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KSTP (1500 AM; SKOR North) is a sports radio station. It is the flagship AM radio station of Hubbard Broadcasting, which also owns several other television and radio stations across the United States and some other media properties. It is the ESPN Radio affiliate for Minneapolis-St. Paul. KSTP operates at a power of 50,000 watts and shares clear-channel, Class A status on 1500 AM with WFED in Washington, D.C., from a transmitter located in Maplewood.
|City||St. Paul, Minnesota|
|Broadcast area||Minneapolis-St. Paul|
|Owner||Hubbard Broadcasting |
|KSTC-TV, KSTP-FM, KSTP-TV, KTMY|
First air date
|February 13, 1925 (current license dates from March 29, 1928)|
Former call signs
|WAMD and KFOY (separately)|
Call sign meaning
|K SainT Paul|
The station's studio facility, located on the boundary line between St. Paul and Minneapolis, is shared with sister stations KSTP-FM, KSTP-TV, KTMY, and KSTC-TV. On weekdays, KSTP airs local sports shows from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and carries ESPN programming late nights and in the early morning. Some of KSTP's shows are simulcast on other sports radio stations in the region.
KSTP's start in 1928 was the product of a merger between two pioneering Twin Cities stations: WAMD ("Where All Minneapolis Dances") in Minneapolis, first licensed on February 16, 1925 to Stanley E. Hubbard, and KFOY in St. Paul, first licensed on March 12, 1924 to the Beacon Radio Service in St. Paul.
Following a few test transmissions, WAMD made its formal debut broadcast on February 22, 1925. (In later interviews Stanley Hubbard traced WAMD's start to April 1924.) It was located at the Marigold Dance Garden, and featured nightly "Midnight Frolics" broadcasts by the ballroom's orchestra. It is claimed that WAMD was the first radio station to be completely supported by running paid advertisements. Effective June 15, 1927, WAMD was assigned to 1330 kHz.
On November 11, 1927 WAMD's transmitter site at Oxboro Heath on Lyndale Avenue South burned down, two weeks after the station had been sold to the National Battery Company. An initial arrangement was made to carry WAMD's programs over WRHM (now WWTC), transmitting on WAMD's 1330 kHz frequency. Beginning on November 24, 1927 the WAMD broadcasts, still on 1330 kHz, were shifted to KFOY's facility in St. Paul. (At this time KFOY was assigned to 1050 kHz). The next day it was announced that National Battery had purchased KFOY, and as of December 1, 1927 both KFOY and WAMD were reassigned to 1350 kHz. WAMD continued making regular broadcasts until the end of March 1928, while KFOY, although it continued to be licensed for a few more months on a time-sharing basis with WAMD, ceased operations at this point.
In mid-December 1927, it was announced that the National Battery Company had received permission from the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) to build a new station, with the call letters KSTP, operating from a transmitter site to be constructed three miles south of Wescott. The next month it was reported that the new station, still under construction, had been assigned to 1360 kHz. KSTP made its debut broadcast on March 29, 1928. Although technically it was a separate station from WAMD and KFOY, both of which were formally deleted on April 30, 1928, overall KSTP was treated as the direct successor to a consolidated WAMD and KFOY.
Hubbard became the merged station's general manager, acquiring controlling interest in 1941. A month after the merger, KSTP became an affiliate for the NBC radio network, which it remained for 46 years. On November 11, 1928, under the provisions of the FRC's General Order 40, KSTP was assigned to a "high-powered regional" frequency of 1460 kHz. The only other station assigned to this frequency was WTFF in Mount Vernon Hills, Virginia (later WJSV, now WFED, Washington, D.C.). On February 7, 1933, the FRC authorized KSTP to increase its daytime power to 25 KW. In 1938 and 1939 KSTP also operated a high-fidelity AM "experimental audio broadcasting station" Apex station, W9XUP, originally on 25,950 kHz and later on 26,150 kHz. In 1941, as part of the implementation of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement, KSTP was assigned to its current "clear channel" frequency of 1500 kHz, with the provision that it and WJSV, as "Class I-B" stations, had to maintain directional antennas at night in order to mutually protect each other from interference. An FM station, KSTP-FM, was founded in 1946 but shut down in 1952.
KSTP traditionally programmed a full service MOR radio format, in the shadow of its chief competitor, CBS affiliate 830 WCCO. In 1965 a new FM station, reviving the KSTP-FM call sign, was founded. KSTP was the radio home of the Minnesota Vikings from 1970 to 1975. In 1973, KSTP broke away from its longtime adult format and became one of four area stations at the time to program a Top 40 format, as "15 KSTP, The Music Station", competing with other Top 40 AM stations WDGY, KDWB and later, WYOO. The competition would eventually shake itself out, with outrageous rocker WYOO dropping out after being sold in 1976, and then the staid WDGY switching to country music the following year. As for uptempo hits station 15 KSTP, it went from a tight Top 40 format to leaning adult rock in 1978, to leaning adult contemporary in 1979, to evolving into adult contemporary/talk by 1980, before it officially shifted to news/talk by 1982. Most Top 40 rock music, by this time, had moved to the FM band.
Notable hosts who have been on KSTP include John Hines, Jesse Ventura, Larry Carolla, Tom Barnard, Big Al Davis, Don Vogel, John MacDougall, Griff, Mike Edwards, Geoff Charles, Joe Soucheray, James Lileks, Leigh Kamman, Barbara Carlson, Peter Thiele, Tom Mischke, Jason Lewis, Chuck Knapp, Machine Gun Kelly, Charle Bush, Mark O'Connell and Paul Brand. These broadcasters were supported by producers such as Bruce Huff, Rob Pendleton, Alison Brown, Jean Bjorgen, David Elvin (who Vogel dubbed the "Steven Spielberg of Talk Radio"), Mitch Berg and others.
