KLUV, branded as "98.7 K-LUV" (K-Love), is a radio station transmitting on 98.7 FM, serving the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Texas with a Classic Hits format. KLUV is currently owned by CBS Radio and affiliated with the CNN Radio Network. The K-LUV name on this station was a holdover from their original Adult Contemporary format from the early 1980s, and the more traditional oldies format from the late 1980s and 1990s. The station's studios are located at North Central Expressway and Fitzhugh in Dallas and the transmitter site is in Cedar Hill.
KLUV was first established on January 26, 1984 and bills itself as a "Classic Top 40" station. Former owner John Tenaglia purchased the more-coveted "KLUV"-spelled call letters for $10,000 from a Haynesville, Louisiana station and trading them 98.7's former KLVU calls (which were established at 98.7 on October 19, 1981 under the station's San Juan Racing ownership.) Continuing its light adult contemporary format from KLVU, the station began incorporating pop oldies into its mix throughout 1984; then, by November, 1985, the station became all-pop oldies after purchasing the record collection of newly-defunct KXOL-1360 AM in Fort Worth at auction.
In the late 1950s, the station was first established as KOST. The callsign was initially requested when the application was sent in 1959, but was never used. It was then rebranded KROW and signed on in 1961 as a Top 40 station and owned by Gordon McLendon. Two years later, the callsign changed to KLIF-FM as a simulcast of sister station KLIF (AM).
In July 1966, the station changed call letters to KNUS, and began an automated progressive rock/underground rock format, with live jocks added in mid-1967 (although McLendon had originally planned to provide an all-news format on the station, hence the call letters). When McLendon sold his AM Top 40 flagship KLIF to Fairchild Industries in 1972, he offered them KNUS as well, but Fairchild declined. As part of the sale, McLendon agreed not to operate any AM station within a 150-mile radius, but since the agreement did not forbid him to operate an FM station, McLendon continued to operate KNUS and, by 1971, had already morphed it into a rock-based Top 40 station, which played hit music without the "bubblegum" and "teeny-bopper" material. (The station's initial promotion to plug the new Top 40 format had a disc jockey positioned at the top of a flagpole at McLendon's Gemini Drive-In Theatre. The pole was more of an aerial structure with large "KNUS" lettering mounted vertically to each side of the square truss. The pole was still intact in the 1990s, long after the KNUS calls were dropped and the Gemini shuttered.) McLendon sold KNUS to San Juan Racing in May 1979, who, in turn, sold the station to John Tenaglia's TK Communications (as KLVU) on October 27, 1982.
Transition to oldies
KNUS eventually transitioned into a more mainstream Top 40, and it paid off when the station passed KLIF in the ratings in the fall of 1975, becoming one of the first FM Top 40 stations to defeat its chief AM competitor. By the end of the 1970s, however, KNUS had fallen out of the top ten, and the station switched to an adult contemporary format as KLVU on October 19, 1981. Initially, the station played hits from 1964 through 1980s and including then-current product. A handful of pre-'64 Oldies were also mixed in. In 1984, after an AM Oldies station changed formats, KLVU began adding more pre-1964 oldies in the mix. The music began to lean slightly more uptempo as well. The station morphed into an all oldies format in 1985, playing pop oldies from the late 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. The music from the mid to late 1970s and 1980s gradually was eliminated in 1986, and by then, KLUV was playing the hits from 1955 to 1973.
On December 31, 1985, singer Ricky Nelson and his band were en route to KLUV's New Year's Eve Sock Hop, hosted by Ken "Hubcap" Carter. The plane crashed near DeKalb, Texas, killing Nelson and his entourage. Over the years, KLUV evolved into a 1964 to 1969 based oldies format playing a couple pre-1964 songs an hour and one to two early 1970s songs per hour. Tenaglia sold the rebadged KLUV to CBS on April 21, 1995, for a then-staggering $55 million.
