From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|City of license||Phoenix, Arizona|
|Broadcast area||Phoenix metropolitan area|
|Frequency||620 (kHz) (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1922|
|Callsign meaning||Keep Taking the Arizona Republic (reference to co-ownership with The Arizona Republic at one point)|
|Sister stations||KMVP, KPKX, KTAR-FM|
KTAR (620 AM) is the callsign for a radio station in Phoenix, Arizona. It airs programming from ESPN Radio, in addition to KTAR-acquired broadcast rights for local teams. KTAR is owned by Bonneville International Corporation.
KTAR is the flagship station of the National Basketball Association's Phoenix Suns, the National Football League's Arizona Cardinals, the Arizona State University Sun Devils' football games, the Arena Football League's Arizona Rattlers, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks. KTAR owns all but a few of the major sports team rights in the Phoenix market.
1920s to 1979: Early history
KTAR began in June 1922 as KFAD, Arizona's first radio property. In 1929, the station was purchased by the owners of the major newspaper in Phoenix, The Arizona Republic, who changed the call letters to KREP (for REPublic). In 1930, the call letters changed to the present KTAR (for "Keep Taking the Arizona Republic"). 
From 1939 to 1975, KTAR was the flagship of a statewide radio network called the "Arizona Broadcasting System"; this network had affiliates in key Arizona towns and cities such as Tucson, Globe, Prescott and Yuma.
In 1944, the Republic sold KTAR to Chicago, Illinois advertiser John J. Louis, Sr. In 1955, Louis bought two-year-old KTYL-TV (channel 12), Phoenix' second television station, from Harkins Theatres, and changed the call letters to KVAR-TV. In 1959, KVAR-TV became KTAR-TV. The same year, the stations moved to a new studio on Central Avenue in Phoenix. The Louis family bought several other broadcasting interests in the 1960s. Eventually, the Louis broadcasting interests became known as Pacific & Southern Broadcasting, headquartered in Phoenix with KTAR-AM-FM-TV as the flagship stations.
In 1968, Pacific & Southern merged with a local billboard advertising business owned by Karl Eller and became known in 1973 as Combined Communications Corporation. John J. Louis Jr. was Chairman of the new Company and Karl Eller the CEO.
In 1979, after Louis and Eller merged their media empire with Gannett in what was then the largest media merger in U.S. history. The FCC barred Gannett from keeping both the radio stations and KTAR-TV (now KPNX). KTAR was acquired by Pulitzer Publishing Company, the then-owners of Tucson's major morning newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star. KPNX kept the Central Avenue studio, where it remains to this day.
1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s
The station was purchased by Hearst-Argyle in 1999, then Emmis Communications in 2001, and in 2004 by Bonneville as part of a multi-station swap with Emmis.  Ironically, when it was sold to Bonneville, it began a news-sharing relationship with KPHO-TV: it was once sister to rival KPNX.
2006: Move to FM
In 2006, Bonneville bought another Emmis property, CHR formatted KKFR-FM 92.3, licensed to Glendale, with intents to simulcast the AM property. KKFR would become KTAR-FM to match its new ownership. On 18 September of that year, KTAR started the simulcast.  KKFR's intellectual property was sold to Riviera Broadcast Group. In turn, Riviera bought KKLD in Prescott Valley, which was moved to Mayer in order to put in a better signal to Phoenix. The result was a new KKFR on 98.3 FM. The simulcast continued until 1 January 2007, when 92.3 became the home of the news/talk format and the format of ESPN Radio-affiliated KMVP moved to 620. Both stations retained the KTAR call letters.
2007 onward: Sports 620 KTAR
The last sport event carried on News 620 KTAR was the Arizona Cardinals facing the San Diego Chargers on 31 December 2006. In contrast, the first event carried on Sports 620 KTAR was the Fiesta Bowl between the Boise State Broncos and the Oklahoma Sooners on 1 January 2007.
While KMVP aired an extensive lineup of shows from ESPN Radio, KTAR has decided to air mostly local shows. For example, only the first two hours of Mike and Mike in the Morning is aired on Sports 620. KTAR does air ESPN Radio play-by-play if the schedule allows.
The station was one of 10 stations awarded the 2007 Crystal Radio Award for public service awarded by the National Association of Broadcasters. Winners were honored at the Radio Luncheon on April 17, 2007, during the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- KTAR official website
- Bonneville International
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KTAR
- Radio Locator Information on KTAR
- Query Arbitron's AM station database for KTAR