The station has, for the most part, emphasized local hosts over the years, though it was one of Rush Limbaugh's first affiliates (Clear Channel-owned KTLK-FM would take over rights to Limbaugh's show in January 2006). Other syndicated hosts previously heard on KSTP include Sean Hannity, Bruce Williams, Larry King, and Owen Spann.
KSTP switched to Sports Talk on February 15, 2010. As the station had to wait for ESPN's contract with rival KFAN and its sister station KFXN to expire, it did not become an ESPN Radio affiliate until April 12 (the same day that the Minnesota Twins were scheduled to play their inaugural game at Target Field against the Boston Red Sox), and as a result Coast to Coast AM and Live on Sunday Night, it's Bill Cunningham were retained during this period; conversely, one ESPN Radio program, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, was picked up by KSTP immediately following the format change.
In 2018, the station was approved for an FM translator on 94.1 FM, broadcasting from a transmitter atop the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis. The two-watt signal throws most of its power to the west, preventing interference to low powered FM stations on the same channel including WFNU-LP in St. Paul. With only two watts of power, however, the signal is limited to the immediate downtown area surrounding the IDS Center. To the west, however, the station can at the least be heard to Highway 100 and as far as Wayzata. This construction permit remains unbuilt and expires January 11, 2021. The station has not begun using the translator.
On August 1, 2006 the station announced that it would be the new flagship station for Minnesota Twins baseball, effective with the start of the 2007 season. The Twins had been on rival WCCO since arriving in Minnesota in 1961; KSTP served as the flagship for the Twins until the end of the 2012 season, when games moved to KTWN-FM (now KQGO).
The switch has caused inconveniences and dissent among some listeners, particularly in neighboring states and out-state Minnesota regions. Although KSTP is the state's second most powerful AM station, it must operate directionally at night, delivering a reduced signal to parts of the market. WCCO, by comparison, offers a much clearer and stronger signal during all times of the day than KSTP does, with its non-directional 50,000 watt signal. In response, the Twins have expanded the number of affiliates.
On March 9, 2011, it was announced that KSTP would be the new flagship for Minnesota Golden Gophers men's and women's basketball and men's ice hockey, ending a 68-year run on WCCO. The rights have since moved to KFXN-FM, which already aired Gopher football.
- "AM Station Classes, and Clear, Regional, and Local Channels" (FCC.gov)
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, March 2, 1925, page 3.
- "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, April 1, 1924, page 4.
- "Stanley Hubbard: One of the last of the originals", Broadcasting, November 23, 1981, pages 39-46.
- "Station WAMD Opens With Midnight Frolic", Minneapolis Daily Star, February 23, 1925, page 5.
- "Chronology of Milestones: Commercial Aspects", The First Quarter Century of American Broadcasting by E. P. Shurick (1946), page 178.
- "Broadcasting Stations" (effective June 15, 1927), Radio Service Bulletin, May 31, 1927, page 7.
- "Fire Destroys Radio Station", Minneapolis Morning Tribune, November 12, 1927, page 1.
- "WAMD Will Broadcast Today From St. Paul", Minneapolis Morning Tribune, November 24, 1927, page 8.
- "National Battery Co. Buys Station for WAMD", Minneapolis Morning Tribune, November 26, 1927, page 14.
- "Schedules of Six Stations Changed", Minneapolis Daily Star, November 30, 1927, page 6.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, November 30, 1927, pages 7-8.
- "St. Paul to Get Powerful New Radio Station", Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, December 11, 1927, page 1.
- "Radio Enlargement", Minneapolis Daily Star, January 4, 1928, page 1.
- "Radio Station KSTP Opened by President", Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 30, 1928, page 6.
- "President Opens Switch", Washington (D.C.) Evening Star, March 30, 1928, page 56.
- "List of broadcasting stations surrendering licenses during the period between March 15, 1927, and June 30, 1928", Second Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission (year ending June 30, 1928), page 83.
- "Alterations and Corrections", Radio Service Bulletin, February 29, 1928, page 5.
- "Broadcasting Stations, by Wave Lengths, Effective November 11, 1928, Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States (edition June 30, 1928), page 176.
- "KSTP Wins Boost". Broadcasting. February 15, 1933. p. 6. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
- "Shunt-Excited Antenna Used by U-h-f Station" by Conald M. Miller, KSTP, Electronics, May 1939, pages 44-46.
- "Assignments of United States Standard Broadcast Stations Listed by Frequency", page 1442.
- "KSTP-AM 1500 going all-sports talk, joining ESPN" by Amy Carlson Gustafson, Pioneer Press, February 10, 2010 (Updated November 12, 2015)
- "K235BP-FM Radio Station Coverage Map". Radio-Locator.com. February 7, 2018.
- KSTP Relaunching as SKOR North Radioinsight - January 14, 2019
- Upper Midwest Broadcasting Northpine.com - January 15, 2019
- Treasure Island Baseball Network (Minnesota Twins radio affiliates) (MLB.com)
- Miller, Phil (March 10, 2011). "WCCO says goodbye to Gophers sports". Star Tribune.
- "MNUFC Matches Broadcast on FOX 9/My29 and 1500 ESPN". March 2, 2017.
- KSTP website
- KSTP in the FCC's AM station database
- KSTP on Radio-Locator
- KSTP in Nielsen Audio's AM station database
- FCC History Cards for KSTP (covering 1928-1980)
- Radiotapes.com Historic Minneapolis/St. Paul airchecks dating back to 1924 including KSTP and other Twin Cities radio stations.
- Rick Burnett's TwinCitiesRadioAirchecks.com has additional airchecks of KSTP and other Twin Cities radio stations from the '60s and '70s, including Chuck Knapp's 2nd show on KSTP.
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