected]
   Alan Lane
   Ron Lavalee
   Chris Lee [email protected]
   Josh Lehan krella[email protected]
   Wayne Lorentz
   Jerry McCarty [email protected]
   Doug McElvein [email protected]
   Mike McKinney [email protected]
   Pat Marriott [email protected]
   Barry Mishkind [email protected]
   Alan Mitchell [email protected]
   Patrick Mullen [email protected]
   Chris Mohall
   Max Moody
   Don Moore [email protected]
   Mike O'Dell [email protected]
   Jim Poston [email protected]
   Dan Packard
   Ron Parker [email protected]
   Leslie Pearson
   George Pollard [email protected]
   [email protected]
   Chris Rathaus
   Les Reeves [email protected]
   Miles H. Rost [email protected]
   Michael Rudolf [email protected]
   Robert Schaffrath
   Jacob Schanker
   Fred Schroyer [email protected]
   Michael Schwartz [email protected]
   Allen Sherrill [email protected]
   Jesse Sherwood [email protected]
   Edward Shipley [email protected]
   Pat Shirley
   Norman Ross Sinclair III [email protected]
   Allen J Sklar [email protected]
   Ivan Smith [email protected]
   William H. Smith
   Paul E. Sojka [email protected]
   Al Sponar [email protected]
   Rickey Stein [email protected]
   Mike Sussman [email protected]
   Diane Thevedon
   A.J. Tiensivu
   Chuck Till [email protected]
   Gary R Tompkins
   Todd E. Toles
   Joshua Trupin
   Ray Vaughn
   Fred Vobbe
   Matthew Warner
   Sean A. Watson [email protected]
   Carl White
   Johnny Williams [email protected]
   Garrett Wollman [email protected]
   Laura Wrede [email protected]
   Roger Yaeger [email protected]
   Ray Zoller
   [email protected]

