LH526
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Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:11 pm

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!

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Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:18 pm

Quoting lh526 (Thread starter):
KCRW

Who knows, but that's my favorite radio station... The only good one in LA.
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Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:20 pm

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.
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Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:35 pm

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
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Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:12 pm

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.
 
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Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:44 am

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.
 
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Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:34 am

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.
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Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:58 am

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.
 
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:06 am

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.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:30 am

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.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:24 am

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
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:10 am

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]
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:30 am

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.
 
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:13 pm

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.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:02 pm

WSB here in Atlanta stands for "Welcome South Brother."
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:16 pm

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.  
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:54 pm

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
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:19 pm

WTTW-11 --- Chicago's PBS station (Window to the World)
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:32 pm

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.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:43 pm

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.

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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:42 pm

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.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:49 pm

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
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:57 pm

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.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:05 pm

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.

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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:15 pm

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.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:15 pm

I believe that in theory, at least, every country has a call-letter system - everyone has call prefixes issued by the International Telecommunications Union, it's just that in the US the call letters became a traditional part of the station's identity - US broadcasting regulation put a very strong emphasis on what (for TV, at least) was called the "locality concept"...early on in TV development, the US government made a conscious decision to have TV stations bound to specific cities, rather that national networks with no local identity. Dr. Allen B. DuMont, an early TV pioneer, proposed a system of up to 14 national networks using VHF channels, but the idea was rejected in favour of local stations.

US radio and TV stations are theoretically required to identify themselves with their call letters and city once an hour, and although this isn't strongly enforced any more, it's still common, even with stations whose primary marketing identify doesn't include the call letters. For example, Fox-5 here in New York still incorporates the call letters into some versions of its logo:



and on the 10 o-clock news set the call letters are on the front of the anchor desk as well.

There was a trend several years ago for FM radio stations to adopt a name rather than using a variant of their frequency or call sign as their main marketing ID - for some reason, "Alice" was a popular one. This trend seems to have died out for the most part, and most stations have gone back to some variation of the traditional ID: "98 Rock", "1010WINS', etc., although some rock stations put an "X" or "Z" in their marketing ID even if it isn't part of their call sign (for example, "97X" in Tampa Bay, which is actually WSUN-FM.)

In Canada, TV stations have largely stopped using their call letters, although they still have them - for example, many years ago when I went to Montreal, the local CTV affiliate's marketing jingle was "Montreal's One to Watch!...CFCF Twelve!" Now it's just identified on air as "CTV Montreal", which I find boring.

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.

Just to add a little more confusion, KCBS-AM radio is in San Francisco, KCBS-FM radio is in LA, along with KCBS-TV. KCBS-TV only adopted the callsign in 1984, while the KCBS radio station in SF had used the call letters since 1949.

And the water is muddled even further - KCBS radio in San Francisco is simulcast on KFRC-FM radio.

Call letters get switched around quite a bit - when I lived in SF many years ago, KFRC was assigned to a different frequency. When I lived in Fresno, I used to listen to KCBS-AM ("News and More on 74...KCBS San Francisco!") for news - this is back when KMJ was owned by the Fresno Bee, one of the world's more annoying newspapers, so I avoided it.

There are several cases where the TV and AM radio stations are licensed to different cities, but I believe KCBS is the only instance where the TV and radio stations are in completely different markets.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 21):
Newfoundland only joined Canada in 1949. Before it was a seperate British dominion in North America. This probably explains the different callsign.

Yep, commercial stations in Newfoundland used a "VO" callsign because it was not part of Canada, either a Dominion (1907-1934) or a crown colony (1934-1949). Thus the classic opening for Hockey Night in Canada back in the old radio days, ""Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland."

Just as with aircraft registration, various parts of the Empire were issued Vx- callsigns by the International Telecommunications Union - Australia has "VH" through "VN" and "VZ", Belize (then British Honduras) has "V3", etc. Theoretically, these still exist, but most countries have gotten others (Australia has "AX", Canada has "CF" through "CK", "CY" and "CZ", and uses "CB", which theoretically belongs to Chile, for CBC stations by special agreement.) I don't think Australia uses the ITU callsigns for anything.

Quoting N328KF (Reply 2):
In fact, I believe they are distantly related to US tail numbers.

The international system also allocated the letter "N" to the United States for broadcasting, but it isn't used for anything as far as I know.
 
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:09 pm

Here's an interesting in-depth read, if anyone wants to bother with it:

http://earlyradiohistory.us/recap.htm

and also, this:

http://earlyradiohistory.us/kwtrivia.htm

[Edited 2010-06-02 15:12:26]
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dxing
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:06 am

Quoting exFATboy (Reply 25):
US radio and TV stations are theoretically required to identify themselves with their call letters and city once an hour, and although this isn't strongly enforced any more, it's still common, even with stations whose primary marketing identify doesn't include the call letters.

