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TUCoPS :: Radio :: 3_letter.txt

Info about 3-letter call signs









     MYSTIQUE OF THE THREE-LETTER CALL SIGNS            Thomas H. White
                                                        January 1, 1990

     Three-letter calls in the United States are an emotional topic for 
     many -- the "passing" of one leads to mourning and oratory on the 
     need to protect these historic creatures from extinction. However, 
     some misconceptions exist about these calls.  This is a review of 
     the origin and history of these unique calls,  plus information on 
     some equally historic four-letter calls.  

     By today's standards, the continued emphasis in the United States on 
     call letters for radio, an entertainment and information service, is 
     something of an anachronism -- most other countries have long since 
     switched to slogans or network IDs for establishing public identity.  
     One can imagine the cries of outrage which would result if a stuffy 
     bureaucrat were to try to force, say, the New York newspapers to 
     deal with the public through their "newspaper signs" of "WNYT" or 
     "WPST". What kind of circulation would magazines entitled "WTME", 
     "KPLA", and "KGQ" garner?  Still, with over 75 years of tradition, 
     call letters are fixed upon the American psyche.  Besides, they make 
     bookkeeping at the Federal Communications Commission easier.

                             ORIGINAL REGULATIONS

     The use of identifying letters is almost as old as radio itself.  
     Because all early radio work was done in telegraphic code, spelling 
     out an operator's name or location was too cumbersome. Abbreviations 
     of two or three characters, usually initials of geographic location 
     or personal or ship names, were naturally more convenient. Operators 
     independently adopted identifying "call signs", so that stations 
     "calling" through the ether were able to link up with a minimum of 
     sorting out identities.  Unfortunately, during the self-assigned era 
     there were few standards, which resulted in problems when, say, two 
     or more ships chose the same call. Unique identifiers, organized by 
     national origin, were needed in order to keep track of exactly which 
     vessel was in danger of visiting Davy Jones' locker.

     With the adoption of the "Radio Act of 1912" by the United States 
     this practice became formalized under federal authority.  Under 
     international agreement initial letters were allotted among the 
     various nations.  The 1913 edition of "Radio Stations of the United 
     States" records the contemporary practices for allocating calls for 
     land and sea stations, which at that time were few enough to all be 
     accommodated by three-letter calls:

          The call letters assigned to the United States are all 
          combinations (676) beginning with the letter N and all 
          (676) beginning with the letter W, and all combinations 
          (598) from KDA to KZZ, inclusive. [NOTE: Germany was 
          assigned the KAA-KCZ allocation] The total number of 
          international calls is thus 1,950, and these are 
          reserved for Government stations and stations open to 
          public and limited commercial service.
          All combinations beginning with the letter N are 
          reserved for Government stations and in addition the 
          combinations from WUA to WVZ and WXA to WZZ are reserved 
          for the stations of the Army of the United States.
          The combinations KDA to KZZ, with a few exceptions, are 
          reserved for ship stations on the Atlantic and the Gulf 
          of Mexico and for land stations on the Pacific coast.  
          The combinations beginning with W (except WUA to WVZ and 
          WXA to WZZ as already indicated) are reserved, with a 
          few exceptions, for ship stations on the Pacific and 
          Great Lakes and for land stations on the Atlantic and 
          Gulf coasts and in the Great Lake region.

     Notice the policy was that coastal ship station calls started with a 
     different letter from that used by the land stations they 
     communicated with: coastal ship stations were assigned W-- calls in 
     the West and K-- in the East, while the reverse was true for land 
     stations, with K-- in the West and W-- in the East.

     Amateur and experimental stations fell into a separate call sign 
     scheme.  In fact, the International Bureau at Berne did not have to 
     be notified of their existence.  The U. S. was divided into nine 
     radio inspection districts, and amateurs received calls beginning 
     with their district number and followed by a pair of letters, for 
     example 8MK.  An X as the first letter was reserved for experimental 
     stations.  Similarly a Y designated the station as being operated by 
     a technical or training school, while a Z conferred "special amateur 
     status".  Run of the mill amateurs made do with the less exotic 
     letters of the alphabet.  The 1913 Radio Stations of the United 
     States noted that "The three items-a given figure first, followed by 
     two letters of the alphabet-thus may be combined in 598 different 
     calls, which will probably suffice for the amateur sending stations 
     in most districts for some time to come".  (More letters and numbers 
     were added as the number of amateurs grew.  Also, as the range of 
     amateur stations increased it became necessary to "internationalize" 
     their calls, so in 1928 W and K prefixes were added).

