The problem has nothing to do with KTBB’s signal strength. Our signal strength, like all licensed radio stations, is a function of fixed values that are set forth in the operating parameters section of our license, which is issued by the Federal Communications Commission. No station has the capacity or the authority to unilaterally alter its operating parameters.
Nominally, the FCC sets those parameters so as to provide interference-free service over a station’s city of license. Under normal conditions, KTBB 97.5 FM puts a “city grade” signal over Tyler and Longview and the surrounding communities.
The problem stems from an atmospheric phenomenon called “tropospheric propagation,” — commonly just called “ducting.” Here’s a Wikipedia article on it:
The phenomenon tends to be particularly acute in this part of the world during the summer.
What follows is a greatly simplified explanation.
Tropospheric propagation, or ducting, most commonly occurs when air aloft is warmer than air on the surface – what the weathermen call a “temperature inversion.” Normally, air gets cooler as you gain altitude away from the heat reflected by the Earth’s surface. But when you have a large high pressure dome overhead, (which typically accounts for our miserably hot temperatures in the summer), it is common for air temperatures to warm as you gain altitude. Eventually, as you climb, the air temperatures will start to cool. But in the summer, when winds are light and high pressure systems tend to stall over a particular area and stay in one place, there is frequently a layer of air – a few thousand feet thick — that is warmer than the air on the Earth’s surface – particularly in the morning (more on that in a moment).
This area of warm air aloft creates what amounts to a boundary for VHF radio signals. FM radio broadcasting occurs in the VHF portion of the radio spectrum. Rather than leave the transmitting antenna and radiate straight out across the horizon and into space, radio frequency energy comes into contact with this warm air boundary and is refracted or bent, just as a lens bends light — causing the signal to follow the curvature of the Earth. What is created is effectively a “duct” through which a VHF signal can travel a great distance.
The result is that a radio station from far away will interfere with a station close to home. The interference you typically hear in this area is either from KFNC, the all-sports station at 97.5 FM near Houston, or KLAK, an adult contemporary station at 97.5 FM in Grayson County, near Sherman, Texas. While those stations are interfering with us, our signal is most likely interfering with them. It is a two-way street. The effect on your individual listening depends almost entirely on where you happen to be at any particular moment. When the phenomenon is occurring, it affects nearly every FM station at one place or another within its coverage area.
The phenomenon typically decreases as it gets later in the day and the Earth’s surface warms. When surface temperatures rise, the differential between surface air and air aloft disappears and thus the warm air boundary disappears. When that boundary is gone, the “duct” no longer exists and the radio frequency energy resumes radiating straight out across the horizon and into space.
Ducting is extremely annoying and, unfortunately, there isn’t anything we can do about it other than — in the particular case of KTBB — jump over to the AM band and listen at 600 AM.
Thank you for listening.
Why is Mark Levin not on at 5pm anymore?
We made the decision to program a local news hour at 5:00 p.m. based on the very latest audience ratings. Our least listened-to daypart is late afternoon. By being live and local for an hour on the way home, we hope to replicate the success that we have long enjoyed with the KTBB Morning News.
We know that we are largely a “car radio” radio station. That, coupled with the fact that we are the only local news radio, led us to develop the “Drive at Five” to capitalize on the need that working people have for a news update as they drive home.
Another consideration is the nature of the Mark Levin Show. Across the country, Mark Levin enjoys his strongest ratings on the east coast where his program begins at 6:00 p.m. This strongly suggests that the tone and tenor of the show is better suited to early evening than late afternoon. Accordingly, we have pushed the start of The Mark Levin Show to 6:00 p.m. local time.
What you are experiencing is an atmospheric phenomenon called “tropospheric propagation.” It happens when warm air aloft overruns cooler air on the surface. The result will be to set up conditions wherein VHF radio signals, such as those in the FM radio band, are able to travel well beyond their normal coverage limits. The phenomenon is referred to colloquially as “ducting,” because what in effect happens is that an atmospheric “duct” opens which then carries a VHF signal past the horizon and allows it to follow the curve of the Earth.… Read More
You may send mail to: KTBB Radio 1001 E.S.E. Loop 323 Ste 455 Tyler, Texas 75701. Or phone numbers are: Main Office: (903)-593-2519, Fax: (903)-597-8378 and the KTBB Studio Line is (903)-593-5822.
In the days of linotype machines for setting type, multiple pages of copy contained the footer “-more-” at bottom of each page. The end of the copy on the last page carried the footer “-30-“. That told the typesetter in a definitive fashion that he had reached the end of his copy. Why “30”? No one I have ever asked knows. But the designation “30” has stuck as an indication of “the end”. Dr. Bob adopted this convention years ago when he was a neophyte broadcaster.
Unfortunately no, we will not. Major League Baseball retains Internet streaming rights. Individual teams are not allowed to offer streaming in their agreements with their radio network affiliates.
We would certainly like to but our hands are tied.
Yours is a question we get nearly every fall. If it were up to us, we’d be on the air at 100 kilowatts. The equipment to broadcast at a higher power output is relatively cheap and, despite the high energy costs that so dominate the headlines as I write this, so is the electricity. If we could, we’d go buy a gangbusters transmitter and crank it all the way up. And so would every other broadcaster. Therein lies the problem.… Read More
Make sure that your browser is set to allow popup windows from ktbb.com and securenetsystems.net. How do I enable or disable pop-ups in web browsers? If you would rather listen without the popup player you can use the direct player links. … Read More
To listen to KTBB we now offer an app for both Android & iPhone. To listen to 92.1 ESPN you may use a smart phone app like Tunein – then search for “KRWR or ESPN East Texas”. If you would like to access the mp3 streams directly see below for direct links.
KTBB – http://ice7.securenetsystems.net/KTBBM
ESPN 92.1FM – http://ice7.securenetsystems.net/KYZSM
KTBB bills its format as news and talk. We pass on very nearly all of President Obama’s speeches. But we treat major policy addresses as news events and we act accordingly. The decision to carry the speech today was based on long-standing editorial policy that has served us well and that stands irrespective of who happens to be holding the office at the moment. We made similar editorial decisions throughout the eight years of President Bush’s administration. We make the programming decisions that we make in as consistent a manner as possible and in a sincere effort to carry out our mission to keep our audience informed.
Yes, if the show in question is part of our MP3/Podcasting program. The following shows are available, for 1 week, for download and podcasting – More information and a list of available podcasts:
Changing networks to move away from ABC is not an option for us. There are a number of reasons.
First let me respond to the belief held by you and a number of others that ABC News Radio displays a liberal bias. As you may know from my weekly feature called “You Tell Me” http://www.ktbb.com/youtellme) I am a committed conservative. KTBB’s hospitality to conservative thought is well-evidenced by the fact that we are the home in East Texas for Glenn Beck, Rush
Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage.… Read More
Yours is a question we get frequently at this time of year as the sun begins rising later and setting earlier. You didn’t specify where you live in the area so my answer will be general in nature. But put simply, as the sun rises and sets, KTBB, like most AM radio stations, changes its power and the direction in which it more strongly radiates its signal. … Read More
To get your events listed here you can mail your info to: KTBB/KDOK Radio Attn: Calendar of Events c/o: Mike Edwards 1001 ESE Loop 323, Tyler Texas 75701 Or Fax them to: (903)-593-4918. You can also e-mail Mike your items. use the form found Here