by Alex Cosper
see also American Radio History
Las Vegas has become one of the fastest growing markets in the 1990s and 2000s. In 1990 Arbitron ranked Las Vegas as the 65th largest radio market in the country. In 1995 it was number 48 and in 2005 it was number 38. In 2007 Las Vegas ranks number 32.
Legendary call letters that have stood out in the market over the years include KLUC (98.5), which has been the leading contemporary hit music (top 40) station in the market since the eighties. Once owned by Nationwide Broadcasting, it remained a top three station and was often number one throughout the nineties. Infinity Broadcasting became the owner at the turn of the century following its merger with CBS Radio. In 2005 Infinity reverted back to its former name CBS Radio.
CBS Radio owns several other successful stations in Las Vegas including KXTE (107.5), which has been one of the highest rated alternative stations in the country of the top 50 major markets. It was formerly classic rock station KFBI under Americom and then American Radio Systems, who flipped it to "Extreme Radio" in 1997 and sold it to CBS Radio that year. It presented a head on challenge to Radiovision's KEDG (The Edge/103.5), which had also been one of the top rated major market alternative stations in the country up until that point. But with KXTE coming on strong from the beginning, it was The Edge that dropped out of the format. KXTE went on to become a fixture in the market's Arbitron top five for many years, ahead of all other stations in the market playing some form of rock music.
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