                                 REFINEMENTS

     The Bureau of Navigation, a division of the Department of Commerce, 
     understandably was required to refine its allocating schemes 
     occasionally over the years.  In the early teens most non-amateur 
     land stations engaged in ship-to-shore communication, and were found 
     clustered along the coasts.  As other services were developed 
     stations crept inland, and a dividing line between the western K's 
     and eastern W's was needed.  Although its location is not spelled 
     out the rules, it is possible to make an educated guess how the 
     original boundary was chosen. As noted earlier, coastal land 
     stations in states along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, including 
     Texas, received W calls.  Thus, using the Texas-New Mexico border as 
     a starting point and heading north, the boundary was formed by the 
     eastern borders of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.

     It was only in late January of 1923 that the current boundary of the 
     Mississippi River was adopted. This meant new call grants in North 
     and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, 
     Missouri, Arkansas, and parts of Minnesota and Louisiana became K's 
     rather than W's. However, existing stations west of the Mississippi 
     were permitted to keep their now non-standard W calls.  Thus  
     pioneer broadcasters such as WKY Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, WOI Ames,
     Iowa, WHB Kansas City, Kansas, and WDAY Fargo, North Dakota remain 
     as monuments to the period before the boundary change.  

     World War I also had a disruptive effect. German submarines did much 
     to popularize radio among American ships as wireless, formerly an 
     expensive option, became a life or death necessity for making the 
     Atlantic run.  Unfortunately, there just weren't enough three-letter 
     calls to go around. The obvious solution was more letters, and four 
     letter KE-- signs became the predominate issue for the rapidly 
     expanding ship service, generally issued on a first come, first 
     served basis in alphabetical order.  The department, apparently 
     noting that oceans are connected and ships might show up on either 
     coast, no longer tried to differentiate ships by the waters on which 
     they sailed.

     The less numerous land stations continued to receive three-letter 
     calls, as turnover insured a modest reserve pool. (Actually 
     "turnover" is in some cases a euphemism. A few land stations, 
     including broadcasters WSB Atlanta and KLZ Denver, received calls 
     which became available with the demise of the ships that had used 
     them.  Superstitious seafarers objected to being issued the calls 
     "used by that ship which went down with all hands last month", so 
     some "tainted" calls were quietly issued to unsinkable land stations 
     instead.) 

     Showing partiality to vowels, the next major blocks drawn upon for 
     ship stations were KI--, KO--, and KU--.  Having exhausted the 
     vowels, the first available consonant, KD--, was drafted beginning 
     June 1920.  At this point an anomaly occurred.  The Bureau, perhaps 
     caught up in a burst of egalitarianism, began assigning KD-- calls 
     to most stations, land or sea.  The result, on October 27, 1920, was 
     that a new Westinghouse station in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 
     KDKA, was sandwiched between the ships "Montgomery City" (KDJZ) and 
     "Eastern Sword" (KDKB).  The "KD-- for everyone" policy continued 
     until April, 1921, when the original three-letter land station 
     policy was reinstated. This meant that, in May, 1921, when the 
     second Westinghouse broadcast station, WJZ in Newark, New Jersey 
     (now WABC in New York City) was authorized, the original call policy 
     had been restored.  Much speculation has occurred about the unique 
     status which the KDKA call seems to confirm, but actually this 
     uniqueness is a fluke, due to the fact that no other surviving 
     broadcaster was licensed during this short anomaly.  Had KDKA been 
     licensed a few months earlier or later it most likely would have 
     gotten a three-letter W call like everyone else.

     [NOTES: two other land stations licensed during this anomaly, KDPM  
     Cleveland, Ohio, and KDPT San Diego, California,  both non- 
     broadcasting service stations, later transferred to the broadcast 
     service but were eventually deleted.  There was also an attempt to 
     "standardize" KDKA.  The June 30, 1928 Radio Service Bulletin lists 
     a number of calls to be changed to meet international standards.  
     One listed change, which was never implemented, is the replacement 
     of KDKA with the new call WKA.]


