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Updated: 2017-06-16T23:59Z
CitySan Antonio, Texas
Broadcast areaSan Antonio, Texas
Branding86 KONO
SloganGreatest Hits of the 60's and 70's
Frequency860 kHz
First air date1927
Power5,000 watts (day)
900 watts (night)
Facility ID50029
Callsign meaningK San AntONiO
OwnerCox Radio
(Cox Radio, Inc.)
Website86 KONO Online

KONO (860 AM) is an oldies radio station in San Antonio, Texas. Owned by Cox Radio, its studios are located in Northwest San Antonio near the South Texas Medical Center complex, and the transmitter site with two towers are located on Creekview Drive, nearly 5 miles east of downtown San Antonio.


KONO is the fourth-oldest radio station in San Antonio, Texas. KONO began as a hobby in the early days of radio broadcasting by Eugene Roth in a room over his garage in downtown San Antonio. Later, Eugene Roth's son, Jack Roth, inherited the station from his father. Its original format was country & western. In the sixties, KONO (the Big 86) was one of the leading "top-40" stations in San Antonio for several years. Some of the on air personnel were Howard Edwards, Don Couser, Woody Roberts, Skinny Don Green, Lee 'Baby' Simms, Dave Mitchell, Johnny Shannon, Charlie Scott, Nick St John and Frank Jolley plus many more. Many still live in the San Antonio area or parts of Texas. KONO in the 1960s won national awards for their popularity and creativity. In 1965, Bob Pearson and Howard Edwards were selected as two of the top radio personalities in the country. KONO was the number-one AM station in San Antonio and KITY-FM, its sister station was the top-rated FM station. KONO is the former sister station of KSAT-TV, Channel 12. KONO and sister KITY, later KSRR-FM, would remain at 317 Arden Grove, attached to the KSAT 12 building, until the early 1990s, when they moved to a location on NE Loop 410.

In the 1970s, KONO and KTSA 550 battled in the top-40 format. Although KONO's more recurrent-based style frequently played second-fiddle to the more current-oriented KTSA, it continued to do well. The two stations provided a nice 1-2 punch that made WOAI regret its brief flirtation with the top-40 format in the mid-'70s. The two also ran AM/FM simulcast "Q-100" KQAM 1150/KSAQ 100.3 out of the format after a few years.

KONO began the 1980s with the same recurrent-heavy top-40 format it had in the 1970s but with a softer sound than before. KONO's days as a top-40 station were clearly numbered as AM top-40 stations were rapidly losing audience to FM upstarts. KONO began to evolve to a gold-based AC while its top-40 format began to replace the AC format on sister 92.9 KITY. At the end of 1985, Jack Roth announced he was selling KONO and KITY to Duffy Broadcasting, based out of Dallas.[1] Until this point, KONO had been owned within the Roth family its entire existence. Duffy would strike a deal with Booth American in 1987 that created Genesis Broadcasting.[2] About a year later that KONO became a "rock 'n roll oldies" station jettisoning its music from the mid-'70s and later and adding some older popular rock tracks. However, in 1988, KSMG "Magic 105" dropped its AC format to go oldies, and KONO, once again, struggled to maintain its audience against an FM upstart.

KONO began the 1990s getting further squeezed within the oldies format. In the summer of 1990, KISS 99.5 announced it was dropping its longtime AOR format to go oldies, and it would flip its sister station, bilingual KRIA 930, to satellite oldies as "Kool Gold." Continuing to struggle and looking for answers, Genesis announced it would LMA KFAN 101.1, a AAA station heavily focused on Texas artists licensed to Fredricksburg, and flip it to a simulcast of KONO. KONO-AM-FM and KITY would make San Antonio's first FM/FM combination and would help lead to the FCC relaxing its rules prohibiting ownership of more than one station per service per market in August 1992. KONO-FM launched in late January/early February 1991 and paid immediate dividends. Although it would take another two years to top KSMG, KISS watched what little gains it achieved by switching to oldies evaporate and fired its entire airstaff that summer to run Satellite Music Network's "Pure Gold" format. Ironically, after Rusk's attempt to sell KSMG to Jacor Communications failed, KISS-AM-FM were LMA'ed to Rusk to combine with Magic 105.3. Rusk aired "Magic 105.3" on both KISS stations in addition to 105.3 beginning in October '91 and flipped KISS 930 to standards as "KLUP The Loop" and KISS-FM 99.5 back to rock in December. KONO would overtake Magic in the ratings a year later.

In 1992 after the FCC allowed duopoly, Booth American began to prepare for a merger. The resulting company, which would combine with Broadcast Alchemy and be known as Secret Communications, would spin off Booth's WZPL 99.5 in Indianapolis, where it would be keeping the two F.M.s already owned by Broadcast Alchemy, and all of the Genesis stations except for Sacramento and Denver. In December 1992, KONO's sister station, KSRR-FM 92.9, was sold to Tichenor Media,[3] which took over in March 1993 and flipped it to Spanish-language programming. Genesis also announced it would not be exercising its option to buy KONO-FM 101.1. Instead, Gillespie Broadcasting, the Fredricksburg owners of KONO-FM 101.1 as well as Fredricksburg-based KNAF 910 and the new KFAN-FM 107.9, would buy KONO 860.[4] After closing on the sales of KONO and the other remaining Genesis stations, Booth and Broadcast Alchemy announced their merger,[5] and KONO-AM-FM were sold once again, this time to longtime San Antonio general manager John W. Barger.[6] Barger had also acquired KWCB 94.3 out of Floresville a couple years earlier and moved it into San Antonio as KRIO-FM 94.1. During this time, KONO would also force KSMG out of the oldies format once and for all, first for a 1970s-driven format known as "The Best Mix of the '60s, '70s and '80s...The Oldies Revolution!" and later to a more current-based "The Best Mix of the '70s, '80s and '90s."

After successfully moving KWCB into San Antonio from Floresville, Barger attempted to move KONO-FM closer to San Antonio from Fredricksburg. The initial proposal called for KONO-FM to broadcast from the KAJA (which was named for Barger's kids when he was GM for Clear Channel's cluster!) tower and move its city of license from Fredricksburg to Castroville. KONO-FM would also downgrade from a class C to a class C1. A counterproposal to move KONO-FM to that location but licensed to Helotes, making up for an AM station licensed to that city that went dark several years earlier, instead of Castroville was granted a year or two later.[7]

By 1998, two years after radio ownership was further relaxed with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Cox Radio, which entered the market immediately after the Telecomm Act passed by acquiring New City Communications and its KKYX 680, KCYY 100.3 and KCJZ 106.7, acquired both Rusk Communications[8] and Barger[9] while spinning off KRIO-FM 94.1 to comply with ownership rules.[10] The result would be a super cluster that would combine the four former oldies stations, once bitter rivals, under the same roof.

The simulcast on KONO 860 and KONO-FM 101.1 was of the longest AM-FM simulcasts in the country until KONO 860 flipped to CBS Sports Radio on January 31, 2014.[11]

On January 13, 2017 at 6 p.m. KONO changed their format from sports to oldies.[12]


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  11. ^ Radio-Talk thread about KONO flipping formats. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  12. ^ KONO Returns to Oldies Radioinsight - January 13, 2017

External links

Coordinates: 29°26′38″N 98°25′05″W / 29.444°N 98.418°W / 29.444; -98.418

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