Here’s a timeline of KTAR as the station celebrates 100 years on the air
Jun 21, 2022, 7:59 AM | Updated: 12:36 pm
PHOENIX — KTAR is celebrating a century on the air this week and there’s plenty of history to tell.
Here’s a timeline of the station that has been the news, talk and sports voices in the Valley for 100 years.
KTAR first hit the airwaves on June 21, 1922 under the call letters KFAD, which was short for Kan’t Fool A Dodge. That’s because the station was founded by Charles and Warren McArthur, who at the time owned the largest automobile dealership in the southwestern United States. The first motto was “Phoenix, Where Winter Never Comes.”
The station’s call letters changed to KREP when the stock market forced the sale of the station to The Arizona Republic in 1929. The problem was KREP was being mispronounced, so the station became known as what it is today “KTAR” (Keep Taking Arizona Republic).
KTAR became the first affiliate of NBC in 1930, simultaneously moving to the top of the Heard Building and rising more than 100 feet above Central Avenue with the antenna.
The station in 1940 moved to the corner of 36th Street and Thomas Road, becoming a 5,000-watt station and giving it ample room to grow. KTAR’s new location had two antennas, one that was 300 feet tall and the other 400. This made KTAR the first directional broadcast station in Arizona.
KTAR was sold again in 1943, along with several other stations, to John J. Louis. He used KTAR’s NBC affiliation and his newly-purchased radio network to broadcast NBC content statewide.
As the station continued to grow, KTAR moved to 1101 N. Central Avenue in the 1950s.
Former KTAR Program Director John Howard Pyle elected Governor of Arizona.
The station got new owners in 1968 following Louis’ death, with Karl Eller and his associates taking over the reins. They owned several broadcast stations in Yuma, along with an extensive outdoor advertising company.
This is also the same year Phoenix joined the national sports scene with the Phoenix Suns broadcasting on KTAR radio and TV.
KTAR’s studios were remodeled and expanded in 1973 to make room for “Action News,” an all-news service. That was also the same year KTAR began broadcasting 24 hours a day.
Ownership was transferred in 1979 to Pulitzer Publishing Company, along with its sister FM station KBBC. That’s also the same year KTAR was moved to a new studio at 301 W. Osborn Road.
KTAR receives a Peabody Award for its outstanding coverage of the impeachment of Arizona Governor Evan Mecham.
The station changed ownership several more times in the early 2000s before ending up in the possession of its current owner, Bonneville Media International.
News 620 KTAR transformed into Sports 620 KTAR in 2007, with news and talk switching over to 92.3 FM KTAR.
Sports then joined news and talk on the FM dial in 2014, becoming KMVP Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and taking over for an adult hits station known as “The Peak.” Meanwhile, 620 AM remained under Bonneville control and serves as an extension of Arizona Sports.
KTAR News and Arizona Sports raise a record-breaking $1.9 million for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Now in 2022, KTAR News 92.3 FM and Arizona Sports 98.7 FM celebrate a century of being the news, talk and sports voices in the Valley.
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