Sponsor Message:
Non Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Radio Station Acronyms In The US  
User currently offlinelh526 From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 2379 posts, RR: 14
Posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5240 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Ok, you US guys gotta fill me in on the US radio station acronyms .... why do most stations have cryptic names like WKCR, WYSP, KCRW? ... is there a system behind it or do they make them up?

Thanks!

Mario
LH526


Trittst im Morgenrot daher, seh ich dich im Strahlenmeer ...
57 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBraniff747SP From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 3003 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5223 times:

Quoting lh526 (Thread starter):
KCRW

Who knows, but that's my favorite radio station... The only good one in LA.



The 747 will always be the TRUE queen of the skies!
User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6491 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5218 times:

They're not acronyms, but call signs. In fact, I believe they are distantly related to US tail numbers. Generally speaking, stations beginning on "W" are on the east coast, and "K" indicates west coast, with the dividing line being located at the Mississippi.

In some cases, stations got to pick their call signs, but the choicest ones were taken up long ago. In a few cases (WABC), they are quite obvious, but others are not. For instance, WLS (Chicago) means "World's Largest Store," as it was formerly owned by Sears-Roebuck. But many stations have meaningless call signs, but will attempt to popularize themselves as something else. WBWB (Indiana) truncates itself as B97, and WBBM (Chicago) calls itself B96, which a Louisville station also uses.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6093 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5190 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 2):
They're not acronyms, but call signs. In fact, I believe they are distantly related to US tail numbers.

Indeed they are. They are both regulated by the FCC.

Here's an interesting article radio station callsigns:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callsign#North_America



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5147 times:

Just like HAM operators have their callsigns, so do radio stations, and pretty much every other transmitter out there for that matter. Every country has some form of call sign naming system for radio transmissions above a certain power level.

User currently offlinebohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2737 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5018 times:

Quoting lh526 (Thread starter):
Ok, you US guys gotta fill me in on the US radio station acronyms .... why do most stations have cryptic names like WKCR, WYSP, KCRW? ... is there a system behind it or do they make them up?

Television stations in the US also use the same call letter format as radio stations. A lot of TV stations have the same call letters as radio stations. In Chicago, there is a WGN radio station and a WGN TV station (same with WBBM). San Francisco has KGO radio and KGO TV.

To make matters more confusing is that a radio station and a TV station can have the same call letters and be in two separate cities. KCBS radio is in San Francisco and KCBS TV is located in Los Angeles.


User currently offlinesccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5579 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4970 times:

Nearly all stations east of the Mississippi (and all newly-licensed) are W stations; most four characters, like WABC or WTIC; a few, three, like WIP.

Nearly all stations west of the Mighty Mississipp are K, again most four characters, like KTRH in Houston, a few, three, like KOA in Salt Lake City or KNX in Los Angeles.

For every rule, of course, there are exceptions to keep things interesting; the first licensed broadcast station was KDKA in Pittsburgh, and among the "W" stations west of the Mississippi are found gems like WRR (Dallas, the first radio station in Texas), WOAI in San Antonio and WBAP in Fort Worth.

By the way, WGN in Chicago was meant to reference the "World's Greatest Newspaper," the Chicago Tribune.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineha763 From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 3666 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4952 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting bohica (Reply 5):
Television stations in the US also use the same call letter format as radio stations. A lot of TV stations have the same call letters as radio stations. In Chicago, there is a WGN radio station and a WGN TV station (same with WBBM). San Francisco has KGO radio and KGO TV.

During the beginning of tv, many radio station owners were also tv station owners, who then were able to give the tv stations the same call signs as their radio stations.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12840 posts, RR: 25
Reply 8, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4949 times:

Quoting sccutler (Reply 6):
WTIC

The Wiki sez:

Quote:
WTIC's call letters stand for the station's original owners, the Travelers Insurance Corporation[2]; however, the station no longer has any affiliation with that company.

Many hours of my youth were spent listening to the Red Sox and the Whalers on WTIC, as well as Howard Dean's sports talk show, which was way way cool long before there was an ESPN.

BTW Chris Berman of ESPN called my high school's football games on the local AM station also before he left to join that new outfit in Bristol, CT.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlinekevinl1011 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2964 posts, RR: 47
Reply 9, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4938 times:

Quoting sccutler (Reply 6):
By the way, WGN in Chicago was meant to reference the "World's Greatest Newspaper," the Chicago Tribune.
Interesting. I remember a few from here in So. Cal.

KFI's call letters were derived because they provided "Farm Information" back in the agricultural days.

KHJ was supposed to mean "Kindness, Happiness and Joy".

This was before they needed 4 letter call signs. Many of the older stations were licensed to transmit at 100k watts!