                        DAWN OF THE FOUR-LETTER CALLS

     The flood of broadcasting service authorizations that began in 
     earnest in December of 1921 served to overload the recycling 
     three-letter calls.  Before the crunch the Bureau was able to assign 
     three-letter call signs to about 180 broadcasters.

     It was the more saturated East that was the first to feel the pinch.  
     On April 4, 1922 an application from the Times-Picayune of New 
     Orleans broke new ground with the assignment of WAAB (now WJBO, 
     Baton Rouge) as its call.  [NOTE: WAAA was skipped as no sign was 
     permitted with the same letter three times in a row]  The 
     progression continued in alphabetical order, with "A" fixed as the 
     third letter, i.e. WAAB, WAAC, WAAD... WBAB, WBAC... etc.  This 
     explains why so many pioneers such as WBAP Fort Worth, Texas; WCAL 
     Saint Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, WCAU Philadelphia, 
     Pennsylvania, WEAF (now WFAN) New York City, WHAS Louisville, 
     Kentucky, WKAR Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 
     WMAQ Chicago, and WOAI San Antonio, Texas share this same middle 
     letter.  In later years it became the norm for broadcasters to ask 
     for distinctive calls.  However, if they had no preference they were 
     assigned calls from blocks used for a variety of radio services. 
     Starting April of 1923 calls centering on "B" were issued, including 
     WBBM Chicago, WFBR Baltimore, Maryland, WIBG (now WZZD) 
     Philadelphia, and WMBD Peoria, Illinois. In mid-1928 there was a 
     jump to the middle of the W-D- block, which yielded WHDH Boston and 
     WRDW Augusta, Georgia.  W-E- calls followed beginning in early 1931, 
     including WDEV Waterbury, Vermont, WEEU Reading, Pennsylvania, and 
     WFEA Manchester, New Hampshire. 

     The West held out until May 8, 1922, when Western broadcasters 
     started sharing the four-letter ship blocks.  KDYL in Salt Lake City 
     was both the first authorization and last survivor of this group.  
     When it became KCPX (now KUTR) December 21, 1959 all thirty-two KD-- 
     authorizations from this switchover had either expired or changed 
     calls. (There is currently a KDYL in Salt Lake City, but this 
     station only dates back to 1945 and has been KDYL only since 1982.) 
     The KF-- block, begun June 1922, boasts a few more noteworthies, 
     including KFBK Sacramento, California, Doc Brinkley's infamous KFKB, 
     KFNF Shenandoah, Iowa (now KYFR), KFQD Anchorage, Alaska, and KFYR 
     Bismarck, North Dakota.  The KG-- group was tapped July 1926: KGCX 
     Sidney, Montana and KGFJ Los Angeles, California are two that 
     survive to this day.  (A ship station was not as fortunate.  KGOV 
     was assigned to the Morro Castle, which went on to burn 
     spectacularly off the New Jersey coast in 1934). KH-- calls were 
     used, beginning in 1927, for a new service category: Commercial 
     Aircraft Stations. Surprisingly this group included a short-lived 
     broadcast authorization, KHAC, issued in late 1927 to Flying 
     Broadcasters, Inc. in San Francisco, for "Airplane (unnamed)". The 
     KI-- block was drafted in early 1932, which resulted in KIEV 
     Glendale, California.

     [NOTE: Calls in the early twenties were assigned at the time an 
     application, usually a "Form 761", was received in Washington, NOT 
     with the issuance of the first license, which usually took place a 
     number of days after the application was received.  Thus, you must 
     list these pioneers by call assignment rather than first license
     date for the four-letter calls to line up alphabetically.  For more 
     information see the Call Assignment Date entries in the station list 
     included in "Broadcast Station Pioneers: Policies and Stations".  
     Also, there is an anomaly in the assignment of W calls which may 
     mean that WAAB was actually the second four-letter W call issued.  
     Purdue University's application for a station in West Lafayette, 
     Indiana was assigned WBAA on the same day, April 4th, that WAAB was 
     assigned.  No other WBA- calls were issued until two weeks later, 
     after the WAA- calls had been exhausted.  It is possible that the 
     original plan was to start with WBA- calls, but after WBAA was 
     issued the situation was reconsidered and the procession pulled back 
     to start with the WAA- calls.]