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 the "top of the hour ID" out as fast as they can since there is no restriction on that. It is usually sandwiched in between to ads. In the news/talk format it is used primarily to lead into the top of the hour news. But the requirement is still there. You can sitll here radio sports play by play persons say "we will pause 10 seconds for our stations down line to identify themselves".
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:06 am

Quoting dxing (Reply 27):
Nope, it is still required for radio stations to announce their call sign and city of license once an hour, every hour.
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I also remember having to periodically go up on the roof at night to see if the transmitter tower lights were all working.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:44 am

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 28):
I also remember having to periodically go up on the roof at night to see if the transmitter tower lights were all working.

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 top one and retrieving it safely. The darn tower was located behind the campus police station but that just added to the thrill and the glory. I knew the man whose job it was to replace the stolen bulbs and he wasn't at all happy when he learned he needed to climb the tower yet again. As many here know, there are rules about how long the bulbs can be missing since many VFR pilots use them as nav aids. My local ham radio club ran a repeater with a 200 ft tower and boy did we hate to hear the bulb burned out during the dead of winter, but the tower indeed was used as a nav aid to find the area's airport so we'd hear about it within hours of it burning out.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:06 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
As many here know, there are rules about how long the bulbs can be missing since many VFR pilots use them as nav aids.

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 there so you don't hit it; It's see and avoid. They are marked on a sectional so that you know their location, but they should not be used as a reference point.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:28 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 18):
Australia and New Zealand use letters AND numbers.

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 state, followed by 2 letters, e.g. 3AW, which is one of the main talk stations in Melbourne. It's sister station in Sydney is 2UE. FM stations have s similar format, number followed by 3 letters, e.g. 3FOX for Fox FM in Melbourne. This 60's radio dial gives an idea of the system in use here.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/51/Calstanradiodial.jpg/703px-Calstanradiodial.jpg

TV stations are generally 3 letters, the last letter of which is the first letter of the state the station is located in. For example the ABC (the national broadcaster here, similar to the BBC) TV station in Melbourne is ABV-2, while the Sydney station is ABN-2, V for Victoria, N for New South Wales, etc.. Another example (aviation related) is ATV-10 in Melbourne, which was originally started by Sir Reg Ansett (founder of Ansett Airlines). This is what Rupert Murdoch wanted when he originally bought into Ansett back in the early 1980's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...Australian_radio_station_callsigns

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_television_callsigns
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:21 pm

Quoting UltimateDelta (Reply 20):
they were allowed to keep the W designation because they were one of the first stations in the upper Midwest.
Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 22):
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.

That's what I said. The fact that they were in the Midwest wasn't the main point of what I was saying.
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dxing
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:45 pm

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 28):
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 the roof at night to see if the transmitter tower lights were all working.

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 one of the bulbs burned out. According to the regs at the time, you had 30 minutes to notify the FAA if your tower decided to go dark.

An aside, when the telecommunications act was passed in 1996 the price of an unreported or unreplaced burned out light bulb went up dramatically if an FCC inspector were to spy it before it was reported or replaced in the specified time.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
The darn tower was located behind the campus police station but that just added to the thrill and the glory.

It must have been a communications tower for the cops or a very low power FM. Had it been an AM tower someone would have certainly been seriously injured by being shocked. Had it been a larger wattage FM transmitter, going to the top past the atenna loops would have been akin to climbing into a microwave oven.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:03 pm

Quoting melpax (Reply 31):
The call signs for AM stations here a number which is allocated by state, followed by 2 letters, e.g. 3AW, which is one of the main talk stations in Melbourne. It's sister station in Sydney is 2UE. FM stations have s similar format, number followed by 3 letters, e.g. 3FOX for Fox FM in Melbourne. This 60's radio dial gives an idea of the system in use here.

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 the W and K prefixes.

And as other hams know, the US can use the N prefix and some of the As as well for various purposes.

Quoting dxing (Reply 33):

It must have been a communications tower for the cops or a very low power FM.

It was a 3.2 kw FM transmitter.
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bjorn14
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:04 pm

Quoting N328KF (Reply 24):
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%u2019t know if this is still in effect.

Radio stations change their call signs all the time usually to reflect a change in formats.
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N1120A
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:02 pm

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 - College Radio Workshop
KPCC - Pasadena Community College
KPFA - PaciFicA
KRTH - eaRTH
KMPC - McMillian Petroleum Company
KTTV - Times TeleVision (Los Angeles FOX affiliate now)
KCOP - COPley Press
KTLA - Television Los Angeles (first television station in Los Angeles)

Quoting lh526 (Thread starter):
KCRW

Best. Radio. Station. Ever.

