KLAA is a sports radio station licensed to the city of Orange, California, and broadcasting at 830 AM. It is owned by LAA 1, LLC, composed of the owners of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball team, held separately from the baseball club. Studios for KLAA are located on the grounds of Angel Stadium of Anaheim, with the transmitter in Chino, California. 830 AM is a United States clear-channel frequency, on which WCCO (AM) in Minneapolis, Minnesota is the dominant Class A station; for that reason KLAA must reduce power from sunset to sunrise.
As of 2014, President Dennis Kuhl carries out the duties of the General Manager.
830 AM first came on air on January 9, 1986 as KSRT, a Spanish language news station. The station was directional day and night, with day power of 2,500 watts and 1,000 watts night. Former National Football League placekicker Danny Villanueva was co-owner and general manager. The transmitter site was at Oak Flat in the Santa Ana Mountains between Sierra Peak and Santiago Peak. While mountain tops are good for FM transmission, AM stations need low, flat land for best signal propagation. The poor ground conductivity yielded a poor signal for KSRT.
In 1991, the station was sold to Children's Radio Network and became KPLS "Radio AAHS" and was part of the first nationwide network of radio programs for children. The downfall of Radio AAHS came when the Walt Disney Company established a competitor, Radio Disney. After the sign-off of Radio AAHS in January 1998, the parent company, Children's Broadcasting Corporation, needed programming for the network of stations until they could find buyers. KPLS and the other nine CBC-owned and operated Radio AAHS stations flipped to "Beat Radio", which broadcast electronic dance music 12 hours a day.
KPLS was sold in late October 1998 to Catholic Family Radio and adopted a Catholic talk format. During this period, the station was owned by John Lynch, father of the veteran National Football League cornerback of the same name. Lynch was former CEO of Noble Broadcasting of San Diego.
In 2000 the station was granted a power increase by the FCC. A new transmitter site was built east of Orange County in Chino, California that broadcasts 50,000 watts non-directional day and 20,000 watts directional nights.
KPLS' programming foundered and it transitioned to a conservative talk station as "HotTalk 830 – LA's Conservative Voice" which featured Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage. KPLS had close ties to the Orange County community and was the flagship station of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team.
In 2003, the station was sold to Radiovisa Corp. for $38 million and flipped to a Spanish-language station that operated as KMXE. It was the Angels' flagship station in that language. Its slogan was "¡Así Se Habla!".
The station sold again in February 2006 for $44 million, this time to LAA1, LLC headed by Angels Baseball owner Arte Moreno, which changed the call letters to KLAA. The station added English-language programs in the summer of 2006 and gradually phased out Spanish-language shows except for some sporting events. The general talk format lasted from fall of 2007 to April 4, 2010, when the station went to full English-language programming, mostly sports talk, live sports and some paid programs. Talk show hosts included Rusty Humphries, Glenn Beck, Dr. Roy Masters and Michael Savage. The brokered shows included Ridin' Dirty, ROEX Health Show (which sold natural health remedies), and The American Advisor, which offered the sale of gold coins and bars.
In October 2007, the Angels announced that KLAA would carry Angels games in English starting with the 2008 season. Some Angels games had already been aired in English, the first of which was on September 16, 2006. They aired the team's Saturday games during September and October when KSPN, the flagship from 2003 to 2007, carried USC Trojans football. Before that, it aired Angels games in Spanish, as well as some games of the pro soccer team the Los Angeles Galaxy, to fulfill contractual obligations to both teams. KLAA was believed to be the only station in the U.S. to broadcast play-by-play of sports events in two languages. (In 2008, Angels and Galaxy games in Spanish moved to KWKW, and the Dodgers relocated from KWKW to KHJ.)
On September 10, 2007, KLAA began carrying games of the NFL on Westwood One on Monday nights. However, it did not carry the full schedule because of some conflicts with the Ducks. KLAA aired selected NFL Sunday games in 2009
2010 format change
The current format began April 5, 2010, when KLAA added additional programs from ESPN Radio - talk shows hosted by Scott Van Pelt and Doug Gottlieb - which were previously unavailable in the Los Angeles media market. In exchange, KSPN agreed to simulcast about 60 Angels games in the 2010 season. KSPN replaced KFWB as the team's simulcast partner. KLAA will also be the local affiliate for some game broadcasts from ESPN Radio when KSPN cannot air the game due to conflicts with a local team or talk show.
The rest of the schedule includes live play-by-play of the Angels and Anaheim Ducks, as well as additional sports talk shows. Weekend shows include programs about horse racing, bass fishing, motorcross and NASCAR. Other talk shows include seasonal programs about the Angels and Ducks and a weekend interview program hosted by former Angel player and broadcaster Rex Hudler.
KLAA broadcasts as a full-power 50,000 watt AM radio station during the daytime. However, at nighttime it drops to 20,000 watts and switches to a directional antenna which projects most of the signal to the west. This is done to protect "clear channel" station WCCO in Minneapolis. It is the only Orange County station with adequate coverage of Los Angeles County.