Radio stations have colorful nicknames, but their official identities are their call letters.
What can you convey in just four letters? Plenty, as is revealed by some of Utah's radio call letters.The first letter, "K" means a station is located west of the Mississippi. (To the east it's "W" for all radio stations).
There may be some other station that should be on my list, but these are the only call letters I've been able to figure out:
- KNRS, AM-570: "News radio station," a new format that began in January. Previous call letters were KISN-AM and before that KLUB.
- KMTI, AM-650: Abbreviation of "Manti," the station's home.
- KOAL, AM-750: Variation of coal, a big industry in the station's hometown of Price. The station is Utah's fourth-oldest, having started in 1936.
- KALL, AM-910: Variation of "Call."' Earliest radio ads stated "Dial KALL . . . That's all!" The station started in 1945.
- KVEL, AM-920: Abbreviation of Vernal, station home.
- KOVO, AM-960: "Ovo" of Provo, was Utah County's first radio station in 1939.
- KSL, AM-1160: "SL" - "Salt Lake" radio station. It was Utah's first station in 1922. The original call letters were KZN. The KSL call letters came 13 months later.
- KFNZ, AM-1320: Abbreviation of "FANZ" for "K-Fan," all-sports radio, which originated in 1996.
- KLGN, AM-1390: Abbreviation of Logan, station's home.
- KCPX, AM-1600: These call letters used to stand for "Columbia Pictures," who bought the station, then found at AM-1320 on the dial in 1959. It became "K-Pix," starting in the 1960s.
In the 1970s, a sister station on FM-98.7 also adopted the call letters. They were abandoned in the mid-1980s on the AM dial, and KBUG and KEMX were used for a while. An LDS music station, KUTR, also used the frequency. The KCPX-FM counterpart continued until the early 1990s when a new company went with KVRI and later KBEE in 1995.
AM-1600 wisely grabbed the historic call letters when they were available, despite having a Spanish format.
- KWCR, FM-88.1, "Weber College Radio" in Ogden, even though Weber now has university status.
- KPGR, FM-88.1: "Pleasant Grove Radio," a high school student station.
- KBYU, FM-89.1: "Brigham Young University" station.
- KLOV, FM-89.7: "Love," a Christian music station from California.
- KUER, FM-90.1: "Utah Educational Radio," from the U. of U.
- KUSU, FM-91.5: "Utah State University" station from Logan.
- KUBL, FM-93.3: A variation of "BUL" for K-Bull. A sister radio station in Reno already has the KBUL call letters, so KUBL is the next closest abbreviation available.
- KBEE, FM-98.7: "Bee" is the station's mascot and nickname. (Refer to KCPX listing for more history.)
- KSFI, FM-100.3: "Simmons Family Incorporated," owner of the station. It was previously KSL-FM, before Bonneville International sold it.
- KBER, FM-101.1: "The Bear," a variant spelling of the station's mascot. (Frequency used to be KDAB: "Droubay and Bush," who were the owners then.
- KKAT, FM-101.9: Variation of cat, station's mascot.
- KUMT, FM-105.7: As close as available call letters could come to an abbreviation of "Mountain," station nickname.
- KOSY, FM-106.5: Variation of station's nickname, "KOZY, 106.5," soft and relaxing favorites.
- KENZ, FM-107.5: "EN" is short for "The End" (station nickname), and "Z" is the last letter of the alphabet, another accent on the nickname and its almost end of the radio dial location.