June 30, 2020, marks a milestone anniversary for Batesville radio station KBTA-AM.
Local historian Craig Ogilvie reminds us that on this date 70 years ago, KBTA 1340-AM signed on the air in its test pattern and received its official license in July of that year.
KBTA-AM was the first station licensed to Batesville and was first located on Chaney Drive where the children’s playground is now located. It is as you enter Riverside Park on your right driving into the park. That property was donated to the city of Batesville by the station’s owners in the late 1990s. The building that housed the station was razed, and the broadcasting tower taken down.
In the mid-90s, KBTA-AM moved to 920 Harrison St. in Batesville, where it is still located. The station is now part of the White River Now media family which operates six radio stations in north central Arkansas along with this website.
For many years, KBTA-AM was the only radio station broadcasting from Batesville. Longtime residents might recall the live morning show featuring “The Roving Fisherman” Duffie Bryant, a local businessman and outdoorsman, and classic episodes of “Lum and Abner.”
KBTA-AM has also had a longtime partnership with the St. Louis Cardinals, broadcasting games during regular baseball seasons. During the coronavirus crisis, the Cardinals have been broadcasting a series of classic games from seasons past, which is sponsored locally by Kent’s Firestone.
KBTA-AM is now an all-sports station — CBS SPORTS RADIO 1340 AM. The station carries a regional morning sports show, the statewide “Drive Time Sports” afternoon program with Randy Rainwater, of course, the St. Louis Cardinals. It also features programming from CBS Sports such as “The Jim Rome Show” and “The Pat McAfee Show.”
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