Quoting bohica (Reply 5):
To make matters more confusing is that a radio station and a TV station can have the same call letters and be in two separate cities. KCBS radio is in San Francisco and KCBS TV is located in Los Angeles.
There was a rule that prohibited having two identical station call letters in the same market but that has changed. It used to be KNXT-TV and KNX radio in LA. There's also a rule that prohibits ownership of more than one TV or radio frequency assignment in a market but that seems to be loosely enforced. KCAL-TV (was KHJ-TV) is owned by the same company as KCBS-TV. The FCC is probably more screwed up than the FAA.



474218, Carl, You will be missed.
User currently onlineAirstud From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2732 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4906 times:

KOA is in Denver, not Salt Lake City

WGN = World's Greatest Newspaper (owned by the Chicago Tribune)
WBBM = We Broadcast Better Music (though that's not what they do anymore)

WSB (Atlanta) = Welcome South, Brother



Pancakes are delicious.
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6093 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4860 times:

As far as radio sation with 3 call letters, they are grandfathered "Clear Channel" stations, i.e.; they transmit more than 10,000 watts of power in the AM band, and have been required to do so since 1941 to retain that status. The term has nothing to do with ClearChannel Communications, Inc.; however, CC, Inc., does own several Clear Channel stations.

It should be noted that there are several Clear Channel stations that have 4 call letters, such as WOAI (50,000 watts,) which was created in 1922, and it was grandfathered to retain those call letters despite being on the WEST of the Mississippi when the "K" and "W" regulations were instated.

[Edited 2010-06-02 02:22:34]


Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineMudboy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1167 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4840 times:

Quoting lh526 (Thread starter):
why do most stations have cryptic names like WKCR, WYSP, KCRW? ... is there a system behind it or do they make them up?

Because names like WLLZ, (Detroit Wheelz) , WBAD ( Bad 94 FM) , and KATT( The KAT) OKC sound cool.


User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7554 posts, RR: 23
Reply 13, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4784 times:

Quoting sccutler (Reply 6):
For every rule, of course, there are exceptions to keep things interesting; the first licensed broadcast station was KDKA in Pittsburgh, and among the "W" stations west of the Mississippi are found gems like WRR (Dallas, the first radio station in Texas), WOAI in San Antonio and WBAP in Fort Worth.

Another exception to the rule is KYW (both the AM radio and TV station) in Philadelphia.



"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineN776AU From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 768 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4738 times:

WSB here in Atlanta stands for "Welcome South Brother."


Careful, Doors Are Closing And Will Not Reopen. Please Wait For The Next Train
User currently offlinenewark777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 9348 posts, RR: 29
Reply 15, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4730 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 8):

BTW Chris Berman of ESPN called my high school's football games on the local AM station also before he left to join that new outfit in Bristol, CT.

I wish he had stayed calling high school games.  



Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
User currently offlinedxing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4714 times:

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 9):
There's also a rule that prohibits ownership of more than one TV or radio frequency assignment in a market but that seems to be loosely enforced.

That rule was changed with the passage of the 1996 Omnibus Telecommunications Act. It used to be that an owner was restricted to one am and two fm's or the reverse in any given market. Additionally, if you owned a newspaper you could only own one radio or tv station in any given market. The telecommunication act changed that to allow an owner to own up to 50% of rated market share. The rule concerning newspaper ownership was eliminated. The GOP wanted the rule based on lobbying by corporate interests, the Clinton administration wanted the rule based on fact that rules concerning usage fees and regulatory fees were dramatically increased or just plain enacted where before there weren't any. The result has been a drastic decrease in the number of companies involved in station ownership, especially in the Mom and Pop catagory. I was in the industry prior to, and for several years after the Act passed. The difference was night and day and not for the good IMO. With the acts passage I decided to get out of radio after almost 20 years and I started on the 10 year journey to where I'm at today, an aircraft dispatcher.

Quoting Airstud (Reply 10):
KOA is in Denver, not Salt Lake City

WGN = World's Greatest Newspaper (owned by the Chicago Tribune)
WBBM = We Broadcast Better Music (though that's not what they do anymore)

WSB (Atlanta) = Welcome South, Brother

WLAC-am (Nashville) = Life And Casualty insurance company

WSM-am (Nashville) = We Shield Millions

Both Stations were first owned by Life and Casualty insurance company. WSM's motto was the companies motto. Interestingly for some time there was a WSM-am WSM-fm and WSM Ch4 television station. WSM tv has since changed to WSMV.

WJR-am (Detroit) = Jewett Radio & Phonograph Company

WWL-am (New Orleans) World Wide Loyola

Owned originally by the Jesuits of Loyola University they first had to obtain permission from the Vatican to operate a radio station. As with Nashville at first there were WWL-am, WWL-fm and WWL-tv. The am and tv station remain but the fm has changed to WLMG.