Quoting Braniff747SP (Reply 1):

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

Not the only good one, but certainly the best

Quoting bohica (Reply 5):
KCBS radio is in San Francisco and KCBS TV is located in Los Angeles.

As mentioned, KCBS-AM is in San Francisco. KCBS-FM is in Los Angeles.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 11):
The term has nothing to do with ClearChannel Communications, Inc.; however, CC, Inc., does own several Clear Channel stations.

Actually, ClearChannel's name has everything to do with the term. ClearChannel was originally formed to buy a Clear Channel Station.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 11):
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.

Its not really that they are specifically grandfathered, rather their existence at that time and wide coverage made them preferred by the FCC going forward. At night, other stations on the same band are forced to turn down or off their signal so as not to interfere with clear channels, which are also relied upon in times of emergency to get out information to a wide area. For example, KNX here in Los Angeles can be heard as far as Albuquerque at night.

Quoting dxing (Reply 16):
The difference was night and day and not for the good IMO.

Total agreement. It was basically to line the pockets of fat cats at the expense of local content.

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.

Lots of stations with 3 letter call signs have changed hands over time.

Quoting dxing (Reply 27):
You can sitll here radio sports play by play persons say "we will pause 10 seconds for our stations down line to identify themselves".

Or there is always "We'll pause 10 seconds for station identification on the XXXX Baseball/Football/Basketball/Hockey/Radio network."
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:11 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 34):
It was a 3.2 kw FM transmitter.

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 microwave radiation you are absorbing is not doing your insides any good.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 36):
which are also relied upon in times of emergency to get out information to a wide area

The conelrad system died a natural death many years ago. I still have a radio with the 640KHz and 1240KHz freqs marked as "conelrad".

There are a suprising number of people who don't even know what AM radio is, pretty much the reverse of the late 60's when FM radio was on the rise.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 36):
For example, KNX here in Los Angeles can be heard as far as Albuquerque at night.

That ain't nothin!!! 1510 WLAC in Nashville is a 50KHz station although at night it has a directional pattern. Still, I used to get proof tapes from Scandinavia in the winter time of people reporting being able to hear our signal thanks to atmospheric skipping.
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:14 am

Quoting dxing (Reply 37):
There are a suprising number of people who don't even know what AM radio is, pretty much the reverse of the late 60's when FM radio was on the rise.

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. sports, especially the Dodgers and Lakers.

Quoting dxing (Reply 37):

That ain't nothin!!! 1510 WLAC in Nashville is a 50KHz station although at night it has a directional pattern. Still, I used to get proof tapes from Scandinavia in the winter time of people reporting being able to hear our signal thanks to atmospheric skipping.

I forgot to mention that they get KNX in Hawaii too  
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BMI727
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:28 am

Quoting N328KF (Reply 2):
In fact, I believe they are distantly related to US tail numbers.

   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 point. The US Navy was one of the first users of radios, so they used N which eventually trickled down to aircraft.

Quoting dxing (Reply 27):
Nope, it is still required for radio stations to announce their call sign and city of license once an hour, every hour.

   It is very common during sporting events for the announcers to have to break briefly for a station ID.

Anyway, as to the original point WSCR in Chicago (greatest station on earth by the way) markets themselves as "The Score," which I can't imagine is a coincidence.
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KevinL1011
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:53 am

Quoting dxing (Reply 33):
I had remote monitors on all my towers and I would get a page and a phone call if one of the bulbs burned out. According to the regs at the time, you had 30 minutes to notify the FAA if your tower decided to go dark.
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 the tower was on Flint Peak above Eagle Rock (Glendale, CA). You could see the tower from the studio roof so Mgmt. never spent the money. I used to love going up to the transmitter and helping with maintenance. Standing anywhere near that Harris 25k watt x-mitter made you feel dizzy.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
I remember when I went to college one of the more common pranks was to climb the radio tower to steal the light bulbs.
Man, that's crazy!!!
Now that you've confessed, your penance will be to donate at least $25.00 to your local PBS station and say 10 Hail Mary's to the Blessed Mother of Radio Wave Propagation. Or eternity in telecommunication hell watching nothing but re-runs of Three's Company.

Kind of embarrassing, but here's a pic of me sometime back in '77-'78 waiting to be cue'd for my local news spot.