                      THREE-LETTER CALLS AFTER 1922

     All broadcast station activity in three-letter calls did not cease 
     following the 1922 switchover to four-letter calls, as about half of 
     today's holders of three-letter calls trace their first assignment 
     to later than 1922.  In many cases these post-1922 calls were not 
     the station's first, but were ones they changed to some years later.  
     Some calls were inherited when a previously authorized broadcaster 
     or other station expired.  And many of these calls were specially 
     requested to tie-in with a slogan or licensee name: "World's Largest 
     Store" (Sears); "World's Greatest Harbor" (Norfolk); "World's 
     Greatest Newspaper" (Chicago Tribune); "Woodman Of the World"; "We 
     Shield Millions" (National Life), etc.  The last new three-letter 
     call assignment, excluding reassignments of previously used calls or 
     FM and TV sister stations, was WIS (now WOMG), "Wonderful Iodine 
     State" in Columbia, South Carolina on January 23, 1930.

     The June 30, 1931 edition of Commercial and Government Radio 
     Stations of the United States listed 93 three-letter broadcasters 
     out of a total of 631, about 15% of the stations.  It was only in 
     the post-World War II boom, when stations came to be counted in the 
     thousands, that these calls have faded into relative obscurity, 
     although their absolute numbers have not declined as much.

     Actually new three-letter calls are still being assigned, although 
     not for broadcast services.  Their use is currently reserved for a 
     service which dates back to the original 1912 assignments, Coastal 
     Land Stations.  However, even this group has threatened to exhaust 
     the small allotment.  Previously "Class 2" coastal stations were 
     allowed to draw on the block.  But an impending shortage forced the 
     FCC to restrict these calls to only new stations of the "Class 1 
     (excluding Alaska)" classification, where the matter stands today.

                          FM AND TV SISTER STATIONS

     FM and TV were developed in the forties and fifties, and obviously 
     the new services needed call signs.  After a short period of 
     requiring FM and TV stations to have unique calls, the FCC decided 
     to allow stations in the same market to have the same call as sister 
     AM stations, provided they added an "-FM" or "-TV" suffix. (These
     suffixed calls were technically five- and six- letters, counting the 
     two letter suffix.)  All FM and TV stations trace their three-letter 
     calls back to an original AM station.

     Until 1957, whenever you found an FM and TV station with a three- 
     letter call, the original three-letter AM was still around.  An 
     exception to this first occurred as a result of the ABC's 1953 
     decision to change the calls of its New York City stations from WJZ 
     (AM, FM, and TV) to WABC.  This proved very traumatic to the 
     Westinghouse Corporation, which founded WJZ thirty-two years earlier 
     in Newark, New Jersey. (In 1923 the station was moved to New York 
     City and transferred to RCA, where it became the flagship for the 
     NBC-Blue -- later ABC -- network.)  Although FCC rules prohibited 
     new three-letter calls, they technically didn't restrict new 
     five-letter ones, so, four and one-half years after the 
     disappearance of WJZ the FCC gave Westinghouse permission to rename 
     its Baltimore TV outlet WJZ-TV.  With this precedent a new chapter 
     of call sign practice began.  This was the first time permission was 
     given to reclaim a previously abandoned three-letter call under the 
     FCC.  In addition, this was also the first case of an "independent" 
     three-letter call, i.e. one that did not appear concurrently on any 
     AM station.

     A year after the appearance of WJZ-TV the second "independent" 
     appeared, when the University of Texas was granted permission for a 
     new Educational FM station in Austin, Texas.  The calls KUT-FM were 
     assigned (another five-letter call), in honor of the original KUT, 
     which the college had sold three decades previously, and which 
     became KNOW (now KMOW) in 1932.  Since then "independence" has 
     become more common, for in addition to the total of 60 active AM 
     three-letter calls as of January 1, 1990 there are 11 independents, 
     for a total of 71 different three-letter calls on all bands.  