One of my all time favorites...

WHAS-am (Louisville) = We Have A Signal


User currently offlinedesertjets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7801 posts, RR: 16
Reply 17, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4708 times:

WTTW-11 --- Chicago's PBS station (Window to the World)


Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineseb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11760 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4703 times:

Quoting lh526 (Thread starter):
Ok, you US guys gotta fill me in on the US radio station acronyms .... why do most stations have cryptic names like WKCR, WYSP, KCRW? ... is there a system behind it or do they make them up?

But, it is not only the United States that uses seemingly random letters for their radio stations. Canadian stations start with C with a few stations in Newfoundland starting with V. Mexico starts with X. The letters T and H are used in Costa Rica, Haiti or Dominican Republic. I can't remember which right off. Australia and New Zealand use letters AND numbers.



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14127 posts, RR: 62
Reply 19, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4696 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 2):
They're not acronyms, but call signs. In fact, I believe they are distantly related to US tail numbers. Generally speaking, stations beginning on "W" are on the east coast, and "K" indicates west coast, with the dividing line being located at the Mississippi.

The US FCC used to issue ham callsigns with similar geographical limitations. E.g. hams located east of the Mississippi would get a K prefix (e.g. K0REY) while those in the West would get a W prefix. If somebody moved to another region, he would get a new callsign. But since a few years hams can keep their callsigns anywhere in the US.

Jan, DL1JRK


User currently offlineUltimateDelta From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2161 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4610 times:

There's also an exception in Omaha, WOWT:

It was originally associated with Woodmen of the World Insurance, and when the reglations were enacted dividing the Ks and Ws, they were allowed to keep the W designation because they were one of the first stations in the upper Midwest.



Midwest Airlines- 1984-2010
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14127 posts, RR: 62
Reply 21, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4609 times:

Quoting seb146 (Reply 18):
Quoting seb146 (Reply 18):
But, it is not only the United States that uses seemingly random letters for their radio stations. Canadian stations start with C with a few stations in Newfoundland starting with V

Newfoundland only joined Canada in 1949. Before it was a seperate British dominion in North America. This probably explains the different callsign.

Jan


User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6093 posts, RR: 14
Reply 22, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4600 times:

Quoting UltimateDelta (Reply 20):
and when the reglations were enacted dividing the Ks and Ws, they were allowed to keep the W designation because they were one of the first stations in the upper Midwest.

Existing stations with a K or W as the first call letter were grandfathered to keep their previously assigned call letters. It had everything to do with when they started broadcasting, not their location.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlinejetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1658 posts, RR: 10
Reply 23, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4593 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I read someplace year ago that all 3 lettered call signed stations when ownership is changed must go to a 4 letter call sign, I don’t know if this is still in effect.

In New York City, we had WOR radio and TV, when the TV station was sold, the call letters was changed to WWOR.

I remember listening on the radio years ago when WHN, a country music station changed owners and formats, the new format was sports talk and the call sign was changed to WFAN, I was listening to WHN at the changeover time when the WHN DJ, just before the changeover said that with the change, there will never be another WHN because of the rule changes retiring 3 letter call signs.

JetStar


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6491 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (4 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4582 times:

Quoting jetstar (Reply 23):
I read someplace year ago that all 3 lettered call signed stations when ownership is changed must go to a 4 letter call sign, I don’t know if this is still in effect.