   Jim Alexander, KARV: Russellville, AR
   Art Argyries, General Manager: WVSY, Charlottesville, VA
   Jim Ayers [email protected]
   Randy Bell, Vice President: JAM Creative Productions
   Marvin R. Bensman, J.D., Ph.D., Dept. of Communication,
                      University of Memphis [email protected]
   Bob Bittner, Owner: WJIB, Cambridge, MA (and other properties)
                       [email protected]
   Jim Broadwater, Technical Manager: On Air USA, Dallas
                   [email protected]
   David Breneman, Software Engineering Services:
                   Digital Systems International, Inc.,
                   Redmond, Washington [email protected]
   Ellis Bromberg, Station Manager: WILL-TV 12:
                   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
                   e-b[email protected]
   Mike Callahan, Chief Engineer: KIIS AM/FM, Los Angeles
   Hoyt Carter, Operations Manager: WNAH, Nashville
   Phil Cole, Station Manager, Stereo 2BS/B-Rock FM 99.3: Bathhurst, NSW
              [email protected]
   Larson Cooper, Operations Manager: KMCM-FM, Odessa, TX
   Wyatt Cox and Herb Kraft, WTKN: Daleville (Dothan), AL
   Chuck Crose, WLMI: Kane, PA
   J.R. Curtis, President: KFRO, Longview, TX
   John Dakins, Program Director: WIXC, Bay City, MI
   Gary Diamond, Chief Engineer: KKOB AM/FM, Albuquerque
   Robert Dickey, KQV: Pittsburgh
   Randy Dietterich, Chief Engineer: WAMO, Pittsburgh
   Mark Edwards, Program Director: WLIT, Chicago
   Jim Efaw, Computer System Administrator: Peoria IL
   Jon Ellis, Program Director: KUWS, University of Wisconsin-Superior
              [email protected] MN/WI Broadcasting Info
   Jack Evans, Operations Manager: KRFX, Denver
   Paul Fleishman, General Manager: WGSM/WMJC, Huntington, LI
   Milton L. Fulghum, FlightSafety International:
                      Saint Charles, MO [email protected]
   Larry Fuss, Co-Owner: WDTL, Cleveland, MS
   Pat Glynn: Wireless Flash News
   Butch Guest, President: WEDR, Miami
   Ron Harrell, KIMN: Denver, CO
   Dave Harris: Vice President, Clear Channel Broadcasting [email protected]
   Earlene Hayes, KBOC: Bridgeport, TX
   John Hicks, Sales Representative, Scott Studios, Dallas
   Ken Hoehn, Teletech, Inc: Broadcast Engineering Consultants
   Loring Holden, HealthChex, Inc: Fairport, NY [email protected]
   Dr. Herbert Howard, PhD, Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies:
                            College of Communications
                            University of Tennessee, Knoxville
   Roy Humpfrey, Chief Engineer: WWVA/WOVK, Wheeling, WV
   Robert Johnson, Amateur Radio Operator: WD0ADW
   Brian Kay, WMOH 1450 Radio: Hamilton, Ohio
   Paula Keiser, K8PK, Morrisville, PA [email protected]
   Kyle Kellums, News Director KUAF: Fayetteville, AR [email protected]
   Rob Kowald, SysAdmin: TM Century, Dallas [email protected]
   Bill Kuhar: WCAU-TV, Philadelphia
   Dave Labrozzi, Program Director: WRMX, Murfreesboro-Nashville, TN
   Matt Lane, WMTS/WMOT/WGNS: Murfresboro, TN
   Matthew Lightner, Chief Engineer: WVAM/WPRR, Altoona, PA
   Matt Locker, VP Programming, WGHT Pompton Lakes, NJ
                [email protected]
   Wayne Lorentz, News Anchor: WALL-WKOJ/Middletown, NY [email protected]
   John Marocchi, Chief Engineer: WVKO/WSNY, Columbus, OH
   Dan Martzall, WFAA-TV: Dallas
   Stuart McRae, Broadcast Electronics, Dallas
   Jack Messmer, Senior Editor Radio Business Report [email protected]
   Randy Michaels, VP/COO: Jacor Broadcasting, Cincinnati
   Scott Michaels, Director of Operations and Programming:
                   WUPM(FM)/WHRY, Ironwood, MI
   Harry Milkman, Amateur Radio Operator: N2KIH
   Sam Milkman, Promotion Director: WEGX(FM), Philadelphia
   Chuck Mohnkern, Co-Owner: Mohnkern Electronics, Terrell, Texas
   Mary Ann Myers, General Manager: WLBB, Carrollton, GA
   Michael Myers [email protected]
   Bob Nelson WMWM, Salem, MA
   Bruce Nelson, Rochester Distributed Computer Services:
                 Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, NY [email protected]
   Jerry Noble, Corporate PD: Martz Communications, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
   Dr. Robert M. Ogles, PhD, Professor: Department of Communication,
                             Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
   Hamilton O'Hara, WGSK: South Kent, CT
   Ron Ostlund, Owner: KSXY, Fresno, CA
   Cal Owens: Communications Consultant, Rome City Schools,
              Rome, GA 30161 [email protected]
   Patrick Parks, KLVI: Beaumont, TX
   Greg Perich, President: WJXR, Inc., Jacksonville, FL
   Jim Pogue, Public Affairs Specialist:
              Memphis District, US Army Corps of Engineers,
              Memphis, TN [email protected]
   Ray Radlein [email protected]
   Mike Reining (Mike Davis), KWG/KEXX: Stockton, CA
   Lu Romero, Operations Manager: WFTS-TV, Tampa, FL
   Christopher Roth, Independent Programming Consultant/Weekend Jock
                     MIX 107.3 Washington DC [email protected]
   Jim Seaman, WFAN: New York
   John Schaab, General Manager: On Air USA, Dallas
   Martin Schamis, General Manager, WVUD: Newark, DE [email protected]
   George Schleicher, Amateur Radio Operator: W9NLT, Deerfield, IL
                      (George is reponsible for most of the information about
                      the radio stations in Greater Chicago as well as a
                      fascinating souvenir program from the "Tenth Anniversary
                      of WGN" in 1934).
   Mike Shannon, Chief Engineer: WRBR, South Bend, IN
   Dr. Michael Shapiro, PhD, NRaD: San Diego, CA
   Brian L. Short, CE KLZR/KLWN: Lawrence, KS
   Len Songer [email protected]
   Dean Sorenson, Sorenson Broadcasting: Sioux Falls, SD
                  (Just about any station listed in Iowa, the Dakotas or
                  Minnesota can be attributed to Mr. Sorenson, one of the
                  nation's finest radio station group operators).
   Bryan Smeathers, General Manager, WMTA: Central City, KY
   Doug Smith: WSMV(TV), Nashville
   Rohn Stevenz, Program Director, WTUS: Mannington, WV
   Danny Tabor, WLCK/WVLE(FM): Scottsville, KY
   James Taszarek, VP/General Manager: KTAR/KKLT, Phoenix
   Charles W. Taylor, III: Station Manager, WTJU-FM at the University
                           of Virginia, Charlottesville [email protected]
   Ron Thompson, Chief Engineer: KLON, Long Beach, CA
   Robb Topolski, Amateur Radio Operator: KJ6YT [email protected]
   WVGC, Coral Gables, FL Staff Members:
         Larry Mann, Production Manager
         Oscar Prieto, Producer
         Mike Lantz, "If it's about radio he knows it!"
   Paul Yacich, formerly with WDSU Radio (1947-1948) WDSU-TV (1948-1971)

A very special acknowledgment is in order for Barry Mishkind, known to Radio World readers as "The Eclectic Engineer". He is continuing his work on the previously mentioned OLDRADIO, a fascinating project that traces the history of pioneer radio stations. You can contact Barry via e-mail.

In addition, a number of other resources have been valuable:

I am most thankful to Linus Torvalds for having the idea of creating a free Unix-like operating system and then making Linux a reality for millions of computer users to enjoy. Thanks also to Larry Wall for Perl and Al Aho, Brian Kernighan and Peter Weinberger for creating the awk programming language, invaluable in formatting the listing.


  1. The list is arranged alphabetically in ASCII collating order based upon call letters.
  2. Ownership information is not necessarily current, instead it is based upon ownership at the time of the grant of the call letters.
  3. The call letters may not necessarily be current. This is particularly true in light of format modifications and ownership changes.
  4. There is no warranty whatsoever for the accuracy (or possibly total lack thereof) of the information presented herein. Don't bet the ranch on the validity of anything contained in the list. Although a reasonable effort was made to be correct, some of the meanings attributed to the call letters may be nothing more than "urban myths".
  5. The names, employers and e-mail addresses of the cited contributors were current as of the date of the receipt of the information. Much of this is many years old and may be severely outdated.