The Chuck Brinkman years (1988–2006) included many personalities: Hubcap Carter, Glen Martin (who had also previously been there during the KNUS and KLVU days), Jason Walker, Jonathan Hayes, Jim Brady, Johnny Michaels, Steve Eberhart, Al Forgeson, Paula Street (who went to WODS Boston-now KLUV's sister station-in 1987), Dave Van Dyke, Debi Diaz, John Summers, Jim Prewitt, Jay Cresswell, Bob Gomez, Sandi Sharp, Ben Laurie, Bob deCarlo, Roger Manning (who inherited the Saturday Night Oldie Party from Hubcap Carter),Johnny Stone, John McCarty, Tony Moreno, Mike Wade, Brian Pierce & Kate Garvin and Ken Fine who was Chief Engineer.
Transition to classic hits
In 1997, KLUV, like many oldies stations around the United States, began mixing in (in this case, bringing back) hits of the late 1970s and even a few from the early 1980s. In 1998, the station largely removed the most of the 1955 to 1963 songs from its playlist. Another CBS station, KLUV (AM) 1190 (later 1190 AM) and, coincidentally, the same dial position as former sister station KLIF), existed from 1998 to 2000 and primarily played 1950s music. Meanwhile, the main station continued modifying its format to more of a Classic Hits format with songs from the mid-1960s to early 1980s. By 2003, KLUV was playing no pre-1964 music with a couple exceptions. In 2002, the station was temporarily the "radio home" of the Dallas Cowboys, featuring live broadcasts of their games. In 2006, Dallas Cowboys broadcasts moved to KTCK.
In 2005, with the retirement of long-time radio veteran Ron Chapman, KLUV picked up noted Dallas news personality Jody Dean as replacement.
Most years, on Memorial Day weekend, KLUV features a "Top 500 Countdown" in which the top 500 oldies, as picked by the station's listeners, are played in descending order for the entire weekend.
From November 23, 1998 to June 27, 2003, it has competed head-on with Disney/ABC Radio's KMEO ("Memories 96.7"), and again from June 30, 2008 until March 12, 2010 with Citadel Broadcasting's KPMZ ("Platinum 96.7"). On that particular frequency, both stations aired a Classic Adult Contemporary format playing soft hits of the 1960s to the 1980s with a couple of pre-'64 songs per hour.
KLUV was the first radio station in the United States to mention Michael Jackson's death in July 2009.
On October 25, 2010, Jody Dean and the Morning Team started simulcasting their show on KTXA. In January 2013, Jody Dean "and the Morning Team" was reduced to just Dean and Rebekah Black.
KLUV as the new Christmas Station
Its sister station, then-Adult Contemporary KVIL (103.7 FM) would usually flip to Christmas music from November to the day after Christmas Day for many years. However, because of that station's recent format retooling to a Hot AC fare, the Christmas music format has moved to this station and began on November 15, 2013. For 2014, the Christmas format began on November 13 and ended at midnight on Monday, December 29. Though there had been rumors that KLUV would drop its longtime classic hits format on December 26 to become a Top 40 CHR station as "Amp Radio 98.7" when the station first acquired the all-Christmas playlist, CBS has stated that there are no plans to change KLUV's format. This format change was highly unlikely anyway, because the CHR format is already being heard on KHKS 106.1 Kiss FM, and rhythmic-leaning KLIF-FM Hot 93.3; plus the fact that KVIL has been leaning CHR more recently.
From the evening of Christmas Eve to Christmas night, KLUV would simulcast their Christmas music on sister TV station TXA 21 during their annual Yule Log special.
KLUV HD channels
KLUV launched HD Radio operations in 2006, including an HD2 sub-channel. Originally, it was called "The Fab Format", where fans of The Beatles could hear their music 24/7, but in January 2008, it changed the format to KLUV's previous oldies format, playing music from the 1950s and 60s. It can be heard on 98.7 HD2 (HD Radio needed), as well as online through CBS Radio's radio.com platform.
In early May 2016, KLUV launched another digital subchannel on 98.7 HD3, and began airing Radio Disney, a CHR format that caters to children and younger teens. It was previously on KMKI (now KEXB) 620 AM until September 15, 2015.