Well, since WLS-AM (Chicago) has recently changed hands, I call bullshit.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
25 Post contains links and images exFATboy : I believe that in theory, at least, every country has a call-letter system - everyone has call prefixes issued by the International Telecommunications
26 Post contains links Goldenshield : Here's an interesting in-depth read, if anyone wants to bother with it: http://earlyradiohistory.us/recap.htm and also, this: http://earlyradiohistory
27 dxing : Nope, it is still required for radio stations to announce their call sign and city of license once an hour, every hour. The rule is bent now to put t
28 Post contains images kevinl1011 : And you'd better log it or the CE will complain to the GM! (that's radio talk for you're in trouble) I also remember having to periodically go up on
29 Revelation : I remember when I went to college one of the more common pranks was to climb the radio tower to steal the light bulbs. More glory for stealing the to
30 Goldenshield : Not to nit-pick, but the purpose of lights on a tower is NOT to be an aid to navigation. They are there to make sure that you know that a tower is th
31 Post contains links and images melpax : Radio stations here use letters and numbers, while TV stations use letters only. The call signs for AM stations here a number which is allocated by s
32 UltimateDelta : That's what I said. The fact that they were in the Midwest wasn't the main point of what I was saying.
33 dxing : I must have been the lucky one. As the CE of several radio stations I had remote monitors on all my towers and I would get a page and a phone call if
34 Revelation : Same format was used in the earliest days of radio in the US. I suppose because we have land borders with MX and CA we must have moved on to using th
35 bjorn14 : Radio stations change their call signs all the time usually to reflect a change in formats.
36 N1120A : A few other call signs, both radio and TV, that are acronyms, some obvious and some obscure and lost to time: KLAC - Los Angeles California KCRW - Col
37 dxing : Which is pretty low power. Try climbing past a 30-50 or 100Kw antenna and see how good you feel. Even at 3.2Kw it is still not a smart move as the mi
38 Post contains images N1120A : AM survives well here in L.A. because of the car culture. Traffic every 5 minutes on KNX and KFWB, along with the strong radio presence of L.A. sport
39 Post contains images BMI727 : They aren't related legally, but when people sat down to set up the aircraft registration prefixes they used the radio call letters as the starting p
40 Post contains images kevinl1011 : Towers? Sounds like an A.M. antenna array. Back in '77-'79 only the radio stations with money had that technology. Our studio was in Pasadena Ca. and
41 DeltaRules : WHIZ in Zanesville, OH- "We/We're Here In Zanesville"
42 Goldenshield : This is WZAZ in Chicago, where disco lives forever!
43 Revelation : One of my high school teachers did night/weekend maintenance at an AM radio station. We had switched over to the backup transmitter so we could work
44 dxing : Yes and no. I was the CE for a group of stations. Might have served him well to go out and just take a little walk or have a smoke or whatever. The c
45 Post contains images TWFirst : WCCO (Minneapolis) = Washburn Crosby Co. - original name of General Mills (original owner) WSOY (Decatur, IL) - Decatur was known as the "Soybean Capi
46 jetstar : I did some research and I was in error about the ownership change, the rule was that if a 3 letter call sign was turned back to the FCC for issuance
47 N312RC : WJBK FOX 2 Detroit stands for "Jesus, Be Kind". WDIV NBC 4 Detroit stands for "We're Detroit's IV (Roman Numerals for 4)" WAPE 95.1 FM in Jacksonville
48 Post contains images stlgph : Zucker Abrahams Zucker
49 AviRaider : WFAA (Dallas) - World's Finest Air Attraction - Operating by name only, since 1922.
50 sprout5199 : I remember when the Dolphins played the Niners in the Super Bowl, one station down here, WSHE-103.5 She's Only Rock and Roll, bet a station from San F
51 Post contains links usscvr : Back somewhat to the original question, the apparent cryptic nature of radio & TV designations in the US can even take a hilarious turn at times..
52 Post contains links and images Revelation : Well, I'd be darn sure to still use the ground rod before doing any work inside the beast. Then I wonder what they call KOCK-FM 101.3 MHz in Walsenbu
53 dxing : Of course but what you do is allow the capacitors to naturallly discharge which is preferable to the instant discharge a grounding stick does when yo
54 N1120A : Wait, you work/worked for KROQ (BTW, I knew that before seeing the photo, because only that station is crazy enough not to be on Mt. Wilson)?
55 kevinl1011 : Back then, KWST 106.1 was also on Flint Peak. They had more power and on rainy days, their signal would bleed through into our feed from the studio.
56 N1120A : Jed is still there, and still one of the best A&R DJs around. I haven't been listening late recently. Does he still do that late show?
57 phatfarmlines : In Arizona: KYOT = Coyote (Easy Listening channel- not one I personally listen to but typically played at doctor's / dentist's waiting area).
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Soccer(Football)What's Happening In The US posted Sun May 2 2010 14:59:26 by njxc500
Drunkest Cities In The US. posted Thu Feb 4 2010 08:41:02 by FXramper
Most Toxic & Least Toxic Cities In The US... posted Wed Nov 4 2009 16:09:25 by Mike89406
Searching/buying Car In The US posted Tue Jun 2 2009 11:46:23 by Luxair
Cricket--Why Did It Never Become Popular In The US posted Sat May 16 2009 10:18:32 by CaliAtenza
Advice Plan A Vacation In The Us posted Wed Apr 15 2009 07:32:50 by Aak777
Where To Exchange 45,000 Fcfa In The US? posted Fri Mar 6 2009 08:15:27 by MaverickM11
Socialism In The US Good Or Bad? posted Thu Dec 11 2008 13:19:21 by JRDC930
Buying Laptops In The US With Non-English Keyboard posted Fri Nov 28 2008 15:29:41 by Pyrex
Most Obese; Sickest Town In The US. posted Sun Nov 23 2008 00:11:15 by HowSwedeitis