|Broadcast area||Greater Houston|
|Branding||Newsradio 740 KTRH|
|Slogan||Houston's News, Weather and Traffic Station|
|Affiliations||ABC News Radio|
The Weather Channel
(AMFM Texas Licenses LLC)
|KBME, KODA, KPRC (AM), KQBT, KTBZ-FM|
First air date
|April 22, 1922|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|The Rice Hotel|
|Webcast||Listen live (via iHeartRadio)|
KTRH (740 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Houston, Texas and owned by iHeartMedia that airs a talk radio format. Programming is also heard on co-owned KTBZ's HD 2 channel at 94.5 MHz, and the station uses the iHeartRadio platform to stream its webcast. Its studios are located along the West Loop Freeway (I-610) in the city's Uptown district. The transmitter site is located at a four-tower facility in unincorporated Liberty County, off Cox Road in Dayton.
KTRH broadcasts with 50,000 watts around the clock, the highest power permitted by the Federal Communications Commission for commercial AM stations. But because it transmits on AM 740, a Canadian clear channel frequency, the station uses a directional antenna to protect Class A station CFZM in Toronto. During the day, the station provides at least secondary coverage to most of the southeast quadrant of Texas-as far west as Austin and San Antonio and as far north as College Station and Lufkin-as well as much of southwestern Louisiana. At night, the station switches to a directional pattern with a significant null to the east in order to protect CFZM, concentrating the signal in Houston, the Golden Triangle and Victoria.
KTRH is one of the oldest radio stations in the United States, and was first licensed to the city of Austin on April 22, 1922 as WCM.
The station was first licensed, with the randomly assigned call letters of WCM, on April 22, 1922 to the University of Texas at Austin. Initially the station was authorized to broadcast on both the "entertainment" wavelength of 360 meters (833 kHz) and the "market and weather" wavelength of 485 meters (619 kHz). In November 1924 the station was relicensed to broadcast on 1120 kHz. On October 30, 1925, the station was relicensed with the new call letters of KUT, now operating on 1300 kHz. In early 1927 the station was assigned to 1100 kHz, and a few months later was assigned to 1290 kHz. On November 11, 1928, under the provisions of the Federal Radio Commission's General Order 40, the station moved back to 1120 kHz.
The university ultimately decided that it could not afford the expense of operating a radio station, and in early 1929 sold KUT to a group that planned to convert it from an educational to a commercial station.
Jesse H. Jones, operator of the Rice Hotel (now the Post Rice Lofts) in Houston, Texas and owner of the Houston Chronicle, took over the station to meet its competition, the Houston Post, which was the first of the local papers with an radio affiliation (KPRC). In December 1929, the station's call letters were changed to KTRH (standing for The Rice Hotel), and its main studio was moved to Houston. (Simultaneously, station KGDR in San Antonio, Texas was renamed KUT and moved to Austin (now KTSN)). In March 1930, the station began broadcasting from the Rice Hotel. KTRH aired shows from the Columbia Broadcasting System as part of its initial programming.
In mid-1934 KTRH shifted to 1330 kHz, which was followed late the next year by a move to 1290 kHz with 5,000 watts in the daytime and 1,000 watts at night. On March 29, 1941, with the implementation of the provisions of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA), the stations on 1290 kHz were moved to 1320 kHz. The next year KTRH moved to its current dial position at 740 kHz, and got a boost in power to 50,000 watts.
In the 1950s, as network programming moved from radio to TV, KTRH-AM-FM switched to a full service middle of the road (MOR) format. In 1965, KTRH-AM-FM were acquired by the Rusk Corporation. Under Rusk ownership, KTRH-FM experimented with progressive rock programs at night while simulcasting AM 740 in the daytime. In 1970, Rusk switched the FM station over to a full time rock format as KLOL.
Noted newsman Dan Rather worked for KTRH in the late 1950s. He was a reporter and newscaster. In 1959, KTRH carried broadcasts of the Houston Buffs minor league baseball team. Rather was the main play by play announcer. The Gallup Poll's editor in chief Frank Newport was also a noted talk show host and news director at KTRH in the early 1980s. CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz worked at KTRH while attending the University of Houston.
In 1993, Evergreen Media bought KTRH and KLOL for $49 million. Evergreen Media was later merged into Chancellor Media, which in turn was bought by Clear Channel Communications, the forerunner to today's owner, iHeartMedia. In 1995, Clear Channel also acquired KTRH's chief talk radio competitor, AM 950 KPRC. That means Clear Channel, and now iHeartMedia, has two talk radio stations in Houston, each airing slightly different programming. However, Houston-based syndicated host Michael Berry has shows on both stations, airing at different times.
KTRH was the Houston affiliate for CBS Radio News, before switching to ABC News Radio in 1997 and then to Fox News Radio in 2003. In early 2016, KTRH switched back to ABC. The Fox News affiliation moved to sister station KPRC 950 AM.
Jimmy Barrett and Shara Fryer host the station's morning-drive news program, Houston's Morning News. Michael Berry, who hosts a regionally syndicated program based out of KTRH, airs in late mornings and again in early evenings; The Rush Limbaugh Show and The Sean Hannity Show (both syndicated via Premiere Networks) air in early and late afternoons, respectively. The Mark Levin Show (syndicated via Westwood One) and Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb air in late evenings, while Coast to Coast AM (via Premiere) airs in overnights. This Morning, America's First News with Gordon Deal (via Compass Media Networks) airs in the early morning hours. In addition to local newscasts, KTRH has a news-sharing partnership with KPRC-TV.