KTAR-FM (92.3 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a News/Talk format. Licensed to Glendale, Arizona, USA, the station serves the Phoenix area and is currently owned by Bonneville International Corporation. It is co-owned with KTAR on 620 kHz in the AM band, which split off from KTAR-FM on January 1, 2007, as to provide more news on 92.3 FM and more sports on 620 AM, which absorbed the assets of co-owned KMVP at 860 kHz in Phoenix. Its studios are located in Phoenix near Piestewa Peak and its transmitter is in South Mountain Park.
On December 19, 1970, the station first signed on as KXTC, and aired a mix of mainstream and contemporary jazz music. That lasted until 1978, when they switched to a disco format which they would have for about two years, using the name "Disco 92". Show hosts included Scott Tuchman and Rick Nuhn.
KEZC, KJJJ, and KKFR
See also KKFR
In 1982, the call letters KEZC were issued on 92.3 FM, the station played a softer version of country formats common in the Phoenix market, and the station slogan was 'Easy Country'. In 1984, the station began to simulcast with KJJJ (now KGME), as KJJJ-FM, a country music station. In 1985, KJJJ-FM flipped from country, and KKFR premiered as a gold-based Top 40 outlet as "The Fire Station, Arizona's 92 Fire FM", and later as "92.3 KKFR, Your Fire Station!". In 1988, they began using (albeit briefly) "Hot Hits 92.3", but was forced to drop that by Mike Jacobs, the owner of the "Hot Hits" slogan nationally. Over the next few years, they began shifting towards a Rhythmic/Dance Music mix. They also adopted the name "Power 92". And in 1988 KKFR patterned their direction on then and now former sister station KPWR/105.9, Los Angeles. They would later modify it to "Power 92.3" in 2000.
On December 16, 1993, despite high ratings with their rhythmic direction, KKFR evolved to a mainstream Top 40 and leaned slightly toward Modern Rock (to less of an extent than other Top 40 stations in other markets); however, the station lost much of its audience and ratings slipped, and from January to March 1995, the station re-added rhythmic and dance music to the playlist, which helped the station regain much of its lost audience. By 1997, they began dropping dance cuts, leading to the transformation into a R&B/Hip-Hop approach. By the end of the year, the station was no longer Top 40 at all. Today, they still lean this way, but beginning in 2005, they would once again start adding more Rhythmic Pop tracks into the current mix.
Chancellor Media (which later became AMFM, Inc.) purchased the station in late 1998 from its longtime owners The Broadcast Group, but when the company merged with Clear Channel Communications, they had to divest the station to meet FCC ownership regulations. Emmis Communications bought the station in 2000.
News Talk 92.3 KTAR-FM
In 2006, Emmis sold the station to Bonneville International. In turn, Bonneville announced a format change that would add a station to the Phoenix dial and change the Arizona radio landscape. Bonneville announced it would gradually move the news and talk aired on KTAR 620 to KKFR beginning September 18, 2006 (which was the day KKFR became KTAR-FM), and the AM property would merge with KMVP, the local ESPN Radio station, which would then be complete by January 1, 2007. When the mergers, format changes, and divestitures were completed (such as a sale of KMVP), KTAR-FM would become the news station, KTAR would become "Sports 620 KTAR" and acquire the broadcast rights to sports teams that KTAR held, and KMVP would be divested after a simulcast period with KTAR. Meanwhile, the former occupant of 92.3, KKFR, went through changes; its intellectual property was acquired by Riviera Broadcast Group (which already owned KEDJ and two stations in Las Vegas), and shortly thereafter, moved to 98.3 FM licensed to Mayer, which was KKLD in Prescott Valley. Sunburst Media let Riviera operate and later own the station; KKFR took over KKLD and created the new KKFR on September 1. In 2007, less than a month after the split of the KTAR radio stations, the station tweaked its identity to News 92.3 KTAR-FM; previously, the "-FM" was not used, as the station was simulcasting with KTAR. Coincidentally, sister station KMVP-FM was the original home of the KTAR-FM call letters.
KTAR-FM is a 24-hour news station, but will air live sporting events whenever more than one team with broadcast rights held by KTAR plays at the same time.
The decision to split KTAR into a news/talk station and an all-sports station was made by the management team of Erik Hellum, general manager; Russ Hill, director of news/talk and sports programming; and Scott Sutherland, director of sales. Hill oversaw the move of Bonneville's station KSL to FM and was brought in to manage the product changes. Sutherland was quickly promoted to market manager of Bonneville's Salt Lake City stations following the successful split.
The splitting of KTAR into an all sports station on 620 AM and a news/talk station on 92.3 FM has been extremely successful leading to higher audience ratings and a market leading revenue position. The combined KTAR brand has an audience estimated by Arbitron as 590,000 people. That makes it the radio brand with the most listeners in Arizona.
News/Talk 92.3 KTAR features a lineup of Arizona's Morning News with Jim Sharpe and Jamie West, Bruce St. James, The Noon News with Karie Dozer, Rob & Karie, Mac & Gaydos, and Dave Ramsey. KTAR-FM produces more than 14 hours of local programming a day.
KTAR's HD Radio signal is multiplexed. The main signal is a simulcast of KTAR's news and talk programming. The second channel carries the radio station of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The channel originates from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, and broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Along with nationally syndicated shows such as ABC News Perspective, America In The Morning, The Dave Ramsey Show, The Jim Bohannon Show, Meet The Press with David Gregory, and Voice To America with Tony Femino. KTAR-FM also airs local talk shows. Local hosts include: Bruce St. James, Pamela Hughes, Mac Watson, Larry Gaydos, Pat McMahon, Ned Foster, Connie Weber, Michael Dixon, Matt Allen, Dave Riccio, Dr Sam Benjamin and Rosie Romero.
News programming on the station features many personalities, including Jim Cross, Pamela Hughes, Bob McClay, Holliday Moore, Kathy Cline, Clayton Klapper, Dr Sam Benjamin, Martha Maurer, Paul Ihander, Karie Dozer, Connie Weber and Jayme West. Sports programming is handled by Paul Calvisi, Ron Wolfley, Doug Franz, John Gambodoro and Dave Burns. Weather forecasts are contracted from KPNX-TV. "Detour Dan" Beach handles the station's traffic reports.
In 2010, KTAR-FM inherited the local flagship station of the Arizona Cardinals from its AM sister. "Arizona Sports" on 620 AM will continue to simulcast games that do not conflict with either the Phoenix Suns or Arizona Diamondbacks.