                                 CONCLUSIONS

     Some people, seeing the disappearance of three-letter calls from the 
     AM band, have accused owners of not being historically minded.  The 
     opposite is true.  When AM holdings are disposed, the very 
     historically minded owners often keep the three-letter calls for 
     their FM and TV stations.  And the good news about this development 
     is that there have only been two cases (KWK and KHJ) where a three- 
     letter call, saved as an independent, subsequently disappeared from 
     the airwaves. So, what does the future hold?  Well, if you like your 
     three-letter calls on the original stations, it's bound to be bad.  
     AM radio doesn't have the financial glamour it had fifty -- or even 
     ten -- years ago, and more AMs will be unloaded, with call sign 
     custody often passing to the more prosperous FMs and TVs.  Some 
     missing calls might return -- the FCC has had a soft spot at times 
     for prodigal sons.  Below are the occasions when dropped three- 
     letter calls were allowed to be reclaimed:

      Call Lapse       Dropped   Reclaimed
      ---- ----------  --------  ---------
      KUT  26 yrs      01/26/32  08/21/58  (returned to FM only)
      WHN  13 1/2 yrs  09/15/48  02/28/62  (became WFAN-now WEVD-7/1/87)
      KRE   9 yrs      04/29/63  06/11/72  (became KBLX-now KBFN-8/13/86)
      WJZ   4 1/2 yrs  03/01/53  08/05/57  (returned to TV only)
      WGH  15 months   09/01/83  12/10/84
      KYA   2 weeks    06/29/60  07/13/60
      KDB  10 days     10/12/69  10/22/69










     MAJOR AM THREE-LETTER CALL ACTIONS: JUNE 30, 1931 - JAN. 1, 1990
     ================================================================


                                                        Total  Not   All
                                                        on AM on AM bands  
                                                        ----- ----- -----
     06/30/31 status as of this date                      93    0     93
     01/26/32 KUT AUSTIN, TX became KNOW (now KMOW)       92    0     92
                  (see 8/21/58)
     05/09/32 WOC DAVENPORT, IA consolidated with WHO     92    0     92
                  Des Moines as WHO-WOC (see 11/11/34)
     06/02/33 WNJ NEWARK, NJ. Station deleted.            91    0     91
     06/14/34 WOQ KANSAS CITY, MO.  Station deleted.      90    0     90
     11/11/34 WOC DAVENPORT, IA. Call split-off from WHO- 90    0     90
                  WOC Des Moines, moved to x-KICK Davenport
     12/03/34 KYW CHICAGO, IL station moved to            90    0     90
                  Philadelphia, PA (see 2/13/56)
     01/21/35 WFI PHILADELPHIA, PA. Station consolidated  89    0     89
                  with WLIT as WFIL (now WEAZ)
     03/17/35 KSO DES MOINES, IA. Called transferred to   89    0     89 
                  x-KWCR, old KSO became KRNT
     05/06/35 KTM LOS ANGELES, CA became KEHE (now KABC)  88    0     88
     03/27/36 WOS JEFFERSON CITY, MO. Station deleted.    87    0     87
     12/15/36 KVL SEATTLE, WA became KEEN (now KING)      86    0     86
     01/03/40 WPG ATLANTIC CITY, NJ consolidated with     85    0     85
                  WBIL and WOV as "new" WOV  
     01/23/41 WOR NEWARK, NJ. Stat. moved to New York, NY 85    0     85
     11/12/41 WOV NEW YORK, NY swapped calls with WNEW    85    0     85
     05/06/44 KJR SEATTLE, WA swapped calls with KOMO     85    0     85
     06/01/45 WLB MINNEAPOLIS, MN became KUOM             84    0     84
     09/10/45 KLS OAKLAND, CA became KWBR (now KDIA)      83    0     83
     11/12/47 KPO SAN FRANCISCO, CA became KNBC (now KNBR)82    0     82
     09/15/48 WHN NEW YORK, NY became WMGM (see 2/28/62)  81    0     81
     04/03/49 KQW SAN FRANCISCO, CA became KCBS           80    0     80
     02/20/50 WOL WASHINGTON, DC swapped calls with WWDC  80    0     80
     03/01/53 WJZ NEW YORK CITY, NY became WABC           79    0     79
                  (see 8/5/57)
     02/13/56 KYW PHILADELPHIA, PA. Call moved to x-WTAM  79    0     79
                  (now WWWE) Cleveland, OH (see 6/19/65)
     08/05/57 WJZ BALTIMORE, MD. Call reactivated for TV  79    1     80
                  station (see 3/1/53)
     08/21/58 KUT AUSTIN, TX. Call reactivated for FM     79    2     81
     06/07/59 KLX OAKLAND, CA became KEWB (now KNEW)      78    2     80
     11/01/59 WOV NEW YORK, NY became WADO                77    2     79
     06/29/60 KYA SAN FRANCISCO, CA became KDBQ (next)    76    2     78
     07/13/60 KYA SAN FRANCISCO, CA returns from KDBQ     77    2     79
     02/28/62 WHN NEW YORK, NY returns from WMGM          78    2     80
                  (see 9/15/48)
     04/29/63 KRE BERKELEY, CA became KPAT (see 6/11/72)  77    2     79
     06/19/65 KYW CLEVELAND, OH. Call returned to         77    2     79
                  Philadelphia, PA (see 2/13/56)
     10/12/69 KDB SANTA BARBARA, CA became KAPN (FM       76    3     79
                  retains 3-letter call--see next)
     10/22/69 KDB SANTA BARBARA, CA returns from KAPN     77    2     79 



