54  6   7      8                       10                                          14                 16
AM XTRA KEJK KBIG KGOE KIEV KGRB KHJ KGBS KTNQ XPRS KRKD KRLA KEZY KPPC KFYF KFOX KMENKUTY KWIZ 1490 KROQ KZLA KWOW
FM KNX KKHR
KWST
94.5
KMET KGAB KKBZ KIQQ KQLZ KHJ FM KMPC KKDJ KWST
88 92                   96          100                 104     108
XTRA AM:
THE MIGHTY 690, ETC.

By David Fiorella and Dave Andrews

Mighty 690 on Facebook!

What was the first exclusive twenty four hour all-news station in Southern California? Was it KNX AM 1070? Was it KFWB AM 980? Was it KABC-FM 95.5? No, it was X-TRA News. This station, which is on the Pacific Coast Highway (Old U.S. 101) north of San Diego, started broadcasting twenty-four hour news in the early 1960s. Three of the radio newscasters were Stan Evans, Russ Porterfield and Bob Bingham. Evans and Porterfield would later join "The Country King" KFOX in Long Beach. Bob Bingham was managing editor of XTRA News.

Before 1962, the station was known as XEAK The Mighty 690, playing top 40 hits of the day. They signed off one day in 1961 in a rather bizarre way. For a funny account of the sign-off, go to this page at Bruce Tognazzini's site. They changed calls to XETRA (it is common in America to drop the leading E or H of a five-letter Mexican call sign when referring to it) and became Extra News.

XTRA covered many news stories in its time: The Nixon-Kennedy debates and election of 1960. The 1961 Home Run battle between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. (Maris would win that battle with 61 home runs, breaking Babe Ruth's record of 60.) The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The Goldwater-Rockefeller campaign in California to determine who would win the state's 86 nominating votes to the GOP convention in 1964. It covered the election of 1964 and the Johnson-Goldwater campaign.

Sometime in the mid 1960s or late 1960s XTRA News changed formats and became XTRA Music, a Beautiful Music format featuring 101 Strings, Ray Conniff, Ray Charles Singers and Nat King Cole. Later, it changed formats again to become top-40 "The Mighty 690". Today it is XTRA Sports, in close cooperation with ESPN Sports Network. It had an all-talk sports format featuring UCLA basketball and football, plus it covers NFL football and (in the summer) major league baseball. XTRA News, in its time, had a sponsor that I remembered. "Bull Dog Malt Liquor" was one of the sponsors in the early 1960's. This indeed was the first exclusive 24-hour news station without any speciality programming in its format. It was overshadowed by the powerful KMPC AM 710, but you could hear it with no problem in the Los Angeles area if your radio was of good quality.

An added feature of XTRA News was a voice coming on occasionally identifying, "This is XTRA News". You would hear a clock ticking in the background. If you heard the clock from the CBS television news show "60 Minutes" it would remind you of the clock on XTRA News.

It played top 40 as The Mighty 690 until the fall of 1984. Then, after airing the 51-hour program The History of Rock and Roll, they became oldies 69 Extra Gold. After the stint as XTRA Sports the station adopted a Standards format similar to that of the old KMPC, calling itself 690 The Lounge, before switching to W Radio 690, with a Spanish-language format.


fybush.com has photos of Tijuana transmitter sites!

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