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DeltaRules
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:21 am

WHIZ in Zanesville, OH- "We/We're Here In Zanesville"
A310/319/320/321/333, ARJ, BN2, B722/73S/733/734/735/73G/738/739/744/757/753/767/763/764/777, CR1/2/7/9, DH6, 328, EM2/ERJ/E70/E75/E90, F28/100, J31, L10/12/15, DC9/D93/D94/D95/M80/M88/M90/D10, SF3, SST
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:24 am

This is WZAZ in Chicago, where disco lives forever!
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:08 pm

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 40):
Back in '77-'79 only the radio stations with money had that technology. Our studio was in Pasadena Ca. and the tower was on Flint Peak above Eagle Rock (Glendale, CA). You could see the tower from the studio roof so Mgmt. never spent the money. I used to love going up to the transmitter and helping with maintenance. Standing anywhere near that Harris 25k watt x-mitter made you feel dizzy.

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 on the main.

The first thing he did after opening the doors was to use an grounding rod to remove all the charge out of the circuits.

Boy that was one big Zotzzz!

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 40):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 29):
I remember when I went to college one of the more common pranks was to climb the radio tower to steal the light bulbs.
Man, that's crazy!!!
Now that you've confessed, your penance will be to donate at least $25.00 to your local PBS station and say 10 Hail Mary's to the Blessed Mother of Radio Wave Propagation. Or eternity in telecommunication hell watching nothing but re-runs of Three's Company.

No confession here. I just knew the story because I worked with the guys who had to go replace them. And my version of hell would probably involve infinite re-runs of "Diff'rent Strokes", featuring the late Mr. Coleman.

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 40):
Kind of embarrassing, but here's a pic of me sometime back in '77-'78 waiting to be cue'd for my local news spot.

Looks like you were trying for the "porn stash" but weren't getting it done...
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
dxing
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:08 pm

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 40):
Towers? Sounds like an A.M. antenna array.

Yes and no. I was the CE for a group of stations.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 43):
The first thing he did after opening the doors was to use an grounding rod to remove all the charge out of the circuits.

Might have served him well to go out and just take a little walk or have a smoke or whatever. The capacitors would discharge most of their stored charge in 10-15 minutes even in a big 100kw transmitter. Of course that was in an old tube type transmitter. I got out of the business without ever having to deal with a digital one, they may be different but I would not know.

When I was first learning engineering the old man who was my mentor had me turn off the transmitter, turn off the breakers, take off the back panel, then we went for a smoke. When we came back he said what's next and I said assuredly that we used the grounding stick to short out the capacitors to ensure there was no residual charge. He said go ahead and start with the back contact first. When I leaned into the transmitter housing he whapped the side of it with his cane. After my blood started pumping again when my heart restarted I said what was that for? He said, you forgot to recheck the breakers were off and now you'll never forget. He was right.


I remember getting the O dark 30 call that we were off the air and when I opened the door to the transmitter building immediately smelled the odiferous smell of roasted meat. Upon opening the back of the transmitter I found the remmenants of a pine snake cooked almost beyond recognition between the capacitor contacts. Yummy. It took me a half hour to scrape all the remmenants off the top and clean the contacts.
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TWFirst
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:45 pm

WCCO (Minneapolis) = Washburn Crosby Co. - original name of General Mills (original owner)
WSOY (Decatur, IL) - Decatur was known as the "Soybean Capital of the World" (although now I think it's lost that title to somewhere in Brazil  
KSTP (St. Paul, MN) - obvious
KMSP - Minneapolis/St. Paul
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jetstar
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:27 am

Quoting jetstar (Reply 23):
I read someplace years 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

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 of a new call sign, that 3 letter call sign was retired and never to be issued again, this is what the DJ meant when he said there would never be a WHN again.

But from what I have read on my research, the FCC had rescinded this rule and again is allowing 3 letter call signs.

Hare is a copy of that part of the article.

In the 1920s, many stations were assigned three-letter call signs. These have been grandfathered under the current system, even though many of these stations have changed owners. Such stations include KOA in Denver, KSD in St. Louis, WGN in Chicago, and WRR (FM) in Dallas, which was originally assigned WRR-FM in 1948 as a sister station to WRR (AM) from 1921. (WRR is an unusual case in that the call sign was moved from the original AM station to a commonly owned FM station, formerly WRR-FM, before the AM station was sold.) For decades, the Federal Communications Commission carried out a policy of "drop it and lose it forever" with respect to the three-letter call signs, but it recently allowed the radio station KKHJ in Los Angeles) to reclaim its historic three-letter call, KHJ.

JetStar
 
N312RC
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:47 am

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, FL is called "The Big Ape".
N/A
 
stlgph
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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:57 pm

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 42):
WZAZ in Chicago

 

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RE: Radio Station Acronyms In The US

Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:09 pm

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