                                                        Total  Not   All
                                                        on AM on AM bands
                                                        ----- ----- -----
     06/11/72 KRE BERKELEY, CA returns from KPAT (see     78    2     80
                  4/29/63)
     08/30/75 KTW SEATTLE, WA became KYAC (now KKFX)      77    2     79
     09/01/75 KOL SEATTLE, WA became KMPS                 76    2     78
     04/14/78 WRR DALLAS, TX became KAAM (FM retains call)75    3     78
     03/15/82 KGB SAN DIEGO, CA became KCNN (now KPOP--   74    4     78
                  FM retains call)
     04/18/83 KMO TACOMA, WA became KAMT (now KKMO)       73    4     77
     09/01/83 WGH NEWPORT NEWS, VA became WNSY (see       72    4     76
                  12/10/84)
     12/13/83 KYA SAN FRANCISCO, CA became KOIT (FM ret.) 71    5     76
     02/27/84 WRC WASHINGTON, DC became WWRC (TV retains) 70    6     76
     03/19/84 KSD ST. LOUIS, MO became KUSA (FM retains)  69    7     76
     06/01/84 KWK ST. LOUIS, MO became KGLD (FM retains-  68    8     76
                  see 2/29/88)
     12/10/84 WGH NEWPORT NEWS, VA returns from WNSY      69    8     77
                  (see 9/1/83)
     01/07/85 KHQ SPOKANE, WA became KLSN (now KAQQ)      68    9     77
                  (TV retains call)
     06/11/85 WJW CLEVELAND, OH became WRMR (TV retains)  67   10     77
     02/01/86 KHJ LOS ANGELES, CA became KRTH (TV retains 66   11     77
                  -- see 12/2/89)
     04/11/86 KXA SEATTLE, WA became KRPM                 65   11     76
     08/13/86 KRE BERKELEY, CA became KBLX (now KBFN)     64   11     75
     10/28/86 KOB ALBUQUERQUE, NM became KKOB (TV retains)63   12     75
     12/31/86 WIS COLUMBIA, SC became WVOC (now WOMG)     62   13     75 
                  (TV retains call)  
     07/01/87 WHN NEW YORK, NY became WFAN (now WEVD)     61   13     74
     02/29/88 KWK ST. LOUIS, MO. KWK-FM became WKBG       61   12     73
     09/11/89 KSO DES MOINES, IA became KGGO              60   12     72
     12/02/89 KHJ LOS ANGELES, CA. KHJ-TV became KCAL-TV  60   11     71

     NOTES: "Total on AM" is the number of three-letter calls on the AM 
     band after the action took place.  "Not on AM" is the number of 
     "independent" three-letter calls, i.e. held only by an FM or TV 
     station after being given up by the original AM station.  "All 
     bands" is the total number of different three-letter calls in use on 
     AM, FM and TV, i.e. "Total on AM" plus "Not on AM".

