KWTO refers to two radio stations in Springfield, Missouri, USA. On AM, KWTO can be found at 560 kHz, where it airs a news/talk format. On FM, KWTO operates at 98.7 MHz and carries a Sports Talk format. The station is currently owned by Meyer Communications, making it, KWFC, and KTXR the only radio stations in the Springfield market to be locally owned and operated.
KWTO was founded by Ralph Foster and first began broadcasting on December 25
. Ralph applied for and got the call letters KWTO, which stood for "Keep Watching The Ozarks
". In the beginning, since FCC
rules at the time prohibited the playing of recorded music on the air, the station had their own live bands that played on the air. During the 1950s, KWTO played a key role in launching the careers of stars such as Porter Wagoner
, Chet Atkins
, and The Carter Family
, all of whom were regulars on the station before finding fame and fortune in Nashville
. KWTO was also the radio home of regional stars, such as Slim Wilson, The Goodwill Family
, and the Tall Timber Trio
In 1959, after the FCC ban on playing recorded music on the air was lifted, KWTO broke with tradition and began playing country records on the air, and for the next 30 years, KWTO became known as "Country 56". On October 22, 1990, KWTO broke with its long-standing country format and became the Ozarks' first full-time News/Talk radio station, which carries the programs of several prominent talk-show hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Jim Bohannon, and female computer guru Kim Komando.
KWTO-FM went on the air in November 1972 at 98.7 FM with a rock
format and was known around the Ozarks
as "Rock 99". This format lasted well into the 1980s until rival station KXUS
went on the air in April of 1985 with a similar format. In March of 1987, the station adopted more of a Top-40
format, changed its call letters to KKHT, and became "99 Hit FM". This format was changed again in 1991, when they went to a soft-rock format and renamed themselves "The Heart -- 98.7 FM". In 1993, they returned to their classic rock roots with "Classic Rock 99 FM" and stayed with that format until 2001, when they went to their current all-sports format and became known as "The Jock, 98.7 FM".