     The starting point of this list, June 30, 1931, is an arbitrary one, 
     chosen as a date when the industry had generally stabilized after 
     the chaotic twenties and early thirties.  In summary, as of June 30, 
     1931 there were 93 AM three-letter calls.  In the period through 
     January 1, 1990, 33 three-letter calls disappeared from the AM band.  
     Twenty-two of the 33 completely disappeared from the airwaves: three 
     through station deletions--WNJ, WOQ and WOS--and the other 19 due to 
     call changes and station consolidations: WFI, KTM, KVL, WPG, WLB, 
     KLS, KPO, KQW, KLX, WOV, KTW, KOL, KMO, KXA, KRE, WHN, KWK, KSO and 
     KHJ.  The other 11 "gone from the AM band" calls have homes as FM or 
     TV stations: WJZ (TV), KUT (FM), WRR (FM), KGB (FM), KYA (FM), WRC 
     (TV), KSD (FM), KHQ (TV), WJW (TV), KOB (TV), and WIS (TV).  Thus, 
     over 58 1/2 years the number of different three-letter calls went 
     from 93 to 60 on the AM band, and from 93 to 71 on all bands.  










     CURRENT THREE-LETTER CALL SIGNS
     ===============================

     The following list includes all the three-letter calls in use as of 
     January 1, 1990, plus information on current and former sister 
     stations. (The latter are listed because they are potential heirs if 
     the three-letter calls are dropped by the current owners.)

     Current three-letter calls are listed in capital letters. In 
     addition, the CURRENT sister stations (i.e. having the same owner in 
     the same market as the three-letter call holder) of the three-letter 
     stations are listed in lowercase, while the FORMER sister stations 
     that I was able to track down (at one time, but no longer, having 
     the same owner) are listed in lowercase and in parentheses.

     The first three columns list information on the AM stations, which 
     are the original holders of the three-letter calls.  The "AM" column 
     lists the current call of the original station.  The "first" column 
     notes the first date that the AM station used the three-letter call.  
     (An "*" marks stations where this three-letter call was NOT the 
     first call the station had.)  An entry in the "last" column notes 
     change-over dates in cases where the AM station no longer holds the 
     three-letter call.

     The "FM", "TV", and "City" entries list additional information on 
     the current state of other three-letter holders and sister stations.



     AM     first     last       FM        TV        CITY
     ---------------------------------------------------------------  
     KDB    01/09/29*            KDB-FM    --        Santa Barbara, CA
     KEX    12/23/26             kkrz      --        Portland, OR
     KFH    12/--/25*            krbb      --        Wichita, KS
     KFI    03/31/22             kost      --        Los Angeles, CA
     KGA    02/04/27             kdrk-fm   --        Spokane, WA
     kpop   03/27/28* 03/15/82   KGB-FM    --        San Diego, CA
     KGO    01/22/24             (kksf)    KGO-TV    San Francisco, CA
     KGU    03/14/22             --        --        Honolulu, HI
     KGW    03/21/22             kink      KGW-TV    Portland, OR
     KGY    03/30/22             --        --        Olympia, WA
     (kaqq) 02/28/22  01/07/85   (kisc)    KHQ-TV    Spokane, WA
     KID    02/16/29*            ksif      (kidk)    Idaho Falls, ID
     KIT    03/22/29*            kats      --        Yakima, WA
     KJR    03/09/22             kltx      --        Seattle, WA
     KLO    04/11/29*            --        --        Ogden, UT
     KLZ    03/10/22             kazy      (kmgh-tv) Denver, CO
     KMA    08/12/25             KMA-FM    --        Shenandoah, IA
     KMJ    03/23/22             knax      --        Fresno, CA
     KNX    05/04/22*            kodj      kcbs      Los Angeles, CA
     KOA    12/13/24             krfx      (kcnc)    Denver, CO
     (kkob) 04/05/22  10/28/86   (kkob-fm) KOB-TV    Albuquerque, NM
     KOH    09/13/28             ksxy      --        Reno, NV
     KOY    02/08/29*            KOY-FM    --        Phoenix, AZ
     KPQ    05/02/28*            KPQ-FM    --        Wenatchee, WA











     AM     first     last       FM        TV        CITY
     ---------------------------------------------------------------
     KQV    01/09/22             --        --        Pittsburgh, PA
     kusa   03/14/22  03/19/84   KSD       (ksdk)    Saint Louis, MO
     KSL    03/24/25*            (ksfi)    KSL-TV    Salt Lake City, UT
     KUJ    12/--/26             knlt      --        Walla Walla, WA
     (kmow) 10/30/25* 01/26/32   KUT       --        Austin, TX
     KVI    11/24/26             kplz      --        Seattle, WA
     KWG    12/07/21             --        --        Stockton, CA
     KXL    11/27/26             KXL-FM    --        Portland, OR
     KXO    11/11/28*            KXO-FM    --        El Centro, CA
     (koit) 12/17/26  12/13/83   KYA       --        San Francisco, CA
     KYW    11/15/21             --        KYW-TV    Philadelphia, PA
     WBT    03/18/22             WBT-FM    wbtv      Charlotte, NC
     WBZ    09/15/21             --        WBZ-TV    Boston, MA
     WDZ    04/05/22             wdzq      --        Decatur, IL
     WEW    03/23/22             --        --        Saint Louis, MO
     WGH    11/20/28*            WGH-FM    --        Newport News, VA
     WGL    11/11/28*            --        --        Fort Wayne, IN
     WGN    03/28/24             --        WGN-TV    Chicago, IL
     WGR    03/14/22             WGR-FM    (wgrz-tv) Buffalo, NY
     WGY    02/04/22             WGY-FM    (wrgb)    Schenectady, NY
     WHA    01/13/22             --        WHA-TV    Madison, WI
     WHB    05/10/22             --        --        Kansas City, MO
     WHK    02/21/22             wmms      --        Cleveland, OH
     WHO    04/15/24             klyf      WHO-TV    Des Moines, IA
     WHP    03/16/29*            WHP-FM    WHP-TV    Harrisburg, PA
     WIL    01/--/25*            WIL-FM    --        Saint Louis, MO
     WIP    03/20/22             (wmmr)    --        Philadelphia, PA
     (womg) 01/23/30* 12/31/86   --        WIS-TV    Columbia, SC
     WJR    08/20/25             whyt      --        Detroit, MI
     (wrmr) 05/09/29* 06/11/85   (wltf)    WJW-TV    Cleveland, OH
     (wabc) 05/--/21  03/01/53   --        WJZ-TV    Baltimore, MD
     WKY    03/16/22             --        ktvy      Oklahoma City, OK
     WLS    04/11/24             wytz      WLS-TV    Chicago, IL
     WLW    03/02/22             webn      (wlwt)    Cincinnati, OH
     WMC    01/19/23             WMC-FM    WMC-TV    Memphis, TN
     WMT    11/11/28*            WMT-FM    (kgan)    Cedar Rapids, IA
     WOC    02/18/22             kiik-fm   (kwqc)    Davenport, IA
     WOI    04/28/22             WOI-FM    WOI-TV    Ames, IA
     WOL    11/11/28*            --        --        Washington, DC
     WOR    02/20/22             wrks-fm   (wwor-tv) New York, NY
     WOW    12/16/26*            WOW-FM    (wowt)    Omaha, NE
     (wwrc) 07/19/23  02/27/84   wkys      WRC-TV    Washington, DC
     (kaam) 03/13/22  04/14/78   WRR       --        Dallas, TX
     WSB    03/15/22             WSB-FM    WSB-TV    Atlanta, GA
     WSM    10/05/25             WSM-FM    (wsmv)    Nashville, TN
     WWJ    03/03/22*            wjoi      (wdiv)    Detroit, MI
     WWL    03/30/22             wlmg      WWL-TV    New Orleans, LA
     ====                        ====      ====  
     60 AM                       23 FM     20 TV   Total three-letter  
                                                   calls for each service  












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